Thai Diamond – a review

One of the things I’ve struggled most with in the year since I’ve moved from Brisbane to Hervey Bay is that I’m yet to find my ‘go-t0’ takeaway.

In Brisbane it was a chinese restaurant called The Pine and Bamboo. It was a suburb or so further out from where I lived (Hawthorne then Morningside) but very handy nonetheless. I actually started going there when my brother and sister-in-law lived nearby before the birth of my niece (who is now 17!).

I’m coeliac and that’s sometimes a struggle but I knew exactly what I could have there and they basically knew my order and my voice when I called. (And I got the ‘regulars’ discount!)

Although hot chips are my most favourite food of anything, Thai and Chinese are my fave takeaways. I live in Urangan so have been frequenting Jetty Seafoods (which has gluten-free hot chips!) but have tried several Thai places in the Bay without finding anywhere that tastes delicious and authentic.

I lived in Cambodia for a while and sometimes really authentic-smelling Thai / Vietnamese / Chinese food takes me back there like a shot.

Last weekend however, a friend suggested we go to the Thai Diamond, in Scarness. She’d been there a few times, she said, and enjoyed it.

The atmosphere is kinda nice (aesthetically I mean) although for some reason I suggested we sit out the front, which was probably somewhat stupid as it was a humid evening!

A big bonus for me is being able to ask about gluten-free options and people know what I’m talking about – and that was certainly the case at the Thai Diamond. The curries were GF I was told, plus other recipes could be adapted.

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My friend and I decided to share a (beef) red curry; chicken with cashew nuts and jasmine rice. I also ordered some takeaway for the next day (as I was keen to try as many options as possible) and got the garlic and pepper beef.

All dishes were delicious and I was pleased at the lack of scary vegetables. (I don’t eat many and the dishes weren’t overflowing with stuff I didn’t eat which was a bonus!)

The meals aren’t cheap – most dishes are $17-20 plus rice – but I’ll most certainly be going back and I’m planning to program the number into my phone for future reference!

The Thai Diamond is at 353 Esplanade Scarness. For bookings or telephone orders phone 07 4124 4855.

Review: Pavilion by the Pier

If I ever get married* I would like to have my reception (or after-party) at Pavilion by the Pier. (I know that’s what all of you have been wondering! 😉 )

ImageMostly it’s because of its location. And its fairy lights. Because I truly have a thing about fairy lights.

I’ve actually never eaten dinner there as I seem to dine out during the day far more often than in the evening, but… I must make the effort to get down there one night because I’ve heard good things.

I recently wrote about my brekkie at Bayaroma Cafe, which I’ve frequented a few times after my Saturday morning yoga class. I love a good eggs benedict and – until recently – it was the only place I’d found in Hervey Bay (or Maryborough) that offered a gluten-free option.

However, I’ve now dined at Pavilion by the Pier a couple of times and their eggs benedict is also gluten-free. Yay! It comes with either ham or salmon – I actually prefer bacon, but think that getting the GF hollandaise sauce right is far more important.

As is often the case I take along my own gluten-free bread rolls (which my mum picks up for me almost weekly from the Bell Hilltop Bakery in Maryborough) and they’re happy to use them instead of bought-GF bread.

As an aside… I haven’t found many (any?) cafes / restaurants locally which make their own gluten-free breads / rolls or buy them from bakeries. Mostly it’s the tiny pieces of bread you buy from retailers. (Which is fine. Having some GF bread is far better than not having any at all!)

mineoOf course, some greenery would make this look far prettier, but I ask them to hold the spinach cos, well… spinach! #blergh!

BLTToday’s breakfast companion had the BLT and said it was nice, but not quite as nice as the last one she had there (which I guess happens from time to time!).

Service is mostly good though I’ve experienced a few ‘new’ staff there on my visits and guess that’s typical of holiday locales. The ambiance and the views however are what keep me going back. Plus the GF options of course.

Check out Pavilion by the Pier on Facebook, or the website for opening times and location.

Have you been there? Are you a fan?

* This is as likely as pigs flying or Australia finding a humanitarian AND bipartisan way of dealing with asylum seekers! 

Gatakers by Night

It took a while but I finally made it to Maryborough’s monthly soirée at the gorgeous Gatakers Artspace (within the Portside Precinct) – Gatakers by Night.

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Held on the last Saturday of the month (from 5-9pm) the free event features musicians and the opportunity to partake in the Night Watchman’s tour, visit the Military museum and often incorporates the launch or opening of a new show at the art gallery. Of course, if you’re like me you’re happy to kick back with a glass of bubbly (or two!) and enjoy the intimate environment and entertainment on offer.

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Wine, beer and softdrinks are available as well as a coffee van. Stalls offering pizza and cakes (mud cake or pavlova!) were also on hand. I would have liked a bit more variety (as a coeliac) but did note that the food available can vary from event to event.

September’s Gatakers by Night (GBN to those of us in the know… actually that’s a lie. I’m just using the acronym to avoid having to type the entire phrase again and again!)  featured local Irish band, Slainte – who everyone agreed were just fabulous.

printspaceThe new printspace – a collaborative project between Gatakers Artspace and local printmakers – was also launched in a building adjacent and I look forward to seeing the printing equipment (donated by Sue Flavel) in action down the track. Watching artists doing their thing is something GBN offers which you don’t find elsewhere.

And now the equipment is in place printmaking workshops are being held on a regular basis.

