The Sneaky Pickle

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A hungry ‘cowboy’ enters hungry, empties his pockets, and still leaves hungry…
Dim lighting is used, not for romantic purposes, but so you can’t see how small your serve is and…
Not sure how to deal with a waiter who joins you at your table to explain the menu and take your order.

Diners, you may think I like doing reviews where I write about all the things I didn’t like but in fact I loathe them and yet I would be disingenuous if I wrote anything but what I’m about to write about The Sneaky Pickle.

This place came with a HUGE recommendation from a previously trusted source so hubby and I were quite eager to try it out.

sp1.jpgIt’s location on Goodwood Rd is a little difficult to get to and the frontage is quite unappealing. We didn’t even know if they were open! Hubby tried the door and said it was still locked. We waited in the car for another ten minutes or so when finally I said I’d try the door… I couldn’t believe they’d still be closed when it’s after their advertised opening hours….
Turns out hubby hadn’t turned the handle…. they’d been open..
But honestly you wouldn’t know because it seems like you’re walking into a shop that hasn’t been used in years.
From the outside, we couldn’t hear or see anything going on inside.

When we finally did get inside I felt a little better. It seemed like a pretty cool place – American BBQ is their style. There were lots of decorations on the wall, heavy wood furniture, hipster looking waiters and it was dark. I mean really dark!
There was music playing that ranged from Country and Western to Sixties lounge jazz.


We were sitting right under the watchful eye of that big guy on the right there.

There’s lots of huge wooden benches/booths and hubby and I sat in one. A few minutes later the bearded waiter came and squashed in alongside us so he could explain how the menu works.

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So they’ve got those BBQ meats on the top  of the menu. You pick the meats and quantity you want. That’s what they want you to do, and then you pick your sides. You do have a couple of options for sandwiches but they really want you to pick the meats and sides.
We didn’t have the Chicken thighs or Bourbon wings options on the menu we were given.

I don’t have a picture of the drinks menu but they mainly have American Beers and soda’s here.

So I went and ordered one each of the BBQ meats, a side of Texas Beans (+bacon + chili) and a serve of Bread Rolls. Remember when places would just serve you bread??
The menu says that the BBQ meats come with House pickles and BBQ sauce.

Well my dear diners, here is what we got for $39

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See the pickle and sauce on the left bottom of the tray? That’s what they gave us to go with the BBQ meats. “All BBQ meats come with House pickles and BBQ sauce.”
Sneaky Pickle indeed!!!

Those bread rolls were tiny. One bite and they were gone. I mostly stuck to the beans because I’m usually not a big meat eater and nothing there looked appealing to me. The Brisket was ok but it had huge gobs of fat in it. The pulled pork was ok. Hubby really liked the rib but he wasn’t sure of the value for money seeing as one rib was $7. ONE.
Hubby didn’t like the sausage at all. It had a very smoky taste and seemed a bit gritty as well. I had a little of it but wouldn’t have been able to eat a whole one. I’m not sure what the herb or spice was in there.

I tried to take a few more photos of the food, getting a little closer on some of the meats…

I had to wonder why they kept the room so dark. The windows were furnished with heavy black curtains. Is it so you can pretend to be whisked away to Texas or so that you don’t see how small the serve is you’re getting?
I really didn’t like those camp style plates and trays they were using either. And they brought us that platter of food to share, but no side plates so we could actually eat our food in front of us instead of having to reach for the centre of the table and hope we didn’t drop any.

The food didn’t take long to be gone, not because we loved it, but because there wasn’t much there…. So we left poorer and still hungry…
But it was ok, we stopped in at a Maccas on the way home and filled up with a few little naughty things for a fraction of the money we’d spent at the Sneaky Pickle…

We remembered the quote “Everything is bigger in Texas” but then were reminded that we were actually not in Texas and it all made sense…

This place seems to have a bit of a cult following so please don’t just take my word for it.
If you do go though, be prepared ….

