Lazy May’s

You guys, Lazy May’s is finally open!

The “café coming soon” sign in the window of the vacant space across from the Louisa Lawson Building and the Southern Cross Club in Tuggeranong has been taunting me for what feels like forever (but is closer to about six months) and this morning it was replaced by a working café! Yaay!

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Lazy May’s is located in the bottom of the Emphora Apartments Building on Cowlishaw Street and is a large open, bright space that serves up coffee and food from 7am. There’s a lot of little details that blend in to make the space look quite simple – but if you look closely you can see the little details, like the wooden boards on the roof, the really cool lights, the really comfy looking couches and the clean lines of the wooden bar.

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I went this morning, opening day, with a friend to have breakfast but unfortunately due to some first day delivery issues they were just serving pastries and coffees. Breakfast will start tomorrow and if the menu is any indication it’s going to be awesome!

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We ordered coffees – but alas they don’t have decaf yet, so I ended up with a chai. The host/owner/dude assured me tomorrow they’ll have the best decaf I’ve ever tasted and I will definitely take him up on that! The chai was really yummy and smooth though, so I could deal without my coffee-like drink for one day.

I asked the host/owner/dude about their coffee which is from Sydney (Homebush), and he said it was being made for them, with the branding “Colonial Boy”, by a group called Di Stefano.

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My friend loved her flat white – mid morning she messaged me and said she was still thinking about it. A good sign indeed.

I’m really excited to have something trendy and close in Tuggeranong, it’s needed. I really hope they do well, it’s an interesting space and the menu looks fantastic. Spread the word!!

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I took a few sneaky pictures of the current menu too – provided sideways until my computer works itself out (sorry!) and it looks awesome (but as always, subject to change). I’ve already booked in a lunch and a breakfast with friends this week to try it out (I’ll report back!).

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IMG_8020EDIT – I went back!

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The Dock

Last night a friend from Adelaide was in town so we decided to go out for dinner to catch up. J used to live in Canberra and I wanted to take her somewhere that’d changed in the two years since she’d left; so we headed to Kingston Foreshore. As it was a Monday night, only a few places were open including Walt & Burley, C Dine Bar, Chong & Co and Coco Nine. We did a walk of the promenade and settled on The Dock.

Located at the further end of the line of restaurants (depending on which entrance you use), The Dock is a laidback sport bar come trendy nautical themed bar. It’s concrete and big, with a decent amount of open space for standing/drinking, but it was still warm and welcoming.

After perusing the menus located to the side of the bar, we ordered our dinner at the bar and grabbed a drink while we were at it. I saw a lady have a go at the poor guy behind the bar because her and her friend had been sat at their table waiting for table service for about 10 minutes – but this is not that kind of place. The Dock is a bar. At bars you order at the counter. She is an idiot.

We were given a table number and took a seat at one of the empty tables – for a Monday night the place was busy without being packed (we could still hear each other speak, which is a helpful thing). We didn’t have to wait long before our meals came out.

I ordered the garlic cheese bread and the chicken wings (cider-pineapple buffalo sauce w blue cheese dressing).

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The chicken wings were messy with sauce and freakin delicious! They were sweet with a slight tang, and well cooked. I really enjoyed these and would most definitely order them again.

The garlic cheese bread was thin, cheesy and moreish; a great starter (or meal, if you’re me).

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J ordered the pulled pork sliders (pulled pork & vegetable slaw, sourdough, cheddar cheese, ranch bbq sauce served w beer battered chips).

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I didn’t try these, as I was already more than full from eating two chicken wings and two pieces of bread (oh the gastric sleever life!). But J seemed to enjoy them and they certainly look tasty!

I quite enjoyed our night at The Dock. It was no frills, the service was polite and friendly, the vibe and atmosphere were laidback and the food was quick, hot and yummo – can’t ask for much more for a quick catch up on a Monday night!

