Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Fourteen

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It seems to be getting just that bit harder to get going in the mornings…

Today hubby and I decided to go to Nara. This was on our places to visit last time but we just never got around to it.

 

I’m so glad we got to see it this time!

What a gorgeous quaint town that has so much history!

I was quite uptight when we got there as the whole way on the train I was fretting we’d caught the wrong one and were either going to have to pay a whole lot more, or even end up at a place no where near Nara.
I worried for nothing but even so, stepping off the train into the tranquil place would have eased anybody’s tensions!

I can’t remember the stops but we did look online and found a vague self guided walking tour that we almost followed. We ended up just going in directions that seemed interesting to us and we did get to see a LOT of things!

 


I do love looking at these religious shrines and temples but, and I hope it’s not insulting to anyone for me to say, they do get to be a bit boring after a while. I’m sure if I knew the history behind each one I’d get into it more but there seems to be so many of them. You could be going to them all day and they all sort of blend into the next one after a while.

Deer park was pretty special!!

This sign was a bit disturbing though so we didn’t feed any, just let them walk freely past us….

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I had actually been reading on someone elses blog, how one had bitten her when she was here because she’d been feeding it, and her food had run out… The deer wasn’t impressed by that and thought he’d check for himself if she had some more and bit her!

I saw them being a bit, not aggressive, but forceful with some people. Still, so very cute. It is Bambi after all!

 


Before going into the “old” area, we watched these men kneading dough. At least, that’s what I assume they’re doing. How cool is this!!!

Now tell me, would you like to be the one hammering, or the person sticking your hand on the dough???

 


Oh I should also show you what we ate for lunch. Hubby’s is on the left. It was an omelet on rice and other things. Honestly we don’t know half the things we’re eating. He had to pick a sauce out of about seven and he went for bechemel. Personally I didn’t think it matched and I thought it had quite a sweet taste.
You not be able to tell but these serves were really big! And they were quite “comforting”. We really enjoyed what we ate.

Mine was a baked omelet and besides the (what I assume was) seaweed on top, I really loved it too. Mine had mushrooms in it. I had to not look at it because some of the mushrooms looked like the wild things that grow wildly in the streets. The ones that your mother always said were poisonous!
They were delicious though!

Ok… and now the “old” area. What I loved about this was there were so many shops/displays/museum type places were you could go in and learn about the old culture for free.

We went into a traditional Japanese house (shoes off please!) and there was a group doing a concert there. I don’t normally enjoy the Japanese voice but this was SO amazing!!! It brought tears to my eyes. It was melodic and soulful. I wish I’d taken a video of that but somehow it almost felt disrespectful.
Here are some pics from inside the house.

 


The bottom left picture is of a staircase (Steep!!!) and NOT a book shelf. I went up one on the other side of the house and it was not so easy coming back down!

We also walked by the lake and enjoyed some treats from the local vendors. This area is so beautiful and we found another woman singing opera in an open area.

 


They love their soft serves here. We got a couple before getting back on the train.
We also bought these “fish” desserts. The shape is a fish but the taste is sweet. There was custard in mine and hubby had chocolate in his.
I’ve seen these moulds about the place. You can buy them and make these desserts at home I guess! I think they’re cute.

 


Sorry for the half eaten icecream… It’s always too late by the time I think to take a photo!!

We walked the streets and malls of Dotonbori once again tonight.. Ah the sights you see!

We cooked some local marbled meats, pork and a beautiful stir fry tonight!!
I could spend hours in the supermarkets here!

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And to finish off, here are a few interesting signs I’ve seen about the place from today

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Mediterranean Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We experience “outside” dining inside, thanks to the flies that insisted on joining us,
This place has oil and they ain’t afraid to use it!
Overall great food, great service and some enticing menu items beg us to revisit.

MediteranneancafeBrighton3-3-1024x768.jpgDiners today we were at Meditteranean Ristorante, a cute little place on the corner of  Broadway and Partridge Street in Glenelg.

Our day had been messed up again and we hadn’t had lunch. Although it was before 5pm, they said they were serving dinner which was a huge plus for us.

The staff greeted us as soon as they saw us and were friendly and inviting.
We chose to sit indoors as the sun was a little warm and there were flies everywhere!
Unfortunately, because the doors are open, there were flies all through the inside of the restaurant too and this would have been my biggest negative of the whole experience.
It’s just not comfortable when you have to keep swatting flies away before they land on your food.

