Saturday, March 23, 2013

McDonalds Smoky Texan Burger

 Since I enjoyed the New York Burger so much, I decide to ry the the other burgers in McDonalds Taste of America promotion. Next on the list was the Smoky Texan Burger, which i again got in the value meal. This is more a more expensive burger than the New York Burger, I think the meal cost $8.95, but you might want to check that. But it is a bigger burger, with more fillings on it. It's a different kind of burger pattie, definitely more Angus beefy than the New York one, but I preferred the NY burger. It's sauce is more distinct, a BBQ sauce with a bit of bite to it. Very tasty. I'm noot a fan of the cheese McDonalds use, so it did lose points when I could taste it, but not enough to ruin the meal.
So yeah, it was good, but I recommend the New York Burger over this.

Grilled New York Burger

So since I posted about the McDonald's New York Burger, I thought it only fair that I post about the Grilled New York burger.
It's a yummy burger. It's got a smoky BBQ sauce, that's got a bit of bite to it. Actually, I'm not 100% sure about that now, since I may be getting his confused with another burger. It was very yummy, I'll give it that. It had pickles like the Maccas burger, but also bacon, which always improves whatever it's added to. But at $12.90 for just a burger, I'd rather get 2 Maccas value meals New York Burgers, because you get 2 burgers, 2 small drinks and 2 small serves of chips for less than the same price I paid for this burger and 600ml coke from a vending machine.
But it is a nice burger and I don't regret getting it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

McDonalds New York Burger

Sorry for wasting a blog post about this, but this what blogs are for, right? Anyway, it's only fair, if I review other restaurant meals, that I review this as well.
Well, I say review, but really, all I'm saying is I liked it. My bun seemed nice and fresh, and I guess I couldn't say how it was different, but it was different from the usual McDonald's bun. I guess the other two things that make this the New York Burger is the sauce and the pickles. It seems a lot of people don't like the pickles on their burgers at Maccas, and usually take them off, but I've always liked them on there. And this burger has plenty of them, so that was good. I don't know what the sauce is, what makes it New York, (maybe it was more mustardy? I think that's what the ad is suggesting), but whatever it was, I liked it. So it was nice burger I thought, I wouldn't mind having it again.
One last thought, I got it in the meal, and my chips were nice and salty, which contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the Coke, so a very pleasant meal all in all. If only it was cheaper, Maccas just doesn't seem like value for money to me anymore, but that's probably because I remember when I could get a Juniorburger there for $1.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Failed Experment 2: Hamburger Patties With Haloumi

I had an idea a while back, I can't remember if there was a specific point of inspiration, but the thought was, why not chop up some haloumi and put it into a hamburger pattie?

So I did.

I used about 600gm of beef mince, about half a red onion, a splash or two of Worcestershire Sauce, and dollop or two of my ribs sauce which was left over, and en egg for binding. Oh yeah, I also cubed up some haloumi into small little cubes. That made about 10 patties. Well, not about, it did make 10 patties, there they are in the photo above.


And then I cooked them.

And then I ate them.

They were alright. Nice hamburger patties if you were having a BBQ, but they were a failure as far as I was concerned. I was hoping for little explosions of haloumi taste in my mouth, but I noticed nothing. No subtle taste, nothing.

I'm going to try again, but next time I will try it with lamb mince to keep it a bit more Greek, and I've got two options. I could fry up some haloumi frst, then cube it and mix it and see if that brings out the flavour, or I could chop the haloumi up a bit larger, maybe into strips rather than cubes, or just larger cubes. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Failed Experiment 1: Which Flavour Soft Jelly Do I Like The Best?

Mum buys a packet of soft jellies, in which there are 6 different flavours. I've wondered to myself, which one do I like the best, how should I focus my efforts when raiding the lolly jar? So I decide to set up an experiment to try ascertain which flavour is my favourite.

I started out by arranging the lollies in rows of flavour and roughly arranged in assumed favourite flavour. My intention was to then eat one of each, in order of "least liked" to "most liked", and comparing it to the one I had just eaten, to see if I did in fact enjoy it more than the previous.
The flavours in the initial run were laid out from left to right in the picture below, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry and Grape.

