Thursday, 31 July 2014

REVIEW: Chester Street Bakery

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: Signage
This place is on Chester Street, would you have guessed?
After the markets on Saturday, even though I'd had a chocolate croissant and half a brownie, mum and I decided to go get some breakfast. I've been wanting to try Au Cirque for just about as long as I can remember but once again, they were just too dang busy for our timeframes. Instead I found myself driving through New Farm into Newstead, searching for inspiration (and a car park), we ended up on Chester Street.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: Outside the restaurant
It's a pretty smart use of decorations in what used to be an office.
I've been to Chester Street Bakery and was confident we'd get a good feed. Maybe it was due to the overcast weather, with a fair portion  of Chester Street's seating being outside, but we had a choice of tables. We chose a table right in the centre of the patio and perused the menu.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: cake cabinet
Chester Street has counter service which gives a great opportunity to scout out all the baked goods, which are...amazing.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: big ol' oven
This is where the magic happens.
The  service was really quick and even though there was a mix-up with the table number - both our drinks taken on a tour of the restaurant before they found us - we were happy with their efficiency.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: quaint old can
These charming cans were used as cutlery holders, which mum tells me would have been simply unacceptable some years ago.
The love of my life (besides Mr. Cakes and Puppy Cakes) is ice-cream. I also have a thing for ice-creams brother, milkshakes...actually, ice-creams brother is gelato. Milkshakes are the son and ice cream is the dad and milk is the mum. Anyway, now that I've explained the genealogy of ice-cream, I can tell you I ordered the caramel milkshake ($6.50) and mum got a large cappuccino. 

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: cappuccino
I don't drink coffee but that looks pretty good! Good size too.
I don't want to toot my own horn (TOOT!) but I think I know a thing or a gajillion about milkshakes, as I think I just displayed by my breakdown of the ice-cream family tree. So I can tell you with confidence, that this was not the best milkshake I've ever had but it was pretty good. My biggest problem with it was the thickness. I like my milkshakes to be thicker than milk. What's the point of shaking it if it's not gonna be thick? Leave it alone. You're just being mean. And I could have done with a bit more too, but then, I'm a milkshake guts ache. I will tell you that this milkshake had a superb caramel flavour. There were little black dots in it and dare I say they were real flecks of vanilla? Cos if they were, bravo. The flavour really pulled this milkshake up by the britches.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: caramel milkshake
I'm going to give you a makeover...
Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: caramel milkshake after
...Ahhh beautiful!

To eat, I got the Field Mushrooms ($16.90). Again, the service was quick and meals came out in not much time at all. My field mushrooms were really tasty and provolone cheese was melted, gooey and just so damn good. The big pile of rocket really went well with the mushrooms and cut through the cheese. The whole thing was good ingredients, prepared simply. Which is a win in my mind. The star of the show was the bread, which to be honest, another piece of it would have been welcome. The bread was real sourdough with the distinct sour flavour and fantastic, chewy and crisp crust.
Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: field mushrooms
Will you look at that cheese please? Hey, I'm a poet!
For her brekkie, mum got the Eggs, poached ($13.90) with a side of Grilled Tomatoes ($4) and she found the same thing with her meal. Quality ingredients which are allowed to have their moment on the plate. The tomatoes were well done and not chalky at all, which can often be the case. The eggs were expertly poached and garnished with torn herbs. And the bread! I was a little jealous of her two slices! Pro tip: If you like bread, order another slice for only $2.50! If you don't like bread, we can't be friends.

Cassie Cakes Review of Chester Street: eggs with grilled tomatoes
Dang, those tomatoes look good. And they know it.
So overall, I was happy with ending up at Chester Street! It's a solid little place with speedy service and simple food, done well. And by the way, you can get the cake to go! Yessssss....

Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

Chester Street on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 27 July 2014

My Trip to Jan Powers Farmers Markets

Cassie Cakes goes to the Farmers Markets!
Cassie Cakes goes to the Farmers Markets!
Since I'm a female in my 20's, who lives in an urban area, it will come as no great surprise that I like markets. It's a well known rule that girls love markets. But I also like sleeping in. And this is the reason that for the 10 odd years that I've lived in the area, I've never been to the Jan Powers Farmers Markets at the Powerhouse. A catch up with my mum for market shopping and breakfast after was the final push I needed.  
We arrived at New Farm park and found a park in the busy area without too much difficulty. It was a bit overcast the whole day and I felt like rain was imminent, however I was wrong and the rain held off all day.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets entry
The entry into the markets from the park side...and see the puppy there? First of many!

