Monday, 24 February 2014

Flying Fajita Sisters @ Glebe

Friday night found me in Glebe, a part of the city that I haven't really explored before.  A group of 7 of us were dining at Flying Fajita Sisters, a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Glebe.  This suburb is buzzing on a Friday night.

After a rocky start, where our online reservation was not found, an no table available on arrival, we were sent away for a bit before returning to us being forgotten about.  That's okay we can move on from this and we are eventually given a table upstairs. 

We were all starving by this stage.  The dining room is buzzing (including a large party of 20 or more making it very loud).  Quick orders of drinks and appetisers first up before perusing the menu for our mains.  The staff are quick and efficient and friendly.

Elderflower, Green Apple and Agave Margarita 
(not mine as I'm DD tonight)
This was strong and tangy, just how a margarita should be!
For starters we all shared the Mixed Platter.  A platter with 6 different dips and salsas with a big platter of toasty, crispy tortilla chips for dippin'.  We have guacamole, salsa, tomatillo salsa, queso fundido, pipian, frijoles.  Plenty to go around.

I especially love the guacamole (bottom left), the tomatillo salsa (middle left), the queso fundido (top right) and the pepian (middle right).  The pepian sauce is made from roasted pumpkin seeds and has a wonderful nutty flavour.  The tomatillo salsa has a good chilli kick and is fresh and green. As for the guacomole...I wish I could have had my own bowl!

Along with our dip platter we also ordered a large serve of vegetarian nachos laden with gooey cheese and refried beans.  These were great.The grilled jalapenos and capsicum on top of oozey, gooey cheese and warm crispy chips....everything a good nachos should be!

The food and drinks came out fast in the lively restaurant and the staff are super attentive. There wasn't a long wait between courses as our mains arrived. 
The date had the burrito filled with sweet chipotle chicken and black beans, tomatillo salsa and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with sour cream, guacamole and corn salsa.
The vegetarian flying fajitas were a fabulous serve of grilled vegetables on a hot grill with salad, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, olives, jalapenos, pineapple, refried beans and rice


vegetarian fajitas

The chimichanga is a crispy fried tortilla wrapped around a filling of chicken, mexican rice and served with cherry tomato salsa, sour crea, guacamole, cheese, olives and salad

who wants a chimmichanga?

There was an enchilada ordered, along with Camarones y Chorizo ala Diabla, which are king prawns and chorizo fried with chilli and tomatoes but I didn't get photos of these. Remember I was meeting my man's friends for the first time and a little shy at taking food photos! LOL - he is only just getting used to it......

So what did I order? I decided on two tacos (as I was nearly full from appies!) with one Huachinango taco and one Al Pastor taco. 

The Huachinango taco had grilled snapper with guajillo salsa, black beans, and queso fresco (fresh cheese) on the traditional two soft tortillas. This was mediocre (I'm not one to give negative feed back on the blog usually but this was not great). The snapper was grey and had a very odd taste. The Al Pastor with pulled pork, a grilled pineapple salsa and queso fresco was a little better.  The pork was smokey and spicy and the pineapple salsa was sweet and juicy.  Again served on two soft tortillas. However, I wasn't wowed by this.  Maybe I was just full and couldn't appreciate the whole taco experience.

All in all, the evening was delightful, meeting new people (my date's mates) lively and enjoyable.  I loved the Wall of Pain they have down stairs.  A shelf full of various hot sauces that you can help yourself to for the extra kick!  I would like to come back here and give it another go.  We all enjoyed the appetisers more than our mains.  Maybe it was a busy or an off night (they did have a large party to cater to).  The atmosphere is definitely fun, with a fiesta flare throughout the restaurant.

Flying Fajita Sistas on Urbanspoon

Friday, 21 February 2014

California Adventure Park - Carthay Circle

I was lucky enough back in 2004 to visit the recently (newly) opened California Adventure Park.  It was fun, but it still had the clean, new feel about it and was a little 'empty.  Fast forward 10 years, with the recent addition of Cars Land, it was much busier and had more of the Disney magic feel to it.  Get in early to Carsland, because its CRAY CRAY!  Welcome to Carsland and California Adventure Park!
So a little unfoodie related, but it's so cute I just had to share...

who doesn't love Lightening McQueen and

and Mater.......

Can't pass up a hug from my favourite Sully of Monster Inc.

so not real food, but its' related. Bugs Land....huge chunk of watermelon!