I found the bottom three didn't change, though I considered swapping Lemon and Lime. Lemon definitely has a stronger flavour, and the Lime seems almost bland when directly following the Lemon, but the test is not based on strength, so I decided that even though it is subtle, I preferred the Lime.
I made some changes to the top three though I pushed Raspberry to the top, forcing Grape to second position, and Strawberry to third. But it was not an undeniable win, I found all three flavours competeing for top spot, and could see either Grape or Strawberry coming out back on top.
Time for round two.

In the second round nothing changed down the bottom, nor did it change up the top, but I found myself not really particulary enjoying any of the individual lollies. That is to say, they all still tasted sweet, but something seemed to be missing which would make one flavour stand out above another as a clear winner.
Time for round three.

By this stage, I was starting to feel a little sick of the whole experiment, and couldn't work out which one I actually thought was the best one. I had a glass of milk between rounds. I had a sip between lollies, to try dampen the sugar, but to no avail, I could not tell.

In fact, I came to the realisation that it is the combination of different flavours in the mouth which makes one taste better. The contrast between them makes the experience as whole better, but that didn't help me choose a winner. As far as I was concerned, the experiment was a failure.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunnybank Dining: Himawari

I was planning on having some ramen for lunch, but the line at Hakataya was too long, so I decided to pop next door to Himawari, which means sunflower, and try their ramen. I'd been meaning to try them out for a while, so I was glad for the opportunity.
They offer two types of ramen, the Miso and the Shoyu. I went with the Shoyu. They give you a complimentary bowl of Miso soup anyway, as you can see in the photos. It didn't come with a spoon, so I waited for my ramen to arrive. If I drank it from the bowl, it just goes in my moustache, but you may not have that problem.
The soup was delicious, as in the liquid soup. Maybe I haven't had Shoyu before, so I can't recommend it over Taro's necessarily, but I'm thinking if I'm back at Sunnybank, I might prefer this to Hakataya. The pork was minimal, only 2 slices, but substantial pieces, nice and thick, and tasty, really very tasty. It had some radish in also, but I'm not really a radish fan, so I left that floating all by itself in the bowl. But the noodle, I think I ate up all the noodle I could manage to snag, it too was very tasty. So each of the individual ingredients were very good in and of themselves, but then you combine them, and you get a very tasty ramen.
The advantage that Hakataya might have over Himawari would be value. When you add in the "kaidama", the free bowl of noodle refill, its tempting to choose that over the other, but I really liked this ramen, so I will definitely go back for another bowl down the line.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sunnybank Dining: Vietnam Corner BBQ Restaurant: BBQ Pork & Wonton Noodle Soup

 So continuing my sampling of the different  restaurants around Sunnybank, I went to the restaurant opposite Little Cube, Vietnam Corner BBQ Restaurant. It's a bit hard to give a recommendation based on one meal, and a simple one at that, but from what I saw on other people's plates, it looks pretty good.
I like the atmosphere of the place, which isn't much, but I found the staff friendly and helpful, and keen to serve. Upon sitting down, a glass of tea was brought to my table, almost before the menus. I couldn't see Winter Melon Tea on the menu, but asked about it anyway. I was told it wasn't available, but I heard the wiatress asking the manager about it anyway, so it seems like they have good service.
I went there because they had BBQ Pork & Wonton Noodle Soup, and because they accepted EFTPOS, but I didn't see the sign that said $20 minimum before I ordered. I explained that I had to go get money out, and they were happy enough with that, since I was leaving my bag there.
The soup came out when I returned, and it was a decent size. Not as big as AJs. It was pretty good, the wontons were obviously hand made, but not the best wontons I've had, kind of solid, and not very mincey. They also had something crunchy inside them. I didn't dislike them, but they weren't my favourite. The noodles were nice, but lacking that floavour punch I get from that other shop in Albert St, though there were plenty of them. The pork was nice chunks of meat, not just slices, and a pretty good amount, but no more than what you'd get elsewhere. Nor was it a new revelation of taste, just a fairly standard BBQ pork. The soup was quite nice, and I mostly finished it by the end. I thought I better try the vegetables, just for completeness sake, and I what I thought was celery, turned out to be something else, with a slight aniseed flavour, which despite not being a favourite flavour of mine, wasn't entirely unpleasant, and I even ate most of it. It also contained a bit of spring onion.
So overall, a decent meal, but nothing I'd go out of the way to eat again. Though I am keen to go back, and try something else from the menu.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunnybank Dining: Top Hot Pot

