Head & Heart | March 2016

I know, I know. It’s been a while. I always say this, that I’m sorry (because I am), and you are always kind and forgiving (because you are).

But I’m here now, and we should probably catch up. Are you ready?

 

Head & Heart

What I’ve been grateful for:

  • Opportunity. Although I swore a million times that I’d never go back, I’m currently studying. There are files and textbooks and highlighters and post-it flags piled at my feet (and like any good student, I’m writing this while I procrastinate), and I’m oddly happy about it. My Day Job encouraged me to take the leap – I’m studying a graduate certificate in policy and governance at the Queensland University of Technology – and are really supportive about it all. #auspol #nerd
  • Opportunity 2: I’m off to Sydney for the first time! I’m heading over to check out the MAD conferenceat the freakin’ Opera House, no less! The biggest names in food (Kylie Kwong, David Chang, Massimo Boturra, Rene Redzepi) are talking Tomorrow’s Meal, and I can’t even believe that I’m going to be in that theatre, with so many incredible people. So out of my depth. So excited.
  • My girl gang. Last month, I gathered a bunch of ladies that I truly admire for a whole bunch of different reasons, and told them how incredible they were. Some run small businesses, some are creatives, others educators. They are all fierce, giving, kind and generous, and I wanted them to know each other and connect. It was magical and terrifying and I loved it.

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What I’ve been thinking about:

  • This piece – making friends on Twitter. It sums up my experience – mostly positive, highly educational, and the home of my tribe. I’ve met such wonderful people (mostly women) who I couldn’t live without, and I get to indulge in the things I love the most –  politics, comics and feminism – that would probably have my Facebook crew unfriending me in droves.
  • Youtube. I’m so behind on this whole thing, but I’m into now with gusto. With its plethora of cat and fail videos, there’s also so much to learn. And no, I’m not just talking about make up tutorials (though I love those too), there are so many incredibly smart women talking about really clever things. Karlie Kloss is talking to female entrepreneurs, Estee Lalonde is talking periods and sex, Rosianna Halse Rojas is chatting Shine Theory. It’s something I wish I had growing up, and even at almost 30, it’s still interesting and insightful.

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What I’m excited for:

  • Uh, SYDNEY. Bakeries! Wanderings! Adventures! Sephora! I plan on coming home with a very large box of panna cotta lamingtons from Flour and Stone, I’m going to find Black Star Pastry if it kills me, and I’ve already planned a dinner at Billy Kwong with my folks. Mum wants to spend some time wandering around The Rocks, probably catching the Manly Ferry. Other suggestions? Hit me up, I want to hear them pleaseandthankyou
  • If you, like me, make unholy squealing noises when you see cute fluffy things, then please meet Hicks the bunny. He belongs to my friends Marc and Lou, and I’m obsessed with his thumping paws and fluffy white tail. He’s also a sassy, sulking drama queen. I love/hate him.

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What I’ve been doing:

  • Winning the 4th Annual Office Bake-Off, nbd. It’s funny, everyone in my office is competitive for us, while Alex and I just like baking. This year, I submitted feta and herb biscuits, and a panna cotta tart with lemon curd and freeze-dried raspberry. I was pretty proud of that tart, it was a smushing of recipes and a lot of finger-crossing while hoping for the best. TRIUMPH.
  • Getting behind the Safe Schools program. It kills me that our government can be so cruel to speak about our kids in such a disgusting way, and it’s killing kids to not have access to such a vital program (LGBTQIA youth are six times likely to attempt suicide, and transgender people are 76% more likely. This. Is Not. Okay.). Write to your local Members of Parliament and demand that they support funding to Safe Schools. These kids deserve better.

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What I’ve been reading:

  • The shiny and new Broadsheet Perth. Edited by my friend and all round best guy Max Veehuyzen, it’s a website dedicated to the best in Perth. Now I know you think these are a dime a dozen, but Broadsheet does it better with content written by people who know and love what they do, and photography by the best in the business. There’s no washed-up, ex reality tv wannabes here, just quality writing.
  • This post about chocolate brownies, just in case you didn’t get enough chocolate over the weekend.
  • And this about throwing together a dinner party in under an hour. It’s a pretty excellent reminder to keep things simple, more than anything.
  • I attended the Perth Writer’s Festival last month and picked up a stack of books that I’m trying (and failing) to work through. I learned so much from seeing these women speak, and I can’t recommend their books enough!

