Bernie’s Diner, Moss Vale

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Some years ago I began reading Sydney food blogs. The main reason was so that I would know the great places to go when we visited. As we usually day trip and somewhat rarely at that, I want to know where the great places are so we can visit.

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Sydney food bloggers often blog food from regional NSW when they travel and this is how I found out about Bernie’s Diner sometime around 2012/2013. I do not think it was very long between my reading about the place and us visiting. We have been back at least once a year since then – well it is about a 60km drive otherwise we would go more often.

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The owner was featured on SBS about a week before we went this on most recent visit so it was absolutely packed. Standing room only as you can see in that top pic there – all the booths were full and people were waiting for other people to leave so they could grab a booth. We just got a couple of chairs at this kind of breakfast bar that runs along behind one side of the booths.

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We usually go for the burgers here. I get the Waikiki, the other half changes up his order each time. This time he did a double cheeseburger with bacon and egg. We also get a serve of cheese fries. These are amazing. The regular fries are also excellent. I also splurge and have my one occasional soda – so occasional I can tell you exactly when the last one was – November 2016, when we last visited Bernie’s with Sephyroth.

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The things you need to know about Bernie’s Diner – BYO paper towel or napkins, because the provided napkins while authentic to the diner experience are not exactly built for cleaning up after one of these great burgers.

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There are bathroom facilities hidden out the back after you walk through a spare empty room – I would expect that room might soon be in use with booths and seating and quite rightly so given the amount of people visiting here these days. The sink in the toilets is only a half sink so that is also not very helpful with a good after-burger clean up.

Here is the owner, Ioannis Benardos, being interviewed on SBS. Here is the website with the menu, and here is their Facebook page but I warn you, liking it is going to make you hungry whenever food pics are posted. :)

food, Southern Highlands

Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Southern Gateway Centre & Gelato Emporium

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View from behind the Southern Gateway Centre & Gelato Emporium

It is nearly the time of year where many Sydney residents pack their families into the car and drive to the South Coast for a holiday. If you are planning to do this there are several different routes you can take to get here. The simplest and easiest looks like this –

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If you choose this route, my recommended stop is Gelato Emporium and the Southern Gateway Centre. You can’t tell as you approach it on the highway but there is one heck of a view from out the back. There are more parks than you can see at first, just keep going.

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They have clean toilets, a visitor centre where you can pick up information on things to do on the coast and most importantly, very good gelato. Almost Gelato Messina levels of good. My apologies, it was so great I did not take a photo of it! I had the salted butterscotch.

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Also in Gelato Emporium, you will find coffee, a selection of cakes and treats..

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..a wall filled with treats some local some from far away..

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..a large range of make your own gelato..

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with instructions so simple even a child could manage it, providing they had a freezer or an ice cream machine of some kind.

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If you don’t have time to stop and enjoy a gelato cone or cup, you can choose two flavours of gelato and have them made into a shake for the excellent price of $8. It will be very large, and it will be extremely delicious, and if the weather is hot it will cool you down perfectly.

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The views are excellent. There are some tables out the back where you can sit and enjoy your treats while watching the view.

food, travel

Lone Star Shellharbour

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Loco cheesy land trout garlic bread & Amarillo cheese fries

We were so excited to hear Lone Star had opened at Shellharbour. Even though it is an hours drive away from us, we have many good memories of the old Lone Stars we used to visit years ago. We made a booking the day before our visit for the 6 of us. Lucky we did because the place was absolutely packed when we got there on a busy Saturday night.

We go to Shellharbour once a month or so but we had never been at night time. If this is the case for you, maybe you will wonder the same things we did – where do you park? Is the shopping centre open to walk through? You can park in the normal carpark near the food area which is open till 10:30pm, and part of the shopping centre near the restaurants is open – they have security gates locking off the non-open area. Kmart was open, as was Coles.

The atmosphere was brilliant. It was a little noisy. There is not much in the room to soak up the sound. The Old West theming of this restaurant is very well done with lots of wood and big wine barrel tables at the bar.

