Sydney, day 3...

Day 3 found us starting out very early for a ride out into the bush. Nothing death defying or thrill seeking mind you, but awe-inspiring nonetheless. So, with my only culinary adventure this morning being a double cappuccino from the automated barista in the trusty executive lounge, we boarded a bus-like 4x4 SUV and headed out to the Blue Mountains. With the exception of the buffet lunch we had; a saurbraten ragout, cabbage slaw and mustard infused potato salad, there was not much good food to be had. You could have sworn we were sitting in the Austrian Alps or the Black Forest in Germany. After hours of driving, gazing at koalas, roos, wombats and wallabys, and many twisty turns in the rocks, we headed back to Sydney. Not long after we returned, the boys and I headed out for some bites in the local food scene. Flanked by my posse, I twisted their arms to accompany me into a little spot called Sushi Arigato on Stanley Street. It was early yet, the place empty but we ventured in anyway. I actually told them that this was a little appetizer as a prelude to pizza... they bought it! The sushi arrived in waves...Ahi Tuna rolls,(ok), but when I added some of the ginger mayo and wasabi~ it came alive! Shark Fin and seaweed was cool, yet flavorwise, a little more of a novelty. Crunchy and light, but still tasty. Spider rolls with Softshell crab, tofu, cucumber, rice and ginger followed with a very well rounded flavor and thankfully, not greasy. The best of show however goes to the Smoked Eel! The rice was warm, moist and full flavored. The eel was so tender, succulent and scrumptious, I almost had to fight off my 9 y.o. hired gun with my chopstix. We also ordered up some crispy fried chicken with a sesame crust to keep them occupied. It was cooked very well and quite good, but heavy. Next stop, I manned up with some pizza. I know it seems perhaps sacrilegious to marry the two in virtually one sitting, but what the hell...I promised them. Besides, there are sooooooo many cool little cafes, bistros, pizzerias and ethnic eateries that I want to try and suck up as much as time and my credit card will allow! We narrowed it down to a little Italian joint called Spigolo, a ristorante, trattoria & pizzeria on the same block. We were welcomed by a "mama leone" figure, or so it seemed, a friendly woman who looked like she would give up her first born for you or kick your ass if you got out of line. Unfortunately, that true hospitality stopped with her. I have seen that old-world Italian or French "cold shoulder" style of service before where the service thinks that they are doing you a favor by allowing you to sit at their table and they could really care less if you did. It is tolerated, becomes accepted and hell, is practically encourages that tends to personify the character. It doesn't fly in my book. A tip is for service. They paid for it. The food was tasty, thankfully! Ordering way more than we could possibly consume, we forged ahead with a basic Caprese Salad of fresh Mozz, sliced tomatoes, basil and evoo. Good, but needed love. Fleur? Balsamic? Fresh Cracked Black Pepper? Our pie was a Pollo de Pesto- a nice combo of roasted chicken, tomatoes, Reggiano Parmiginao on a very thin crust, blasted to perfection in a wood fired oven. That was enough! Oops...forgot, we ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara. A very traditional rendition except using bacon instead of pancetta(no worries, yet it would have made it extraordinary), parmesan, black pepper, and egg. As we pushed ourselves out past the sidewalk tables filled with the "sex in the city" crowds, we could not help but notice the sleek place next door...La Mint. An ultra cool looking France meets Vietnam fusion hang out. Tomorrow perhaps, but that's another story.


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