Eat Street Markets – Hamilton

Food

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Only my second time at Eat Street Markets but I am never not excited. As soon as the entry fee is paid, I will walk straight through with an instant smile on my face.

First off, why can’t there be two “Eat” signs? This was hard to find.

Secondly, why can’t I have endless amount of money?

Prior to my Eat Street adventure, of course I just had to make prior decisions on what to eat. Calamari was my top choice, but after walking past numerous times trying to find the right spot, I just could not find it. However, once I bought my food, and we were looking for the gnocchi place, it turns out the calamari I wanted was right at the entrance.

I know I had to choose something different, but it was hard to ignore how good the food from my first time was, so I did end up having Koma Sliders, Hierba Santa and Chocolate Komberry Co. all over again.

My Order: Fully Loaded Fries ($10) from Koma Sliders.

The most delicious mix of Korean and American cuisine has brought us Fully Loaded Fries. Curly and Sweet Potato fries, topped with Korean bulgogi beef, kimchi, mozzarella cheese, spicy mayo and aioli. Flavour upon flavour and the right amount of textures, iProcessed with VSCO with c1 presett is hard to deny Koma Sliders when they knock fusion dishes out of the park.

Other Orders: Nachos ($10) with Guacamole ($2) from Chilli Sisters and Chicken & Chorizo Paella ($12) from Samba Catering.

I did end up have a small try of the paella, but to my personal taste, I would have liked the chorizo to have a bit more smoke and spice to it and that some acidic element was added to cut through the starch of the rice.

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Drinks: Aztec Blood, Hawaii Bombay and Black Lemon from Hierba Santa (Cup $4).

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BEST DRINKS ON THE PLANET. Do I need to say more? Forget alcohol or other beverages on offer, Hierba Santa is a must when at Eat Street Markets. Iced tea that is not too sweet? It is the perfect refreshment with any meal. First time I had this, I bought a Litre of Black Lemon, and there were no regrets with that whatsoever (maybe only the fact I had a pressing need to pee when we were on our way back home).

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Dessert Order: 1 Salted Caramel Soft Serve Conut ($12) and 1 Salted Caramel & Chocolate Soft Serve Conut ($12) from Chocolate Komberry Co.

Sweetness overload and diabetes ensured. As delicious as these conuts were, it feels as though you are just eating teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar granules. The amount of sugar all together made it hard to devour and all I really wanted was more of that hot fudge sauce. Albeit, the ice-cream was thick and smooth, but I could have asked for more salt. This was probably the first time I did not finish a dessert, but at least I have finally tried it.

Next time? I will opt for The Doughnut Bar’s doughcone.

 

Brooklyn Depot – Southbank

Food

Brooklyn Depot has put a permanent smile on my face.

From its New York Green High Line inspired decor and its Brooklyn contemporary industrial interior, I am happy to say this is one huge step up, taking over the previous South Side Diner.

The name “Brooklyn Depot” constantly popped up everytime I went online. Just from the images of the food and location, I knew I had to visit this sooner and not just leave it waiting on my list of places to visit. After attending the Cindy Sherman exhibition at GOMA, choosing Brooklyn Depot as a “pre-birthday” treat was the best birthday gift I could give myself.

When I first read the menu, I knew it would end up becoming my go-to place for a well-needed feed. Not just its burgers, but its Po Boy Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Chilli Fries and Milkshakes, I just wanted to buy the whole place.

As we sat down and watched as the waiters carried boards of burgers and baskets of fries and onion rings, at first I was a bit skeptical. Taking over South Side Diner’s location, my initial thoughts were “will this be underwhelming like South Side Diner?” I had only been to South Side Diner once, and for the price and size of their burgers, I was very disappointed. BUT, although the burgers looked small, it was worth it.

My Order: Brooklyn Classic [Grass fed beef, American cheese, oak leaf lettuce, tomato, Depot special sauce] ($10) and Beef Chilli Cheese Fries ($10)

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After my burger from Brew, no burger bun would please me if it were not a milky bun. Thank Brooklyn Depot for continuing on this deliciousness with a beef burger that oozed with perfection. The bun was soft to the touch, the lettuce – a refreshing crunch, the tomato – although it did not look as fresh, worked so well as it was covered in Depot special sauce, and finally, the beef pattie – a crunchy outside and grilled to the utmost delectable, juicy patty I have had in a lone time. 50/10 burger in Brisbane; I am sorry, but all you burger joints, you have to step up your game because Brooklyn Depot has got my vote.

