Sunday, 29 November 2009

Christmas Supplies

I can't believe it's almost December. Which also means it's almost Christmas. When it comes to Christmas, I tend to do everything at the last minute, but I know there are plenty of people out there that actually engage in some forward thinking. So here's a list of places that are worth checking out if you're looking for a few special items for an amazing Christmas feast. This list is just a start - I'll add more places to the list as it gets closer to Christmas, including Christmas markets.

Bittersweet Chocolate
Too hot to make your own chocolates to enjoy after all the prawns, turkey, cake, wine, etc? Pop into Bittersweet instead for a few chocolates that are sure to end the meal on a winning note.

Tenancy 8, The Barracks
61 Petrie Terrace
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3367 3323
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Black Pearl Epicure
For me, Black Pearl Epicure is probably the first place I'd head in Brisbane to pick up ingredients for a memorable Christmas meal. You'll find turkey, ham, duck, caviar, foie gras and truffles amongst their Christmas offerings. If you're looking for inspiration, this is the place to go. You'll find their Christmas order form here - orders close on 4 December 2009.

36 Baxter Street
Fortitude Valley 4006
P - 07 3257 2144
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Brisbane MarketPlace Christmas Twilight Market
The Brisbane MarketPlace at Rocklea will be holding a Christmas Fresh Market on Wednesday 23 December, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables and deli items. The market will run from 2pm to 8pm.

Wednesday 23 December 2009, 2pm to 8pm
Brisbane MarketPlace
Sherwood Road
Rocklea 4108
P - 07 3915 4200
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Cru Bar + Cellar
If you can find a park at James Street, it's worth popping in to Cru Bar + Cellar. I'm always impressed with wines I come across at Cru that you just can't buy anywhere else. With Christmas just around the corner, Cru is also very handily placed right next to the James Street Markets.

James Street
Fortitude Valley 4006
P - 3252 1744
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Fair Trade Christmas Market
The Queensland Fair Trade Collective will be holding their Christmas market on the 5th & 6th of December. Although its more of a homewares, toys & jewellery type market, there will be fair trade tea, coffee, chocolate and gift hampers. So you can pop in & pick up some fair trade coffee and also do your Christmas shopping at the same time.

Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 December 2009, 10am to 4pm
Marymac Community Centre
616 Ipswich Road
Annerley 4103
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Kelvin Grove Village Christmas Markets
Peter Hackworth will be running a special Village Christmas market on 23 December 2009, from 4pm to 9pm - with 100 stalls the Village market will be the perfect spot to pick up fresh food & produce for Christmas day.

Wednesday 23 December 2009, 4pm to 9pm
Blamey Street, between Musk Avenue & Victoria Park Road
Kelvin Grove 4059
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The Meat-ting Place
If you're looking for a range of organic meat for your Christmas lunch, head over to the Meat-ting Place and get your order in today. A great butcher, who can supply turkey, ham, chicken, duck and pork for your Christmas feast. You'll find their Christmas specials here, and orders must be placed by 12 December 2009.

The Meat-ting place has stores at Paddington and McDowall.
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Rosalie Gourmet Market
An excellent deli at Rosalie with a super range of cheese, smallgoods, fruit & veges and general deli items. Rosalie Gourmet Market also includes a bakery and sells a range of kitchenware. Christmas orders close on 14 December 2009, and you'll find the Christmas order form here.

Corner of Nash Street and Baroona Road
Rosalie, Paddington 4064
P - 07 3876 6222
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Samies Girl
Is your Christmas lunch all about seafood? Samies Girl supplies a huge range of fresh seafood, including prawns, oysters, scallops, mussels, whole fish, fish fillets, crabs, bugs and octopus. Samies Girl doesn't take Christmas orders - they recommend buying your Christmas seafood on the 23rd of December, or you're likely to miss out.

15 Hercules Street
Hamilton 4007
P - 07 3131 4120
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Stewarts Wine Co
Stewarts Wine Co have three stores across Brisbane. Every time I walk into one I'm impressed with the range and inevitably end up walking out of the store with a few bottles I've never tried before. They also have a good range of well-priced Champagne, if you're looking for that special bottle for Christmas lunch or dinner.

Stewarts Wine Co stores are located at Ascot, Portside Wharf and the Barracks.
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For years Tognini's is where we've headed to pick up a few memorable cheeses to enjoy over Christmas. I'm always impressed by their range of cheese, but they also have a very solid deli selection. Their Christmas offerings include hams, turkey, pate, puddings, Christmas cakes (including gluten free), salmon and a range of salads. You'll find the Tognini's Christmas order form here, and orders must be placed before 21 December 2009.

