Archive for October, 2009

Video – Artisan Mozzarella Making at Fiore’s

Yes, Gosstronomy has been a bit quiet of late. We’re knee-deep in househunting in Sydney, focusing on finding a home near Bondi Beach. It’s a tough market at the moment – one apartment viewing last weekend in North Bondi looked like a block party – so it’s sucking up a lot of my creative energy.

Luckily, I did find a bit of time to start a long-time goal of learning video editing. For the first project, I’ve rounded up the video footage I shot during my day inside Fiore’s, the iconic deli in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s always been famed for its mozzarella, and rumour has it that Frank Sinatra used to send a courier here to pick up mozzarella and fly it to him at gigs on the West Coast. That may or may not be urban legend, but what is definitely true is that Fiore’s is the secret roast beef sandwich place from an infamous episode of 30 Rock. That episode dealt with a drop-dead amazing roast beef sandwich with fresh mozzarella. And that’s exactly what the special sandwich is at Fiore’s on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s great, but my personal preference is for the hot sopressata and fresh mozzarella sandwich, piled high on fresh Hoboken bread from nearby Dom’s.

I spent the morning at Fiore’s with Dominick, who married into the family and has been working at Fiore’s for much of his adult life. He told me that he loves his job and he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. The love comes out in the product, a fresh cow’s milk mozzarella that he braids and puts in a salty brine. They also smoke their own mozzarella out the back and make a marinated version, but it’s the fresh stuff that I love. It’s so good, in fact, that it makes me wonder whether there should be so much fuss over buffalo mozzarella. I love both, but when you can get the fresh stuff minutes after it’s made, why go for the imported stuff that takes days (or longer) to arrive on a plane from Italy? The Fiore boys claim that there’s is better, and I think they may have a point. At the very least, they’re in the running.

Check out the video, and excuse some of the still-rough edges. It’s good work for a print journalist (if I do say so myself), but dodgy work for a seasoned camera pro. I’ll keep on trying to improve. One thing’s for sure; I’m enjoying the process.

Fiore’s, 414 Adams St, Hoboken, NJ, USA, +1 (201) 659-1655,
Fiore Deli of Hoboken on Urbanspoon

Ravesi’s Wine Bar: Gee it’s good to be back in Bondi


After a feral 26-hour slug from New York to Sydney, I’ve finally made it back to Australia. And despite the slurring, cranky-eyed haze of jet lag, it’s been fantastic to see friends and more friends and enjoy the beautiful, gorgeous Bondi… cold chill and rain. What the? Oh well, at least I missed the dust storms.

OK, so my excitement of leaving a cooling-down New York in autumn for the summer-yearning excitement of Sydney spring hasn’t exactly materialised yet. Still, there are other things to warm the cockles. Maybe a celeb-studded opening party at a new Bondi bar? Why not?

Just as I was packing my bags back in Hoboken, the folks at Ravesi’s were kind enough to welcome me home by inviting me to the launch of their new wine bar at the beach-facing Bondi hotspot. I’d already leapt into Sydney life with yoga at Dharma Shala and a chilly swim at North Sydney pool, so a bit of tipple and schmoozing by the beach seemed about right – all good things come in threes, of course.

I’ve always preferred the more stylish Drift cocktail bar upstairs at Ravesi’s to backpackers gazing out from the window-laden ‘fishbowl’ at street level, so having a wine and tapas option to complement Drift was good news to my ears, and palate. Besides, I won’t have to always fight for a scarce seat at The Shop wine bar on Curlewis Street.


Ravesi’s wine bar has much of the same appeal as Drift: a social crowd that’s a bit more chilled and refined, and the opportunity to stretch out at balcony tables overlooking Hall Street and the cornering views of the Tasman Sea. The focus of the bar is on Italian vino, but there are less-common gems to enjoy, like the Argentinean malbec I coddled for a while. Either way, the best bit is grabbing a glass, staking out some turf on the balcony and watching the surfers and beacheratti below go by. That’s Bondi living for ya.

The opening night kicked off with a VIP degustation dinner that was unexpectedly (to me, at least) stacked with TV personalities. There was a quick drink with The Castle’s Michael Caton on the balcony before we all decided it was too chilly outside. Bondi Vet Chris Brown (man, that dude’s tall) arrived with Packed to the Rafters‘ stunner Jessica McNamee, and told me she had bought him his cool Zara coat that look like a modernised London Fog jacket. I also got to say hi to the equally stunning Sarah Wilson, who I first met during my crash-and-burn attempt in Melbourne to make it onto Masterchef.

Wow, name-dropping feels good! Ok, I’ll keep going. Well, apparently the talk of the night was that fashion designer Wayne Cooper had shown up newly reunited with his ex-wife, while his previously younger, model ex-girlfriend had shown up with her new boy-toy as well. Sadly, there was no catfight, but there was much whispering. I’m sure you’ll read about the details in the Sunday Tele goss pages any day now.

All right, I’ve had my 15 milliseconds of fame. It’s back to priorities. Food. Wine. Beach. Now all I need is a bit of sun and warmth. Even so, it feels great to be home, and I can’t wait to enjoy the spoils of being back in town and also enjoying this month’s Sydney International Food Fest. Bring it on.

Ravesi’s Wine Bar
Cnr Campbell Pde & Hall St, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
+61 (02) 9365 4422