Hogs BreathCafe – Cairns

CairnsToday on the Dining Diaries..

An old favourite is revisited,
Wait staff serve their customers with permanent smiles on their faces and
we leave our mark on the walls!

0508894ade6cbccaa72f9095b1d05b1d.jpgToday the Spoon You Fork Me team are at Hogs Breath Cafe in Cairns.
While most of Australia is suffering through horrendous Winter weather, Cairns is basking in sunshine. I feel like I don’t want to leave this place!!

You may remember we reviewed Hogs Breath Cafe once before but that was the restaurant at Glenelg. I was interested to see if our experience would be any different.

Once again, as we enter we just feel happy. There’s something about that place that makes you expect to have a good time.
A gentlman greeted us at the door and gave us some pleasant small talk, took us to a table and told us someone would be along shortly.
Within a minute a waitress came smiling from ear to ear like she was our best friend. It’s not a criticism, it’s a good thing. It makes you feel like you’re in a place people want to be.
In fact I watched the wait and kitchen staff and they all seemed happy to be doing their jobs even when out of sight of diners.

FullSizeRender (33)I love the atmosphere in this place and the way it’s decorated which seems to be the same Australia wide. Although I took these pictures in relatively empty corners of the restaurant, there were quite a few people in there all having a nice relaxing time.

The inital gentleman who greeted us and the waitress both asked if we’d dined their before making sure we knew what food they offered and how to order.
Our waitress then told us about the special – Steak parmigiana with grilled capsicum and mozzarella cheese on top. That sounded yummy to hubby so he ordered that one. I went for an old favourite that I haven’t had for a while, grilled steak sandwich.

While waiting for the food, I looked around trying to see other people’s food, and another waitress, not the one serving our table, came up to me thinking I was wanting help or wanting to order something else or ask another question. It was things like that that really elevated our experience here.

FullSizeRender (32)My steak sandwich came with sweet potato wedges. I know these are the in things right now but I just find they don’t crisp up like potato wedges do. Still, they tasted nice once I added a bit more salt. The grilled steak sandwich was superb!!
In my experience, some places try to add too many sauces to this type of  meal making it almost impossible to eat without getting it all down your hands. This sandwich had just the perfect amount and the steak was gloriously tender and thick. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had this type of food for a while but I was super impressed!

FullSizeRender (31)Hubby was happy with his too. I was curious to know what the grilled capsicum was like on top as I don’t normally associate that with a parmigiana but he said it was really tasty and went well. He said his meat was cooked and seasoned well. I tried some of his veggies and there was just no salt on them. They were just plain boiled veggies.
I know you can’t presume to know how much salt to put on veggies but no salt and no seasoning?  Makes me wonder why bother to have them at all! But that’s only a very small criticism as we enjoyed our meal here and felt pretty full when we walked out!

I also loved how the waitress came to check how our meals were a few minutes after we’d got them. That doesn’t happen as much as it should and sometimes things aren’t quite right and I don’t like to make a scene so I don’t say anything. If someone were to ask me however, I might have the courage to mention it and I liked that we were asked and the waitress was not just expecting a stock answer but genuinely wanting to make sure all was ok.

Hogs Breath Cairns is not really in an area frequented by a lot of foot traffic which is shame. I’m sure they do get their fair share of customers but if you ever do find yourself in Cairns, I would recommend a ten minute walk from the Esplanade to visit Hogs Breath.

Have you been here?
What was your experience?
Let me know in the comments below…

Till next we chow…

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Turning Japanese -Part Eleven

We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather here. Yesterday really was the only day where we had to change our plans due to heavy rain.
This morning, after a decent caffeine hit, we started on our way to the Shitennjoi Temple.
Unfortunately some of it is covered – for restoration I’d imagine, but we were still able to take in some sights.

By the time we were done there, we were looking for some lunch so we decided to walk back to the Dontonbori area.

13315704_10153631295766288_4227150575096631857_nWe’d seen the area by night but were yet to see it by day.
Last time we were here, we’d tried to go to Hiday’s Texas BBQ but it was closed. Today, it was open so in we went!

Immediately we saw this was a teeny tiny place and there was only Hiday – owner and chef – in there.

Normally we’d back out slowly in this sort of situation but we’d been seen and greeted so we couldn’t really go.

It ended up being a really entertaining couple of hours! Hiday told us his life story while he prepared our lunch and we shared our own experiences.

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He took his time but that was ok too because we were talking and time passed quickly.

The food he prepared was amazing!!! I ordered a sloppy jo – western food in a western restaurant. I’ve not had one before so I have nothing to compare it to but it was soooo delicious! The meat was beautifully seasoned and the bread was toasty crunchy. YUM! Hiday makes his own bread! He also makes his own sauces for all the food he prepares.
Hubby had another type of meat sandwich. I can’t remember exactly what it was but he said his meat was really tender and well seasoned as well.

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He gave hubby a pickled plum to try too. I wasn’t game but Hiday says he has these for breakfast.

He showed us the photos of “famous” people he’s cooked for. He’s obviously very proud of the food he prepares and rightly so!

It was kind of sad to leave there. I felt we’d made a friend. Definitely a recommend from me if you ever find yourself in Osaka!