Have you been to the Sneaky Pickle?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

Burek Lounge

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We visit a place that would have vegetarians quaking in their boots,
Balkan music played along nicely in the background while we ate food from the region and
We almost got into meat sweats territory!!

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Diners today we were at Burek Lounge.

This place has been popping up on my facebook newsfeed for some time, tempting me with pictures of enormous meat platters at very reasonable prices.

It just seemed too good to be true!

I had no idea where hubby was taking me as we just continued driving south along Tapley’s Hill Rd in Adelaide’s Western Suburbs. Even if I ask he won’t tell me, I’m supposed to just enjoy the “thing I can’t get out of” “surprise”

When he made the turn onto Grange rd, and then Findon rd, I twigged! We were going to Burek Lounge!
I’ve heard great things about this place so I was keen to see what it was like.

bur5When we got there I was a bit disappointed as it’s just a small shop front. It didn’t look like a restaurant, more like a shop that was once a corner deli, with cleared floor space for tables and chairs. It was neat, clean and modern looking, just a lot smaller then I expected.

As soon as we got out the car though, I could smell BBQ meat!! I’m not a huge meat lover but it really had me salivating! It just smelt so good!

The gentleman behind the counter was a little shy and soft spoken but was eager to tell us about the food. He said the food comes from the general Balkan region and at the same time, I noticed the music which I guess was also from the Balkan region. Loved that!

The menu was full of meat items although they did have a vegetarian pastry… still, if you’re vegetarian I’m not sure that this is the place for you…
Sadly they didn’t have any fries, wedges or even dips. But that was ok too because the food we had was really quite exceptional!

I must admit, when he said “wood fired pastries” I was thinking desserts…. but no, they’re savoury pastries. Seeing as we were having heavy meat mains, we went for the spinach and ricotta pastry to share for an entree.

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We had told him we were sharing so he took the liberty to cut it in half.

Hubby was not happy with that at all because when he says “share” he means I get thirty percent and he gets seventy percent.

I’m not sure what kind of pastry that is. Maybe filo? The pastry was quite thick though and it didn’t really have a lot of taste. It was nice, but it was probably my least favourite thing I ate there today.

Perhaps a meat filled one would have been better. It’s a bit hard to say. I also suspect it was just heated in the microwave but I was really really hoping I was wrong.

The server brought the mains out pretty much right away and everything was magical from then on!

I chose the “Steak Serve” – Two Rib Eye Steaks with Turkish Bread and side of Greek Salad. However it didn’t come with a Greek Salad Side, it was a Potato Salad and it was just as nice.

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You can see there is also a capsicum salsa on the plate. I can’t even begin to describe how good everything was. That meat was sooooo tender I could have blown on it and it would have come apart.  The Turkish bread was toasted perfectly, the capsicum salsa was just a lovely surprise that lifted everything on the plate. I was just in raptures with it!
I probably shouldn’t admit this but I ended up putting one of the pieces of meat in the Turkish bread and having it like a “steak sandwich”. Delicious!

Hubby ordered the “Mixed Grill” for one – Sausage, Pattie, Steak, Shaslick, 3 Cevapi and Turkish Bread.

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He also ordered a Greek Salad….
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Hubby said everything he had was good, but he didn’t seem to be as enthused as I was, and he’s the meat eater!!!

He didn’t have any complaints though. I tried some of his pattie and thought it was just bursting with amazing flavours!! These guys are passionate about BBQ meat!!

Even the salad was delicious!! There was a generous amount of dressing in there and the ingredients were so fresh! It just make such a difference!

I asked the server how long they’d been there and I think he said about four years, although they’ve only just picked up their Social Media pages in the last eighteen months or so.

If you haven’t already liked their facebook page and you live in Adelaide, I’d urge you to do so as they have regular specials that are really worth going down there for!

Have you been to Burek Lounge?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Casuarina Asian Bistro

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Luke-warm food almost makes us cry
We weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks and that almost made us cry and…
Good spicy food wakens our taste buds and definitely did NOT make us cry!

cas6Diners today we were at Casuarina in the Marion Shopping Centre.

