Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Brisbane Top 5 must-dos this week

1.MUST VISIT: It's warm and frisky outside and everyone has a bounce in their step. It's Ekka time. Ekka is Brisbane's Royal Show. I'm here amongst the rides, showbags, and cowboy boots to talk about small space gardening on the Garden Platform of the Horticultural Pavilion. A little time before my session for a quick trip down memory lane...

This show has all the favourites. Stomach-churning rides...

......... side show alley

 ...painted clowns...

..and of course the once a year deep-fried indulgence - the dagwood dog. Not for me this time.

2.MUST SHOP Just down the road is the Northey Street City Farm which is a wonderful permaculture model for city folk.

Hundreds come here on the weekend to enjoy the green space, to stock up on gardening supplies and get some ideas about how to grow fresh produce at home.

The farm has been ravaged by two floods in the past few years and is slowly being rehabilitated by dedicated volunteers
Loved this delicious healthy bed of broad beans

There are beds of greens, beetroot and herbs..

..and even some chickens

There are dozens of edible weeds and greens available at the farm's organic market

and edible flowers including nasturtiums

strawberrries are one of the fruits and vegetables often laced with chemicals. So if you can find some organic ones like these - grab them!

They really were some of the most delicious strawberries I've tasted.

3. MUST EAT- The Euro
This is what I've been looking forward to. So much praise has been heaped on this Brisbane restaurant. Can the hype match the expectation? The Euro shares the kitchen with its upmarket sister Urbane.

....... with the Laneway bar upstairs spinning cool tunes and serving beers, wines and cocktails with global influences.
Back downstairs the Euro is a warm, hip bistro space where you can have a conversation without shouting at your companions. Very grown-up.

This is a dining space with its ego in check.
But it's the food that steals the show. Every dish we sampled showed extraordinary
 technique and finesse without becoming too fussy or showy. We grazed through briny Smokey Bay oysters - plump and creamy, perfecly seared scallops on potato discs with crispy, earthy chunks of  black pudding. The pumpkin ravioli with goats cheese and sage was delicate and light. Even the  homemade breads and cultured butter hold their own in this company.
 The wine list takes you round the world and back with an eclectic selection of mid-range and high end options. We selected a pinot gris from Alsace which was fruity and complex. Very drinkable.

And the dish that left everyone scrambling for superlatives was the
onion and goats cheese souffle with black garlic powder. The souffle was a puff of cheesy air perfectly balanced with the sharpness of the sweet onions and the extraordinary texture and earthy allure of the garlic dust. A destination dish for sure.

4. MUST STAY- The Emporium

Why not a bit of pizzazz during your stay.... this is afterall BrisVEGAS.

The Emporium is in Fortitude Valley just around the corner from Ekka so very convenient for show-goers. Don't misread it's sparklyexterior  - there's a high level of service and an eye for detail behind those glossy good looks.

The rooms come close to being my perfect hotel room. And I've stayed in a few during my time. A bed you want to take home, a rich warm decor of creams and chocolates, a sensational shower with strong pressure and a tempting breakfast menu.

It's time to head to the airport. Luckily I've booked my Prius hybrid taxi. It doesn't negate the carbon emissions from my flight but a girl has to start somewhere.

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