Finney Isles Cocktail Masterclass

I have absolutely no excuse to not be able to make a cocktail anymore after Finney Isles hosted a fun and informative (and delicious) cocktail masterclass evening inside their alluring big blue door.

The Finney Isles team had chosen four cocktails to share with us and they were all in fine form. My friend also swore they must have chosen their most handsome barmen – worked well for the photos!

We were provided a bit of a history lesson around each cocktail, perhaps a history story would be more accurate. They guys were full of hilarious quips which made the history to each drink highly amusing – a little poetic licence never hurt anyone! I won’t go to much into the history of each drink as I won’t do them any justice. You’ll just have to go in and visit for yourself!

Our welcome drink was a gin rhubarb peppermint and armaro spritz. I loved the peppermint hit – made for a really unique and refreshing cocktail.

First up, we learnt how to make a margarita which was apparently originally called a daisy! This was lost in translation in Mexico. The most important note I remembered from this cocktail was to use good tequila! 100% agave is sooo much better and worth the price tag. Fresh citrus is an absolute must – it activates your tongue! I’m not sure what activating your tongue means but I like the sound of it.

A beautifully balanced margarita is created from tequila, tripple sec and citrus as well as the all important salt rim!
Hilariously, in Mexico this was just to keep the flies out – they didn’t know that they were creating something delicious.

Next up, a mojito! Would you believe rum was considered to be for the slaves way back so this was how the higher class people dressed it up to make it taste nice.

There was a lot of debate from the team on how much soda should be used at the end. Majority were on the slim to none side – contrary to popular belief.

The other important note, slap your mint, don’t muddle it. Muddling bruises the leaves whereas slapping activates the flavours.

A Martini Tuxedo was up next. Again we were reminded not to use sh*t ice. Also interesting was to rub the lemon skin on the glass stem. This transfers the smell onto your hands while you drink the cocktail for an integrated experience. So thoughtful.

Last but never least, we made pinã coladas. I love a properly made pinã colada! Fresh coconut cream and pineapple makes all the difference here.

After our lessons we were able to jump behind the bar and make our own cocktails. Of course I chose the pinã colada… mainly because I wanted to drink another one but also because it didn’t involve any challenging moves.

Hot tips for delicious cocktails
• Use bigger ice cubes (freeze water in a big container and smash it up). Otherwise they dilute too fast and water down the drinks. We can’t have that now.
• Always have fresh citrus in the fridge.
• Quality alcohol is important. Especially quality tequila.

I’d still prefer to visit Finney Isles to have my cocktails made – their expert knowledge is undeniable and the taste and experience is on point.

The Vietnamese, Fortitude Valley

Hungover? Pho is the answer.

Actually it’s the answer to most things if you’re asking my opinion.

I dragged my Flatty, David to The Vietnamese in Fortitude Valley to fulfill my pho craving for lunch today.

Pho is like the ultimate comfort food. It warms you up, makes you feel happy and content.

We sat down and I ordered without even opening the menu – the food came out pretty quickly, hot and delicious.

Beautiful broth and tender rare beef (so often it is overlooked elsewhere) – it made me so happy. I, of course, ate too much though and could have practically rolled home. Instead I settled for a 2 hour nap. Perfect!

I had tried to visit The Vietnamese on Friday night but the staff advised me it would be a better idea to come in another time as there was an hour wait in the kitchen – I was thankful for their transparency.

The atmosphere and interior may not be much but the quality of the food is high and the prices cheap. New local pho spot pho (pronounced fur) sure! See what I did there?!

The Vietnamese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fat Dumpling Bar, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

I’d been recommended to visit Fat Dumpling by a few people, Friday night, upon learning it was BYO was the night.

When we arrived they said half an hour but then seated us straight away. Service was certainly slow – they could do with an extra staff member for sure.

The hilarity began when I was opening the champagne. I took the metal and foil off, ready to pop the cork but the waiter distracted me. POP!!! The cork flew straight up to the roof and ricocheted back. Suddenly the whole place wanted to chat to us.

