Thursday, March 20, 2014

School Holiday Fun - Adelaide Central Markets

Hi All,

The previous School Holidays arrived with a bang and the kids were busy either heading up to their nanna's for a holiday or at their Vacation Care - my wife also took off a fair bit of time too and whisked the kids away to the local swimming centres or movie's!

We learnt however our local Vacation Care was to be shut for a considerable amount of time over the Xmas break, in fact not re-opening until the 13th of January - which majority of you will understand this is not helpful for working parents...

So we decided I would apply for leave for three of the days in January before the centre opens again to help out.

I was a bit apprehensive of what to do, the obvious was already decided for the Thursday - The Ice Arena at Thebarton - this is a family favourite, my son who is now 10 loves ice skating and is really quite good at it - he was even thinking of taking up Ice Hockey... My daughter who is 6 has only been two times but wow - what a natural! The first time she spent a bit of time on the learners rink but within 20 minutes was pushing for a go on the big rink - she now skates just as well as her brother and is now asking for us to put her in figure skating...

I still had one other day to come up with an idea, the Wednesday.

With a flash of genius I thought, how about a Treasure Hunt! I know I know its a game that has been played for 1000's of years but I couldn't think of a time I'd ever created a hunt from scratch for the kids.

So I decided to take them to one of my favourite places in Adelaide, The Central Market. It is full of everything food wise you could hope for - and and awesome chance to teach the kids a bit about unusual foods which they've never seen or tasted before.

For a while there a friend and I would walk to the markets at least once a week on our lunch break, takes about 5 minutes to walk there - we don't always buy stuff but its just fun to walk through and look at all the different fruit, small goods and seafood mustered in one building!

So I printed off a Map which was available on the Central Markets website:

The thing I love about this website is the detail they've included, very professional site. For example, click on the above link and it will give you a map of the markets, best thing is - you can hover over each stall and it will highlight and let you know the name of the stall holder, if you want more information including some photos click on the stall and it will take you to a mini intro for the stall holder.

Ok I'm getting excited, for locals its probably not as used but for tourists and visitors this is perfect for someone researching a trip to the markets for the first time, or even to work out where they bought an item they loved on their first or second trip and can't remember who it was!!

I started coming up with a list of ideas and items the kids could hunt for, sure its easy to give them a shopping list and say go but where is the fun in that? One of the main aims for me was to get them to work together to get the job done, most parents will agree siblings don't always see eye to eye nor always prefer to work with each other to get the job done...

Ideas came flooding in as I remembered stalls as we walked through them, such as mud crabs, macaroons, pig's heads (i know grose..) and all the exotic fruit we've often walked past and thought "wonder what that taste's like".

So I came up with this:

The night before I charged their cameras, had a bag and a water bottle ready and put in their bag a Map each and Hunt Questions.

I told them on the way to the markets where we were going and what we were up for and gave them each a chance to look over the questions - instructions were though, no discussing before we get there. The Questions were loaded with cryptic messages packed in with Dares and photos required.

The kids were quite enthusiastic and we began our hunt well, the Minion Banana question was quite easy, I should have watched Despicable Me 2 first... But easy ones thrown in are good as some were quite difficult.

Most parents will say they have smart kids, I'm the same, we have somehow combined to create two of the smartest kids around, sometimes can be lazy but what kids aren't! I wanted them to use their brilliant minds to problem solve. Worked well - almost too well, most of the ones I expected to be hard even for an adult the two were knocking them off in quick succession..

Tragedy though, the famed Pigs Head which is usually at O'Connell Meats was not there.... Every time I walk through the markets there is a pigs head proudly displayed in the window - someone buys one each time, not sure I would but its funny to look at. The dare for this was the kids to take a selfie with the pigs head - something their mum would not be too keen on haha.

Sadly there were no Mud Crabs either, not sure if out of season or what but like the pigs head, mud crabs are prominent each time we go to the markets.

