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Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)

Review: Shorty’s, City

Last week Jarrod and I went out for drinks (happy hour at Marble & Grain. $5 spirits!) and then off to dinner at Shorty’s. I’d classify Shorty’s as a Gastropub based on their offerings and pricing. On the night we went they had a $15 steak and drink (called Steak and Shake for some reason, even though there are no shakes involved) deal that also includes chips and salad.

Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes
Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes

We noticed they did have shakes on the menu though so decided to order a couple, even though we also had drinks included in the steak deal. These were good milkshakes but they were far too expensive. There was nothing overly special about them (that I could determine) and their combined cost of $16 (more than 1 of our meals!) made them even less so. Given the state of shakes at the moment, for $8.50 you would expect it to at least be a thick shake and maybe have something a little fancy on the top. Ideally, these should have been around the $6 mark. Fortunately, they were well flavoured and were good for what they were just a bit pricey.

Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)
Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)

Generally speaking, I will never order a steak from anywhere if there is something else I like on the menu. This was, in fact, the first time I have ordered a steak in my life as I’m not too keen on the texture. Over the last few years I have been exposed to some really lovely steaks though and, given I was recently diagnosed with an iron deficiency, I decided to get over my issues with steak and ordered one.

We both ordered our steaks medium (about as pink as I can take a steak being) and they came out fairly quickly. The mushroom sauce was quite good and I was surprised to see actual mushrooms in the mix. The steak was about what I expected for a $15 steak. It didn’t change my mind on steak and I wondered if getting such a cheap meal for my first ever steak order might have been a mistake however, I was a bit scared to buy something more expensive and also find it average. It was cooked to what I’d consider to be medium and was relatively soft but no where near as good as the ones I’ve had previously, given the price difference though this isn’t overly surprising.

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to go for dinner so you can easily be heard by your table mates, Shorty’s is probably not the place for you. The music was very loud and, although I had booked a table, we were at a high table that appeared to just be shoved in a corner to get the most out of the room they had. It was such a tight fit that I had to jump down from my chair and move it so the people at the table behind us could get out.

I could see this being a fun place to go for drinks (apparently the beer choices are good!) but, even though I’m keen to try their burgers and schnitzel nights, I’m not sure it’s somewhere I’ll be back to any time soon.

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Shorty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Scotch fillet - grass fed 300g, served with Paris mash, roquette, bone marrow & red wine jus ($38)

Review: Marble & Grain, Braddon

For Jarrod’s birthday he decided he wanted to have steak involved in his birthday dinner. As someone that rarely eats steak I didn’t really know what was around. Our first choice was going to be Wood & Coal in the city but they temporarily closed in July and their Facebook says they’ll re-open in August, their website says September (although it’s still possible to book a table online..) and there is a sign on the door that says Mid October… as of Oct 31st, I still have no idea whether they’re open or not.

Marble & Grain Restaurant
Marble & Grain Restaurant

So, instead, we decided on going to Marble & Grain, the other place (with the exception of Hog’s Breath and Outback Jack’s, whose reviews are less than stellar) that I knew specialised in steak. Marble & Grain is quite huge and has both a bar and restaurant area and is also the restaurant for The Avenue hotel. I got the feeling that Jarrod and I were the only people actually there that weren’t from the hotel. This might be because we went fairly early on a Sunday afternoon.

Sourdough Bread - dukkah, local olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter ($4)
Sourdough Bread – dukkah, local olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter ($4)

Initially for starters I wanted to try the mysteries of the Chorizo Corndogs that they had on the menu but Jarrod didn’t seem too keen on those so we went with bread. We didn’t get the balsamic with the bread and the butter tasted unusual, I wasn’t able to determine what was in it but we both agreed we would have preferred if it had just been straight up butter as the menu suggests. Normally we would have devoured the butter on the delicious Sourdough but because of the taste we ended up leaving most of it and went for the olive oil and dukkah instead.. or just ate the bread plain.

Confit Duck - duck proscuitto, citrus salad, chilli caramel dressing ($36)
Confit Duck – duck proscuitto, citrus salad, chilli caramel dressing ($36)

As someone that doesn’t eat steak (I considered giving it a try but at the $40 mark I didn’t want to take one bite and realise I’d wasted my money) there wasn’t a huge amount of other selection. I checked the menu online and decided to try the chicken they had on offer. Unfortunately, when we were shown the menus when we were seated they were different to what was online (and also on the window outside) and the chicken option was no longer there. Although I don’t eat duck often I decided to give it a try.

It doesn’t look like much other than a mountain of salad in the photo but it was quite good. I surprised myself by quite enjoying the citrus salad and chili caramel dressing too. I will admit that most of the time if a meal includes salad I usually just push it to the side and leave it behind. I also enjoyed the proscuitto on top (and wished there had been more) and the duck was tender and juicy and delicious. Duck still isn’t my meat of choice but I might give it a second glance more often on menus now.

