Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2013 with the worlds biggest cup of crackling!!!
It started with crackles. Well really it started with 2 months of preparation with Helen, reading all the food blogs that Sydney had to offer and then attempting to contact them all for our now 5th annual Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic. We tallied a whopping 300+ food blogs in Sydney and received over 100 RSVP‘s. And then the terrible weather rolled in. Weather apps were continuously refreshed, rants over the changes to Eventbrite and debates over backup venues vs rescheduling were had.
Driving from the burbs into the city and all of a sudden the previously cheery sunny weather turned ominous and it began bucketing down with rain. We hoped the weather was a temporary sun storm but then came the booms of thunder. We detoured to Bunnings to buy a whole bunch of tents only to be greeted with lightning as we left the car park and I wondered if we would accidentally electrocute anyone.
Stopped by Mr Crackles who had generously offered to provide the food bloggers of Sydney the world’s biggest cup of crackling. TWENTY FIVE KILOS OF CRACKLING ZOMG!!! I could barely get my arms around this massive cup!! Arrived at Centennial Park and first thing’s first, set up a tent for the cup of crackling! Massive thanks to ex girl scout Rosa, uber optimist Raff and of course Noods for help setting up the tents in Amazing Race lightning speed time!
As soon as the tents were up it was as if Mother Nature knew we were so determined to have this meetup no mater what and the skies brightened and bloggers miraculously started arriving and placing their wares under the food shelter.
Crackle is everyones friend!
As usual there was a looooot of food! Fluffy pandan chiffon cake, white chocolate raspberry muffins, pineapple and coconut cupcakes, salted caramel macarons, chocolate tarts with popping candy, milo marshmallows with chocolate crackles, peach pie, honeycomb, brownie, donuts, popcorn, seeded bread, rice paper rolls, pesto and tomato puffs, deep fried cheese balls, cheesy scrolls, antipasto skewers, fruit skewers, sushi, quiche, chicken wraps, massive cheese platter and oh man SO MUCH MORE!!!
And Simon set up his super popular pop up bar with his famous gin and tonics. Deeeelicious.
YARM CRACKLE. We just couldn’t stop eating the crackles!
Of course what’s a Christmas party without Secret Santa!
EVIL Secret Santa though because it’s so much fun stealing haha
Managed to semi photobomb with my crackle hehe
Thanks for the group photo Simon! It was so lovely to meet everyone, thank you everyone who braved the weather! Keep on blogging guys!
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Brunch at Pinbone (3 Jersey Rd, Woollahra). Try the amazing bacon, maple, pumpkin tart or the incredible fregola, creamed corn, poached egg!
It takes a lot for me to get out of bed on a weekend, or any day really cos sleep is awesome. And this gloomy rainy weather we’ve been having all week just made me want to burrow under the covers and never leave. But after stalking Mike Eggert and seeing some pics on Pinbone’s Instagram I knew I had to get to Pinbone (3 Jersey Rd, Woollahra) as fast as humanly possible for their once a week Sunday brunch.
The Bacon, maple, pumpkin tart ($8) was totally worth the drive from the burbs! Bacon + maple syrup = DELICIOUSNESS! I loved the the sweet pumpkin pieces and the incredibly flaky pastry which of course shattered all over me thanks to my ability to drop food no matter what. There was a refreshing side salad of mint, rocket, dill and chives but um after a forkful or two I turned my attention to:
The queen of all sandwiches, the Croque Madame ($14, side of fries $4)! Slices of ham are smothered in melty Gruyere cheese, sandwiched in crusty bread and topped with a fried egg. It was deceptively filling and I struggled to make it halfway before Noods happily took over.
There’s the usual bacon & egg rolls, museli and toast but Noods likes ordering things off the menu that he has no idea what the ingredients are and chose the Fregola, creamed corn, poached egg ($18). Turns out, fregola is a type of tiny, round pasta with a slightly nutty taste. We loved the bite of each grain and the pop of juicy corn kernels and gooey egg yolk innards makes everything right with the world. It’s just like a hug in a bowl- warm and comforting and so fricken amazing.
I don’t usually blawg a place that’s just opened but that fregola smashed it out of the stadium with its tastiness and there’s deeeelicious wines (the Pyramid Valley sparkling riesling tastes like sunshine!) so I want everyone to go there stat! Pinbone is open for brunch only on Sun 8am-4pm but I definitely plan on returning for dinner (Wed-Sat 6pm-late) as I hear the ribs and desserts are outta this world.
House of Crabs (Level 1 of Norfolk Hotel, 305 Cleveland St, Redfern). Seafood lovers rejoice! Snow crab, king crab, blue swimmer crab, prawns, clams, mussels and much more!
Seafood lovers we salute you! The parental units had been stalking me on Instagram and when it was announced that House of Crabs (Level 1 of Norfolk Hotel, 305 Cleveland St, Redfern) would be opening for a Friday lunch we made a booking and convinced Helen that she needed some crabs in her life heh
Crab time yo!