From the start our server Grace was constantly checking in with us, making sure we all had drinks and taking our order for entrees. We chose the Amarillo fries x1 and the hilariously named loco cheesy land trout (bacon) garlic bread x3.

While waiting for this to arrive I saw the garlic bread appear at another table and I began to be concerned we might have ordered too many as they are 2 slices in the serve but the slices are quite long.

We took a while to choose mains and Grace was very patient with us. In fact just as we finished ordering our mains, all the entrees arrived. The garlic bread was actually one of the best garlic breads we have eaten, ever. Smooshy bread, lots of flavour. We did not leave any behind. The Amarillo cheese fries were just as we remembered them, the ranch dipping sauce delicious.

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Because we were late ordering our mains we did have a bit of a wait to receive them. We were right up the back of the restaurant near the food pass and it turned out this was a very interesting spot to be. There seemed to be a bit of confusion going on at the pass at times – I do not think that pass is big enough for a restaurant of this size when it is a busy night. All the other food going out past us looked great.

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Our mains arrived and they were delicious. Absolutely no complaints, those who ordered steaks got them exactly how they wanted them, mostly medium or well done, they were cooked perfectly. I had the chicken which was yummy. I missed out on taking pics of two of the meals, sorry! ;)

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We did not have any dessert intentions but Grace changed our minds by offering us a look at the dessert menus, and we ordered 4 to share between us. Raspberry cheesecake at the top, the chocolate brownie in the middle, and then pecan pie at the bottom. The pecan pie was served warm and was incredible, I had the cheesecake which was also great however once I tried the pie I had some order envy.

The bill was a little more $$ than we had expected, however two of our party were ordering some expensive beers. Food wise it worked out at less than $50 a head for entrees, mains, and dessert.

They still do the birthday clapping thing with the sparkler on the brownie, but the hourly boot scooting dancing was not seen. I kinda think that is a good thing in some ways. The staff have other things to be doing!

Oh, I nearly forgot, there was a magician named Jordan who visited our table, who did a card trick for us. We are still trying to work out how it was done. He was lovely.

The only negatives we experienced – no name badges for the staff, the wooden booths can be a bit uncomfortable for longer visits (BYO seat cushions!) and the plates for the mains are a bit too small and fancy and make eating a bit difficult because of the lip, especially with the ribs as they are longer than the lip of the plate.. I would say they are fine for entrees but a larger mostly flat plate would be better for mains in my opinion.

I was worried when I read the reviews before we went, however I did have a feeling that most of those complaints were due to teething issues as the restaurant was quite new and staff training issues. It seems they have heard the feedback and taken it all on board, because many of the previous complaints mentioned on the web did not appear for us – eg missing cutlery and napkins, not checking in about how the food was, checking we were ok for drinks, all of that stuff went great for us.

We loved it and we will be back, for sure

Here is the menu which is presently unavailable online. You can visit the Lone Star website here.

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food, reviews

Sussex Inlet RSL – Bamboo River Restaurant

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My parents are strange people. Driving 5km for dinner or lunch is sometimes very far away, for them. For us, 5km away is just around the corner. We’re willing to drive for an hour or two for lunch or dinner if the food is something we enjoy. Sussex Inlet is about 30 minutes away so it is about a perfect distance to have a nice drive then have a lovely dinner. They are usually willing to go here if we suggest it, because they like the food.

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We’ve been visiting here from time to time for nearly 10 years now. The first time we went, I found my dish and I have never ordered anything else here. I always order the Thai King Prawn Cinnamon Curry. It is a little spicy, as it does contain red curry, but it is not too spicy for me.

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Dad loves the Peking Prawn. We always swap a prawn. This time his prawn had a bit of a kick to it, it was way more spicy than usual.

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We also share a fried rice between us, mostly to soak up the sauce. The sauce on my meal is amazing and I don’t want to miss any of it!.

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The Other Half loves a mixed grill, this one was very flavourful. The meat was beautifully cooked.

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Mother cannot go past a crumbed lamb chop.

Dinner was yummy. I don’t have any photos but we did pick a couple of desserts to share. Sussex Inlet is a gorgeous place to visit, so if you are in the area you might want to have lunch or dinner at the RSL club. It is good reliable tasty food.

