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Fuck me, it’s been a while.

So, I could address you all as “faithful readers,” ” my dear company” or “wonderful people, ” but you and I all know that I would never be kind enough to call anyone that in writing.

Same goes for an apology of absence, assuming I believe there is anything to apologise for to begin with.  Nej, dear, wonderful reading company, I do not apologise.  I have been, for the last seven weeks, part of the mechanical monster which I affectionately refer to as The Double Chin.  For those of you who have not yet caught on, it is Chin Chin and it’s Thai (but the qualification of our cuisine at The Double Chin is possibly a post for another time).

For a clean slate, amnesty and perhaps a snapshot of what the hell has been going on in the last 2 months, I’ll give you a somewhat-chronological pictorial.  Many of these places are oldies and goodies and I have written about them before, so think of this as a “greatest hits” (though, I hate saying hits, as we all know what that is an anagram of):

At some stage, I was invited to the Lavazza dinner at The Point when Scott Pickett still worked there before directing all his energies into his new baby The Estelle.  This coffee-cured salmon was an appropriated idea inspired by Ryan Clift after one of the collaborative SED dinners.  This dinner was so long ago, all I remember after being caffeine-spiked in every course and cocktail that I returned home shaking like a motherfucker and drinking whiskey neat till I fell asleep.  It was also this point where I realised that I was a pansy.

Also, if you haven’t been to The Estelle, check it out before it becomes a bit of a flavour of the month.  But hey, I can’t really say much more on it due to circles and nepotism so just read Ed’s take on it in the link.

It became a little bit of a mission to eat and drink as much as possible before The Double Chin opened. This was a charcuterie from The Provincial.  Tasty as the food was, I couldn’t help but think that the parfait looked like a Japanese anime turd.  Since, I have been back to The Provincial a few times for ridiculous amounts of wine and to watch my hungry friends eat meat on a Monday night.

Then, there was THAT salad from Union Dining, which is the loosest sense of a salad- smoked ham hock, cornichons and fregola with a soft poached egg.

And I have been living off sandwiches.  This is the rare roast beef baguette from Waffle On near the subway entrance at Degraves St.  Basically, Marco remembers me from the day he opened about 9 years ago when I would walk from my bus stop on Lonsdale St, down to Degraves and have my morning espresso made by his then-barista Laura while in school uniform with my Nikon F2 around my neck.  He started peddaling waffles, which have grown to become THE waffles to have in Melbourne and I would befriend his doe-eyed waffle-boy talking about all things music.  Then, I graduated and never returned.

I heard about his baguettes a few years ago but seeing as I needed a quick lunch with my BEST FRIEND PHIL who has just come back from Austria, we hit up his stand.

All baguettes are the same price, he makes the bread himself and all the fillings as well.  The rare roast beef indeed has the rarest of beefs, literal spoonfuls of dijon mustard, whole cornichons thrown through the length of the baguette with salad leaves and tomato.  I don’t know if he is subbing his tomato due to the change of season, but I am happy to go back to see.  For a hole-in-the-wall space, there is a reason why there are lines pretty much all day outside of his shop.

I have also noticed that when you eat with men, you start to eat like a man.  The suckling pig with corn puree from Pandora’s Box almost gave me a pork-over.  But Pandora’s is also one of the few places that I cross the river for.  I just feel sorry for Lok as he looks confused every time I turn up as he knows my face, but not my hair.  The fact that I’m rocking the natural hair colour with symmetry these days is really throwing him off.

It’s the little things that make me laugh.

This brings me to cake.  I am reminded of Dylan Moran’s description of the French whenever I see this cake:

“When the world is going to end the French don’t go to war, protect their property or try and fight the inevitable, they accept the world is going to end that they eat some fucking niiiiiice cake.”

From Le Petite Gateaux, and made by the Frenchman Pierrick Boyer, this was brought to my friend’s cafe at the end of the day after we had thrown back a few shots, a few glasses of wine and decided to crack into the cake like this.  It was pretty fucking amazing and also defeated the 5 of us.

I’m pretty sure his kitchen staff had fun opening in the morning.

Of course, the trusty gin martini with olives at Gerald’s Bar.  I know this is technically not a food, but when you have been working doubles and haven’t eaten all day, you thank god for the olives in your martini as you realise they are the only sustenance you will get for the next 12 hours ahead of you as well.

That is unless you do have the night off and order the fried whitebait and school prawns because, well, who can’t go past a plate of fried miniature shit from the ocean?

There is of course, that race against time where you pray that you knock off earlier than the closing of The European because as much as you love the food at your own work, there is only so much Thai food you can eat over the course of two months.  The staff here know me and several other faces from The Double Chin.  As they order toasted sandwiches, pasta dishes, pork and cheese croquettes, sausage rolls and cheese I decide to get my unethical side on and eat some baby cow lathered in emulsified tuna.  Rock on.  Dare I say this rivals my staple vitello tonnato at The Gerturde Street Enoteca?

Speaking of which, I have been frequenting on my days off drinking bottles of this with Mat.  This was probably just before the big mother-fucker annoyance of Channel Ten rammed itself into all the orifices it shouldn’t be ramming itself into.  See, he has a girlfriend named Jess who is not I- she is Italian.  Being on twitter and also a food blogger, dumbass media fucktards assumed that I was his girlfriend and emailed me or phoned me at work asking about the “exit.”

My response was, “Sorry, you have the wrong flavour of Jess, please proceed to the other side of the foodcourt.”

Well, that was that.  The purpose of this photo was to caption it with, “Drink what a Masterchef drinks.”

Yes, it was funny at the time, but I believe we were also several beers and negronis down.

