Read my L.A. Times piece about the Petit Trois opening here.
One of the best things about traveling (in my humble opinion) is discovering the unexpected. Even though I’m one of those ridiculously organized people who plan out each day before departing (my husband hates this), as an avid traveler, I do appreciate the joys of an occasional, itinerary mishap.
A cancelled flight could mean an unplanned excursion to an archeological site in Greece. A wrong turn on a remote Japanese island could lead to a fabulous, hidden izayaka. Even something as simple as an unscheduled, free evening abroad could turn out to be an absolute EPIC experience.
Last September, enroute from Melbourne to Adelaide (start to my Australia trip here), I was informed that after checking into the hotel, I’d be on my own for dinner. I’d had an exhilerating week covering a media preview of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, a non-stop schedule of restaurants, wine events and lectures, so I almost opted to tuck into my hotel bed and catch up on sleep.
Instead, I caffeinated and sent out a tweet to friends on Twitter, “Where should I eat in #Adelaide tonight”?
Social media is a terrific tool for travelers, especially solo travelers. I’ve asked friends online for help with directions, shoe repair suggestions and even reached out when I’ve felt a bit homesick.
After a bit of research, my heart started racing. @PubAndDining aka The Daniel O’Connell, was quite the “nose to tail” restaurant, a la Fergus Henderson’s St. John, which is my favorite spot in London.
“Nose to Tail” is both a menu style and philosophy for us at the Daniel O’Connell. Traditionally it is a term used to describe whole beast dining where both the primary and the secondary cuts of a beast are utilised in the dining experience.
Believing that it is responsible and sustainable for us to use all that is fresh and available at any given time we take a more holistic approach and adopt a “no waste” philosophy to all that we do.
About the chefs via FaceBook:
The Two Chefs
Head Chef, Aaron Gillespie, started off his career in Adelaide pubs, at the age of 16. Now after stints at The Manse, The Science Exchange and Grace the Establishment, Aaron is excited to get behind the stoves of The Daniel O’Connell to continue to build his reputation by creating an iconic dining destination.
Joining him is Sous Chef Phil Whitmarsh, a loveable rogue, who was trained in some of the most notable kitchens of London and Paris, experiencing what it takes to earn Michelin hats. Phil is now home in Adelaide, and after a stint as Head Chef at Lochiel House, he brings his unique blend of global understanding and passion for the local produce available to him to The Daniel O’Connell.
The Daniel O’Connell was first licensed in 1850 as the Commercial Inn. The current building was built in 1881 at the same time as the many of the other buildings that were proudly situated in North Adelaide’s “High Street” by the town planners. The hotel changed its name from the North Adelaide Hotel to the Daniel O’Connell at the time of a refurbishment in the late 1990s and proudly maintains the Irish connection of North Adelaide’s heritage.
PHOTOS: My EPIC Meal at The Daniel O’Connell
Ox Tongue: Fresh, Fermented Kohlrabi & horseradish (additional photo)
The Daniel O’Connell Pub
165 Tynte Street, North Adelaide,
South Australia 5006
Follow the Daniel O’Connell on twitter
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Fergus Henderson visited the Daniel O’Connel Pub in May 2014. Photo by John Krüger (used with permission).
To be perfectly honest, until my eye-opening visit, I didn’t know much about the culinary scene Down Under.
Lake House (celebrating 30 years!) is about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, situated on the shores of Lake Daylesford in Victoria’s spa country. From what I’ve seen in these photos, the property (which covers 6 acres) looks spectacular, and it’s now on my travel “bucket list”.
From the restaurant website:
Alla Wolf-Tasker is credited with the establishment and growth of Daylesford and surrounds as a premier food and wine destination. Over three decades of honing Lake House into the mecca for foodie travellers that it is, she has fostered a network of excellent local suppliers and in the process succeeded in putting Daylesford on the culinary map.
Lake House boasts one of Australia’s most highly awarded restaurants and a New York Wine Spectator award winning wine list and cellar of some 10,000 bottles. The menu offers modern Australian cuisine paying homage to the region’s excellent seasonal produce. Local and seasonal may be a marketing mantra nowadays, but the ‘sense of place’ philosophy that imbues all of Lake House has operated here from day one.