We are coming up to the holiday season here on the South Coast, I will be adding some more food reviews for the travellers over the next couple of months. You might want to view some of my previous local food reviews –

Greenwell Point Chinese Restaurant
The Huskisson
Orient Point Bakehouse

Bamboo River Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

food, Sussex Inlet

Greenwell Point Chinese Restaurant

greenwellpoint1The view from the Greenwell Point Chinese Restaurant

On our very first visit to this area when my parents were told they would be transferred here, we went for a drive to Greenwell Point. We drove past this little club with a Chinese restaurant attached and thought it looked like a place we should try. Little did we know that we would be eating there at least once a month and sometimes once a week, for the next 10 years. It is our go-to place to take our visitors.

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There are two tables that seat 10, if you are bringing a large party you *always* want to make a booking here. If you are visiting in school holidays, you NEED to make a booking or else you might not get a table, even for a small party. If you cannot get a table inside the restaurant, you can always order take away and eat it out in the bowling club or take it home with you.

There are usually two sittings at most of the tables – one between 5-630 and one between 7-8.30 – so if you can’t get a table at the time you want, try asking for earlier or later. Outfit wise, I recommend layering up, sometimes the wind coming off the water can be cool and if you are sitting near the large glass windows that area can sometimes get a little chilly.

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For starters we usually pick one of two things – Sang Choy Bow, or Mini Spring Rolls and Fried Dim Sims. Note – you only get 6 of each – we specifically asked for 8 on this occasion as there were 8 of us. You can also get the Dim Sims steamed, which we have done before too. They come with a sauce similar to sweet and sour sauce. We’ve tried all the starters and they are all fantastic, the soups are also great. The prawn toast is delicious too.

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King Prawns in Garlic Brown Sauce was once brought to us by accident. It is pretty amazing to say out of 10 years of dining here, that was the only time we ever had an item brought to us by miscommunication with the order taker. We were very thankful it happened, because this is 100 times better than regular garlic prawns and we have been ordering this dish ever since.

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There are several sizzling dishes on the menu – here you see Sizzling Steak. I will say three things. Do not touch the plate, because it is incredibly hot! Be careful where you put this on the table, because tiny sizzling spatters will fly into the air, and you will not be moving this plate. If you are wearing glasses, do not sit near this dish.

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This is Fried Duck in Plum Sauce. This dish is a real star, especially if you like duck. I do not like duck, but I will still eat this dish. If you do not like duck, but people with you do like it and they order this, try a piece and see if you like it. You might be surprised.

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Fried Pork in BBQ – Salt and Pepper Squid

I do not usually like a lot of pork, but I enjoy this dish, especially the smaller crispy pieces. The Salt and Pepper squid is incredible, it has never been anything but incredible. Just don’t order it as take away, because it loses the crispiness of the batter. If you want squid as a take away dish, try one of the many other variations on the menu.

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This is our most recent star dish – butter pepper chicken. I’ve never seen this on a menu anywhere else, the sauce is a combination of butter and pepper, which does not sound like a good thing to order. However something happens here – perhaps the pepper cuts through the richness of the butter, or maybe there is another secret ingredient doing that job.. it is amazing. The mushrooms are amazing as well.

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With so many visits over the years, we have tried almost everything on the menu at least once. We like to order several mains and rice and share what we’ve ordered. We have gone through stages where one particular thing would have to be ordered on every visit, and then we’d try something else and move onto that.

We are not big on ordering dessert here – they do have fried icecream and we’ve had it and enjoyed it. The Bistro out in the club does some awesome desserts if you are looking for something a little more fancy than the desserts offered at the Chinese. We have never eaten at the Bistro because the Chinese is just too amazing.

You should be aware that my Dad declines the concept of this review. When I started taking food photos, he asked why I was doing that, and I said I was going to write a review because nobody had reviewed this place on Zomato – it is on Tripadvisor.