And now, onto the Huxtable love.  My usual trio of oysters washed down with something containing gin.  In this case, a Plymouth gin and tonic with a wedge of orange.


I’m sure this was a special of foie gras parfait, but the goth and I were way too many drinks down to remember.  I believe I tweeted this saying I was having a foie-pop.


Oh, shit…how did this get in there?

No points for guessing the location.

For some reason, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to rock a martini with a twist.

This is at Cumulus, my honorary knock-off bar which is booze-monkey’s crawling distance from work.  Yes, to all the Cumulus crew, I apologise for my continued presence.

And along came the this chicken sandwich from Pope Joan which is called The Cornish.  No wonder Matt Wilkinson won the title of bestest sandwich man around.  I know that EARL like to say their sandwiches are a little like last night’s awesome leftovers in a sandwich, but this definitely fits that description- roast chicken, stuffing and jalepenos.  Boom-fucking-chow, it definitely rivals the others around.

The warm-in-foil thing also gives me a little sense of playground-nostalgia, not that I ever ate a chicken sandwich while I was in primary school or played in the playground, but this is what I imagine all those kids who spent their time throwing rocks at me because I was Asian were doing.

How could I not put this amazing highlight of my bi-month (yeah, it’s a word now) here.  During the time of the volcanic ash-cloud, my friend’s boyfriend was trapped in Brisbane and she used that time to watch as much trash and eat as many nachos as she could.  She stumbled upon Gwyneth in Country Strong where she is this disgusting, melodramatic country singer who is pretty much a failed, hussy version of Faith Hill.

After she gave me a massage and we consumed nachos, she skipped to all the overemotional parts of the movie and we were on the floor crying with laughter.  I mean, who doesn’t love the screwed up face of Gwyneth blown up on screen next to the American flag?

Solid gold.

What would have made this perfect would have been if my friend cooked some bullshit out of Gwyneth’s edited version of a Mario Batali book where she claims it is for and about her family.  Yes, I said it.

In the case of insomnia, I find myself unslept and charged as a motherfucker at the Slow Food Market, annoying the hell out of EssJay.  After a trip to the Burch and Purchese studio where I bought a few cakes for some peeps, she dropped me off at home.  I am guessing she is very grateful that I didn’t discover that my dried pear from the Happy Fruit guys looked like this while I was in her car, otherwise it would have been at 10am squeal of, “OH MY GOD, MY FRUIT LOOKS LIKE VAGINE, AWESOME, CAN I TWEET IT?!??!!?!”

Yes, sometimes, even without coffee I can be that annoying.

To be fair, that day at the market, I saw a dog in a baby sack on some guy’s chest (and claimed he was doing that because he couldn’t make his own people) and a child on a leash within 20 seconds of each other and started chanting, “The world is upside down,” for about 3 minutes.

Delerium, I think so.

For more civilised action, please refer to the above image.  This is one of the courses as part of the Truffle Dinner as part of the Fringe Food Festival.  The first dinner and was hosted by the aforementioned EssJay and the food was done by Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan.  The second was on Bastille Day and hosted by Ed Charles and Scott Pickett was the food man (quite fitting as he uses truffle like he does butter when he has it available).

When I say civilised, I don’t actually mean it.  I sat next to Rory Kent and EssJay and @Missjacksoncafe suggested negronis.  St Ali didn’t have the booze, so Rory made two trips to the Vintage Cellars and had me mixing jugs of negroni.  Thank god they had ice.

The next morning’s twitter stream read as:


@thatjessho: OUCH negroni OUCH

@missjacksoncafe: ouch, off to have breakfast at the cafe.

And so on.

I should let you know as well, the dish above was a comparison of all the truffles from the pop-up truffle store from next door to St Ali, Madame Truffles . From left to right, we have WA, NSW and TAS truffles.  After the comparitive tasting, it may have been the negronis, but smells can be deceptive.  Despite being in love with the aroma of the NSW, @missjacksoncafe, Rory and I unanimously decided we liked Tassie truffles the most in the line up.

And for some food porn, this was the cheese course served at the dinner in preparation.  This is a Brie de meaux with WA truffle shaved into the cross section.  The top was put back on and left to infuse for a week before they let assholes like me eat it.

Unable to consume solids, I opted for a bowl of borscht at Provenance which was more of beetroot consomme which left me thinking I was dying for about three seconds the next day.  It was the bill-book which made my day:

How is this not Super Mario Brothers if it were a fishing game?

You’re welcome.

And back at Cumulus a few days later, I’m eating my first meal of the day just before 11pm with some late-night reading on beef from the Epicure.

Some fucking tasty sweetbreads, which was their special for the day.

Oh, and they crafted me an Asian orange, too.

At some stage, I hit up Mister Close when I had the day-time off and had some chicken dish. This was their Spanish rendition and my friend had the African.

Without sounding like an smart-assed dick, I tried to ask, “What makes your chicken African or Spanish?” to their waitstaff and it seemed to have stumped them.  I acknowledge that this is a new venture, but from someone who loves salt so much to claim that they would salt a salt lick, this was salty.  It also said it came with mash, which my friend wanted to steal, but I didn’t care (as you can see, it’s cous cous).

I’d totally hit up their sandwiches and salads, but this dish has scared me off their hot food for a while.

But I always like to end on a high note, so here is the most kickass delivery ever.  Not only does Dave of Provenance let me use his cafe as a personal delivery space for foodstuffs (THANKS DAVE), but they kept my box of Bruny Island Cheese in the fridge while I was at work.  This is part of their Cheese Club offer where they send a box out eight times a year where the cheeses are ripe, are in season and is ridiculously good value.  This box contains the Big Old Tom, 1792 (which is stinky as fuck and I can’t wait to eat), Odo, Mark and an apple, pear and almond paste.