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Between the Garbage Fries and Beef Chilli Cheese, Brooklynising skinny fries to Beef Chilli Cheese just made my first experience here even more spectacular. A $10 set of crispy shoestring fries looking like that? It puts McDonalds to shame. You do not even have to get a burger and you can just eat it all by itself, because it will fill you up in an instant. If you like chilli, its a perfect hit and just the right bite in addition to the beef topping and fake-cheese sauce. I hope I am not insulting the chef, but what is an American diner without that fake-cheese taste; superb fries though.

Other Orders: Brooklyn Classic ($10) and Flip The Bird [Pulled BBQ chicken, hickory smoked bacon, Depot slaw, guacamole & sweet BBQ sauce] ($10)

I did end up having a bite of Flip The Bird, but like my other burger attendees, there were mixed feelings about this. I cannot say this is one burger I would choose since the Pulled BBQ chicken was just too sweet. All together, even though the bacon would have complimented with its salty flavour, I found it was not enough for me to enjoy that burger. All in all, it just lacked in texture and flavour.

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Although I have figured out some pros and cons, Brooklyn Depot can expect me back for more.

 

The Street Food Depot – King George Square

Food

All I wanted was to go to Officeworks, buy envelopes and go home.

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Another food truck event at King George Square, and the worst possible time when you come into the city hungry and you want to save money. If I took a different bus from uni, this could have been avoided, but the temptations rolled in when I was bombarded with trucks and stalls I had never even heard of.

The Street Food Depot was filled with endless options, so craving after craving built up and I just could not make a decision. After the checking out Wednesday’s Jan Powers Farmers Markets the week before, I was eyeing a bratwurst from Brat Haus, but ended up at Brew instead.

My choices were either between Calamari, a Bratwurst or a Banh Mi from Rolls Pho Mi, but for a decent $10, German Dog House Sausages it was.

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As difficult as it was to eat in public without dropping sauerkraut and tomato sauce everywhere, it was one enjoyable meal.

Order: Cheese Kranski ($10) with Sauerkraut, Grilled Onion and Tomato Sauce.

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I asked the guy behind the table whether I should go with a Cheese Kranski or a Milk Bratwurst. His joking around about how much product was on the grill ended in confusion as initially, the Cheese Kranski was recommended, but the Mild Bratwurst won me over. Unfortunately, the girl piling on the sausage, sauerkraut and onions did not hear my selection change, resorting me to a Cheese Kranski. It was only until I was walking away to find a seat when I realised this misunderstanding; at least I got some form of Bratwurst.

The first bite of the Cheese Kranski was lemony, or somewhat tangy, so originally I thought I may have had sauerkraut mixed into it, but I was wrong. I did ask for more sauerkraut than onion, but it was a bit disappointing that the sauerkraut did not have as much bite and kick to it. As for the Cheese Kranski, as I took one bite after another, it felt as if the flavour disappeared. Somehow I was just eating because I was hungry and not because I was savouring the flavour.

Next time, I will make sure to get a Mild Bratwurst in order to (hopefully) get a punch of flavour, spice and a little bit of eat.

Brew – Brisbane CBD

Food

Of the week starting Monday July 25th, it was food after food after food. But this laneway served the best tasting burger I have had in a while. Just off Queen Street Mall through Lower Burnett Lane, Brew Cafe & Wine Bar is one quirky, unique and questionably interesting place. Although the inside looks like more of an underground, secret, alternative music venue with its dark vibe, its certainly one everyone must go and check out, whether for its a lunchtime visit or for a drink after work.

The only reason that would stop me from walking in is the underaged school kids lurking in the laneway or the hipsters that end up smoking in the entrance one after the other. Our experience this time round, sitting just outside on milk crates, was eventful. As we waited for our meals to come, we were entertained with teenagers being caught out and moved from outside the venue. As they wore their school’s uniform and one clearly being at least 13, their 1pm adventure was shot down. (Please stay in school).

