EAT OUT: Flower Drum

efu-noodles

The Flower Drum, widely regarded as one of Australia’s best Chinese restaurants, is a dining experience you should try at least once. You can find countless critic reviews and blog posts regarding the greatness of the restaurant, the over-priced menu, the impeccable service, the fine dining experience, and so on. I am going to try and stay away from a general restaurant review re-hash that is readily available on the interwebs.

For my wife and I, the Flower Drum is our special occasion spot — we had our wedding pre-party here, some birthdays, and this past weekend, our two-year anniversary. My mom originally told us about this dining establishment, after reading a piece on it in the L.A. Times. We eat at the Flower Drum, among other reasons, because it’s our little tradition. Yes, the service is outstanding (better than any restaurant service I’ve seen in Australia or the U.S.). The food is delicious and beautifully presented. The menu is over priced — I mean, one egg roll (or spring roll, as the Aussies refer to them) is $7.50 AUD. Ridiculous. Nonetheless, above all else, we love the experience; I guess that’s what you’re paying for in this case.

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HOME BAKED: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

chocolate-chip-banana-bread

There’s no doubt, chocolate and banana is a powerhouse flavor combo. I love bananas dipped in chocolate, chocolate and banana gelato, banana crepe drizzled with melted chocolate, and of course, chocolate chip banana bread.

My mom has been using this recipe for a while; my wife and I now bake it often. It’s delicious and comforting warm out of the oven or consumed cold, right out of the fridge (this is how I prefer it).

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DINNER: Sweet Chili, Ginger, Garlic Fried Rice & Quinoa

fried-rice

Along with soup, fried rice is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover veggies. In this particular fried rice, I used the following ingredients:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Red chili
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Eggs
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt

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DINNER: Zesty, Creamy Spaghetti Piccata

spaghetti picatta

Generally, my wife and I are increasing our veggie intake and decreasing meat intake. We feel better after eating a meal that centers around vegetables opposed to animal. However, we love chicken piccata and wanted to create a dish that focused on the punchy, lemony, creamy sauce. We included chicken, but it definitely was not the star of the meal.

The sauce consisted of lemon juice, zest, butter, white wine, garlic, capers, red onion, thyme, parsley, basil…and creme fraiche. I love the sour richness creme fraiche brings to this dish, as well as rounding out the bold flavors in the sauce.

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DINNER: Oven Crisp Fish & Chips

fish-chips

One of the key elements to this dish is the breadcrumbs used for the fish. In this case, I made breadcrumbs from some leftover ciabatta. I think it’s important to keep the breadcrumbs quite chunky, to get that big crunch as your chowing down on the fish. The olive oil drizzled on top helps with flavor and overall color. The fish I used was orange roughy, that I picked up at the Queen Victoria Market (a must see if you’re ever in Melbourne).

I made the tartar sauce by combining some mayo, mustard, capers, red onion, lemon, parsley, basil, chive, salt and pepper — quite punchy and delicious with the fish and the potatoes.

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DINNER: We Love Laksa King

laksa

Laksa King has become somewhat of a weekly dining ritual since my move to Melbourne from Los Angeles.

This popular Malaysian/Chinese establishment in Flemington serves up some freakin’ flavor food; Laksa obviously taking the crown.

Even though this place fills up fast, service is always impecable. Tonight, I timed how long it would take to get our chicken roti rolls — a little over 3 minutes. We order these juicy chicken roti rolls to hold us over while waiting for the main attraction. The rolls are stuffed with cucumber, red onion, tomato, satay sauce, and roasted chicken — all wrapped up in freshly baked roti. Sensational.

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DINNER: “Mozza” Style Pizza Courtesy of Nancy Silverton

mozza-pizza

Here are a few pics from last night’s dinner.

I used Nancy Silverton’s pizza dough recipe from her Mozza book. I made a few adjustments with fermentation times, but for the most part, it’s the same.

I’ve had the pizza at Mozza and I think it’s one of the best (if not, the best) pizza in Los Angeles. This recipe is not supposed to be an exact duplicate of the pizza dough at Mozza, but rather, a home baker’s version. I think it came out pretty darn good.

The pizza pictured above has a pesto base, with string beans, feta, and lemon zest.

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