Pialligo Estate

Last month I had the pleasure of attending a Canberra food blogger meet up, organised by the lovely Liz from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things, at the impressive Pialligo Estate.

The Estate is located in Pialligo, around the corner from the main nursery strip and down a long driveway. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a good view of the grounds, but I can’t wait to get back during daylight to see the apple orchard, olive groves, smoke house, pavilion and from what I hear a pretty spectacular courtyard area.

The restaurant at Pialligo Estate is located inside the Farmhouse, a large cathedral slash barn like structure, made of brick and wood. It is rustic and homely, and gosh darned charming. The space is open and warm, elegant and intimate. This is a special place for special occasions, and yet a good place for a catch up with friends.

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I was welcomed out of the cold night by a roaring fire, leather couches and canapés! If only every day ended like that! You can see the kitchen from the main dining area, but we were relocated to the more intimate back area of the restaurant so we didn’t get to see “the magic happen”. After de-thawing over a drink and catch up with fellow foodies, we were escorted to tables where we’d been provided personal menus. Cute touch! You can see the kitchen from the main dining area, but we were relocated to the more intimate back area of the restaurant so we didn’t get to see “the magic happen”.

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As we sat down to the first of many fantastic glasses of wine, we were treated to a talk from the Estate’s ‘culinary director’ (aka my dream job), Jan Gundlach, who explained the future plans for this new kid on the block. Soon there will be pavilions that cater to a less high-end dining experience and also offer a space for events.

And then the food started to be delivered. Oh the food. In a word, the food at Pialligo Estate farmhouse was “exquisite”. Everything was created with finesse, creativity and a finely tuned knowledge of how food works and how it fits together.

Highlights included the amuse bouche of salmon deliciousness (smoked on site) and the duck (one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever eaten). Dessert was also sublime!

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The service was some of the best I’ve experienced in Canberra; every staff member was friendly and knowledgeable. The sommelier explained everything we were drinking and gave us some great information about how it paired with the dish. We were evening lucky enough to be sent home with a bottle of the Pialligo Estate Riesling – which is tasty tasty!

If it feels like I am gushing, that’s because I am. Thanks to amazing food, welcoming atmosphere and great company, I had a fantastic evening at Pialligo Estate.

*disclaimer – while we did pay for our meal at Pialligo Estate, thanks to the generosity of the management, we were offered a significant discount. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Olive at Mawson

I’ve known about Olive at Mawson for quite some time but Thursday night I had the pleasure of eating there for the first time.

Two girlfriends and I turned up on a freezing cold night and were welcomed in to the warm and comfortable restaurant with a smile. The space is large and open, yet somehow intimate – it’s laidback but still date material.

We decided on an assortment of meze type dishes, as none of us was overly hungry. I also love meze type food; lots of little bits. We ordered meat balls, bruschetta focaccia, Saganaki (fried cheese), fried olives and bread with olive oil.

All the food was really tasty and well prepared. I especially loved how tender the meat balls were and how squishy the saganaki was.

For dessert we tried their special, a flourless orange cake, and the crème brulee – both of which were delicious.

The service at Olive was fantastic, really friendly and helpful. Our waiter was concerned we hadn’t ordered enough food – like, genuinely concerned – but we had more the enough to fill us. I actually ate so much I got sick, but I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to stop. I’m looking at you, saganaki…

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Akiba

Friends and I went to Akiba on Friday night for a farewell shindig of both dinner and drinks.

I’ve been to Akiba once before and thought it was pretty cool, this time was no different. The city restaurant/bar has a really cool, trendy, electric environment with great staff who will keep you smiling whilst being extremely helpful – they’re in it to foster a great night, for both staff and customer alike. And yeah, Akiba has really tasty food. I like their blend of Asian foods, a bit of Korean mixed with some Japanese and a smattering of South East Asian too. Lots of small bites to try a few different things, and a good range of “share plates”. Their share plates aren’t huge – so get a few (probably one per person).

Akiba always has a great vibe and there’s always a lot of people (and subsequent noise) around – so I recommend booking!

