Sunday, October 14, 2012

reaquainted with solo restaurant eating: darwin

When I traveled overseas, I learnt the skill of eating by myself in restaurants. I loved eating out and soaking up the atmosphere in a restaurant/place - all I had to do was overcome my self-conscious thoughts like 'do I look weird eating by myself' and feel confident about my own company. Eventually, having dinner solo was a calming end to the day - I don't have to speak to anyone, but there was enough stimuli around me to keep me thinking. I liked the independence.

When I went to Darwin a while ago, I realised I hadn't eaten in a restaurant solo for ages. I felt awkward and out of place... Thank goodness for my smart phone 8) and capacity to daydream.

Amazing Thailand (Mitchell Street)
I'm a kind of person who must eat once I wake up, otherwise I will get dizzy and scatter-brained... On this occasion, I forgot to buy anything to eat in the morning and unexpectingly had to work for three hours... I then I navigated myself in 30 degree heat from my hotel to hostel. I was STARVING. Normally I steer away from tourist areas, but couldn't help myself this time. I stumbled into a Thai restaurant down the road - the restaurant was interesting as two whole walls were removed to help ventilation (and created a perfect opportunity for people watching).

I ordered a lemongrass stir fry with vegetables... The meal probably verged on horrible as I couldn't taste any lemongrass and the pumpkin tasted like it had been sitting in the fridge for a few days. I also got some sort of soup, which consisted of msg water and cucumber. Maybe the Thai food in the Top End is a bit different... but for what it was, it was still kinda bland. le sigh.

Manoli's Greek Taverna Restaurant (Smith Street)
I get sick and tired of the limited range of food in Canberra, so in Darwin I went on a journey to find a cuisine that's not easily accessible in Canberra - and Greek it was! Outside, the restaurant looked quaint and kitschy, with checkered tablecloths and blue/white Greek colour combination. Nevertheless, it was refreshing.

I was on a health kick, and ordered well for that purpose... Greek baked beans and zucchini (pan fried with some sort of seasoning and mashed potato). The food was tasty, but overpriced (I paid around $18 for both). I've made Greek baked beans at  home before and those at the restaurant were good, but not stunningly amazing. Oh well - it gave me ideas of what I could cook for myself if I felt ultra lazy and needed healthy food.

Oishi Ya (Mitchell Street)
In Canberra, I don't have many friends who I can enjoy Japanese food with... so I grasped the opportunity of being in Darwin and had a bento box. But a barramundi bento box? Is this common? I've never seen this combo before... Apparently miso paste was used to flavour the barra, but I couldn't taste a thing. Nevertheless, the fish was cooked well and the tofu was decent. I probably ate it all 5 minutes - again, I was starving as I had walked for 1 hour up and down hills with ballet flats in 30 degree weather... idiot.

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