Searching for Cherry Blossom – Part Eight

It’s our last day in Osaka and I’m feeling quite sad. Although we really only saw Cherry Blossom on the first few days, we did have a great time here. I just love Japan. I still can’t put my finger on why but I love being here. I love the people, the culture, the convenience stores (haha)

Here’s a couple of pictures from my morning walk down to Dotonbori again. I’m going to miss this walk.

One thing I haven’t written about is the fashion here. In Australia, I can walk past a store and tell if it’s for younger or older women. I can’t do that here. And the fashion seems to be really really drab (in my opinion) boring suit style, or exquisite feminine prettiness. It’s all extremes! I can’t find an in between! I really really wanted to buy clothes here but even today, spent mostly at Rinku Town, didn’t yield any great finds for me.

IMG_5836For those that don’t know, Rinku Town is a discount shopping district.
We went straight to the area where all the high end brands are… Gucci, Armani, Billabong, Nike and believe it or not, Crocs, amongst many more names.

I’m not a name brand shopper so most of that part didn’t thrill me and I got a bit
disheartened.

IMG_5837Hubby had to get his Starbucks fix and while we were there, they gave us a sample of this new frappuccino that was going to start from tomorrow.

It was delicious!!!

It’s happened a couple of times since we’ve been here, that they will bring around a “sample” of something while we’re in Starbucks.

I love it.

Can’t say no to a freebie!

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After some lunch (above) hubby and I headed over to the “cheaper” part of Rinku Town and I found a few things there. I was really looking for a Winter jacket which I thought I’d find on special seeing as they’re heading into Summer and a handbag but sadly, found neither.

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Still I did find a few things so after that we headed on over to the airport and waited in line with the million other people bound for Australia.

It was a little comforting to hear the Aussie accent and to

see the flying Kangaroo (Qantas)
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Before we got on the plane we finally tried a noodle roll.

I’ve seen this around all over the place but hadn’t tried it up till now.

I mean carbs in carbs? It didn’t make sense to me however it was actually ok.

 

I don’t know that I’d have it again but I didn’t hate it.

We had a really good flight back. We made some beautiful memories and had a few new experiences.

We had a few hours wait in Sydney where I saw for the first time that there is a Qantas Heritage Museum in the Qantas domestic terminal. It was pretty interesting and if you ever find yourself in there, I’d recommend you going in! I loved seeing how the uniforms had changed over the years

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of that area.

In a couple of months hubby and I will be bound for Europe so I’m sure I will be updating then!

Thanks for following this blog and as always, I’d love to hear about your own experiences travelling.

Until next we fly….

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Lone Star Rib House

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re nuts about nuts,
We must have looked very, very, very thirsty and
I told a waitress “I’m a big eater” in a solemn and serious voice.

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Diners today we were at Lone Star Rib House at Glenelg.

Lone Star took over the building where McDonalds had been located at Glenelg.

You may recognise it from the picture.

Hubby and I had been here quite some time ago, before I started reviewing, and didn’t have a great experience. While the food was ok and the serves were large, the dishes took a VERY long time to come out and the restaurant wasn’t full. In fact after about 90 minutes I had to ask a waitress if we were going to be getting any food…
When I checked out other reviews online, I found this to be a common complaint.

However some time has passed since that visit and I was curious to see if anything had changed.

There were four of us in our party today. When we walked in, a server greeted us immediately, gave us a bucket of complimentary nuts and took us to a table.

ls7I have to say, I love the decor in this place. I love the wooden benches, the brick walls and the decorations on them, and the country and western music that plays! It really sets the mood and gives you an expectation of the food you will receive.

They have the slogan “Our food is Bucking Awesome” on the walls with the added suggestion “Better read not said”

Hubby and I greedily ate through the nuts while Miss 22 and Mr 21 watched in astonishment. We barely stopped to give the waitress our order. It was a little embarrassing but we didn’t care. We could have only looked more “Bogan” if we’d started shoveling them into our purses…

On first sight the menu seemed quite big but there were a lot of similar options on there. For example, lots of different burger, hotdog, and schnitzel options that took up a couple of pages. They did have a few chicken and fish options too. As far as meat went, they had one Steak, one T-bone and a Prime Rib option. I thought for a “meat” place, there really should have been a few more steak options.

I didn’t know what I was going to have when I saw the nachos with chili con carne option in the “Teasers” section of the menu. I really had a craving for nachos but wasn’t sure this was going to be a big enough serve. Embarrassingly, I asked the waitress and she said it was a substantial serve but I told her quite seriously “Are you sure because I’m a big eater”.
To her credit she didn’t react like she was talking to a crazy person and showed me the plate it was served on and that sealed my choice.

Miss 22 is a vegetarian and was a little worried about menu choice. I guess you can’t really expect vegetarian options at a Rib/Steakhouse however she did find a vegetarian burger.

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It looked like a pretty good size dish. She said the veggie patty was mostly peas and corn which is not her first preference but it still tasted ok and said the beetroot gave the dish a nice sweetness.
I tried one of the fries later on and thought there was a heavy old oil taste but I could be wrong. They were seasoned really well though.

Mr 21 went for the smaller sized T-bone with a Garlic Shrimp Topper add on.