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Well, well, well!

It’s been aaaages since my last post – my apologies to my three loyal followers.

A lot has happened in the last three months! A busy little bee, I have been!

I started a new job on 05 January, doing coordination for our Branch. Being the only person responsible for 80 odd staff meant that my flex sky rocketed and so did my stress levels. It was a full on job for not much outcome, sadly. I enjoyed the relationships I formed with my stakeholders and I like being busy (which I was certainly not in my last job) – but I felt a bit unfulfilled. I applied for, and was offered a job assisting in the coordination of the department’s annual report, but my manager refused to let me leave. I was pretty upset about that, because I really wanted the job and most importantly, the change of scenery and networking opportunities. It turns out that my manager had other ideas for me.

Last week I started a new job editing an Annual Report for one of the programmes my branch is responsible for to be table in parliament later this year. It’s only a 21 page document – the department’s annual report is 384 pages (ie slightly more challenging). While I am enjoying the writing and the editing, I did it in a short amount of time and now I just sit and wait for other people to review/edit and while I wait I’m picking up menial tasks. But I guess that does give me some down time to write a blog post – something I haven’t had time to do in a long while!

I started school mid-March and it has been pretty full on. I’m doing an Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (the AFTRS) – the national film school of Australia. It’s so cool to say that I’m going to the same school that produced the likes of Jane Campion and Gillian Armstrong – two of my heroes!

The work started from day dot, with weekly readings and exercises for two subjects – we dove in head first and there was lots to do for about 10 weeks, and not much free time! Then after week 10 it was all about our assignments, including the really fun ‘genre switch’ presentation, were I made the Big Chill a science fiction (as you do).

The study has been challenging, and with a busy day time job it became a little bit crazy there for a while – I didn’t see a lot of my friends for a long time. But the only thing keeping me sane is that I really, really enjoy the work while I am doing it. I get to write scripts, and talk to fellow film lovers about nerdy stuff and it’s fantastic fun.

I went to Japan! A friend and I went to Japan for two weeks in May, and it was awesome. What an interesting place! Everything was so cool and clean, and the people were so friendly and polite (and well dressed!). The food was delicious and the culture was fascinating; skyscrapers next to 800 year old Shinto temples. Highlights included Osaka (it’s like Blade Runner!), Hiroshima (really beautiful and peaceful place) the Kabuki Theatre, the craziness of Shibuya and Shinjuku, the shopping, and Tokyo Disneyland. I can’t wait to go back.

Last Tuesday was also the one year anniversary of my gastric sleeve surgery. I’m still on 30 kilos lost, haven’t actually lost any weight this year, which is frustrating – I haven’t lost weight, but I’m happy that I’ve managed to maintained weight. I’ve been very busy and stressed and haven’t had time to do any exercise. I am about to move in to my own place and I have plans to be more organised, and will have the space to do some exercise at home, something I’ve not really been able to do before. I am aiming to lose another 10 kilos by the end of the year, which I think it quite a reasonable goal.

So there ya go. My life while I was away from blogging! I am on a short break from school, so I am hoping to write about the few food places I was actually able to get to!

Stomach Surgery: Six Month Blood Test

I’ve been meaning to post about this for months, but I must admit to time getting away from me so far during 2015 – a new job and study have meant that I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like.
In mid-December, to “celebrate” the 6 month anniversary of my surgery, I got a blood test done by my Doctor. I didn’t go back to see her to get the results until January, but I’m so happy to report that I’m doing really well.
Apart from my B12 (which is now a little bit low due to my reduction of meat intake) and my Liver (which was really, really high to begin with), all of my levels are now back to where they should be. I also no longer have diabetes. It’s amazing, really, what a loss of 30 kilos can do towards making you healthier.
I have to take B complex vitamins, and go back for another test in April to see whether it’s improved – but I’m so close to the “normal” range that my doctor says that I should be okay with just the supplement (no injections – phew!).
On the weight loss front, I must admit to falling in to bad habits (snacking etc) around Christmas and I haven’t really gotten out of them – yet. I went overseas recently and used that as my “when I get back from Singapore I’ll start eating better”…and I have. Well, I’ve been better. My weight loss has stalled at the 30 kilo mark and I’m determined to lose another 5 before my one year anniversary in May. I need to be better. I will be better. Hopefully.

