Spending the weekend at Manly and eating incredible seafood from The Boathouse Shelly Beach, learning how to surf, going snorkelling and drinking Lageritas
I never thought I’d say this but I am absolutely in love with Manly. I can’t handle the ferry because of my crazy sea sickness but after spending the weekend exploring I can now say that I will willingly travel to Manly via 2 buses to get there! The beaches are clean, the people are friendly and the restaurants and cafes are bloody amazing. So hey, read on and see for yourself!
For a beautiful brunch overlooking the water, head to The Boathouse Shelly Beach (1 Marine Pde, Manly) and start off with a dozen Sydney rock with native lime vinaigrette ($3.50each).
The Tuna Cracker ($26) is almost too pretty to eat! The cracker is crisp but still able to hold its shape without disintegrating and is topped with ruby red slices of juicy tuna. The splotches of creamy anchovy mayo has me instantly hooked and the hit of spice from the green chilli is brought down a notch from the fresh coriander and salty dabs of olive puree.
Ange chooses the Trout board ($26) which comes with a jar of creamy trout pate with a heap of dill, a pile of silky smooth sliced trout, a tub of crème fraiche and thick slices of sonoma miche to slather everything on. It tastes like summer and is the perfect meal that won’t leave you with a heavy feeling.
I could’ve opted for a light meal buuut I really wanted the Green Spaghetti ($29) that came packed with juicy pippies and scampi. The spinach spaghetti has the perfect bite and I made sure to swirl forkfuls into that gloriously rich garlic butter sauce!
Oh and we ordered a basket of Chips ($9) with aioli because well, who doesn’t like chips at the beach!?
Have a nap at Shelly Beach or sign up for the 2 hour Ecotreasures Manly Snorkeling Tour ($65/adult, $40/child). The tour starts at Shelly headland lower lookout and includes all snorkel gear and wetsuits if needed, as well as snorkel lessons. The Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is a sheltered habitat and is a ‘no take’ marine zone, it was pretty amazing to see so many fish and so close to shore!
Take the Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk from Shelly Beach towards Manly Beach which is approx 15mins and perfect for all ages.
Relax and take a dip at the Fairy Bower baths
Feeling peckish? Lunch at The Herring Room (94 Pittwater Rd, Manly) will blow you away, the Squid ink & egg yolk ravioli is a must order!
For the carnivores, head to Papi Chulo (22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly) and order yourself the Ranger’s Valley wagyu F1 brisket, (300 gm) ($36). And the Papi Chulo Burger ($20) because it is fricken amazing.
Or if you’re after something lighter, Daniel San (55 North Steyne, Manly) has got you covered for all your sashimi needs. P.s the Sticky Goma Lamb Ribs ($25) from the Robata are finger licking delicious.
The 2016 Australian Open of Surfing will be held from February 27th to March 6th so if you’ve still got some energy to burn, sign up for a 2 hour surf lesson ($70/adult, $55/child) with Manly Surf School (North Steyne Rd, Manly). I absolutely loved the class, we had a great instructor who was super patient and encouraging and yep I managed to catch a few waves! Me! The most uncoordinated person in the world!
There were volleyball nets set up but I was absolutely wiped and decided to park myself on the sand and rest 😛
We headed back to Novotel to freshen up before it was time for a cheeky beverage or two… Sunset Sabi (26-28 Pittwater Road, Manly) is pretty rocking on a weekend, the cocktails are a winner and the Caramel, chilli, seaweed Popcorn ($7) is crazy addictive and the perfect bar snack. For something more substantial, try the Super Chicken ($12), bite sized pieces of southern fried style popcorn chicken that is just perfect with the yuzu crème dipping sauce.
Or head to local fave, Chica Bonita (7 The Corso, Manly) for the off menu mega drink: The Lagerita! A deliciously refreshing alcoholic concoction of a margarita and a Corona!
The Carne Asada Fries ($13) are my weakness, golden fries are smothered in melty cheese, juicy nubbins of steak, creamy guacamole and tomato salsa.
And then there’s newly opened Cured, (42 Market Ln, Manly) which will tempt you with charcuterie and cheese boards with delicious (and affordable) wines by the glass.
Head to Hugos Manly (Manly Wharf) for modern Italian food with an unbeatable view. They don’t take bookings so be sure to get there early!
ChocolateSuze visited Manly as a guest of Destination NSW
CHOWDERRRR! Eating all the chowders on Fisherman’s Wharf from The Crab Station, Aliotos, Boudin Bakery, Fisherman’s Grotto and Woodhouse Fish Co in San Francisco
Aaaand last stop from my USA trip was San Francisco! This post is gonna be about alllll the chowders we ate hahaha starting at the tourist trap that is The Fisherman’s Wharf. And yes I’m wearing thermals and stockings because coming from Austin where it was a warm 37C every day and then hitting San Fran to be greeted with rain and temps averaging 17C I was absolutely freezing! So agenda of the day was to warm up by eating as many clam chowders as possible.