We were speaking with two people on a date (the guy wasn’t too happy but the girl was chatty as can be) to start then the table next to them joined in too. They’d obviously had a few wines already and were rather jovial!

It’s quite an intimate space, only one line of table on each side so when the dating couple with annoyed boyfriend left, the waiter ushered us into their table and pushed it over to join the rowdy tables saying ‘you can sit with your friends now.’ It was all pretty funny and we were having a great time with them but did feel rude gate crashing their party so old mate waiter could fit another in couple!

Anyway it took forever for him to take our order. We went with the steamed pork and cabbage, steamed prawn & garlic chives, crystal cucumber salad and the salt and pepper squid (as recommended by rowdy table.)

Very glad we took the squid recommendation, it’s the best I’ve had in a long time. Great flavour and great texture. The dumplings were delicious – soft and flavoursome.

Fat Dumplings is cheap and BYO, it’s on Brunswick Street in the Valley so easy to get to and while the service certainly wasn’t spectacular, we did make some lovely new friends and nearly create some new ventilation in the roof with our cork!


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Harajuku Gyoza on a Wednesday

Wednesday. I would never have driven if I had predicted how the evening would fold out!

I love Harajuku Gyoza. It’s loud. It’s Japanesy. People are excited. The dumplings rock. So do the sides. And the beer. It’s easy to find in Fortitude Valley. Happy days.

My fave part of the restaurant though is the yelling when people order their sake. It is absolutely hilarious and soooo much fun.

Lisa, Beck and I headed there on one of our semi-regular catch ups. We ordered all the dumplings… like everything on the menu and some! I also had the cucumber & miso salad and we shared the eggplant and pork belly – I can’t fault anything!

I asked for a Kirin beer – Lisa thought I had ordered a cider and was appalled to find she had ordered a beer. All the more for me though! We decided she would drive my car home and I would drink her beer. Win, win.

The guys across from us ordered sake and we fell into complete hysterics at the faces they made – one guy in particular was horrified. So we decided to order some. It’s way too fun not to join in! A guy from the horrified face table joined us and accused us of not drinking all our sake. He quickly took great offence to us enquiring whether he was a Kiwi. While we were bickering his friend sent us over 3 more sake shots for his amusement. I was pretty much done by that stage but with some encouragement we all picked up our glasses and threw them back. Our ‘lovely’ friend departed but not before commenting that we were all ‘beautiful ladies as long as we kept our mouths shut’ which had us dissolve into absolute fits of laughter.

Great night!






Harajuku Gyoza

Sake Sake SAKEEE!!!! Summimasennnnnn!!! Sometimes I can’t tell if they actually have something to say or whether they’re just yelling for Vacuum bags are amazing!!!! fun of it. I expect the latter.I LOVE the atmosphere at Harajuku Gyoza, it’s just so fun and exciting! Between staff yelling, dancing, the music and the design you’re never quite sure where to look in case you miss something.A huge open kitchen allows you to watch with a watering mouth as your Gyoza is cooked. You can choose to sit at a private table or at the bar surrounding the kitchen. Both are good.Dumplings are made to share so grab a buddy and choose a whole bunch. I usually go for prawn, duck and pork. Pan fried mmmm.I usually get the cucumber miso salad to accompany it with some edamame and a Kirin, delicious beer to complement the Gyoza. Mouth is watering just writing this.I made an amazing discovery here the other day. Basically it’s tempura eggplant. Holy wow. Melts in your mouth. Try it.The other awesome thing is the dessert dumpling. Yup you heard right! You can choose from Nutella an banana, deep fried with ice cream – my personal fave or the peanut butter an white choc with ice cream. Also yummy.Guess where I’m going to have to head for dinner now I’ve written this?!Do yourself a favor when you visit, order Sake. Even if you don’t want it or like it – it’s just fun 🙂

Prawn & duck gyoza
Tempura eggplant, miso cucumber salad & edamame
Dessert gyoza

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