Tag Archives: Southbank

PLOUGH INN

So I’ve been here years ago for an engagement party and for the odd drink, but never to seriously eat. A friend asked me along for a catch up with people and, I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’d looked at the menu and you could get breads, chips, a salad or two, vege lasagne and a vege platter for two. Not particularly inspiring, especially for the prices.

But I was surprised and really enjoyed my food.

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I only have the one picture that’s semi decent as we had to get tucked into this straight away, but for $34 we got crumbed brie (ermagerd), stuffed greed olives, field mushrooms with feta, bread, sweet corn, haloumi and spring onion fritters, and beer battered potato scallop with house made relish, avo salsa and chive creme fraiche.

Everything was delicious, surprisingly filling and we fought bitterly over the brie. Twas an epic battle.

Plough Inn on Urbanspoon

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SWAMPDOG FISH AND CHIPS

So fish and chip shops are not normally the most veg friendly places. Have you ever been to the typical FnC shop and seen the vegetarian fare? Potato cakes, pineapple fritters and, if you’re lucky, a sad vegetarian pattie passing for a burger. I was sitting with a friend who had ordered food at Swamp Dog and realised I had to go back.

A few days later I was sitting with Ben trying the fresh huge salads and yummy chips with housemade aioli.

We ordered the mixed salad- half Greek salad, half Asian salad. They were both delicious.

There was so much food we had to take some home.

Fresh food from a fish and chip shop? Hell yeah.

Swampdog Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

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Book Launch: Art/Fashion in the 21st Century

 

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So I went to a book launch and panel discussion at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) yesterday. IMAG2849

The launch was for Mitchell Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler’s new book Art/Fashion in the 21st Century and it’s huge and lovely and I shouldn’t have but I bought one for a friend’s wedding present. Worst wedding present ever. Best book for the bride though. And I got them both signed!

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The panel was the authors joined by Susan Dimasi, (Director and Artisan Designer, MaterialByProduct) and Dr Nadia Buick (Co-Director, The Fashion Archives) discussing big questions such as “Can fashion be art?” to changes in fashion over the last 10 years to the blurring of lines between art, fashion, design and film.

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I also bought Mitchell’s older book Fashion: Australia and New Zealand Designers which I hope will be a fun read and a break from the academic reading I’m doing at the moment.

Today I browsed the books in the sun (yes, I read books I buy for others. Sorry) and strolled down to the Young Designers Markets and Southbank for some visual fun.

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A fabulous fabric-centric weekend.

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HOO HA BAR

So there’s something about the name of the Hoo Ha Bar that is just funny. Or I’m just really immature.

I must be the last foodie/alcoholic in Brisbane to discover this place and was truly disgusted in myself when the bar staff told me Hoo Ha had been open since March. It’s less than six blocks from my house (on Tribune Street near the bus and train stations) and I didn’t know it was there. Food blog fail.

I found out about it yesterday and was there last night. There’s not much room in Southbank for bars that aren’t “in” Southbank and therefore expensive and potentially revolting so I was excited.

I told Ben we were celebrating his new job. But he knows.

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We moseyed down about 6.30 and although it was after happy hour, we had a happy time. We perused the beer and cocktails menu and Ben got a Coopers something (beer, pffft) and I was torn between a Bison Shake and a Cuban Espresso. As much as I wanted a Cuban Espresso and my general judgement of a bar’s cocktails rests on the mixing of coffee and alcohol, I didn’t want to be up at 11 pm with foil on my head paranoid about alien invasions. I likes me sleep.

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So I went with the Bison Shake (Vodka, Peach schnapps, cloudy apple juice, passionfruit and grapefruit bitters) and was not disappointed. I could have drunk these all night, but at $16 (standard full priced cocktails in Brisbane), I couldn’t afford to last night on our budget. I am happy with the knowledge that many of these drinks are in my future.