Scotch fillet - grass fed 300g, served with Paris mash, roquette, bone marrow & red wine jus ($38)
Scotch fillet – grass fed 300g, served with Paris mash, roquette, bone marrow & red wine jus ($38)

And the meal we had gone there for, the steak. I didn’t try any so I can’t say how it tasted but Jarrod really enjoyed it and was glad he’d had the opportunity to have a ‘proper’ steak for his birthday dinner. Although it was 300g of meat he wished there had been even more because it was really well cooked and the mash was also perfect. He left the bone marrow behind though.

Overall the service was good (potentially too attentive for our liking but probably of a high level for other people) and the food was well made. The price was somewhat higher than we normally spend and it wouldn’t be somewhere we’d return to on a regular basis, however for occasional outings or when Jarrod has a steak hankering I’d be happy to return.

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Marble & Grain Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Almighty - Grilled grass fed lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot with salad, relish & herbed mayo ($13.50)

Review: Grill’d, Belconnen

A few weeks ago I decided we should have burgers for dinner (that really isn’t unusual though, I always want burgers) and Jarrod suggested we go out to Grill’d in Belconnen and follow it up with some Yogurtland deliciousness. I wasn’t that hard to convince so off we went!

Grill'd - Make Burgers Good
Grill’d – Burgers Made Good

Grill’d is a burger chain in Australia that has a claim of making burgers healthy. While I’m not sure that is true, they do state that they use higher quality ingredients and less filler in their burgers which probably makes them healthier if not healthy.

In previous visits, they have had a menu board up above the counter but that has disappeared (I’m not sure if that is a permanent change) and they had their menus out the front which confused some people.. we weren’t sure why they didn’t just put them up at the counter. Fortunately, for us, we noticed the menus as we walked in and took a look before we made it to the counter.

The Almighty - Grilled grass fed lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot with salad, relish & herbed mayo ($13.50)
The Almighty – Grilled grass fed lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot with salad, relish & herbed mayo ($13.50)

Jarrod decided on the Almighty (as he usually does) which is essentially a burger with the lot. At Grill’d you also get to choose which style of bun you would like, there is the traditional with sesame seeds (above) and also a panini option. The traditional is full of sesame goodness and it’s what we usually get when we buy burgers from Grill’d. Jarrod raves about this burger and claims it to be nearly one of the best burgers he’s eaten, especially in its price range (not cheap, but also not expensive).

Bird & Brie - Grilled chicken breast, brie cheese, thick cranberry sauce, salad & herbed mayo ($12.50)
Bird & Brie – Grilled chicken breast, brie cheese, thick cranberry sauce, salad & herbed mayo ($12.50)

While I also like the Almighty I usually opt for the Bird and Brie.. sometimes I consider having something else but then I also think about  missing out on the combination of brie and cranberry sauce and stick to this burger. I also asked for the ‘traditional’ bun but was given the panini which, although it tastes decent, made me pretty disappointed – I love sesame seed buns that much.

All the flavours work well together in this burger and there is something about the gooey brie combined with the sweet cranberry sauce that makes it better than other chicken burgers. This is a great chicken burger.

Local Matters bottle cap
Local Matters bottle cap

One initiative that Grill’d has is the “Local Matters” donations. Whenever you buy a burger you receive a bottle cap in a little yellow envelope, in store there is a stand with 3 large containers that contain details about the charities Grill’d is supporting for the month. You place your bottle cap in the container of the group you’d like to support and the group with the most bottle caps at the end of the month gets some cash. I believe we went with supporting a Quidditch team.

Yogurtland delicious!
Yogurtland delicious!

We decided not to get drinks or chips at Grill’d (although they do excellent chips!) because we wanted to take a tasty trip to Yogurtland before going home! Yogurtland is great if you want to customise your dessert as much as you like. They have a bunch of different flavours of frozen yoghurt that you serve yourself (out of softserve machines) and then you can add in whatever toppings you like. It is all weight based which I prefer, unlike other places that charge you a flat amount for different types of toppings.

I, obviously, got all of the chocolate flavours, Twilight being my favourite as it’s a darker, richer flavour and is so good. I also make sure to get a few generous pumps of hot fudge before I go!

Overall a delicious night when you want to have something a bit junky to eat and not spend a huge amount (it might be worth noting though, that our yoghurt nearly cost the same amount as our burgers! We love filling up those cups!)

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Grill'd Belconnen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Awesome Gravity Falls Cushion

Happy Birthday to Me

This week I turned 32. Initially I wanted to plan all these things but as the day got closer and closer, I got lazier and lazier. I was starting to feel old and less interested in doing thing. In the end I went to work and then Jarrod and I went to dinner with my Mum and her partner.

Awesome Gravity Falls Cushion
Awesome Gravity Falls Cushion

Although I didn’t do too much celebrating it wasn’t a bad day. I woke up and Jarrod sent me on a hunt down stairs to find the presents he had gotten me. The first thing I noticed was a Gravity Falls cushion that I’d seen on RedBubble a few times. I hadn’t bought it yet because I was still annoyed that the seller jacked up the price when RedBubble had 20% off and out of principle never bought it. At least Jarrod isn’t as stubborn as me because it is pretty neat!

