Wednesday, 1 October 2014

up in da (book) club: Mr Hong!

Those of you who follow me on social media (or heaven forbid IRL) know that over the past year or so, I've been co-writing a book with chef Dan Hong, called Mr Hong. A collection of stories from childhood to date, it has been the greatest adventure working on this project with the talented folk at Murdoch Books and of course my mate Dan. The book hits shelves this week and I'm so very excited to be able finally to share this with y'all.

In the words of Murdoch Books: Eat like you never have before, with Dan Hong at the reins it will be an enjoyable ride.
Dan's appetite for rare sneakers, hip-hop and collecting cookbooks is only surpassed by his passion for food: everything from fast food to fine dining.

Growing up in the suburbs of Sydney with a food-obsessed family and a mother who fell into owning a Vietnamese restaurant by chance, Dan has gone on to become a critically acclaimed chef, working at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Australia, including Sydney's Mr Wong, Ms G's and El Loco.

Dan's potent mix of proud heritage, technical skill and boundless enthusiasm for experimenting with big, bold, fresh flavours makes his approach to food truly unique. Mr Hong is as much an exploration of Dan's colourful path through life as it is a beautifully illustrated book of one hundred scintillating recipes -- Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, as well as fusions of the three -- re-imagined and re-invigorated for a new generation of food obsessives. Feast your eyes and dig in.

Dan Hong has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Australia, including Tetsuya's, Marque and Bentley, and his mentors include Mark Best, Brent Savage and Thomas Johns. He has opened some of Sydney's most exciting dining destinations, including Ms G's, El Loco and Mr Wong (honoured with a hat in its first year of business at theSydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards) and most recently Papi Chulo, a smokehouse and grill at Manly Wharf, Sydney.
Mr Hong is available at all good bookstores and costs $49.99
Check out the promo video by the amazing Jason Loucas, who is also responsible for the amazing photography in the book:

just drive

FBi Radio Friday 26 September 2014

In light of this season's supporter drive being all about...well, driving, I thought we'd look at drive ins or places to go that involve driving and food. That's basically as much thought as we put into this week's Friday Delicious. Er...yeah. If you're fortunate enough to have a vintage vehicle, or access to one, jump in and cruise on down to one of these high octane numbers:

Harry's Cafe de Wheels

Even the name says it all! While not all of the Harry's franchises are drive-in-able, their outpost on the Princes Highway in Tempe has all the charm of small town American diner drive in restaurants...or as much of that charm as this little lucky country can channel. The beauty of the Harry's experience is our very own take on American diner food, with an Aussie accent. Pie floaters with peas, gravy and mash is the hero (Aka. Harry's Pie), but the hotdogs are also a totally respectable  option (go the chilli dog with cheese). Open late (11pm Sunday through Wednesday, Midnight Thursdays and 2am Fridays and Saturdays), it's the perfect late night snack date on the way home from the movies.

886-896 Princes Hwy, Tempe NSW 2044
(02) 9558 4969

Torque Bar & Grill

What started out as a sales yard for motorcycles has now turned into a kustom car mecca and occasional rockabilly hang (preferably for those who own aforementioned kustom cars). Offering up diner style vibes from breakfast till late, the mammoth menu contains everything from caramelised banana pancakes to burgers and a grill firing up racks of ribs, steaks, spare parts (sides) and lubricants (gravy, bro). If you've driven a long way, the Holy Crap challenge may just be for you (we love a food challenge at FBi). It involves a 500g steak, a parmigiana, a monster burger, chips and a beer. And if you can finish it in 45 minutes, you go on the hall of fame wall and take home a t-shirt. SCORE! Channel Grease, get dressed up and check out the website for upcoming rockabilly gig dates to really get into the mood.

153-165 Parramatta Rd, Concord NSW 2137
1300 688 600

Rising Sun Workshop

Ok, so this one's a bit of a tease. For the past few months, Newtown has been lucky enough to be home to semipermanent pop up, Rising Sun Workshop. Part motorcycle workshop, part cafe, part ramen mecca, it's the kind of place you just want to hang out at, regardless of whether you got there on two wheels, or four. While last weekend saw Rising Sun close its doors, all is not lost! Rumour has it that it will be returning bigger and better in just a few months, just a block or two away. The new space will encompass a bar, a bigger dining/cafe space and all the high octane action you could hope for.

Watch this space right here for all the latest as it happens:

Friday, 19 September 2014

Life ain’t no picnic…or is it?

FBi Radio, Friday 19th September 2014

Now that the weather is playing ball, Sydney is all about getting out there and enjoying our stellar collection of parks, beaches and other public spaces. And what’s better than packing a picnic lunch, a bottle of wine and a rug and getting amongst it with friends or a loved one? If your name isn’t Yogi Bear, there are a couple of handy people and places you can call on who will either pull a picnic together for you, or make it about as easy as it’s going to get to do it yourself:

Sydney Picnic Co.

With a name that kind of says it all, Sydney Picnic Co is the lovechild of real life couple Simon and Natalie, whose combined skill set of food, wine and good design means that their picnics are not only delicious, but purrrdy. There is a host of picnic baskets that’ll please even the fussiest of eaters, but we like the Sydney Picnic:

Australian king prawns with lime & Sichuan salt & pepper
Chorizo, tomatoes, goat’s curd, roast almonds & parsley
Fregola with free range roast chicken, chilli, spring onions, mint, green olives, lemon & toasted pepitas
Le Dauphin served with crackers
Organic Sourdough baguette
Valrhona chocolate brownies with roast almonds & sour cherries

Picnics are made for two, but can be created for groups on request and picnics can either be picked up or delivered to you.