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We also wanted a nibble and Hoo Ha serves sharing plates in the evening. I think this is a great idea, not just because I don’t like drinking on an empty stomach, but because it’s a great way to offer food without worrying about chefs and the full dining experience for now. They do however offer a breakfast and lunch that looks divine (check out their Facebook page on the link at the top), but that can be a post for another day.

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There was a meats board (errr, not for us thanks), a cheese board (3 cheeses for $20!!!) and a bread and dips board for $10. We decided on the dips, which were hummus and babaganouj with warm olives, pickles and Turkish bread. It was a great appetiser for two people (we were going on to eat dinner elsewhere) and we both enjoyed it. I don’t normally like babaganouj but this was nice and simple.

We sat in seats from an old church- upright individual seats with room to kneel facing them. They were surprisingly comfy and made for lots of good elbow leaning. All I needed was a glass or port to swirl.

The rest of the decor is like a great living room (perhaps from a Teneriffe warehouse apartment?): brown leather couches and big wooden tables with dining chairs. I liked the set up because rather than uncomfortable places to perch, the feeling was “Come in and SIT and FACE your friends and RELAX”. A mix of REM and Radiohead was on the speaker system but you could hear your neighbour with ease. The two guys behind the bar were relaxed and friendly and didn’t seem intimidated by my intense cocktail-making watching, which I do without realising it and am sorry. It was a quiet night, but the photo makes it look quieter. More people were sitting around the edges of the room.

Ben’s comment really sums up the vibe: “I feel like this is a place where people come to enjoy themselves and have a chat and laugh without being obnoxious dicks”. I hope so!

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Now that Pear Cafe and Bar is not open as much in the evenings, I see Ben and I having many a sit, sip and sup here over summer.
Hoo Ha Bar on Urbanspoon

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Riverfire with Ganeesh

So to end the Brisbane Festival in September, Brisbane celebrates with fireworks. Now, I’m not a huge fireworks fan. I can take them or leave them, but when you have friends who live in the Brisbane river and have front row seats to the fire works, you don’t refuse, even if it means fighting you way across town because they closed the footbridge over the river (this year it too had fireworks on it).

IMAG2753Please excuse all the photos from tonight. It’s hard to take a steady shot while you’re bobbing on a boat!

 

We settled in early- the jetty for the moorings closed at 6. This gave us plenty of time to watch the banks of the city gardens fill up with families and sample some wine. We also discovered that my hosts had a new addition to their boat- a nearly 2 feet tall statue of Ganeesh they they found floating down the Brisbane river. Ganeesh is lucky, so they brought it on board.

Nestled gently next to the propane...

Nestled gently next to the propane…

I also met Alissa and Bryce from A to B to Sea, a couple blogging about living their nautical dream of renovating a boat and sailing around the world. Alissa made a gorgeous cheesy garlic bread and blogs about cooking in her tiny galley, as well as the misadventures Aquabat throws at them.

Cooking in tiny kitchens, like this one. Mind your head.

Cooking in tiny kitchens, like this one. Mind your head.

The annual flyovers from fighter jets and helicopters did their usual thing. It was loud. Really loud.

Now Riverfire isn’t your 5 minutes of lights kind of deal. It’s a highly synchronised affair that takes place in several locations along the Brisbane river. The focus tends to be on the Storey Bridge (pictures above) but there are fireworks platforms set up on this river near it, at Southbank, on the Goodwill Bridge and on the rooftops of surrounding city buildings. During the event we were surrounded by fireworks.

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La Rejouissance.

 

 

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Walking part of my city

So I found this quote and I love it:

“Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.”

― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

As I mentioned earlier in the week, it was our wedding anniversary on the weekend. We went on several walks, mostly because fancy dining and expensive activities were simply not an option for us. Here is what we saw walking Southbank, the inner south and cultural centre of Brisbane.

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I know these aren’t great photos but they really capture a fragment of Southbank that I love…

and Subway graffiti. Te he. You do indeed YOLO, random vandal, you do indeed.

I love Brisbane.