He also bought me a new Space Unicorns bag which, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I accidentally left my old one on the bus and whoever found it decided they’d prefer to keep it more than they wanted to give it back.

Hopefully, I don’t lose this one somewhere and have it become the cursed unicorns.

Lastly, he got me some delicious drinking chocolate from Max Brenner, which I promptly opened and decided to use in Hot Chocolate for breakfast. It smells amazing and I sort of want to eat it all out of the tin.

The weather forecast for the day mentioned frost, sun, clouds, rain, a thunderstorm and hail but at no point did it mention snow, but snow it did. It very rarely snows here and it is probably the only time in recorded history that is snowed on August 12 so, while I don’t particularly like snow, I can say something special happened on the day.

Snow at the Dinosaur Museum
Dinosaurs Frolicking in the snow!

At work we were debating whether it was snow or sleet and I was firmly on the sleet side but apparently, according to a meteorologist somewhere, it was deemed snow. I wasn’t able to get a decent photo and I doubt anything I could have taken would have topped Dinosaurs in Snow! The Dinosaur Museum reported an Ice Age after the snow – so silly but cool photos!

After work it came time to go to dinner! If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know I have a bit of an obsession with Caffe Cherry Beans and decided to go there for dinner. I had been eyeing off their Korean Fried Chicken and decided my birthday was the night.

Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken

I asked for the half serve and, a bit concerned I wouldn’t have enough food, confirmed half size would be a decent amount of food. I didn’t know what to expect but I can guarantee you it wasn’t half a chicken in deep fried goodness! Luckily I didn’t decide I needed the full serve because who knows how big the plate would have been. The batter was crispy and flavoursome and awesome and definitely a good choice. And yes, I nearly finished it! I left one piece because I wanted to make sure I could fit in our free waffle! Instead of cake, I decided waffle was fine as I basically had a week of cake with morning teas at work.

After dinner Jarrod and I huddled together and went out into the cold and rushed to the car and drove home and then sat in a food coma until bed.

Although it was sort of just a standard day (but with presents and delicious food!) it was a decent day overall.

 

Garlic Bread ($7)

Review: L’Artista, Belconnen

In Canberra there used to be an Italian restaurant that nearly everyone you knew had been to at one point or another in their life. They did a pizza that had bolognese sauce on it that made me go back again and again. Unfortunately, a few years ago all of their stores around Canberra closed down. I didn’t really think about what might have taken their restaurant space in Belconnen until a few weeks ago.

I was looking on Google maps for places in Belconnen and noticed L’Artista was located where they used to be and in fact, they had kept the old number (sounds like a smart idea if people didn’t realise the old place had shut and in it’s place another Italian restaurant had opened). Given that Jarrod and I both work fairly close to the area we decided to go for dinner after work one day on a Thursday night.

L'Artista Restaurant
L’Artista Restaurant

We had a 6PM booking and when we arrived the place was nearly empty but slowly started filling up with family’s and groups as we ate our meal. The tables are a good size and fit everything easily but the lighting could have been a bit brighter. Even though in the photo above there is a lot of lighting, at the table it wasn’t overly bright – which shows in the photos I took.

Chocolate Milkshake ($4)
Chocolate Milkshake ($4)

We decided to try the milkshakes for our drinks as is our usual but were skeptical of the $4 price tag. We were right to be skeptical as they didn’t have much flavouring at all and weren’t very cold which suggests no icecream was used in their making. Given we were in an Italian restaurant I can forgive the milkshakes not being excellent as I assume they’re there more for a kids novelty than for adults to choose to drink.

Garlic Bread ($7)
Garlic Bread ($7)

For entrée we decided on Garlic Bread which was delicious and buttery. The bread itself was nice and crisp on the outside but still soft and a little spongy on the inside. Combined with the garlic butter it was incredibly tasty. We wished we had more of it though 2 pieces each was probably enough – maybe.

Meat Lovers pizza - Tomato, Mozzarella, gourmet sausage, olive oil, bacon, salami, ham and chicken ($18)
Meat Lovers pizza – Tomato, Mozzarella, gourmet sausage, olive oil, bacon, salami, ham and chicken ($18)

Mmm meat lovers pizza! So maybe it didn’t have bolognese sauce on it but it was still quite tasty. The bbq sauce on top was surprisingly sweet, and a little overpowering but overall the pizza was decent. I enjoyed the combination of meats and was glad I didn’t have to request that they remove onion or mushroom (if I want a meat pizza, I don’t want any vegetables.. I don’t know why it’s common to have onion on them). The only strange thing about the pizza was that we weren’t provided with any new plates, we ended up taking slices and using our entree plates to put them on but given the size of some of the slices they didn’t quite fit some of the time.

We nearly opted for dessert but decided against it and instead decided to go up to Goodberry’s for a concrete each at roughly the same price one of the desserts to share would have cost.

I think L’Artista would be a great takeaway option too and I am interested in trying their lunch specials – 10 for 10 in 10 or 5 – where they have a few specials for $10 and if it takes more than 10mins you get it for $5. Seems like a decent deal to try.

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