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Goodbye Tanna!

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We're leaving Tanna for  Espiritu Santo today. Tanna, not to be outdone by Wellington, graced us with a goodbye rainbow.


Cyclone Gita

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We're on Tanna at the Tanna Evergreen Resort, a beautiful place but we're a little concerned about Tropical Cyclone Gita. It just flattened Tonga, and hit the southern province of Fiji. It's supposed to pass south of us, but it might interfere with our flight to Espiritu Santo tomorrow...



Nao Ramen, Perth

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I love Perth, but it has been hard finding good Japanese food here. Gumshara Ramen in Sydney has set the ramen bar very high, so imagine my surprise when I read about a great authentic ramen place here in Perth - that makes ramen from scratch, both their noodles and their chashu! After reading about Nao Ramen I immediately decided to seek them out - but then I was pulled up short. Wait, wasn't there a place called "Nao" just a few doors down from where we were staying?


Why yes, yes there was. We had been staying just a few steps from the best most authentic ramen in Perth, and I hadn't even bothered to poke my nose in. In my defence they're mostly open for lunch. Monday through Thursday from 11:30 am till 6pm, Sundays from noon till 5pm, but they are open late on Friday night and I had noticed the queues outside but had foolishly assumed they were people queueing for the backpacker's hostel next door. Enough breast beating, we immediately decided to have our …

The Tippling Club

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Debbie and I stopped in Singapore on our way back from Johannesburg to Perth, and while there ended up with an unplanned, unscheduled, free evening. As it turns out, our friend, world traveller, food and drink aficionado Asya had recommended we try The Tippling Club if we got a chance. This looked like the chance. The Tippling Club is a molecular gastronomy place, headed by chef Ryan Clift, that also features innovative cocktails and cocktail pairings.
It's a little further out of town than I had expected, in a small development of shops set back amongst the greenery. We were seated at a long polished cement bar cum counter, in front of the open kitchen. The show started with a small white lozenge poised on a piece of black lava with a well in it. This turned out to be a compressed towel, that expanded on contact with the water in the well. I've seen this done other places, but the presentation here was very nice.
We pondered the menu while I had a glass of champagne (Taitti…

Singapore

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Singapore has some of the best street food on the planet, except it isn't actually on the street because Singapore, being Singapore, has taken all the street food hawkers and put them into organized "Hawker Centres" with tile floors and running water and sanitation ratings.

But the food is still amazing. Whenever Debbie and I visit Singapore (whenever we can) we spend almost the entire time visiting hawker centers and eating street food. The very first time we visited Singapore, the very first place we visited was Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in the Maxwell Hawker Centre. This trip we made the pilgrimage back to Tian Tian, and if anything it was even better than I remembered.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a deceptively simple looking dish. It's just some poached chicken breast sitting on top of a mound of rice cooked in chicken stock, garnished with some cucumber, and served with chili/ginger sauce, and in Singapore some with ketjap manis (a thick, sweet, black, soy…

Pony Express O

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I've been exploring the local cafes here in Perth, and I've been quite pleased at how many truly excellent coffee places there are. We're very lucky to be staying directly across the street from Zekka, and it's my favorite, but I've been working in West Perth for the last week or so and have been visiting "Pony Express O" out there. It's tucked away in an old stable off a tiny laneway, not easy to find, but it rewards the effort.

I'd already tried and liked Epic in West Perth, but some of my co-workers recommended "Pony" so I checked it out. One of the features of this place is their "Slayer" machine, the smallest of the "Big 3" espresso machine manufacturers (La Marzocco, Synesso, and Slayer). I'm not usually impressed by cafe equipment, but it was fun checking out the hardware.

One of the fun features of the Slayer is that there's a mirror strip under the group heads that lets you see the bottom of the grou…

Harvest Restaurant

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We visited Harvest Restaurant in North Freemantle this evening. It's a small place with an innovative french-influenced menu. They offer a six course degustation, but Debbie and I opted to order a la carte instead.

We started with Veal Crudo, basically a veal tartare, with various preparations of beetroot. There was lightly cooked young beetroot, slightly pickled baby beetroot, and a beetroot cake of some kind. The veal crudo was delicious, delicately spiced and cut coarsely enough to hold an interesting texture.

Our other starter was "lamb nuggets" which are their fanciful name for breaded and fried lamb brains. The breading had a complex spicing that nicely complimented the warm soft texture and mild flavor of the brains. Served on a bed of red cabbage braised with cumin, a sprinkling of dried grapes and a drizzle of muscadel. It was the best preparation of brains I've had in years.

My main was a continuation in the theme of lamb, a slow braised lamb neck served with…