The delightful Daisy made my we are posing for the cameras. 

Okay so onto the food.  Another fine dining experience today at Carthay Circle.  I was looking forward to dining here.  There had been great reviews.  The service and the food were good,  just not up to par for what I was expecting. 
I was early for my reservation, I was waiting in the Bar area and started with a glass of the Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee Brut from Green Valley - intense apples and ripe pears, with citrus acidity, a toasty and bright sparkles.  Anything that has Fairy Tale in the name is going to be a winner. Okay, okay I got the wines description that from the menu (I'm no wine connoisseur).

Fairy Tale Sparkles
The menu looks good but I had pre-selected at least two of my choices months before dining an Disney Foodie does....check out All Ears for everything Disney!
For starters I had the Signature fried biscuits, stuffed with white cheddar, bacon, jalapeno and served with an apricot honey butter.
crispy cheese filled biscuits

Closely followed by the Fire Cracker Duck Wings with soy, lime, and sriracha chili sauce. These were not crunchy like I was expecting.  They were tasty, but the coating was soggy and yes they were drenched in sauce, but still.

Big duck wings

I really wasn't hungry, hungry, and I felt something 'lighter' so I went with something off their Autumn lunch menu that I hadn't seen on line.   The Harvest Apple Salad - duck confit, tuscan Kale, frisee, radishes and cider vinaigrette. 

Now this was fantastic.  The duck confit was so tender and moist and shredded throughout the salad of crispy and well dressed salad leaves.  I only managed to take a few mouthfuls and took the rest to go (for dinner a bit later).

duck confit - harvest salad
Later that night, after a munching on my salad (and there may have been a corndog too) I watched the World of Colour.  The park looks magnificent all lit up!

World of Colour
I can't wait for my next Disney Trip!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Magical Disneyland Dining

I'm home!  Disneyland in Anaheim is a special place for me.  I have visited the original Disney four times in my life and I know it isn't my last.  I'm a Disney girl at heart.  This visit coincided with the Christmas Season so Disneyland was decked out with all the decorations, seasonal menus and the Christmas Spirit - Disney really know how to do it!

It's a ritual to meet Minnie (and Mickey) on arrival (and as many other characters as possible as I make my way down Main Street).

Minnie Mouse in her Christmas outfit
I then stand in the middle of Main Street and take in the wonderful sight of the castle. One day my Prince will come!
Nothing like a spin in the Madhatter's Tea Cups to work up an appetite!

But onto the food.....
Over in Critter country the Hungry Bear counter service dishes up some great sandwiches and burgers, but it's the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich  that's got me sold. Cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes layered with two slices of fresh heirloom tomatoes, topped with havarti, remoulade, jicama-mango slaw and served on a multi-grain roll.   Serve with fries (or upgrade to sweet potato fries as I do).
This was a great sandwich.  I love fried green tomatoes and the crispy cornmeal coating gives it extra crunch.  The jicama mango slaw is tangy and crunchy too.  I did find the roll to 'bready' but that is because I don't really eat a lot of bread. It fills me up to much...but I did eat all the filling.  The sweet potato fries are cold (they were warm when served) but they retained some crispiness to them and were very delicious regardless.
fried green tomatoes and sweet potato fries

More park fun before dinner over in Adventureland at the Bengal BBQ counter service.  I'll have one Safari Skewer, which is Bacon Wrapped Asparagus  and one Outback Vegetable Skewer .  The Safari skewer is fabulous.  Still slightly al dente asparagus wrapped in salty bacon and thrown on the barbie.  The Outback veggie skewer was tasty but a little more on the al dente side than I would have preferred (but I also needed veggies!).

I know I said I don't eat alot of bread, but the  Jalapeno Cheese-Filled Pretzel just sounded so good.  Hot and oozing cheese in the middle, the spiciness of the jalapeno just a hint in the cheese, it didn't disappoint.  Even though I only had a few bites over a few hours!
hot pretzels filled with gooey cheese

My favourite princess. Princess Merida.  Strong and Independent....she is my hero.

I spent alot of time over in New Orleans Square (it's sort of the middle of the park and around the lake).   A nice little lunch at the French Market Restaurant had me drooling over the Market French Dip.  Lots of slow roasted beef with crispy onions straws on a freshly baked potato roll, served with cajun chips on the side and a bowl of Au Jus to dip (or pour over) your roll.   I also grabbed a New Orleans Mint Julep (non-alcoholic).  Very minty and very sweet!

