Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011

There's great news today for anyone in Sydney or NSW who loves nothing more than heading to the pub for a glass or two of something cold and a delicious, well-priced meal.

The inaugural Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 is published today, and is set to establish itself as the definitive and indispensible guide to the best pub food throughout the Sydney area and regional NSW.

The book's publication will be complemented by the launch of the Good Pub Food Guide 2011 iPhone app later this month.

To celebrate the publication of the new Guide, the first ever Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide Awards were held last night in Sydney, recognising the most outstanding pub food offerings in a range of categories.

Winner of the Best Overall Award was the Four in Hand in Paddington, a pub that also carried off the Best Pub by Region (City & Suburbs) Award.

(For a full list of categories and Award winners, please see below).

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 is edited by renowned pub aficionado Keith Austin, who, along with a team of dedicated reviewers, spent several months putting together the material to make this Guide a pub-lover's delight.

Commenting on the Guide, Keith said that that the humble hotel is undergoing something of a renaissance, possibly fuelled by the inexorable rise of the so-called gastropub in the UK but also, he believes, by the realization that top-end dining has become prohibitively expensive in recent years.

"Pubs can – and do – serve some great food, and it's about time people realised that," Keith said. "There is a misconception that pubs are all about pie-warmer pies and dodgy sausage rolls but that's no longer the case."

"Our team of 70 reviewers visited more than 550 pubs across NSW – everywhere from Bryon to Dubbo, Wentworth, Eden and beyond – and we encountered everything from wagyu beef to fish so fresh it winked at you from the plate."

Keith said that his review team had to choose from more than 1,600 pubs and hotels across Sydney and NSW.

All the pubs reviewed in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 are scored out of 20, with the lowest score of 12 signifying "not bad" and a score of more than 18 receiving the ultimate "gastro-tastic" accolade.

The Guide also uses a "schooner" ranking – just like the chef's hat and wine glass rankings in the recently-published Good Food Guide 2011 and Good Wine Guide 2011 books and apps.

Eight pubs around Sydney, Newcastle and regional NSW scored the top possible ranking of three schooners, while nine pubs scored two schooners and an impressive 30 pubs received a one "raise a glass of the good stuff" schooner rank.

As well as the reviews, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 features handy "The Best" sections, including the best beer lists, the best family-friendly pubs, the best views – even the best chips!

"This being the first Good Pub Food Guide we can't claim to be omniscient, and there will be places serving great food which we haven't yet discovered," Keith said, adding that readers are warmly invited to suggest pubs for future reviews by contacting him at goodpubfoodguide@gmail.com or by posting suggestions on the Good Food Guide Facebook page (www.facebook.com/goodfoodguide).

"Publicans are beginning to realise that the key to a great pub is exceptional pub grub. And if you want to know where to find it, this is the book for you. Certainly there are a few even I haven't managed to get round to yet so maybe I'll see you there."

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 is on sale from Tuesday, December 7 at bookstores, newsagents and online at www.smhshop.com.au, or by calling The Sydney Morning Herald  on 1300 656 059. Recommended retail price is $24.95.

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide 2011 iPhone app is available soon from the iTunes store for $9.99.



THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD GOOD PUB FOOD GUIDE AWARDS 2011

Ø  Best Overall

The Four In Hand, Paddington

Ø  Best pub by region (City & suburbs)

The Four In Hand, Paddington

Ø  Best pub by region (Newcastle & surrounds)

Carrington Place, Newcastle

Ø  Best pub by region (Country)

Mount Kembla Village Hotel, Mount Kembla

Ø  Best family friendly

Appin Hotel, Appin

Ø  Best location

The Newport Arms, Newport

Ø  Best waterfront location

The Smithtown Riverview Hotel, Smithtown

Ø  Best beer garden

Burrawang Village Hotel, Burrawang

Ø  Best service (individual)

Danielle Jukes at The Royal Hotel, Moree

Ø  Best service (team)

Harwood Hotel, Harwood

Ø  Most promising

Simon Sim at the Botany Bay Hotel

Ø  Best beer list

The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst

Ø  Best use of local produce

Mount Kembla Village Hotel, Mount Kembla

Ø  Best value for money

The Shakespeare Hotel, Surry Hills

Ø  Best community involvement

The Heads Hotel Motel, Shoalhaven Heads


About the editor:

Keith Austin is a pub lover of old and a former restaurant reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald. He has also edited two cookbooks (Blokes and Seafood). British by birth and Australian by choice, Keith sipped his first beer at the tender age of six or seven — a glass of old-fashioned bottled Guinness passed surreptitiously out of the door of the local boozer in East London by his paternal grandmother, who said it would do him good. And so far she's been right. Drinking and eating in pubs has been a pastime of Keith's ever since, so when he was approached to edit The Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Food Guide, his only question was 'when and where do I start?

