Best of the Gold Coast: Alto Cucina & Bar in Broadbeach

This past weekend was the Blues on Broadbeach music festival! In case you didn't know I'm originally from Mississippi (USA). I grew up very close to the Delta...I've been to the BB King Blues Club in Memphis more times than I can remember.... I would get ready for school each morning with the sounds of Robert Johnson playing on the radio. Let's just say I grew up with the blues. I've been a bit homesick lately so I jumped at the opportunity to immerse myself in the familiar sounds.

The colorful crowd gathering to listen to the blues...

Little Paw Paw Official Opening in Kedron

Breakfast lover's rejoice! Little Paw Paw Cafe is open for business! Darrell (@ausmican_eats) and I were ecstatic when Giorgina Venzin invited us to come along to the opening "brinner" (breakfast for dinner) event. Little Paw Paw is the newest addition to the Venzin Group. You've no doubt heard of the Venzin Group they are the foodies behind some of the best eateries in Brisbane (Green Papaya, Mons ban sabai, Paw Paw Cafe, Picnic)

And now Little Paw Paw! Next time you are on the north side head into Little Paw Paw for a scrumptious breakfast, incredible lunch, or your morning caffeine hit. They are open 7 days a week from 6:30am. The menu is perfection. Little Paw Paw has everything you need to get you going in the morning. We sampled small, party style versions of some of the delights you can find on the menu at Little Paw Paw. See how our night went: 

Mini avo on toast were absolutely delicious! Creamy, crunchy goodness!

The Bread & Meat Co opens in Fortitude Valley

If you haven't heard of The Bread & Meat Co you must literally be living under a rock. This place is the talk of the town. Our Instagram feed has been bombarded with delicious looking sandwiches and poutine for weeks now. We'd finally had enough! We had to see what all the fuss was about...

Reef Seafood & Sushi at Gasworks Plaza

Reef Seafood & Sushi know the meaning of the phrase "wine and dine"... A few weeks ago Reef announced on Instagram that they were holding a contest to win a magnum of Moet and a seafood platter. All you had to do to win this glorious prize was follow Reef on Instagram and regram a photo of the platter. Simple right? I had to enter I mean Moet AND seafood?! That's a pretty sweet deal. I was doubtful I would win.... with me being so unlucky and all... But hey! You can't win if you don't put your horse in the race, right?  Moet is one of those drinks we only have on special occasions because ...well were not that fancy. We love Moet so much and the chance of getting a 1.5L bottle of it for FREE was too good to pass up.

Autumn menu @ Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm

No matter how many times we head to the country the beauty of Queensland never ceases to amaze me. There really is nothing like spending the weekend in the country. If you are ever in need of something to do on the weekend I highly recommend exploring southern Queensland. We've explored the Lockyer Valley....Mt. Barney....Boonah and so much more.

The gorgeous lavender fields...

Toro Bravo in Fortitude Valley

Toro Bravo is located on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. They specialize in tapas and steak. Coincidently, tapas and steak are two of our favourite things so we were overjoyed when we were invited to dinner. Here's a little history on Toro Bravo:

Pictured above are our two favourite wines from Toro Bravo, the dining area, and the smoked pork belly slider

Toro Bravo began as Bravo Wine Bar. In 2002, they opened Monsoon Panasian restaurant adjacent to Bravo Wine Bar. In 2009 after 7 years Monsoon became Bravo Bar B Que- a chargrill restaurant. The truly exception seafood, poultry, and steak saw Bravo Bar B Que being recognized as 'Best Steak Restaurant Queensland'. After 15 great years Bravo Wine Bar was able to secure a long term lease. Bravo Bar B Que was unfortunately not able to do so and closed it's doors in December of last year. This upset sparked a major transformation. They began to set plans in motion to create a restaurant that would encompass the best parts of both restaurants (Bravo Wine Bar & Bravo Bar B Que)...and so Toro Bravo was born! Toro Bravo combines the amazing tapas from Bravo Wine Bar with the beautiful chargrilled produce from Bravo Bar B Que. 

