Friday, 14 August 2015

XS Espresso, Wetherill Park

Early Sunday morning, XS Espresso is buzzing with people, there's a wait for coffee , but be prepared to wait for a table. Tucked in a rather random location, you wouldn't know this was a hot spot for the locals, except through word of mouth.

Initially for this review, I drove to Wetherill Park Stocklands, looked around for 20minutes only to realise I had looked at the wrong address. I'm rather hopefully with directions ..

Our host Olivia provided us with menus whilst our table was being cleared - I cannot stress how packed this place was, even with such high turn over!

Because the weather's heating up, the Berry Blast (watermelon, mixed berries + orange) screamed out to us to quench our thirst. I could imagine this being an bigger hit in the summer.

Berry Blast - $7.50

So, there's been this WHOLE craze about Tim Tam, Nutella, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Salted Caramel etc drinks in mason jars and no doubt, XS Espresso have jumped on the band wagon. They're featured on Buzzfeed as one of the places to go IMMEDIATELY for a milkshake.
I cannot resist ordering the Tim Tam & Peanut Butter Milkshake even though I know I'm going to have to hit the gym for 10 hours after having this.

Tim Tam & Peanut Butter Smoothie - $7.00

When this was brought to me, I could feel the eyes of the two tables next to me just stare at this masterpiece.  Not only was the glass SMOTHERED in milk chocolate (which my mum thought was fake), but drizzled in white chocolate with crunchy tim tam + peanut butter, seriously, a liquid heart attack !

Surprisingly, it wasn't as sweet as I expected but this drink isn't for the faint hearted !

A classic item I love - Eggs Benedict. Under the ozzing holldaise sauce, layed a substantial amount of smoked salmon. The spinach  helped to balance the salmon, which personally we found more salty than other smoken salmon's we've had before. Thumbs up to the perfectly poached eggs.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict - $16.00

Gooey, shiny yolk mm ..

Their Big Breakfast was LITERALLY a big breakfast. Juicy mushrooms, spinach, avocado smash, tomato, bacon + poached eggs plus an extra serve of hollandaise because I'm in love with sauce. Despite it looking like an ordinary big breakfast, I found the serving here to be very generous, especially with the mountain of mushrooms, spinach and a double slab of bacon.

Big Breakfast - $18.00

I'm becoming more and more of a breakfast person, and thankfully XS Espresso is local - though I'll know for next time that there are bigger breakfast lovers and I so to come extra early. As for their milkshakes - whilst being amazingly-artery clogging, is a MUST GET when you're here.

If you don't have time to do a sit down brunch, they serve Campos Coffee  and also serve pastries (Nutella Stuff Donuts) which was pretty much the main thing that caught my eye.  They're open all day through till 10pm. I'm keen for those baked churros .. making me feel less guilty.

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A Little Bit Of Tang dined as a guest at XS Espresso with thanks to CMP Online Marketinng although all my opinions  are 100% my own, honest and unbiased.  Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22

Had a prettttty long wild celebration week turning 22 two weeks ago. Ontop of working and being sick, I've still managed to move on from every food coma and finally tick off some places I've been meaning to go. If you've been following me for >1yr you'll know how I celebrated 21 ;) If not, here's how I celebrated turning 21, so follow me through my ageing journey! I am always sick on my birthday. I realised that this very moment.

I get overwhelmed by flowers.

The boy's style is lavish and all out. To the point where I'm thinking ... roses, flowers .. surprises and secret .. I cannot handle this. After being whisked away from work and passing out in the car, we arrived at Spago, Beverly Hills where I have been meaning to go for the last 3 years. It's not exactly 'local' for me, so I've been lazy to make the trek.

I've had an obsession with chowders and bisques ever since coming back from New Zealand (I am so behind in this post!) so my eyes went straight to the Lobster Bisque. The creamyness made it a filling entree, but the lobster flavour was on point. And of course, garlic bread to mop everything up. Especially good on sourdough with that punch of garlic-ness.

Lobster Bisque - $14.00 | Garlic Bread - $6.00

Known for their handmade pasta, a few friends of mine have recommended their Spaghetti Marinara. To be honest, I'm more of a creamy pasta kinda girl, but even so I was thoroughly impressed with this dish. Topped with mussels, perfectly cooked prawns and lots of calamari with al dente pasta, I could not have asked for more (except of course an extra serve of sauce).

Spaghetti Marinana - $28.00

Their Squid Ink Spaghetti Crab Meat whilst being simple wasn't as great as the Spaghetti Marinara. I wasn't a fan of the scattered/shredded crab meat making it hard to have that crabby chunk of flesh. I think it's the concept of squid ink pasta that makes me intrigued and coming back.