                                  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Whale Warrior || Peter Bethune


Environmentalist and anti-whaling campaigner Pete Bethune is now the world's most recognised eco-warrior. His boarding of the Shonan Maru #2 Japanese whaling vessel in the Southern Ocean to perform a citizen's arrest on the captain, drew worldwide attention earlier this year. For his 'crime', Bethune - one of the stars of Animal Planet's 'Whale Wars' - was imprisoned in Japan for four months before finally receiving a two-year, suspended sentence.

Around the world Bethune's actions in trying to arrest the captain of the whaling ship for what he believes was the deliberate sinking of his boat, the 'Ady Gil', sparked a media frenzy. In Japan he was labelled a terrorist and there were daily protests against his actions.

On the day of his release from the Tokyo Detention Centre a local television reporter summed up the view of much the country when she asked Bethune how it felt to be the 'most hated man in Japan'. Controversial, attention-seeking, forthright and driven ...all these words have been used to describe Pete Bethune. What can't be denied, though, is that he is a man who is prepared to fight - quite literally - for his principles; principles which relate not just to the saving of the great whales of the Southern Ocean, but to the planet as a whole.

In Whale Wars the invective is not reserved solely for the Japanese. Bethune lashes his own government for their lack of action over Japan's annual whale hunt. For this, Bethune has received much criticism. This, though, he believes is a small price to pay for spotlighting the plight of the whales. Bethune's book will not only tell the story of 'Ady Gil' and the whale wars, but also of Bethune's other legendary campaigns - amongst them the 'Earthrace' adventure.

Readers will be astounded by Bethune's incredible feat of circumnavigating the world in record time in a futuristic, biodiesel-powered speedboat. It took him two action-packed attempts. Most skippers would have been broken after just one. People might not agree with Pete Bethune's way of going about things. Indeed, his radical, single-minded environmental crusades have cost him both financially and in the personal stakes where his long-time marriage to wife Sharyn has finally ended. Whale Wars is rare, modern-day adventure tale with a high-principled back story that makes it a most compelling read.

ISBN 13: 9781869712235 ISBN 10: 1869712234
Author: Bethune, Peter
Pub Date: 11 Oct 2010
Edition Type: 1
Format: Paperback
Imprint: Little Brown HNZ
RRP: A$35.00

We Are Soldiers || Danny Danziger



A fascinating, frank and revealing insight into life on the frontline, as told to an award-winning journalist and bestselling author by everyday heroes.

What is it like to drive a Challenger tank over desert terrain for six days in a row? Or hover an Apache AH1 attack helicopter a hundred metres above enemy ground? How quickly can a Sapper clear a field of unexploded devices, or build a bridge - or blow one up? What is it like to fix bayonets, and engage in hand to hand combat, or train a 5.56 mm SA80 sniper sight on an enemy soldier, and pull the trigger?

How do you find out what a soldier must learn on his way to war...? Ask him.

In this extraordinary book, Danny Danziger interviews the people who fight our wars for us, providing a unique insight into the reality of what we ask of our armed forces. Groundbreaking and utterly compelling, WE ARE SOLDIERS takes the reader to the heart of the 21st century soldier's experience.


ISBN: 9781847443977
Category: General
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: Dec 2010
Publisher: Sphere
Country of origin: GBR
Pages: 416

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tap water bottle heralds ‘Quench Couture’ trend (buying water is so 2010)

(I just had to include this. It's the most outrageous PR I've seen for a while. But then, maybe I just don't get out much?)

quench couture (eco-) n. 1. paradigm reimagining tap water as a symbol of social status. 2. Trend towards treating tap water as an integral fashion or home accessory exhibiting style acumen and social responsibility (e.g. ‘My bag’s by Alexander Wang and the bottle’s 321 Water’; ‘The chairs are Kartell and the water’s 321’)

AN innovative designer water bottle is transforming tap water into summer’s style statement du jour, channelling fashion and eco imperatives in the local dawn of the ‘quench couture’ trend witnessed at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks.

