Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!

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Darwin – Day 1

Diners I hope you’ll enjoy these next couple of entries where I share hubby and I’s first visit to Darwin.
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Seeing as we were only going to spend a couple of days, we just wanted to get a feel of the food and culture of the CBD area and didn’t get a car. Next time, we’ll definitely get a car and really go exploring!

Our trip began with a business class ticket on our Qantas flight. It was hubby’s birthday treat to me!
I’ve never traveled anything but economy class so this was a big treat!

Apart from the extra leg space, we were treated really well and offered some tasty food! As we were on a morning flight, our meal was breakfast and we had a choice of bircher muesli, or bacon and poached egg with mushrooms. Hubby wasn’t quite sure which one he wanted and was told he could have one of each if he wanted. Wow. He just took the eggs. Apart from that though, we had whatever we wanted to drink, fruit salad, zucchini and walnut muffin and probably lots more things that I’m forgetting. They do make you feel very special!

I really loved my bircher muesli. At one point hubby brought his spoon over to taste some.
“NO, NO!!!” I exclaimed in horror.
“But you have to share” he replied while dipping into my muesli
“But it’s my birthday!” I protested weakly.
I only mention this as this conversation was clearly heard by the other business class passengers….
Later I did try to taste one of the mushrooms on his plate but he just growled so I backed away slowly.

We got to Darwin and were immediately engulfed by humidity. People seem very nice here. Laid back and friendly. I’d always heard that and got to experience it for myself.

Walked Mitchell st because everyone says everything is in Mitchell st and started looking at the different cafes, restaurants and bars along that road, trying to figure out which one we were going to go to.
Up to now, although it had been humid, it hadn’t rained.We decided to go into the Ducks Nuts for a drink and while we were there, a huge torrential rain occurred. It was over ten minutes later though and you wouldn’t have known it had happened!
Unfortunately we never got to go back to the Ducks Nuts for a meal. I really would have loved to as it seems like a really cool place.

Kept on walking along the esplanade and eventually found the wharf area. Had to stop for a Sangria at the Hot Tamale

Food prices seem slightly cheaper than Adelaide. Although I haven’t seen the size of the serves yet but that’s my first impression.

img_8162We went back and to our hotel and checked in. I wanted to check out the gym and pool area as I was hoping to utilise at least the gym area.

What you’re seeing in the pic on the left is a look of pure joy as I discovered that the hotel gym, really was a pretty good gym!

Not only that, but no one was in it so I decided to go a few K’s on the treadmill and build up my calorie bank in preparation for dinner tonight.

After resting and freshening up in our room, we ventured out into the humidity once more to see where we were going to go for dinner.

We were told the streets were quite empty because it’s “off” season right now. We knew we would be visiting in the Wet Season but we still wanted to have a look. There were still plenty of people around, enjoying their surroundings and doing whatever they like to do.

We found ourselves back on the Waterfront and I just couldn’t go past another Sangria so we went back to Hot Tamale, this time for dinner as well as a drink….


I commented to hubby that the people you think are going to be friendly and nice haven’t really been, and those you don’t expect it, go out of their way to be nice and friendly to you.If it was hubby’s choice, we wouldn’t have come back here but I’m just a sucker for Mexican food and it was my birthday after all so he obliged.

I decided to go for a Chili con carne. Hubby was pretty undecided. When we had been here earlier in the day he’d wanted to split some nacho’s but I didn’t want to waste calories at that point. Now, for dinner, I told him if that’s what he felt like, he should get them for dinner.
We asked the waiter if it was enough for a main and he said they were even too much for him. He was not a slender bloke so we trusted him and ordered the nacho’s for hubby’s main.

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I think they make the corn chips themselves. They were ok. They had a strong oil taste to them and felt a little like prawn crackers that you get from chinese takeaway stores.
They weren’t bad, just not what I was used to.

I don’t think it’s a serve that’s big enough for a main meal though.

What I did love about this place was that they had Latin music playing the whole time. You just can’t be sad when Latin music is playing!

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My Chili con carne was pretty good.

It was not a huge serve but as I wasn’t running as much as I normally do when I’m home, that was ok.

At one point I looked at my dish and I looked at hubby’s dish and noticed there wasn’t a great deal of difference between them.

We both had braised beef and homemade nacho’s as the main elements on our plates.

After dinner we strolled back to Mitchell st and joined other locals enjoying some live music as “Wisdom”

These guys party like there’s no work tomorrow!

We arrived back to our room with a few naughty snacks and fell asleep while watching some movie playing.

It was a good first day!

Stay tuned for “Day 2” out tomorrow!

Portobello

What a nice little treat for us today! Through a set of circumstances, hubby and I found ourselves at Portobello, a great little cafe in New Port.

Portobello boasts waterfront views and when we arrived, we were greeted by friendly staff – always important – and shown to a table that made the most of the gorgeous day outside.
I did have to wonder what kind of business they do here as the location isn’t that easy to get to. Having said that, the instructions on their website are really clear and easy to follow, but just the fact that they have to have instructions would be a little worrying for me.

The restaurant seems to have a good layout with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. We noticed a thermomix on the servery counter and wondered what they would use that for.

I personally loved the choices on the menu. This was my kind of menu! Lots of good Italian dishes. Pasta, pizza, risotto.
We ordered some wine then decided to start with everyone’s favourite, wedges, followed by Beef Ragu Rigatoni for me, and the Grain Fed MSA Portherhouse for hubby.

Our taste buds were definitely watering as we saw other people’s food coming out. Everything looked delicious!

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Wedges with Sweet Chili Sauce and Sour Cream

The food came out sooner than I was expecting considering the amount of people there.

The wedges were just fantastic. They were crisp, crunchy, fresh and hot! Nicely seasoned, thick wedges accompanied by sweet chili sauce and sour cream.

The only negative hubby had was that there wasn’t enough!

Wedges are wedges and though they were done well, are a pretty common item on the menu so usually not something I’d go out of my way for.

The mains on the other hand… my mouth is watering again just thinking about it!

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Beef Ragu Rigatoni

My Beef Ragu Rigatoni was just divine! The gorgeous aroma’s coming from it almost knocked me out before I’d even tried any!

The meat was so tender and so so flavoursome.
The pasta was perfectly cooked al-dente and my serve was so large I actually shared some with hubby.

The sauce was rich and I loved the odd mushroom I found on my plate.

Really a very delightful dish and just what I was craving today.
I was very sad when it was all gone!

 

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300 gram Porterhouse

 

Hubby’s Porter-house was really tasty but again he was disappointed in the size as he saw this dish being brought out to others and their serves looked bigger.
We could have been mistaken.
Food envy is a real thing!

Hubby said it was really tender, perfectly pink inside, and had a really nice flavour but he could have done without the red wine sauce.
I had a taste and actually really loved it so I guess that’s just one of those things that does come down to exactly that – taste.
His meal had steamed broccolini and rosemary baby potatoes. The broccolini was still firm – perfect, and the baby potatoes were very crisp and tasty too. Again, his only negative was that there wasn’t enough.

Our waitress was lovely. She was attentive without being intrusive and answered a few questions I had about Portobello.

In summary…
The Good: The food was more than delicious – Better than any I’ve had in a little while. Flavoursome and cooked with love.
The Bad: None really except maybe hubby’s serve was smaller than he was expecting and although I didn’t mind the short walk to the restaurant, I wouldn’t want to do that on a bad weather day.
The Ugly: The only ugly was probably how full and fat I felt as I walked out of there! But I was very satisfied and I’d love to go back and try out a few more delicious items from their menu.
Have you been to Portobello?
Does your experience match mine?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, please let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…