Restaurant review: Cafe Conti

Cafe Conti

Cafe Conti has been named “Brisbane’s Best Breakfast”. Holy, that’s something we couldn’t pass up. We were one of the first people to arrive at the Wilston corner cafe last Sunday. I ordered one ‘Conti’ (2 poached eggs, doorstop toast, bacon, roast tomato for $10.50) and Big M ordered the generously served plate of 2 Beef sausages, bacon, 3 poached eggs, roast tomato, toast all for only $14.00. We both polished off our meals and after licking our lips agreed on 4.5 stars for the meal. With very reasonable prices – it was easy to see why the breakfast was a finalist. Highly recommended.
4 stars

P.S. If you are lucky you’ll catch Graham in the same shirt (like we did!)…. and the photo of the breakfast is pretty accurate too!

(Photo and article above from Brisbane Style Magazine)

Cafe Conti on Urbanspoon

Taste test: New beer tasting

We discovered a perfect way to fill in a lazy rainy Sunday (a rare event in Brisbane these days!) Brisbane News  featured an article called “Brew-haha” on some of the newer beers on the market. Tony Harper and friends taste tested their way through some 60 beers – I bet there were many volunteers! He whittled it down and recommended a list of top 10.  Matt was particular keen to give them all a go, especially since he has been brewing his own beer. I have to admit I’m not such a beer drinker, but what the heck!

We visited a few local liquor stores to get all of the ones on the list, and somehow along the way we gathered a few extras to try. However, we had lots of trouble getting Emerson’s Pilsner. The article had created such a demand for Tony’s number one that it seems as if the whole of Brisbane was sold out of this hot bottled kiwi!

Our list turned out completely different – which just goes to show it’s a personal preference thing.

Beer tasting

Score (Matt – Emma)

1. Hoegaarden (4-4)
2. Cascade Premium (3-4)
3. Knappstein (4-2) fruity South Australian
4. Mountain Goat Pale Ale (3-3) – golden, floral honey aromas from Melbourne
5. Weihenstephaner Hafe Weizenbier (3.5-2.5)
6. Weihenstephaner Pilsner (3-3)
7. Grand Ridge (3.5-2.5) mild citrus, would appeal to wine drinkers from Victoria
8. Chimay (3-2.5) dark, distinct
9. Roger’s Beer (2.5-3)
10. Red Oak (2.5-2.5) – Sydney hints of bananas and cloves
11. Emerson’s Pale Ale (2.5-1) soapy
12. Mildura Stormy Ale (2-1) orangery bitter kick
13. Duvel (2-1) very bubbly; like champagne

Not shown:
Fuller’s London Pride – always a winner
Emerson’s Pilsner – missing in action

Matt, of course, wants to know – if we can get a full list of the 60 beers tested (but please don’t encourage him). When does the wine tasting start?

Taste test: Jammin’ in the rainforest

Rainforest Jam

While up on the Fraser Coast, we purchased some local nuts and a few petite jars of rainforest spreads. Here’s the results of our taste test:

1. Lemon Myrtle Honey (left)- This one was a thick lemon syrupy honey. We could clearly taste the tang of the Lemon Myrtle, with a base of Eucalyptus honey. One way to identify a Lemon Myrtle tree is to crush some of its leaves, and it gives off a similar lovely sweet smell of lemons!

2. Davidson’s Plum Jam (middle) – The labels describes a “tart plum flavour, followed by a delightful tang.” We found it similar to normal plum jam and its mild taste was the most agreeable of the three. Davidson’s plum trees only grow in very limited regions of the Australian Rainforest.

3. Riberry Jam (Lillipilli Jam) (right) – The last one had a distinct taste that neither of us liked. The label says it is similar to “boysenberry and ginger”, so if you like these flavours perhaps this is the one for you. Riberries are only found in Australian rainforests on the east coast

We tried the spreads with mini pikelets for breakfast. If you would like to purchase and try any of these bush foods for yourself, visit Lemon Myrtle Refreshed’s website.

Book review: 100 food experiences to have before you die

To die for

“100 Food experiences to have before you die” by Stephen Downes, is an easy book to read in short bursts as each food experience is only a page or two long (which is perfect for my daily commute on the train). Many of the food experiences described can only be had overseas, so it would be hard to replicate, although you might be wishing you were there. Some of the mini-chapters contain interesting food trivia and tips on cooking the perfect dish.