There was so many amazing stalls, a few I recognized from the markets held in the city on Wednesdays but a lot I didn't. It really was very exciting. The air was filled with so many exciting smells and all around were colourful foods. And I'll tell you something else - there were so many dogs! Dogs of every shape and size! I could barely walk a few metres without spotting another happy wagging tail or ball of fluff.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets small white puppy!
I turned into a bit of a dog creep and tried to take photos of the puppies without drawing attention to my dog obsession...

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets styling puppy!
Look at this cutie and her styling hair!
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets blurry puppy!
Bit blurry but you get the idea...LOTS OF DOGS! Also, I should add that there were big dogs too! All dogs are welcome!
The first thing I bought was a couple of goat pies from The Goat Pie Guy. My friend at work is a frequent customer of this stall at the city markets and I am always promising to go get a couple for me and Mr. Cakes to have for dinner but I don't really want to shove two pies in my bike basket. Well, wasn't I pleased to see him there! I bought two of the Deluxe Goat pies and since mum grabbed two as well, we got four of them for $25.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets the goat guy pies
Look at these babies! Can't wait to get them in my belly!

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets levain bakery bread
The peasant loaf from Levain...ain't nothing peasant looking about it to me!
Mum the got some bread, a multigrain loaf of peasant bread from Levain Bakery then we came across the most delicious, plump looking raspberries from My Berries! And so cheap! A large container was $10 and a small only $6! That's a bargain, friend.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets raspberries
Those are the large containers for $10! That's so good! I'm gonna make something amazing with raspberries soon and will be back for a large container!

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets raspberries
Mmmm you're coming home with me!
We wondered down another alley way and with each subsequent strawberry stall, the berries seemed to get redder, plumper, sweeter and the best thing - cheaper! I had to get some. I bought two 500g containers of premium strawberries for $9.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets strawberries
Strawberry fields forever!...or for like, 2 metres. Which is still a lot of strawberries.
The wonderful produce didn't stop there! I spied the hugest avocados at $6 for three and they were so huge, I didn't think I'd need all of them so split them with mum, she got two and I got one huge avocado.  
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets avocado
Look at the size of this thing! It's like a half kilo avo! Like an ostrich egg or something.

We wondered back down the same aisle on the other side. I can't resist a brownie and I can't resist heart shaped things so when I saw heart shaped brownies from I Heart Brownies, of course I bought one.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets I Heart Brownies
I could do some damage here...

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets I Heart Brownies lovely brownie lady
The lovely I Heart Brownies lady...If I were a professional brownie maker, I'd be smiling too!
Oh my goodness, oh my stars. It was a damn good brownie and I know good brownies. They were dense, fudgy with chunks of good. If you go to these markets, find this lady. So good. 
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets I Heart Brownies brownie
I literally just went "ooooh" out loud looking at this photo.

Then I was on a roll and as you know, along with brownies and heart shaped things, a love of mine is French things. I spied French Sin, who hail from Noosa, and then I spied their chocolate croissants. And also, I completed the whole transaction with the owner in French! Tres bien, oui? Oui.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets chocolate croissant
This was so buttery and flaky and it had chocolate in it. I really don't need to say more - perfection! Oh I went and said more.
After dropping our shopping off at the car to save our arms getting tired, I returned to find mum with a basket full of fresh produce. She got literally a basket full for under $20. Crazy good prices. I took the chance to practice my amateurish photography on the crisp, fresh vegetables displayed in bountiful piles. 
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets potatoes
One potato, two potato, hot potato...


Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets eggplants/unicorn eggs
Unicorn eggs...Loyal reader will get that.

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets big chillis
I LOVE THESE CHILLIS! They called them sweet chilli's, I call them banana chilli's. We can both be right!

Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets broc and cauli
My old buddy broccoli and my frenemy, cauliflower. I just don't know bout you, cauli. Broc, we cool.
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets basket of produce
This was the basket at the beginning! What a veggie heaven.
We walked down the one remaining aisle we hadn't been down and stopped at the fishmonger where mum got a whole fish, a wonderful looking snapper, for $17! I couldn't believe the prices! 
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets fish
The fresh fish!

After seeing all the stalls and buying so much fresh produce as well as a few treats, I will definitely be back to these markets! They had a great atmosphere and were bigger than the Wednesday city ones with the added convenience of parking and a means to take the armfuls of goods home.  
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets flowers and not rhubarb
There are flowers there too! And rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb! Oh those are beets. There was rhubarb though.

And even though I'd had a treat or two, I still had room for some breakfast so off we went to find somewhere to eat...and the review of Chester Street Bakery will follow soon! 
Cassie Cakes Jan Powers Markets bye bye markets
Bye bye markets! Bye bye puppies! See you soon!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

REVIEW: Cove Bar & Dining

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Beautiful sunshine
What a lovely day with some gorgeous sunshine.

Yesterday, we had two birthdays to celebrate! Mr Cakes parents birthdays are two days apart! Which I think is pretty cool. I asked them what they thought when they found out their birthdays were so close together but neither could recall the conversation. I reckon it went like this: “You’re born on the 18th? Oh em gee, I’m born on the 20th! THIS IS AMAZING! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES! No…seriously, I want to know. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!?!”…that would have been my reaction any way. Both Mr Cakes and I are born on the 9th of different months and that blew my mind. I don’t think I could handle a greater coincidence. I’m way too excitable.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - River Quay
The walk up to Cove, which is on the end there. I ride my bike down this path most mornings - zoom!

Anyway, we went to Cove Bar and Dining to dine and drink and cheer. It just so happens that I celebrated my birthday here for dinner earlier in the year, and from what I can remember, had a wonderful time. I was curious to see if my blurred recollection was correct or if my exuberant, intoxicated birthday self just had beer goggles on.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Many glasses of wine were had
Many glasses of wine were had, and they went down a treat! Like my arty photo?

Cove is part of the new dining section in South Bank, River Quay. Now when I say new, I think it’s actually been there for 2 or 3 years! Time flies. I ride my bike to and from work through this precinct and it really is a lovely part of Brisbane. The restaurants here have a lovely aspect and there would be few others with views as nice as those in River Quay. We were also treated to live music from a band playing for the Regional Flavours festival so most of our senses were delighted – the taste buds awaited their turn!

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review  - The River Quay Green
The festivities on the River Quay Green where the live band was playing.

The wait staff were very attentive and we were offered water and drinks soon after being seated. They do offer only still or sparkling, for which you will be charged for so if you want tap water, you need to specify that. Mr Cakes ordered a ‘Big Head’ beer which just tickled me. His head is rather large, in my opinion, so that was appropriate.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Big head beer
The resemblance to Mr Cakes is uncanny. 

While pondering over our meal choices, we spied delicious looking prawns coming out of the kitchen and I knew that’s what I would be getting! So did the majority of the table! The Grilled Chilli Prawns ($18) were served with coconut risotto and an award winning chilli paste, the menu informed that the paste was a 2014 chilli cook off winner! I’m always partial to a little heat so for me, this was a success. The prawns were nice and big, the serving overall was very generous. The combination of coconut and prawns is a classic and didn’t let us down.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Grilled Chilli Prawns
The delicious Grilled Chilli Prawns...there's a third prawn hiding in the back there but I found him...I found him.

The only other two choices made for entrees in the group were the Peking Duck Wraps ($19) and the Szechuan Salt and Pepper Calamari ($18). The calamari was really tender and not stringy at all. The pieces were crisp on the outside and I couldn’t detect any oiliness at all. Stringy and oily calamari is just the worst and always a real and present danger. Cove certainly avoided those all too common pitfalls. I think there may have been some saffron or turmeric in the calamari batter as it had a lovely yellow colouring.
Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Szechuan Salt & Pepper Calamari
See that crunchy texture? Very moreish!