 

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GUZMAN Y GOMEZ

So I love me some Mexican. Mexican-styled beans with chipotle and rice are a staple in our house. We had been to Guzman Y Gomez at the Emporium and so got quite excited when we heard GYG was opening down the road from us at Southbank. I’m not going to wax lyrical about a “fast food” joint, but I will tell you that we both really liked it.

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We ordered a veggie burrito, veggie quesadillas and guacamole with corn chips. You can also order the burrito sans tortilla in a bowl, although they do have GF options. You can tell that someone has actually had to stand at a grill cooking onions, capsicum and mushrooms. Everything is made from very “real” ingredients. It was a bit on the early side of lunch so service was especially quick. We didn’t get drinks here but have always enjoyed the alcoholic slushies they sell- perhaps it’s the white trash coming out in us? 🙂 We spent just under $25 for our three items and were very happy in the tummy.

The thing I like about GYG is that it’s some of the easiest veganisable (I know, I know, not a word. Sue me) food around. Guac is included automatically for vego meal options and they practically expect people to mix and match. We have a carni (vore, not val) friend who likes coming here because he doesn’t like cheese and they reliably leave it off for him. You can get gluten free very easily. Everything is very mild and hotter flavours are added at the sauce station. The non-reusable serving-ware is easily broken down and they have two bins- recycling and “Everything Else”.

It really is the kind of place that’s easy to go with a diverse group of people and although it’s obviously not fine-dining, it’s a large, cheerful and efficient place that sells real food that’s really tasty. ‘Nuff said.

 

 
Guzman y Gomez on Urbanspoon

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Poverty In Paradise

With a blue sky and a camera, everything seems like an adventure.

So it doesn’t matter if you have less than $70 to last two people the next fortnight (after rent and that huge bloody bill, damn you car insurance), you can still have fun in Brisbane. I can still have fun in Brisbane. Or any city. For free.

Yesterday was gloomy weather so I got a lot of cooking and laundry done, but today dawned bright and early. I was supposed to do some research and writing, but after my computer died (really truly, I was given the blue screen of death) I decided it was too good a day to mope about lost time. Whether you have a Ben or not, there are lots of indoors and outdoors things you can do  without spending a cent.

Watch Ben make, then help him eat sourdough bread with a poached egg for breakfast. Ben made the bread only, not the egg.

Watch Ben make, then help him eat sourdough bread with a poached egg for breakfast. Ben made the bread only, not the egg.

Organise those thousands of jars I collect for jams, sauces and drinks.

Organise those thousands of jars I collect for jams, sauces and drinks.

Admire my free flower from Coles (they were giving them away because it was "market day").

Admire my free flower from Coles (they were giving them away because it was “market day”).

Water my spring onions, which have been growing in a vase (my best and only) for about 4 weeks, are going strong and provide a little bit of green inside.

Water my spring onions, which have been growing in a vase (my best and only) for about 4 weeks, are going strong and provide a little bit of green inside.

Do laundry. Hey, it's not glamorous, but it's a good free thing to do on a sunny day. I've never had such happy, pretty laundry.

Do laundry. Hey, it’s not glamorous, but it’s a good free thing to do on a sunny day. I’ve never had such happy, pretty laundry.

Play I-spy on our walk. I love this renovated church (which is now a house) with solar panels. One day I'll find where it is at street level and have a good look.

Play I-spy on our walk. I love this renovated church (which is now a house) with solar panels. One day I’ll find where it is at street level and have a good look.

Enjoy the roof of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church (ok, roof admiring is not everyone's hobby but this is MY blog and I'll admire if I want to).

Enjoy the roof of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church (ok, roof admiring is not everyone’s hobby but this is MY blog and I’ll admire if I want to).

Wonder at the beauty that is Brisbane city. The green and the built.

Wonder at the beauty that is Brisbane city. The green and the built.

Check out the Regional Flavours food festival at Southbank. Also, check out those crazy bean bag seats. Bad asses of ass comfort.

Check out the Regional Flavours food festival at Southbank. Also, check out those crazy bean bag seats. Bad asses of ass comfort.

For more info on the Regional Flavours festival, click here.