There are two months worth of eats, I fit in Golden Fields somewhere but the images are gone due to my computer dying in the ass and loosing all of my data.

My life’s pretty boring when I edit it to a PG13 audience, isn’t it?


It seems that MONA is a massive tourist attraction now, being essentially, the tax-write off of professional gambler and (as it appears) art-lover David Walsh.

The museum is pretty banging and if I were still at uni, I probably would have deferred for a year, packed my bags and begged someone at MONA for a job, just so I could be surrounded by the art.  There were a few reactions from twitter when I went, ranging from “There are too many vaginas,” (one work is 150 casts of cunts, titled, appropriately as “Cunt”) to “It’s fucking amazing, go both days if you can.”  As you can gather, a lot of the art is not PG13, but if you’re art-inclined, I doubt you would be censoring your child.  The library opened the day I arrived, which was…nostalgic.  It made me feel like I was in “my” section of the library at Melbourne Uni all over again…except they don’t leave post-it notes in their books with annotations.

Twitter also told me a number of places to go, and seeing as there was more walking than eating, Garagistes is the one that I properly documented…even if it is only with my camera phone.

After returning from MONA, I walked the streets trying to find Garagistes.  It was a damn ghost-town…well, until I got into Garagistes. That is where everyone was, lining up as there are no bookings (unless you’re doing Sunday lunch).

I’ll admit, I liked it immediately, maybe because the room was very Melbourne, whatever the hell that means.  You know, communal tables, distressed, industrial walls, open kitchen adjoined to a bar that you can also perch at…the Melbourne-dining-formula.

Here, check out their dining philosophy…I was almost at home.

Oh, and half the room was from Melbourne.  Go figure.

Oh, and Luke Burgess forages.  I was definitely not out of my comfort zone of eating.

That being said, I also did what I always do in Melbourne at a restaurant of this nature and said to the staff, “Just bring out food until we give in and wave a white flag.”

Fuck menus, menus cramp my style.

Here’s your token image of kickass bread with an awesome crust with a slap of butter.  When it arrived at the table, the butter was actually almost white, I had to alter the image so it didn’t look like we were lathering mayo onto our bread.  I’ll tell you this, I love butter. This butter was incredibly fresh and light and didn’t leave a thick coating of fat in my mouth after I ate it.

Saltfish fritters with meyer lemon mayonnaise is pretty much a no-brainer of awesome.  These were lighter than I thought they would be, and the sweetness from the meyer lemons in the mayo was surprisingly noticeable.  With six portions between two, we were in for a massive dinner.

Here’s your gratuitous gut-shot.  And yes, I don’t play the piano anymore, but I still cut my nails as if I should be.

Oh, look, another rendition of a steamed pork bun.  It seems in Melbourne, there are quite a few of these floating around: the Rainbow Hotel, Cutler & Co, The Deanery, and of course all the other ones who seem to like the idea of Chang.  I wonder how many of these are in TAS?

Garagistes simply calls this the steamed bun, pickles + plum sauce. The pork is saltier and smokier than any other interpretation I have had, despite the strip of fat running through the ham (yep, it ain’t slow-cooked pork belly) and has a lot more piquancy from the pickled radishes, which also had a hit of ginger in the pickling which gave the bun some heat and sweetness as well (rather than a slather of hoisin sauce or chilli vinegar).  The bun itself was warm, but the fillings were cold, a welcome change.

This is the stage where my dining companion insisted that I take a photo of the cider we were drinking.  The gist of what he said was, why the fuck don’t you ever blog what you drink?  People are interested in that, too!

Yeah, fine…whatever.  Enjoy that.

Forget my reluctance for a moment and I’ll admit that it was a pretty damn fine cider.  Cut to a sentence or two on how the wine/drinks list is very cleverly constructed which reflects their young, vibrant and educated attitudes towards dining (while being far removed from stuffiness).

Blow-torched frigate mackerel crostini + preserved lemon emulsion. Fuck yes.  I have a slight-massive love for oily fish such as mackerel, and the fish is served at room temperature after it has been blow-torched, next to the crunch of the radish and the lift from the preserved lemon emulsion.  I could have easily eaten the whole plate of these on my own and been happy to call it a day.

Just because I like you, here is a close-up of the dish…and their awesome, awesome crockery.  Can someone say Cedar?

I like to just think of this as the Radish Collective with an embarrassing amount of almond butter which I managed to scrape off the whole plate.  Simply put, without any connotations from my fatty inclinations, it is heirloom radishes + turnips, marcona almond butter + caraway salt.

I love this type of shit.  Give me some raw vegetables which you have ripped out of the ground, mask their healthiness with a healthy slab of fat and add some flavour with spice and oil.  Bam.

Oh, and this dish made me remember how much heat is in a black radish.  Bring it.

Striped trumpeter sashimi, elderflower milk, celery salt, autumn leaves. This dish was almost masked by all the flavours from the radish dish, but once the flavours settled, the delicate notes of this dish came through.  The elderflower milk made this dish for me.  As far as I know, there are a buttload of elderflowers in TAS, so enjoy eating flora from the side of the street.  I know I did.

This is my kind of a dish, even if the carrots have been arranged like they are in most finer-dining establishments where they are trying to create a fortess of impenetrability.  Every time I see vegetables like this, I just think about beating up vegans.  In all seriousness, though, the braised carrots, chestnut cream, young garlic, toasted grains + seeds was one of my most loved dishes of the night.  It’s a kind of no-bullshit, no-brainer combination of flavours presented in a carefully considered way where they sneak amaranth into the diet of the most bogan of customers.  Badass is the word I’m looking for, because if any man tried to serve this to their mate, they’d probably get a kick in the johnny-johnnies, but there were quite a few “blokes” eating the shit out of this dish.

