Lunch @ Shake Shack

Shake Shack

691 8th Avenue (8th Ave and 44th St)
New York City, NY, USA

Overview

Burgers! Cheese Fries! Concretes!  Even food for dogs ?!

This ever reliable chain provides a grease fix, perfect for getting over jet lag.

The Meal

SmokeShack

Shack Burger

Cheese Fries

Concrete (Frozen Custard)

Dinner @ Red Medicine – Los Angeles, USA

Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

http://www.redmedicinela.com

Overview

Established by chef Jordan Kahn, a veteran of notable restaurants such as Alinea, Michael Mina and Per Se, Red Medicine seeks to provide a modern, western take on Vietnamese food. 

This restaurant is infamous less so for its food but more for Chef Kahn’s decision to kick out and publicly out a LA Times critic who visited the restaurant in its early days. Neverthless, treated as a restaurant serving western food with Vietnamese flourishes, as opposed to a restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine, it certainly delivers an excellent meal. The food was mostly excellent with only two dishes falling into the “good” category. Services was professional and attentive if not overly friendly, although this could be due to the crowding of the restaurant when we visited.

The major drawback with the restaurant is the darkness of the dining room, most likely designed to create a hip environment, and the poor acoustics making it almost impossible to hold a conversation unless you wish to shout the entire time. Provided you do not need to talk at length with your dining companions, you should be fine.

The Meal

P7293047#73 Novo Fogo Silver Cachata, Lime, Sugar
served in a Mason Jar

The novelty of this cocktail, being served in a mason jar, was half of the attraction. The cocktail certainly contained ample alcohol for $10 but was too strong for my liking.

P7293050

#70 Johnny Drum Bourbon, sapling maple liqueur, maraschino liqueur, shaken with an orange slice and served over crushed ice with seasonal berries and mint

Again a strongly alcoholic drink only slightly sweetened by the myriad of berries sitting on top of the ice. Again, a decent drop of alcohol for $10 but I personally prefer my spirits served neat or diluted by more refreshing flavours than this middling contrast.

P7293066

Chinese Lion Peppers
almond skins, honey, soy, violet basil, dates

This course was our attempt to add some vegetables to a meat-centric meal and it was an excellent addition. The Chinese Lion Peppers contained excellent flavour and the breadcrumbs added a nice texture to the dish. Fantastic.

P7293063

Crispy Spring Rolls
dungeness crab, lime, pea pods, fines herbs, chili

Unfortunately the photo for this dish does not do it justice. The spring rolls were perfectly cooked, with a crisp outer shell and decent amounts of crab on the inside. While there was no strong flavour aside from the crab meat, it still provided a tasty twist on the traditional spring roll

P7293071

Chicken Dumplings
caramelised sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures

This dish provides a do-it-yourself takes on san choy bao. A dish containing nine compartments featured four crisp meatballs of chicken mince that could each be placed in provided lettuce cups and to which a range of accompaniments could be added, including pickles, scallions and various sauces. While not traditional dumplings as described in the menu, this dish provided quality ingredients that could be molded together to form quite the fun and tasty snack.

P7293078

Pork Rillette
crispy chicken skin, lychee, clove, pistachio, spicy herbs

An extremely generous portion of rillette served in a cocotte covered by salad that had to be removed to reveal the feast that lay underneath. The rillette was warm and all of the ingredients worked well together even if by combining so many together there was no true standout flavour.

P7293074

Accompanying croutons for the pork rillette

P7293081

Pork
caramelised black vinegar, goji berry, spring onion, dried almond

Don’t let the picture fool you; this dish contained two very large pieces of caramelised pork shoulder that fell apart at the first touch of a fork and which melted in your mouth. Not dissimilar from Momofuku Seiobo’s caramelised pork shoulder, the version at Red Medicine acted as a true main course, as opposed to Seiobo’s play on petit fours, with stronger, heavier flavours. This dish was divine.

P7293085

Heirloom Rice Porridge
Santa Barbara uni, egg yolk, hazelnuts, ginseng, echire butter

Probably Red Medicine’s most famous dish, it appears at first instance to be your standard rice porridge eaten at dessert. However, the savoury nature of the dish quickly becomes apparent courtesy of what appears to be three sticks of butter mixed into the porridge.  The savoury flavour is then further enhanced once the egg yolk and uni is mixed in to the porridge to transform an attractive dish into an unattractive but absolutely delicious bowel of glop. A truly memorable dish.