Pop Up Picnic

Channelling all the style of old 50’s school wicker picnic baskets, Pop Up Picnic is not only super cool looking, but completely recyclable and compostable. Each cardboard picnic basket contains everything you need for a good time, including a rug, plates, cutlery, stemless champagne flutes…and did we mention the basket folds out into a nifty table? Picnics can also be delivered direct to your picnic spot for ultimate convenience, but we say this is one picnic basket you’re going to want to tote yourself.

The antipasto basket:

Sonoma bread
Antipasto including charcuterie, cheese and marinated grilled veg
A selection of delicious salads
Sparkling water

Queen Street, Woollahra

Ok, so this is a little more DIY, but if you’ve a basket, a rug and a bottle of wine then all you really need to do is take a stroll along Queen Street in Woollahra and pick up the rest. From epic meatery Victor Churchill, pick up a slice of pork and duck terrine, a selection of immaculately sliced charcuterie, then wander down and pick up a roast chicken from Chargrill Charlie’s, and fresh salads in perfect portion sizes at Queen Street Deli. Top it all off with a few baked goods from Luxe Bakery and you’re golden.

Friday, 12 September 2014

FBi Radio Friday 12 September 2014

Given the fact that 'food' and 'words' are the basis by which I live my life, it would be a bit of an epic fail for me not to give big ups to Food & Words, a festival in its third year, celebrating those two things in equal measure. Spearheaded by Barbara Sweeney, beloved food industry stalwart and a quiet but formidable industry behind some of Sydney's highest profile events (including the Sydney International Food Festival among others), the festival is a celebration for people who are interested in cookbooks, food and writing. The one day festival brings together some heavy hitters in the Australian food and restaurant industry, from Christine Manfield to the legendary (and not to be trifled with) Gay Bilson and a host more. 

From the Food & Words website (

What you get when you buy a ticket is:

o 12 speakers who inspire with short sharp talks on food
The chance to mingle with people who are immersed in and curious about food
Great food from Bistro Mint at morning and afternoon tea
Three-course picnic lunch from Mike McEnearney’s new book, Kitchen By Mike, plus a glass of Lowe Wines wine (additional)
Special tea and coffee taste experiences from the best in town, Grounds of Alexandria and Ovvio Organic
Books by Potts Point Bookshop and Alice McCormick’s Rare Illustrated Books
An arty installation by Julie Paterson (she of clothfabric and Food & Words artwork)
o A (surprise) gift of a book from Murdoch Books and Lantern
A tasting of single-origin chocolates from Bahen & Co

Tickets are $185 for the full monty (all of the above) or $45 for a Kitchen By Mike picnic lunch and a glass of Lowe wine (bargain).

When: September 20, 10am - 4pm
Where: The Mint, Sydney
Tickets are available for purchase here

Friday, 8 August 2014

FBi Radio: The Friday Delicious August 8 2014

Just because I've been in Tasmania doesn't mean I don't know what's going on back in Sin City. There's movement at the station once again and plenty of news on new stuff worth checking out.

1. Cho Cho San 

 The pull to Potts Point continues to grow, with a new Japanese-ish eatery opening just a short while ago in the venue that in a previous life used to be Australian icon chef Christine Manfield's ground breaking Paramount restaurant. Cho Cho San is the kind of love child that makes Australian food so great: The key players involved are a restaurateur best known for rocketing Thai food into Sydney's stratosphere over a decade ago (Longrain's Sam Christie), a Greek Australian chef who's also been known to cook epic Italian cuisine among many other feathers and a Burmese Chinese chef who's cooked Italian at Vini and Ester, Argentine tapas at Bodega and modern Chinese at Billy Kwong. If you're a fan of eclectic, tasty Izakaya-style snacks, Japanese beers and gigantic green tea soft serves, this will be your jam.

73 Macleay Street, Potts Point
(02) 9331 6601

2. Coogee Pavilion 

Coogee Bay can officialy be known for something good when it comes to food, rather than just that unfortunate incident all those years ago (and may we never speak of it again). The Beach Palace Hotel has been reimagined into the kind of beachside hang you'd expect from the guys who brought you Mr Wong, El Loco and...well, everywhere else. Think easygoing, seaside fare and you're on your way - with an obvious seafood focus featuring cold seafood platters and freshly shucked oysters, there are also wood fired pizzas, epic fried chicken sandwiches and cold pressed juices to wash it all down.

169 Dolphin Street, Coogee
(02) 9240 3000

2. LP's Quality Meats 

The experienced in any industry fare well and for obvious reason when it comes to subsequent operations: they've learnt a thing or two and bring a wealth of experience with them. LP stands for Luke Powell, a chef from a fine dining background (Tetsuya's to name but one), who went on to flip burgers at Mary's, is on the eve of opening his very own venture in partnership with some of the guys behind Porteno and Bodega. It'll be about meat (obviously), and it'll be low, slow and influenced by the global traditions of BBQ, smoking and general carnivorous behaviour. Don't freak out, vegetarians, there will be some of those in there too - basically the modus operandi will be simple, primal and honest. Look it up.

12-16 Chippen Street Chippendale