Stephen’s ‘perfect 10s’ food experiences are:

  1. Murray River pink salt
  2. a home-grown tomato
  3. freshly opened Pacific oysters
  4. proper chocolate
  5. Japanese rice crackers at a Shinkansen Station
  6. minutes old sashimi carved from your own catch
  7. caviar
  8. fresh lychee
  9. raw-milk cheeses
  10. a ripe mango
  11. charcuterie
  12. lady in pink (apple)
  13. raw fugu fish

The stories of each experience are entertaining and humorous. The section on the fourth mango might even make you blush!

*****

Emma’s top food experiences are:

  1. Matt’s bbq on the Weber
  2. Mum’s roast ham with scolloped potatoes and carrots
  3. Fondue with secret sauce
  4. Lamb chops
  5. Lindt dark chocolate
  6. Italian pizza with a thin crust
  7. Tagliatelle with ragu
  8. Piccata al limone (veal with lemon sauce)
  9. Chocolate mousse
  10. Yakitori chicken with perfect steamed rice

Matt’s recommends the following food experiences:

  1. Bacon butty with HP sauce, pot of Yorkshire tea
  2. Fish and chips with mushy peas, Fullers ESB
  3. Italian wood fired oven pizza
  4. Pork goulash with dumplings, Pilsner Urquell
  5. Beef in stout with dumplings, Guinness extra stout
  6. Tagliatelle with ragu, Montepulciano D’abruzzo
  7. Roast lamb, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, Black Sheep Ale
  8. Knackwurst in beer, Schneider Weisse German Ale
  9. Trifle
  10. Cioppino

What do you recommend? Send your top 5 to the Traveller’s Lunchbox who is compiling all the suggestions.

Road Trip: Hervey Bay

Humpback whale

Big M and I went off to Hervey Bay for a few nights. We went mainly to go whale-watching. Our big mistake was choosing a cruise based on the “gourmet lunch”. It was a lovely lunch, but we hardly ate any for fear of the sea-sicknesses! Lots of whales, but make sure you pick a large vessel for your whale-watching experience.

Holidays are always a good excuse for eating out, so we tried a number of the local restaurants.

The first night I had “Lamb shanks and vegetables” – normally nothing to write home [or blog] about, except the waif-thin waitress said “I often have the shanks after work, but I can only manage one!”. I replied that I’d had a some help from Big M. Then she said “Just imagine, in the old days they used to be considered dog food!”

There were two food spots we would recommend. “Gringo’s” do excellent and affordable Mexican food. Big M had the nachos, and I had two tacos with Mexican rice. They can adjust the chilli level to your liking, or in my case leave it out.

The other place we enjoyed was “Arkarra” restaurant and Balinese tea gardens. There is a lovely walk around the lagoons with plenty of wildlife (mainly birds) to look out for. Big M had the “club sandwich”, and I had “calamari with sweet potato spiral fries”. Both were good, so….

Lambs Fry

We decided to visit again for breakfast. I was in an adventurous frame of mind and decided to try the “Lamb’s fry and bacon with onion gravy”. Big M had “scrambled eggs and bacon”. Lamb’s Fry is usually liver, and maybe other pieces of offal. It’s robust texture goes well in pies. I really enjoyed it, although perhaps a little too overpowering for breakfast regularly.

Turning the other pig’s cheek

There is a homeliness about British cooking that warms the cockles of your heart. So it’s a shame to hear that some of the old classics are dying out, or is it?

According to a UKTV survey, 70% of young people said they would refuse to eat either hare or chaps. A combination of health concerns, a wider range of inexpensive food and an interest in international dishes have changed the landscape of British crusine.

The ten most endangered savouries are:

The ten most threatened puddings:

The Scots have left off the menu:

  • Crappit heids – boiled haddock heads stuffed with suet
  • Whim wham – a fruit and bread trifle

The Welsh aren’t eating their:

  • Rook pie
  • former national dish of laver bread – seaweed pureed with fine oatmeal into small cakes.

But at least it beats eating monkey chow!