Launching in time to accessorise for December’s social calendar, Australian made and designed 321 Water is as stunning as it is functional. With translucent Aegean blue accenting BPA-free casing as clear as a mountain stream, the 500ml bottle is perfect for throwing in your Longchamp tote for a day adrift off St Tropez (or Palm Beach) – or toting to on shore soirees.

“We set out to prove that you can be enviably stylish, healthy and socially responsible at the same time – you don't need to choose,” says Melbourne-based 321 Water founder Gretha Oost, of the feat of fashion-conscious form and function.

To keep the Bollinger blur at bay, simply place your 321 Water bottle under the tap, and plunge, for clear, pure, refreshing filtered water.

It was only a matter of time before eco impera tives rendered trendy bottled waters passé and the ‘premiumisation’ of water filtered into the reusable segment. Australians alone pour some 80,000 tonnes of bottled water plastic into landfill each year.
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At New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, the style set toted tap water in Vivienne Westwood-designed reusable water bottles, filled at tap stations dotted around the shows. Parisian civilians are also quaffing eau de ordinaire, queuing to drink from a fountain the city installed in September to position tap water as stylish (naturally theirs is carbonated). Venice is also challenging the world’s biggest bottled water consumers with chic reusable bottles given to households.

321 Water transcends aesthetic persuasion to truly make tap water healthy and delicious. It is also among the first Australian reusable drink bottles to eschew harmful chemical BPA. Cue health cred.

The concept has struck a chord, with the equivalent of over 8,000 advance orders taken ahead of launch. The trend will only gain momentum as discerning consumers demand that their eco and wellbeing efforts reflect not only their attitudes, but their sense of style, according to Oost, who notes that ‘green’ is not a primary motivator for purchase.

By sampling nature's nectar from the 500ml vessel, sippers reduce carbon emissions, save water (321 Water represents the ratio of water required to make one litre of bottled water – three to one), and whittle their grocery bills. A modest water habit of four bottles a week costs around $600 a year – more than enough for that Hermes beach towel. Australians spend a whopping $500 million on bottled water annually.

But what about those with a serious aversion to the taste of tap water?

“I will challenge anyone to try tap water in this bottle, and then tell me honestly that they prefer store-bought bottled water to water the y bottle themselves,” Oost says.

Beyond its obvious appeal as hand-candy, the handbag-sized bottle offers handy BYO quality control at your favourite cafe or park, and will challenge your MacBook in the desk top style stakes.

The replacement 100-use filters also double as décor, with a schedule of local art and design talent commissioned to dress the eco-friendly boxes. The first design is by Flatland OK’s Tim Fleming.

Fittingly, 321 Water launches Day 1 of summer (December 1).

Available at www.321water.com, Top3byDesign, and selected homewares retailers. RRP: Bottle $39; Pack of 3 replacement filters $18.

Pizza Hut delivers the world's first edible Facebook gift

Social networking is exploding at a rapid rate and now in an exciting world first, Pizza Hut Australia rewards you and your friends on Facebook with FREE PIZZA in the new Pizza Hut 'Feed a Friend' campaign. 

Every time you place an order at www.pizzahut.com.au you receive two virtual slices – one for you and one for a friend on Facebook. When you or your friends collect four virtual slices, you get one free real pizza from Pizza Hut. The more your order, the more virtual slices you can collect, and the more of your favourite pizza you get for free!

Pizza Hut Australia marketing director Valerie Kubizniak said: "Pizza is the ultimate social food and Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site, so this is a great combination – we want to reward not only our most valued online customers but also their favourite friends on Facebook too."

'Feed a Friend' is the latest cutting edge digital launch from Pizza Hut. The campaign follows hot on the heels of Pizza Hut's iPhone app, which sizzled with over 200,000 downloads in the first eight months of launch.

The augmented reality function or 'GPS Store Finder' provides iPhone 3Gs users with the ability to find their nearest Pizza Hut store by utilising GPS technology. People hold up their iPhone 3Gs, the camera opens and the screen shows not only what is in front of the user, but small tabs highlighting the direction and distance of Pizza Hut locations nearby. In the coming weeks Pizza Hut iphone customers will also have the ability to customise their pizzas and add their favourite toppings.   

For further information or your own taste of the world's first virtual gift, visit www.pizzahut.com.au.

