Archive for the ‘Dining and nightlife’ Category

Summer is back in the Tropical North

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Yes, summer is back!!! No because it has been real winter in our piece of paradise, usually the temperature doesn’t drop below 20º, but it’s something in the air. After many weeks of getting up and sitting in front of the computers straight away, today we decided to go to the beach for a walk. It’s a wonderful day, sunny, warm and with a fabulous breeze. About time after the cloudy and rainy days we have had in the past weeks. It seems they are history now, so everybody, get ready to go to the Great Barrier Reef again. And don’t forget to rent one of our Digital Underwater Cameras We’re in the process of updating our stock, selling our old cameras (not one of the them is older than six months) and buying new ones. So if you are interested in buying one of the “oldies”, or renting one of the new ones, give us a call or drop us a line.

Well, I was talking about how much we enjoyed going back to the beach after so many weeks of hard work. We even had time to take a couple of pics to show you all that we’re still alive and kicking. And working on our tan for when we go to Spain on holidays at Christmas time. Looking forward to it already.

Last night we had a busy schedule. Apart from our normal delivery time, we met up with two of our Spanish clients: David and Yesenia. We organised their time in Australia, although they only had time to visit Cairns and the surrounds. They didn’t want to miss anything worth visiting, which is easier said than done. Tropical North Queensland is full of wonders, from the Reef to the Daintree Rainforest, from the Atherton Tablelands to the Queensland Outback. I think they were very happy with the way their trip had been organised, as they had time to go diving, visit Cape Tribulation, see crocodiles, cassowaries and other native animals in Cape Tribulation thanks to Mason’s Tours, make their way down to Mission Beach and Dunk Island and tour around the Tablelands, including Yungaburra, Malanda and Mareeba on their way back to Cairns.

And after saying goodbye to our new friends, we headed down to the Green Ant Cantina for a fantastic Mexican feed. Little by little we’re starting to have our favourite restaurants in Cairns, and in other areas of the region as well. It’s not an easy task, new restaurants open and close all the time and it’s pretty difficult to keep on top of things here in Cairns. We manage somehow.

Cairns beer is back - Blue Sky Brewery

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Opened only a couple of weeks ago, Blue Sky Brewery is already attracting the crowds in search of home brewed beer.

I won’t be able to describe the beer at this new Cairns venue in depth, as I was the designated driver and was allowed to have only a couple of the lightest beer that they served. But from the amount of beers Steve and our others friends had, I think the experience they had must have been very good.

Apart from serving all the spirits you can think of and having an extensive wine cellar, the main attraction of this new venue is the handcrafted beer they brew onsine. Six different boutique beers, from the lightest one to the darkest variety, that will delight beer lovers. I started, and carried on with their lager, a really light but tasty and refreshing drink. Steve, even though he was determined to try each beer, only tried three different ones until he found the one he really loved: the blue sky pilsner, as he said that the taste was unusual although delicious. Our friend Dan started from the lightest one and finished with the darkest one, but I cannot say how many times he went over the menu, as we left around 11.30pm and he was still going back to the bar.

We also tried their food, as the Spaniards know very well, it’s not healthy drinking on a empty stomach. Most of us had pizza, and mine was delicious. Steve wasn’t as happy with his choice, Daintree pizza, it was a bit plain. Hehe, I don’t know why he keeps choosing his own food, more than frequently whatever I order is usually much better than his order. And this time it wasn’t otherwise.

All in all, we loved the place and we will definetely go back there again, hopefully very soon. We still have to try their ginger beer, so far the only ginger beer I have tried is the non alcoholic one, and I’m more than eager to try the real stuff. Only one little complain, the lights are too bright and it wouldn’t hurt to turn them down a bit after a certain time.