To top it off the awesome macaroons I planned to get the kids to try were all out of stock in the first isle, but we still managed to try some at another shop near the coles.
Somehow, my family is no big fan of seafood, yet I absolutely love it... so getting them enthused with some of the riddles involving them going into the fish markets were hard at first due to the "fishy" smell "dad!"... but once we headed around to Samtass Seafoods that all changed, so much better presented and that fishy smell my youngest was complaining about was completely absent. Here they managed to find the famed nanigui, or Red Snapper as its also known as. They were both fascinated by the rich red colour of the fish but also its massive eyes - they each took a photo for their album and we pushed on. A quick "who wants to try an oyster" didn't go down well as they both proceeded to bolt out of the shop.

In all I think we all had a great day, although my boy isn't a massive fruit and veg fan he still had fun learning new things and exploring the markets - hopefully experiences like this will help his phobia of good foods. My little one is the opposite and loved the markets too - it was a good family experience and a nice way to kill 3 or 4 hours!

Hindsight I think I should have not given them all the questions before we got there, I think if we do this again I might print off the questions individually then give them once each one has been answered - this way they both have to read it together and not have it pre-known in their minds before they arrive.

I encourage anyone with children, and, who is keen on fresh produce and teaching the kids new things to give this a go - head to the Central Markets Website (, print off a map and start exploring. You don't have to even make it based around riddles - just go up and down all the lanes!

If you do attempt it with your children I would suggest though to add little ideas like the quiz or even a list of stuff they have to find so you can buy - if not that amount of time they may get a little ratty by the end :)
Please if you do try this please comment and let me know your experience!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top 10 Burgers in Adelaide - Part 1 - The Stanley Tavern

Hi All,

About a month or so ago the local newspaper in Adelaide, The Advertiser, posted an article showing "The Top 10 Burgers in Adelaide"... (

Being a lover of a decent Beef Burger I decided I wouldn't mind checking out a few to see what each one was like.

For me the best burger needs a multiple of inclusions, it can't be one element that decides its fate - all needs perfect balancing. The burger roll and patty needs to be large, no point offering a burger costing over $10 if you're still hungry at the end.

  • The Patty needs to be seasoned to perfection - right now my wife makes the best tasting patties around, i'll argue it til i'm blue in the face and these burger bars have alot to live up to!
  • Pickles... has to have pickles, not everyones cup of tea but for me the option of having a handful of crunchy pickles is to die for.
  • Tomato Chutney - For me, has to be Tomato Chutney - just stunning and the taste is 2nd to none - Ketchup and Tomato Sauce just doesn't have the flavour.
  • Garlic Aoli - Just stunning, when included with tomato chutney it brings the burger to a whole new level
  • Lettuce & Tomato - A generous portion is required, can't eat a burger without a bit of healthiness added!
  • Egg - For the Burger to be complete a runny egg sweetens the deal (not too gooey but just a little run to it)
  • Bacon - Who doesn't love a nice helping of nicely smoked bacon!
  • Onion - For me its gotta be cooked, with a little bit of crunch!

We were sitting home one weekend with not much to do so we thought we might take a drive up to the beautiful Adelaide Hills and visit the lovely town of Hahndorf. Its fun for a family to make a day trip from the city and has loads to offer everyone, from family activities like the Hahndorf Farm Barn ( which boasts a huge variety of animals to get up close with and even feed, theres also the famous Beerenberg Strawberry Farm ( where not only can you purchase some of the best Jams and Sauces around but you can also venture down to the Strawberry field and pick the best tasting Strawberry's you will find in Adelaide!

For the Wine lovers there are also a nice selection of wineries around, from Boutique wineries such as my favourite Hahndorf Hill Winery ( who make the best Rose wine I've ever tasted!, or a crowd favourite such as Maximillians (

For the traditionalists who love a good German Pint or German Food you can't go past The German Arms ( or the Hahndorf Inn (, each show true their German heritage and offer old fashioned German meals and beers for you to try!