September’s GBN also featured a fashion parade – supported by Bundaberg designer Julie Appo featuring some amazing textiles,  and fabrics – part of a training course for local Butchilla girls.

girlsIt was a great opportunity for those involved AND we had the opportunity to see some gorgeous designs. Incidentally, I later checked out Julie’s website (as I really liked a couple of the pieces in the parade) and discovered that she also makes / sells accessories and homewares!

It appears she’s just setting up her online store but I wondered if she’s considered distributing her fashion and goods through other places – there’s a new art gallery / store on the Esplanade at Urangan which would be a good match!

compentriesI hadn’t been to the latest shows in the gallery so wandered through and was incredibly impressed by Visual Art entries (right) in the North Coast North Exhibition – part of the Creative Generation Awards involving a number of schools in the region.

For those interested, the Fraser Coast Chronicle ran this story in relation to the show, as two pieces by Aldridge State High School students have been selected to be displayed at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane next year.

art downstairsI also loved the rest of the work at the gallery (those on the left were my fave and yes, it appears I have a penchant for the bright and colourful!). I also enjoyed watching local artists in action, including  Brett Jones who launched his drawing magazine on the night – in an Australian first.

I loved so much about the evening. And it was interesting to see an entirely different crowd of people. Quite frankly I never knew there were as many edgy older women and funky young people in the area!

I’ll most definitely be back for more!

For information about the next GBN and other Fraser Coast Events check here, or like them on Facebook.

Brekkie at Bayaroma

Just after I started this blog I set up a corresponding Facebook page. Bizarrely I’m far more active on it than I am on either of my (main) blog pages, but for some reason it engages me more.

People occasionally ask where I get all of the information and – sadly – there’s no secret source… it’s just from other Facebook pages and the local paper (Fraser Coast Chronicle) / Twitter etc.

Occasionally I receive a request to promote a business on the page and I will try to share most stuff I receive, but in reality the site is more about sharing info than business promotion.

I am conscious however that I’m often sharing pics or updates from the same places again and again – and it’s really only predominantly because THEY share updates regularly, or provide gorgeous pictures that I can’t resist.

One such place is Bayaroma Cafe, which is HUGELY active on social media (something I, obviously, love!)

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I’d actually had several ‘business’ meetings at the cafe before finally lunching there a couple of months ago.

I’d been keen to dine there as I regularly salivated over the pictures they posted at lunchtime of their various specials (examples from the FB page above!). Indeed, the day I dined there with friends our lunches were enjoyed by all.

I have however, more recently been a few times for breakfast and it’s become my fave Hervey Bay breakfast locale because – VERY IMPORTANTLY – they have gluten free eggs benedict. I hadn’t previously located any GF eggs benedict (guess it’s all about the hollandaise sauce and bacon / ham and GF toast) on the Fraser Coast. In Brisbane I had a local haunt at Bulimba, where I devoured their eggs benedict (made on a potato rosti!) so I’m stoked to have found a local option.

On Saturday I also tried a smoothie. I’m not a huge devotee of homemade juices or smoothies (read: I hate fruit and green leafy stuff!), but I decided I was willing to try the watermelon smoothie and it was delicious!

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I know I probably need to try something different next time, or perhaps I’ll go for lunch… but, the crowds don’t lie (and Bayaroma is certainly always busy); and with a great spot on the esplanade in Torquay, with heaps of parking (etc) it’s a great breakfast, lunch or brunch destination!

Are you a Bayaroma fan?
Are you a lover of eggs benedict?

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival

Today, along with 45 million other people, I ventured along to the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival. (Yes okay…  I may be exaggerating. A little. There were only 35 million.)

I had such an amazing time at the Relish Food and Wine Festival I was quite excited by the prospect of one of the Whale Festival‘s premiere events – and it didn’t disappoint.

Of course I don’t really eat seafood, which is kind-of a bummer when you are attending a seafood festival – but in this case it didn’t matter.

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Festival admission cost $5 for adults (free for kids) and it had something for everyone with free kids’ activities as well as some jumping castles and the like. My friend’s little boy was delighted with a balloon creature wound tightly about his wrist lest it drift off into the ether.

I wasn’t sure how three stages would fit into Fishermen’s Park but it somehow worked with the main stage (very loud and very popular) along with cooking demonstrations and a smaller stage with more *ahem* refined music (at least while I was there).

dinnerThe Tastes of the Bay dinner booked out quickly and everyone I glimpsed inside the tent seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Not to be outdone, my friends and I partook in a frozen margarita drink – perfect given how bloody hot it was.

We were all Seafood Festival virgins, so unprepared for the crowds. Unlike Relish where food and drinks could be consumed anywhere, the area in which alcohol could be consumed was more limited (which was a bit of a shame) and with chairs and tables taken long before, we stood about uncomfortably to scoff our very-welcome drinks.

Without our own seating or rugs it was a bit difficult to just ‘hang around’ and the queues at most food stalls meant we decided against eating there.

We did order some wine from Kingaroy’s Crane Wines who were again popular and I’m already anticipating the arrival of some sparkling shiraz in coming days or weeks.

I’ll definitely head along to the Festival next year, although I will be more prepared (having had my Seafood Festival-going cherry popped this year). Getting in early to find  a ‘base’ or taking your own chairs / table / rugs seems sensible and would permit you to get comfortable and stay longer. Of course, booking early to get to the Tastes of the Bay lunch could also be ideal for seafood lovers.

I love that so many locals and visitors (alike) turned out to support the Festival and now eagerly await the remaining Whale Festival activities.

I hope other attendees had a fabulous time and will be back again next year!