Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday arvo 'tude

Another weekend by, filled with eating out and drinking up, and forgetting to take photos. I'm hopeless, but I don't think that I'm completely to blame.

Sunday afternoons are fast becoming my favourite occasion for drinking. We clinked glasses to the cheer of "good afternoon". To me Sunday afternoons just epitomise the good life - think idyllic casual surroundings, good food, good wine, good company. This is how life should be, although maybe that afternoon summer wind could tone down a little. Sunday afternoons should be an attitude. It's one that I'm more than willing to take on.

Following some mild sunburn in the park, a fellow Sunday afternoon-ing friend and I shuffled into the safe enclave out of the sun that is the Clock Hotel. We grab two seats on the balcony looking out onto Crown Street and find this to be a perfect people watching position: the single balcony row of people wining and dining, and beer-ing of course, and the activity at street level. I even see Gai Waterhouse out for a stroll with her hubby.

Sun burn has given us a thirst and the call is for wine. It's not an extensive wine list at the Clock but it's not boring, peppered with interesting drops from around the country. We're still in the throes of our love affair with sauv blanc, although pinot grigio is getting a few lustful glances these days too. We settle on the Logan sauv blanc, the Orange heritage proving a selling point. We also ordered a small tasting plate - which was surprisingly well sized and priced, and beautifully presented that in my excitement I forgot to take a pic - and a rocket and parmesan salad to satisfy my obsession with the wily, peppery leaves.

Logan sauvignon blanc - from Orange, NSW

It's a very fruity drop, and I can taste the aromas of passionfruit quite intensely - and I'm no wine connoisseur. The label is delightfully cute, sort of crafty, cross-stitch like imagery. It's the perfect partner to our afternoon.

Again, some imagination will be required for the tasting plate. Served on a white rectangular plate, it's a mix of tapas-like items from the share menu. I start with the salt and pepper squid, which is now probably a standard Sydney menu item. Anyway, they do it very well here. The lightly golden roll is perfectly spiced and tender, not needing any additional sauce or condiment. Next, a cajun spiced chicken skewer (I think of thigh fillet) with a minty youghurt sauce - very, very moreish. There's a mini bowl of mixed olives with cumin and coriander seeds, and a somewhat lost mini bowl of a rather drab tomato salsa. We weren't sure what that was supposed to accompany, so I used it as a dip for my grissini. Then there was the bruschetta of tomato and Spanish onion on a lovely bit of crunchy bread and toped with parmesan - a little too onion-y for someone who doesn't really like raw onion. And finally the unusual looking stuffed jalepenos.

Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeno stuffed with ricotta and anchovy
(The photo's a little out of focus as I was probably busy
fanning my tongue or shaking with laughter)

Now I don't quite know why I thought that I should eat this. I think my train of thought was that if they're serving it, it shouldn't be excessively hot. And I may have been inspired by recent reading of My Year of Eating Dangerously in which there is a chapter the author goes on a chilli adventure. I cut a bit of the end of the jalapeno - not even getting any of the stuffing, silly me - and pop it in. At first, it tastes just like mushy capsicum. A few seconds in - bam. There's a blaze on my tongue as I hurry to swallow the mouthful and look around for potential extinguishers. Wine? No help. The redundant tomato salsa? Nope. Ice from the wine bucket? Some relief, but short lived.

About ten minutes later my tastebuds regain some normalcy and I've stopped making silly faces and berating myself. My companion was of the opinion that I was being overdramatic and just not a chilli eater (well, I'm not but I do like my spicy food) so later she has a go at the jalapeno. All good, then bam. She goes through the same rigmarole that I did, finding some comfort in the wine bucket. However, this time I am madly laughing at her for not heeding my previous show and warning. We agree that this is not one of our favourite menu items.

We polish off all the other items of the tasting plate, even the mixed lettuce leaves sitting below the pieces. The rocket salad is a satisfyingly generous bowl topped with parmesan shavings (that were getting blown off by the wind!), although it's slightly overdressed in balsamic vinegar. We kick back (not literally, as we're on stools) and watch the comings and goings of the balcony and Crown Street below, and wish that every moment was like a Sunday arvo.

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