The restaurant itself has a really comfortable feel with wood and maroon tones throughout. Some of the furniture looked a little worn but it just added to the comfort feel of the place.


We were given some menus and it was one of those menu’s where the more you read, the more you change your mind on what you’re going to order. There were so many things I could have had on there and in the end, went for a boring option (But one I enjoy) I really want to go back and try some of the other yummy things I saw.

Hubby decided to get an entree and salad. He chose and entree from the specials board.
Char-grilled haloumi pieces topped with fresh prosciutto, rocket, pistachios. Served with warm pita bread. Being an haloumi and prosciutto fan, he just couldn’t go past this dish!

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This was the first dish that came out and look how pretty that looks on the plate! You almost don’t want to eat it for fear of messing it up!

He said it had a wonderful sweetness to it and loved the pistachio’s that were mixed throughout. What you see on the plate there alongside the balsamic glaze is honey! At least that’s what it tasted like and hubby said the flavour combinations of all the elements together were just divine.  This was definitely his favourite.

He also had the Mediterranean Salad – House Special Chicken; Char-grilled marinated chicken served with mixed lettuce, tomato, cucumber, roasted capsicum, olives and feta with a white balsamic dressing, topped with tzatziki and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

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We both thought there was a good amount of chicken on there when the dish came out. The chicken was tender and seasoned well. The salad was dressed really well too and the tzatziki put a Mediterranean flair on the whole thing! His only complaint was that it was a salad and would have liked more lettuce leaves as a filler to make it look a little more substantial.

Boring me went for an old favourite, Fettuccine Ragu – Slow cooked tender braised chunks of beef with onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a rich red wine and tomato sauce.

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They brought out the Parmesan cheese so I was able to sprinkle that on myself. This was a real comforting dish. The pasta was cooked al-dente and the sauce was thick and rich. The beef was braised nice and was tender and flavourful.
My only complaint was that the sauce had a lot of oil in it which had pooled around the bottom of my plate. By the end of the meal I could taste it. It wasn’t overly unpleasant but I just kept thinking about my arteries clogging up.

Throughout our meal different servers came to check that everything was good and asked if we needed anything. They were attentive without being overbearing.
I should also add that the menu had fantastic wine choices too!

I’m really glad we finally got to visit this place as it’s been on our radar for quite some time and I’m eager to go back… maybe on a day where there aren’t too many flies around!
If you do visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Jetty Rd, Glenelg and the beach so you’ll have plenty to do once your meal is done!

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

Till next we chow…

Campania Sports & Social Club

FullSizeRender (12)Today’s review is something a little bit different.

I was invited to my grandfather’s ninetieth birthday at the Campania Sports & Social Club so I thought, while I was there, I would review this type of establishment.

While the Campania Club caters for people coming off the street, it’s location is a bit out of the way and the tables are all large (to accommodate groups) making it perfect for large gatherings rather than casual dining.

We were first to arrive and the hall was still fairly sparse which made it look even bigger than it already is. I’m not sure how many people  it sits, but our group had seven round tables of ten and we were barely a quarter of the room.
I think it’s actually the perfect spot for large gatherings.
There’s a play area for children to keep them entertained while giving the parents a bit of a break, and there’s a large screen TV which may be antisocial, but I love… especially as the footy was on the night we were there.

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The staff were very accommodating to our large group and some family members had been in earlier to pretty up the tables a little and have things ready for our celebrations.

As some of us hadn’t seen each other for a while, we were still standing around up to an hour after we’d arrived. I think this caused a bit of frustration for the staff who were waiting for us to order but they were still very patient.

The food selection was a little limited but then again, this is not a pub or restaurant.

Your selection was either pizza, pasta or parmigiana.

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Napolitana Pizza

The pizza selections were fairly simple but then, this is how I like them.

Good quality dough with fresh toppings and that gorgeous sweet tomato sauce is enough for me.

I ordered two pizza’s to share between the three of us.
We chose the napolitana  pizza and the potato pizza.
My brother, who was sitting next to me, chose the pizza with the lot.

 

 

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Potato Pizza

The place was packed and even so, we didn’t have to wait long for our pizza’s to arrive.

I tried a piece of the Napolitana Pizza first.
I loved the base. Spongy dough with a crusty  base with a bit of charring which gave the pizza a lovely smokey taste.