P7293087

Birch Ice
almond praline, red current, orange blossom, jasmine

Initially mistaking this dish, ordered by the table next to us, for something else on the dessert menu, we accidentally ordered the right dish and I am glad we did. Served in a clear bowl so that you can see the bubbles forming underneath a crunchy crust, once the crust and contents underneath were mixed together every spoonful conveyed something cold and refreshing while extremely sweet to the point that I was worried my teeth would fall out. A visually stunning and delicious dessert. 

Red Medicine on Urbanspoon

Dinner @ Sage – Canberra

Sage

The entrance @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Gorman House Arts Centre
BRADDON ACT 2612

http://www.sagerestaurant.net.au

The Good

A fabulous meal featuring excellent ingredients and presentation. While some of the dishes were creatively presented, I never felt that creativity came at the expense of taste, something which cannot be said of a number of other restaurants I have visited. 

The menu changed in the days before our arrival, which unfortunately denied me a dish that I had been anticipating when I made the reservation. However, the dishes on the new menu did not leave me wanting at the end of the meal. The lemon sole and veal tenderloin, which featured a small addictive sweetbread, were particular standouts. I cannot fault any of the dishes, although perhaps the beetroot and carrot dishes lacked the punch of the protein courses.

Our server was friendly and helpful throughout the night. From the moment we sat down, he offered help us add additional courses to the autumn omnivore tasting menu should we desire. We did so desire after reviewing the a la carte menu and after a quick trip to the kitchens our server confirmed there would be no issues incorporating two extra courses (the pork and duck courses).

As for the venue, it is within walking distance from the centre of the city and thus conveniently located. The room is very nice with tasteful, modern furnishings.

While not an inexpensive restaurant, I regarded the meal as providing exceptional value for money in Canberra.

The Bad

There were four occasions during the nearly four hours we were dining that we had to wait more than is usual for our glasses to be refilled or for our next course. However, the issue was usually resolved before we began to get really irritated by the issue. In the case of the timing of the courses, this may have been the result of our adding courses to the tasting menu, which may have placed the kitchen out of synch, so I will not hold it against them.

The tables against the walls are probably too close ot each other for my comfort, but at least the music was at a low enough level that the restaurant never felt too crowded and one did not spend the entire night listening to his neighbour’s conversations.

Even though it is technically still Autumn, it got very cold in the restaurant each time someone opened the front and back doors to the restaurant.

The Meal

House baked bread @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

House baked bread

Artisan butter @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comArtisan churned butter with sea salt

seasonal beetroot variations @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.combeetroot variations
eucalyptus smoked trout, freeze dried mandarin, coriander

honey peppered heirloom carrots  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comhoney peppered heirloom carrots
malt, yolk, ricotta, olive powder, brioche

tuna and foie gras  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comtuna & foie gras
sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil, PX dressing 

Pork 'all sorts'  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.compork ‘all sorts’
slow cooked belly, braised cheek, choucroute, baby vegetables

Lemon sole @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comlemon sole
potato crumble, cauliflower, parsley, capers, red wine jus

Veal tenderloin @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comveal tenderloin
sweetbreads, forest mushrooms, sweet potato, soy & maple glaze

Muscovy duck @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.commuscovy duck
orange, carrot, pickled red cabbage, licorice

Rhubarb and rasberry @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comrhubarb & raspberry
quinoa crunch, creme brulee foam, rose petals

Chocovado @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comchocovado
chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel, avocado cream

Autumn scenery @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comautumn scenery (an alternate for my wife to the chocovado course)
chestnut log, chocolate branches, malt, apple sauce

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Chianti Classico – Adelaide

Chianti Classico

160 Hutt Street
ADELAIDE SA 5000  

http://www.chianticlassico.com.au/

The Good

An excellent lunch featuring some of the best pasta I have ever had in the form of the tagliolini with a rich sugo featuring many, many chucks of spanner crab meat. The offer of a dessert tasting menu when we could not decide on our dessert options was a fantastic service touch. 

The Bad

None.