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Other than witnessing a usual event, when the food arrived it was one spot-on presentation. Each dish looked like a piece of artwork and was definitely something I classify as being worth every cent. So much finesse and detail for my kind of meal, hands down, these chefs know what’s up.

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Other Orders: Smashed Avocado on Toast ($12.50) served on rye with goats cheese ricotta mousse and fresh cut lemon, with Bacon ($3.50) and Warm Superfood Salad ($14.50).

My Order: Brew Crumbed Fish Burger with house made tartare sauce, spinach & tomato with a side of truffle fries ($17)

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Every element of this burger just proved to get better with every bite. The two fish pieces were perfectly crumbed and crunchy with the fish fillet just melting in my mouth. Those tomato slices, I have never seen so fresh and vibrant, and the ratio of that tartare sauce made me want to devour a whole jar. But, although the fish was hard to beat, the milky bun won the dish. Whilst most burger buns I have had are either quite dry or very crumbly, this bun was soft to the touch, delicate in a sense and the crust of being on the grill just added that extra crunch that held the burger together. 10/10 burger bun.

The extra tip added to the garlic mayo was certainly on point, whilst the “truffle” fries had a perfect crunch to them. Although they were quite salty, I cannot say they tasted any different with the truffle element; it did not taste different at all.

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It may not exactly be a proper restaurant as such, but Brew may have become one of my favourite places to eat.

 

Night Noodle Markets – Southbank

Food

What a way to end Good Food Month with the Night Noodle Markets; with its endless light extravaganza, asian food stalls and origami swans.

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Taking over Southbank’s Cultural Forecourt, it was smaller than I expected, with less stalls than in previous years. It may not have been packed stall after stall, but one thing is for sure, these places were pricy.

Timing it well, I lined up just in time for the gates to open. What I did not know was the rush of people heading towards the Black Star Pastry tent to get a taste of the famous Strawberry Watermelon cake and Black Star x N2 gelato collaboration.

Although I did get there early and the line up was relatively reasonable, the approximate waiting time was not enough for me to hopefully get taste of something unique to Brisbane.

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BUT, when you see smoke, you know its Hoy Pinoy cooking their famous skewers. As a Filipina, there is never a time where I do not crave for these barbecued sticks, but for the size and price of 2 skewers for $12, (sorry to say) it was not worth it. After staying for a full 10 minutes, contemplating whether or not to end my craving, unfortunately, I had to take a pass.

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After a long day of uni and missing out on lunch, I was starving. I must have circled the Forecourt at least 5 times before deciding where to eat and in the end, Spanthai got me with their selections ranging from Chicken Pad Thai to Massaman Curry.

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Order: Chicken Pad Thai Rice Noodle ($14)

I am a huge satay chicken fan, and when I saw the “Satay Chicken Curry” sign, it would have been the perfect choice on that cold and windy Brisbane night. However, it was the Chicken Pad Thai that came in a box that drove me away from the curry. The juicy chicken, the perfectly, sauced-covered noodles, the fresh bean sprouts and spring onions, and the acidity and tanginess of the lemon filled my need for a great tasting meal. As an easy-to-eat meal that I carried around whilst circling the Forecourt once again, it was one early dinner that proved the Night Noodle Markets should be here to stay.

 

Regional Flavours – Southbank

Food

From one weekend to another, we went from Le Festival to Regional Flavours. Over the weekend of July 16th and 17th, the whole of Southbank opened up to endless stalls of desserts, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, olives, cheese, then there were workshops, demonstrations, book signings and of course, beer and wine tasting.

 

Although the Saturday hiked sales for umbrella’s and poncho’s, it did not stop festival-goers from walking through the rain to get a slice of what stallholders had to offer. Most of the food trucks and stallholder tents braced mother nature, whilst The Courier-Mail Piazza filled to witness the talents of the Masterchef judges and Maggie Beer (as much as I spared the hour for, I was unable to get a book signed and a photo with my favourite judge, Gary Meighan).

Thankfully, the Sunday brought us better  weather and the sun shined throughout the day. The highlight for me, Mr Adriano Zumbo. Last year was my first Regional Flavours and I when I reached the Zumbo stall, everything was sold out, so this year, I was determined to get at least one Zumbo product. Luckily enough, we also had Adriano Zumbo whip up a quick dessert at his live demonstration in the Piazza.