The tomato sauce had beautiful flavours throughout.

I like my pizza’s simple. This is the way they’re made in Italy and it’s exactly how I love my pizza.

Simple with a good quality, fresh tomato sauce and that perfect crust. It really was a delight to eat.

I’d never had a potato pizza before and was a little unsure about putting potato on a pizza. However after trying this one, I have to say it was pretty good. The potato was hard enough to enjoy the texture but soft enough to know it had been cooked. I’m not sure I’d order it again myself, but I didn’t mind what I had. The only negative I would say is that it probably needed a bit more seasoning because potato on its own can be a bit bland. Again the base was just perfect.

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Campania with the lot

 

The Campania with the lot was probably the pizza that would have featured the most toppings but you can see from the picture that most people would think there’s still not enough toppings on there.

 

I would have to disagree as what I love most about pizza is the base especially when that base is cooked well, and these really were.

 

 

 

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As mentioned, apart from the pizza’s they can also do a few simple pasta dishes and I even saw Parmigiana on the menu, but I didn’t see anyone having that. It would be safe to say that a good portion of the people eating in the club that night were having pizza’s.

 

I did see someone at our table having a pasta dish and it kind of made me wish I’d ordered that because I love a simple pasta dish and if the sauce on the pizza was anything to go by, I can only just imagine how it would have been on the pasta. Their one complaint was that there should have been more sauce!

All in all we had a really good night and I if you’re planning on hosting an informal gathering for a group, and love authentic, home cooked style Italian food, I would recommend the Campania Club.
The staff really were so very lovely and patient with our group and did what they could to make the night and easy and special one for us.

 

Have you eaten at the Campania Club? What was your experience?

Let me know in the comments below.

Till next we chow…

 

 

 

 

The Robin Hood – Norwood

rhh-home-630x400It’s been quite a few years since I was last at The Robin Hood Hotel and if I’m remembering correctly it was a bit of a dive at that time.

Since then, I think it’s had a makeover and I’ve been hearing good things about it so I’ve been wanting to go back and have a look for myself.

My first impressions were really not that great. Hubby and I wandered in from the back entrance looking a bit aimless and lost, and no-one asked us if we were there for dinner, or just wanting a drink.

Finally I found a waiter who told me to grab a menu, have a drink, then come back and order from the bar…
It turned out to be a little more complicated than that. I had to order food from one counter and drinks from another. Stand in one line, then stand in another.

The menu itself was pretty cheaply done and not very exciting to look at which is a shame really, as the food turned out to be surprisingly good.

Hubby and I decided on the Meat Sampler tasting plate and we ordered some sourdough bread and dukkah too.

There were a good amount of people seated in the outdoor area where we were. It was fairly comfortable and there was a large screen TV showing a live AFL game.
Unfortunately there was some unidentified animal droppings at the end of my seat. I guess you have to expect that kind of thing in an outdoor setting.

IMG_5365The bread came out fairly quickly and any minor irritations up until that point instantly vanished. It was warm and crusty and was quite a generous serve. When I broke it apart a puff of steam was released. The outer was firm and crunchy but inside the dough was soft and warm. It was so delicious even before I added any dukkah to it!  The dukkah was also so full of flavour. I  would have loved to have known what was in there. We had no trouble finishing up every speck on that dish!
I’d forgotten its description from the menu so I didn’t realise we also had some babaganoush. I’m not sure I’ve had that before.
It was very creamy and tasty although I have nothing to compare it too so I don’t know if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

IMG_5366The meat sampler followed fairly closely behind.  It was made up of pulled pork belly and cheese burger sliders, braised lamb shoulder, freekah and Greek feta salad, crunchy chicken skewer, homemade onion rings and sidewinder wedges.

We tucked into the two sliders first. I’m not sure which I liked more. The cheese burger slider was delicious but I feel like I’ve had that before. It was fairly simple but the meat was thick and juicy and the mustard complimented it nicely. No “wow” factor but enjoyable all the same.
The pulled pork slider was equally delicious although I couldn’t taste a huge amount of pork. There was coriander in this slider which gave my mouth a nice “yum” explosion

The Onion Rings were a little disappointing in that I couldn’t really taste the onion. Hubby and I had onion rings recently and the onion was deliciously sweet. The ones on this plate were lost in the batter. The wedges were battered lightly and  were crispy and fresh. I really enjoyed them and thought their shape made them a little more interesting than having normal wedges on your plate..