And finally, the dish we were unable to finish, because, really, we ate a fuckload.  Poached calamari, lamb sweetbreads, glazed turnips, lemon puree, wild olives, maybe my palate was fatigued at this stage, but this dish was a bit confusing for me.  Everything was perfectly cooked, but having such giant contrasts between the sweetness of the turnips and lemon puree against the olives with the proteins seemed a little disconnected from all the other dishes we had.  I’m going to give this dish the benefit of the doubt and say it would have made more sense a lot earlier in our meal, because the confusion didn’t stop me from eating it.

This is the kind of restaurant that delivers food that makes you think about it a long time after you leave.  Aside from the well-constructed space, perfect service, detail in both the food and drink menus and consideration of provenances of ingredients, the flavours, textures and combinations have me wanting to go back there.  It also doesn’t hurt when they tweet you after your meal.

I guess this is clever without all that pretentious wank…and kind of like MONA, I wish it were in Melbourne.


103 Murray St
Hobart, TAS

(03) 6231 0558

Gami Chicken- when you don’t order chicken

Gami chicken has become the holy grail of beer and chicken over the last year.  Serving Korean food alongside their half and full chickens, a friend of mine and I decided to take up the challenge before we both realised that we didn’t actually feel like KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).

The surprising thing here is that you will see tables of two eat a whole fried chicken with side dishes and walk out comfortably.  They will more often than not also be Asian.  Don’t gawk…it’s normal (in some circles).

The other menu items at Gami are classed as “Light Meals” and “Snacks.”  Let me tell you now, they are definitely meals in themselves.

This was a “Light Meal,” the chicken gizzards with vegetables and garlic. I love chicken gizzards and they were perfectly cooked with a mild level of spiciness and sweetness from the cooked garlic.  The heavy handed douse of sesame oil over the top made this dish a little greasy, but it is intended to be eaten with rice so I understand where that came from.  Unfortunately, as it comes to the table on a sizzling plate, if it isn’t wolfed down as soon as it hits the table, the gizzards become as chewy as rubber bands as they continue to cook.

We also got the seafood and spring onion pancake, which is considered a snack (in what fucking world?!?!?).  This also came in the sizzling plate, which was great to begin with as it continued to crisp up the edges of the “snack” and coax out the sweetness of the spring onions rather than leaving them with a raw heat in your mouth without overcooking the seafood (which was so sparse we almost didn’t notice it in there).

However, with the mass amounts of food and the jugs of Gami beer we ordered (I mean beer and fried chicken, how could one go wrong?) the food wasn’t inhaled in usual Asian-eating styles.  This means that everything becomes a little greasy as it starts to cool down and you find yourself picking the vegetables out of everything.

Oh, and for the love of god, don’t listen to the charming, teenage waiter when he cheekily insists on you ordering

corn and cheese. Unless there are more than three of you, the novelty will wear off after a while.  I love corn and I love cheese, and as a dirty, beer-driven snack-food to accompany KFC it is amazing, until you get really full after a couple of bites and

it COAGULATES into a rubbery mass of cold cheese (which I actually have a slight affection for because I am in the cold pizza camp) acting as plaster in the house of corn.  The water from the corn would have leeched out under the blanket of cheese, back into the hot plate that it arrived in with the cheese jizz, leaving some kind of sweet, milky nightmare which I can only compare to watered down condensed milk.

And if the above image has influenced you into not ordering corn and cheese, may your arteries thank me as I have just saved your life.

You’re welcome.

*DISCLAIMER: their chicken is actually awesome, but I am sure you have read about it everywhere else.

GAMI Chicken

100 Lt Lonsdale St

(03) 9671 3232

Releasing your inner bogan

Sometimes sitting by the beach while it’s raining, in a car with two of my favourite people eating absolute trash is amazing.  I love eating dirty food with absolutely no nutritional value as much as the next person despite what this blog documents.

On the long-motherfucking Easter weekend, we went to Rye and the local convenience store sold their “Famous chips and gravy.”  What that meant, I didn’t know, until they insisted on purchasing it to kill time between activities.

I discovered that it was code for chips coated in the most wonderful amount of chicken salt and the thickest concoction of gravox.  So many levels of salt for three people.

This definitely repeats on you after you have a few, but that’s the point, isn’t it?  This is some kind of surfer’s fuel or a white-trash lunch from what I observed.

I’m glad I experienced it, but I wouldn’t do it again.

9 reasons why you take Chinese parents to a Chinese restaurant

I dread eating with my family.  No, I dread eating with my parents.  For some reason, they view dining out like my educational pursuits: not good enough.  There are a simple set of behaviours which are guaranteed to come out every time we eat out together, no matter the situation or who we’re with.  I find that my sister and her husband sit in their car, hiding until the last possible minute before they emerge for the “experience,” or, until they receive an SOS message from me.

That actually happened and they came running from the car park.  I feel loved when people run for me.  Thanks Cin, you’re a doll.

So, I bring to you what every first generation Chinese kid has to deal with just in case you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to eat with Chinese parents.  Please, don’t let this deter you from dating, befriending or joining a band with a Chinese kid, sometimes it is just hard enough having Chinese parents when you don’t have friends to make fun of your misfortunes.  Unless you are particularly blessed and have Chinese parents who are…well…how do I put this…not cheap racists, here are the reasons why you only take Chinese parents to Chinese restaurants.  Conversation and survival tactics during dinner are far too unique to each individual and their coping mechanisms for me to even begin writing a guide on.  Let me just say, earplugs, a few shots before dinner and the removal of the shame gland all work a treat for me.