Over the course of the weekend, with all its endless choices, it was difficult to decide what to eat. If money was no problem, every stall would have seen me make a purchase.

Foodie Finds:

Super Butcher (Pilton Traditional Pork Sausage – $3 & Wallumba Double Smoked Beef Stockman’s Bunnie – $8)

Firstly, the Beef Bunnie looked incredible and quite innovative if you ask me. It was a smart decision having dug a hole through the crusty roll and then stuffing it with the pulled beef. The look of it drew me in, as person after person held one of these and the meat lover in me could not resist. As good looking as it was, I still have mixed feelings about it. For me, the texture was a bit too pasty and salty and the bread was a bit too chewy. There was something missing and the flavour was not up to my standard. The gravy that soaked up the meat was delectable, but unfortunately, although I had high hopes for this, it is not something I would buy again.

Ole Restaurant – The Sangria Bar (Crispy Calamari – $8)

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I am a major seafood lover, and I am always weary about deep fried calamari. Whenever I have ordered calamari like this, whether it is at a restaurant or even a quick take-out, they always taste as though they are still drenched in oil, which makes the experience uneventful. Surprisingly enough, this has actually been the BEST calamari I have ever had, especially for the price. The seasoning was to perfection with a bit of a kick, the crunch was there, it was cooked perfectly, and the aioli was as smooth as can be. If crispy calamari is always served like this, The Sangria Bar has one fan who will keep on coming back.

Pig & Kraut (Tasting Board – $8)

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One of the popular dishes at the event, and certainly worth the $8. If only I wrote down the flavours, because I cannot recall their proper names. Each separate bratwurst had its own unique, delicious flavour and of course, what is a bratwurst without some sauerkraut. One was smoky and spicy, another oozing with cheese and I believe the other was chicken? I will definitely check them out again to find out their names, but if you are looking for a meal to fill you up, Pig & Kraut have got you sorted.

Zumbo Patisserie (Banoffee Brownie/Caramel Banana Brownie – $6)

As much as I wanted to purchase some Zumbarons, since Brisbane lacks a Zumbo and I rarely travel anywhere else, the $16.50 price for a Zumbaron pack was just out of my price range, considering the amount I already spent on other food. What was great though were the other products that ranged in price. 2 different types of brownies were offered: Chocolate and Caramel Banana, so since Zumbarons were off the list, I had to get my hands on any Zumbo product. Immediately, I knew this brownie would be a high competitor. It was sweet, sticky, gooey, crunchy and the biscuit pieces inside made it a standout. If I had to make a comparison, it was more like a banana bread with biscuit pieces that was very sticky due to the caramel. I may be bias because I adore Adriano Zumbo, but he did not disappoint with bringing Regional Flavours some enjoyment.

The Mason Baker (Peanut Butter Jar – $8)

2 cupcakes in 1? The first thing I think of when I saw these: unique… but hipster. The packaging got me, but when I saw “peanut butter”, I knew I had to give these a go. The jars are the cutest size, and honestly, as much as I like generic cupcakes in a paper case, the mason jar idea is spot on. As for flavour, I was expecting the cupcake itself to be infused with peanut butter, but to my dismay, it was only the frosting. It smelt like peanut butter, but unfortunately, it was a bit underwhelming. I found the icing a bit too grainy and there just was not enough peanut butter flavour. Nothing out of the ordinary made the chocolate cupcake stand out, to me, it actually tasted a bit too bland. Possibly adding a crunch element or chocolate bits, just to add a bit of a surprise would have been good. Will I buy this again; maybe, maybe not.

I Heart Brownies (Cherry Coconut Brownie – $4)

This place has been on my list for so long, but I have not taken myself to the Valley and checked out their store in My Bakery Lane. If only I knew it was this good, I would be straight to the Valley buying each and every flavour. These definitely are Brisbane’s best brownies (sorry to all the bakeries and patisserie stores out there). It was the perfect brownie with the right textures and flavour combination. For my first try, I avoided the typical double chocolate, and decided for Cherry Coconut. It tastes like a Cherry Ripe, but so much better. These brownies are really made with love, and no matter what, these have become my go to for a quick, cheap and delicious brownie.

New stalls, new food and new products; I will see you next year Regional Flavours!