We decided to catch an early dinner at Toro Bravo. We arrived around 5:30pm to a surprisingly quiet restaurant. Not that we were complaining we managed to get a free parking space right outside the building! The place is absolutely gorgeous inside. The decor at Toro Bravo is very stylish. They even have a fire place. This is sure to attract cold, hungry customers with winter approaching. It has that romantic & sophisticated vibe you traditionally get at a Spanish restaurant. The atmosphere was very relaxing. We could immediately envision ourselves seated by the fire sharing a few cocktails with friends. 

Lots of large tables-perfect for groups...
We were immediately greeted by a very cordial waiter who showed us to our table. We took one look at the menu and were overwhelmed by the variety. As we say when in doubt ask the staff! Our waiter was more than happy to give us a hand. The tapas menu at Toro Bravo is designed for single serve. Given they were small and very affordable we decided to be adventurous and try one of everything on it!

The options on the current tapas menu at Toro Bravo are as follows: 

Chicken & chargrilled corn koftas w. harissa & preserved lemon...Jamon & fire roasted pepper croquettes w. chilli tomato...baked streaky bacon wrapped dates w. warm honey...tomato-basil- manchego arancini...chargrilled lamb & queso halloumi skewers w. rosemary oil...and chicken & green chilli spring rolls w. sour orange dip...

Incredibly delicious! The tapas menu is an explosion of beautiful savoury & sweet flavours! You can't choose just one. The arancini and the bacon wraped dates are a MUST TRY. 

We  enjoyed the crunchy chicken spring roll. The halloumi and lamb skewers were juicy and tender (Darrell's favourite)

From the Montadito menu we ordered the smoked pork shoulder slow cooked in beer w. aioli & pickled zucchini on a soft bun...

This dish warms the soul. Perfectly slow cooked pork shoulder between a warm, soft bun. Delicious.

The Racion menu at Toro Bravo are larger style tapas made for sharing. We chose two dishes off the Racion menu:

Seafood & chicken paella w. summer greens...crisp fried calamari in spiced rice flour w. aioli...

This dish has a VERY generous amount of seafood. So many juicy prawns- heaven!

Tender calamari is so hard to find. Toro Bravo's calamari ticked all the boxes. One of the best we've had.

For our mains we had:

300g eye fillet cooked medium rare with sage & mushroom sauce & potato gratin....and Moroccan spiced salmon w. roasted tomato & potato mash, wilted spinach...

This steak really speaks for itself. I mean look at it! Toro Bravo knows the secret to a great steak. So tender! The mushroom & sage sauce compliments this meal very well. 

One of my favourite dishes of the night! The salmon was seasoned to perfection. The skin was extra crunchy and the meat of the fish flaked at the forked. Every element on this dish was spot on. I would have this again and again!

Chef Chris Anderson is a master in the kitchen. The food was sensational we are still raving about it to our family and friends. Everything came out in perfect time. The staff are very professional and attentive. I think it's safe to say this is one of our favourite restaurants in Brisbane. Try Toro Bravo for yourself!

*more pictures from our Spanish feast below 

**Update: Toro Bravo will also be the sponsor of our first official 'Eat Brisbane' instameet ! Follow @eatbrisbane on instagram to stay updated.

Toro Bravo on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of Toro Bravo. All opinions expressed are our own. 

The Official Drink For A Better Life: Bionade Organic Drinks

We were lucky enough to be approached by Bionade Australia to try their bottled beverages! Haven't heard of Bionade ? Here's the scoop:

Bionade is a 100% certified organic soft drink. It's the most popular healthy bottled beverage in Europe and now its down under! Bionade is the brain child of a Bavarian brewer who dreamed of creating the first 100% organic, sustainable soft drink. After 10 years of experimenting Bionade was born. Bionade is brewed exactly like German beer but without alcohol. It contains 40% less sugar! This drink is a game changer!

We tried these four delicious flavours: Lychee, Ginger-Orange, Elderberry & Herbs.

So what did we think?

To put it simply, we're hooked! I mean what's not to love? This drink has all the good qualities of traditional soft drinks (fizzy, refreshing, flavourful) without any of the bad (calories, kidney problems, obesity). In fact, after reading this you should immediately go throw away all those sugary, fatty soft drinks that are currently sitting in your fridge and replace them with Bionade.

Lychee is a sweet, fruity treat. We found it went well with desserts. I know what you're thinking....desserts are pretty unhealthy....BUT you're drinking a Bionade so that sort of makes up for it.

