Breakfast at The Flying Taco, North Perth

Breakfast at The Flying Taco

I’ve been a loyal fan of The Flying Taco since it opened in 2007. Thoroughly obsessed since I first tried Anna’s carnitas quesadillas with her zingy salsa verde. So much so that I pretty much always order the same thing. Every time. For seven years! 

But just a few weeks ago, I was excited to hear that Anna had added breakfast to The Flying Taco menu… and naturally, in the interests of blog research, I had to check it out.

The menu features a mix of Flying Taco originals and a few classics for those already acquainted with Mexican breakfast dishes.

The Flying Taco’s much loved house made guacamole, refried beans and salsas are prominent on the menu.

It’s predominantly veggie-based, though you’ll find carne asada (steak – usually skirt or flank cut) on the menu as well as bacon – an optional, though welcome addition to any meal at $3.00.

Breakfast at The Flying Taco

On our first visit, we tried the Danny ‘Machete’ Trejo, $12.50, with added guacamole, $2.50, on recommendation from Anna.

Breakfast at The Flying Taco

It’s a take on the classic breakfast dish – Huevos Rancheros, and features two fried homemade corn tortillas smothered in a spicy ranchera sauce and topped with refried beans and two fried free range eggs.

To be honest, it was so good both J and I ate our meals in about two minutes flat.

The ranchera sauce is tomato-based, but with a definite kick. It’s a wake up call for taste buds. And though I haven’t tried it on a morning after the night before, I’d be willing to bet it’s one of the best ways around to blow off the morning cob webs.

Breakfast at The Flying Taco

The following weekend, we returned without a moment’s hesitation.

And without much discussion – we were back to see Danny again, this time, plus bacon.

And coffee. Let’s not forget the coffee.

Breakfast at The Flying Taco

The Flying Taco’s brew comes from Vic Park favourites - Antz Inya Pantz. It’s fruity and fresh with bitter chocolate notes. It’s filtered (using a Moccamaster, if you’re interested) – which is a departure from the usual around town.

At $3.00 a cup (with free refills for dine-in customers), it’s not bad value, and would definitely be worth a spin if you’re usually a long black drinker.

I know filtered coffee cops a lot of flak. But I personally love filtered coffee. It’s a love that was definitely cemented by our 2012 wedding and visit to the States. Diners + coffee + Juji = winning.

It’s probably also been influenced by a love of a particular TV series featuring two main characters that drink way too much coffee and eat too many meals in a diner that features a baseball cap wearing, coffee-pot toting owner*.

We’re already fans of breakfast at The Flying Taco. But next time, I just have to try something else …

The Flying Taco
40 Angove St, North Perth
For the full menu and opening hours, visit The Flying Taco website

*Props to you if you can work out that reference…

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee, North Perth

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

The cool cats from Standing Room Only (one of my favourite coffee spots in Perth), have brought the caffeine to the suburbs by way of their latest venture – Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee.

The name comes Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, two Oxford scholars who brought together coffee-guzzling intellectuals in 18th century London. 

Now open on Fitzgerald Street in North Perth, I have a feeling this place may just become  my new favourite weekend hangout. It’s cool and breezy, filled with shiny stuff for all you coffee nerds, and I do like their playlists…

On any given day, you’ll find several varieties of coffee on offer (roasted by Melbourne’s Small Batch Coffee Roasters)…

Saturday 22 February
Candyman blend
Alvaro aya (Colombia)
Hunkute (Ethiopia)
Pricing
Black $3.70 / $4.70
White $4.00 / $5.00
Comp style $7.00

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

If you have trouble making decisions, I recommend going with the comp style (pictured above).

You’ll receive the coffee of your choice two ways: as a single shot espresso-style and with milk. You can of course, refresh your palate with a slug of sparkling water too.

My comp pick on Saturday was the Hunkute – lightly fruity with a floral aroma, with a medium acidity that was tempered well by soy milk.