Another item on this tasting plate was the crunchy chicken skewer. I’m not a huge fan of chicken but these were chicken thigh fillets so they were very tender and moist and the crusty outer was so tasty.
img_5367Next to the chicken skewer was an interesting salad. On the menu they called it freekah and Greek salad. I think the only thing “Greek” about it was they had bits of feta in there but it was absolutely delicious. Feta, freekah, beetroot, almond, goji berries, sultanas… it would have been very sweet but when you ate it with the rocket, it balanced beautifully. I’m going to try to make this one at home!

Lastly, there was lamb on the plate. Lamb is normally my favourite meat but I found this to be very dry however it was still tasty. Maybe that was my lamb bias showing…

As I said, the food was surprisingly good and I’d love to go back there and try a few other items on the menu!

Have you eaten at The Robin Hood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow….

Hogs Breath Cafe Glenelg

IMG_5351Even though hubby and I go out for dinner fairly regularly, I always get super excited when we’re about to go out. It probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t have to cook…

This Wednesday afternoon we wandered into Hogs Breath Cafe in Glenelg.
I find Hogs Breath to be one of those places where my expectations are always high, even if the end result is just average. I think that’s what they call great advertising!

So hubby and I walked in reading all the cute little lines they have on the stairway to the top floor (I wish I’d taken a photo of this!)

We were met by our friendly waitress Jasmine at the top of the stairs and she showed us to a table out on the balcony.
It was a warmish but overcast day and we had very pretty views of Glenelg and Jetty road from our table.

Jasmine informed us that the new menu was just five days old. My first thought was “yay, new food!” but as soon as she walked away hubby said “You know what that means don’t you? Higher prices”
They do have a cheaper lunch menu option which looks like it’s good value for money but we didn’t order from there.
IMG_5352.JPGNot feeling very adventurous today, I went for something pretty regular, their Steak Sandwich – hold the beetroot please! (Yeah I know, what kind of an Aussie am I?) and hubby ordered the Serious Burger.
She didn’t ask us if we wanted to order any drinks so just as she was about to walk away I put in my wine order, and curiously, she didn’t ask hubby what he wanted to drink.

As we sat there waiting for our food, the other tables around us quickly filled. I was a little surprised at how busy it was, considering it was a midweek lunch meal but it did make it nicer that there was laughter and chatter happening around us.

When our food came out, the waiter got a bit confused calling one a Steak burger and the other a Serious sandwich. One was bigger than the other, and we had different sides IMG_5357otherwise they looked pretty similar.
My Steak sandwich (above) came with sweet potato wedges and I had to dig into one of these right away as they looked delicious and it really was! IMG_5356They were crispy, sweet and flavoursome! Everything you would want from a sweet potato wedge.

Hubby was still looking at his so I asked what was wrong. He replied “Now I know what the “Serious” part means. It’s seriously small.” And then added “If it wasn’t so serious I’d be laughing”

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Hubby had a side of twisters on his plate and this photo was taken before he’d eaten any.

He was really disappointed with the amount on the plate, especially when he looked around and saw other plates seemed to have more on them.
Have I mentioned that we like big food?

I was pretty happy with what was on my plate. My steak sandwich looked huge!! In fact the first thing I did was cut through and give half of it to hubby.
As I was cutting I noticed it was cold… It wasn’t the meat that was cold, but the bun was filled with a cold coleslaw and sauce and there was really so much of it, IMG_5358that when I did try to take a bite, I could barely taste any meat.
I’m not really complaining as it was tasty and I felt very full after having it, but I was wanting a steak sandwich and it didn’t feel like I’d eaten any steak.

When hubby tasted some of mine he said it didn’t really taste any different to what he’d eaten.

I asked him what he thought of everything he’d eaten and he said the taste was fine but he wasn’t very happy with portion size.

Personally, I enjoyed what I ate and the things I’m complaining about are very minor. It’s not every restaurant’s fault that we have huge appetites and don’t know what a normal portion size is.

Our burgers were both $21.95 which is probably fairly average give or take a few dollars.

Will we go there again? I’d say it’s very likely although probably not for a little while. I do like the atmosphere and the new menu had a few interesting things on there which I’d like to try next time.

 

Have you been dined at Hogs Breath?

What did you think?  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Till next we chow…