portrait #3

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Aahh…it seems that I’ve been quite absent on the art front – this is basically turning into a food blog. Which is perhaps not that surprising, since I do eat a lot more than I draw…

Well, another of my archived portraits. This one being of Gemma Ward – who was a very popular Australian Model around the mid 2000′s – who then retired, and has had a few parts in some films since then.

That’s it! Be well (:

high tea | the house of herbs and roses, dural

Another high tea! And this one very different from the Japanese style one at Azuma - mainly because it was a bit more traditional. So from the name, this location sounds like a really hippy dippy sort of place – where they’d sell vegan food and herbal teas. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the eating area was lovely – with a classic interior – dark wooden furniture, prints on the walls, and large mirrors to give the illusion of more space.

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Since we were there for a birthday, they set up a table in a small function room – already arrayed with cutlery and china. The china is really pretty as well – makes you feel fancy.

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There is an extensive selection of tea – ranging from fruit infused to the more traditional. They have quite fun names as well ‘congo bongo’, ‘cha cha chai’ and ‘once upon a time’ – to name a few. As there is a large number of teas, and a good eight of us – they bring the teas your interested in out to smell. Also, the service was incredibly friendly, and made the whole experience enjoyable – the lady who served us was chatty, happy to answer questions and take photos. You also get one refill of your teapot over the course of the high tea.

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And here are the tiers – the top was scones, middle was sweets, and the bottom was sandwiches.

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The scones were fluffy, and not sweet – which I prefer. They came with small dishes of cream and strawberry jam – though I think we could have done with more, especially considering the number of scones and people – I’m pretty sure we were scraping the dishes by the last couple of scones.

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The lemon tart which had a crisp shortcrust base, with a lovely lemon curd filling – but was a little sweet for my tastes.
The mini cheesecake was really lovely – I think it was a gelatine based cheesecake – with a buttery base and a raspberry filling which was a nice surprise – the filling balanced the richness of the cheesecake.
There were also chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes. I only tried the vanilla one – which had buttercream icing, and was nice and light.IMG_6695

The best sandwich in my opinion was a avocado, ham and pesto mayo on wholewheat – it was full of flavour, and very moist.There was also a wholegrain mustard with mayo, tuna and cucumber – which was also good, but lacked a bit of flavour.Finally, a salmon, caper and chive mayonnaise sandwich, which I didn’t try – the raw salmon thing. Also, it’s better to eat sandwiches earlier rather than later – otherwise the outside becomes crusty.There’s enough of everything so that you can try each item at least once, with chances of seconds. Needless to say, we were nicely full by the end of it.

High tea is a $35 affair – and it’s a good idea to call ahead because they have to prepare all the items in advance.

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A very cute gift shop is attached to the dining area – selling a range of items – skin care, seeds, (really adorable) tea cosies, books, and everything in between. The cafe is also open for lunch – not just high tea, and is lovely to visit on a sunny day.

It’s a lovely destination, especially if you live locally – and you might leave with a full stomach and some plants (I wish I had bought some mint).

The House of Herbs and Roses
745 Old Northern Road
Dural, NSW 2158
Opening hours: Tues – Sun | 9.30am – 5.30pm
Ph: 02 9651 1027
Fb page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-House-Of-Herbs-And-Roses/118814088211991

thanon khaosan, haymarket

Alright, so I’ve never been to Thailand, but I imagine this restaurant has that street food sort of feel – except nicer.

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I’ve walked by this restaurant a couple of times, and it’s always been memorable due to the dessert trolley set up it has going on. There are numerous desserts on display – of the glutinous rice variety – which you can purchase to go.

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It has a great interior, complete with fun lighting fixtures and a taxi at the entrance – I really appreciate an interesting interior.

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cha nom yen – thai milk tea/lychee pun – lychee blend – both $3.90

The drinks were great. The milk tea had a strong flavour and was sweet from condensed milk. The lychee drink was super refreshing – the best lychee flavour I’ve had – I think it was just ice, lychees and some sugar syrup all blended together.

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chicken pad see ew – $14.90

The pad see ew comes out as a pile of silky rice noodles, coated in a sweet soy sauce, with a good amount of vegetables and chicken. I think this restaurant is my new favourite destination for this dish.