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

Bringing your appetite is a great idea when you visit Addison & Steele. Just try and ignore the delicious baked goods on offer. I dare you.

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

I had to have a bagel – an everything bagel, fresh baked by Fremantle’s Holy Bagel Company.

Schmears come with your toasted bagel; a smoked salmon cream cheese and sun-dried tomato version.

And even though it’s not Kosher… I’m secretly hoping there’s going to be a bacon and egg option one day. (Hey, a girl can dream.)

If bagels aren’t your scene – don’t worry, there’s also pastries from La Galette de France on offer, granola and toast. Insider tip: highly recommend the almond croissant (Perth’s best, I reckon)!

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

Next time I visit, I think we’ll be hanging around the brew bar…

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee

Addison & Steel Speciality Coffee on Urbanspoon

For opening hours and updates, visit Addison & Steele on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

PS. I’m personally itching to correct the misspelling of ‘Steele’ in the Urbanspoon reference. I mean, c’mon.

The Old Crow, Northbridge

Breakfast at The Old Crow

There’s something seriously magical about a slow cooked egg. Cooked in their shells below boiling point for far longer than the usual (65 degrees celsius for 65 minutes) - the resulting egg is soft and silky, but quite solidly set.

This weekend,  I met the slow cooked egg of my dreams, at The Old Crow in Northbridge.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The slow cooked egg was served with a flavoursome mix of lightly sauteed mushrooms including fresh shiitake, portabello and button varieties ($19.00). I really enjoyed the meaty texture of the mushrooms. Lightly browned just a hint of caramelisation, they really satisfied my craving for something something - though they weren’t my usual breakfast go-tos (bacon, chipolatas).

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The provolone croquettes were seriously good. A delightful contradiction, even. Crisp yet pillowy soft. Salty yet just barely sweet. Rich but amazingly light and almost fluffy.

When paired with the rich red sauce (hidden beneath the mix of mushrooms and croquettes) – utterly moreish.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

As well established gluttons, it was hard to ignore the fried potatoes with cajun salt and ranch ($9.00). ‘They’re a bargain!’ we said. ‘But I’m starving’, I assured J.

But try as we might, we were utterly defeated by these crunchy beauties. I’m guessing their fantastic crunch and deep golden brown was the result of being double-fried (or par-boiled then fried). The cajun salt had a kick that was perfectly offset by the cool and creamy ranch dressing.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

Getting into the weekend spirit, J kicked off his meal with a mustardy, spicy Bloody Mary ($15.00). I’m not much of a fan of tomato juice …so he enjoyed that by himself! (My usual soy flat white did the trick, thanks.)

Breakfast at The Old Crow

Though I passed on the Bloody Mary, J’s choice of cowboy beans and eggs with belly bacon ($18.00) was much more covetable – just check out that charry belly bacon!

We both really loved the faint sweetness and subtle smoke of the beans. They tasted like the real deal – cooked low and slow with a flavoursome tomato-based sauce and probably a meaty bacon bone or two for a mellow yet flavourful punch. Mild hints of cumin, paprika and maple (I think) were a highlight.

Suffice it to say – we’re really quite smitten. The food and drink options we tried were really well executed. It’s a well thought out menu that’s got options, but isn’t so big that you just can’t pick. The service was friendly, but more importantly quick and efficient. It was a great way to start my weekend!

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The Old Crow on Urbanspoon

In other Juji Chews news…

After much debate, pro and con lists, and general procrastinating … I’m now officially a Mac user. Bye bye, old laptop. You served me well.

It’s weird but exciting, and I’m getting the hang of the command button. And holy crap, when I’m using Lightroom to post-process my photos … oof. This thing looks amazing!

Are you a Mac person or a PC die-hard? Opinions? Favourite tricks? Got any advice for Mac noobs? Make sure you share in the comments!

Slow cooker chicken chili

UntitledWhen I’m busy at work and pulling long hours, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to a home cooked meal.