We’ve been busy these last days meeting with Spanish people. It’s great to know that more and more Spaniards are keen to travel to the other side of the world. Hopefully we will stop thinking that Australia is too far away and will be eager to discover this fabulous country. So we met up with Sonia and Javi, from Bilbao, with Monica and her group, from Madrid, with Isabel and Arkaitz, also from Bilbao, with Roger and Miriam, from Barcelona… I guess I cannot complain, I love meeting up with them and share a bit of our culture. I will never get tired of saying how small the world is, I knew one of the guys from Madrid from going to the same venues in the city.

But what’s news this week is that WE FINALLY HAVE THE TICKETS TO GO TO MADRID IN DECEMBER!!! I will try to keep it quiet from my family and surprise them. So shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh everyone!

Tapas style dining: 2 Tone Tapas Bar, Cairns

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Tapas dining is a rich cultural pastime of Spain. Its origins date back to the 16th century under King Felipe the 3rd. Tapas meaning ‘lid’ was introduced in an attempt to curb the increasing levels of alcohol related offences. The law then stated, when a customer purchases a drink the bartender was to provide a small portion of food, which was then placed on a ‘lid’ on top of the glass. Today Tapas is a time honoured tradition in Spain, and has been adopted around the world.   2Tone Tapas Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge in central Cairns has based their Tapas menu on healthy Mediterranean cuisine with modern Australian influences. Maria and I have been looking forward to dining at 2Tone, and last week we finally had the opportunity.

It was a drizzly Tuesday evening, but 2Tone had a few tables full just the same. The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed, with soft ambient lighting. Maria recognized some of the Spanish music playing in the background.

Service was professional and efficient, and it wasn’t long before we were gazing at a large plate of flatbread and dips. Now, I always say you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the ‘little things’; their attention to detail, and the effort they put into aspects that some may not deem very important. It reminded me of a function Maria and I attended some time ago - the lunch buffet included chicken, ham, and a variety of salads but the only comments that I heard from other guests over the course of the afternoon were that the bread was stale. Well, not at 2Tone…

I made a mental note to ask 2Tone’s owner/manager at the end of the night where in the world he sourced such magnificent bread. This was not the packaged supermarket pita that you may be served in some eateries; this was authentic flatbread the likes of which I have only ever found in the Middle East or North Africa. For the record, he did share his source with us, but we are bound to secrecy.

The dips were a selection of a cream cheese-based tomato dip, an unusual tangy capsicum dip and a 2Tone version of babaganouche; eggplant dip with roasted garlic. The serving was extremely generous, so to ensure Maria didn’t ruin her appetitie for main course, I ate the lion’s share.

For main course, we choose four Tapas dishes to share; Tortilla (Spanish Omelette), Albondigas (Spanish meatballs), Chorizo (Spanish sausage), and Barramundi Fish Goujons (not Spanish in any way!) We both selected the Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany.

The Tortilla and Albondigas were a bit dry compared to the authentic Spanish product (Maria’s mother’s home cooking!) but the Chorizo was delicious, glazed in sherry and topped with finely sliced red, green and yellow capsicum.

But it was the Barramundi fish fingers (I shudder to call them f’ish fingers’) that left a lasting memory on me. Maria thinks I don’t like fish, on account of I almost never order it. That’s not because I don’t like it, but because I am very particular with my fish. Barramundi has always been one of my favourite fish, but this was the most I have enjoyed fish in recent memory. The ‘fingers’ were too big to deserve such a diminutive name, and were moist, juicy flavoursome portions of white Barramundi flesh, coated in a crispy coconut crumbing, with a lime tartare on the side. I could have sat and eaten nothing but  Barramundi Fish Goujons till I fell off the chair, but that would not be Maria’s ideal night out… and besides, she was already eyeing off the dessert menu.

I wanted to order the ‘Death By Chocolate’, but Maria beat me to it. It didn’t make sense to order the same, so I chose the Citrus Tart. Mine was delicious, although the waiter did pass on the chef’s apologies for my tart not being set, and for the filling spreading onto the plate. Maria’s ’Death By Chocolate’ was nothing short of divine, a thick chocolate mousse in its own chocolate bowl, topped with mango icrecream… the perfect end to a great dinner!