Heartlands Exhibition

Just as a matter of interest for some of my Perth based readers. There is an photographic exhibition starting soon that I will be a part of. So if you’d like to own your own little slice of my photography, feel free to come down and check it out. No pie throwing allowed ! :)

Heartlands Exhibition
Photographers in Perth
Kurb Gallery – 310 William St, Northbridge

December 2nd – 7th
1pm – 6pm Sunday – Friday

Since getting a bit more seriously into photography of late (though not exactly food photography), I’ve been getting a lot out of meeting up with other local photographers who are all part of the Photographers in Perth group on Flickr. It’s through the proactive nature and organisation skills of the members of this group that this and other exhibitions have been created to give the collection of talented (but otherwise unknown) photographers a chance to exhibit their work.

This event is also a part of the wider Byte Me Festival, running for the first week of December.

Adelaide Day 3 – Handorf and the Hills

Thinking about bubbles Reidel vampire bat glasses

This will be a short one. Day three in Adelaide was spent trekking up to the hills to check out the venue for the weekends wedding. The wedding and the reception both being held at Mount Lofty House, and everyone we met all said “Ohhh, Mt Lofty… it’s lovely up there”. They were right, it was.

So after doing a prerequisite tourist stop at the lookout nearby, we made our way through the hills to the small town (?) of Bridgewater, home to the famous Bridgewater Mill restaurant and Petaluma wines.
We didn’t have time to stop for lunch, which did look appealing despite the price. But a sampling of the wines was definitely on the cards. I particularly liked the Reisling and the Croser Sparkling White, and the Bridgewater Mill Shiraz was a very decent drop too. So a couple of bottles later and some shabby photos from the window of the car because it was raining and I didn’t want to get wet, and we were back on the road.

Now getting close to lunchtime, what better place to get your fill than at a pub in a German tourist town ! I’m still trying to make my mind up about Hahndorf. It has a certain shabby charm that is quite interesting, and the town is clearly clinging to it’s German settler ancestors roots as hard as it possible can. But there was a certain lack of sincerity about it, and a far too blatant feeling that it was all a big joke on tourists for me to feel entirely comfortable.

Certainly if I’d known the pub we went into for lunch had a spruiker out the front (who we had somehow avoided) we probably wouldn’t have stopped there at all. But still, the food was ok, if not cloying after three mouthfuls, and it was nice to sit down and chat to some apparent German enthusiasts who had driven four hours from Mt Gambier to get a bratwurst hotdog. But then who knows, maybe they were onto something. Perhaps bratwurst is the perfect fodder for a travelling wine taster to stock up on precious fat stores to absorb the alcohol. Or perhaps not.

Trio of Wurst

The final stop of this day was Nepenthe. A winery I’ve really enjoyed in the past, and maker of one of Australia’s best Sauvingnon Blancs. Not that I really like Sauvingnon Blanc that much, but I’m always willing to pretend I do if it makes me seem more in vogue :) I did quite like their Fugue, which is a Bordeaux style cabernet blend, and the Charleston Pinot Noir went a long way to convincing me I should try to get back into Pinot, after a prolonged spell of not trying any that I’ve liked.

NePenThe

Happy to have conquered another South Australian wine region (albeit briefly), we headed back into the city and did a little wander down the east end of Rundle St. Stopping by chance (or perhaps because of my preoccupation with lane ways), at East End Cellars, to be greeted by the affable Michael Andrewartha, who sold me a bottle of aged Henschke Gew├╝rztraminer (1999), and gave me a few tips on where to check out in the Barossa.

Which is where we’re heading to next :) (oh the suspense!)

Adelaide Day 2- McLaren Vale & Tapas

Nice Legs Tapas @ Mesa Lunga

In what may prove to be the most drawn out explanation of a week long holiday ever… I present day two of our trip to Adelaide. Cleverly titled to reflect the main events of said day.

The beauty of Adelaide (or one of them anyway), is that it’s a stones throw away from a handful of Australia, and indeed the worlds, best wine making regions. Just how close I had no idea until we got into the car to go to McLaren Vale, and a mere 20 minutes later were standing in a tasting room swirling Reidel glasses daubed with inky red stuff like nobody’s business.

McLaren Vale is unique in that it is actively promoting itself as a region that produces excellent Grenache. With a special regional label of sorts called Cadenzia being created especially for McLaren Vale winemakers wanting to display the best that their grenache has to offer. It’s an interesting initiative, and one that I think is a great idea. It gave us a real focus for what the region did well, and also made it possible to compare and contrast styles of wine that were different and special in their own ways.

So we had the best intentions of going everywhere, but I think time slows down when you’re in wine country, or should that be speeds up. It felt like we’d been to a lot of different places, and perhaps if the tourist map we were following had of been accurate we would have (nb: never trust tourist maps ! The giant grapes next to the giant knife and fork is not to scale !!), but by the end of the day we found that we’d only made it to 4 places !

Still, quality not quantity as I always (read: sometimes) say. We started off at Coriole, one of my favourite wineries, and making of some fantastic Italian varietals. The Sangiovese is an old favourite however we really loved the Fiano, which is a rather rare (for “new world” plantings) Italian white wine from the Campania region.