Even with my long days, J is rarely ever home before me as his schedule is jam packed - splitting his time between two busy physiotherapy practices, while also tackling part-time post-graduate study.

Add to that, our new found commitment to health and fitness, full of week night gym visits, yoga Thursdays, and our regular post-work puppy play dates… phew. Time? What time?

This recipe for slow cooker chicken chili is adapted from one I came across from Young Married Chic, and it’s become a fast favourite in this house. It’s the perfect set and forget recipe for week night dinners – it’s hot, spicy, nutritious, and delicious.

Let’s disregard the fact that it’s still 30 degrees outside. My tastebuds don’t seem to like abiding by seasons like summer or winter!

Slow cooker chicken chill

Slow cooker chicken chili

Adapted from a recipe by Kris at Young Married Chic

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp oregano
3-4 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
generous pinch cayenne pepper or chili
1 dash liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6 boneless thigh fillets

My method for when I’m time-poor

The night before

  1. In the pot of your slow cooker – combine beans, onion, tomatoes, corn, tomatoes, seasonings, spices and herbs.
  2. Place chicken on top and cover with a thin layer of the sauce and beans.
  3. Cover the pot with cling wrap and refrigerate.

Before rushing out of the house for the day

Remove slow cooker pot from fridge. Uncover, place in slow cooker, and set to cook for 6 hours.

When you’re home (tired and hungry)

  1. Remove chicken and shred in a separate bowl.
  2. Place shredded chicken into the slow cooker and stir in to combine with beans and sauce.
  3. Transfer to a pan and reheat until steamy on your cooktop. You may need to reduce the liquid slightly by simmering for 20-30 minutes. Alternatively you can reduce the sauce in a fraction of the time by stirring in a few handfuls of polenta or masa harina to thicken the sauce.
  4. Enjoy as is, or with rice, corn bread or jacket potatoes. Top with optional extras – sour cream, chopped avocado or corn chips.

Leftovers make great work day lunches – I like freezing single serve portions for a hearty but relatively healthy option.

Pinchos, Leederville

Celebrating Pinchos

Disclosure: Juji Chews was invited to attend this launch.

Celebrating Pinchos

Last month I was invited to attend the launch of Pinchos, the latest brainchild of Justin Bell, the man behind Perth’s favourite burger (well, mine, anyway) - Jus Burgers.

The food served at Pinchos, draws inspiration from the bar snacks of northern Spain. Usually enjoyed alongside a glass of wine (or two), they’re delicious diversions from the range of homegrown and Spanish wines, beers, ciders, cava and sherry on offer.

Celebrating Pinchos

Menu options include the bar’s namesake, pinchos / pinxtos – small bites charged per piece (as is the style in Spain), ranging from $1-4 each. They’re served on skewers. Not coincidentally, pinchos get their name from the Spanish word for spike – pinchos (or pinxtos in Basque).

You’ll also find tapas (small plates) to share ranging from $6-9 each, salads, desserts and mixed boards best served for two (or one, if you’re particularly hungry).

Celebrating Pinchos

I am officially addicted to smoked almonds. I just might have eaten all of these. And a bowl at the adjacent table.

Celebrating Pinchos

Celebrating Pinchos

Celebrating Pinchos

Pinxtos chorizo con miel – chorizo, cheese and honey, $2.00 per piece, were definitely one of my favourites of all the food we tried. The sticky warm honey was a surprisingly delicious combined with the salty chorizo and cheese with the sourness of the gherkins.

Celebrating Pinchos

Pinxtos Gilda – white anchovy, pickle and green olive, $1.00 per piece.

Celebrating Pinchos

Front: Pinxtos palmitos – palm hearts, olive, tomato and cheese, $1.00 per piece
Back: Pinxtos Gilda - white anchovy, pickle and green olive, $1.00 per piece

Celebrating Pinchos

A huge pan of Albondigas de Cordero Arabe (lamb meatballs, beans, yoghurt with fig and dukkah) was on the go, ready to feed the hungry crowd.

