Review: Black Ginger (Enmore)

Going to the chiro is a good excuse to eat on Enmore road. Not that is too far away, but it’s nice to have a legitimate excuse. That, and catch up with a friend who lives in the neighbourhood. My eyes were initially set on The Stinking Bishops but it was booked out. We walked to the next block with no Plan B in mind, and stumbled across Black Ginger. Vietnamese is always a good option for us, and this was a new restaurant for all of us.

The menu has photos, and both my friend and I decided quickly the Vietnamese Crispy Pancake Banh Xeo filled with mung bean, onions, bean sprouts and choice of protein (prawns, duck or tofu) was the way to go. We both chose duck and yes, I shared with Alvaro. The pancake is one of the many items in the menu labelled as gluten-free. It was my first time trying it and I loved it. The taste was great and the top half of the pancake was thin and crunchy. The bottom half became a bit soggy once enough nuoc cham had been applied to the filling, but it didn’t matter. There was a good variety of leaves on the plate – this was not a boring meal at all.

Vietnamese pancake with duck

Vietnamese crispy pancake with duck ($14.90)

The other dish I shared with Alvaro was the North Vietnamese Chicken Salad with shredded chicken, lime juice house sauce, red cabbage, onion, mint, coriander and peanuts. Generous serving, super fresh and very tasty. Couldn’t complain and would order again.

Chicken salad

North Vietnamese Chicken Salad ($14.90)

Only one PS: the prices in the menu are not updated. Expect to pay a dollar more here and there.

Black Ginger Restaurant
89 Enmore Rd
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8386 5254
On Facebook

Black Ginger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill (Sydney CBD)

On my last day of work at the office for a while (until I finish my mandatory uni placements) I caught up with my lunch buddy Sebastian. We’ve had a lot of disappointing lunch adventures in the CBD lately, but luckily this was not the (entirely) the case.

Souvla meat #greek #meat #lamb #chicken #paleo #primal #glutenfree #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

 

I ordered a lamb plate that comes with chips, pita bread (which I skipped), dip (I chose tzatziki), salad (I chose Greek) and a drink (water for me). First the good news: the lamb was tender and tasty, chips and dip were good. Chips:salad ratio, however, was grossly skewed towards the cheapest end. Also, I got only a couple of small squares of feta in my salad. I still think $13.90 was a good price to pay for that meal, especially in the CBD.

Lamb plate with tzatziki & Greek salad #paleofriendly #primal #glutenfree #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

Lamb plate ($13.90)

Sebastian ordered the chicken pita wrap that comes with a side (he chose Greek salad, too) and a drink (Coke Zero as usual). He agreed it was pretty good value for the money (his combo was $10).

@fabuloussebastian's chicken wrap with Greek salad #greek #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

Chicken wrap combo ($10)

We would like to see the option to have no chips and more salad as well as extra meat.

Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill
259 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8937 0725
Website
On Facebook

Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Green St Kitchen kimchi hot sauce

The makers of my favourite kimchis and krauts (see previous review) have a newish product in their line of fermented vegetable products: a kimchi hot sauce. It comes in a 280ml cough-syrup-style bottle. Be careful when opening it for the first time, as fermentation makes it fizzy. I’m glad I opened it over the sink.

Kimchi hot sauce

The sauce contains red peppers, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, red pepper powder, coconut sugar, sea salt and Korean miso… but don’t worry, it’s not as hot as it sounds! In fact, I found it pretty mild for my Peruvian palate. I loved the taste and would suggest you try it with different cuisines, not just Korean/Asian.

Kimchi hot sauce

Green St Kitchen
Website
On Facebook

Review: Belgian Beer Cafe (Sydney CBD)

This is not only a fantastic place to grab a Belgian beer, but also a great place to catch up for dinner, especially if you love mussels. We’re talking about 1kg bowls of mussels in a variety of sauces ranging from European to Asian (all gluten-free), served with hot chips and mayo. We were told one bowl + sides would be enough for us, but we ordered two + a small salad (just because we’re dietitians) and we had no issues polishing them off.

Lobster brandy bisque mussels

Lobster brandy bisque mussels ($30)

The sauces we chose were lobster brandy bisque (vegetables, herbs & bisque sauce) and siam (vegetables, tom yum paste, Asian broth, coconut cream & Thai basil). I thought I’d like the first one better but the Siam was the unanimous winner. Regardless, both were delicious. The chips were great too: not too thin and very crunchy. Oh yeah, nice salad as well.