Brisbane French Festival – Southbank

Food

Finally two weeks on, I have finally made my post for Le Festival. Over the 7th, 8th and 9th of July, Southbank celebrated a weekend filled with all things French. Brought alive were the endless stalls of croissants, crepes and macarons, from savoury to sweet, produce upon produce and merchandise stalls; it was one you could not miss.

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It was my first time attending, and I was not disappointed with the atmosphere. To our luck, at least on Saturday or Sunday, we were blessed with the sun and clear skies and the crowds kept on building.

Saturday night’s entertainment from The Daft Punk Tribute Band was definitely one of the highlights of the festival. If you like up-beat music, dancing, drinking until late and want to try something different and outdoors, Le Festival is your choice next year.

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Foodie Finds:

From Monsieur Macaron – Chocolate, Nutella, Rose and Salted Caramel Macarons ($8)

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Since I cannot make macarons myself, what is a French festival without purchasing these small delights? I believe they were about eight different flavours, but this pack attracted me the most. My favourites had to be the salted caramel and rose. The salted caramel had the perfect ratio of sweet and salty, and the macarons itself were the right chewy consistency. The rose was the same, but I felt as though I was in a candy galore, it tasting exactly like Musk Sticks.

The chocolate macaron tasted quite generic, honestly nothing special about it; whilst the Nutella macaron had a firmer texture, which was not as pleasant as the chewiness of the others.

Next, my semi-bitten  Pain au chocolat ($4).

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As you walk through the festival, the smell of freshly baked bread and croissants immediately hit your nose; of course I had to buy a chocolate croissant. Many stalls doubled up on products, so it was hard to find the right crepe or croissant you saw someone holding as they walked past. After coming across one stall selling chocolate croissants, I just needed to buy something, as hunger struck. I cannot recall the name of tent, but I was then disappointed to find out that the stall next to Monsieur Macaron were selling freshly baked goods, particularly fresh chocolate croissants for 50c cheaper… no wonder the line-up was long. Just as I was lining up for macarons, a new batch was being taken from the oven, so my mistake there.

Surprisingly not many people knew about this event, but it is a must have if you want to get yourself cultured, socialise with the French, and devour freshly baked pastries.

Shabuhouse – Brisbane CBD

Food

What I have determined is the best Asian restaurants in Brisbane seem to be hidden… to some extent.

Sushi is my weakness and I usually have it at least once a week, so finding out about an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, which also specialises in shabu shabu, honestly made me cry. How is it that I have been living in Brisbane for nearly 3 years, go to a university only a couple streets down from it and have walked past it numerous times and have only found out about it now?

Once you step into the restaurant, you know it bring you an exciting experience, from its decor, its seating, or even just walking past the sushi bar, it is hard not to dig in straight away. Luckily, our table was situated right in the centre of the restaurant, in front of the noodle and sushi bar.

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What I will also praise is their staff; Friendly, approachable and optimistic people. Our first waiter, who introduced us to the process and what was offered, had a constant smile on his face, and that made us feel less overwhelmed by the endless options we could choose from. Our second and final waiter for the night who helped us with our drinks, I found adorable. It was good to watch how the multiple waiters around the restaurant reacted to questions and helped customers out; it was comforting.

FINALLY, to get right into the food.

Order: All-You-Can-Eat Shabu and Sushi (Dinner $34.90 each) and 2 orange juices ($4 each).

EVERYTHING was perfect. I could not fault one thing, well maybe that the oranges that were in the fruit section were actually manadarins. As full as I was, I just wanted to keep eating to the point where I just could not move by body; that is how much I loved their food.

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From its shabu shabu bar, hot food bar and sushi bar, there is just so much variety to choose from and its a simple all-you-can-eat buffet for all ages. Check out their list at http://www.shabuhouse.com.au/uploads/6/7/8/0/67807623/shabu_buffetmenu.pdf

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Creating your own shabu shabu makes the experience more extraordinary. I was the only one in my table to choose a Tom Yum base. With a mixture of nearly everything that was offered – egg and udon noodles, pork belly, lean beef, fish tofu & seafood balls, calamari, bok choy, onion, shallots and tofu. Being able to create your own meal and having to cook it yourself gives everyone their own individual entertainment.