The Meal

Bread and olives @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

House bread with olives and olive oil

Arancini @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comArancini  alla  Boscaiola 
Lightly fried risotto croquettes flavoured with wild mushrooms, black truffle and parmesen

Fiori  di  Zucchine @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFiori  di  Zucchine 
Lightly fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese and pine nuts, served with tomato relish

Tagliolini  con  Granchio @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comTagliolini  con  Granchio
Fine  pasta  ribbons  with  a  rich  sugo  of  Queensland  spanner  crab  meat, tomatoes  and  basil. 

Pappardelle  con  Anitra @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comPappardelle  con  Anitra  
Handmade  broad  pasta  ribbons  with  roasted  duck  meat,  red  capsicums, spinach, pinenuts  and olive  oil.  

Dessert tasting platter @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comDessert tasting platter
semifreddo, Torta di cioccolate, zabaglione, panna cotta amongst others

Chianti Classico on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Ellacure – Canberra

Ellacure

Corner of Braybrooke and Battye Street
BRUCE ACT 2617 

http://www.ellacure.com.au

The Good

A quick lunch at Bruce’s favourite restaurant featuring very friendly and efficient service. The food was good for what is was, and I would be happy to return to obtain a better idea of the restaurant’s capabilities.

The venue is very nice and perfect for a lazy weekend lunch.

The Bad

As odd as it sounds to say this, the service, while friendly, was perhaps too casual with the staff talking to my wife and I in a jovial manner that was initially off-putting given we had never been to the restaurant or met our servers before.

The Meal

Bread @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFresh bread with chive butter & olive oil

Pork belly @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Twice cooked pork belly with apple & mint salsa

Spaghetti @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comSpaghetti with prawns, garlic, olive oil, lemon, chilli & cherry tomatoes

Ellacure Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Bean and Grain – Canberra

Bean and Grain

Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets
12 Dalby Street
FYSHWICK ACT 2609

www.beanandgrain.com.au 

Entrance @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

The Good

While breakfast may remain the star attraction, my lunch at Bean and Grain only served to confirm the talents of its chefs who are obviously committed to using quality ingredients to turn out what may be the best representations of basic cafe, or even bakery, dishes in the city. I must admit to being curious as to what these chefs are doing the rest of the week when the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are closed.

I would happily order any of the dishes below again, although perhaps next time I will save some space for the gigantic sausage rolls I saw a few other people eating. I wonder if they do take-away?

Friendly service.

The Bad

The cafe was extremely crowded at about 1pm but slightly better when we returned half an hour later. The next time I visit for lunch, and I will be back, I will have a late lunch at 2pm to avoid the crowds.

The Meal

Tomato Bisque and Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Tomato Bisque & Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Sourdough bread lightly grilled with aged Cheddar & Gruyere cheese

Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

A close-up of the Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Muffaletta @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Muffaletta
Olive salad, (green olive, Kalamata olive, roasted red pepper, red onion, parsley, fresh oregano, red wine vinegar & olive oil) salami, mortadella, ham, provolone cheese on roasted garlic, herb foccacia.

Pineapple Upside-down Cake @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Oriental Twist Tea @ Bean & Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Oriental Twist Tea
ORIENTAL TWIST has power of the ancient Chinese super food, lychee, blended with the delicate Jasmine Flowers and Green Tea to deliver a unique tasting oriental tea experience. Rejuvenate & Revive.

Brunch (2) @ Bean and Grain – Canberra

What?

Bean and Grain

Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets
12 Dalby Street
FYSHWICK ACT 2609

www.beanandgrain.com.au 

The Good

Presently in my mind Canberra’s best breakfast venue. The addition of a free smoothie shot with every hot breakfast is a nice touch, but getting a free large smoothie when asking if the smoothies are sold separately is even better!

Very friendly service.

The Bad

None.

The Meal

Latte @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Latte

Country Benedict @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Country Benedict
Two poached free-range organic eggs, house made English muffin, sausage patty & sausage béchamel, served with a smoothie shot and a potato croquette topped with crème fraiche & chives.

Rockmelon and Passionfruit smoothie @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

Rockmelon and Passionfruit Smoothie Shot

Country Benedict @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

 Two poached free-range organic eggs, house made English muffin, sausage patty & sausage béchamel

Potato Croquette @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

A potato croquette topped with crème fraiche & chives

Bacon Buttie @ Bean and Grain - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com

 Bacon Buttie
Crispy bacon rashers between buttered sourdough toast