2016. Where did you go? It was a tumultuous year on a global scale but there were still moments of joy and happiness, many of them close to home. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the low points but it's important to note the good times, and acknowledge all the things we take for granted every day.
I'm grateful for family ties, the strong bonds of friendship and the good deeds of strangers. Without getting all sentimental and philosophical, here are my favourite food blog memories of 2016.
Alexander palm heart, native honey and green ants at Restaurant Orana
I loved returning to Sixpenny and still being swept away by the menu, especially by the St Honore tart, dressed individually with shaved black truffle for ultimate decadence.
And then there was the wonderment experienced at my first visit to Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, using a whole raft of indigenous ingredients that was perplexing, playful and pleasurable all at once. I spent just as much time staring at the Alexander palm hearts with green ants as I did eating it.
Cooking chicken and cheese saaj at the Ramadan food festival in Lakemba
I'm so glad, too, that I finally ventured out to Lakemba for the Ramadan food festival. There's such a terrific family atmosphere here, and the range of street food options is amazing (and cheap!).
Bar Normandy at Restaurant Hubert
Restaurant Hubert still remains one of my favourite restaurants, despite the difficulty in scoring a table. It's like escaping to another world once you descend down the stairs, and the steak tartare is magnifique.
Crisp potato, brown butter mousse and salted caramel at Bar Brose
Of the new restaurant openings, Bar Brose wins hands down for best dessert. The crisp potato shards with brown butter mousse brings new meaning to toe-curlingly good.
Chef Mike Eggert on the woks at Good Luck Pinbone
And it was exciting to see the Pinbone crew return with the opening of Good Luck Pinbone in Kensington. The chongqing crispy spatchcock is incredible. And I still think they should have gone with one of their alternative restaurant name options, Imperial Pinbone Palace!
Chef Jovan Curic on the pass at Superior Burger
And Pub Life Kitchen moved west, bringing Superior Burger to lucky Wakeley locals. Few people put as much love and attention into the sourcing and ageing of their beef patties as Jovan.
Sydney's Top 12 Noodle Soups cover story for Good Food, June 2016
In-between blogging and full-time work, I continued freelance food writing with a cover story for Good Food on Sydney's Top 12 Noodle Soups, a slurp-fest to combat the wintry months.
You can read the full article here.
Top 50 Cheap Eats for the SMH Good Food Guide 2017
I also continued my work on the review team with the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. This year my Cheap Eats list was expanded from Top 20 Eats to Top 50, offering a greater opportunity to highlight the unsung heroes of suburban eats. The Top 50 Cheap Eats made the cover story for Good Food in June 2016 and was included in the SMH Good Food Guide.
You can read the full list online.
I was also interviewed by Good Food on how to take the perfect food photo for social media.
Being interviewed by Lee Tran Lam at Rising Sun Workshop
And after listening to so many episodes of Lee Tran Lam's The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast, it was surreal to be cast in the hot seat myself, over a meal at Rising Sun Workshop.
You can access the links to the podcast on Lee Tran's blog post.
Snapper with roe emulsion, fermented cucumber and caviar at Lumi Dining
My birthday has always fallen during the exam period at school but now that those days are over, it's so great to celebrate just before the craziness of the holiday season. I had my birthday lunch at Lumi Dining and really blown away by how innovative the menu is, whilst still upholding a great sense of respect for each individual ingredient.
Chef's Menu banquet at Stanbuli
Celebrations continued with the Chef's Menu at Stanbuli in Enmore. If your idea of heaven is a table-covering banquet of dishes presented in multiple courses, bookmark this now.
Christmas dinner snacks of foie gras profiteroles with oysters, prawn crackers and steak tartare with Stomachs Eleven
And as always, the year finished off with our annual Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner, a night of good food, drink and much merriment.
As the year draws to a close, I really do wish you all a very Happy New Year. Thanks so much for all your comments and likes on the blog, Facebook and Instagram!
May your year ahead be filled with tasty eats, happiness and lots of laughter.
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12/31/2016 04:31:00 pm