July 6th, 2011

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Boozy Nights & Beer Goggles

Published in the City Hub and City News.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on my reviews, you’ll probably notice I’m becoming quite the beer drinker. Who’d have thought? This week you’ll find a new review for Coogee Café…After Dark where I wax lyrical about 4 Pines Pale Ale. Next week you’ll be able to read all about Tommy’s Beer Café in Glebe where I try the original pilsner from Pilsen. While writing this column I developed a powerful thirst, and thought: That calls for a Carlsberg. While I check my sanity (and throw back this light, pilsner style lager), here are some things to keep you occupied…

Bread & Wine
I also stuck my head in at the official launch of Sonoma HQ in Alexandria. As well as getting to hear about Matt Moran and Chef Simon Sandall’s recent offshore dining adventures, I got stuck into some tasty Sonoma sourdough with some equally exciting Pepe Saya Cultured Butter. Head on down to the stylish café and bread shop (Sonoma’s fifth and largest retail outlet) for toast and a cup of Single Origin Coffee. Or better yet, some bread, cheese and a glass of the hard stuff (this outlet’s licensed). While you’re in there, congratulation Andrew Connole (pictured above with Matt Moran) and his team, on a decade of quality baking.

Warm up a cold winter night with a little red wine paired to some Fleetwood Mac tunes. You heard me correctly. The folk at Gazebo Wine Garden, lead by Sommelier Sarah Limacher, have decided booze and beats are the next big thing. Pop in for a good-value night of tunes, share plates and four glasses of red ($60/head) on Wednesday 13th July. Queen fans will get their own night in August.

Boozy Treats
Speaking of left-field booze pairings, Jean-Michel Raynaud is at it again with those crazy macaron flavours. He’s having his own Bastille Day (July 14th) celebration by dipping into his favourite French-label liquors. Luckily we too will reap the rewards in the form of three brand-new macaron flavours – Pear & Sauternes, Calvados and the one that’s got my ears pricking up, St Germain Elderflower. Get your boozy treats at Baroque Bistro from the 11th-17th July for just $2.50 apiece.

Film & Philanthropy
Now after all this drinking, I’m starting to crave something healthy. One upcoming event that will clean your conscience and your liver at the same time is Alfalfa House’s annual Film Night Fundraiser on Wednesday 13th July. For a mere $20/head you’ll see The Economics of Happiness (a film about happiness, locality and sustainability), eat an organic dinner, and sleep well knowing that your dollars will help the co-op buy a commercial grain mill for making fresh flour.

Masterchef Musings
Having a soft spot for good desserts, I found it a bit painful watching Vincent Gadan cooking off in a roast dinner challenge on Masterchef; after all, the man is a talented pastry chef! Gadan’s grace under pressure and excellent sportsmanship made me seek him out at Patisse. He had this to say: “Pastry is my passion - I started my apprenticeship in Burgundy working in Michelin Star Restaurants and have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to have worked in some of Sydney’s great restaurants over the last twenty years including Guillaume at Bennelong.” Of course I wanted to know more about the man behind the (pastry) chef’s whites: “People often ask me what my favourite dessert is and without a doubt it's my mum's Creme Caramel." Try his wares in Waterloo.

While we’re talking Masterchef, former contestant, Marion Grasby is heading to The Essential Cooking School on Saturday 23rd July for a cooking demonstration and book signing. If you liked her warmth and the unusual flavours she grew up with, head on down to watch her cook from her new book, which incidentally comes included in the price of this event, making it a bargain at $120/head.

Take Me Away
If you’ve got money to burn, you might be interested in the ultimate winter retreat at Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. Between now and September, they’re offering you two nights looking at these gorgeously frosty Blue Mountains escarpments, complete with gourmet meals, wine and cheese tastings, hot chocolate and marshmallows. Did I mention a roaring fireplace and a private indoor/outdoor heated pool? Two nights will set you (and your lucky one) back $1420 apiece… expensive, sure, but on their rack rates, that’s a saving of a grand per couple! I think I might just leave my column on the coffee table with this segment circled. After all it is my birthday in August…