The duck wraps were by reports a delight too, with a number of large wraps coming out. The Asian flavours were wonderfully balanced and the hoisin sauce was delicious as well! So far, Cove hadn’t put a foot wrong.
Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Peking Duck Wraps
For main, I was really tempted by the Chilli Prawn Linguine ($29) but I didn’t want to double up on seafood so I went with Whiskey Roasted Lamb rump ($35), which comes with eggplant puree and I have a thing about eggplant. Love it! I wasn’t disappointed. Again, the serving was sizeable and the lamb was cooked skilfully. I would have liked it a touch pinker but I think that’s just me. The roasted beets were delightful and so was the eggplant puree. How come eggplant is so damn good! I don’t have all the answers, maybe they’re the eggs of unicorns. Who says unicorns wouldn’t lay eggplants! Hmm…moving on. Anyway, I did think the cherry tomatoes could have been roasted as well, they were served whole and raw which I didn’t like, and neither did the other diner who ordered the lamb. It was a minor complaint though and on the whole I was very satisfied.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Whiskey Roasted Lamb Rump
Those beets were so good and the eggplant puree...heavenly.

Mr. Cakes got the Graziers Plate, a 200g Black Angus Rump ($35) because he almost ALWAYS gets a steak. Getting a very lengthy critique can be a little difficult but he stated it was very nice. He ordered medium rare though and it was most definitely medium. Perhaps there was a slight mistiming for the meats in the kitchen? Still, the whole dish was quickly devoured and he says  he would get it again.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Graziers Plate
Look at that onion! That's a nice onion. It knows it too.
The vegetarians at the table both ordered the only vegetarian main, the Honey Baked Pumpkin Risotto ($25). Sometimes I feel sorry for vegetarians, they tend to not get many options, it would be nice to see more than one choice. However, if this was the only option for them, it was a stellar option. The pieces of pumpkin were large and visible and as a pumpkin lover, I would love to give it a go! The texture was very pleasing, not gluey as risotto can tend to be. Both diners were most pleased with it!

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Honey Roasted Pumpkin Risotto
That looks like a vegetarian delight! Tell me that is doesn't! I won't believe you!

A lunchtime only option is the burgers. At $23, the Rib Fillet Steak Burger is on the more pricey side for a burger, but again, I really do think Cove provides a good size serving so I wouldn’t shy away.  The staff were very accommodating and provided the steak on the burger well done at the request of my dining friend. The toppings for the burger were well matched with fresh salad and caramelised onions and bacon. A classic combination!

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Rib Fillet Burger
A slightly unfocused photo of the rib fillet burger. Trust me, it was not blurry in person. Oh look at that chip at the back there. I bet I stole that. Nothing stands between me and a crunchy chip.

Finally, the last main order was the Massaman Lamb Shank ($32). It comes in either hot or medium so you can control the heat factor. In what I’m beginning to believe is typical Cove fashion, the serving while only one shank, was pretty big. There were plenty of potatoes accompanying the shank too and I would highly recommend this our gorgeous winter weather.
Look at all that potato! Cove has potatoes down.
Honestly, if I could tell you one thing about Cove it would be this: Get some chips. In fact, get two servings of chips. The chips here are double fried and just so good. I love a good chip and if you’re at all human, you will too. Trust me. Get the chips.

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Amazing chips
Shut. The. Front. Door.

Overall, we had an absolutely superb time at Cove. The staff were attentive, helpful and well humoured, the view is stunning and I find the prices to be reasonable for the ample servings. We drank and ate our fill and then some and per head, the bill was very affordable .
Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - The draw bar at Cove
We made good use of the bar! Be sure to check out the cocktail names on the menu too! Pretty amusing.
I’m glad to say it was not just my birthday love goggles which gave me such a pleasant experience last time and for the upper level of casual dining, it offers an elegant experience.

Look at this beautiful tree! And there's our cab, patiently waiting.

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5

Cove Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Oh by the way, here are a few photos of the buttermilk vanilla cake with strawberry compote and whipped vanilla cream that I made for the birthday lady and gent's birthday! I promise to post the recipe  next time I make it! Soon!

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Buttermilk cake
Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Buttermilk cake elephant
Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Buttermilk cake cut

Cassie Cakes Cove Bar & Dining Review - Buttermilk cake close up
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