We were looking to eat Japanese tonight and I’m sorry, but if it’s not in English, I don’t know how to tell you what we’ve ordered but here are the pictures

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Of those three dishes, the middle one was the best. It was some sort of noodle omelette.

The bottom one had some sort of strange tasting “meat” and a spice on top I could have done without.

The first one… Well I didn’t try that one but I’ve noticed a lot of theses type is dishes are served with an egg on top.
Tomorrow we leave for Australia.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to eat when I get there all day!!

 

Turning Japanese – Part Seven

Osaka awaited us this morning.
With full confidence we left our lovely apartment and walked to the train station.
We were going to see Osaka Castle
No breakfast included in this accomodation apart from what we choose to provide for ourselves and as we’d gone grocery shopping we had the luxury of having a few coffees before we left our apartment!

We went to the Castle and took in the wonderful and awe inspiring sights. I’ve added a couple of pictures for you to get an idea of what we were looking at.

We had picked a couple of things we wanted to do in Osaka and one of them was to visit this mall that apparently went for kilometres… We were going to take the Osaka Loop line but once we googled, we saw it was only a couple of kilometres away so we walked there.

It was pretty interesting!! Lots of little shops and little food places. My stomach was starting to growl as apart from the coffee, we hadn’t eaten anything.

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After walking through the mall our hunger was building! We decided to put “food court” into google maps and go to the nearest one. That ended up being 2.5 kilometres away however once we got there, we saw it wasn’t what we consider a “food court” to be.
We were in the Hankyu building.
If you’re familiar with this building you may know that there isn’t a food court. There are plenty of restaurants in the basement level but not a food court as such – just a lot of restaurants – just as you’d see on the streets.
We went to the enquiry counter and they sent us to the 12th and 13th floor. They told us we’d find the “food court” there.
Once we got there we saw it wasn’t what we call a food court, and not only that, but these restaurants were definitely more hoity toity. Not what we were looking for in our walking clothes. But there were streams and streams of people lining up to go to them! There were so many people everywhere!!

So we went back down to the ground level and started walking back through the streets to find somewhere to have lunch. Disappointingly, some of the places we were interested in didn’t open until five. I’m not sure if that was because today is Saturday, or if that’s the way it always is.

We walked and walked and walked and finally fell into a place that had a picture of a sandwich roll on the window.
I think by this stage, I would have gone anywhere, even eaten octopus, just to be able to sit.

Very few people speak English here. They all say they speak a little, and they can get by with a few words but they can’t really communicate beyond a basic level. And that’s not a criticism!! Most people in Australia can only speak one language!
So hubby and I got a couple of “pizza’s” (similar to a sub or slice) and a premade sandwich.

The pizza was actually very good!! Now that could be because we were super tired and starving, having walked over eighteen kilometres at this point, but it was still very good and definitely hit the spot
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The sandwich was ok. Very thin and no crusts!! I love my crusts! Never take off the crust people it’s the best part!!

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Did you notice what is said on the sandwich?

How cute is that!

I wasn’t smiling until I actually read that message, but after, I was…

People here are just so courteous and nice. I wonder if I’m in some twilight zone. It just seems too perfect.

I made hubby walk all the way back to the apartment. Hubby and I decided to walk back to the apartment – all six kilometres, and before we got there, we stopped at the big supermarket near home and grabbed some treats AND a small bottle of Jim Beam (bargain price!) and a nice bottle of red for me.
Deeeeelicious and long overdue!

This evening, being creatures of habit and comfort, we headed back to that fabulous food court (staying well away from the place we’d gorged ourselves at yesterday) and ordered something different. Even when we’re handed an English menu, we still don’t know what we’re getting.
Throughout Tokyo and Osaka, we’ve seen street vendors and restaurants alike making these cute little balls. We didn’t know if they were savoury or sweet.
There was a vendor in the foodcourt that was making them so, being brave, we ordered a couple of dishes.
Even though the menu was English, it said “Takoyaki”. We don’t know what that is!
Later on, hubby googled it and we reaslied what they were. Octopus balls!!! We don’t normally eat seafood but I have to say they were soooo creamy and delicious! The only thing I could have done without was the barbeque tasting sauce that was on the top of one of our dishes.
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And each serve had eight balls so they were pretty filling!
We both felt like dumplings though and the beauty of being in a food court is that you can choose different things.. so we ordered some dumplings and some rice from another vendor (and sat at another table so hopefully no one noticed)
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The dumplings were nice but not as nice as others we’ve had. There wasn’t much filling in them but the taste was ok.
The rice was very full of flavour and crunchy!! Hubby and I had a little spat over them.
“But you said you didn’t want rice”
“I didn’t, till I knew you were getting some. How can I not eat it when you’re eating it in front of me”
“Because I wanted them. You said you didn’t”
“That was then, this is now, besides, you’re the one who always wants to share”
“And you don’t so get out of it. I got this for me”
Typical conversation between us really.

And to carry on with our bogan food theme today, we went to McDonalds to try to get a soft serve cone for dessert but they stop serving them after a certain time, so instead, we went to the convenience store and got something that kind of looked like a soft serve cone and it was delicious!! Vanilla and Coffee flavour and very creamy.

If these people didn’t all ride bikes incessantly, they’d be in trouble with all this creamy, highly processed and fatty foods!
I love it!