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What I’ve been spending money on:

  • One of these La Lune prints from Chi Borello. I’m obsessed with everything she does, I can’t even tell you. I picked it up from La Luna, a rad homeware store in Inglewood, which I can no longer venture into unsupervised.
  • This phone case from Sportsgirl – easily the best $15 I’ve spent this month, because I never developed past being a 13 year old girl. This is why.
  • Breakfast at Satchmo Cafe in North Perth. There’s something I really love about Jewish cooking – the ritual of it, the intrinsic link between food and family, the tradition, and it goes without saying that I was excited when this beautiful café opened near home. It’s a place with energy, with a vibe. On weekends, there’s a band playing in the carpark, other days there’s 1950’s jazz wafting from the speakers. I twisted Rob’s arm into picking the brisket bagel, while I devoured the blueberry blintz, and they offer all kinds of different bagels and biscuits.

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Tell me about your month! What’s news?

 

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What I Love – Peggy Saas Edition

It’s a commonly held belief that with any job, the best thing about it is usually the people you work with. Which would be fantastic, except blogging is a pretty lonely vocation.

I mean, there are certainly perks. There’s no one to steal your lunch from the fridge, Pinterest breaks are certainly encouraged and every day is Pants-Free Friday. But there’s also a distinct lack of team camaraderie when you’re the only person on your team. So what do bloggers do? We make friends with other bloggers, of course.

I had the pleasure of meeting Peggy at Eat Drink Blog 2013, albeit very briefly while madly trying to locate my lost phone and greeting attendees. She was so friendly and wonderful, and I wish I’d been able to spend more time chatting. But since then, I’ve basically stalked her work like a crazy woman, because damn, she’s good. Seriously.

Peggy’s blog is full of incredibly delicious, beautifully photographed recipes. It is definitely not the place you want to go if you’re hungry because it will ruin you and you’ll find yourself hunting down a 24 hour supermarket so you can make Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream at 11:30pm. I mean, not that I did that or anything.

She’s essentially what I hope to be when I grow up and become a real blogger, and I’m thrilled to have her here to share her work and things she loves with you. Say hello, team!

 

What I Love with Peggy Saas

 

Who are you/what do you do?

I’m Peggy, a Perth based photographer and food blogger. I take photos of beautiful things and thread words together about food. I started off photographing food for my blog cake crumbs & beach sand, but now find myself photographing people more and more.

You have so many things in the pipeline! What’s next for you?

Right now I am focusing on the business side of my photography with the intention of freelancing full-time. I am hoping to get into photographing weddings in the near future so am currently establishing couple shoots to get some practice. I am also working on a project to exhibit some of my work following my first showcase at RAW Perth last month. 

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Why Perth?

My parents moved from Finland to Sydney and then wound up in Perth when I was 3 years old. I spent most of my 20s traveling and worked abroad, and honestly, I thought Perth was so boring back then. I hated coming back and only did so to see my family. Fast forward a few years (ok two decades) and I just love the place. I love the diversity, the amazingly supportive creative community and the fact you can drive anywhere within half an hour. In my 20s I wanted to live in Jakarta for its fast pace, the traffic would kill me now!  

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

I had my first photo shoot of the year on the 1st of January, and decided on that day I was going to make this year big. I haven’t stopped yet. I am looking forward to a year full of photo opportunities, a full and abundant blog (which has lacked attention recently due to the increase in photography jobs) and my first wedding shoot in October. It’s going to be a good one! 

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A photo from Peggy’s recent RAW Showcase

What would be your dream food day?

Waking up to a baked breakfast and really good coffee (two cups, I always have two cups), followed by brunch at Moore & Moore Cafe. Maybe then a hotdog at Run Amuk in South Freo with their delicious homemade lemonade, capped off with a seafood platter and cider at sunset. But if we’re talking about fantasy dreaming, a seafood feast on a yacht would do it.  

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

Bronuts from Wild Bakery. Have you tried those things? Deep fried, sugar-coated heaven. (note: these are Bronuts, and she’s not kidding. They will blow your mind.)