In November I was invited by Tourism Australia to attend a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York. The theme was “Evenings Afar: Australia” and Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker was center stage. This was my first visit to Beard House, and I was thrilled to be included on the guest list.
My first bite of Chef Alla’s food? Kangaroo tartare of course! The entire meal was stunning and included an exceptional pork dish I still think about today.
Meeting the chef was a thrill as well and we often engage via social media. If you love food AND travel, do follow her at @WolfInKitchen.
Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker at Beard House 11/22/13
Kangaroo Tartar with Pepper Berries and Bush Tomatoes, Beet Crostini before heading upstairs to dinner (the only decent food photo I captured).
We drank heaps of gorgeous wine (listed below), provided by Wine Australia.
At this point, the lights were dimmed for dinner service and there was no way I could adequately capture Chef Alla’s beautiful food with my iPhone camera. To be blunt, my photos were crap. Thankfully the chef’s team sent me some lovely images taken in the bright Beard House kitchen. See complete menu below.
A quick peek in the Beard House kitchen. Tight quarters… check out the floor plan here.
Beard House kitchen equipment… touched by so many world-class chefs, past and present.
Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Beard House Menu
Kangaroo Tartare with Pepper Berries and Bush Tomatoes
Endive with Fresh Curds and Grain–Seed Praline
Wine: NV Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Freshwater Trout with Buckwheat Vinaigrette and Fennel
Wine: Plunkett Fowles, Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch, Riesling 2012
Smoked Eel with Pancetta, Beet Rémoulade, and Horseradish
Wine: Heggies Chardonnay Eden Valley 2011
Pork Croustillant with Choucroute Garnie
Wine: Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2012
Butter-Poached Pheasant with Foraged Mushrooms and Black Truffles
Wine: D’Arenberg Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2009
Brioche French Toast with Goat Cheese and Local Pears
Late Harvest Apples with Caramel, Buttermilk, Honey, and Oatmeal
Wine: Yalumba Museum Reserve Tawny Barossa Dessert Wine
Learn more about Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker:
“How Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Lake House has lasted 30 years in the tough restaurant game” by Michael Bailey
The Lake House Cooking School
How Chefs are invited to cook at Beard House
This is my favorite photo from a recent trip to Scotland.
My niece Kindal and nephew Chace (twins) had never met their grandfather (my dad) OR traveled overseas. He lives in Bridge of Weir, Scotland (near Glasgow) and I’d dreamt about taking them for years. After much saving and planning, we finally made the trip a few weeks ago, right after their high school graduation in Glendora, CA.
The photo was taken at the spectacular Mar Hall, where Dad plays piano every Sunday.
I’m currently editing over 7,500 photos and video from our recent UK trip, but wanted to share this special moment now.
Dreams do come true, and I am so damn grateful.
This super juicy, José Andrés pork and cured ham patty comes with piquillo pepper confit, caramelized onion, manchego cheese and aioli. It’s available for a limited time only at Umami Burger and is absolutely the BEST pork burger I’ve ever tasted… and I’ve tried plenty!
$1 from each burger goes to the World Central Kitchen!
Eat well and DO GOOD.
Follow @ChefJoseAndres on twitter
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DeSano Pizza’s are hand-made (each made to order) by an authentic (and charming) Italian Pizzaiolo named Massimiliano Di Lascio. The East Hollywood pizzeria is serving up Neapolitan-style pies with imported ingredients like fresh Mozzarella di Bufala (flown in each week) from Naples.
From DeSano’s website:
Our four ovens are imported from Italy and each weigh 6,000 lbs. We bake our pizzas at a temperature as high as 1000 degrees, so the cooking time is between 75 and 90 seconds. Baking at this temperature makes that charring on the edges and bottom that is so familiar with Neapolitan pizzas.
Peter and I tried a few different pizzas recently and the San Gennaro (photo below) is now a favorite. It’s topped with Salciccia sausage, caramelized onions, garlic, buffalo mozzarella and charred peppadews. Fatty and tart, all in one bite.
All my DeSano photos on flickr
5 Questions For Marino Monferrato of DeSano Pizza by L.A. Weekly
DeSano Pizza and Bakery
4959 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Open: Monday through Sunday,
11:30 am until the dough runs out.