Next it was on to Chapel Hill, another great winery and recent recipient of some big awards. Of course, not knowing any of this, I didn’t fully appreciate a lot of their wines, although a trend that emerges over the day was that Tempranillo is becoming one of my favourite wines. We took a bottle of the Il Vescovo Tempranillo and sauntered onwards.

dArenburg

After that it was on to d’Arenburg, another of my favourite spots, and maker of some stunning Shiraz blends. Their “Laughing Magpie” Shiraz Viognier is one of the nicer styles of that wine I’ve tried recently, and the Stump Jump GSM is nearly an institution in cheap but tasty drinking. We splashed out a little and got a bottle of the Dead Arm Shiraz, the Cadenzia GSM, and the Laughing Magpie.

On to the final spot of the day, Mr Riggs and Pennys Hill. Pennys Hill is the vineyard and Mr Riggs (aka Ben Riggs) is the winemaker, who also runs his own label from the same location. Plenty more great Shiraz and Grenache blends as well as a little Clare Valley Reisling sneaking it’s way in, but what we came away with was a chocolaty and smooth bottle of fortified Shiraz.

Escaping McLaren Vale with a small cache of wine, a light wallet, and almost a wine dog (a super friendly jack russell terrior from Paxton), it was back to the big smoke for the evenings entertainment.

Now there are times when running a food blog really pays off. These are such times. Coming back from a long days wine tasting with little idea of where to go for more great eating that night, I paid a brief visit back to the comments section of my “I’m going to Adelaide, nah nah nah” post, to find an excellent, detailed, and ultimately very helpful comment from Zams who as well as confirming some of my other ideas, put forward Mesa Lunga as a restaurant well worth checking out. It took two seconds for me to see funky and tapas, and know it was up my alley.

Mesa Lunga is situated on the corner of morphett and gouger (now officially pronounced Goo-gah) streets in the centre of Adelaide, and looks and feels every bit the part that Zams described. Chilled out, refined, with a sexy edge to it, perhaps exacerbated by the door chick calling me babe… “Yeh sorry babe, all we’ve got is tables in the tapas section tonight”.

That’s cool, tapas is why we’re here babe… (I wish I was that clever).

So we grabbed some menus, opened a fine bottle of wine supplied by Kara (at a measely $15 / bottle corkage !), and went down the list ordering anything and everything that looked tasty.

A short run through included the tortilla, the patatas bravas, the whitebait, the baked mussels, the turkey meatballs, a goat meatballs pizza, crab croquettes, and some truly great salt cod balls.

Desserts were a chocolate tart with pashmak (that’s Persian fairy floss to the uninitiated), a creme caramel kind of thing, some stewed figs, and that bastion of Spanish desserts, churros, lovingly dunked in molten chocolate.

All up, the place was great. The food was good value, came quickly, and tasted great. I love it when tapas is done well, and this hit the spot for me. Nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive, but a focus on quality ingredients and a funky atmosphere. The manager Teale even managed to make me a passable espresso at the end of the night, which was from Rio coffee, seemingly the Adelaide roaster of choice for fresh beans.

Stuffed full, and ‘babed’ out, it was then off for a trip around the city, a few more photos of churches that will never see the light of day, and home to bed, ready for the next big adventure.

*stay tuned for more*

Adelaide: Day 1

my last church photo

So yes… It’s a church. What can I say, there really are a lot of churches in Adelaide. Not all of them are particularly photograph worthy, but as a concession to church lovers the world over, here are my first and last church photos. I know I’ve been slack about updating the site with all the news and happenings in South Australia, but if you’re been around for any length of time you’d realise it was completely inevitable… The fact that I had a couple of thousand photos to sift through alone should be a good enough indication as to why my procrastination has been so pronounced.

So after a relatively short flight from Perth on that stunningly cheap (in every way) airline Virgin Blue, we arrived in Adelaide. The basic plan was to spend some time with my friends Paul and Kara (who were getting married), and Sharon’s friends Serena and Chris, as well as fit in as much good wine and good food as was humanly possible.

After being picked up at the airport by Paul and Kara, and bewildering them with my need to bring my entire knife set with me (because you just never know when a spontaneous dinner party is going to break out). We had a quick lunch and wandered around the streets of suburbia. I have no idea where we were as I was still almost completely disoriented, but my initial reaction was that it seemed like a big country town. Which is not a bad thing if you like country towns of course :)

Later that evening, after unwinding and becoming acquainted with Kara’s miniature schnauzer Ebby (who had an unnatural fascination with my feet), we decided to try out the first place on my list of recommendations, Good Life Organic Pizza. This one came from Kam and Louise of Fiori fame, who had many good things to say about reasonably priced tasty pizza, and an excellent list of wines.

Good Life - Modern Organic Pizza

I’m happy to say they weren’t mistaken. We ordered the roast organic vegetable pizza, the Angaston spicy salami pizza,
(with organic kalamata olives, organic red onion, fresh baby bocconcini and basil), and the Free-range roasted duck
with shitake mushroom and spring onion ginger jam ! Oh boy… they were all so very good. My personal fav was most likely the duck pizza, however the roast vege one did a great job of making me forget about my carnivorous tendencies for a while.

Duck and Shitake Mushroom Pizza

We also ordered a bottle of Geoff Hardy’s K1 Cabernet/Tempranillo, starting a trend that would continue throughout the week of consuming vast quantities of great wine (in moderation of course – one after another :) ).

The service was casual and the staff did a good job of sounding genuine in their concern for all things organic, which was also nice. It was also nice to be having dinner with my good friend Paul, one of the nicest guys I know, and one of the few people on this world that I know can eat more than I do. I happily left him the last piece of pizza as we slowly eased our way into holiday mode, ready for the rest of the week.