“No, don’t do that” Dad said. “If you tell everyone about this place, we won’t be able to get a table anymore”. Sorry Dad, the food here is so good, the world needs to know about it. :) We’ll just have to book a little earlier.

Greenwell Point Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I will be doing a few more local food reviews with the holiday and tourist season coming up – important to note – We always pay for our food. Nobody pays me for writing these reviews. Sadly nobody asks me to review their restaurant/cafe/food place as yet. If asked, I will review a food place, but I will not accept payment for any reviews. I will review freebies or free items but I will always make it clear if something is free.

You might be interested to visit my disclosure page if you want to know more.

family, food, Greenwell Point, Happy Snoskred, reviews

The Huskisson – Review

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~ image from The Huskisson website
~ the place was so packed with people it was impossible to get a decent shot ~

On a sunny Sunday in early November, we revisited one of our favourite local places to eat. They have this delicious pizza there which I was suddenly craving, friends were visiting, the timing seemed perfect. This place has a fantastic location as you can see by the images.

It should be noted, I previously reviewed The Huskisson @Tripadvisor on May 13 2013. In that review I mentioned some issues with the design of the place plus they were only using one till for food ordering.

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~ image from The Huskisson website

On a previous revisit in 2014 I noticed they were doing some internal renovations and I had hoped these design issues would have been fixed. Sadly they were not fixed. People are still queuing across a walk way and there is still only one till. We ended up sitting near the ordering area. I had a great view of the pass and that was designed quite badly as well, with a staff member there the whole time moving plates around, trying to work out what food went with which receipt and then using a buzzer system to let people know their food was ready.

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Design issues aside, the food is still fantastic here. The bruschetta ($14 for 3 pieces) is amazing. It has avocado on it! I’d never had it with avocado before finding that here and it is a brilliant addition. The bruschetta also has tomato, fresh basil, toasted ciabatta, and fetta. It arrives on a plate which has been drizzled with a gorgeously sticky balsamic vinegar glaze.

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You can see the menu here. For mains, 3 people ordered fish and chips ($24.50) – they all said it was delicious.

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The Other Half went for the Waygu burger ($19.50) minus the beetroot relish because he does not like beetroot.

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One friend chose the Chicken Parmigiana ($23.50). I’ve had that before and it is very tasty as well.

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But me, I cannot go past the Husky Pizza ($20), which has Danish salami, chorizo, roast chicken, mushrooms, Spanish onion, roast capsicum, olives, fresh basil, prawns, Napoli sauce, mozzarella cheese. In fact, the pizza was even better than ever before. They did something to the base and it was super thin, crispy, crunchy and just awesome. I will make a very large call here and suggest this is one of the best pizzas in the Shoalhaven. You can see the full menu here.

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We did not have desert sadly but I took some photos for you, they do coffee here as well.

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Our lunch was delicious and much enjoyed by all. We will return many times. If you visit and want a peaceful lunch, I recommend sitting as far as possible from the ordering area and the pass. If you want some entertainment, then I do recommend sitting near both of those things!

The Huskisson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I will be doing a few more local food reviews with the holiday and tourist season coming up – important to note – We always pay for our food. Nobody pays me for writing these reviews. Sadly nobody asks me to review their restaurant/cafe/food place as yet. If asked, I will review a food place, but I will not accept payment for any reviews. I will review freebies or free items but I will always make it clear if something is free.

You might be interested to visit my disclosure page if you want to know more.

food, Huskisson, Jervis Bay, reviews

Orient Point Bakehouse

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I belong to a local restaurant feedback group on Facebook. People post photos and text of their experiences at local restaurants. I pay attention and store away nuggets of gold for future reference. Such nuggets involve names of places that get good feedback regularly and photos of food that look like something I want to try.

I’d read about Cronuts on lots of different food blogs with interest, so when someone posted about locally available cronuts at the Orient Point Bakehouse, I added that place to the very top of my list. Before we could organise a visit, they closed for a months holiday.. and I counted the days until they reopened. We headed down there *early time* on the very first Saturday they were open.

