Friday, June 27, 2008

going away ...

Wow the days have just flown by but the time for our holiday is coming up! A totally new country with a new cuisine. Sun , sea and surf to escape the harsh Bathurst winter ... can't wait ! Only 3.5 hours flight from Sydney. Only for a week though ... back soon to report and share :) Any guesses?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Great Southern Hotel, Berry

An icon on the main street of Berry, which is also part of the Princes Highway (a 900 plus km long highway joining Sydney to Melbourne) lies the Great Southern Hotel.

Both outside and in, the decor is wildly eclectic yet seems to harmonise and give it alot of character. Homage is paid alot to signs. The signpost has distances which vary from "Donut van 0.5 km" to "Melbourne 710 kms" to Grand Canyon 12,363 kms" ... Just in case you were lost. There are also a few boats mounted on the roof and a wall of hubcaps decorate the outside wall of the bottle shop (not in picture).

Inside, the main pub area has a chandelier made out of an old wagon wheel, a modern heater sits atop of an old fuel stove in the corner, a special bar seat is made out of an old saddle. There are lots of interesting things to look at.

A warning to all bears who dare enter ...
.. you might end up on the ceiling!

A trophy bucks head ... just nicely positioned over the video arcade game "Deer Hunter" to give you some incentive.

The main bistro area with polished log tables.

We decided on eating here on Sunday night after a day further south in the town of Huskisson. Ironically, Berry had a few more places open to eat in than a larger town on the way back. After checking out a few places and their menus, we decided on good ol' fashioned pub grub.

The menu was short but had lots of classics like beer battered fish and chips, caesar salad, steak, quiche and salad etc. We started with a plate of cajun spiced wedges to share ($8.80) as greasy potatoes were needed to settle our stomachs (will explain more in the next post).
Wedges are something I have grown to love since living in Australia. Similar in size to a US favourite, potato skins which I was more familiar with, they taste nothing like potato skins. They are fully peeled potatoes and cut into wedges, coated with a spicy coating and deep fried. Wonderful on their own especially when freshly cooked and crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside. However, some genius somewhere started dipping them first in sour cream and then in sweet chilli sauce! This craze has spread in the last 12 years and most bistros and take aways will serve them with these condiments either on top or on the side. Sometimes you do have to request and pay extra for them.

The combination of hot crispy, slightly salty wedges dipped in cool sour cream and then doused in the slightly sweet, sticky chilli sauce is a taste and textural sensation that is extremely addictive.

I had the chicken caesar salad ($13.50). No complaints here ... just the right amount of dressing, bacon, croutons and nice warm tender chicken.

Hubby ordered the quiche lorraine ($13) which came with a side of the nicest, crunchiest beer battered fries we have had in a long while. It makes me wonder how nice their beer battered fish would be. The quiche itself had a pastry which I found a bit greasy and heavy but my hubby said he had no problems with it. The filling was nice and cheesy and bacon-y.

Ahh ... Aussie pub grub. The fail-safe comfort food option especially on a cold winters night.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Seahaven Cafe, Gerroa

Last weekend was the Queens Birthday holiday. Australians love long weekends and fortunately this public holiday was on a Monday, hence I could escape after work on Saturday and have 2 nights at our destination. We took the opportunity to escape to an area of NSW we have holidayed twice before and really loved it. This time was no exception. The area has lush green hills facing the ocean and the highway down is somewhere in between which makes for a lovely drive. All the towns in this area, known as the Illawara coast, are about 30 kms apart and strung along joined by the highway.

This cafe we re-visited on the Monday. (Will probably be doing my posts in a reverse order.) There was a 15% public holiday surcharge which is now rampant due to the increased cost of living. It has been noticed as well in NSW to have a 10% sunday surcharge at most places *ouch*! Anyway, while on holiday, I guess we don't have a choice but to eat out and we really enjoyed our meal here the last time.It is located in the sleepy little town of Gerroa (pop 476) and has just the one post office and general store and this 'lil cafe. (Grr my faststone photo resizer chucked a spaz again and so my photos have a "sample" watermark on them! :P Its late and I am too lazy to re-do them though.)

The Seahave Cafe has a lovely view of an inlet just adjacent to the beach.

We had lunch last time we were here so we decided to have breakfast this time. It has a page long menu with all the usual suspects. My hubby had one of them - the big brekkie. An Egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, grilled tomato on thick cut buttered toast ($14.50) While hearty and well cooked, nothing special.
I love ordering unusual stuff so my eyes zoomed in on the "Mexican eggs"($14.50). Poached eggs on a spicy chorizo and tomato sauce served with turkish bread, it touted on the menu. It was either that or the vegetarian breakfast which would have been like the big breakfast only spinach and and extra egg to subsitute for the meat items on there.

Anyone expecting Huevos Rancheros would have been dissapointed. However, the taste of the chorizo and tomato mixture was very very good. It went well with the egg which was able to be all mopped up by the bread. I guess this dish is very much an example of the modern Australian "fusion" type dishes. I do like sauteed spinach so I ordered it as a side ($2.50)
A very decent cafe for the area. We would probably visit again since it is just a stone's throw from the beach which as you can see from the footprints is adored by humans and animals of all shapes and sizes. Pity it was a cloudy winters day ... Seven mile beach is gorgeous and seems to stretch on forever.
After a lovely digestive walk, we headed on home with a few little stops along the way.

Seahaven Café
19 Riverleigh Ave
ph 4234 3796

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