Ginger-Orange is crisp and refreshing. You know that bloated feeling after you've drank a full can of Coca Cola quickly because you were dying of thirst. You don't get that feeling with Bionade.

Herbs is an excellent palate cleanser and we hear it's awesome at combating a hangover. We decided against purposely getting a hangover to test this out...

Our favourite flavour is without a doubt ELDERBERRY! It's incredibly delicious and I've yet to find something I don't like it with...

We recently went glamping at Mt.Barney and we packed the cooler full of delicious Bionade drinks. It was perfect. We enjoyed a warm fire, mountain views, and a few bottles of Bionade. Try Bionade today, we highly recommend it :)

*AmerAus received a case of Bionade from Bionade Australia for the purpose of this review

Oishii Sushi Bar in Sunnybank Hills

Before booking a table for two at Oishii Sushi Bar we hit up Urbanspoon to find out what people were saying...The reviews were overwhelming positive! When people start saying things like... "BEST SUSHI" and "Consistently good" or "We travel all the way from the North-side for their food"...we get a bit excited. So last Saturday we hopped in the car and made our way to Sunnybank Hills to see what the fuss was about.

We were lucky enough to get there as a few people were exiting. It was clear that this was a very popular spot. We thought we'd struggle to find a parking place. Oishii is neighbours with a few other seemingly popular eateries. There are constantly people coming in and moving out. So if you are patient a spot will become available.

Upon arrival we were instantly greeted by the owner Eric Adiwinata. He was very friendly, and down to earth guy. We chatted about the restaurant and most importantly the food! Oishii Sushi Bar has been a permanent fixture  in Sunnybank Hills for around 8 years. They aren't your typical sushi place, however. They specialize in fusion sushi. Fusion sushi combines traditional sushi making techniques with contemporary ingredients and presentation! So you see they give the chefs a bit of creative liberty in the kitchen. They have the freedom to experiment with new flavours. Believe us when we say they've come up with some killer creations. 

For our starters we had garlic butter scallops (seared scallops in a garlic butter sauce) & tori karage (marinated deep fried chicken)

We were pleasantly surprised by the garlic butter scallops. They are not something you typically see on the menu at a sushi restaurant. The owner, Eric, highly recommended them. After trying them we fully understand why. They were so delicious. 

The scallops were plump, juicy, and very fresh. The garlic butter sauce was divine. So creamy - you won't want to leave a drop. 
Darrell is still raving about the tori karage. He did not want to share this starter with me. This was a very decent size dish. 

Juicy, super crunchy, and packed with flavour.

Your search for a great sushi place is over. Oishii  serves up fresh, unique, and incredibly satisfying sushi. 

We ordered the Red Dragon Roll & the Spider Roll...

The Red Dragon Roll is an avocado roll topped with fillets of salmon & black sesame seeds.
 It's no secret that salmon and avocado are a match made in heaven.The salmon was very fresh. A classic pairing! If you are a sushi traditionalist this is the roll for you. 

Next up, we had the Spider roll which consists of tempura soft shell crab, kani tama (Japanese fish cake & egg) cucumber, and flying fish roe. 
 DELICIOUS! Juicy soft shell crab- what's not to love?

Last, but certainly not least the salmon aburi don which consisted of seared salmon, caramelised onion sauce, and mayo topped with shallots and seaweed. 

 If you haven't had torched salmon before you should definitely try it. The salmon was so tender it flaked at the fork. It has a beautiful smoky flavour that will make you want to savour every bite. 
This dish is a MUST TRY. 

Needless to say after this feast we were pretty full ..... but then we took a look at the dessert menu. We decided on the deep fried chocolate ice cream and a strawberry ice cream shot with chocolate pebbles.

Crunchy....chocolate-y goodness! 
We love the elegant presentation of this sweet treat 

All the food came out in excellent time. After 8 years in the business they are a well oiled machine.  The staff was very hospitable- making sure we had everything we needed at all times. As I said it's not your typical sushi place. One thing I really appreciated is the effort Oishii puts into their food presentation.  The food looked as good as it tasted. It's easy to see why this place is so popular in Sunnybank Hills. If you haven't checked out Oishii Sushi Bar in Sunnybank Hills you are doing your stomach a huge disservice. 

Oishii Sushi Bar Facebook Page 

Oishii Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of Oishii Sushi Bar. All opinions expressed are our own.