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I ordered the Iced Salted Caramel ($5.50) – it was quite spectacular and perfectly balanced. That caramel on top was fluffy and very special. The Other Half chose the Iced Mocha (seen below, $5.50) – I tried it and it was packed full of chocolatey coffee flavour goodness.

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While we were waiting for our food, I began to worry that the cronuts I saw on the counter – initially 6, now down to 2 – were the last ones available! I spoke to a staff member and it was as I feared, so I asked if they could be put aside for us.

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I felt like the cronut might be too much sugar for my still yet to awaken stomach, so to eat I chose the bacon and egg roll with tomato relish. People. I’m not kidding. This is by far the best egg and bacon roll I have ever experienced in my lifetime and I have had quite a few. The bacon fat – which is normally something I remove as much as possible – was perfectly rendered – not chewy, not noticeable, just very tasty.

The tomato relish was the element that lifted this from normal to extraordinary. It was vinegary, tomato packed, flavourful, and zingy. This was quite large – that bun is about the size of a hot dog roll – and all for the teeny sum of $5.

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Deeply satisfied and with cronuts in hand, we left. I was so full from breakfast that the cronuts waited until 3pm coffee time. And I thought the bacon and egg roll was good. There are no words for how amazing this was. Topped with whipped cream and a gorgeous blueberry jam, and dusted with CRISPY sugar, I am very glad this place is only open weekends. If it were open weekdays, I might be tempted to cruise down and pick one up on a regular basis.

There are two important things to know before you head off to this place –

1. They take cash only. I’m not sure how I knew this because it does not say anything on the website about that. It might have been reading reviews on the web. This is somewhat normal for our local area but I do find it to be a negative in this day and age, I will not lie about that.

I rarely carry cash myself and I was not sure there would be an ATM down there. We had to make a special trip into town to get enough cash before we headed down that way. While we got out of there for just over $30, some of the menu items are more expensive, so my advice is to bring more cash than you think you would need.

2. The place is quite small with limited seating so if it is packed you may have to wait a little for a table or get take away. They have some tables out the front as well if the weather is sunny.

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They do have a sample menu available via their Facebook page with some pricing.

This was our first ever visit to Orient Point, which is a sleepy coastal village on the NSW South Coast. We will be back regularly. I’m thinking once a month will allow me to try many menu items before spring and summer are over and also not be too calorific for my present lifestyle. How will I choose something other than the bacon and egg roll? I’m not sure.. :)

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Orient Point Bakehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I have heard these guys are moving to Culburra Beach sometime this year, so make sure to check the address on the website before you head over. :)

food, Orient Point, reviews

Talk Like A Pirate Day

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I got this interesting email from Krispy Kreme this week – I’m subscribed to their list because I love me some Krispy Kreme. It seems that if you talk like a pirate you get one free donut, and if you dress like a pirate, you get a free dozen donuts. This might be a fun place to go and have coffee and a donut or few today if you have one nearby. You can register and read all the fine print here.

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But if you want the fun of pirates without leaving your own home, below, I present to you The Pirate Movie. In full. On Youtube. If you have never seen this cheesy musical movie, make today the day.

You can also read my review of The Pirate Movie here.

food, movies

Something Arrived..

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Last week Sephyroth received a surprise package from me, which you can read about at his blog – I can haz Krudd Tea?.

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Today a package arrived for me – this one I knew was on the way because my Dad had wanted specific Calvin Klein underwear from Macys. His present underwears were actually literally disintegrating. Originally Mum said get 6 pairs, and I said no, get 12 and put 6 away for later.

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So we’d sent some money via paypal to Sephyroth and he did all the buying and shipping. They don’t sell this particular underwear in Australia and we’ve even been in contact with Calvin Klein Australia. Likely due to some kind of licensing arrangement, Macys will not ship it directly to Australia and you need a US credit card and address to order.

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Thanks for sending the package Sephy! I will deeply enjoy these chippies and this chocolate! ;)

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Also many thanks for the Costco Connection and the files on this thumb drive – this contains some photos which we lost in the server meltdown.

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And I will respect these wishes. I will *not* mention the Genius of Sephy, that is a post for another day.

food, Happy Snoskred, Sephyroth