More Regional Flavours at the Courier Mail Piazza. So pretty.

More Regional Flavours at the Courier Mail Piazza. So pretty.

Eat a beautiful lunch of rosemary polenta chips with chipotle mayo.

Eat a beautiful lunch of rosemary polenta chips with chipotle mayo.

I’ve blogged about how I make polenta. The chipotle mayo was cheater’s version: mayonnaise mixed with chipotle salsa. I have, however, made a scrumptious aioli that goes beautifully with polenta as well, which is in the same post as above. To make rosemary polenta, stir through a small handful of cleaned, de-stemmed rosemary leaves at the end of cooking. I also add a teaspoon or dried oregano for oomph.

Best Sunday morning, and the price was right!

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Enjoy your Sunday! Share your frugal adventure ideas below.

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Bar hopping

So last weekend I helped to host a group of interstate colleagues on a bar browse while they were at a conference.

We went to:

  • The Lyric Bar (attached to Queensland Performing Arts Centre) for firsties
  • Era Cafe, Bar, Restaurant for nibbles
  • Lock and Load for dinner
  • Sling cocktail bar for the hell of it.

Admittedly, not as many places as our practice run, which left me deciding to do the actual one drink free, but it was still a very good night all round.

IMAG2380Lots of little nibbles for vegos and their friends at Era. Unfortunately for this photo, that dish in the foreground is pork crackling, but the chips and aioli pleased the crowd.

IMAG2381Sweet Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Aioli and Lock and Load. $8.50. Can we say YUM?! And Lock and Load handled an unscheduled group of 14 with no sweat. Very cool, guys! I’ll be doing a full review of Lock and Load in the next couple of weeks (just gotta go back and eat a bit more of their food, gosh-darn-it!).

 

Happy Hopping.

 

 

 
Lock 'n' Load on Urbanspoon

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CHAMP KITCHEN and BAR

So I’ve been holding off on this post for a while. Why? Well, last year when Champ was very recently open, I went to Champ with two friends and an awesome baby for lunch. The decor and view are beautiful- very cool open air dining. Unfortunately, we found a few things a bit off, such as a ready-made pie taking a long time to come out and a meaty pizza coming out veg (which wouldn’t worry me, but it wasn’t my pizza!). We put it down to teething problems, smiled and got on with our day. It didn’t matter. I still had me a good iced soy coffee.

That is a nice pasty lid right there.

That is a nice pasty lid right there.

This year I went to Champ and had half an experience. I say half, because although we were seated, we decided to get up and move on. Embarrassing, no? By now, I had hoped that the first month jitters would be over with, and they are, but I guess I don’t like what Champ has become. Firstly, I’m not sure about it’s target demographics. Located opposite the Brisbane Eye, below the new(ish) Brisbane ABC studios and next to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the menu is decidedly expensive and high brow. This on its own is cool, but doesn’t fit in with its day crowd.

By night, people will want their menu– it’s posh and lovely looking and perfect for pre-show dining. During the day, however, I don’t see many people wanting to eat $12-42 meals, averaging at about $18 for a share plate and $32 for a main. There were a variety of fresh vego options to choose from. There were no baked good out when I was there, but the sweets menu was all $16. I just wouldn’t pay that for a coffee and cake experience. Their breakfast menu looks more affordable and aimed at people passing to go to work or tourists wanting a light brekkie, but I guess what I find “off” is the lunch menu.

Southbank is pricey, I totally get it, but if Champ could manage an affordable, approachable lunch menu and keep some of their more splashy fare for dinner, I think they’d fill the many empty tables I keep passing.

I hate to give a negative review, but I have to, and it seems that others on urbanspoon feel the same way. It’s such a gorgeous location, I would still pop in their for a drink and a view from time to time.

Good coffee, but great glassware and crockery! (Is it wrong that I notice these things?)

Good coffee, but great glassware and crockery! (Is it wrong that I notice these things?)

Have you ever felt this way about a restaurant or cafe? Please share!
Champ Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

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