Pizza, Texan barbecue platters and limited edition Indian Pale Ales will mark America's Independence Day this weekend at Murray's Brewery.
The Bobs Farm brewery and winery also has free concerts planned: Motown five-piece band Glover Lane on Saturday, July 4, and country soul singer Elyssa Faith on July 5.
"The Fourth of July is a significant national holiday and we're paying tribute through the release of some truly awesome American-style beers, American themed cocktails and American winter food specials," brewery owner Murray Howe said.
"American beer styles are evolving every day. There are so many different flavours to enjoy and expand your experiences."
One IPA brewed for the occasion is Navel Gazing, which "takes the distinct and intense character of navel oranges and pink grapefruit and marries them with carefully selected hops that enhance and complement their citrus flavours and aromas", Howe said.
It's citrusy and fruity, with notes of pineapple and tangerine. A sticky, caramel-laden malt body complements the fleshy fruit, followed by a grapefruit-inflected hop finish.
The other new release is the Icarus IPA.
"This is super hazy and thick in appearance with a thick head of foam," Howe said. "This style is known for the intense juicy hop flavour, a full creamy mouth feel and low bitterness."
Phone 0481 249 438 to book.
New addition to Cambo
Lost Boys Kebab is taking over the kitchen at The Cambridge Hotel soon. Chef Joel Humphreys (Scotties) is involved, and Food & Wine is chatting to him later this week. All will be revealed soon.
Findons opens at Marks Point
The freshly-renovated Marks Point Sports Club reopens today (July 1) with a new coffee shop and bistro known as Findons (the club is located on Findon Street). The menu is completely different and there is a new children's play area for the little ones. Check it out.
Bao and tunes at The Corner
RnBao Fridays are making a comeback at The Corner, Charlestown Square. Every Friday at Bao Brothers, 4pm to 6pm, you can enjoy bao for just $6 as well as $6 beer and "boozy" slushies. As for the soundtrack, it's strictly '90s RnB bangers only. Sounds like a great venue to kickstart your weekend.
Hats off to the chef
Hatted Newcastle restaurant subo is open for in-house dining again and with a new winter menu. Do yourself a favour and make a reservation - dishes like Mooloolaba king prawn with tataki shiro dashi, yuzu and roast almond, and dry-aged duck breast with rhubarb and barbequed celeriac, are waiting to be enjoyed.
A fresh start for Raul Cabrera
Food & Wine revealed a couple of weeks ago that Bocados was re-opening. The good news is, founder and chef Raul Cabrera is on track for a July opening date. It won't be called Bocados, though. The restaurant under that name is in liquidation. Cabrera's new restaurant will be called Bocados Spanish Kitchen.
"I'm starting over again," he told Food & Wine earlier this month.
"The restaurant suffered a blow because of COVID-19 but prior to that we were heading for a bounce back - 2020 was going to be the year that we got back to the figures we had before the tram lines, before the Supercars. We were just starting to see the light."
Upset at losing a business that had just celebrated its 10th anniversary, Cabrera realised he "needed to shake off the battles going on in my own head".
"I didn't want to dwell on miserable or angry thoughts any more," he said.
"I mean, the rest of the world was also suffering in so many ways. It wasn't just me. Then the landlord approached me and generously gave me the chance to start over at the same King Street site from scratch. I couldn't have done it otherwise."
Cabrera says "going into liquidation is not fun" and he "blamed himself for a long time". But he's starting afresh with a positive attitude - and plenty of support from friends, family and former customers.
"The new COVID rules are very restrictive and they could close the restaurants again at any time, so it's a case of day by day. Baby steps," he said. "But I love my food, I love to cook, I love what I do."
Back to win
Mayfield's Reece Hignell has achieved a personal milestone on MasterChef Australia: Back to Win. He finished sixth in season 10 of the popular cooking show and now finds himself in the top six. Here's hoping he can make the top five on Sunday night.
Byron Bay beckoned
Former Newcastle chef Simon Palmer has been appointed head chef at award-winning restaurant Beach Byron Bay. He started his career as a kitchenhand at Kitami in Newcastle while a student at Kotara High, moving on to Atlas and Bacchus. Then he relocated to Brisbane and restaurants Gerard and Urbane.
Palmer, whose family still live in the Hunter region, was head chef at e'cco bistro before accepting the head chef position at Beach, where he has redesigned the menu to focus on seafood.
"It was a bit of an unexpected move, but it's been good so far," he told Food & Wine. "Beach is part of the Fink group that owns Bennelong and Quay so it's a well-structured place to work."
It also overlooks the picturesque Clarke's Beach not far from Byron Bay's lighthouse. Not too shabby.
New kid on the block
The Rum Diary Bar is an institution on Melbourne's Brunswick Street and now it's coming to Newcastle. It will be located on Hunter Street at the former 529 The Terrace.
Freebie of the week
Part culinary journey and part cookbook, this is a collection of rich and evocative recipes and stories from one of Australia's most awarded chefs and restaurateurs: Nino Zoccali, of The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand. The food is diverse. Think Prosecco and snapper risotto, Croatian roast lamb shoulder with olive oil potatoes, the sweet and sour red mullet of Crete, zabaglione from Corfu, or Dubrovnik's ricotta and rose liqueur crepes. Venetian Republic: Recipes from the Veneto, Adriatic Croatia and the Greek Islands is out now through Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the words "Venetian Republic" with your name, address and phone number to email@example.com. Entries close at 9am on Monday.