Celebrating Pinchos

Celebrating Pinchos

Albondigas de Cordero Arabe - lamb meatballs, beans, yoghurt with fig and dukkah, $8.00 a serve.

The rich meatballs were complemented really well by the crisp fresh green beans and the sticky sweetness of the figs.

Celebrating Pinchos

Chicharrones – roasted pork belly, cumin and lemon, $7.00 a serve.

Celebrating Pinchos

Quite possibly the most enticing kind of lollipop I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying … a pork belly pop!

Celebrating Pinchos

Gazpacho con Piquillo – Spanish summer salad with red pepper puree, $7.00 a serve. Chef Justin’s different take on the traditional cold Spanish soup, Gazpacho, in a salad chock full of bold tomato, capsicum and sweet red onion.

Celebrating Pinchos

White anchovies with orzo salad, pickled fennel and currants

Celebrating Pinchos

Champinones con queso azul – mushrooms, blue cheese, PX vinegar and almond crumbs, $9.00 per serve, were a hit all round. These juicy mushrooms were gone in a flash – and not a speck of crunchy almonds or oozy cheese remained. I might have been partly responsible for that…

Pinchos on Urbanspoon

Opening hours
Monday 11.30am – 9.00pm
Tuesday to Saturday 11.30am – 10.00pm
Sunday 11.30am – 9.00pm

Noodle Forum, Perth

Noodle Forum

If you’ve visited Malaysia or Singapore, you’ve probably been initiated into the joy that is hawker food. From noodles to deep fried bananas, some of the best food I’ve ever tried has come from these stalls.

Most of the time, each hawker stall only serves dishes that are related, either by cooking method or ingredient. Noodle hawkers make noodles. Porridge hawkers make porridge. And so on.

Though the variety of dishes on offer may be narrow, I find the devotion to a specific kind of food to be pretty special, as it showcases the skill of the cook in using a particular cooking style, method or star ingredient.

Noodle Forum

At Noodle Forum, the devotion to noodles; wantan mee (wantan noodles) to be exact, is pretty clear. Here, chef Erich Wong makes fresh egg-based wantan noodles daily, having perfected his craft over the last 40 years.

There’s no shortcuts here, and you’ll see real eggs being mixed by hand into every batch of noodles made by chef Erich. He’s clearly very passionate about his craft – which you’ll notice easily as you watch him making noodles through the glass doors of the kitchen adjoining the restaurant.

Chef Erich may be focused on his noodles, but he still finds the time to beckon me closer and pop his head out of the door to tell me that it’s fresh spinach being added to this batch of noodles.

Noodle Forum

I only had eyes for the BBQ pork noodles (char siu mee, $11.90), which are always my pick whenever I’m eating somewhere that specialises in this particular kind of noodle.

Noodle Forum

The noodles here are thin with a perfect bite that’s probably best described as toothsome or al dente. They’re tossed in a salty and sweet soy-based sauce.

Though the noodles are without a doubt the star of the show, the char siu (or BBQ pork) is a stunner, caramelised to a deep-dark crunch along the edges, with tender meat that’s rippled with just a hint of fat, leaving each mouthful juicy.

Word of warning: this is not crisp white shirt food. You might need a bib for the inevitable caused by eating with reckless abandon.

Noodle Forum

Like all the other noodles on offer, the Crispy Check Fillet Noodle, is also a bargain at $11.90. The noodles are dressed in the same soy-based sauce as the BBQ pork noodles.

Noodle Forum

But instead of juicy pork, here you’ll enjoy crisp chunks of tender chicken thigh, which are coated in a light crisp coating. The chicken is coated, deep fried, sliced and loaded atop the noodles with a generous drizzle of chili mayonnaise (I’m guessing Japanese Kewpie, spiked with chili).

