Two weeks ago I was in Melbourne. This week I’m in Canberra for a couple of day!
I haven’t been so lucky with the weather – it’s pretty wet and blowy down here today – but it just makes it a nice day to sit in a cafe, drink tea, and write. Something of a luxury really.
The aesthetic of cities changes with the season. Having lived in Canberra a couple of times, the thing I remember most about winter is the stark beauty of the European trees, stripped of their leaves by the cold…
Walking to the cafe this morning I saw a bus with a bike rack on the front (and two bikes attached). I have never seen this before and it struck me as a very clever idea! Especially in a city like Canberra where public transport and you intended destination may not line up well. Being able to take your bike “on” the bus seems like a splendid idea.
It’s truffle season here in Canberra – and while I am not traditionally a fan of truffle oil – I have been sampling some fresh truffle and found it quite delightful. If you love truffles then Canberra is a great place to be in July, not just to eat truffles, but I am told that there are people who will take you out truffle hunting in a Truffière (the French name for a truffle orchard).
Since truffles grow underground on the roots of trees (often oaks), the hunt is conducted by truffle hounds (yes dogs! What can’t they do I ask you?) – or some people I have heard off use pigs (who love truffles too). The dogs can smell the truffle from above ground and lead the hunters right too them. It’s a rather quaint kind of industry, but given the price that black truffles fetch in restaurants (up to AUD$3000 per kilogram), it also a very serious business.
So, if you were thinking of a trip away somewhere for a weekend and are happy in a cool climate then I think that a truffle tour in Canberra would be a lot of – tasty – fun.
I watched the movie Burnt (staring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller) recently. If you love food, cooking, restaurants, and drama, then this is a fabulous movie. It’s witty, with a great script and cast, it’s also beautifully directed, with outstanding production values, and a great score (including some excellent John Lee Hooker).
For whatever reason, this movie scored very badly with critics, but it really touched me. Perhaps because for me (having run a bakery and loving good food and cooking), I can absolutely understand the passion, the intensity, the need to create and to astound with fabulous food. I also understand the lifestyle that people who work in the food industry live, the long and horrible hours, the poor pay, the work done because you love what you are doing, even though no one else will ever get it in the same way – even as they adore your food.
And then there are the egos. Many chefs truly are like psychotic rock stars. Their staff living in fear of the next outburst, the thrown pots and pan, the broken crockery. Cooper had experience growing up working in kitchens, and he then took that to the next level studying for the part at Gordon Ramsey’s three Michelin Star restaurant in London – as did all of the cast. It really was a movie that took the job of authenticity seriously. You can read more about that here and see what Gordon Ramsey himself had to say here.
It’s a great film – regardless of what the critics say (plebes). Here’s the trailer:
If you love food you should watch this movie. If you also love sex, then come and watch this movie with me and we can have great sex afterwards ;-)
Looks like my favourite hotel in Sydney has had a makeover! Seriously though, for the best harbour views from a hotel in Sydney I can’t recommend a better choice than the Shanri-La. They also do an excellent breakfast.
The staff are also extraordinarily professional. I once arrived (in fancy dress – painted blue from head to toe and wearing a kilt) for a book launch and the parking valet didn’t even bat an eyelid.
There is no denying that life is more fun when we are fit and healthy. You feel good, you feel virtuous, you can do the things you want to do. And it makes sex and relationships better.
The list goes on and on. Sadly, the society that we live in makes it ever harder to look after our diet and exercise needs; putting tempting foods, and longer working hours in our way every day.
My whole life I have been an active person. I played hockey from age seven and have never looked back: cross-country running, skiing, cycling, swimming, triathlon, sailing, rock climbing and more. Exercise and a good diet have become the habits of a lifetime for me.
I get out to exercise most days, but usually I am doing it alone. So, here’s my offer:
Would you like to be a fitter, healthier version of yourself and have fun doing it? Then employ me as your personal trainer+.
I had the pleasure this weekend of visiting The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay for dinner.
Anzac Bridge at sunset ...
The ideal way to get to The Boathouse is by water taxi. You approach from under Anzac Bridge and the taxi drops you a short distance along the waterfront from the restaurant.
It’s a great location looking out over the water back to the city, especially on a warm evening like last night.
Looking passed The Boathouse toward the city
As you might expect The Boathouse specialises in seafood. They have a great menu and I have to say that the snapper pie is fabulous. No, I really mean it. It is absolutely fabulous. They also do very good chips!
Sadly I don’t appreciate oysters, but if you do, then The Boathouse will deliver. They have a special section on their menu just for the oysters (all natural of course) listing the oysters that they serve that come from a dozen or more locations or more. The Boathouse is oyster lovers heaven.
This was the view from the corner table at The Boathouse looks back over the bay to Anzac Bridge. It really is a spectacular place.
So, there you have it. If you are looking for somewhere special for lunch or dinner, then The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay is a great choice.
I have found myself once again at the New Orleans Cafe in Crows Nest on this wet afternoon. I had quite an enjoyable lunch and thanks to the staff generously allowing me to use a power point, I am not getting down to some work (thanks to my laptop and smartphone – have I ever told you I just love what technology allows us to do!).
Anyway, the actual point of this post was to share some grafiti and other stuff from the Mens Room here. First up was this grafiti. When I think of the real New Orlean (although I have never been there personally), I think of food and music … I think this really embodies it!
I am not sure if this is going to be legible, but I will upload a high res version of the image another day if it’s not. The message though is this: Never, ever, fuck with the person who prepares your food! It’s a heart warming reminder for all those under appreciated cooks out there ;-)