What ingredient can’t you get enough of?

Butter. I have it on everything and cook with it daily. I love the stuff. And no ‘lite’ version either, full fat and salted. YUM!

Where do you love to go to eat?

I love Fremantle at the moment. I used to prefer Mt Lawley and didn’t really get the fascination with Fremantle, but I am there now. As for local spots I love Ohnamiya in Applecross and have an obsession with the smoky mice at Clancy’s on Canning Bridge. 

Where do you love to hang out?

I love my ‘hood. Although I am a creature of habit with eating out and tend to gravitate towards the same restaurants near home, so I try to head out to other areas to try different places. I love King St. I was devastated when King St Cafe closed down, I used to spend many Friday afternoons there with my brother eating a lazy lunch with a good glass of wine. I am keen to check out the rest of King St as I know there are some amazing cafes to be tried, but my pining stage hasn’t quite ended yet. That’s the problem with having favourites, if they do close you’re left with a hole to fill. I’m sure with the abundance of amazing spots in Perth I’ll find some place else to love just as much soon.

Have you discovered anything recently (activity, ect.) that you’re enjoying?

I’m always finding new things to enjoy. Most recently I have found that although I hate public speaking I enjoy holding photography workshops. I also didn’t think photographing people would be my thing since I have always loved photographing food more, but I’m finding joy in the things I never considered before. That’s the fun part of being creative, if you put yourself out there you’ll usually be pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised.  

Are you as in love with her as I am yet? You can check out all of her magic here: website, food blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter

Taste Perth

I don’t love your standard food and wine festivals.

You know, the ones where people pay their $30 to get in, then go to town on the wine samples, completely forgetting the food section (eating is cheating, duh), then spend the rest of the day running into your ankles with prams. Why can’t you be charged with drink driving while operating a pram?

I had kind of sworn off food and wine shows simply because I couldn’t be bothered navigating the many drunken hoards. When I was invited to the Taste of Perth launch, I figured it was worth a look but had mentally already written it off.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to wholeheartedly admit that I was wrong. Taste of Perth is not your standard food and wine show.

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First of all, it’s not a full day free-for-all. You book yourself in for either a lunch or a dinner sitting. From there, you pick from tasting menus, including mini versions of signature dishes from Perth’s leading restaurants, including Silks, Bistro Guillaume, Lalla Rookh and Greenhouse.

Bistro Guillaume's to-die-for lamb

Bistro Guillaume’s to-die-for lamb

The dishes cost between 6-12 crowns. What are crowns? Crowns are the currency of Taste of Perth. You load up a card with crowns (1 crown = 1 dollar), and then use the card to pay for whatever you eat or drink on the day.

Offerings from El Publico

Offerings from El Publico

Essentially, it’s kind of like a little DIY degustation, down on the river at Langley Park. What’s not to love about that? There are also a heap of producers to meet, classes to take and general cool things happening.

The ‘Taste’ food festival has been running around the world for over 10 years, in 18 cities. In Australia, it’s held in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart, with this year landing in Perth for the first time. If you need any further signs about Perth’s standing in the food world, this is it!

Lalla Rookh's panna cotta vera, aka my idea of heaven

Lalla Rookh’s panna cotta vera, aka my idea of heaven

What you need to know:
Date: 2-4 May
Buy tickets from: Here, with more info here
Website for further details: tasteofperth.com.au and your various social media here, here and here

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What I Love – Great About Perth Edition

When I was brainstorming a list of people what I wanted to talk to for this series, I knew I wanted people who were passionate, full of knowledge, fun and enthusiastic about our great city. Sitting at the top of that list was the person I’m delighted to introduce you to today, the brilliant Renee from Great About Perth!

What I Love with Renee Bergere

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Who are you/what do you do?

My name is Renee. Once a mountain-loving Seattleite, I’m now a proud, passport-holding Aussie (sans accent, unfortunately) living in Freo. I work at Scoop Publishing and wear a few hats: Deputy Editor and Food & Wine Editor of Scoop magazine, and Editor of Perth Guide. In my free time I do a bit of freelancing for Gourmet Traveller and update Great about Perth‘s social media pages. I’m constantly overeating and overdrinking, but I love what I do – regardless of how annoyingly fattening it is!

