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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Winter warmers

On a cold winter's night, there's nothing more satisfying than ducking into a warm, crowded restaurant, sinking your spoon into a steaming vat of soup, and slurping your troubles away.  There's just something so comforting about it.  The heavy round bowl, so wide and deep that it looks like you could sink all your worries in it.  Those wisps of steam that curl up from the surface, teasing your nostrils into quivering anticipation before dissolving into the air.  Those chunks of torn bread, soggy with soup, salted with butter.  Soup is definitely a winter treat.

Chrysler cafe in the CBD (opposite the Reserve Bank) is reknown for its soup.  Great flavours, big portions, homey wooden serving boards ... all for just $8.90.  I had beef gumbo (see above) and although my friend J says it's not as authentic as the gumbo you get in the Deep South (she would know), I thought it was pretty amazing for my first one!

Wrapido in Crows Nest has great soup specials on the weekend, this one was sweet corn and chicken, which all three of us ended up ordering, it was that good.

Thank goodness I'm not a chicken, and not faced with this dilemna.

If you're after something more hearty than soup, Red Zucchini in Cremorne has great pasta (D's recommendation).  This was probably one of the best gnocchi dishes I've had.  Strong flavours, and plenty of sauce to keep the gnocchi balls moist and tender.  Yum!

If neither soup nor pasta appeals to you, there's always ramen to warm you up on a freezing night.  Just queuing in the cold outside Ryo's will help you work up an appetite, but it's definitely worth the wait!

This was ramen in hot, spicy flavoured soup with roast pork, egg and shallots.  The eggs were amazing!  Sort of half-boiled, still gooey but firm, but infused with soy sauce to give them an incredible flavour hit.  I'd go back just for these babies.

This was ramen in salt-flavoured soup, which was light and pleasant.

Best. Ramen. Ever.  Swimming in Tokyo-style soy sauce soup with roast pork (so soft it falls apart in your mouth), shallots, eggs and flower-shaped fish cakes.  Ah-mazing.

And last but not least - A Tavola.  A beautiful little Italian restaurant in Darlinghurst that has developed a loyal following due to its fresh homemade pasta and authentic Italian flavours.  The waiter will literally stand there for 10 minutes reading and explaining the specials board to you (it's entirely in Italian).  But don't worry if you have a hard time remembering what all the Italian words mean; the English menu is handed to you immediately afterwards.

The pasta was perfectly cooked, tender but still with a bite to it.  The portions were incredibly generous, we all struggled to get through our dishes.

The spaghetti with mussels was brilliant.  Rich tomato sauce, plenty of mussels; perfectly warm and filling for cold winter weather.

So go out and embrace the cold because there are plenty of hearty dishes to keep you warm this winter!  And plenty of crunchy autumn leaves to jump on too.

Until next time.

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