La Brasserie in Sydney, Australia

I’m a phenomenal Scramble with Friends player. I’m not being overly confident or cocky or anything. I just “practice” a lot. The only person who beats me 100% of the time is my boyfriend, Jack. He’s super fast moving his fingers, crazy creative with his words and unafraid of taking risks. He is unbeatable… until May 2th, 2012 that is: The day I finally annihilated him. Well I only beat him by 50 points, but it definitely counts because I still got my prize!

He never thought the day I beat him would come, so he swore to take me to dinner wherever I wanted, no questions asked, if it actually happened.  Needless to say, I’ve been training for a long time. I also hasn’t had a fat, juicy steak in a long time, so it was a coincidence these two happened at the same time. I had found the French restaurant La Brasserie during my time researching Sydney and automatically thought of it when I saw my winning number of 2386.

La Brasserie is a very cool spot in Darlinghurst. Well, I think it’s cool. It’s very dark and romantic as I imagine all French things to be. The waiters had heavy French accents, so much so every time we asked a question about the menu, we got an answer that had nothing to do with what we were asking. Jack even asked for a glass of wine, right after I did. The waiter smiled when he brought mine but Jack’s never came. I still wonder what he thought he heard Jack say.

The meal started with warm toasted bread while we searched the menu. I was dying to try their escargot, but I resisted. I was there for steak and steak would be had! I ordered the Steak Frites: Char grilled Sirloin with French Fries and Jack ordered the Entrecote Frites: Char grilled Scotch Fillet with French Fries, both medium rare.

If there is a meal that feels more celebratory than a steak, I have not had it. The peppery sauce went beautifully with both the french fries and steak. The steak passed the “The Test of S” I just made up: It was soft, savory and succulent. I truly could not stop grinning. I was so satisfied I barely felt full.

I would normally be embarrassed to post before and after pictures of a meal but finishing the steak from La Brasserie in honor of my win was a victory all on its own.

La Brasserie 

118 Crown Street Darlinghurst NSW 2010 

Meet Freddy.

I want to introduce you to Freddy.

People always tell me to stop playing with my food, but as you can see Freddy is not a food. He is a teenager relaxing in an empty hot tub, probably waiting for his girlfriend to join him. I don’t know if it was because we got too personal with the chicken or what, but the recipe on for  engagement chicken we followed didn’t pan out.

My best friend, Michele, and I decided to have a night of cooking to catch up and dye her hair. Since we would be cooking at her house and for her boyfriend I suggested she choose the recipe, but when she emailed me a recipe involving ovens I refused. I don’t trust ovens. Unless your making a dessert they turn on you when you least expect it. But her confidence in our cooking abilities convinced me and we went for it.

We followed the instructions, basically, word for word. You can find those here. I’ve redone the steps below to reflect what actually happened.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash chicken inside and out with cold water. Remove the giblets, also known as the insides. Make sure to look at both sides of the chicken to find the easier way out.
  3. Let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temperature. Wait 30 minutes, 15 was not enough. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside), season with lots and lots salt and pepper.
  5. Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. Don’t be scared, push it in further. You can do it!
  6. Place the chicken breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up, use whatever helps you turn it. Freddy weighs more than you think; return it to oven for 35 minutes more.
  8. Test for doneness – you don’t own a meat thermometer so prick the chicken with a fork, juices should run clear.
  9. When juices don’t run clear and instead you find the chicken is still uncooked continue backing, it’s necessary. 20 minutes is suggested.
  10. Then 20 minutes more. Threaten to order pizza, but don’t give up!
  11. Cut apart the chicken and put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes
  12. Re-assure Michele’s boyfriend we will be eating soon, then leave the chicken in for 10 minutes.
  13. Reheat the side dishes: grilled vegetables and pasta.
  14. Call everyone to the table and sound confident when you say it’s safe to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, the chicken ended tasting delicious and well received. I think the lessons to learn here is that you can always adjust a recipe, engagement chicken will not lead to an engagement and ovens still can’t be trusted.

I would show you a picture of the final product but Freddy didn’t grow up to be as beautiful as we’d hoped.

Accidentally Loving Hot Chocolate.

I’ve never been a hot chocolate lover per se. My theory is if you drink coffee but are in the mood  for a hot chocolate then just pour some chocolate powder on top of your coffee. I can only really remember having hot chocolates during my younger sister’s soccer games growing up, those ones from the kiosk that were a sorry excuse for anything with the word chocolate in its title. They didn’t cut it for me.

But I have some news! I am now a hot chocolate lover! I want to shout it from the rooftop of your house, but I guess this post will do! This new revelation is all thanks to the stylings of Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia. My taste buds, brain and heart could not believe what was happening as I took my first small sip.

I think it had to do with how they served it. Those geniuses put four pieces of milk chocolate in my mug and gave me a pouring cup with the steaming hot chocolate inside of it. I get it. You pour hot chocolate into more chocolate and voila!

It was the most drinkable hot chocolate I’ve ever had, there’s no other way to explain it.

We were lucky to have had it because hot chocolate for lunch was not our intention. We were starving so, without looking at the menu, we sat down at the first place we saw, Guylian. Because of prices food was no longer an option, the hot chocolate was $8.50 so that would have to do. I actually left grateful for their out of reality prices.

Do me a favor; next time you’re in Sydney splurge on the yumminess that is a Guylian’s Hot Chocolate. Not liking milk chocolate is no excuse as there are plenty of different chocolates to choose from. I’ll be trying to white chocolate next time, it’s risky I know. Not wanting a hot drink is also not a good excuse, Jack got the chocolate milkshake and could not stop raving about it. For about 30 minutes we were five-year olds in chocolate paradise, doesn’t that sound fun?

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe 

91 George Street, The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000

Room 10 in Sydney, Australia

Jack and I were lucky enough to have free accommodation, an amazing apartment in Potts Point, on a recent trip to Sydney, Australia. I think the greatest thing about free accommodation is the free food recommendations that come with it (free as in you don’t waste time doing research). We were strongly encouraged, basically ordered, to go to Room 10 in Llankelly Place.

With three step directions we found it in a matter of minutes. We probably would have walked right by it had it not been for the crowd of people waiting to be seated or their take away coffee. Since there was a wait to sit inside and they offered blankets we sat on the tiny wooden tables outside.

Room 10 is very small but super busy; this made the atmosphere fun and exciting for a giddy tourist like me. I couldn’t stop smiling, people around me couldn’t understand it especially since the weather had turned to shit. Jack was embarrassed. But no one could stop me, I was ready to order without even looking at the menu, “Oh, yes we’re ready. The BREAKFAST RICE, please!” Those same people would have probably been relieved I was a local had it not been for my american accent and the lack of color in my wardrobe.

My strong flat white was placed on the table a few minutes later and following almost immediately came my plate. If I could buy you this meal and spoon feed it to you I would because a) I will not do it any justice and b) you deserve it.

With each bite came every texture, flavor and color I had not predicted. I’m talking about brown rice, yoghurt, warm milk, banana, strawberry, sugar, pistachios, rose-water and rhubarb. I was in the healthy side of breakfast heaven while Jack was lost and deep in the unhealthy side, ripping away his Panini. I almost suggested we go back the next morning so I could have my own Panini or repeat my breakfast rice, but that’s breaking a food and travel rule I’m sure is documented somewhere.

I want to say that I’ll attempt to make this breakfast rice at home one day, because it seems possible, but I don’t want to promise myself such glamorous things.

Room 10 

10 Llankelly Place, Potts Point NSW 2011