Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cafe Enzo, Hunter Valley, Australia

It's been a month since I ate at Cafe Enzo, and I was hoping to find their menu online to get the names of the dishes that I had there, since I can no longer remember them. I can't seem to find their website, though, so I'll just have to go on my rather faulty memory.

At any rate, on my birthday, Gigi decided to bring me to Hunter Valley for some wine tasting. She brought along a lovely friend of hers, Kristine Young, who made the trip more fun. It was a three-hour drive from Sydney to the valley, and the rain was pouring in buckets. I admired Gigi for driving all that way despite the dismal weather and poor visibility.

Since we left Sydney late in the morning, we were already starving when we got to Hunter Valley. Gigi already knew where to bring us for lunch, since she had eaten there in the past and she was very happy with the place. We ate at Cafe Enzo, and it was a quaint, cozy little restaurant. There was a log fire burning when we got there, which was perfect because we were feeling quite cold and damp.

We got straight to business, so we had some salad to share, and I ordered the pasta with prawns. I had a lot of their bread because I was already famished, then dug into the salad with a little too much enthusiasm. By the time the pasta arrived at the table, I was feeling a bit full already. Nonetheless, this didn't stop me from demolishing the rather big serving.

I knew that I had already approached the point of gluttony, but I didn't much care. If you can't pig out on your birthday, when else can you? I was well aware that I'd engorged myself, but I still had to have some dessert. So I ordered the chocolate ganache to cap off the meal.

After we left Enzo's, we went to a couple of places to have some wine. But since we didn't really have space for anything else, our wine-tasting was half-hearted at best. We bought some wine, chocolate and cheese in the valley, then we headed back for Sydney.

It took me the whole day and the evening to digest what I ate at Enzo's but I had no regrets. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday.

Cafe Enzo
1 Broke Pokolbin
Hunter Valley
New South Wales 2320

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thai Fusion, Sydney

One morning, Gigi and I wanted to have an early lunch, so we walked once more to the little row of restaurants near her apartment. We felt like eating Thai, but the first two restaurants we went to were not yet open for lunch (it was only 10:30, after all). We ended up eating in a place called Thai Fusion by default, since they were the only ones who were willing to serve us that early. (Actually, we practically begged them to feed us.)

We were very hungry, so we had Tom Yum Goong, Stir Fried Vegetables with Tofu, Prawn Macadamia, and Salmon Choo Chee. We ordered the prawns because Gigi and I both liked nuts in our food, and the element of macadamia was intriguing. We had the salmon because Gigi particularly likes choo chee sauce. The prawns were good, but I thought the macadamia didn't particularly enhance the dish. I liked that there were nuts, but it was not the kind of dish where you would say it was a perfect combination. The salmon choo chee, I liked, because of the sauce. But salmon is not my favorite fish, so it paled in comparison to the Choo Chee Fish of Spice Market, as far as I was concerned.

It was still all good, though. Thai food is almost always good for me, and there have been no misses at all here in Sydney.

Prawn Macadamia
Salmon Choo Chee

Thai Fusion
11 Broughton St.
Kirribilli NSW

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Mad Italian, Sydney, Australia

Italians comprise the fourth largest ethnic group in Australia, which explains the large number of Italian restaurants in Sydney. Gigi took me to one that was within walking distance from her apartment, within the same row of Thai restaurants I had mentioned in the previous post. It was called The Mad Italian, and like the other restaurants in this block of restos, it was a bit cramped, since the individual establishments were all pretty small and could only seat three to four dozen people.

We had the Insalata Caprese (Caprese salad) and Quattro Formaggio (four-cheese) Pizza. I loved the four cheese pizza. Some friends of mine have praised the cheeses available in Australia, and the pizza demonstrated proof of this. The Mad Italian's Caprese salad is the one that Gigi replicated in her apartment. As I had also mentioned, the restaurant's version of this salad was different in that it had greens. All other restaurants where I've ordered this dish only had tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. The salad was good though, and eating it made us feel like we were being good girls (in other words the greens assuaged the guilt from eating all that cheese).

Insalata Caprese

Quattro Formaggio

The Mad Italian
3A-9B Shop 5
Broughton St.
Kirribilli NSW