1- Pasta is not a noodle
This is something you have to keep repeating to your parents if you ever take them to an Italian restaurant.  They will almost always order pasta as it is the least threatening item on the menu as it has some familiar semblances to noodles.  However, I can almost guarantee that conversation will go a little like this:

Chinese Parent (CP): Why are my noodles chewy?  They’re hard or something.
First Generation Chinese Kid (1GCK): It’s supposed to be like that
CP: What?  Uncooked?  Why don’t they cook their noodles?
1GCK: Oh, it’s al dente, it means “to the tooth”
CP: I don’t care, if they’re noodles, they’re meant to be cooked for at least five minutes longer
1GCK: But they’re not noodles, not the noodles you’re used to
CP: How do you know what al dente means anyway? You don’t speak Italian.  Next time we should go eat good Chinese food.
1GCH: *facepalm*

2- Free shit doesn’t have to be eaten, beware bread on the table
I don’t want to sound like a racist bitch, but Chinese parents (at least mine) are creatures of the cheap.  There is this “peng you leng” mentality that they have where they try to squeeze value out of everything.
Seriously, everything.
If there is something on the table that is edible, you better damn well eat it.  Hence, if you do decide to brave a restaurant that brings bread to the table, make sure that you and everyone on the table is fucking starving.  Tell them that you can’t do bread if you would like to avoid this conversation at the table:

CP: My bread is hard
1GCK: It’s crust.  I know you’re used to Chinese bakeries where all bread is sweet and there is no crust, but it’s just different
CP: It’s hard and sour.  What are these, seeds?  I’m not a bird.  What is this, bird food?
1GCK: Seeded sourdough.  Try it?
CP: They’re just trying to rip us off and give us less food by filling us up with bread at the beginning.  I mean, what am I meant to do, make a sandwich?  Why am I paying to make my own sandwich?
1GCK: You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to
CP: I bet they have charged us for bread.  Look, I’m going to eat it just because I’m meant to, I don’t want to look like an idiot.
CP will now progress to eat all the bread that is available and complain if you don’t eat your bread, meanwhile, complaining about the bread while they are eating it.
1GCK will become very familiar with the act of facepalming.

3- A steak on the plate is a stake in the heart
Don’t order steak in front of a Chinese parent, seriously, don’t.  Don’t even take them to a place where they can order steak because if you have any care for meat at all, the provenance of ingredients or tastebuds, this will make you cry.  Firstly, they will insist on you ordering the steak to their preference of done-ness which will always be a level over well-done: shoe, because they will inevitably either want some of your food, or tell you about all the health implications of not having completely cooked meat.  The only way to get them to shut the fuck up is complying.
Furthermore, if you’re at a restaurant that specialises in steak, please, for the love of fuck, don’t let them see the prices.  This will result in a lot of moaning, talk of discount meat, a round and round argument about ethically raised animals, questions as to why you have to pay for sides and a lot of justification.  If they can speak English fluently (or even, not fluently) they will complain in English…loudly.  The thing about being Asian is, our volume controls are all broken…probably because we were all beaten as kids or something.

4- A Chinese parent will even complain about Asian food
Only take Chinese parents to a Chinese restaurant because judging from my parent’s complains (which are of course, universal) this is what happens:

Thai- They put all these different flavours in food cos their meat if off and they’re trying to hide it
Vietnamese- Why do I need so many herbs in my food?  It’s weird.  I hate it.  Broken rice?  It’s just rice that broke and they’re being cheap.
Korean- Why is it sweet and hot?  They’re giving us white people food.
Japanese- Their food is all cold.  I want a hot meal and this is overpriced.
Malaysian- Too much gravy (seriously, I don’t even understand this one)
Singaporean- Asian for beginners

You get the idea.

5- Fine dining, are you kidding?
Where do I start with this? If your Chinese parents aren’t made of money and own more businesses than they do investment properties, you are looking to start an argument, have a thankless dinner or want to kill yourself by the end of the evening.  This section of our lesson touches on several aforementioned issues: portion sizes, unfamiliar textures and treatments, the question of value, ethical treatment of animals, delivery of food in a manner that isn’t seen as clever (see also: unappreciated)…etc.

You know what I’m saying.  In this case, even if you are reaching for the bill, you’re still going to have your balls cut off or receive a kick in the cunt.  As much as I’d love to give you situational conversation, even I think it is too harsh for this blog.  Reimagining will only seem to squash my already low self esteem and lead me to starve myself for a few years or have me ripping off my own skin with the aid of a spoon to mask the pain of parental conversation.

6- You drink?  Not tonight
I am in a unique case where my parent’s aren’t just Chinese, they’re Christian Baptists that can’t hold their liquor.  Even though it has taken them 23 years to come to terms with the fact that I drink, if I finish one beer in front of them, they think I have a problem.  Unless the Chinese parent you are dining with is a drinker, don’t go there.  Don’t do anything they wouldn’t do.  If you drink in front of them and are not Asian yourself, they will automatically assume that you’re an alcoholic, drug dealing pimp who watches too much porn.

This is a scene from my sister’s birthday a few years back at Movida:
CP: Jess, it’s ok if you want a beer, you can order one
1GCK: Really? [All the while, thinking…is this a trick?]
CP: Yeah
[Little did I know that my brother-in-law was paying]
1GCK: Sure, I’ll get a beer

[Throughout the night, I drink 6 beers.]
One week later, my parent’s church friends see me in the street and tell me how my parents tell them that I have a drinking problem.  Sorry, folks, we live in Australia where our only culture is in the booze we consume.  In some circles, I am considered light.

