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Monday, March 9, 2009

'Don't believe the hype': tales of Hollandaise in Tetra Paks and other travel research disasters

As I'm way too busy writing books at the moment to blog, I'm going to post about the things I'm taking pleasure in reading during my coffee breaks. For starters, I'm enjoying catching up on my co-author and husband Terry's blog Wide angles, wine and wanderlust, and his recent post on Hester Blumenthal's food poisoning scare at the Fat Duck and how some journalists have been 'reporting' on the incident. Horrifying stuff! I also enjoyed Terry's post Don't believe the hype on how serving Hollandaise sauce in a Tetra Pak is not cool at all, and is a sure-fired way of getting your cafe crossed out of a popular guidebook. I'm glad Terry mentioned the Indian waiter in Abu Dhabi at a Korean restaurant we ate at years ago who showed us the Yalumba wine cask (wine 'box' for North Americans?) to demonstrate that the house wine was indeed a decent Aussie drop! But I was disappointed Terry didn't tell you the guy brought it out from behind the bar on a silver platter with a white linen cloth over his forearm. It was a 5-star hotel after all. Keep in mind this was nearly 11 years ago. As dreadful as the stuff was to drink, I was both bemused and touched by the gesture. I wasn't amused by the Tetra Pak of Hollandaise on the other hand. Mainly because that was my revolting breakfast and my $18 wasted (add another $30 to that, because Terry's breakfast was mediocre too and both the coffees were bad); because it's a place that gets glowing reviews in the guidebooks; and because it's a cafe that's in a rather hip Victorian surf town not far from Melbourne that should know better. Their reaction to my complaint was also appalling. Once again, something I might have expected from a waiter in Abu Dhabi 11 years ago who didn't know any better, but not from a... well, you get the picture. Now, Terry's Eggs Benedict (pictured) on the other hand, I'd gladly pay $18 for. This is the kind of food I get to eat when we're holed up writing. As busy as we are, he always makes time to cook good food. Rather spoilt, aren't I? So, go take a look at his blog and tomorrow I'll let you know what else I'm reading. Back to the writing...


DaddyBird said...

I should learn to make eggs benedict. The Mrs. likes them and I cook for her all the time anyway!

Terence Carter said...

DaddyBird, they are actually better cooked at home than at one of Dubai's cafes (you need real ham!), but don't blame me when the sauce spits, the eggs end up being lost in a mix of flotsam and jetsam and you're in tears after an hour. You need to cook them often to get the technique down. However, learning to make hollandaise is a must for any aspiring chef – it goes great with all kinds of things, especially asparagus.
Good luck!