Boats lined up along the wharf
I was so excited to see stall upon stall all lined up selling steaming hot chowder in bread bowls! Some of them also sold lobster rolls, crab rolls and prawn cocktails which was super tempting.
Our first chowder stop was at The Crab Station (US$7/AU$9.85) and it was pretty awesome with creamy clam flavour and while the chowder itself was thinner than I expected, it had so many freaking clams lurking in the depths! The bread was crusty on the outside and super fluffy on the inside and I loved the little packet of oyster crackers that comes on the side.
Next along the wharf was Aliotos, their clam chowder bowl was US$6.50/AU$9.15 but for US$3/AU$4.20 more you get a Budweiser to wash it all down 😛 The chowder was a bit on the too thick side for me, I was a little creeped out by how gloppy it was haha not sure if it’s meant to be that thick but it tasted good and had enough clams to keep the boy happy.
Wanting a proper table with chairs we headed across the road to Boudin Bakery and joined the queue to order.
The place smells absolutely amazing, I fricken love the smell of freshly baked bread!
Boudin’s chowder (US$9.99/AU$14.05) comes in a freshly baked sourdough bread bowl and was deeelicious! I really liked the cubes of potato in it too and there was a great briny flavour to the chowder. I’m not sure if having a table and seating influenced how much I liked this chowder but hey, two thumbs up.
We wandered through all the stores along the pier and down to Pier 39 for a bit of souvenir shopping and stare at Alcatraz Island. We debated doing a tour of Alcatraz but I get crazy sea sick even from short rides and I didn’t want all those bowls of chowder coming back up 😛
We stumbled into the Musée Mécanique, that housed all these antique coin-operated mechanical instruments and vintage arcade games. There was just something so charming playing those games without the annoying electronic beeps!
I wanted to eat something that wasn’t liquid so we stopped at Chowder Hut for Dungeness crab (US$24.95/AU$35.14) which was super meaty and sweet, perfect for dunking into the pot of clarified butter! And a Bloody Mary to wash it down because all this eating is hard work…
Hihi more crabs
Aaand trying one last chowder at Fisherman’s Grotto, getting the chowder in a cup (US$5.50/AU$7.75) instead of the bread roll because we’d eaten our carb allotment for the week haha and those oyster crackers seriously I don’t know why I was so taken by them! They were just so perfect for dumping the lot in and adding a bit of crunch!
We also got the Lobster Bisque (US$7.25/AU$10.22) which was damn tasty, incredibly rich with lobster flavour and a generous amount of cream. Would’ve been awesome with more lobster but hey I’d eat it again.
Clever people would take the tram from the Fishermans Wharf to Lombard Street…
And yet. A certain someone thought it’d be great to walk off all our chowder’s and take in the scenery… You see this slope? That slope is not fun walking up!
But hooray we made it! I appreciate the quirky design and the well maintained flower beds but I absolutely hated everyone there! To be surrounded by pushy tourists who were all desperately trying to get the perfect shot by climbing into people’s yards and scaling fences and walking into traffic – ARGH!
But the view is pretty amazing
Though 30mins later and this rolling mist sweeps in…
As we head home, the rain starts pelting down so we head for the safety of Woodhouse Fish Co. (1914 Fillmore St, San Francisco). One last Clam Chowder (US$7/AU$9.90) for the day and it smashes everything we’d eaten to the kerb. Holy moly that was one amazing cup of chowder! It wasn’t heavy on the cream but it had such an umami flavour that we seriously considered ordering a second one!
When the Toasted-Buttered Dungeness Crab Roll arrives we pause in mid sentence and stare at its beauty. I mean LOOK AT IT! That toasty roll! That heaped amount of crab meat! That mountain of fries! You betcha it was amazing!
Noods goes for the Split-Top Maine Lobster Roll which was incredible as well, with the perfect mayo to lobster ratio so the whole thing was juicy but not heavy. Hot damn!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of San Francisco featuring the Golden Gate Bridge, In n Out, lobster boil and Mr Holmes Bakehouse donuts!
The pretzel with whipped bottarga at 10 William St, Paddington is a must order but you definitely have to get the tiramisu with ridiculously fluffy layers of coffee soaked lady fingers and creamy mascarpone!
So like, I’ve still been having dreams about the tiramisu at Fratelli Paradiso so the boy and I decided to go to its sister restaurant, 10 William St in Paddington for a lazy Saturday lunch.
