Ghostboy Cantina has set up shop in the Dixon House Food Court in Chinatown and pumping out tacos with one helluva flavour bomb
Dixon House Food Court is the oldest of the food courts in Chinatown and is synonymous with cheap and cheerful asian food from bowls of steaming hot ramen, to heaped plates of glistening stir fry delivered on cast iron sizzle plates. But now there’s a new kid on the street, introducing Ghostboy Cantina!
Headed up by Toby Wilson, former owner and head barista at Wedge Espresso, Ghostboy Cantina (slang for white boy haha) is pumping out tacos that he declares are non traditional but taste delicious. And delicious they are! At the moment there’s 3 taco options on offer but they’ll add more in the coming weeks.
The crowd favourite is the Pork Taco ($6.50), filled with a generous amount of five spice and chipotle pork with juicy yellow peach, Thai basil, onion, salsa roja, salsa verde and lime. I loved the Peking duck pancakes they used instead of tortillas which were all grilled to order.
I was curious to try the vegan option which was the Cauliflower Taco ($5), with deep fried cauliflower, cashew and macadamia cream, onion, salsa verde, coriander, lime, fried shallots.
The florets of cauliflower are golden and crisp and goes so well with the smooth cashew and macadamia cream. I loved all the flavours and would definitely order this taco again!
The Beef Taco ($6) is my fave of the lot, the slow cooked beef brisket is juicy and tender and just so aromatic! There was chopped onion, thai basil, coriander, bean sprouts and two salsas based off traditional mexican salsa roja and salsa verde featuring ssamjang, thai basil, kaffir lime, rice wine vinegar, szechuan pepper. This taco had so much fricken flavour it was like being punched in the mouth with a truckload of tastiness!
Aaand I got a side of Corn ($5) because, corn! The corn was lightly grilled and smothered in butter then rolled in coriander, sesame seeds and a good squeeze of lime. The all time perfect summer food.
Ghostboy Cantina is located on the other end of Dixon House food court, over near the bar so you can grab a cheeky beverage or two to wash down your tacos 😛
B08 413–415 Sussex Street,
Dixon House Food Court
Tue – Sun: 11.30am – 8.30pm
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!