Noodle Forum

Each bowl of noodles here comes with a signature crunchy cracker – made a dough that’s very similar to the wantan wrappers chef Erich churns out for Noodle Forum’s signature wantans in soup (5 for $5.50).

Noodle Forum

I’m swooning over the whole Exmouth prawn that’s enclosed inside each wantan with a generous mouthful of marinated minced Plantagenet free range pork. The wantan wrapper is silky and smooth, and rolled so thin I’m surprised there’s not a single tear in any of the dumplings.

The wantan soup is a clear broth spiked with loads of sliced spring onions. It’s salty but a little sweet, which is always a good sign in my book, signalling long slow cooking and lots of bones in the stock (here at Noodle Forum, that means Mount Barker free range chicken bones).

Even the salty and sour pickled chillies are homemade here. A good thing too, as they’re essential with noodles like this, just ask my Mum.

Noodle Forum

I couldn’t resist abandoning J for a moment to watch chef Erich making his noodles using a huge bamboo pole. You can watch the super short video I took of chef Erich making spinach noodles below:

Noodle Forum

Noodle Forum on Urbanspoon

Like Noodle Forum on Facebook.

Opening hours 

Monday to Thursday: 11.00am to 5.30pm
Friday: 11.00am to 9.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 5.30pm
Closed Sunday

On blogging (thoughts after Eat Drink Blog 2013)

Eat. Drink. Blog.

We ate. We drank. Now we’re blogging.

This weekend (9-10 November) I joined 80 Australian food bloggers at the Annual Australian conference, Eat Drink Blog. This year’s conference was held in Perth (woo!), and featured a jam-packed program of non-stop eating, networking and food-related activities.

I always find conferences an interesting social experiment. They bring together diverse people with a common interest – we’re united, but different, and it’s that difference which can be inspiring, motivating, and sometimes, downright challenging.

The afternoon panel on working with PR and ethics featuring Phil Lees (The Last Appetite) and Cynthia Chew (The Food Pornographer) generated some great discussion in the room and on Twitter.

As it developed, I realised this topic cast a pretty revealing light on each and every one of us, and started to think about where I considered myself to be on the sponsorship spectrum.

The perks of being a blogger

As bloggers, many of us find ourselves on PR mailing lists; invited to launches of new restaurants, and being offered the latest (and greatest) product to try.

The urge to accept every freebie, and to go along to the opening of just about any envelope is strong for some. It’s dazzling, when you’re a new blogger, and you find yourself on the receiving end of opportunity after opportunity. You may even find yourself thinking: ‘this means I’m legit. They know me now. I’m a real  blogger!’

The recognition can be intoxicating. You feel validated.

On balance (or, on avoiding being a mindless, spineless shill)

I’d encourage anyone new to blogging (food or otherwise) to be clear and up-front about your personal views on accepting opportunities from PR or marketing.

Being clear about it, where ever your opinions lie on the spectrum, makes it easier for people who are interested in working with you.

A third-party is never going to understand your view if it’s not clearly stated, and it’s even harder to enforce it if you’ve not explained it.

When working with PR, I personally find it helpful to ask about what’s required (if anything) when you’re offered a product or invited to an event. Tell the PR person what you’re comfortable with. Don’t accept anything without feeling comfortable about it.

Include specific examples of what kinds of work you’re willing to do with PR or marketing representatives in your media kit, or explain it in the media section on your blog.

Right, wrong or just different?

Opinions were polarised on sponsorship. (As an aside – regarding the term ‘sponsorship’, I think some of us have different ideas as to what this consists of.)

On one end of the spectrum, there are some who see no moral issue with working with PR. Others, at the opposite end, suggest it’s a problem - one which compromises your ability to be objective as a blogger. Though the word ‘wrong’ wasn’t strictly used, there was certainly no mistaking the implication that a blogger who accepts freebies is morally compromised in in the eyes of some purists.