But I recently did my measurements and that’s giving me a lot of inspiration to keep going! I’ve lost 10 inches (that’s 25.4 cm) off my bust, 6 inches (15.24cm) off my waist and 7 (17.78 cm) from my hips! Wowzer! I’ve been telling my friends that I haven’t lost as much around my middle, and I was right – but I have still lost a decent amount!

La Cantina

Last Friday, a friend and I were both craving Italian, so we decided that a ‘feed’ was in order. Another friend had previously recommended La Cantina in Narrabundah, and because I was feeling too lazy to drive in to the city and deal with parking, we decided to give it a go.

La Cantina is located at Narrabundah shops, right next to one of my favourite Canberra restaurants, The Artisan. The space is really, really, cool. Behind big wooden doors is a brick cellar like room, with a large bar and kitchen towards the back. Classic Italian art adorns the walls and the lighting is soft and ambient – perfect date night material! I did find it a little bit cold, being next to the window and surrounded by brick, but that wore off once I started drinking.

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The space was about three quarters full when we arrived, and we were seated towards the entrance quickly and without fuss. My friend commented that we were on table 13 on Friday the 13th – obviously this meant…actually I don’t know what that means, but she told me I had to mention it in my post.

Our waitress for the night told us about the specials (including a delicious sounding chicken and mushroom ragu), and we ordered drinks. I’d had a bit of an insane week/month/year, so I decided to go straight for the hard stuff – a negroni. The negroni was strong and bitter, just how I like it.

IMG_6592We also ordered a classic bruschetta to start (and to put something in our stomachs before we started drinking) and it came out quickly.

The bruschetta was nice, the bread was fluffy, but apart from the very fresh taste of tomato there wasn’t much else going on.

For mains we both decided on a small pasta dish. V ordered the Rigatoni Rustici – Sausage, pancetta, confit Roma tomato and Pecorino cheese.

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My friend liked her pasta, said it was made up of delicious ingredients, but also felt like it was something she could make at home (although to a lesser quality). I tried some of the sausage and I thought it had great flavour.

I ordered the Ravioli di Anatra e Funghi – Duck and mushroom ravioli with confit organic garlic, burnt sage butter and Pecorino cheese.

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This dish is supremo comfort food. The burnt sage butter was strong and rich, and the ravioli was large and full of intense duck/mushroom goodness.

It is an indulgent dish, but I felt it lacked any freshness and would probably work well with some green vegies or something to just lift it out of the ‘too heavy’ category. I do think it would be perfect for winter though!

For dessert we both ordered our own dishes, V ordered the Flourless chocolate torte served with vanilla bean gelato and Pistachio soil and I ordered the Vanilla and orange infused Panna cotta with Vinocotto poached pear and crispy honeycomb.

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The torte was rich and moist, really dense and decadent – yum! The Panna Cotta was also delicious, flavoursome and rich – but perhaps a little bit less wobbly than I would like (personal preference, though). The vinocotto poached pear was sweet and soft, and the honeycomb was indeed crisp. I really loved this dessert but was too full to finish it.

The service at La Cantina was spot on, really friendly and efficient without being intrusive, and the ambience of the restaurant was really classic and homely – I had a relaxing night and was more than content (although full) when I left. The food is classic and well-made Italian, perfect if you’ve got a hankering for good produce deliciously prepared.

I’d highly recommend this place for date night and for a catch up with a small group of friends – there’s an intimacy about this place that looks to suits smaller parties really well (as evidenced by the large number of couples/groups of two friends there that night.

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