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Showing posts with the label writing for food

Return of the Laksa King?

For the last couple weeks I've been watching - with a mix of amusement, bemusement and some hope - as one of Flemington's best loved joints re-invented itself. The new signage reminiscent of McDonald's brought a smile - is the King thinking of a dynasty of chain stores? The new location on Pin Oak Crescent is confusing because the existing location was always buzzing and bookings were theoretically possible but often bungled. And the hope? Well, I just wanted the food to be as good as when the King slummed it in a grubby arcade and you came away with change from a tenner for that steaming bowl of Malaysian soup. We arrived late for our reservation and there was a huge crowd bubbling over into the street. It was opening week and there were floral tributes piling the windows, so I expected we'd be worshipping at the feet of the King for a while before our audience. But I was wrong. The new venue seats 200, so our reservation was honoured and we're zoomed through to

Reject Me Nots: How to Get and Give Rejection Letters

Like most writers, I've had my fair share of "de-sucessings", "thanks but no thanks" and "If you continue to send your work to us we will release the hounds" letters. Part of 'getting your work out there' is that often it gets bounced back to you, but it makes it all the more satisfying when a reader/editor/intern actually "gets" your work. To paraphrase one of my favourite rejection letters – they're opinions are learned but also subjective. Your work can fall on their desk at exactly the wrong time, be in the middle of a lump of stories on the exact same subject or just be the piece that’s read before an editor has a cup of coffee. Don’t take it personally because there are a thousand decisions between your submission and publication. Some writers develop such strong relationships with their work that a rejection letter hurts like getting dumped. So like a good break-up, a good rejection letter is clear and concise but respect

Shadow reviews

There was a marketing questionnaire that came from Lonely Planet asking authors how many reviews they reckoned they'd written. I really wouldn't have a clue. As a guesstimate, there's hundreds in any guidebook you write then there's a gagillion food reviews, plus about a billion shadow reviews. These are the reviews you start writing then work out that your subject is never going to make it in, so you keep writing it just for yuks. Some of them are pure fiction while in others only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Here's a couple from the notebooks - including my Scotland blog : Seven-11 The ambience is bright, fluorescently so, with an emphasis on brand names and logos that lends a pop culture chic. Chef “Hi, I’m Dave”, whose career we’ve followed from the Dandenong Rd’s Shell Servo, offers us the five chocolate bars for two dollars, but go for the house special – the caldo cane . Rolling over on a unique warmer/disinfector, the “dogs” (indulg

The Ten Dollar Sandwich

It's Cheap Eats review time again. I've been reviewing for them for about five years, but this year I'm finding that inflation has pushed a lot of places out of the $30 for 2-courses category. Waiters shrug and mumble about fuel prices and troubles on the land, but there's been a slow creep. It started with the humble sandwich. With the discovery of the focaccia , bread-based meals jumped the $5 mark. Cafe owners warmed to the idea like the slabs of bread pressed under a griller and soon you could get the Italian bread in almost every two-bit place for a price of seven bits. A couple of iterations followed - the baguette , the panini and the wrap - nudging the price up a dollar or so each, but no-one ever thought they'd actually break the ten buck limit. It was the hospitality equivalent of the sound barrier. I thought there would have to be some new innovation to do it: styling sandwiches into a dosa cone or throwing on an unecessary side dish ('Do you wa

Are you a hackpacker?

What is hackpacking? It's hard to put a finger on. More one of those "know it when you've seen it" deals. Wondering if you're a hackpacker, then then take this simple quiz: - Have you ever found yourself at a laptop at 4am typing up notes that you wrote only four hours ago yet still cannot read? - Are most of your memories of great world cities about their photocopying shops or free wi-fi hotspots? bonus points if you've ever taken photos of particularly good internet cafes. - True or false: rental car companies are the devil's work and will try to stick you for a dint in the beverage holder if you don't watch them and triple-photocopy every piece of paperwork. - Ever found yourself swiping jam sachets from a B&B dining room because they might come in handy when evoking the atmosphere of the place? - Do most of your friends have to be reminded who you are with prompts like "Y'know the guy who sends you the postcards" or "I'm