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Amidst all my shopping this weekend (I’m on a high from all these short work weeks) an honourable mention goes to the smoked garlic from the Handmade markets. I could not stop smelling the intoxicating aroma of intense smoky garlic, I almost want to use it as potpourri!

Ricardo’s Cafe

I knew the Jamison shops way before it was ever refurbished, before they had an Aldi or FSW and even before the Commonwealth bank closed (I’m now awaiting for the Asian grocery store to open). It figures that after I move away from Aranda, Jamison now becomes a bustling hot spot for the locals wanting a coffee, something from the supermarket or a delicious breakfast/lunch from Ricardo’s cafe. I had been here before but I wasn’t to overly impressed with their sweets, they look a lot prettier than they taste.

I was here during a lunch birthday celebration for a dear friend of mine and I wasn’t planning on blogging but when we all started ordering fabulous (looking) desserts and dishes, my camera instinctively came out. image

It was a struggle and a half try to get to our table that we had already booked in advance, there were people EVERYWHERE. People young and old, hipsters and pensioners, all gathered to eat where apparently prams and strollers are mandatory. Needless to say, it was very busy.

Portuguese tart ($5.00?). Seeing how busy it was, I thought I’d start by getting something I could eat straight away without waiting. It was okay but TimmyC thought it was the bee’s knees.

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Red skin macaron ($2.50). Despite looking all wonky shaped, the taste was pretty accurate.

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Choux pastry swan – very clever design and execution, I had bought one of these before but wasn’t too overly impressed.

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Pancakes souffle pancakes, bananas, bacon infused maple syrup and vanilla bean mascarpone cheese ($14.90). When I go out for breakfast/brunch I’m always on the look out for unique items on the menu, don’t get me wrong, I love my bacon and eggs/pancakes/banana bread/granola but I’m looking for something that plays on the creative side from the kitchen on a good ol’ breakfast classic and this is it (although this is not my dish, I made sure I had access to it). I avoided the bananas and couldn’t really taste the ‘bacon’ element in the syrup but that didn’t matter because the souffle pancakes topped with vanilla bean mascarpone cheese was soooo good!

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OMG! It’s so fluffy!

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Smoked salmon fritters corn and zucchini fritters stacked with smoked salmon and avocado, cherry tomatoes and sour cream ($17.90). These were fantastic, I always have a fear that fritters would be dry and limp but they were well made and topped perfectly with salmon and sour cream.

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Pork belly salad part of the specials board. Oh I wish I saw the specials board before I ordered, but someone on the table did. YUM!

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Wagyu truffle sliders white truffle Wagyu beef, red wine, caramelised onions, truffle aioli, gruyere cheese and parmesan truffle fries ($18.90). The bun seemed a bit brioche-y but that didn’t matter when everything tasted so good. By the time I got to the third slider, because of my slow eating habits and talking to everyone, was very cold but if you’re not a slow eater, this won’t be a problem for you. I was really surprised that the fries actually tasted like parmesan truffle fries! Two thumbs up for this!

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Macarons – not exactly uniform in size but across the board the flavours were very good (not the best in Canberra but pretty good for ‘made in house’ at a cafe).

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I can see why Ricardo’s is so busy –  lots of good menu options; there is some method to their chaotic madness and the wait for food wasn’t too long and nothing was crazily over priced (well maybe that Portuguese tart). I would come here again but I would like to try more of their menu despite having found multiple things that I would love to eat again.

Venue: Ricardo’s cafe

Address: Jamison Plaza Bowman Street Macquarie, ACT 2614

Phone: (02) 6251 2666

Websitehttp://ricardoscafe.com/

Ricardo’S Cafe on Urbanspoon

Melbourne long weekend – Lux bite re-run

If I was taking my friends around to the best of the best in Melbourne, then of course that would include Lux Bite in South Yarra. They have fabulous unique cakes you couldn’t get anywhere else. 

Meringue Monster ~signature cake~green tea sponge, pistachio, watermelon yoghurt, sour strawberry mousse, meringue ($8.50). Despite being their signature cake, I haven’t tried a Meringue Monster until today. It was so good and I couldn’t imagine coming here without ordering one now.

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Be my Love ~best seller~milk chocolate mousse, raspberry cream, raspberry and hazelnut crunch ($8.50). The richer and sweeter cake of the two and as well as chocolate and raspberry go together, I much preferred the Meringue Monster.

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I travelled back to Canberra cautiously and carefully with two other cakes, the lolly bag was more successful as my Endless Love looked like it was trodded on. image

Lolly bag – When I took a bite, my tongue searched through all the flavours- jaffa; spearmint; musk; redskin and chocolate freckles and while I talked in amazement about all the flavours I was experiencing, all the pop rocks went off in my mouth! It was a Willy Wonka experience with all the textures yet different distinct flavours all topped off with nostalgic flavours from the lollies of my primary school years, too bad that Ovaltines didn’t make the cut.

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Endless love – Just as delicious as I remember it. I’ve had Pierre Herme’s Ispahan many a time and this is the closest thing to it without leaving the country.

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Pizza Gusto

When I rang Pizza Gusto, I asked very sceptically if they took reservations, from what I’ve heard they were just a little establishment boasting delicious pizzas but their business mainly comes from takeaways. They very nicely said yes and asked if I would like to sit inside or outside, without a sarcastic reply after glancing at the frost covered grass, I requested a table for four inside.

You have more of a chance of finding a park in Braddon at night so that wasn’t a problem. When we walked in, we saw just how small the restaurant was. Only fitting 5 square cafe tables in max and with a very basic set up which included plastic cups for water that you fill from the outside animal shaped tap, eating out of the pizza box and a flyer for a menu, I knew it had to have amazing pizza to have thrived in Braddon for so long.

Pizza (33cm – 8 slices).

We were trying to choose classic pizzas with simple ingredients to use it as a measuring stick against every other pizza we’ve had. They came out rather promptly and not oily at all, perfect crust and base, fresh ingredients which amplified the simple flavours. Pizza gusto definitely makes it in my top 3 pizza places of Canberra. 

Margheritatomato, mozzarella, bocconcini cheese and fresh basil ($16.00).

Supremotomato, mozzarella, Calabrese salami, shaved leg ham, veggies  mushrooms, pineapple and olives ($20.00).

I looked a little disappointed when everyone said that two pizzas should be plenty between the four of us, but since the first two were so awesome we were able to order one more pizza that was a little outside of the ‘box’.

 Patate garlic oil base, finely sliced potatoes, mozzarella, rosemary, and sea salt  ($17.00). On the little salty side but the potatoes were perfectly done. Despite the salt, I found the pizza overall to be very bland and it was my least favourite pizza of the night.

Not a fine dining restaurant by any means but if you want a good pizza to dine in (best to reserve a table) or to take away, Pizza Gusto is the place to go.

VenuePizza Gusto

Address: 23 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT 2612

Opening hours: 5:30pm – 9pm 7 days

Phone: 6257 7508

Pizza Gusto on Urbanspoon