If you can't half tell by my outfit, I'm a massive Tink fan.  Visiting the Fairies in Pixie Hollow.   Little known fact...their is a Disney Fairy that shares my (real) name.  It took awhile for Tink to guess this Fairy is not commonly known (nor does she feature in the movies).

in pixe hollow
As a birthday present, a good friend (who is also a massive Disney nut like me) gave me some US cash to do a character visit.  Out of the few that are on offer around the Parks, I choose Minnie and Friends in Disneyland at the Plaza Inn.  I arrived early (which is a bonus as you get access to the park before everyone else) and headed straight to the Plaza Inn.  They take your photo as you enter (usually just on your own) however I was very happy to have Eeyore hanging around and jumped into my photo - made my breakfast extra Disney special.
Of course there was Minnie, Chip n' Dale (can you tell the difference between the two?), Tigger, Pooh and a few others.  Chip n' Dale are very playful and get into all kinds of mischief.

Meeting the Fairy Godmother.

Fairy Godmother

How magical is it when your waffles are Mickey Mouse shaped.  Drizzled with syrup.

mickey waffles are magical 

Last lunch in Cafe New Orleans Restaurant.  Quaint patio seating in the typical New Orleans/French style, again people watching and digging into yummy New Orleans Gumbo filled with chicken, andouille sausage and tasso ham and dirty rice. 

gumbo goodness
The one item on the menu that I was here for though is the Pommes Frites - french fried potatoes with parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley with a side of Cajun remoulade. Hot, crispy and packed with garlicy goodness. Winner!

fries with parmesan and garlic
I cannot pass up dinner at the Plaza Inn.  I always have to have the Plaza Inn Specialty Chicken.  Three pieces of fried chicken, mash, gravy, veggies and a buttermilk biscuit. Huge portions are just to big for me but it was worth it.  Sitting outside in the patio area you can people watch on Main Street and even get a glimpse of the parade.

Winner winner, chicken dinner
There are so many good eating options in Disneyland, it's hard to choose just a few for the five day visit.  Just ensures another visit again (SOON I HOPE!)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Napa Rose - Disneyland California Hotel

Disney Dining has many options to suit all wallets from counter meals all the way to fine dining.  During my stay I really wanted to do one fine dining meal and based on reviews, friends recommendations and a seasonal menu I choose Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel.  I arrived earlier than my reservation time, but that wasn't an issue and I was seated straight away.  The dining room is moody and dimly lit and the ambiance is soft and exquisite.  Hush tones surround me and I feel like I'm in for a real treat.  I was seated just near the open kitchen, offering great views of the chef's hard at work over the hot stoves.  There is also a chef's table and a bar/counter area where you can also be seated (which was full when I arrived).
The only way to go here for me was the Vintner's Table.  Yes I was splashing out!  A four course tasting menu paired with wines.  This restaurant is definitely on the expensive side (it is Disney after all) but I think it's worth doing at least one fine dining Disney style while visiting.
A beautiful basket of various breads and crispbreads arrived at table side.  I nibbled on the crispbread, not wanting to spoil my appetite.  However, the crisp bread was crispy, garlic and Parmesan and very moreish.
breads and crispbreads...but I love the basket!
The first glass was served and it was bubbly, crisp Gramona, Gran Cuvee Brut 2008 from Spain (the only photo of wine I got). I sipped on this while people watching and gazing around the restaurant.

The chef sent me an Amouse Bouche.

A perfect bite size (or maybe two) arancini of  goats cheese and chorizo fritter with romenesco and chilli sauce.  This was a flavour bomb as far as amouse bouche go and my taste buds were starting to party.  A sign of great things to come........

flavour bomb
It wasn't long before my first dish arrived.
Cedar plank roasted Canadian black sablefish with apple creme fraiche panna cotta, satsuma tangerine and almonds.  I have never tasted black sablefish before and I was amazed at the soft, fleshy fish. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaky , moist and deep hints of satsuma and tangerine.  The apple creme fraiche panna cotta was smooth and refreshingly tasty.

Black sablefish

aerial view of a visually pleasing dish
The staff are very attentive but not intrusive.  Everything is timed perfectly.
The second course was interesting.  Rabbit & Dumplings -fricassee of Sonoma rabbit, pot roasted vegetables and rich rabbit stew with bacon and cheddar dumplings 
Not a big rabbit eater, I was concerned this may have been a too heavy dish for a tasting menu.  The tasting serve is rather on the large side, with three big dumplings.  The rabbit is rich and meaty, the sauce is rich and deep in flavours and it's a hearty delicious dish, unfortunately the dumplings were dense and heavy.  I love the presentation in a cute copper pot.