Why Perth?

Cliche alert: my husband is an engineer. We moved here in 2009 after a two-year stint in Melbourne where I did a masters in publishing. When I first arrived, everyone told me I’d hate it. So I made a concerted effort (and a blog) to focus on what’s actually great about this place. Turns out, there’s a lot!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

I’ve started this 365-day photo project which I’ve called #PerthyGreatness. It’s should certainly keep me busy in 2014! I’ve also got a few trips planned for the year. Visits to family in the States and Italy and, if the stars and schedules align, then a trip to Argentina too.

What would be your dream food day?

Growing up, my grandfather would take my family on fishing trips in Alaska each summer. So my dream food day would be spent catching, cooking and devouring king salmon, halibut and crab.

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

The first things that spring to mind are Must‘s incredible caramelised fig salad, The Public House‘s Dr Pepper Ribs and the Baharat Grilled Lamb Rump from Habitue. Restaurant reviewing does have its perks!

What ingredient can’t you get enough of?

Mozzarella di Bufala. You can’t find anything in Perth that even comes close to the deliciousness of the mozzarella made in Campania. Sometimes I dream of moving back to Italy just so I could eat it on a daily basis. My other current food obsessions are artichokes, fennel, dill, popcorn and fresh coconut.

Where do you love to go to eat?

My absolute favourite once-in-a-blue-moon restaurant is Restaurant Amuse. If I don’t feel like spending much, then the Bathers Beach Markets or anywhere Comida do Sul happens to be.

Where do you love to hang out?

Home – only because I never spend enough time there!

Have you discovered anything recently (activity, ect.) that you’re enjoying?

Succulents! I’m obsessed with them. I recently transformed an abandoned 144-bottle wine rack into a vertical garden filled with nothing but succulents. Then I topped it with pots of more succulents. I worry it’s a sickness. I’ve also recently jumped on the Instagram bandwagon – yup, I’m officially the slowest adopter ever!

What I Love – Yelp Edition

This year, I wanted to throw something a little bit different into the mix.

As a food blogger, I’m regularly asked where to go/what to eat/what’s new?
I relish this, because finally, the things I know have a practical application. Unlike the random collection of useless facts that clog up my brain (snails can sleep for 3 years without eating), which no one ever seems to ask me about.
Like anything though, my knowledge is limited to the places that I go and the things I’ve tried, which is only a small part of Perth’s rapidly growing food scene. Try as I might, I just can’t keep up!

So, in 2014, I’ve decided to enlist a little help from some incredibly awesome friends to tell you what they love. Because isn’t it always better to get a different perspective on things?

Fist cab off the rank is the gorgeous Laura Dew from Yelp Perth. Yelp is an online guide for everything in your city. Need a haircut? Dinner? Mechanic? Yelp, with the help of reviews from those in the community, has it covered. What I love about Laura is her infectious and genuine enthusiasm for Perth. You’ll see her out and about at community events and festivals, so definitely go say hi!

Yelp invites its Elite to special events - I got to attend Cavalia!

Yelp invites its Elite to special events – I got to attend Cavalia!

What I Love with Laura Dew

Who are you and what do you do?

My name’s Laura and I’m the Community Manager for Yelp in Perth. I seriously think I have the best job in the world, looking after all things Yelp related in Perth, both on and offline. I organise a heap of events for the Yelp Perth community, from Unofficial Yelp Events (UYEs), to Elite Events for our Elite Squad, to our spectacular Yelper Parties. They all involve incredible local businesses showcasing themselves to Yelpers for an evening. I do a lot of other things too, like write the Weekly Yelp and help business owners unlock their free Yelp business account.

Why Perth?

Where else?! I’m floored by Perth’s beauty and incredible lifestyle everyday. Plus it’s one of the most exciting times to be living in the city – it’s evolving at such a fast rate there’s always something happening or a new opening.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

I’m looking forward to seeing lots more new openings in 2014. We’ve been so lucky the last year having so many new places to try, like Mary Street Bakery, Pleased To Meet You, Bread In Common, Enrique’s School For To Bullfighting and so many more. I think we’ll see a lot more pop-up bars and restaurants in 2014 too. I’m also looking forward to festival season; FRINGE WORLD and Perth Festival.

