Some people get really excited about Christmas, a super Saturday sale or Grand Final weekend. But here at the Western Sydney Food Blog, we get really excited about local markets, especially visiting new ones. One of the newest on the scene is Market by the River in Ermington. This once a month market set up next to Parramatta River has a range of foodie delights and handcrafted items available.

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Last Thursday, unlike my husband, I had an extra day off work thanks to the Australia Day Public Holiday. I made the most of it by taking Mr 11 for a milkshake, walk and swim in the beautiful bushland surrounds of Lake Parramatta Reserve, or as we like to call it, Western Sydney's Beach.

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Last month was Ethan’s birthday. It was also my first study break since starting my degree via correspondence over a year ago. To celebrate, I promised Ethan a surprise weekend away. However, when it came time to searching for somewhere nice to stay, my hopes were shattered when I found that the average price for hotels around this time of year is $400 a night - way over my budget! After more searching, I finally found a place that ticked all the boxes – affordable, looked nice, not too far away and with fun places to visit nearby. It was the Atura Hotel at Blacktown. Yep, Blacktown. Happy Birthday Ethan, we’re off 25 minutes down the road to Blacktown.

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We rarely have a BBQ or summer salad at our place without nipping down to the local supermarket for a tub of Creamy Pasta Salad. My kids love the supermarket version so much that I have never bothered making it myself, until recently. What swayed me was the price, I have been paying $7.50 for a 800gm tub and sometimes I buy two!. Mr 11 can polish off half a tub just as a snack so I decided to start making it instead.

 

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A drive to out to Macarthur region is a fantastic way to escape the big smoke and experience the diverse South West Sydney food scene with farmgates, gourmet markets and wineries to visit. Last week I discovered yet another food gem in this area, this time on the road between Liverpool and Camden, I had dinner at the new Gregory Hills Hotel. 

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1606 Luis de Torres in Rhodes gives a Korean twist to modern cafe favourites with some European influence thrown in for good measure. They are open for breakfast lunch and dinner with the formative two menus available all day long. On our evening visit, we had breakfast for dinner, or as we like to call it, brinner!

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Sydney Chef Justin Park’s new cafe, The Dining and Co, is tucked away where you would least expect to find it. The surprise location is Avon Street in the leafy residential part of North Ryde. With Campos coffee and delicious cafe food practically on their doorstep, this place has already become a hit with the neighbours.

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Behind the doors of North West Sydney’s Epping Club is a place of opulence and sophistication. It is home to one of Sydney’s newest fine dining restaurants, Rawsons, run by executive chef Nick Whitehouse (ex flying fish and MasterChef the Professionals Contestant). Rawsons offers diners an exquisite dining experience, but with a surprisingly affordable price tag, making it the perfect place for a long lunch.

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Based in the booming area of Bella Vista, Jazzveh is an Italian woodfired pizza restaurant in a beautiful location. With most of the seating on a sheltered verandah overlooking a lake with lush trees and a water fountain, it is a relaxing place to browse the dinner menu. This family owned and run restaurant has been a local favourite for the past 7 years due to its popular food options and friendly service. We called in for dinner and decided to try a pasta, pizza and salad.

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Imagine your kitchen table filled with homemade, hummus, grilled vegetables, olives, pickles, assorted cheeses, zatar, dips, fruits, nuts, cold meats, and artisan breads. You graze on this delicious spread with a glass of good wine while enjoying the company of your family and friends. It was this scenario which inspired Western Sydney sisters Marcel and Vanessa, to combine their love of food and celebration into the unique food venture, Let's Graze.

Read more: Let's Graze