This meal was gratis.
Chef Ben Shewry’s Attica Restaurant in Melbourne, is the ONLY Australian restaurant in S. Pellegrino 2014 World’s 50 Best list. Located in Ripponlea (a suburb of Melbourne) the restaurant has won several other awards including Age Good Food Guide’s Restaurant Of The Year and Chef Of The Year.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard about the restaurant until Jonathan Gold (Pulitzer-Prize winning L.A. Times food critic) emailed me, writing, “if you’re going to Melbourne, you MUST eat at Attica. Dainty Sichuan in Chinatown is worth a visit too.”
On my first day in Melbourne (invited by Tourism Australia), I headed straight to Chinatown, finding myself lost in narrow alleys and laneways, but eventually tucked into Dainty Sichuan’s numbing Chongqing Chili Sichuan Chicken. But finding a coveted reservation at Attica, ranked (at that time) 21st in THE WORLD? … Not a chance.
Until I started begging. Politely begging mind you, but still, it was shameless begging. Anytime a representative from the tourism board asked if there was anything I needed, I would mention Attica. I also noted that I would happily pay for this tall order myself, and even offered to rearrange my travel schedule (on my own dime) in case a reservation became available while I was Down Under.
When the great Jonathan Gold says I MUST eat at a restaurant… I simply MUST.
Jo Bites Oz, Part Five - An Extraordinary Meal at Attica
Born and raised in rural North Taranaki on the rugged west coast of the North Island, New Zealand, Ben believes that food can have a deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses. Of course the key to all this is that it tastes of the purity of its ingredients and is something delicious to eat.
For inspiration, he often draws from his childhood; from the volcano, rivers, ocean, and native bush that make up Taranaki, as well as his current Australian surroundings. (Attica Website)
“Lance Wiffin Watches His Mussels”: Sea Bounty Blue-Lip Mussels Flash-fried in Rye Crumb and Sea Succulents with hand-painted portrait (on mussel shell) of Lance Wiffin. About Sea Bounty’s Lance Wiffen.
Just a potato right? No. This was one heck of a potato and all these months later, I still can’t stop thinking about it. Watch a video of the chef making it here. It will help you understand why it’s such a special dish. I also love what Adam Sachs wrote about it (and Ben Shewry) for Bon Appetit:
Today is his day off, and we’re up early to “lay a hangi” in a friend’s yard. A hangi, for the uninitiated, is a New Zealand Maori ritual in which vast amounts of food are buried over searingly hot rocks in the ground and steamed to perfection in that slow cooker called Planet Earth.
Waiting for the bonfire to die down, I ask him about something I’d eaten at Attica the night before. On the menu, it’s listed as A Simple Dish of Potato Cooked in the Earth It Was Grown.
Chang (David Chang), who recently tweeted that Shewry’s potato in dirt was one of the best things he’d eaten last year, tried to describe why. “It’s hard to explain, but Attica’s a very personal dining experience,” he told me. “When I eat there I feel like I’m eating what Australian food should taste like.”
The dish is a hangi in miniature and essential Shewry: a humble potato, buried in dirt and shrouded in personal narrative. (Read the full article)
Opening the lid to “Plight of the Bees”. Two types of New Zealand honey combined with meringue, frozen lemon, wild thyme. The honey comb pattern was created with freeze-dried apple on top of the thin layer of pumpkin.
Along with our Attica menu, we each received a copy of Ben Shewry’s artwork. On the back he explained why he is inspired by the Pukeko:
“The New Zealand Pukeko is quite a character and has often provided my family with first class entertainment… Like me, Pukeko are often seen foraging for food beside roadside ditches, but unlike me they had been forced to adapt because their natural habit, the swamplands, have almost disappeared with human proliferation.”
Tourism Australia and Tourism Victoria went above and beyond to make this meal happen. Many thanks to Madeleine Blake (above left) for organizing the phenomenal evening for myself and Nyree McFarlane.
Read Nyree’s fantastic piece on Ben Shewry here.
Read more about Ben Shewry on Bon Appetit.
How to Get a Reservation at Attica in Melbourne, Australia by Eater
74 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Bookings: +61 3 9530 0111
This meal was paid for by Tourism Victoria.