While I acknowledge that as a blogger you’ve got a responsibility to provide your readers with fair and balanced information, I just don’t think there’s one foolproof way that any of us could find, that would help us to separate our personal views, beliefs or relationships from our posts. That element of ‘you-ness’ is something which I feel is inherently part of blogging – and nearly impossible to remove.

But are we naïve to think our views as bloggers are uncompromised when we accept these perks? Maybe we’re all just a few steps away from a John Laws-eqsue ‘cash for comment’ scandal of our own.

I don’t think there’s a clear right or wrong for the majority of bloggers, who don’t actively deceive or misrepresent their views to their readers.

My own opinion about working with PR is most definitely shaped by my own experiences in my day job, working in public relations, marketing and corporate communications for the last six years.

I understand the role PR plays in blogging, and I’m perfectly happy to work with PR representatives. Others may feel differently about it, and choose to be conscientious objectors – if so, that’s completely fine with me.

I’m still as committed to sharing my honest thoughts about my experiences with my readers as I was when I started this blog over three years ago.

If we’ve not met before - Hello, I’m Juji. Also known as the ‘Girl with too many opinions about food’.

Though I work with PR representatives through this blog, I don’t feel like I’ve ever been forced to compromise my own beliefs or this blog because of that relationship. Sure, it’s often a mutually beneficial one, but that doesn’t mean it’s dishonest.

Consumers: the other white meat.

I was disappointed by the suggestion that by being a blogger who is open to working with PRs that you’re perpetuating some sort of mindless, endless consumerism sprial. It seemed to be implied that blog readers are ready to be influenced – open to persuasion and easily convinced to buy the minute they see a post featuring PR provided product (regardless as to whether a blogger even liked it).

As a consumer, I regularly seek out opinions and information about things I’m considering.

It’s not a passive process by any means.

On any given day, when I’m thinking about what to buy for lunch, when I’m about to pick a new shade of nail polish, or if I’m planning to upgrade my fridge, I will always, always, seek a second opinion and look online for a review.

I’ll consider opinions from others who are interested in similar products or I’ll find a review from someone who has already tried it.

Although I definitely prefer to know when a blogger, vlogger or any other reviewer has received a product for free, at the end of the day, how they’ve come to receive a product doesn’t specifically bother me.

With full disclosure, I’m able to work it out for myself as a reader (or viewer), and I can make my own judgement on whether a person’s views are genuine, or if they’re simply regurgitating a press release.

And I’m still always mindful that a person’s opinion is simply that – their opinion.

Going forward

I don’t consider working with PRs inherently fraught with danger, and I don’t feel that sharing my honest opinion has been compromised at any time, even when I’ve been given an opportunity.

I read each and every product pitch I receive, and carefully consider every opportunity that comes my way. I’d say I turn down four out of five of the pitches I’m asked to consider daily – for a whole range of reasons, from schedule to location (PS. I live in Perth, not Sydney), and more often than not: simply because an idea just isn’t a good fit.

I never publish anything provided by PR word-for-word. To be honest, I’d say I spend more time on posts instigated by PR opportunities, as I find I tend to try harder to give my readers a different point of view or unique information with these posts, knowing that there may well be a dozen other bloggers across the country, writing from the same media release.

My policy

You’ll see posts here on Juji Chews which feature PR-provided product. You might also see me mention launch events from time to time on this blog. I don’t accept advertorial content , ever (i.e. posts written by someone else (usually PR people) and published on my blog).

Working with PR representatives is just one way I use to find out about what’s new and what’s happening around Perth and beyond.

I always provide my honest opinion when I post about PR provided products, and I’m careful to be clear when I’ve attended an event by invitation from PR.

Going forward I’ll be working behind the scenes to ensure that this is always clearly disclosed at the top of each post, rather than at the bottom (where I’ve usually posted this information).

Cheers,
Juji

PS. I’m impressed that you read to the end, if you did. Did I ever mention that my Masters was heavily focused on social media and blogging? ;)