Postcards and Morsels Sydney Trip Day 2
Continuing our postcards and morsels from a recent trip to Sydney. Here is a wrap up on day two. A sunny Sydney Saturday and we were up and ready early. Once again, our knowledgeable taxi driver and tour guide, Ms Lateo @VanityFare1, picked us up and whizzed us across to the Orange Grove Markets in Leichhardt, which she advised would be much quieter than usual due to the Christmas/New Year break. So much to see, taste, smell and explore for this pair of market aficionados. The day would end up with the first ever #twEATup! Where to start...
Karen is one of the regular stall holders at The Mushroom Depot at the Orange Grove Markets. The stall owner, Peter Hood, is away on his honeymoon, which was opportune in that it meant Karen was free to escort us on our tour! After meeting a couple of Karen's neighbouring stalls and investigating the biggest fig I have ever seen, we made our way to meet the lovely Jackie M.
It didn't take long for Peter to have a box of Jackie's Roti Kaya in his hand, so I quickly stepped in to help him devour them! Divine. Absolutely divine. Must order some Nonya Kaya from Jackie's online store. Moving on... we visited a number of the stalls at the Orange Grove Markets and I have posted some of the highlights under my Market People. I would have been happy so spend another couple of hours, but Karen had planned lots of other Good Things for us.
Our next stop was The Urban Food Market in Marrickville, where we met Tim Elwin, who is passionate about sustainable produce. Tim explained that everything Urban Food Market sources is ethically raised and sustainably produced. 'The fundamental reason I set up this business was my strive to search for really great tasting food. I started with organics, but some organic meats chew and taste like a boot!'
'We deal direct with the farmers,' he said. 'We give back to the farmer and have pre-requisites in that the meat must be ethically raised and sustainably produced. The farmer is looked after, the land is looked after and the animal is looked after,' Tim added. Urban Food Market supplies grassfed Saltbush lamb; grassfed Wagyu beef and organic beef; free range pork and poultry; as well as artisan free range sausages; wild rabbits; free range cured and smoked meats; and organic dairy and a range of dry goods. 'Our core business is supplying hatted restaurants in Sydney (such as Red Lantern). We are also open to the public on Saturdays, when we do a sampling menu. This is where we cook three or four dishes and provide take-home ingredient packs, complete with recipes'. Urban Food Market is a great concept and a must-visit.
The Bourke Street Bakery, just across the road in Mitchell Street, Marrickville, was our next whistle stop and we did stop for a breather and a bite to eat. We also met up with fellow food enthusiast and Tweep, Ester @DairyGoodness. Readers, you may already know Ester from the Country Valley Dairy stall at Eveleigh and also Marrickville Markets. Ester sells a special 'dairy pack' containing fresh butter, yoghurt and a litre of milk for $15.00!
At the Bourke Street Bakery, we sat and chatted with Ester over coffee and I enjoyed (really enjoyed!) a slice of Prune and Vanilla Custard tart. Meanwhile, Peter tucked in to a Lamb and Harissa sausage roll, which didn't look particularly sexy in the photo here, but I am assured it was very tasty.
Our expert Sydney tour guide, Karen, also took us to some parts of the city that most visitors may not see, such as the East Balmain Ferry Wharf, where we not only had a wonderful view of the Harbour Bridge and the ferries arriving (fun for us, but something Sydney dwellers will take for granted), and we also had time to stop and admire the Strelitzias!
We spent the rest of the afternoon touring 'Little Italy' in Haberfield, where, after investigating the wonderful grocer and stocking up on good panettone (essential for wintertime bread and butter puddings) we sat in the sunshine outside Dolcissimo to chat about the events of the day and cool off with a gelato.
And on to Red Lantern...
On Saturday evening, we joined Karen and Ester to dine at The Red Lantern with a group of like-minded, food enthusiast Twitter friends for the first #twEATup. It was a great pleasure to meet well-known nutritionist, Catherine Saxelby, Mel @Miss Piggy Eats and her husband Dave ('The Boy'), and author, Joy Hopwood.
The Red Lantern is (of course) the acclaimed modern Vietnamese restaurant in Crown Street, Surry Hills and is a collaboration between Luke Nguyen and his sister Pauline Nguyen and Pauline's husband, Mark Jensen. We were accommodated for a 6.30pm sitting, which meant we could enjoy the Tasting Menu. Pierre Issa (Pepe Saya) and Merna Taouk (Homemade Fine Foods) joined us later for dessert. Here is a snapshot of some of the food we shared (with sincere thanks to Mel @MissPiggyEats, whose photos mostly turned out better than mine, see credits).
The verdict: Our delicious two day adventure had drawn to a close. We would like to thank Luke, Pauline and Mark and their team at The Red Lantern. It was all so delicious. In fact, every mouthful was exquisite! We cannot wait to return!
Thanks again to Mel @MissyPiggyEats for sharing her photographs. Pop in to Mel's blog for a comprehensive wrap up on the meal.
Many, many thanks to Karen Lateo @VanityFare1 for her warm hospitality. Should you have the opportunity to take a Sydney gourmet tour or dine with Karen, do it. You will enjoy it from beginning to end!
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.