On a previous visit, back when Dan Pepperell was at the helm, I’d fallen in love with the Whipped ‘bottarga’ pretzel ($14) and I’m glad that current chef Luke Burgess has kept it on the menu. The crusty pretzel is studded with all the seeds of the rainbow and has a deep caramelised flavour but it’s that whipped bottarga dip that has us in raptures. Btw I just googled the recipe (here) and had no idea that there’s bread in the actual dip! Along with a buttload of garlic, lemon juice, mullet roe, olive and grapeseed oil but oh man it was so freaking delicious and so light and fluffy that you can’t help but load as much as you can onto a piece of pretzel!
The Guanciale ‘sangwich’ ($10) contained a slab of melt in the mouth pork cheek that had been crumbed and deep fried to a satisfying crunch with curls of pickled cabbage to offset the richness.
We were asked if we were sharing everything and replied yes but it never occurred to me that they would split our pasta for us, so this here is half a serving of Busiate, Balmain bug, bulls horn peppers, tarragon ($29) with Noods’ serve in the background. Busiate pasta is my new fave at the moment, the twisty pasta is able to hold so much sauce in one spiral but doesn’t feel like you’re eating too much dough/carb compared with other pastas? I love pasta but that sauce ratio is important to me haha anyways moving on! There was a pretty generous amount of juicy bug meat and I absolutely loved the amount of butter that was in the sauce mmm dat flavour win!
The Pappardelle, buffalo mozzarella, sugo, sobresada ($26) wasn’t quite as amazing as Pepperell’s Pappardelle Bolognese, the silky ribbons of pasta was still on point and I loved the amount of melty mozza but the sauce was on the oily side.
I was reaching max capacity but we all know there’s a separate stomach for dessert! The Tiramisu ($11) is hands down my favourite in Sydney, ridiculously fluffy layers of coffee soaked lady fingers and creamy mascarpone ooh baby! And that splodge of dark chocolate for that extra oomph in deliciousness 😀
10 William St is pretty tiny and they don’t take reservations so be sure to get there as soon as they open. Also, word on the street is that the fine people of Pinbone will be moving into 10 William St in Feb!
Take a trip over the bridge for amazing seafood at The Herring Room. Try the flavour packed Indian spiced prawns or the incredible smoked rainbow trout but whatever else you do, order the braised rabbit stifado with potato gnocchi!
From the people that brought The Sardine Room to Potts Point, The Herring Room in Manly has got the locals abuzz. Take the Indian spiced king prawns ($18) for instance, the juicy prawns set the tastebuds alight and the curls of pickled melon with an almond and mint salad bring down the heat a notch, creating one umami packed starter.
The Seared scallops ($18) are perfectly fat specimens that were lightly seared and super juicy. The cauliflower puree was carefully mopped up and woe beget anyone who was too slow sneaking any stray crispy pancetta and beetroot chips…
I was absolutely blown away by the Squid ink & egg yolk ravioli ($18)! The ravioli was black as night, belying super thin pasta that held a gooey egg yolk. I coated every shred of crabmeat in the rich lemon thyme beurre blanc sauce and relished each briny pop of salmon roe. I could’ve eaten that dish FOREVER!
The Salt & pepper squid ($16) disappeared in seconds, the lightly battered curls of squid were tossed through with fresh chilli and basil and were absolutely amazing dunked in the creamy aioli.
Grilled haloumi with rocket & lemon salad ($10) was ordered purely because we all love haloumi haha I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like this squeaky cheese!
For my mains I couldn’t resist the Smoked rainbow trout ($36) which was freaking incredible and cooked so well. It had just the right amount of smokiness so it didn’t overpower the delicate flavour of the trout and the wild mushroom and leek risotto had the perfect bite to each grain. I could probably have done without the truffle oil but overall I’d totally order this again.
Ange chooses the Braised rabbit stifado on potato gnocchi ($36) and after sneaking a bite I develop extreme food envy but luckily I’m friends with people who share their food hehe 😀 The rabbit is meltingly tender and the gnocchi is honest to goodness pillowy and cloud-like. There’s curls of crispy fried sage and I feel like I’ve struck gold each time I dig in and find the dabs of goats curd hidden like buried treasure.
James’ Fried whole baby red snapper ($36) is a beauty, the snapper is fried to a crisp and I gleefully pull off the crispy edges and munch away. The onion, chilli, ginger and sweet soy glaze is a great balance between sweet and salty and I reckon it would’ve been perfect with a bowl of rice to soak it up!
Sadly we were all too full for dessert but with such amazing food and service I know I’ll be back again soon!