Siam mussels

Siam mussels ($30)

Small salad, Belgian fries

Small salad ($7), Belgian fries

None of us tried the beers but there’s a huge variety to choose from. If you don’t feel like beer, make sure you ask for the wine list. They had a few sold by the glass, like the Shiraz ($7) and Riesling ($11) one of my friends and I drank on the night.

Belgian Beer Cafe
135 Harrington St
The Rocks NSW 2000
(02) 8488 2460
Website
On Facebook

Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Big Daddy’s Burger Bar (Newtown)

This is one of the newest burger eateries in Newtown that I was super excited to try when they first opened their doors. Sadly, it seems that they’re having a hard time to keep customers engaged, as they don’t seem to be as busy as other local joints. Expect to find American everything: from furniture to menu items, including Mexican soft drinks (kidding).

Counter

Menu

We ordered a Who's Ur Daddy, which comes with beef patty & pulled pork, coleslaw, American & Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, American mustard & mayo. They don’t have GF buns but are happy to serve burgers naked and there’s cutlery available, so no dramas. I can imagine cutlery would be helpful even if you order your burger with a bun, as it can get messy. It was an okay burger, tasty for sure but I’m biased towards higher quality patties.

Who's Ur Daddy

Who's Ur Daddy ($14)

The other burger we shared was a Big Daddy (double/double, i.e. double patty and double cheese) plus extra Canadian maple bacon, pickles and guacamole. Same deal: tasty combo but note the best quality IMO. And don’t get me started on the guacamole. Perhaps these are just not my kind of burgers.

Double + bacon & guacamole

Big Daddy ($11) + Canadian maple bacon ($2) + pickles ($0.60) + guacamole ($2)

Big Daddy’s Burger Bar
227 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 4335
Website
Facebook

Big Daddy's Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food for thought: Reading vs listening

I used to read a lot for fun. Then I decided to go back to uni and my reading turned a lot more academic. At some stage I decided to stop buying physical books and got a Kindle, mainly because it is a pain in the ass to move houses when you have heaps of books. Then I started listening to podcasts and realised I learn way quicker this way. I also enjoy the practicality of audio: I can do it while stretching, cooking, showering, walking, etc. Of course some activities require more concentration than others, but I’ve found I can get away with listening to podcasts while working if what I’m doing is fairly mechanical (or I’m not super interested in what’s playing on my phone).

Recently I started an audible membership, that allows me to download one book per month for “free” (i.e. for the cost of the membership). That’s a good pace for me at the moment because I don’t have a lot of time to listen to stuff and I’m still subscribed to a lot of podcasts.

I’ve noticed this shift from reading to listening not only with books, but also with blog posts. I used to read most of the articles in my feed from start to finish. Now, if there’s a choice of reading or listening (e.g. articles posted in blogs like Precision Nutrition and Mark’s Daily Apple), I disregard the article and listen to the podcast episode instead. If there’s no audio version, I convince myself that I absolutely *need* to read that article, otherwise I just discard it. It might be that my information FOMO is fading off, but I think it’s just that I don’t find the same value in reading anymore. I’ve become a listener.

One thing that I miss, though, is the active part of being a reader, the opportunity to use my imagination in giving a voice and a pace to the words. On the other hand, listening forces me to pay more deliberate attention because audible information is more likely to fade away if not stored in long-term memory; printed words are more “permanent” in that sense. I have also noticed that the reader’s voice, accent and occasional mispronunciation of words have the potential to annoy the heck out of me, in the same way cheap paper or poor font choice would annoy me when reading printed books.

If you haven’t tried listening to podcasts or audiobooks yet, I recommend you try it to see how it goes for you. It can help your productivity and/or appeal more to your learning style.

Review: Left Bower (Sutherland)

Last weekend I caught up with my friend Natalie (check out her holistic nutrition website) to talk about life, placement, diet experiments and her latest exciting project: The Holistic Nutritionists podcast.

I was meant to go to her neck of the woods (Cronulla), which I was excited about given the vast array of healthy cafes down there, but there were trackworks going on. Instead, I got off the train in Sutherland and we had brunch in a nearby cafe which is apparently popular among local cyclists.

I apologise in advance for being so slack in this review… I did not get photos of the menu hence the vague meal descriptions and absence of prices. All I know is we had a good chat and a good meal. I would definitely go back if I was in the area.

I had a long black for a change, which was on the short side. Not a bad thing when it’s a bit chilly outside and you want to finish your coffee while it’s still reasonably hot.