Rabbit stew with dumplings
I was looking forward to the third course - Grilled diver Sea scallop and braised angus beef cheeks with harvest squash puree and lobster essence.  I love scallops and paired with beef cheeks can only be a good thing in my books.

Oh yes, this dish is a winner.  The scallop is cooked and the caramelised char marks are great.  The beef cheeks are again rich and meaty and so very tender.  The lobster essence offers a hint of the sea.

scallops, lobster and beef
The fourth and final dish is of course dessert.  Best hot chocolate ever - warm world class chocolate with orange and hazelnut homemade filled doughnuts (seriously that's what it's called) big call!
I was rather full by this stage and ended up getting this to take back to my room...but I did drink the best hot chocolate ever.  Creamy, thick hot chocolate - this was awesome.  There was only one donut filled with the orange and hazelnut filling, but they are rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  They were good, but I have had a better cinnamon donut before.

donuts of goodness and best hot choccie

Overall, I am very pleased that Napa Rose was everything that I expected. It's a wonderful restaurant for celebrations and romantic dates ...or for me....someone who just wants a bit of a special dinner when travelling on their own.  The staff will go out of their way to make your dining experience a fantastic one!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Disneyland Snacks

Disneyland is really the most magical place on earth (in my opinion).  I've been a Disney addict from as far back as I can remember.  Disneyland in Anaheim is the original Disney theme park, much smaller than it's bigger 'sister' theme park in Orlando...but it holds so much charm and oozes the magic.  Not only do I get hyped up about any Disney trip, what excites me just as much is Disney eating!
Over the week that I spent at Disney (yes 5 days of Disney bliss!) I indulged in quiet a few snacks, along with some Holiday specials.
Needing something warming (it was cold when I was there in November) I had to partake in the Hot spiced caramel apple cider and pumpkin squash fritters with an spiced apple butter.
pumpkin squash fritters with hot spiced caramel apple cider
Christmas in a cup!
The cider was warm and lovely with hints of spicy undertones.  A little on the sweeter side of a cider (obviously non-alcoholic) than I would normally like...but good.
Who doesn't like hot fried dough? The fritters were fresh out of the fryer, piping hot and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Each had a chunck of pumpkin inside each bite.
You can't go to Disney (or any theme park or fair for that matter) without a corndog.  This corndog is from the Little Red Wagon in Disneyland.  Hot, crispy fried cornmeal coating with a decent size dog inside.  Perfect with a dollop of ketchup

corndogs are the best!

The one thing I always have a 'few' of over the course of my visit is the famous Mickey Mouse Ice cream Sandwich.  Ice cream sandwiched between two Mickey Mouse shaped cookies.  There is something magical about these.  I'm an addict.

Mickey Mouse Icecream sandwich

Over to California Adventure Park, there are plenty more eats to have.  Ghiradelli's ice cream in a waffle cone.  Oh yeah!

Disney popcorn is truly magical.  It's up there with movie popcorn (if not better).

Magic kernals
Over at the 'new' Carsland, the Cozy Cone Motel serves up a variety of snacks and beverages.
Here I had the chili cone queso....chili con carne, cheese, fritos in a bread cone.  Washed down with a serve of Red's Apple Freeze.  Definitely a Lightening McQueen moment.

Cozy Cone Motel offerings

Back over in Disneyland, recently Starbucks arrived in Disneyland. I suppose it was going to happen eventually.  Pumpkin spiced latte with whipped cream, hit the spot and warm the tummy while waiting to watch one of the parades.

Dole Whip.  Pineapple flavoured ice cream.  Getting into the 'tiki' spirit in Adventureland.

You can't go past the many bakeries that make rice crispies, pretzel rods, caramel apples and fudge.  Just browsing the counters is making me drool.  There are so many to try! 

Tigger tails and mickey marshmallows.

tigger tails and mickey marshmallows on a stick
Disney inspired caramel apples
You can even watch all of them being made.

There are plenty of snacks and treats that are character shaped to take home (if they last that long)'s hard not to nibble at Disney inspired snacks!

Oh how I would love to be a cast member.  My dream job!