There’s lots to love about this place and honestly I don’t know why I don’t come here more often.

One thing to note, this is not a “fancy” place so don’t expect fancy service. You will wait, but you will get pretty decent food and at a reasonable price.

We were dining on a Tuesday night and it was really quite busy at 6.30pm. My guess is it’s because of cheap Movie night at the Marion cinema’s! Whatever the reason, we were kept waiting at the entrance for a little while.
But that wasn’t too bad.

After a little while a nice waiter held up three fingers – yes that was to ask us if there were three in our party and I nodded enthusiastically and he led us to a table… I wonder which two fingers he would have held up if there had been two in our party.

The first thing you notice about Casuarina is that it’s a bright, modern looking restaurant. Lots of people making lots of noise. It seemed like it was a fun happening place.
The menu looked pretty good and had a nice amount of variety in it.

My two friends and I decided to split a couple of entree’s first. We’d ordered our drinks and food at the same time but for some reason, one entree came out, then five or so minutes later, one main and another entree came out.. and still no drinks. One of my friends had to remind the waiter what we were waiting for which shouldn’t have been necessary.

But onto the food!

The first entree we shared were spring rolls which conveniently for us, came three to a serve.

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While the taste was pretty good, it was immediately noticeable that the inside of the spring roll was cold. Had these been frozen and not left in the fryer for long enough? I don’t know, I was just a bit disappointed however, the flavours were good.

We also shared the Steamed Prawn Dumplings which also conveniently came in a serve of three.

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Now they WERE cooked all the way through and they were just delicious pillows of prawn. I loved everything about them. One of the sauces provided was a chili sauce and I’m glad I didn’t try it because apparently it was quite hot!! My tolerance is normally low but I’d recommend this dish,especially if you like a lot of heat in your food!

We were still waiting for drinks at this point which was a little disappointing… eventually our wine’s came but we were well and truly into our mains by then….

For main one of my companions chose the Char Kway Teow – Rice Stick Noodles with BBQ Pork, Prawn, Fishcake, Egg and Bean Sprouts, wok fried with a dark Soy Sauce.

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She said this had a great flavour throughout. The ingredients seemed fresh and it was just really tasty and enjoyable to eat. All the flavours worked well together.

Another of my companions chose the Green Curry Chicken.

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I had a bit of diner’s envy when I saw this come out!!! It looks pretty amazing! She said it was a perfect curry and just what she needed. It was fragrant and comforting and it was a pretty decent serve too!

I, with absolutely no idea, chose the Mee Goreng.

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I’m not even going to pretend to know what  Mee Goreng is supposed to taste like! All I can tell you is that it tasted great! The only complaint is that it was, like the entree, cold to luke-warm instead of temperature hot. There was a tiny bit of heat in here, just enough to wow my tastebuds and wake up those senses! I did enjoy this dish, I just wanted it to be temperature hotter.

Unfortunately no one came to our table to see how our meals were or to check to see if we wanted more drinks. We would have loved a jug of water! And maybe a sneaky second glass of wine….
I guess it’s a bit  of a “you get what you pay for” thing because the prices at Casuarina are really quite reasonable and most of the food is really good, and if you had to excel at either service or food, I’d probably pick food.

My diners and I hadn’t seen each other for some time so we were happy to gas bag and catch up but it was a bit disappointing that no one asked us if we wanted anything else (dessert) until the restaurant was almost empty and it was obvious they were trying to close up.

All that aside, I would eagerly come here again, even with the cold food, as I think they do a fantastic job and I just loved the flavours I experienced tonight.

I’d love to know what regular eaters of Asian foods think of this place!

Have you been to Casuarina?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Montezumas – Glenelg

Today on the Dining Diaries….

A guilty secret pleasure is revisited…
Nacho’s unite the world and
One of the Spoon You Fork Me team learns there’s alcohol in Sangria….

Diners today we were at Montezuma’s in Glenelg.  Please don’t hate me when I say this is a guilty secret pleasure of mine. I’ve been wanting to come here for some time but my usual dining partner refuses to. So, as he was working today, I recruited a new member to the team and off we went.