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red curry with beef – $14.90

Alas, the good run was not to last. I was not impressed with this dish. The beef was quite chewy, so I have to wonder if the chicken might have been a better option. While extremely creamy, it was too spicy to be enjoyable – and hey, I can take my chilli – but this had the ‘burning in your ears and throat’ chilli sensation.

Overall, not too bad – I think it’s worth a second visit, especially to try all the sticky rice desserts out front.

Thanon KhaoSan
413 Pitt St
Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Tel: 02 9211 1194

http://www.thanonkhaosan.com.au/

element 6, west ryde

I last visited Element 6 over a year ago, and it’s just as I remember – busy, cute decor, and good food. In regards to the name, I was told that the story behind it is that – element 6 = carbon on the periodic table = organic = organic cafe. Yup. Nice to know there’s some meaning behind – I just thought it was a cool name. They’ve recently expanded – but I don’t think the verandah seating is open just yet. A very wise move  since there can be half hour waits at busy times.

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Hehe, there are decals painted on the walls – which is a nice touch, and means you don’t have to worry about nailing things to walls for decoration.

stateside iced coffee - $4.50 | iced mocha - $5

stateside iced coffee – $4.50 | iced mocha – $5

Drinks in jars again! Though these have handles, which makes things a bit easier. The lighting makes it look like there’s just milk in them, haha. The coffee is quite milky, but done well – and the mocha has chocolate syrup sitting on the bottom that you have to stir in. Pretty good sizes for the price – definitely lasted the whole meal.

There’s an extensive two page menu of food – so you’ll definitely find something that takes your fancy. And if you don’t, then I daresay you’re pickier than me.

chubby bacon and sunny egg roll with onion jam, house pumpkin chutney and e6 aioli - $9

chubby bacon and sunny egg roll with onion jam, house pumpkin chutney and e6 aioli – $9

Look at this! LOOK AT IT! Isn’t it fantastic? If this isn’t good value, I don’t know what is – ONLY NINE DOLLAH! That bacon is exactly how bacon should be cooked, and it’s chock full of good things. Alright, this wasn’t mine – but I can get excited just looking at it. Okay, I suppose reviews are pretty useless when I don’t try something (messy to share), but I reckon you could be sold based on this image alone – and you should be! Judging by my previous experience with their pulled pork burger, I think it’s safe to say this was pretty great too.

special - ultimate cheese toastie with mersey valley cheddar and spinach onion - $11

special – cheese toastie with fontina mersey valley cheddar and spinach onion – $11

If buttered toast is your thing – then this is for you! Though…since it’s a special – it’s most likely not hanging around for long. Bad luck! Though I’m sure there are other toasted offerings to be had. Goodness, they buttered this thing within the inch of its life – makes for delicious but unhealthy eating, haha. The cheese was sharp and delicious, and melted all the way through. I don’t know where the ‘spinach’ comes in, since there was none…but the onion was cooked through, and lightly caramelised – with a slight touch of balsamic. Overall, it worked very well together. It also came with a side salad of rocket and baby turnip – which was a good contrast with the rich toastie.

A very good brunch/lunch. Next time I’m going to try the granola.

 

Element 6
65 Ryedale Rd
West Ryde, NSW 2114
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri ~ 6.30am- 3pm | Sat ~ 7am – 3pm | Sun ~ 8am – 3pm
Ph: 02 8021 2838
Website: http://www.element6.com.au/

flappers and flamingoes

A lovely friend of mine had her 21st last year, with the goal to have a flapper-themed party. Alas, this was not to be, and instead it was Japanese and karaoke – also good fun. So, since she didn’t have that party, I decided to draw her something and get it printed. You like flappers? I draw you flapper! You like flamingoes? I draw flamingo!

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I finally caught her last week – considering her birthday was at the end of last year, it was rather belated. So I had the images printed on some matte photo paper. I’m pleased to report that she was very happy with them, hehe. Pah, the lighting was so bad.

Here are the actual images -
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She also really likes plum/burgundy – so I added that in as well

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And that’s it! I’ve been wondering if it’s worth trying to sell prints…ah well – I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Cheers!

the baron (summer 2014), castle hill

I think that many people in the hills area know about The Baron, and are regular customers – there’s great coffee, a seasonal menu, and a focus on local produce. It has a decidedly relaxed atmosphere, but gets extremely busy around lunch time, and is quite the attraction for many a hipster. It’s located right on the outside of Castle Towers. I’ve been there quite a number of times, but never really got photos of food. So here we are.

ice tea - $5 | my my my muesli - $14

ice tea – $5 | my my my muesli – $14

The last time I came, I asked for an iced tea – ‘we’ve run out’, cold brew? (some special iced coffee) – ‘we’ve run out as well’. Sigh. Must have been busy that day. So I was very pleased to  finally get an iced tea. It’s a lemon mint ice tea – and was really citrusy and refreshing – perfect for a hot day. It also has a single large block of ice, which means it doesn’t get watered down as quickly – a nice touch.