For our family the day was set out, a trip to the Farm Barn, head off for lunch then back to Beerenberg for a big punnet of Strawberries!

Lunch was decided, we would try the famous Stanley Burger at the Stanley Bridge Tavern ( located in Verdun just a 5 minute drive from Hahndorf. Its nestled on a beautiful street, if you haven't booked and it was a stunning late Summer day like we did on a Sunday then parking and getting a table may be difficult so I would suggest you book in advance.

It was a 30 degree day, nice breeze coming through the trees and the tavern from the get go looked very warm and inviting. We went through the old rustic main door and were immediately impressed by the structure of the building itself, its been maintained extremely well and all its old features are a definite plus.

We were lucky enough to score a table out in their garden on a rustic wooden table, set up for the kids was a game of bocce and totem tennis. I think the main feature for my children though was Benny the Jack Russell which moved freely through the restaurant and mingled with the guests.

My wife and I decided to each go with the Stanley Burger but were amazed at the amount of mouth watering options available - Ribs, Steaks, Pies etc. To the order we also added a small serving of their Benny's Ribs.

A bottle of Apple Cider to accompany and I was set for a very enjoyable afternoon. Justine and I chatted away while the kids ran off and played, but unfortunately as time went by the kids became more and more irritated and edgy as we waited a very long time for the food to come out. I think in the end the kids meals came out, just before the entree, after a solid hour and a half waiting... by that time we were all over hungry and a bit over the waiting... Our mains came out about 10 minutes after and began we did...

First on the agenda, try these stunningly presented Ribs, I was interested to try the sauce which included Honey, Spices and Blasted in the Furnace with Hoi Sin, Orange and a Sesame Seed Sauce... My lips were watering thinking about it.

The sauce delivered just like I hoped, it was stunning - beautifully sweet with a hint of spice but not enough to overpower you. The ribs were massive but unfortunately mostly bone, each were separated from the rack but just didn't have heaps of meat on there to get you overly excited. The downer for me also was the ribs appeared to have been cooked for a while earlier but mine were cold when they came out - almost appeared to be re-heated but just not enough. It was yum but 6 definitely isn't enough while also sharing - fork out and get the 9 or 12!

The massive winner though was the sauce, it was so good we all spent ages afterwards mopping it up with our chips!

The Stanley Burger, was definitely impressive to look out when it first came out. Accompanied by a big bowl of curly fries I proceeded to crack the egg and see how we go.

Nice - egg flowed just perfectly!

The burger was nice, not brilliant but nice, the Pattie was nicely made, good helping of smokey bacon on the top, nicely melted cheese and cooked onion, tomato and lettuce. I love a good burger and I think this was ok but it just didn't have the wow factor I was looking for. Notable exclusions from the burger was Chutney, Garlic Aoli and the most important feature for me.....Pickles... I love pickles with my burger - even if its an addition...

The Tomato Salsa advertised with the burger wasn't the best for me, took the taste away from the patty and hit the wrong note - a beaut chutney from local Beerenberg would have been spot on!

Overall I think I'm going to have to give this burger a 6.5, Probably could have scored higher but the long wait and exclusions brought me down some.

I would definitely order it again, I did like it and the Stanley Tavern is a great place to go to but I just can't push it much higher on the day.

I invite you all to check it out for yourself, personally if I was to rate the venue, staff and an overall experience and not take into account the long wait on that occasion I would give the Stanley Tavern a 9 - its setting in the heart of the Adelaide Hills and all round rustic appeal makes it a fantastic venue to sit down for lunch or dinner. The menu is extremely appealing to all taste buds and the Kids Menu is very good also (Picture of the Kids Cheese Burger opposite!)

If you do try the Stanley Burger feel free to give your rating as feedback, I'm keen to see what everyone else thinks!

So - 1 down, 9 to go. They rate these the best 10 burgers in Adelaide, I'm going to try them all and give my honest opinion.