The dealio is you order your shellfish by the 500g bag and decide what sauce you want. There’s also snacks and mains should you not wish to partake in the glory of the boil. Bibs and gloves are provided and the staff encourage you to empty the contents straight on the table and get messy and dig on in. We opted to leave the seafood in their respective bags as we had different sauces and didn’t want them mingling and meant dunking the free slices of bread all the more easier!
The father unit totally wanted to order all the crabs on the menu (blue swimmer, king and snow) but we opted for the meat packed Alaskan King Crab ($45) with Cajun sauce which was ridiculously addictive with a kick of spice. The crab is a little creepy and reminds me of Aliens haha but hot damn it was tasty crab! The legs are cracked in the middle which makes it much easier for those who are weak and unable to break things with their bare hands.. Crab crackers and uber sharp scissors are also provided so you can break into the hard to reach areas and suck out the sweet sweet flesh..
The QLD Prawns ($25/500g) in the lemon & pepper sauce are fat, juicy specimens and lol because they are the easiest to eat out of everything we’d ordered they are the first to disappear.
We were curious about the Little Neck Clams ($20/500g) and tried the Oriental sauce but it was more spicy than the Cajun sauce so I had to give up after a single clam which meant more for the others much to their delight.
There was a blackboard special of Yabbies ($34/500g) which I knew I NEEDED in my life if only to squeal IT’S PINCHYYYYY! Generally yabbies have a slight muddy taste so we chose the Cajun sauce but we needn’t have worried and we fought each other for the last one using the power of our eyeballs.
Oh and we ordered a side of Lobster Fries ($12) because well, who doesn’t love
carbs fries? A blanket of molten cheese drapes oh so lovingly over crispy golden fries and is topped with a smattering of bacon bits, chives and juicy corn kernels. And while wishful thinking had us hoping for lobster chunks we are happily satisfied with the amped up flavour of the lobster gravy.
I get my sweet tooth from the mothership and so we shared the Neapolitan Ice Cream Waffle which was freaking massive! Toasted waffles hug a fat cross section of the tri coloured childhood fave (and automatically bringing to mind the the scene of Homer Simpson opening all the tubs of neapolitan ice cream and realising the chocolate section had been eaten).
House of Crabs is my new fave place in Sydney and I loved the awesome fit out with fishing nets and buoys suspended on the ceiling, the bar in the shape of a boat, lovely service (no hipster ‘tude hurrah!) and of course awesome finger lickin food! The music at first was old skool uncensored rnb which is tops at night but luckily the staff clued in and switched to 80’s rock when a couple of groups of the older generation came in for lunch. Pitchers of beer are good value but I totally want to drink the Hurricane Fishbowl next time!
The Oaks Hotel, Neutral Bay. I couldn’t resist the blackboard special of the Dry Aged Ribeye on the bone with bone marrow, roasted potatoes and spinach ($42) which was one hunk of a sexy beast. AND CAME WITH BONE MARROW!!!!
MEEEEEEAT!!! So a certain someone was a lil miffed that he didn’t get to partake in the consumption of bone marrow last week so when I spotted them over on Does My Bomb Look Big In This we made the trek over the bridge to The Oaks Hotel (118 Military Rd, Neutral Bay).
Walk through the pub and into the newly renovated Bar and Grill, check out the menu then order and pay at the meat window. While the menu has the usual burger and pizza suspects I find it fascinating that in the meats section (with meats sourced from Vic’s Meats and butchered in house) you have the option of having it cooked by the kitchen or grilling it yourself on the bbq outside in the courtyard. I decide on the former because well, I’d already consumed a cider and me + alcohol + fire = ouchies.
I couldn’t resist the blackboard special of the Dry Aged Ribeye on the bone with bone marrow, roasted potatoes and spinach ($42) which was one hunk of a sexy beast. A slice of Cafe de Paris butter melts languidly on the ribeye and while it was closer to a medium than my requested medium rare it was pretty damn tasty. Well rested and juicy to the max, I managed to eat about 3/4 of of the ribeye before throwing my hands up in defeat. Oh but what’s that in the background?
Marrow! The marrow came with the Ribeye and yes I did ask for extra marrow ($5) and zomg. Gloriously wobbly and fatty, the bone marrow is roll your eyes to the heavens amazing, golden and scorched on the edges with molten centres. Later I find out that it’s so popular they hope to have the marrow on the menu permanently as a side woot it’s definitely something I would cross the Bridge for!
Noods is a sucker for mussels so chose the Au Congo Mussels ($29). The mussels were bathed in a coconut cream, lemongrass and chilli sauce and while it could’ve used a tad more oomph in flavour the serving size was pretty generous especially with the never ending cone of fries and sides of fluffy bread.
Aaaand I had to get the Banoffee pie with caramel gelato ($14) because who doesn’t love slices of banana over a layer of caramel and biscuit base and topped with cream?
Loved the outdoor area with seating around a massive oak tree, it’d be tops for chillaxing on a summer’s arvo!