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You can see from the following sushi photos how much they make, and how fast they are knocked out; there was hardly a time where they had a break and stopped making sushi. This was truly my heaven. I did not take a photo of the sauces, but ponzu has to be my favourite and even if it was the shabu shabu, it was my favourite for the sushi.
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Thankfully, there was a hot food section, because you cannot argue with chicken in its many forms. The crispiness of those chicken drumsticks, the saucy-stickiness of the sweet chilli wings and the tempura fish is another reason why I give Shabuhouse a 10/10.

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Even as we ate, the discussion around us was about how good the place and the food was. It is definitely worth every cent and from the amount of people they had in, the traffic they had, and the people who were still waiting for a table when we finished up, we know this place is on the top of the list.

The only thing we recommended was some form of a dessert bar, or more of a variety than the one single fruit, just to end the night. (P.S. I really wanted more refreshing orange slices after I ate the one with my drink).

Next door is another Korean restaurant, Hanwoori, so I will just have to try that first, even if I am experiencing Shabuhouse withdrawals.

Kiss The Berry – Brisbane CBD

Food

To me, Acai was a fancy hipster term that was associated with the colour purple.

Finally, for the first time ever, I was able taste the craze of the visually-appealing, health food bowl. For two days straight, I had Domino’s Pizza for lunch, and Vapianos was one of our options for an “afternoon snack”, so MORE pizza? Alas, the thought of a light, healthy and fruit filled snack led us to Creek Street’s acai specialist.

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Its spot-on design and creative decor, especially their single fig-print pillow was enough to make me want to come back for more, even if I had not seen how my food looked. They also sell Nodo Donuts, so that became an instant plus.

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My Order: Large Snickers Delight ($15.50)

I am very passionate about Snickers; ANYTHING snickers flavoured or related. So of course since this all about health food, it was healthy snickers, without the gooey caramel… and peanuts. Other than that, these bowls are masterpieces.

My snickers bowl was near-perfect on my palate. The raspberries were beautifully tart, the cacao nibs gave it that chocolatey raw punch, surprisingly the coconut flakes were best not toasted, the banana you cannot deny, and the blend of organic acai, banana, raw cacao powder, peanut butter, coconut water and almond milk coated the homemade, crunchy granola underneath; 10/10 for that granola Kiss The Berry.

I may not have taken a photo of the blend, but it was an attractive chocolate colour, perfect for a hot day.

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Other Order: Regular Watermelon Split ($11)

Thankfully we have this inner city location, without it, I would probably be making numerous trips to the one I know in Southbank. I am definitely returning for my next healthy fruit fix, rain, hail or shine.

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City Golf Club – Toowoomba

Food

Are you wanting to look for a decent priced meal in Toowoomba, somewhere that is not too casual or too fancy? What about the “Upscale RSL” known as the City Golf Club? (Not my words.)
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I love coming home to Toowoomba every now and then and what I love more is going out for food with the family. The City Golf Club has become our go-to over the past few years and my favourite part, other than the food of course, is its chess table. Can I buy it please?

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Thanks to my grandma for shouting our meals though.

My Order: Angus Classic Cheese Burger with Sauteed Onion and Basket of Fries ($10 Members; $12.50 Non-Members).

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This burger was the perfect ratio of bread to filling, with lettuce and tomato under an Angus beef patty, topped with sautéed onions and melted cheese, finishing with a spread of BBQ sauce; on the side, a basket of perfectly crisp and crunchy chips.

Originally, I thought this burger was on the small side, but I did end up being the last to finish my meal. Now to think about it, it was a great size. Yes it was very flavoursome, but my only problem was the onions under the cheese; my personal preference but you cannot deny a great tasting burger anyway.

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One of the best things in addition to a Selections Restaurant dish, the All-You-Can-Eat Vegetable and Salad Bar; no photo here, but its heated section featured its regular broccoli and pumpkin, then corn and roast potatoes as well. A bit underwhelming on the variety, but these Winter sides still did great.

The other dishes featured: Fish & Chips with Tartare sauce and fries ($10 Members; $12.50 Non Members), Sweet N Sour Battered Chicken ($18.90 Members)

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My first thought when I went up to collect these dishes was that the Fish & Chips dish was very underwhelming with one fish fillet. It may have been a dish I considered for myself, but I found it very upsetting for something $10.

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