Tognini's delis are at Milton and Spring Hill.
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Village Meats Rosalie
Village Meats at Rosalie is one of Brisbane's leading butchers, with a quality selection of ham, Bangalow pork, turkey, bacon and hand made sausages.

Shop 2, 155 Baroona Road
Rosalie, Paddington 4064
P - 07 3367 3396

Although WINE@Era doesn't have a range as big as The Wine Emporium, you'll find some great wines here that you just won't come across anywhere else. I think it's a fantastic selection, with some excellent imported wines. And once you've stocked up on your Christmas tipples, you can pop into Era for a delicious lunch or snack.

102 Melbourne Street (Corner Merivale Street)
South Brisbane 4101
P - 07 3255 2033
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The Wine Emporium
The Wine Emporium may not be the cheapest place to buy wine in Brisbane, but they do have an amazing range of wines from all over Australia and the rest of the world. The staff are friendly and helpful, whether you're looking for a $25 bottle of riesling or a $500 bottle of Champagne.

Shop 47, Emporium
1000 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley 4005
P - 07 3252 1117
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Sunday, 8 November 2009


Unfortunately for the last 3 years or so, hamburgers have been wiped out from my essential food groups. Surely it can't be that hard to source gluten-free rolls for a hamburger? Apparently it is. Other than Raw Energy (who make amazingly good, healthy hamburgers) I haven't come across anywhere around Brisbane that actually serves gluten free burgers. That was until I got the tip to mosey along to Grill'd.

To say that I was pretty happy when reading through the menu at Grill'd is an understatement - I was over the moon to find out they'll do any burger with a gluten free bun. I know it probably sounds a bit lame to be so excited about eating a burger, but I had 3 years to make up. I've been repaying my delight by becoming a very regular customer of Grill'd at Rosalie ever since.

Now don't think that Grill'd only does food for crazy, fussy, gluten free types like me - they have a range of burgers for everyone (even vegetarians!).

You'll start off by choosing a bun - panini, traditional burger roll or gluten free. All buns at Grill'd are baked daily, and a gluten free one will set you back an extra $1.50 (small change as far as I'm concerned).

After you've picked your bun, you need to decide on a filling - beef, chicken, lamb or vegetarian - all up there are 18 burgers to choose from the menu.

We've slowly been working my way through the menu, and here's my thoughts on what I've munched away so far:

Crispy Bacon & Cheese - lean beef, crispy bacon, tasty cheese, salad, relish and herbed mayo ($9.90). As much as I hate to admit it, I ordered this with distant memories of greasy, yet so tasty bacon double cheeseburgers from Hungry Jacks. As you'd expect, this tastes way better than anything I ever had at Hungry Jacks. I thought this burger worked really well - none of the fillings overpower the others, the bacon was actually crispy and I really enjoyed the relish.

Mustard & Pickled - lean beef, Dijon mustard, dill pickle, tasty cheese, salad & relish ($9.90). If we're sticking with the fast food analogy, I suppose this would be the equivalent of the golden arches' quarter pounder. I wasn't the biggest fan of this one - there were so many pickles on the burger that, combined with the mustard, you couldn't really taste anything else. Luckily that's easily fixed by just removing a few pickles. Order this burger if you're a fan of big, robust flavours.

Baa Baa Burger - lean lamb pattie with avocado, tasty cheese, salad, relish & herbed mayo ($11.50). This is my pick of the burgers so far. Although I'm in the middle of a major avocado fad at the moment, this burger is spot on - the relish, avocado, cheese and lamb pattie all combine so well together. I think the Baa Baa burger is going to be hard to top, but I'll keep trying.

Field of Dreams - grilled field mushroom, roasted peppers, basil pesto, tasty cheese, salad & herbed mayo ($10.50). This is my wife's favourite burger and I have to admit it did look very tasty. There's no vegie pattie on this burger - just a giant grilled field mushroom and the pesto gives the burger a real lift in flavour.

Garden Goodness - veggie pattie (which is vegan) with beetroot, tasty cheese, avocado, salad, relish & herbed mayo ($9.90). This one only gets an average score - my wife wasn't that impressed with the vegie pattie, which was a bit underwhelming in the taste department.

So I've still got another 15 burgers to try before exhausting the menu. You'll need to bring your appetite - the burgers are large, and it can be a challenge to get the whole thing into your mouth. But if you're ravenously hungry, their thick chips are very good ($4.30). You can order a little pot of herbed mayo, tomato relish or sweet chilli mayo to dip your chips in (70 cents extra). Out of the sauces, the tomato relish is my favourite, although I wish they had an aioli.

