It only seems fitting that my first official blog post on Mimi Must Try feature my local ‘hood’ of Teneriffe – the community and ‘unofficial’ suburb on the edge of the river in inner city Brisbane.
Saturday the 6th of July marked the fourth annual Teneriffe Festival, which saw the closing of Macquarie Street and Vernon Terrace to traffic and instead was inundated by a marvellous array of market-stall holders, food vendors, local restaurateurs, budding designers and entertainers. With Brisbane’s “sunny one day, perfect the next” mantra in full swing (clear blue skies and 25 degrees) it meant donning comfy shorts and leather sandals and preparing for a full afternoon.
My girlfriends and I arrived around lunchtime, timing it to a tee to ensure we made the most of the ridiculous amount of foodie delights on offer. There was simply too much to choose from! Walking past Little Miss Mexico and happily buzzed (sangria induced I’m sure) bobbling heads topped with wildly colourful sombreros, we ventured into the heart of the street, further taking in the German bakery and Bratwurst stand with giant steins being past around…and onto the street food and market stall strip where fresh proffertjes, kebabs, schnitzels, dumplings, koftas and skewers, ice creams, macarons, fondues and fresh strawberries were being piled onto plates and churned out to the hoards of people in attendance. Queues were everywhere and it was simply a matter of having to make the inevitably difficult decision and commit to one.
I settled on an I LOVE MUSHROOMS Steak Burger which came on an open pumpkin seed wholemeal bun, layered with guacamole and tomato salsa, sautéed field mushrooms, spinach, a juicy steak fillet and natural yoghurt. There was then the option of spooning a great dollop of fabulously tangy and slightly sweet BBQ chutney on top (which I did with glee). The mushrooms were packed with flavour and the chutney added dimension to the scrumptious combo. I was definitely satisfied with my first course choice. The girls decided to go with a fresh schnitzel baguette and aromatic tandoori skewers with crispy pakoras. A good mix of foodie experiences all round.
Next was dessert. After already having spied a few people walking past with clear plastic cups filled with what looked like the most luscious homemade ice-cream I commandeered a passer by and asked where they got it. I was informed it was all-natural, made-to-order frozen yoghurt from a tiny little stall wedged between local chocolatiers and the Macaron Man. It took a few laps to find it (probably due to the crowd that had formed out the front) but we finally did and patiently planted ourselves in the line. Boy was that wait worth it. My order of freshly churned sweet banana frozen yoghurt was a burst of true tangy banana flavour in a perfectly whipped, fluffy form. The giant spiral of goodness caused envied glances as we made our way back toward the London Laneways to start scoping out the designer offerings.
Entering the laneway our eyes were delighted by flag pennants and bursts of colour. There were vintage clothing stalls crammed with sequins, ruffles and plaid, home wares styled eclectically, hand crafted jewellery and neon accessories. We trawled through and happened upon a fabulous local artist stall – MASON SINCLAIR. With stunning original pop inspired, hand-printed works onto salvaged wood from old Queenslander homes it was a sight to behold. And when my eyes landed on a striking biological print of a horse skull layered onto a neon and metallic painted geometric pattern, I simply could not resist (it now hangs proudly in my lounge room and sets off my bright orange dining chairs).
By mid to late afternoon I had a craving for something sweet and was in luck when we found The Organic Cotton Candy Company. A stall piled high with bite sized treats, brownies, organic liquorice of all shapes and sizes and a fondue oozing with rich Belgium chocolate surrounded by fresh strawberry and marshmallow skewers it was certainly a sight to behold. But I had my eyes firmly planted on the snowy white powdered Turkish delight cubes in the display cabinet. And to my utter “delight” I discovered that there was not only traditional, but also ginger on offer! Sold. Biting into the plump, heavily icing sugar-doused square of goodness was simply too wonderful for words (I’m sure the powder residue left all over my face spoke for itself). There was a hit of spice with the fresh ginger and gooey, melt-y sweet deliciousness the whole way through. It may just be one of the best things I have ever tasted…although I have yet to try my block of wild rosemary and sea salt chilli chocolate, which I purchased at the same time.
We continued to lap up the afternoon sun and the festival atmosphere by listening to local talents’ live jazz, watching performances from bedazzled, feathery Brazilian street dancers and of course quenching our thirst with jars of refreshing cocktails from the famous Alfred and Constance “Tiki Bar”. To round out my purchases I snapped up a bright pom pom to accessorize any leather bag, a beautifully hand crafted ceramic dish from Raw Ceramics and a long sought after neon yellow rope necklace.
Teneriffe Festival 2013, you have well and truly been “tried and tasted”. Until next year!