Saturday, 9 April 2011

We're out of that. Sorry...

Last weekend, it just so happened that the original Tuesday Night Dinner crew were all in Canberra. It was the first time all four of us had been together in probably 8 months, so it only made sense that at some point we went out for a meal together. The weather was beautiful so we decided to go for lunch somewhere casual where there was a possibility for us to eat outside. I voted for the Belgium Beer Cafe in Kingston as I'd had lunch there a few times and knew they had good beer, a casual atmosphere and you could get a big bucket of juicy Mussels that usually ended with me wiping the bottom of the bowl with a piece of bread just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Unfortunately this time was a little different...

When we arrived it was apparent that there were quite a few people with the same idea, so there was no outdoor seating to be had. We still went ahead with the original plan though and decided to sit inside. One of the staff members showed us to our table, took our drink order and explained each of the specials that were available. She also mentioned that they were out of some of the beers on the menu but didn't explain which one's because we likely wouldn't choose them.

One of the biggest attractions of the Belgium Beer Cafe is of course, the beer. They have around 30 different beer varieties of which they serve in the traditional Belgium way. My personal favorite is Hoegaarden which is a light wheat beer, perfect for a warm sunny day. LC, DM and I each ordered one, however Missy and Max had a big night the day before so decided to stick with sparkling water. Now the other big attraction on the menu (or at least I think so) are the mussels I mentioned before. They offer 1kg of mussels in a bucket which are stewed in a soup like broth of your choosing. They have around 8 different flavours to choose from two of which I've tried now, both of which were absolutely delicious!

While enjoying our drinks we began to catch up and talk about some of the great times and funny discussions we'd had over the years. One discussion in particular that involved sharing something that is usually quite private made DM look physically uncomfortable. It was this sort of reminiscing, sharing and sometimes uncomfortable moments that ultimately made me want to start a blog so i could write some of this stuff down.

By then it was time for us to order. I of course asked for the 1kg bucket of mussels which I'd been looking forward to all afternoon, however the waiter replied, "We're out of that. Sorry...". This came as a bit of a surprise and was pretty bloody annoying since we hadn't been told they weren't out of anything but a few beers! So I quickly recalled something that sounded quite good off the specials menu (Beef Cheeks) and ordered that. After Missy and DM had ordered it came to LC who asked for another one meals from the specials list but was also confronted with "We're out of that. Sorry...". Right, so not only were they out of mussels, (which by the way took up almost a quarter of the menu), they were also out of one of the specials that they had to "especially" mention. In the end LC also decided with the Beef Cheeks and Max went with Pumpkin Soup.

By the time the meals came DM was just about done with his Hoegaarden and decided to order another one but wouldn't you know it, "We're out of that. Sorry...". Are you kidding me? One of your top selling tap beers and now you're out of it? If they keep this pace up they could soon be saying "Customers? We're out of that. Sorry...".

Anyway, the meals themselves were very good. The beef cheeks were served on a bed of mashed potato and were oh so tender. No photo's this time but I promise I'll have some for the next one. Missy's Salmon was also very tasty and Max's Pumpkin soup was very flavoursome and hearty. So hearty in fact that Max couldn't finish it all off, so not being one to let food go to waste I finished her lunch off too.

We spent the rest of the lunch just chatting and talking about the usual things like travel (of which LC had done a lot recently) and Max's crazy neighbours who have had all kinds of strange animals since she's lived there, until it came time to leave. DM kindly got up to pay the bill but came back empty handed. When asked what happened he replied "You won't believe it, now they're out of paper!".

Adam :-)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What's Changed?

Ok, so I've never been one to write publicly, mainly becuase I've never had anything that interesting to say. In fact the most I've ever written online is either the occasional Tweet or Facebook post. So I guess that means that if you're still reading this you are one of the first to observe this many consecutive words, written online, in one place, by me.... So the next obvious question is, "what's changed?". Well, maybe nothing. I may still have nothing that interesting to say, but that's not why I'm doing this. 

Firstly, there's something you need to know about me. I love food...I mean I really love food. And in particular enjoying good food, with good wine and especially good company. In fact, I eat out usually at least 3 times a week and for almost 2 years straight there has been one special event involving food that is sacred above all others, Tuesday Night Dinner (TND).

Tuesday Night Dinner is and was a weekly event that occurred (in most cases) every Tuesday, between me and 3 other close friends. Each week, Missy, LC, Max and I would pick a new restaurant to try. This wasn't particularly hard since Canberra has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Aus. But this wasn't just limited to Canberra by any means, and often resulted in us having dinner together in other city's like Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. (Note: more often than not, the reason we were eating together in a different city was a result of some sort of Travel related shenanigans that was crafted over a previous TND).

Anyway, each dinner we had together was always an experience and something to look forward to. Each week we would crack each other up, sometimes to the point of tears, usually triggered  by someones "highlight for the day" which wasn't always a highlight, or a personal truth that all of a sudden wasn't so personal. All while eating great food, drinking good wine and being served well by restaurant staff. Wait, I take that back. The food, wine and service wasn't always great, only the company. 

Over the last 8 or so months however, LC has moved back to Brisbane and Max now lives with her hubby in Cairns but TND still lives on. Maybe, not quite as frequently as before and the people are different some weeks (which requires a strict interview process so as to not ruin the "dynamic") but still enjoyable none the less.

Which brings me back to my original question. What's changed?

I was out to lunch over the weekend with Missy, LC, Max and DM and was reflecting on all the fantastic meals, experiences and shenanigans we've shared together over the last couple of years and thought how great it would have been had we written down and recorded some of the hilarious discussions and restaurant experiences we'd had together. Being someone who loves food and eating out, I feel like I've finally got something to talk about.....Food! Restaurants! And all the ridiculous fun and frustration that happens.

So that's what I'm going to write, wine, restaurants and the comedy of errors that can go with it. Not the most original topic, but that's not the point.

So stay tuned for the first "real" blog entry involving the lunch that inspired me to start writing publicly. Even if it isn't that interesting...

Adam :-)