Monday, August 15, 2011

Good times collective #3

This year so far has been a bit of a blur and it's hard to believe we're well into the second half of the year. I heard someone mention Christmas yesterday too. It's been pretty crazy with weddings, kids parties and new jobs all making it a massive year already - with more to come I think.

Full rack of pork ribs with roast potato at Hurricane's Grill and Bar, Darling Harbour
I don't know how I became so deluded as to order a full rack of ribs at Hurricane's for a birthday dinner. I had neighbouring diners willing to share in the pork fest, but I was still pretty over the soft, tender pork flesh and increasingly cloying and sweet barbeque sauce baste by the end.

I won't be ordering a full rack again, unless at least one other pretty hungry person is sharing my main meal.

Steak and ribs with chips at Hurricane's Grill and Bar, Darling Harbour
Another meat-heavy option comes from the 'combo' section of the menu: here, a short cut sirloin steak (200g) with a half rack of pork ribs.

It's not the best steak in town, but Hurricane's is certainly good fun when you collect bowls of bones, and the table ends up looking like a prehistoric feasting ground with sated cavemen reclining in chairs around the table.

Kids table setting at a birthday party
I have fantastic memories of birthday parties as a kid: tonnes of food (including mini pies, sausage rolls, spring rolls, and loads and loads of cakes and sweet treats), all my school friends and family, party games, lolly bags and coloufully-wrapped presents.

Barbie birthday cake
I also remember having a scrumptious, pink Barbie cake much like the one above. What more could a little girl really want?

Teddy bear birthday cake
I also had shared birthday parties as a kid, so there would often be two lots of friends, two birthday cakes and sometimes even two types of take-home lolly bags.

Remnants of Ted - vanilla buttercake with chocolate frosting
I now see how much work went into it all, and am grateful for those responsible for the good times in my under-11-year-old days.

Cupcake decorating toppings
My earliest party game memory is 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey' but I also recall fabulous treasure hunts through a big backyard and black hands from newspaper-wrapped 'Pass the Parcel'.

But with the recent turn towards all things food and cooking, it's no surprise that a cupcake-decorating station was a complete and utter hit with the kiddies and parents alike.

Decorating cupcakes
Some of the younger kids headed straight for the jelly lollies, Smarties and mini marshmallows that were for decorating the pre-baked cupcakes, while some of the older kids frosted the cakes for the younger ones to throw into a bowl of hundreds and thousands. A good time had by all.

Half roast chicken with salads from Madam Char Char, Crown Street, Surry Hills
I'd never thought that takeaway roast chicken could go high end. Yes, organic, woodfired and all - but high end? Yet another voucher exposed me to Madam Char Char in Surry Hills, which has a sizeable eat-in area looking out to Crown Street and an impressive range of gourmet salads.

Free range Lilydale chickens are filled with a herb and spice stuffing, and roasted under a heady spice rub that bursts with cinnamon. The thigh is deliciously juicy while the breast is also tender and tasty.

From memory our selection of three salds includes exotic mixes like quinoa, roast eggplant, parsley, toasted nuts, mint and currents with a green tahini dressing; and pickled beetroot, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds with yoghurt dressing.

Roasted vegies (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato) from Madam Char Char
On the cooked vegies side, gorgeously roasted potato, pumpkin and sweet potato display a similar spicing as the roast chicken, with very strong cinnamon overtones. So good, the vegies were close to outshining the chicken.

Smoked bacon & maple syrup manhattan at Zeta Bar, Hilton Sydney
Grant Collins' extensive cocktail menu at the Hilton's Zeta Bar features something I just had to try one evening after a few too many drinks already. Not a bourbon drinker, I think I ordered the bacon and maple syrup manhattan more out of hunger than anything else.

Inspired by New York bar PDT's bacon-infused bourbon (via a fat washing method), Zeta's interpretation mixes smoky bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, cherry syrup, and sweet and dry vermouth. And best of all, it's garnished with a rasher of cooked bacon that I can nibble on while the bourbon eats my insides.

But it's not that bad. The cherry flavour does well in hiding the king-hit of the bourbon (and the maple syrup somewhat too), while excluding the garnish, there doesn't seem to be a strong bacon flavour. Nonetheless, it's certainly a drink to warm the senses; plus I know many people who would think that bacon improves just about everything.

Hurricane's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Madam Char Char on Urbanspoon

Zeta Bar on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

joey@FoodiePop said...

Cool post! Where does the time go?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Nice round up! Love the teddy bear cake :P

Melissa Anderson said...

Children's birthday parties will always be the most fun and pure of all the parties there is. Any young girl would kill for that Barbie cake you had and that teddy bear cake is just lovely. But I won't mind having those pork ribs and half-roasted chicken for my birthday, too. And if there would be a nice cake, that's my bonus!

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I have not been to the one in Darling Harbour since my pork rib escapade in their branch in Bondi. Would have loved a pic of all the rib bones just as I took a pic of bamboo skewers at the end of a recent satay party :) :)

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I've ordered the full rack of pork ribs before...and conquered most of it by myself! =p

Tina said...

Hi joey - It certainly flies...

Hi Lorraine - He is especially cute! :)

Hi Melissa - You're right - I have such great memories of my childhood birthday parties. Just fun and games - literally.

Hi chopinandmysaucepan - I was feeling pretty defeated by the time we got to the end of the full rack... :S

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse - Good stuff!

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