7- Tapas is not food, apparently
Again, portion sizes, legumes which are not in a herbal soup and other complaints.  This, I do not understand, especially because there is a lack of translation from where Chinese parents are happy to do yum cha and have a few pieces here and there which they share, but tapas is a no-no.  Here is when I get into skeptical racist/double-standard territory because no sense can be made from here.  There is definitely a sense of trepidation if I ever am high enough to think my parents would enjoy small dishes of foreign food for dinner, but you think at lunch, it would be acceptable.


Yeah, I don’t get it either.  The beauty of this is that if the Chinese parents in question like you enough, they won’t insult you to your face, they will instead call you an idiot to everyone else behind your back, especially the people you know.

8- Don’t ever order salad or a vegetarian dish
Do I really have to elaborate on this one?  This is more a question of respect and a measurement of dicks.  Look, I don’t even have a dick and people look at me like a castrato if I suggest getting a vegetarian dish or a salad to go with the meal.  Apparently, fibre, freshness, crunch, a variation of temperature and texture to the rest of the meal is for pussies.  Requiring relief or a point of difference is for chumps.  Even if it is laced in some kind of animal fat, unless their flesh is swimming around in whatever you have ordered, expect to be putting shame upon dynasties, or receive dynasties worth of shame.

Who do you think you are?

9- So you’ve made it to the Chinese restaurant, this is only the beginning
Oh, honey, this is only the beginning of the battle.  Let me tell you now, relinquishing all power is the first step to a successful dinner, or at least one where you leave with your temper in tact.  Understand that when dining with a Chinese parent, you must be completely zen.  Everyone has a temper, it is just about understanding when to use it.
So, what does this mean, exactly?
Don’t reach for the menu.
You are not allowed to have a preference or opinion.  You must realise that upon picking the restaurant, the Chinese parent has probably already called the restaurant and quizzed them on their menu, asked all their friends if they have eaten there before or looked them up online.  They already know what they’re going to order a week before you eat together.  Leave your preconceptions at the door about all foods, because you’re going to eat it banquet style, and you’re going to like it.  Don’t get squeamish if they put food in your bowl with their chopsticks after they have just eaten with them, they have probably done much worse behind your back.  Trust me, even at this they won’t be pleased.  They will complain about the food and how much better they can make it when you leave or reiterate how terrible the service was.  Never mind that they ordered food that was out of season or were told they were out of specific ingredients so the dish would have to be altered.  Did you ever wonder why Chinese kids are so thin, calories are being burnt off by repressing arguments.

The latest example of this was for my sister’s birthday.  My parent’s picked the restaurant which my sister doesn’t rate and the meal was ordered before we got there.  Getting out of the restaurant and home was the most difficult part of the evening.

Hell, my brother-in-law said he liked a tofu dish when he was still in primary school, and everyone we know orders it “just for him” even to this day even though he really doesn’t think too highly of tofu.  May I mention that he is also 30?

And finally,

You’re picking up the bill

Good luck, bitches.  And remember, you have to eat a lot and not get fat, otherwise you’re in for a world of hell.

The Private Dinner by Casey Wall

I received an email a week ago from my friend Pham and I’m going to copy and paste it here for you because who can resist lifting copy?  I’m not a journalist, so I’ll let myself be lazy.

“Some people like delicious food, exorbitant prices and the company of obnoxious strangers.
Other would much prefer the experience at a fraction of the price amongst good friends…
And so here’s the deal…

Instead of working a 15-hour day, gutting fifty fish and doing dinner service for 110 covers in one night under the menu of an executive chef; a day off work affords some rest, creative freedom and for you to enjoy the fruits (vegetables and fine cuts of meat) of their imagination.

Before returning to the states for a few months, next Monday April 18th, chef Casey Wall (Cutler&Co, Spotted Pig and Le Cirque, NY, Chez Panisse in Berkeley) will flex his creative muscles in the kitchen and bring you a 5-course private dinner at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue. BYO wine, cost is $60/head, and service begins around 7.30, concluding at 10.30.

Photos from the last event to wet your appetite.

Please let me know if you’re interested and I will organise payment prior to the evening.

Muchos gracias,

The 18th was also my birthday, and with most of my friends away for the Easter break or having their Passover dinner, I thought, “Why the fuck not?” It was pretty fucking awesome, with kids from Cutler & Co, Attica and Ladro helping with it all, everything ran smoothly and we all managed to get a little bit plastered at the end.

Naturally, I started drinking pretty early so the night is a blur for me.  I’ll spare you the commentary for the majority of the photos and you can assume what you will from it all.

Shots by Pham, I was too drunk to have a steady hand.

Casey Wall shucking oysters

They got no spines

An introduction from our host Manu

Our amuse bouche of kimchi oyster.

Do you really need a caption for this?

Definitely not a day off

He's not with us. He just wanted our cash monies.

A very clean salad of celery, radish and white anchovies.

Farro, bitches

A fucking delicious, umami-filled farro, mushroom, butter soup with a poached egg

How delicious?

This delicious

Some tongue for you, kids.



A no-brainer combination of chargrilled tongue, herb salad (or as my mate’s mother would call it, green shit), mustard sauce and dill pickles. I fucking loved it.  My mate and I may have snagged another piece of tongue by sitting opposite a vegetarian.  Happy fucking birthday to me.

About to be nommed

Braised lamb neck, sheeps milk labne, fennel pollen, preserved lemon and cumin carrots. I may or may not have said, “This is fucking lovely,” and been crowned the chief swearer of the evening.  With all that drinking, I was pretty full by this stage and regretfully passed on half of my dish to my mate.  He no make the complaining.  He may have also have eaten the vegetarian’s lamb as well.