Squid Ink Spaghetti Crab Meat - $26.00

Guilty side of Shoestring Fries w/ Truffle Mayo. Would 100% get again. I would eat that mayo on toast for breakfast.

Fries - $6.00

The last line of my birthday card read "I wonder how long it'd take a girl to pack for 2 nights". Literally I went into "panic" mode, knowing I had a presentation to start on and work over the weekend, not to mention it takes me forever to pack.

Oh and we ended up staying beachfront at Coogee :)


Next stop, we're at The Grounds Of Alexandria. I never understood the grounds because I had never been. The wait for a table ... is astonishing, so here I am to get take away and eat at their garden. I'm bummed I didn't get to check out Kevin Bacon, but with the stands of flowers, bread and pastries, I can see why people come here. The atmosphere whilst hectic, is attractive, lively and somewhat refreshing.

Whilst the boy opts for the Brekkie Burger which was jam packed with your usual bacon+egg AND cheese+avo+tomato I've chosen to completely demolish the Brekkie Box.


Brekkie Burger - $9.50 | Brekkie Box - $14.50 | Mango Smoothie - $8.50 

I honestly feel this is one of the most "value for money" breakfasts I've had because this box is stuffed with chicken & goats cheese sausages (3 or 4..), 2 poached eggs, smoked salmon, avocado smash, cherry tomatoes & bread all for $14.50. I find that normally you'll get either salmon or sausages so I think this is worth the moneys.

Yolk Pawn

Last year the Sculpture By The Sea, where they did a pop up of "Grounds By The Sea" , I came across the best Mango Smoothie I had ever had in my 22 years of life. It didn't occur to me it'd be a staple smoothie here, and I relived the moment on my birthday. The 'mangoness' is unbelievable, like, even the after taste is still mango. It does get a bit sweet towards the end but if you've had a Mango Bowen from home ice cream, it's like the bottom part all in a drink.

To burn off all the foods and tone this not so athletic body, we're off to hike from Coogee to Bronte ... and return ... The weather was absolutely gorgeous - not too hot or cold for a Winter's day.

Did I ever mention that I'm extremely terrified of heights? I see so many pretty photos with people sitting on the edge, dangling their feet. I didn't exactly get close enough - heh that's me turning away.

But all this walking means MORE food!

At the time, I had a really sudden urge for steak. I find home cooked steak to never taste that good. No matter what sauce I have, the quality of the meat ... it just doesn't have that same chargrilled smokey-ness to what you can get in a restaurant. 

We're here to tick off Black by Ezard and of course going here = juicy perfect steak. Some bread and a lathering of butter to start the night because carbs are friends.

To start off light, the boy and I shared a Spanner Crab Chilled Salad. We are literally surprised to be eating yoghurt ice (aka frozen yogurt) with this dish, but together with the refreshing cucumber & apple chilled salad it was strangely addictive. I was craving more of the avocado and wasabi puree and I could snack on the puffed squid ink all day.

Spanner Crab - $29.00

I'm no steak expert but my 300 day Grain Fed Striploin (300g) was heaven with the rendered and marbleised fat throughout. I did ask for my steak to be done Medium though .. but 100% it was Medium Rare. I literally savoured every single bite, slowly having the juices and fat oozing into my mouth, closing my eyes in some type of "meat-gasm". 

Sirloin - $56.00

The boy's 30 day dry aged, grain fed angus Ribeye (400g) had less fat and I felt was less tender, but he enjoyed it saying it was 'the best steak ever'. 

Ribeye - $54.00

I must admit, I was rather excited when I saw "Mac n Cheese" on the sides menu. I am hopeless to say I've only ever had Mac n Cheese once, but it was so long ago I don't remember so this counts 'as my first time'. All melty with 3 cheeses and bacon, demolished rather quick ... To be 'health conscious' we opt for some Brocollini w/ browned butter & toasted almonds but vegetables are vegetables. The Potato Puree was so darn velvety, smooth and silky!

Potato Puree | Mac n Cheese | Brocollini $27.00 (Or $10 separately)

Complimentary tasting sauces are provided for the steak, but when you've got a beautiful cut, just melting some butter over it does the job.


Last but not least, shout out to my cousin who's the chef at John Smith, Waterloo for making me a birthday Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict and the coffee for the boy who worked so damn hard planning a weekend filled full of food !

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict - $19.00

I'm sure I could go on forever about how I was 'surprised, excited, full of joy' eating all of this food and the efforts the boy went into. But really, we all know that excitement seeing food. And all we want to do is scroll through, look at some food porn, drool and be hungry so I shall leave it at that.

Thank you people, family, friends for all your warm wishes, gifts, food and love :)

Caramel Ricotta Cheesecake

Something to share. After my weekend bonanza, I dropped my phone and shattered my screen :(

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