Ribs & Burgers, Cafe Court at The Star Sydney

Sometimes all you feel like eating is a burger. Or ribs, Dad's case. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try to stay on your healthy/veggie-based/wholegrain/low-calorie/no-sweets diet, you just have to order the premium wagyu beef, cheese-and-onion ring burger with the lot. Topped with smotherings of BBQ sauce and a side of chunky fried chips. This is the kind of diet where dude food rules.

Unbeknown to some, Sydney's The Star Casino houses an upmarket, family friendly food court on its ground level, aptly named Cafe Court. Walk inside past the dazzling lights of Adriano Zumbo and moody furnishings of Momofuku Seibo and you'll come to an attractive set-up of plush booth seating, sparkling feature lights and trays laden with non-plastic cutlery and white crockery. Dining options at this classy food court include dumpling hero Din Tai Fung, Wooloomooloo's Flying Fish inspired little sister Flying Fish and Chips, a hip cafe, a Malaysian hawker style eatery, Turkish Grill and further down, the infamous Gelato Messina among many other joints. On this particular meat-craving day, what we were craving was Ribs & Burgers.

Homemade Date & Nut Energy Balls!

There comes a time during the day when I get so ravenous that a piece of fruit or handful of nuts won't satisfy my stomach. The aching feeling of hunger creeps up on me slowly, a hollow chasm that grows larger and larger until I have to eat something. You know that feeling of a persistent, begrudging hunger? The one that won't disappear unless you eat a big meal? I get that at around 11am on a weekday, and it's a feeling I often feel guilty fulfilling, wanting to wait until lunchtime to eat my proper lunch. I get scared that I'll get myself full before I'm meant to, at a time in the day that you're not meant to get hungry. Some may say you should have a bigger breakfast, but what if I've had one that has made me stuffed but am still hungry when it comes to the mid-morning munchies?

I've read about these healthy date snacks everywhere under the guise of a range of different names - Larabars, Energy Bars, Protein Balls - but essentially they're all made up of the same base of processed dates and nuts, just flavoured and shaped in different ways. They're raw, gluten free and good for you in all different ways, and only require a small amount of ingredients and effort to make. They make a perfect portable snack that will fill you up when you're feeling hungry, and are jam-packed full of good nutrients that nourish and replenish you when snacking time arrives.

The Bulgogi, Chatswood

Bulgogi is widely known in the culinary world as a  Korean dish of grilled, marinated thin slices of beef. But, contrary to popular belief, it may also refer to something else. The direct translation of this term from Korean means 'fire' (bul) and 'meat' (gogi), hence the other meaning of this famous beef dish, which points right back to its origins - the barbeque, or process of cooking meat on fire.

The Bulgogi sits on the main Chatswood shopping strip of Victoria Street, amongst many other Asian eateries and not too far away from the busy Chatswood Westfield and Mandarin Centre. On weekdays you'll walk by to see a lunch special menu beckoning you from the restaurant's window, which is what brought us here on this fine Thursday for lunch. These tempting specials are listed on a rotation from the hours of 12pm and 2pm, and each day has 3 different specials that feature a range of meats to suit almost every diet.

Twelve, Newtown

When you're sitting home with nothing to do for the day, what do you resort to? Reading? Listening to music? Catching up on your favourite TV show? Being on holidays with lots of spare time, I started watching Gossip Girl recently and managed to finish the first season on DVD this week. It was a good way to spend my time, but when a beautiful day calls from outside, sometimes sitting holed up in front of a TV just doesn't cut it. Cue an outing!

On a bright, sunny Saturday when we had nothing to do we decided to go out to Newtown for a wander and to have lunch. Being the hipster suburb that it is, there's no shortage of good eateries in the area, lined up side by side along King Street.Twelve is nestled among them, occupying almost two shopfront lengths with its open-air seating and dark, subtle decor. The signage oozes the air of a funky, seaside cafe.

An adventure in Cabramatta: Bau Truong

The hustle and bustle of fast cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur mirror the busy lifestyles the people who live in them lead, a hustle and bustle that can overwhelm and confuse you if you get caught up in it. But take a step out of that picture and look at it from the outside, and you come to gradually appreciate the uniqueness and adversity of those cities, an atmosphere that is much different to that of Sydney or any other Australian city.

In the western suburbs of Sydney lies Cabramatta, widely known for its expanse Vietnamese community and as the place where you can find the best Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney. The perfect place for a much-anticipated foodie excursion!

Driving or walking along the main strip of John Street, one will find a number of low-cost, authentic restaurants, cheap knick-knack stores and a plethora of Vietnamese-run grocery stores and bakeries. The atmosphere is not unlike that of the aforementioned bustling cities, further accentuated by the high volume of people walking either side of the street. You catch snippets of Vietnamese, Cantonese and an ever-present hum of conversation that never seems to cease. People walk by drinking bubble tea, avocado shakes and eating pork rolls.

Bau Truong has branches in Marrickville and Canley Heights, but the restaurant in Cabramatta is a bit more low-key than its sister eateries. The outside is simply furnished with a modern shopfront, but step inside and you get an accentuation of the busy street's lively atmosphere (as well as a current of aircon) as patrons slurp on noodles and tuck into plates of rice. The inside of the eatery is long, much bigger than what it appears from outside, and the decor is themed with a light green.

Happy New Year! Subterranean Greek Bar & Grill, GPO Sydney

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and New Year was filled with love, fun and laughter. Of course, nothing says the holidays quite like a Christmas feast, and I hope yours was full of lots and lots of wonderful food. The Holidays also mean more time to eat and try cooking new things, and lots of surprises can come along the way.

Doesn't it surprise you when you think you know an area, but no matter how many times you walk there or drive past, there always seems to be something new; something you didn't know was there before? I can't say I'm an expert when it comes to navigating the busy streets of Sydney CBD, but it never ceases to amaze me just how many hidden nooks and crannies there are in the city that are also great places to eat. And finding them is only half the fun.