Grill'd seems to be popular with a good cross-section of the community - kids, teenagers, families and uni students. I've found the staff at Rosalie very friendly, particularly on my last visit, when I was just there with our 3 month old bub.

Although I've only put the contact details for the Rosalie store below, check out the Grill'd website for other locations around Brisbane.

What does all this mean? Quality burgers with fresh, tasty fillings that are light years ahead of their fast food cousins - the perfect emergency lunch.

food bling ratings
Food - Great
Service - Good (order at the counter)
Ambience - Very casual
Value for Money - Good
Wine - Very limited selection and a few beers
Vegetarian - Good
Gluten Free - Top Shelf

19-21 Nash Street
Rosalie 4064
P - 07 3367 1555
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Grill'd on Urbanspoon

Friday, 6 November 2009

Brisbane's Budget Bites 2010

Want to know where you can eat around Brisbane without burning a hole in your wallet/purse? More interested in spending your money on good food than propping up high rents at mediocre city restaurants? Then rush off to your local bookshop today and pick up a copy of Brisbane's Budget Bites. For the measly sum of $20 you'll be the owner of a great guide to bargain restaurants around Brisbane. I picked up my copy from Borders in the city a couple of weeks ago - they're widely available.

Brisbane's Budget Bites covers restaurants, coffee shops and specialist grocery stores. Some of the featured restaurants that I'm looking forward to trying out are K'mer at Sunnybank (Cambodian), Best Friends Kainan Sa in the Valley (Filipino) and The Persian Restaurant at Coorparoo.

Best of all it's independent and well written - pick one up today.

Brisbane's Budget Bites 2010
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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

food bling, Brisbane turns two!

Well its now 2 years since I kicked off food bling, Brisbane. At the time there were only a handful of Brisbane food blogs around, but it's great to see that there are now so many people blogging about the food scene in and around Brisbane.

I'd like to pass on a very special thanks to all my readers - numbers have doubled in the last year, with almost 20,000 visits in the last 12 months. As always, I'm only interested in the best quality food, wine & service around Brisbane, rather than the current place to be seen.

The last year has been a huge one for me, especially with the arrival of Josephine, the newest food bling, Brisbane team member. Although she's not quite four months old, she's already visited a good few restaurants around Brisbane - she's off to a good start in the food stakes (even though she can't actually eat anything at the moment).

Top of my never-ending list of places to eat at the moment are The Buffalo Club, the three new Urbane venues (due to open in a few weeks), Wasabi at the Sunshine Coast, The Sardine Tin, Bar Barossa and Desmond & Molly Jones. There are also a load of new bars that have opened in the Valley this year, which I'm keen to visit before Christmas.

I'm currently in the middle of doing a photography course at TAFE, so hopefully you'll all notice a marked improvement in the standard of pictures on food bling, Brisbane. Although I'm not sure how much help the course will be when it comes to taking photos with my mobile phone...

As always, don't be shy in posting comments or passing on any feedback - it all helps to improve the blog. And of course, I'm always on the lookout for new restaurants, cafes and bars to visit, so keep the suggestions coming.

Thanks everyone for reading,


2010 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards - Part 3

Just to wrap up my posts about this year's Australian restaurant guide, here are the top 10 restaurants in Brisbane according to Gourmet Traveller:

1. Montrachet
2. E'cco
3. Restaurant Two
4. The Buffalo Club
5. Alchemy
6. Gianni
7. 1889 Enoteca
8. Sono Portside Wharf
9. Siggi's at the Port Office
10. Era Bistro

There are no real surprises in that list - the obvious place missing is Urbane, but that's because it is currently closed (re-opening very soon). I'm sure it will be back up at the pointy end of the list next year. It will also be interesting to see if Aria makes it into the top 10 next year.

Any thoughts from readers on the list?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Good Food & Wine Show

If you haven't already heard, the Good Food & Wine Show is coming to Brisbane this weekend.

What's it all about you ask? The Good Food & Wine Show features a celebrity theatre, cheese masterclass, cooking school, wine theatre, bar and restaurant. There will also be about 300 exhibitors, showing off both food and cooking equipment.

The main attraction of the show though is the chefs taking part over the course of the weekend - including Matt Moran, Tobie Puttock, Alastair McLeod, Ben O'Donoghue, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.

General tickets are $20, or if you pay $22.50 you'll also get a ticket to the celebrity theatre. There is plenty more information on the website.

Good Food & Wine Show
Friday 6 November to Sunday 8 November 2009
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Corner of Merivale Road & Glenelg Street
South Brisbane 4101
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