The Rumbaba, or rather, the epic Rumbaba.  Casey came out and sheepishly said, “We are no pastry chefs,” and gave out a small laugh.  Tasty as it was, the rum sauce is what fuelled the alcoholics on the table to want to eat it all.

I didn’t get very far, but Pham stuck a candle in mine and got everyone to sing.  It was all very sweet and drunken.

Get yourself an invite to one of these dinners if you can, they’re a fucking laugh and a half seeing as you’re dining intimately with a bunch of strangers who somehow fit through someone else you know on the table.  Experiments, passion, warmth and a humbling attitude passed on by industry professionals is what you will experience when you come to one of these…oh, and some pretty solid food.

Goodnight, lovers.

The Taco Truck

You may have already experienced the Taco Truck hitting Melbourne, I heard flutterings of its conception and presentation at the Roy Choi dinner and had a raised eyebrow of skepticism towards it.

Unfortunately, the experience only confirmed a few annoyances that I had with the concept, but it’s up to each individual’s experience.  At risk of sounding like an asshole, I’m marred by the kickass tacos from my Californian friend , the Roy Choi dinner and the Taco Brothers at The Tote.

Being the child of Raph of Beatbox Kitchen fame, I was expecting to eat my words.  As with Beatbox Kitchen, the Taco Truck (aptly named, I may add) runs under the same concept.  They roll around town and you find them through their facebook or Twitter.  So far, they have hit Easey St in Collingwood and Rathdowne Park (with Beatbox Kitchen on Friday nights).  I adore the Beatbox Kitchen burgers, though I have to say the ones coming from the permanent stall set up at Rooftop is my preferred burger, having its ass half-wrapped in foil to steam the bun and catch the burger-jizz, so I assumed there was the same care injected into the tacos.  The process is much like Beatbox Kitchen: you line up, you wait, you pay, you receive a ticket, you wait and pick up your orders after about 10-15 minutes when they call your number.

The deal is, each taco, no matter the filling, is $6. The day I went, there was a massive queue for Beatbox kitchen and only a handful of takers for tacos.  It may have been as they didn’t have beef tacos, but what they did have on offer was mushroom and fish.  Above is the mushroom taco with ricotta, salsa and shredded cabbage- the red slosh of hot sauce is my own addition.  The tortillas are corn based and are from the people who supply Mamasita and the Taco Brothers.  The mushroom is actually a couple of thick slices of field mushroom which have been thrown on the grill.  The whole taco itself was a little bland, and the crunch of dirt from the mushroom turned me off the whole thing altogether.  Now, I understand that a lot of people mistake delicate for bland, but in this case, with all that action, you don’t expect the taco to be delicate.  Plus, who has ever had a delicate taco?

My partner in crime is allergic to mushrooms, so her input on this taco is quite limited.

The fish tacos were much more promising, being fried in a tempura-esque batter which was crisp, non-greasy and very light, lathered in a lime mayo and served with cabbage and coriander.  I think these are probably the only tacos that aren’t gluten free on their roster, but it’s best to check when you order.  The taco itself definitely benefit from the hot sauce and a step up from the mushroom tacos. Unfortunately, something still felt like it was missing.  I do believe they are now running more options of chicken and potato tacos, and seeing as I went on their second night running, things could have changed for the better.

As with my gripes on the concept, Melbourne is completely romanticising and cashing up on cheap street food, and to be fair, paying $6 for a taco does not seem like value for money.  In the US, you’d be paying something like $3 for the same thing (talking the double serve), with more variety and, well, balls. Count yourself lucky today, as I’m too tired to rant and this may seem like a bit of a cop out, but let me say, if I see a van rolling around selling $15 noodle soups, congee and steamed rice noodle rolls (though the high-end noodle, dumpling and rice paper roll concept has been driven by Miss Chu, which is why I’m not too keen to try it, even if they do have overheads), I might just have to leave a little word vomit on a page.

Gerald’s Bar- with love

This is the place that everyone knows about, but no one gives up the information.  People want to keep it their secret, or at least keep the chatter around it quiet enough that they can find themselves a seat at the bar on the spontaneous occasion where someone in the party says, “Let’s go to Gerald’s.”

The thing about Gerald’s is that it is almost always spontaneous unless you don’t plan on drinking too much.

I first went to Gerald’s a few years ago after a very long night turned into a day, an afternoon and another night and I left with penises drawn all over me in permanent marker and an unfortunate “I love KUN(s)T” on my arm.  No amount of methylated spirits and nail polish remover could get rid of the ink and I had an interview at the VCA the next day.

Skip forward a few weeks and I am told of the misadventures of Mandy and Steve (my then co-workers and current gutter friends) on the night they had off where one found themselves asleep in front of a parked car after having walked into it, and the other having vommed in their own bed on a 35 degree night after pulling the entire contents of their wardrobe on themselves in attempts to lie down in the right place.  The venue: Gerald’s.

It’s not that we don’t love Gerald’s, it’s that we have liver-fear.  Planning to go to Gerald’s is like telling an ex that they’re hung like a grape- you know someone will be hurting in the morning.

If you’re unaware of how the menu works, there is a selection of charcuterie which the boys slice to order, then a section “from the kitchen” which changes daily.  At risk of sounding wanky, Gerald’s has a nose-to-tail approach which means there is some kind of offal on every day, appeasing my its-the-treasure-you-dig-for tendencies.  This session, however brought a great discovery- Deep fried celery.  Two stalks of celery filled with mince, potato and herbs, crumbed and fried.

