Archive for the ‘Food Reviews’ Category


Now first and foremost, I should say that I’m a coffee snob. That is to say, I’m not satisfied with the ground up dirt that passes your average quality control program for mass producing suppliers like Nescafawful or Home Brand Moulded Roasted Beans. Having said that, I don’t need to prove my taste buds by drinking “Kopi Luwak” coffee that only achieves the right “flavour” after the beans are defecated from some kind of feral animal.

This all started about four years ago, when a global cafe chain run by some kind of clown issued a public advertising blitz apologising for their woeful product. They claimed that they were going to turn the customer’s frowns upside down, which I guess has something to do with the clown. Given that their newly appointed 15 year old baristas have about as much experience drinking coffee as they do with personal hygiene, I viewed the announcement with some suspicion, to the point that I avoided the place like the plague… and I sincerely mean that if the plague is still around, then I’m sure you will find it in one of these establishments.<!–more–>

Anyway, after a sleepless night, then a 2 year old screaming in the car on a trip along the highway to hell, the only “cafe” I came across just happened to be the aforementioned McPlague Cafe. I quickly analysed my options… fall asleep at the wheel and kill an innocent family, tell a 2 year old “NO, we can’t stop at the playground”, or option 3, replenish my caffeine levels with a “barista made coffee” at the new an invigorated Plague Cafe. As the 2 year old’s scream peaked at 140db, the deal was sealed. I yanked the wheel and cut across 3 lanes of traffic to make the exit ramp. I got honked once to “You fucking maniac,” but I’m not sure if they were commenting on my driving, or choice of cafe. I think it was the café.

We walked into the *cough* cafe (I’m not sure why I coughed, it could have been a nervous reaction, or possibly my immune system kicking in) and the 2 year old dashed for the play ground.

“WAIT… put your rubber gloves on… and for the love of clowns, don’t lick anything!!”

After ordering my cappuccino, a double shot extra hot no sugar extra clean, I stepped back and had a chance to look at the other clientele. There were the gray nomads or pensioners, with their seniors discount cards who could only afford to share a stale muffin and small sized coffee. Then there were the truckers… eyes blazing from methamphetamines, needing a double caf with 20 sugars to wash down their “meds.” Their were some tourists who didn’t speak English, except when it came to picking items from the menu of this place. There was also a teenage guy in a hoody, who didn’t seem to order anything… I think he might have been a boyfriend or pimp to the 14 year old girl who was playing “expert barista” today. Then I zoned out for 3 minutes.

A wimpy voice murmured, “Number 897! – Cappucino, extra snot.”

Did she say extra snot, or extra hot? What happened to extra clean? “THAT’S ME!” I yelled.

I sat down and nodded at my partner as I flicked off the plastic lid to peer into the cup. She looked at me with sorrowful eyes, then glanced at the brown stain on the lid, “Are you sure you want to do this…. what’s in it?”

I looked down sorrowfully, noticing my shoe had just picked up a fresh piece of gum, “It’s better not to think about that. I’m hoping for caffeine.”

As the first luke warm liquid past my lips and touched my taste buds, I shuddered. I had a vivid flashback of 40 years ago, when as a child I fell into a stagnant pool of water in a gravel car park and received a mouthful of yuck. The skim milk I didn’t ask for simply wasn’t old enough to mask the stale aftertaste of the coffee beans that had been harvested 10,000 kilometres away then ground too early and left sit in an unsealed coffee grinder that was possibly cleaned when it was manufactured. Taking care not to put my hand on the flap of the bin, I pushed the cup through in one fluid movement, “it’s back to whence you came.”

Inspired from this News article


The hallmark of any fine restaurant is fresh food. So it was somehow appropriate that the tenderized carcasses of Kangaroos and cute bunny rabbits would be the exciting back drop of fresh meat that littered the main highway like gates of honour to a fine dining experience.

Situated on in the middle of undulating lush green fields of neatly manicured lawns, the Howling Dog is more reminiscent of an exclusive retirement village than a thriving restaurant. Though perhaps it is only the frail gentleman struggling to pull their shiny golf carts around that conveys such an appearance.

Dispensing with a doorman, the Howling Dog uses modern technology to electronically operate a shuddering sliding door that greets your arrival with a freshly mud stained foyer and gossiping school aged waitresses. Skillfully avoiding the need for pleasantries, the staff usher guests to a table with a supreme view of the afternoon sun while scattering menus over the table with the speed of a Black Jack dealer in an illegal casino.

The menu layout of the Howling Dog takes an artistic flare, with shadows of greasy fingerprints and spillages from less hygienic diners that provided each menu with a somewhat customized look. Of course, the legibility of the menu was no doubt assisted by our freshly burnt retinas from the blazing sun. Giving us the customary 90 seconds to skim the menu contents, the waitress was on hand to assist. “That’s an excellent choice” she exclaimed, after we declined to view the “specials”. Claiming to specialize in traditional Mediterranean cuisine, I naturally decided on the more exotic “Chicken Parma” with hog tail fries and Texan sauce. My fellow food reviewers also decided on some non threatening dishes, each deciding to go with food.

Like sand through the hourglass, we imagined the Sahara desert sift by, as we waited for our drinks. Complimentary water kicked off proceedings with a local flavour, containing a hint of chlorine mixed with sediment from the water collection facility. Our palettes could detect a secret foreign flavour to the water, but the secret was quickly revealed by the waitress who pointed to their tin roof freshly stained by the local bird life. By the time the entrée arrived, our stomachs were grumbling with hunger, or perhaps trembling with fear. The stale bread and olives provided a tentative starter, and the miniscule portions left the table pecking at the empty bread board, much like a sparrow pecking at a rusty nail in the hope it might be a tasty worm. But alas, the tasty treats were scarce, and like the dead sparrow, the table began looking to the heavens for divine intervention.

As we waited for our mains, we sipped our cloudy waters and donned our welding masks to take in the views beyond the dusty Mortein lined window, which was sporadically decorated with the corpses of flies, who had no doubt served as kitchen hands earlier in the evening. But beyond the stained clear glass, more was on offer as the garden irrigation system kicked in, spraying thousands of litres of water high into the air to form a dramatic rainbow to the gasps of all the guests presumably in awe of the effect. The restaurants good sense of humour and complete disregard of the status quo with regards to the current drought and water restrictions was refreshing. The rainbow effect contributed to the restaurant’s magical ambience, as the hallucinogenic properties of the water kicked in, readying our palettes for something special. Meanwhile, the chef could be heard toiling in the kitchen, breaking glasses and swearing at the minimum wage help as he concocted something extravagant.

Mysteriously, the extravagance had somehow disappeared by the time our mains had reached our dilapidated table. It was difficult to tell if the waitress was ashamed of what she was serving, or if she was concerned about any pending law suits.

To my embarrassment a special treat had been organized by my fellow dinner guests to mark my birth date, which I tend not to celebrate. The Howling Dog, recognized this fact, and brought out a chocolate cake that resembled a dried cow pat, with a single candle providing a relevant exclamation point. It was more than an appropriate end to the evening.

So I urge all my more adventurous readers to give the Howling Dog a try. I have enclosed directions to the nearest hospital, which is a mere 5 minutes away from the restaurant. Bon apetite!