Radio Cairo

photoWe have eaten well, no question.  Australia is justly proud of its innovative cuisine, its chefs, wines, whiskies, stickies, oysters, seafood, wagyu and wallaby.  And we have been treated to some of the best of all the above.

But my favorite meal – for its food as well as for its atmosphere – was at Radio Cairo in Mosman, a 25 year old standout that serves African, Caribbean, Indian and Sri Lankan deliciousness.  God the food is good!  Load up the table and share Limpopo Crocodile Wings (chicken), Cajun Popcorn (shrimp), South African Lamb Sosaties (yum), pappadums and SL Kaha Rice spiced up with Maghreb Hot-Ass Harissa.   This was Jeremy’s birthday dinner, and none better could have been planned.

And to top it off, Charlie Burrows, manager of this multicultural gem, hails from Kenya. We discovered over these plates of goodness that our paths had crossed about 35 years ago on Lamu? the Taita Hills?  We cannot remember, but there he was, working the non-stop busy room with grace and affability, although once we had discovered our connection the other servers had to launch into high gear to cover for him.

Radio Cairo is owned by Srian Perera,  a very good Sri Lankan businessman and ex-anthropologist (not a common combination!).  His description of Radio Cairo is worth transcribing here:

RADIO CAIRO is my expression of cultural diversity at its most positive.  I’m of Sri Lankan (Wijeyekoon), Irish (Kennedy), German Jew (De Worms), Portuguese (Perera) and English (Martin) origin!

The “Spice and Human trade” organically created me and the cuisine at RADIO CAIRO.  People and food from China to South Asia to India to Europe to Africa to Caribbean to Southern Americas centred in Slave Island, Kandy and Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka.

http://radiocairo.com.au/

Charlie Murtagh

DSCN1407 - ABOUT USWe strolled the Salamanca Saturday market that wound its way around the Hobart waterfront and fell in love with some short brown dress boots.  Three pairs were left and, one by one, Jeremy, Katie and I had a go at trying them on.  Too large for Jeremy; too small for Katie; almost just right for me but, when Jeremy found out that it was Charlie Murtagh who made them, that he lived ten minutes outside of town and that he would gladly custom make us some boots while we went up the coast, I, too, decided to hold off for the perfect size.  But I knew we were on to a good thing because I would have fudged the size with an innersole and gone with the half size too big.

Three days later, we returned to 16 Victor Place which turns out to be Charlie’s home and workshop.  Here he makes Australia’s preeminent riding boots — race boots, track boots, and dress boots — all by hand with a huge dash of pride and care.  His wife told me that he had worked well in to the two nights to complete this order (“he can rest later,” she said) and there they were – perfect in every way.  And the price was right at $220 a pair.  I also found a pair of jockey boots that were forming on a client’s mold, and I ordered those as well to be sent along when finished at leisure.

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http://www.murtaghridingboots.com.au/

Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

IMG_1518Three hours north of Hobart lies a magnificent peninsula that stretches gracefully in to the Tasman Sea.  Its pink granite and feldspar hills rise from cobalt waters and a necklace of coves with white sand beaches.  It is a magnificent scenery - majestic, ever changing, pristine. The Freycinet Peninsula is the jewel in the crown of Freycinet National Park. It is said that the air here is the purist on earth, the measurement of purity being measured by the quantity and diversity of lichens that streak the granite.

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The jewel in the crown of the peninsula is Wineglass Bay, a deep crescent beach of stunning proportions, bleached sand and turquoise water.  Nominated the 7th most beautiful beach in the world, it is only accessible by sea or on foot over a saddle in the Hazards, the granite backbone of the peninsula.

photoPressed for time and having spent our one free day at sea (where we saw three humpbacks breaching and tail slapping) and learning about oyster farming in neighboring Moulting Lagoon (where I ate the best oysters ever), we took a 40-minute overflight of the area and circled Wineglass Bay.  Cheating, maybe, but I couldn’t leave without this view.

We stayed at Saffire Hotel, a Luxury Lodge of Australia and an architecturally fascinating hotel of 26 suites with a commitment to great food and wine. Tasmania has become a culinary destination, and due to long days and more marked temperatures, its wines now compete with those of the mainland.  There is also a recent focus on whiskey production, and those who enjoy trawling the distilleries of the Hebrides may well want to include part of Tasmania’s whiskey trail on a trip to the island.

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http://www.saffire-freycinet.com.au/

Berlin Buddha – MONA

photoBerlin Buddha, Zhang Huan, 2007

This piece uses 8 tons of incense ash – collected from temples around Shanghai – packed into the aluminum mould opposite.

Gonzo’s commentary: Tweedledee Tweedledum

Lisa’s commentary:  Reminds me of the shifting sands of Serengeti