What would be your dream food day?

Hardest question ever! I’d probably have two dishes for breakfast – it is my dream food day after all! I’d have one classic healthy Australia big breakfast (poached eggs, avo, salmon etc) and a sweet dish too, waffles or pancakes. Then for lunch I’d like a sushirrito, I had one in San Francisco last year. It’s a burrito style sushi roll, check it out here. Trying to pick just one more cuisine for dinner is hard, it’d have to be Japanese, Thai or Italian. Maybe a bowl of ramen and a tempura udon dish, then for dessert a tiramisu.

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

I went to S & T Thai in Northbridge last night and shared a heap of dishes with Yelpers. I tried the green chicken curry, seafood pad Thai and also the red duck curry. All were fantastic, but the red duck curry took the lead with whole lychees and chunks of pineapple throughout.

What ingredient can’t you get enough of?

Vanilla extract is one I use a lot when baking. It makes everything more delicious!

Where do you love to go to eat?

This could be a very long list. I eat at Is Donburi a lot, their food is so reasonably priced and delicious. The teriyaki tofu is a favourite. I also end up at Hobart Deli quite a bit for brunch on the weekends. I often go to Smuggled Seeds Espresso in Leederville and enjoy their coffee and scrambled eggs for breakfast or their salads for lunch. The list is endless really!

Where do you love to hang out?

Northbridge and Mt Lawley is where you’ll see me most. I try to head to the beach as often as I can. I like walks along the coast and swimming at the beach with my fiancé and dog. I like to head to Mechanics’ Institute and The Bird when catching up with mates for drinks.

Have you discovered anything recently (activity, ect.) that you’re enjoying?

I am really enjoying making the most of all the outdoor cinemas during summer. There’s quite a few and each one is a unique experience in a special location.

Somerville Auditorium at UWA - via @jaxstar84

Somerville Auditorium at UWA – via @jaxstar84

 

History lessons and eating pants.

If there’s anyone who enjoys a history lesson, it’s me. I discovered my love of all things past while at university. Too bad I was studying psychology…

It’s commonly believed that Australian history can be a little on the dull side. And while I too subscribe to this train of thought, it can’t be said that we don’t have our interesting characters. Scoundrels, thieves and general wrong-doers litter the history books and tv screens (thanks Underbelly), and add a little spice to our chequered past.

Named after a Kalgoorlie showgirl, and populated by ex-jailbird labour,Lalla Rookh was a mine site north west of Marble Bar in the early 1900’s. There was little positive about the town, except its mess hall. What better place to name a bar offering respite from the drudgery of the CDB and working day?

Lalla Rookh, at the base of Allendale Square (the ANZ Building) is part of the CBD’s burgeoning revival. Taking place along side Sentinel, The Heritage, The Trustee and the soon to open Print Hall, it’s probably the more casual of these venues, but certainly not the least impressive.

Following head chef Joel Valvasori on Twitter and Instagram had piqued my interest in the venue. The process of sourcing and tasting produce and wines; building and installing the kitchen had given a fascination insight as to how someone goes about creating a restaurant, and I was chomping at the bit to get in and experience it all for myself.

I convinced Wade to abandon his dinner plans, and dragged him out into a rainy Monday night. We went a little early, and were told we could sit anywhere – the restaurant was empty at this stage, so we opted to sit amongst the crowd in the lounge. Menus were produced, we quickly decided on a couple of glasses of red wine which wasted no time making their way to us.

The style of food is dubbed ‘La Cucina Westraliana’. When broken down to it’s bare bones, the menu is essentially ‘pub’ food. Schnitzel, steak, fish and chips and pizza, a little bit of pasta; kicked up a notch by Chef Valvosori’s traditional cooking techniques and the gorgeous local and seasonal produce. The venue is fancy enough to be a little bit ‘special’, but fussier eaters aren’t going to be intimidated by a complicated menu. In short – everybody wins!

Entrees were out in a heartbeat. The large juicy prawns were served with pickled cauliflower and thyme mayonnaise, which is fast becoming my favourite condiment. Who knew thyme and mayo made such a tasty combination?

The Farmers Board provided some wins – the Dellendale Cremeries churchill from Denmark was a highlight; and while I’m not the biggest cheese fan, I’d quite happily nibble away until I gave myself kidney stones.