This is the anti-dieter’s celery and fucking delicious.

And you know how I mentioned my offal-eating ways?

This be an ox-tongue terrine served with toasted brioche and marinated peppers.  All I can say is that this cemented the love between me and Gerald’s Bar that dare not speak its name.

They spin records, they have platinum chat, they have offal and mix the best Negronis north of the river (that being said, I don’t think I’ve had a Negroni south of the river), let you pick the next bottle of wine to serve by the glass if they’re down, are open on Mondays and usually hold the best parties which everyone finds out about after the fact.

Gerald’s Bar

386 Rathdowne St
Carlton North

(03) 9349 4748

This is how we bitches party

I have a group of friends who possess a creative ferocity that forces you to stop and notice what they’re doing.  It may be brash, it may be fast, it may be silent, but there is also an innocence or naivety about their works which make them beautiful.

And that is exactly how I would describe my friendship with these people.

With so much creative energy, they also have the ability to party like motherfuckers and it isn’t uncommon to go to a party with this crew in the afternoon and find yourself walking home in the twilight fifteen hours later to the saftey of your own bed.  Rooftops will be jumped and bottles will be thrown.

A few of the guys spent some time in the US and ate their way around, much to my envy.  So, in preparation for their party, the two food-obsessed (one, from a long line of butchers, and the other a general food-lover) decided to bring a little piece of their van-eating habits to the hungry mobs who would be dancing, drinking, swaying, climbing and breaking for the rest of the night.

This is the lane-way set up.  A BBQ, two guys, tongs, condiments and friends to bring them drinks throughout the night.

They were serving two options of food- corn or pulled pork sandwiches.

The corn would be grilled on the BBQ, smothered with the chipole mayo, rolled in parmesan and doused in hot-sauce and lime juice.

As much as I wanted, I couldn’t eat these.  Ever since a friend from this group accidentally broke my front teeth, biting into corn has become a long-lost activity.  The pulled-pork sandwiches, however, were fucking banging.
After a trip to Casa Iberica, these boys cooked up a shoulder or two of pork in five different kinds of chilli over the course of the day and kept the meat warm in a dutch oven over the BBQ.  They would scoop up the flesh and juices into soft, semi-sweet, derro, supermarket rolls to serve as a one-handed drinking snack.

For the sake of amnesty, my MFWF others.

So, let’s get this out of the way.  My room is a mess of paraphernalia of the MFWF.  My desks are littered with menus, bags with function packs stuffed firmly between the restaurant’s badged pens, notebooks, upcoming events and other pieces of unrecyclable paper I will probably never look at again.

I feel slightly guilty, but having my kickboxing timetable pressed above them on the mirror is a great motivator.

The MFWF is officially old news and I didn’t document all of it.  So, here’s a run down of highlights and lowlights that attributed to my widened physique.

In no particular order:

Dick Cheese.

This would have to go under “highlights.”  Not just for comedy factor, but the event it was connected to was pretty awesome.  I would like to add the disclaimer now: I did not draw the dick on the cheese, though, I wish I could claim such childish genius.

The dick cheese came from the first Pinot Unearthed dinner held at the Middle Park Hotel.  The concept came out of Ben Edwards, Dan Sims and Chris Crawford getting together and asking the question, “If there was only one varietal you could drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
They all answered Pinot.  Though, that is the story they gave at the dinner, and could have possibly been told for story-telling’s sake.  It’s big, it’s crazy, it’s divisive. You are given several brackets of Pinots matched with each course and each dinner is done by region.  Needless to say, there was lots of spitting.

You can read a more serious account of the dinner here.

If they run it again next year, I recommend going to at least one of them.

The Sommeliers Long Lunch?

Well, it was amazing, it was long and goddamn, I believe all 200 people who attended would have had hangovers the next day.  The afterparty was painful in a great way and resulted in SOS pork tweets and a lot of hairy dogs.

Apple, cinnamon, yoghurt and honeycomb from the Point’s Old School VS New School.

A simple concept playing off two kids already in the kitchen.  Scott Picket in the old with his classically trained techniques and Ryan Flaherty in the new using the same base ingredient for each course and doing their own thing.  Old world wines matched with the old school courses, new world wines matched with the new.

The above was Flaherty’s dish, matched with a 2009 William Downie Petit Manseng (King Valley) and amongst my company, unanimously the dish of the night.  It may have been its light, restorative properties (and textures, I’m a texture addict) which managed to shake us out of the butter comas inflicted upon us that drew us to it.  I may or may not have gone as far as to say that butter is the juice of Scotty- his sweat and his lifeline.  Not necessarily a bad thing because I love butter but my body may have short-circuited at some stage in the evening.

And to note, of course Scotty had to bring out truffle.  It featured in his first dish, and is definitely a cheater’s move.  I would not play chess against this man.

And then, there was the Decadence dinner at Werribee Mansion and Spa which is an event I would like to rename Pimp-it-2011.

The grounds are outrageous, the building is, well, you can see a “wing” of it here.  It’s historical, renovated and totally pimped up enough to make me feel like I had missed out by not bringing a toothless hooker, cans of bourbon and a stolen credit card with me to enjoy the evening to its full potential.

As you can see, people dressed up, put on other faces and shoes which probably left the grounds in serious tending.

I wore a glorified sheet with a hole in it.  Oh, and that balcony…we ate there.

Ok, so there were a few other wine dinners and a breakfast wine event that I may have attended, but with all that w(h)ining, I may not have been at full capacity to document them.

Now, if you excuse me, I’ll assume the position of a goose and eat my own liver. Buy Windows 7 Ultimate
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