My my my muesli (fun name) – was very filling and delicious. Breakfast for lunch! It was almond muesli, natural yoghurt, summer fruit, and local honey. the yoghurt was on the bottom, and there was a berry coulis as well. The muesli had a nice cinnamon spice to it, with raisins as well, and the honey provided a nice drizzle of sweetness. Though, I do think that the ratio of muesli to fruit was a bit off – so less muesli and more fruit would have been ideal.

baron burger - $14

baron burger – $14

Ok, so I didn’t try this – sharing burgers is messy. But look at it! This burger is full of stuff – beef patty, house made pickles, onions, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and baron’s very sexy sauce (hah). And based on the other things I’ve had previously, their savoury stuff is great too. Though, the crisps were really salty.

The Baron also has a selection of cakes and baked goods – so it’s great for all times of the day – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea. Check it out!

The Baron
Shop 461
4-16 Castle Street
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday | 7.30am – 4pm

http://www.whoisthebaron.com/

 

 

 

the pie tin, newtown

Pie! Glorious pie! I do like a good pie – flaky pastry, tasty filling – it’s pretty fantastic. There’s a great one in Newtown, tucked into a side street off King Street. As you can imagine from the name, pies are the main attraction, and definitely the star – with offerings of sweet and savoury.

The Pie Tin is tucked away just off King Street, and has a very relaxed feel. There’s open brick walls, and a communal table in the middle. You also order at the register and collect your food later. Water and cutlery is also self serve. I love how the water is stored in jars – it’s all in the details.

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Pies can come with a choice of fries – regular or sweet potato, or two salads, with prices varying from $11-$14 for a meal.

The first pie chosen had loads of flavour from the smoke, and caramelisation – it was filled with tender beef and onion, and a generous amount of mushrooms. It had a meaty, robust flavour – a pie for a fancy man, haha. The potato salad was creamy, and the leafy salad had quite a bit of balsamic.

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slow roasted beef brisket, with hickory smoke and mushroom pie with two sides – $13

If the previous pie was for a fancy man, then the next pie is for a lady. This duck pie was on the sweeter side of things – as expected from the ingredients. The filling was generous, was pleasantly sweet, and you could still taste the flavour of the duck. I do think the filling could have done with a bit more sauce though.

sweet roasted duck, with seasonal vegetables, cointreau and maple syrup - with chips - $13

sweet roasted duck, with seasonal vegetables, cointreau and maple syrup – with chips – $13

The pastry on the pies was quite good, but nothing special. The real drawcard is the filling.

By the time we finished the pies, we were stuffed! But dessert was calling – look at the dessert pie case!
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oreo cookie pie – $8.50

Ok, I know this looks like a mess, but OH MY GOODNESS, it was delicious – ‘change your life’ delicious. The filling was a a load of Oreos mixed together with some type of cream cheese mixture, and an oreo cookie base. The oreos absorbed the moisture of the filling and become this soft cookie concoction that just melts in your mouth. $8.50 seems like a lot to pay for a slice of pie – but it’s worth it, the slice is huge, and the pie is wonderful.

lemon creme brulee pie

lemon creme brulee pie – $8.50

To offset the richness of the previous pie, a more refreshing selection was needed. This pie had a really smooth lemon curd filling, with a good hit of citrus. It was also a really fantastic pie – shortcrust pastry, and a very satisfying toffee crack. These sweet pies were so good, you just  want to keep alternating bites so that you don’t lose the taste of the other.

That’s it! If you like pies, or would like to try something a little different, I recommend checking The Pie Tin out!

Also, on another note – my blog turned 1! Can’t believe I’ve been going for a year now, and that my art blog is slowly turning into a food one…*ahem*. Thanks for reading!

The Pie Tin
1A Brown Street
Newtown, NSW 2042
Ph: 02 9519 7880
Website: http://www.thepietin.com.au/