When it comes to eating out, most people can be divided into two distinct groups.Those who’ll willingly pay out their eyeballs for an artfully arranged plate of offal and spring vegetables. And those who’d consider paying good money to leave a restaurant hungry - akin to a nightmare.
OK, so maybe the gastronomic lines are not quite so tightly divided, but you get the picture. One man’s langoustine and veal in daisy gravy is another’s steak and chips with sauce on the side.
That’s because when it comes to food our preferences are as individual as we are, marked as much by mood and what we feel like drinking that day as the people we’re eating with.
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Want to get a bit crazy tonight? Then head out for dinner, you’d be the only one.
Australians are a bunch of nannas when it comes to having a social life mid-week.
A recent Sunday Telegraph poll showed that Tuesdays are our least favourite night in the week for eating out and restaurants are paying the price.
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The woman booked a table for 10 at 7pm, Thursday, at the hip Bentley Bar and Restaurant in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
Owner Nick Hildebrand had to turn away four couples trying their spontaneous luck because his 50-seater was fully booked, but by 7.45pm, that big table still hadn’t arrived so he called them and was told they were on the way.
It sat empty for another 30 minutes, so he called again but this time, she didn’t answer. They never arrived.
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Guillaume Brahimi makes the World’s Best Mashed Potato in his posh restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, at the Sydney Opera House. It costs $14. I could go there for dinner and happily eat nothing but the Paris mash.
Why’s it so good? Well, you try tossing an entire packet of butter in with four potatoes next time you’re making mash to serve with snags. You’ll win Masterchef in no time too.
Quay at Sydney’s Circular Quay is regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants (ranked No. 26). Yes, chef Peter Gilmore is clever, but I reckon brushing almost everything with butter before it leaves the kitchen is part of that genius. You show me a delicious meal and I’ll show you a restaurant with a big block of churned milk.
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Jonathan Gold and I will never be friends.
The savvy food critic who writes for the LA Weekly is an avowed and unapologetic tipper.
His recent column, Top Ten Tips for Tipping is not only hard to say, the subject itself is completely indigestible. “The idea that a tip is optional, or variable, is a useful fiction, even when the soup goes tumbling into your lap,” Gold writes.
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Grub Street is a snappy little food blog that follows restaurants and food trends in New York. This week they hit on a subject that’s starting to grate on the nerves of anybody lucky enough to spend a bit of time “dining out” - people who take photos of their food. Apparently the trend has become so widespread among New Yorkers that some restaurants have been forced to adopt a “no cameras allowed” policy.
So now over to you guys. Do any Punchers take photos of their food when dining out in fancy, and not so fancy places? And if so, what drives you to do that? And did you read Emma Jane’s Punch piece on the phenomenon?
Everyone else, feel free to talk amongst yourselves and post your thoughts below. Oh, and TGIF!
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If the internet is to be believed — and I see no good reason why we shouldn’t believe everything we read on the internet — Facebook has become essential to staging a revolution. As the Web 2.0 (or are we up to 3.0?) commentators keep telling us, if you’re planning on toppling a dictatorial regime, then best first spruce up your Facebook profile.
But we in the West who already inhabit the sunny uplands of democracy haven’t been slouches when it comes to using Facebook to effect large scale social change. A case in point: I recently came across a Facebook group set up to fight the good fight against noisy children in restaurants.
I hadn’t previously noticed this scourge, but apparently restaurants across the nation have been overrun by parents. Even worse, these parents, many of whom would have you believe are responsible and upstanding members of society, have been thoughtlessly taking their children along with them.
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Nothing gets foodies more excited than the discovery of a new food, for example the cheese-and-bacon-stuffed pizza burger, except perhaps a jolly good debate about whether restaurant critics should be anonymous.
Just before Christmas, LA Times critic, S Irene Virbila, was outed after 15 years of relative visual obscurity as she waited outside a new Asian restaurant.
The restaurant’s owners fronted Virbila after she’d been left waiting for 45 minutes, photographed her without her permission, refused to serve her and then posted the photo online. It was obnoxious behaviour regardless of who was involved.
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The gourmet burger is now mainstream.
Even Hungry Jacks has its own salt and fat packed version dragging down the reputation of Angus beef.
It’s the latest trend in food, knowing the provenance of your ingredients - with Maccas being the first mainstream brand to name Angus beef as a selling point back in August.
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“That is one seriously crazy toilet,’’ my boyfriend explained after returning from the lavatories in one of Sydney’s swankiest restaurants.
It wasn’t the nicest topic to discuss over our yellowfin tuna and pork belly mains but it got my attention. Curious to know what he meant by ``crazy toilet’’ and whether it had multiple personality disorder, unsure if it was a toilet or bidet, I flung down the cutlery and headed for the ladies.
My mind was racing with ideas on how fascinating this trip to the loos was about to be. Maybe it was unisex, maybe there was an attendant waiting for me with facecloth and a spritz of perfume. But nothing braced me for what I was about to see.
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Restaurant award season is finally over. But I’m wondering if anybody really cares outside those who won gongs from the Sydney Morning Good Food Guide this week, The Age version last week and Gourmet Traveller the week before.
Certainly, there has barely been a blip in the blogger or Twitter sphere.
Once again, the old-media appointed arbiters of taste have taken one for the team by eating the finest foods known to Aussies with the usual predictable conclusions: plenty of excellent but very very expensive restaurants in Sydney; only two of these in Melbourne plus lots of very good moderately priced restaurants; not much else in Australia. Forget Tasmania.
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It’s a fairly common experience for the beer drinker. Visiting a nice restaurant and being handed an impressive leather-bound volume with “beverage list” in gold lettering outlining a vast selection of wines from Australia and around the world.
Champagnes costing up to and over $700-a-bottle headlining a studied offering of dozens of styles and varietals with the cheapest – or should that be least expensive – hovering above the $40 mark. Then there follows an array of dessert wines, ports, fortifieds and other dauntingly-named types of grape juice provided for the discerning diner’s post-prandial enjoyment.
But if you want a beer it’s nowhere to be seen in the beverage list.
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