I’ve been coming here for years, in fact the first time I went was when I’d just started seeing hubby and we’d gone to Noosa for the day and lo and behold, there was a Montezuma’s. Later on in the year we went to the Gold Coast Queensland for a week and spent a lot of time in the Montezuma’s there thanks to their half price lunch deal!

monte8.jpgToday I got to Montezuma’s before my dining partner and walked in to check I wouldn’t need to make a booking. It was a Sunday and a lovely warm day at that so I suspected it would be busy. Unfortunately, at 1pm, there were only a few tables being used. I was a bit shocked to be honest. And I was also shocked that they had the doors and windows closed. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure they were open at first.

monte7When I walked in it felt dingy and the air a little heavy with oil and cooking smells. I was worried about how this was going to affect my new dining partner who had never even eaten Mexican, let alone been to Montezuma’s.

I was happy to hear the Mexican music playing in the background and allowed myself to be transported.

Looking over the familiar menu I began to relax into my surroundings and was looking forward to eating the only main I ever order here. …

monte4But first, Sangria!!! The first time I’d ever had a Sangria was in a Montezuma’s restaurant.

My dining partner and I both had a glass. I was tempted to order a jug but I was driving so had to be responsible.

What makes Montezuma’s stand out is the gaudy (but lovable) colourful decorations. I kind of feel like I should hate them I kind of feel like if I’m supposed to be a “foodie”, I’m supposed to hate this place but I don’t, I love it. I love everything about it, even the gaudiness and though I’m not sure it’s authentic Mexican half the time, I don’t care!

 

Unfortunately these photos don’t show the bright colours of the decorations but trust me, they’re there!

While we were sitting in our booth, a gentleman came over to put one of the decorations, a sombrero, back on the wall. My dining partner said “oh no you don’t!!!!” which kind of surprised me, but then she added “I need to put it on first”  And, she did just that!

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Yes… and we have a sombreo photo to prove it!

I should probably also add that after I’d finished my Sangria I said “I’d love another but I probably shouldn’t seeing as I’m driving” and she said “oh, there’s alcohol in that? No wonder I feel a bit tipsy…” 

Enough chit chat, on to the food!

We ordered a full serve of Nacho’s to begin with….

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The lighting was pretty dim in there so I’m sorry that it doesn’t look too flash but let me tell you they tasted pretty good!!! Believe it or not, my dining partner had not had nacho’s before and hadn’t even had refried beans before so this was a real treat for her!

We had vegetarian nachos which was refried beans, salsa and cheese surrounded by corn chips. Delicious!!

No sooner had we finished those but out came our mains!
I’d ordered my tried and true favourite, Chili Verde and my dining partner went for the Durango which is Chicken and Sour Cream Enchilada, Beef Enchilada, beans and rice.

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Again I apologise for the poor lighting. Remember my dining partner had never eaten food like this before and she found it very delicious. She had nothing to compare it to though. She said everything was good and loved the refried beans. She said she was surprised at how much she liked it as she had always thought she wouldn’t like Mexican food.

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My Chili Verde was everything I’ve always expected it to be. The beef was tender and accompanied by that chili which lit my tastebuds!!! Delicious!! and I really really love the way they do their rice here. I’ve tried to replicate that crispiness at home but it’s never worked out.

I don’t pretend to be a snobbish foodie. I like what I like and I know this place isn’t for everyone but I’ve got fond memories attached here and yes, I really do love the whole experience from the gaudy decorations to the food itself!! Our waiter today also had an accent and yes that helps!!!
I’m sure we’ll be back many more times and I’m sure I’ll probably keep drinking the Sangria and ordering the Chili Verde….