The waiter who cleared our entrees strangely assumed that we hadn’t ordered anything else and so didn’t call for our mains, leaving us wondering if they were making the pizza dough to order.

However, once the error was realised, he explained what had happened and apologised profusely. Personally, I completely understand that mistakes happen, and so long as the staff is up front about it, I don’t mind. No harm, no foul.

Patrick, who heads up the front of house, patiently answered all of my annoying questions on how their first week of service had gone, and swap hospitality war stories with Wade.

Round two of red wines were ordered, and were again great choices.

Wade had settled on a steak sandwich, and I couldn’t resist the mushroom pizza. The steak was medium rare and tender, and the bread was sturdy soaked up all the juices beautifully.

But the stand-out for the night was without a doubt the pizza. The dough is perfection. Thin, crisp but not too much, and has a gorgeous flavour all of it’s own thanks to being cooked in a proper oven. The mushrooms were perfectly silky, with a good amount of cheese. Between mouthfuls, Wade admitted that it was better than most of the pizza he’d had on his recent trip to Rome, a compliment if I’ve ever heard one!

Patrick appeared again to take our dessert orders. The olive oil, manjimup walnut & orange cake and lemon scented fried custard were quickly delivered, and being a hardcore dessert fiend, I wasted no time getting stuck in.

Let me tell you this now. That fried custard? Hands down the most awesome dessert I’ve had in some time. Silky custard encased in a crunchy coating was stellar. Topped with tart blood oranges (and you know how much I love blood oranges), and served with sherbet hidden (surprise!) under a dollop of ice cream.

The custard is so good, that the cake barely got a look in. Poor cake. Though the bitter chocolate icecream served along side was also worthy of a mention, a great counterpoint to the cake.

If you head into Lalla Rookh (and I suggest you do), wear eating pants. You can thank me later.

Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House on Urbanspoon

Life choices, death, and deep fried sushi.

I’m a desk eater.
This is in no way related to being a window licker. Nor does it imply that I’m one of those people who eat weird things, like bikes or lightbulbs. I just consistently eat lunch at my desk. I don’t unwind in the kitchen, or stop in a nice café for a leisurely bite. Outside, grab something, and then back to my desk. This makes for a keyboard full of crumbs and my co-workers experiencing what an ungraceful eater I am, which probably isn’t a good thing. Sorry team.

One of the perks of working in the CBD is that there are a plethora of places to grab lunch. You’d think it would make deciding what’s for lunch easier.
It doesn’t.
The debate begins around at 10am. The email goes out, “What are you having?”
Don’t laugh, lunch is a serious business. Too many carbs, and you get sleepy mid afternoon. Not enough food, and you risk hunger-pain induced rage. It’s a delicate balancing act.

Which leads us here.

Iku Sushi on William St does all things Japanese for lunch. Your standard teriyaki, sushi in various forms, bento boxes, udon. Then, they throw you a curve ball. Red bull jelly? Sushi sandwiches? Yeah, that’s happening.


The staff, who posses a Boost Juice level of peppy energy and are actually wearing ninja outfits, are happy to answer questions, and are frankly delightful. The walls are littered with ninja throwing stars, and it’s decked out in Japanese kawaii fare.

I decided to investigate the whispers I’d heard around town. A creation steeped in legend.
Cheeseburger sushi. That’s right, you heard me. Cheese. Burger. Sushi.
These crazy cats have created what some may say is an abomination. I say, delicious. Beef and cheese, wrapped in seaweed, rolled in rice, then battered and fried, resulting in gooey, melted amazingness.

I might have also come back with a Peking duck bento box. And it was delicious.
If it helps, I promise, I didn’t eat everything. I can put away food, I have mad skillz. I’m yet to finish a serve of cheeseburger sushi.

I’m not going to lie to you.
Cheeseburger sushi firmly belongs on the ‘sometimes food’ or ‘things to eat after spending a school night at the Leederville Hotel making bad life choices and still had to go to work and now I want to die’ lists. I’m also pretty sure I started to feel my arteries hardening.
Bit of a double edged sword, really. Things to try before you die. Though, might have thought I was having a heart attack, so it may just kill you anyway.
Totally worth it.