ChocolateSuze dined at The Herring Room as a guest of Destination NSW
The Herring Room
94 Pittwater Rd
Mon – Thurs: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Fri – Sun: 12pm – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Part 2 of Austin, Texas- after eating all the barbecue we could handle, we turned our attention to fried chicken, tex mex, food trucks and donuts.
I require fried chicken pretty regularly before I start questioning the meaning of life so after several days of eating barbecue in Austin, we headed to Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken (117 San Jacinto, Austin). And let me tell you, Gus’ fried chicken is fricken awesome!!! I got 2 pieces of dark meat (1 thigh, 1 leg) (US$4.25/AU$6.10) that sat on fluffy white bread to soak up the juices and a side of super cheesy mac n cheese (US$2.25/AU$3.25). The batter on the fried chicken was so crisp that the sound of the skin shattering could be heard from the next table! Oh and drinks came in a souvenir cup that you could take home!
Noods went for 3 wings (US$7/AU$10.05) that came with baked beans, slaw and white bread which he absolutely devoured in the blink of an eye. The baked beans are a bit on the stodgy side but the slaw is delightfully light and refreshing.
And for dessert, a slice of Pecan pie (US$3/AU$4.30) with a ginormous scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream (US$0.75/AU$1.10) holy moly that was one deeeelicious pie! Buttery crust, sweet filling studded with a generous amount of pecans and creamy ice cream ftw!
We wanted to try some Tex Mex and headed to Licha’s Cantina (1306 East 6th Street
Austin) for happy hour and the Choriqueso served in a skillet! The minced chorizo on the bottom is smothered in gooey Asadero cheese and topped with a dollop of creamy guacamole and pico de gallo. Cram a forkful into the warm homemade corn tortillas and enter cheesy heaven!
For breakfast the next day we headed to Juan In A Million (2300 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Austin) and joined the 30mins queue. I was keen to go partly because it was on Man Vs Food but also because I was curious if the Don Juan El Taco Grande (US$4.60/AU$6.60) really lived up to its hype. And it was so fricken good that I’m flooded with sadness that there isn’t anything like this in Sydney. This breakfast taco beast contains a jumble of potato cubes, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese and comes with 3 flour tortillas. The staff stop by and check my progress and offer more tortillas but man it defeated me!
Austin is known for their food truck trailer parks and Torchy’s Tacos was high up on my must eat list after hearing JJ wax lyrical about their breakfast tacos! The boy and I shared the Migas taco ($US$2.75/AU$3.95) which had a mountain of scrambled eggs, crispy corn tortilla strips, green chillies, avocado, pico de gallo and shredded cheese all piled onto a corn tortilla. And from the secret menu, the Jack of Clubs taco which had a fried egg, grilled potatoes, black beans, crispy corn tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream and hot sauce on a corn tortilla. Freaking amazing! All the flavours were fresh and light and we almost ordered a second round but we resisted because we spotted donuts in the distance…
I’d visited Gourdough’s previously and knew I absolutely had to get the Flying Pig (US$5.75/AU$8.25) for Noods because I mean, LOOK AT IT! The super fluffy donut came fresh from the deep fryer, drizzled with maple syrup icing and topped with super crispy bacon omg so good the salty sweet combo is so win!
And also the Blue Balls ($US$4.75/AU$6.80) which were blueberry filled donut holes smothered in blueberry icing and oh boy that was a looot of sugar we’d ingested.
While wandering home back to our air bnb we stumbled upon a food truck park (1104 E 6th St, Austin) and when I spotted the Fried and True van serving state fair food and desserts I knew we had to somehow make space in our stomachs.
We order the Sampler Combo (US$6/AU$8.65) which had deep fried Oreos, deep fried brownies and a deep fried cinnamon bun 😀 I particularly loved the cinnamon bun as the icing was on the melty side and the pastry in the bun tasted like a cinnamon-y donut.
I couldn’t resist the Chocolate dipped bacon (US$5/AU$7.20), the thick cut bacon had a crispy candy shell and was topped with smoked salt which made them ridiculously addictive esp washed down with a cheeky beverage or two.
The Deep Fried Grilled Cheese (US$7/AU$10.10) was pretty insane with the lightly battered sandwich of white bread holding melty American cheese innards, and the whole shebang drizzled in Sriracha sauce.
Aaaand Funnel cake (US$5/AU$7.20) for dessert! For those who’ve not heard of funnel cake before, it’s basically batter poured through a funnel into oil and deep-fried until golden and crisp. Be still my artery clogged heart!
I leave you with this pic of an immaculate display of cut fruit from Whole Foods. My god I love Whole Foods! We visited pretty much every day in Austin and bought so many fruits and veg in an attempt to get some nutrients into our cholesterol laden body. Stay tuned for the last part of my USA trip: San Francisco, land of chowder, hipsters and steep hills!