RICKY MUNDAY FIRST WESTERNER IN YEARS TO GET WITHIN 30M OF PAPUA PROVINCE PEAK PUNCAK TRIKORA

THE FIRST OF 3 PEAKS HE WILL ATTEMPT IN THE AUSTRALASIA 3 PEAKS GLACIER EXPEDITION

London, December 2, 2010 - Ricky Munday reported last night that after a two day delay due to problems finding a safe route, he finally climbed Puncak Trikora solo (4,730m) and got to within 30m of the summit.  The last 30 meters was simply too exposed and dangerous to continue alone, particularly given the extreme remoteness of the region.  Very few people have climbed Puncak Trikora and little is known about this remote peak in Papua Province.  A recent expedition in July 2008 only succeeded in getting to within 200m of the summit.

Munday was forced to trek for nearly two days through difficult rainforest to find the best route to climb the mountain, helped by a guide.  After sheltering from heavy rain in a cave at the base of Puncak Trikora, Munday will trek back to Lake Habbema and then travel to Wamena to begin his journey to meet the Carstenzsz Pyramid expedition team in Jayapura.

Named after the Dutch explorer Jans Carstensz, Carstensz Pyramid is the highest island peak in the world and the highest in Oceania.  It was first climbed in 1962 by Heinrich Harrer on whom the film 'Seven Years in Tibet' was based on. 

Munday reports that, after negotiations, he has now secured a permit to climb Puncak Mandala but he now will have to do this last, after Carstensz Pyramid. On November 24 Munday was asked by the headman or Kepala Desa of the district to depart from the village of Bime when he first arrived to climb Mandala.  He had to fly back to Jayapura and begin new negotiations with the headman for access.

Mandala can be reached on foot from Bime in two days.  The mountain is about the same height as Mont Blanc and is extremely steep with sharp limestone above the tree line.  The temperatures will fall well below zero and Munday will need a large team of porters for this, the most challenging of the three peaks.  Bruce Parry and Mark Anstice were the last Westerners to climb Mandala.

An expedition in Papua Province is one of the most difficult that can be undertaken anywhere.  The jungle terrain is extremely remote and inhospitable; getting permits to access mountains is fraught with complexities and there are very few locals willing and able to act as guides and porters in the mountainous regions.

Ricky Munday still remains focused on his goal to be the first to attempt to summit the three peaks in one expedition.  He is also raising funds for the Raleigh youth programme and providing photographs for the Alpine Club of Canada, who part funded the expedition, to show the extent of glacial recession around the three peaks. 


The expedition website is www.aus3peaks.com/a3p



Notes:

Papua Province, Indonesia, forms the western part of the island of New Guinea.  The eastern part of the island is Papua New Guinea (PNG).  The terrain in Papua Province is challenging with lush rainforests and mountains. Many local tribes have never seen Westerners and still live as hunter-gatherers, observing ancient tribal rituals.  The Discovery Channel documentary 'World's Lost Tribes' compellingly illustrated the daily lives of the Kombai and Mek tribes as Olli Steeds and Mark Anstice coped with several months of total immersion with them.

The Australasia 3 Peaks Glacier Expedition will depart for Papua Province from Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.   The peaks will be attempted in the following order: Puncak Mandala, Carstensz

Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) and Puncak Trikora.



Puncak Trikora

Puncak Trikora was first climbed in 1913, 402 years after its discovery by the developed world, during the hazardous 'Third South New Guinea Expedition' undertaken by Dutchmen following several failed attempts.



Puncak Jaya aka Carstensz Pyramid

Puncak Jaya, formerly called Carstensz Pyramid, named after the 17th century Dutch explorer Jans Carstensz, is the highest island peak in the world and the highest in Oceania. It was climbed for the first time in 1962 by Heinrich Harrer, on whom the movie 'Seven years in Tibet' is based. The mountain was included in the 7 Summits project by Reinhold Messner, the first man to climb 14 of the world's highest peaks.



Puncak Mandala

Ricky Munday will be the first to attempt to summit Puncak Mandala from the north face since 1996 when an Australian team failed, finding the north face approach too difficult. The first successful ascent from the north face was the 1959 Dutch Star Mountains Expedition. A 1999 two-man British expedition discovered evidence of cannibalism during its attempt to climb the south face of the mountain.  A documentary was made charting the ascent of Mandala called 'Cannibals & Crampons'.  Mark Anstice, one of the expedition members, wrote a book about the expedition called 'First Contact.'  Puncak Mundala was also summited by Bruce Parry, the producer of Tribe (2005-2007).



The Expedition sponsors and equipment partners are:  BDL Management, Spectra Group, Inmarsat, Montane, GoLite, Nite Watches, Aquapac, CRUX and Think Tank Photo, The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship and the Alpine Club of Canada.
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