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Everything looked really fresh. He really loved this dish. He said the meat was cooked well and was really well seasoned too. The salad was fresh and colourful. His only complaint was that the mashed potatoes were a little lumpy… it’s a wonder he didn’t think that was normal considering the mashed potatoes I’ve served him in the past…

Hubby decided to choose from the “Teasers” section also.
He chose the Amarillo cheese fries (With cheese and bacon) and the Lone Star Tex Mex Chili

The fries were quite a generous serve and had a good amount of cheese on there, just like hubby likes it! He said the chili was really good too. He certainly didn’t have any complaints.

I was in raptures when my nachos came. Nachos all to myself!! I was so excited.

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The dish was large enough for me and the topping were really good. I couldn’t have any complaints about this. I enjoyed every mouthful. The only thing I could have wished for was perhaps a little more chips, but that’s only a minor complaint.

The food came out pretty quickly! I was pleasantly surprised.
The only minor annoyance was that we were asked at least three times if we wanted more drinks, and this was while we all still had full glasses!
I guess the servers are told to really sell, sell, sell but it was just a little annoying when you’re having a conversation, to have to stop and tell the server “no, we’re fine for drinks thanks”

When the bill came I thought “My god this is cheap!” and then realised our food was not on that bill. They’d brought us a different table’s bill.
It ended up being half of what our bill was and I almost wish I “hadn’t noticed” and just paid the wrong bill… I thought the server could have comped us a drink or something for my honesty but no big deal.

In summary, Lone Star have definitely given us a better experience this time around. The food is reasonably priced and mostly presented and cooked well. The serves are generous and… there’s always that bucket of complimentary nuts!!!

Have you been to the Lone Star at Glenelg?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

Base Bar – Bath Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Red Brick Walls, Wooden Beams and music relaxed us,
A huge pizza wood oven almost makes us wish we’d ordered pizza and
The Menu said “Share Plate” but hubby reads mine only  “main”

bbar5.jpgDiners today we were at Base Bar in the Bath Hotel.
Right on their website it says “The mission is simple: serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week” and I have to say that was pretty much our experience!

I don’t know if it was the sunny weather today (after so many dreary days) or if it was Base Bar, but it was just a pleasure to be sitting there with lots of people, enjoying the atmosphere and feeling good about the day.

We walked in through an outdoor/atrium area and it was really very pretty. Lots of outside seating and booths and a big screen TV for distraction.

We didn’t sit there as it was quite windy but otherwise it would have been nice…

Instead we entered the bar area which had a bit of a trendy, hipster warmth if that’s even a description.

Tall, red brick walls and wooden benches and chairs just made it feel like a place you wanted to be.

We grabbed a couple of bar menus and found a nice seat in the corner. Hubby was immediately drawn to the share plates. I’m not a huge fan of them because there’s always things on there I don’t really want to eat and hubby always thinks because he’s a foot taller than me he gets to have more than me and well, that’s just not fair!

So he ended up ordering a Shared Mexican Plate on his own for his main. Guacamole, Sour Cream Nachos, DIY Taco’s and Fried Chicken Wings…

I had a craving for pasta so I went with the Linguini Salsice – Spicy Chorizo, roasted Capsicum, Olives, Basil and Parmesan.

The bar menu seemed a little limited but then again, it is a bar menu and I’d rather they have a few items that they do really well, than lots of items that are just mediocre.

We had a drink or two while we waited and checked out the food on other people’s tables. It all looked pretty good! We noticed the huge wood oven at the other end of the room and all the pizza’s coming out and wondered whether we should have ordered a pizza instead.

We forgot all about the pizza when the food came out though! Both plates looked really amazing.

First the Mexican Share Plate

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I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get everything in!! On the top left are the taco fillings. One Mince, one is Pulled Pork and the last is Chicken. Top right are the tacos – they gave five which seems like an odd number when there are three fillings.
Bottom left are the Fried Chicken wings and coleslaw and bottom right are the nachos.

Hubby loved the minced pork filling. I tried a little too and it was really very nice. There was some herb or spice in there that I just couldn’t pick… But when he got to the Pulled Pork filling, he just made grunting noises and covered his hand protectively over his food. Oh yeah, he was enjoying it…
He kept uttering “It’s not really a lot of food for one person is it?” No dear… Not when you’re six foot seven.
The nachos were the only thing I would have been interested in on his plate and although they were ok, I would have been disappointed if that was the only thing I’d been served. A lot of the nachos were broken so there were just broken chips down the bottom. But hubby didn’t mind and really, nacho’s have to be pretty bad to be bad. These were ok.

I was absolutely in raptures with my pasta.

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From the moment it came out till I took that  last bite, it was just wonderful. It looked so good on the plate and tasted even better in the mouth!
I’m not a big fan of Chorizo so took those out for hubby, but everything married up so well in this dish. The pasta was cooked well, the olives gave your mouth a buzz, it was just magical! In fact my only complaint was that the fork they gave was not big enough for me to twirl as much pasta as I wanted onto it. I am an Italian girl after all!

All in all, we had a great time here and no doubt will be back soon.
It’s great to find a place that you can look forward to returning to.
Casual dining, great atmosphere and great food.
What more could you want?

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

Till next we chow….

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…

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…