Long black

Long black

I ordered the pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast. The generous serving of sauerkraut and wholegrain mustard made the meal taste very familiar to me. The serving was pretty big, but I did manage to polish it off.

Pork, fennel & apple sausages

Pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast

Nat ordered a vegetarian brekkie with roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast, which normally comes with tahini dressing. It looked like a great hearty vego option.

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast

My only suggestion would be to serve the GF toast on the side, as it gets way more soggy than regular toast when it’s served at the bottom of the plate.

Left Bower
1 Adelong St
Sutherland NSW 2232
On Facebook

Left Bower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Salmon & Bear (Newtown)

I love fish and I love the fact there’s a new restaurant close to home serving good fish dishes (don’t be deceived by the deer head near the entrance – it goes with the hunting theme but you won’t find venison here).

Salmon & Bear

I also love the fact that they do grizzly plates, in which you can choose your fish, sauce and any 2 sides/salads. When I visited the restaurant with my friend Cat, I ordered a plate with the catch of the day (a mildly flavoured fish with moist white flesh called Alfonsino), peri peri sauce, slaw and roasted veg. Nice fish, good sauce (not spicy but I liked the flavour) and an awesome hearty serve of roasted vegetables that came in a sizzling hot plate. Cat’s plate had tuna, peri peri sauce, coconut rice and corn salsa and looked just as good as mine.

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate ($28)

I left that night wishing I had room to try the salmon poke. Luckily, Salmon & Bear delivers and I took advantage of an UberEats discount to order one on a rainy night. Poke is the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi. The Salmon & Bear version has raw cubed salmon in a soy and sesame dressing served with corn salsa and avocado on coconut rice. Sounds good? It was. They also have a tuna poke that has a different dressing but I haven’t tried yet but I’m keen to try next time.

Salmon poké

Salmon poke ($21)

Salmon & Bear
226 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 3200
Website
On Facebook

Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen (Newtown)

Bar

My foodie friend Cat and I hit this bar for a catch-up after I came back from Orange. This small bar had always looked cool to me but for some reason it took me this long to try it out. We ordered some Italian red and a few dishes to share.

The house antipasto board comes with Italian truffle salami, Galloni Gran Reserva 30 month aged prosciutto, wagyu bresaola, sun-dried tomatoes, fior di latte bocconcini, grilled sourdough & grissini. Good combo, although I felt like there was too much bread served even though they knew one of us was not eating any.

Charcuterie board

Antipasto Board ($28.50)

Next came the game board with duck liver paté w/ Grand Marnier jelly, rabbit rillette, potato crisps, berry glaze, cornichons & croutons. I was really looking forward to this board, but somehow it didn’t meet my expectations. Maybe I was expecting too much.

Game platter

Game Board ($28.50)

I really enjoyed the mussels, which were cooked in white wine, butter, capers, preserved lemon & cherry tomatoes, w/ side grilled sourdough.

Mussels

Mussels ($25.00)

I’m not a big whisky drinker but FYI this place carries a few specialty ones from Tassie.

Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen
62/64 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8084 4140
Website
On Facebook

Kingston Public Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Peak Chocolate Bar by True Protein

Yes, this is a chocolate bar sold as a fitness supplement. This is the sort of thing that gets my coach fired up about the money-driven fitness supplement industry, but I could not resist and had to try it as soon as it got released. Given the ingredient list (80% dark choc, creatine monohydrate, BCAAs, organic caffeine, and Himalayan rock salt), I expected it to be at the very least a decent chocolate bar, even if it didn’t accelerate muscle growth and increase energy as promised.

Peak chocolate bar

Nutrition wise, each 25g serve (1/2 bar) provides 2.5g protein, 4.7g CHO (of which 3.6g are sugar), 70mg caffeine, 1.5g creatine monohydrate and 1.0g BCAAs. The bars sell for $5.90.

Peak chocolate bar NIP

So I gave it a shot pre-workout on 4 consecutive sessions. I loved the flavour and texture, which reminded me of other raw chocolate bars such as Loving Earth, but lacked the fruitiness of my favourite (Alter Eco 85%).

Sadly, I did not seem to get any of the advertised fitness benefits. Maybe I didn’t have the right dose, maybe I’m too old for these things to make a difference, or maybe I suck so much the difference was not significant. Either way, the chocolate was enjoyable as a snack.

Click this link to buy Peak chocolate bar. If you’re not sold on the idea of the choc bar, at least give their protein powders a shot; we use them regularly and can totally recommend them.