Have you been to Montezuma’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

Till next we chow…

The Republic

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A perfect Pork Belly restores hubby’s faith that such a thing exists,
A less than enthusiastic waitress perks up when she sees me scribbling in my notebook and
If you need to take thirty minutes or more to figure out to the cent how much everyone owes for what, then you probably shouldn’t be going to a place where you can’t split the bill…

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Diners today we found ourselves at The Republic. I had been here a few months earlier for a school reunion and thought it looked like a pretty cool place.  We were only meeting for drinks though, I didn’t even get to sneak a peak at the dining area that day…

I love the bar area. Great design, great lighting, great seating areas; It really is a place you want to relax and linger with a drink.

rep1We walked through this nice area to get to the dining area and I felt a little let down. It just doesn’t seem as exciting. To me, it looked a little dated (carpet) but still, I was eager to see what the food would be like here.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the bar area but there are plenty on their website.
The picture to the right is of the restaurant. I think it was the “green” on the walls and the carpet that put me off. All minor things…

The girl who greeted us seemed a little annoyed that she’d have another table to wait so close to the end of lunch service. There were two other groups in this restaurant when we came and she started to bring us to a table that was between the two. I asked if we could sit on the end table (for a bit of privacy) and it was like I’d asked her to perform a handstand. Grudgingly she took us to the end table and handed us some menus. She promptly told us that a couple of items on the menu weren’t available and a portion of the menu was for dinner service only (we were here for lunch) so that was a little disappointing. Hubby took a long time trying to figure out what he wanted but he eventually went for the Pork Belly. I chose the “Clean and Green Pasta” Spinach, fettucine, broccoli, kale, spring onion, peas, salsa verde.

Because we were quite peckish we started with a Duo of Dips.

rep2The waitress shuffled off to take care of our order and hubby and I noticed the salt on the table.

I guess it’s a cute little bowl but all I could think were the fingers that had been in there. Luckily, I normally don’t salt my food but if I were someone who did, I don’t think I’d be using any salt from that little bowl.

When the Duo of Dips came out, the waitress saw me scribbling into my  notebook (Usually I try to be discreet) and saw me taking photos of the food. From that point she was switched on and attentive. I shouldn’t be hard on her really, and I don’t mean to be, but the change was pretty dramatic.

rep3The dips were presented in an interesting way.

Firstly, I LOVE that they served this with carrots and cucumber!! Normally we get breads of some sort but I found this much lighter and nicer to eat.
They did also provide eight slices of sourdough bread which you might think is excessive but I’d rather excess than the opposite.

The dips themselves were quite nice. One was Egyptian Pumpkin and the other was a French Onion Dip.

They had a lovely consistency and flavour to them. I’m not normally a pumpkin person but this was really nice to eat.

While we were waiting for our mains to come out, one of the tables down the other end were discussing the bill. There were about eight in their party and I couldn’t believe how accurate to the cent their calculations were about who owed what. It became pretty amusing really. It wasn’t just a passing conversation this went on for twenty to thirty minutes! I had to think, if it really was that important, why wouldn’t they have gone somewhere where you order and pay at the same time!

When the mains came out, hubby was salivating.

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His Pork Belly really looked amazing!! And it tasted just as good. His one little complaint is that there was no crackling but what was there was tasty. I kept trying to ask him what it was like but all I got back was “mmmmmm” so I figured he was experiencing a food fantasy and didn’t press for more. Eventually he told me that it was the best Pork Belly he’d ever had. The Jus was a little sweet and he’d kept some of the bread over from the Dips and used that to mop it up. The Pork was just divine – he even stopped to compliment the chef on the way out.

I had been craving pasta before we even entered the restaurant and was glad they had one that appealed to me.

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I guess I kind of skipped over the bit in the menu where it said there were peas. It’s not that I don’t like peas, but I think their inclusion had more to do with their colour than anything else.
Having said that, the pasta was cooked really well, the broccoli was cooked but still had firmness and everything else worked well together – There was a bit of an olive oil taste as well which I loved. This was a really nice dish that I would have again, even with the peas if I had to.

If we do come to the Republic again, I’m not sure we’d eat in the restaurant. We’d probably just hang out at the bar with something from the bar menu.
It is an interesting place so I would definitely recommend a visit. The food was good and everything else just comes down to personal preference.

Have you been to the Republic?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…