This was my first experience with Hot Pot, so I was a little unsure of how things would go, but it's kind of obvious, and not dissimilar to other table top dining. I went to Top Hot Pot which is on McCullough St, in the Sunny Park Shopping complex.
So we went with the Buffet menu, which allows you to choose as many ingredients as you like, rather than individual serves. I recommend it, though I'm not sure if it's the most economic way to do it. If you know what you want, are a bit more experienced, you can probably get what you want cheaper. But it does come with free drink as well, which is where I discovered Winter Melon Tea, which is one of my new favourite drinks. It's a kind of toffee/caramel flavoured cold drink, very tasty.
So he basic rundown, you have three soup choices to choose from, and a whole bunch of ingredients that you choose, which you then place in your soup and cook up at the table on little element stoves built into the table top. So the fun comes in choosing them and cooking them. How long should this ingredient go in, and how long should this one? How hot do I want my soup if I've got this ingredient in? All these wonderful adjustable variables you can play with. My hint, if you get the potato, make sure you get that in there nice and early. Most things don't take too long to cook though.
The portion sizes are ample. I went with 2 friends, and if you choose a few between you, there's plenty to share with everyone. It's best to think of it in that way, not as an individual meal. Anyway, I quite enjoyed it, and am keen to go back, but also try out other hot pot places around Sunnybank as well. I'll let you know when I do.

Sunnybank Dining: Little Cube Szechuan Restaurant

 So my friends took me to one of their favourite restaurants in Sunnybank, The Little Cube Restaurant in Sunnybank Plaza. They said we had to get there early to make sure we got a seat, as it's very popular, and we'd have to line up if we got there later. And it's true, by the time we finished our meal, there was a queue forming up outside.
The menu is a large photobook, with maybe 3 choices to a page, but usually 2, with a large photo of the meal to see. Very nice menu.
The food was delicious, so let me walk you through what we had. (Though it's been a few weeks since I've been there, so my memory is a bit hazy. But I know it was all delicious.)

 I don't remember if this what they were called at the restaurant, but the recipe David showed me when we got home called them Double Cooked Beans. It is beans cooked with a fried pork mince and mustard/pickled cabbage, which are fried to the point of crunchiness, adding great flavour and texture to the beans.
 I'm pretty sure this was the Sizzling Pepper Beef, and I thunk this was my favourite of the night. Just the right amount of heat to it, so that the flavour was overwhelmed by it, and just plain delicious. Sorry, the details elude me, but I know I'd happily order this one again.
 Ok, these were BBQ Pork Ribs, I think. It was definitely pork, but maybe not ribs. They were probably the hottest we had that night, but really nicely cooked. Perhaps a little awkward to eat, but I just used my fingers.
This dish and the beans were the surprise for me of the night. This was the Cumin Mutton, or something like that. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was really good. I wouldn't call myself the biggest cumin fan, but it didn't overwhelm, even though it was the dominant taste. I'm not sure how they cook it, but it's coated in this cumin coating (and probably other spices), and maybe fried? I'm not sure. I think I'll have to go back and try it again. So good.

So that was brief rundown of what I had there. I'd highly recommend it to you, but I kind of want to keep it a secret, so try to forget I told you about it, ok?

Wonton & BBQ Pork Noodle Soup: AJs Edition

So I tried the Wonton & BBQ Pork Noodle Soup at AJs, on Charlotte St, just up the corner of Edward & Charlotte, and I wasn't blown away. It's good, of course, as it's still a Wonton & BBQ Pork Noodle Soup, but it didn't have anything to commend it above any other I've had.
Except for the size.
These servings are huge. When the bowl comes out, your eyes bug out of your head and you wonder, am I going to be able to eat all of this? Of course you can, but you definitely feel full at the end. So maybe for value for money, AJs is the winner. I prefer the egg noodle at the place in Albert St. but there's nothing wrong with these noodles. There are ample wontons, more than at Jackpot, and they too taste fine, though I think I prefer the wonton at Jackpot. I'm not a huge fan of the cabbage that goes into most Wonton & BBQ Pork Noodle Soups, so it's a pretty much a wash in this category, though somewhere does pit bok choi in instead, I think, so wherever that place is, I probably prefer that. But when it comes to size, I'm pretty sure Ajs is the winner at the moment.