FRIDAY FEAST with Emmie Dark

21 Replies

Greetings, Feasters, and welcome to this Easter edition of Friday Feast. I hope you’re not overdosing on hot cross buns, and remember to be sensible with the chocolate on Sunday.

Actually, on second thoughts, don’t. Go silly. Life’s too short to be abstemious. As my guest today understands!

Emmie Dark is nothing like her surname. She’s light and lovely – just like her newly released debut novel Cassie’s Grand Plan.  I know this because I’ve met Emmie. Over lunch, funnily enough. And today she’s sharing an amazing foodie travelogue, with lots of photos and gorgeous descriptions for us to drool over. Got a hot cross bun handy? You’ll need it because you’re going to be pretty hungry after this post.

But before you start salivating over Emmie’s foodie adventures, feast instead on this!


Cassie’s Grand Plan


Four steps to a brand-new life

Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.

Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….


Tempting, huh? Well, you know what to do: shop! Cassie’s Grand Plan is in stores right now. You can also order direct from Harlequin, or from Book Depository and Amazon.


Keep on moving


Hi Cathryn! Thanks for inviting me to join you on your blog – it’s lovely to be here in such esteemed company! Not to mention being given the opportunity to talk about my two loves – romance writing and food.

I’ve just returned from a trip in the USA. I’m fortunate enough to be able to travel quite a bit for my (non-writing) work and one of the perks is getting to eat in some amazing places. On this trip, I managed to have some amazing meals that were all wonderful – but for very different reasons. I know most people talk about their own cooking on your blog, but if it’s okay with you, I’d like to tell you about some of the foodie highlights from one of my favourite cities in the world: San Francisco.

First up, breakfast. I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but on this trip I finally made it to Brenda’s French Soul Food – a San Fran icon, famous for its New Orleans-inspired cuisine. The menu, as you’d expect, is full of southern specialties like grits and biscuits. Can’t say I’m overly fond of grits, but the biscuits (pretty much an over-sized scone to an Aussie like me) were fabulous – light, fluffy and somehow just the right match for my omelette, potatoes and the sneaky but delicious sparkling rosé I indulged in. Intriguingly, the wine was served in a plain tumbler – which had no effect other than to make my indulgence less obvious to others!

Next, lunch. I know it’s not the height of cool or groovy, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a trip to San Fran without going to the Cheesecake Factory. Apart from the ridiculously broad menu and the insanely huge portion sizes, the restaurant’s location on the top of Macy’s department store overlooking Union Square is impossible to beat. And they just happen to stock a delicious chardonnay from Russian River that I’ve become quite keen on. (Don’t be too concerned for my liver – despite appearances so far, I didn’t have alcohol with *every* meal. Just nearly every meal… 😉 )

As for dinner? Well, there are so many wonderful places in San Fran it’s almost tough to have a bad night out. Let me tell you about two highlights.

I had an astonishingly good Vietnamese meal at Le Colonial. It’s a well-regarded San Francisco eatery and the food was excellent. I do have to admit that I was with a relatively large group of work colleagues, and we enjoyed some exotic cocktails in the bar upstairs prior to eating which made for some noisy and hilarious dinner conversation. (There I go talking about alcohol again! But really what is a good meal without an accompanying drop?)

Le Colonial’s cocktails were fantastic – not only unusual combinations, but prettily decorated with fresh flowers too. I had something called a Gigi, which included Grey Goose vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc and a dash of sparkling rosé. Yum!

While in town I was also fortunate enough to sample another San Fran icon – the Wayfare Tavern. Located in the financial district, even on a weeknight this place was pumping and due to our last-minute reservation we weren’t sitting down to eat until well after 9pm. Luckily the food was so good that even though I was feeling more like bed-time than dinner-time, I scoffed what I was served. The Wayfare is famous for its fried chicken, and so, of course, that’s what I ordered.
The reputation is deserved! The chicken was moist, crispy, not at all oily and the coating wasn’t too thick. Served simply with some lemon wedges, it was the epitome of simple elegance – something I have come to appreciate when travelling and eating out every night. There’s only so many dishes of complicated ingredients and complex flavours you can take after a while. Sometimes you need something simple – but good. Wayfare delivered on both counts.

I know that most of your guests contribute a recipe. Unfortunately given that I’ve spent my visit talking about other people’s cooking, it doesn’t really seem appropriate for me to provide one. However I will, if I may, give a plug to the SuperRomance Authors recipe book.

The photo on the front cover is my zucchini and pistachio spice cake with lime frosting – you can find the recipe three clicks in. It’s my never-fail-to-impress baking star and not only does it look fantastic and taste amazing, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Leave a comment and tell me about your favourite dining out dish and I’ll send one lucky commenter a copy of my debut novel, Cassie’s Grand Plan!


Okay, I am officially jealous of Emmie Dark. Like, really, really jealous. How sensational did that sound? And check out the SuperRomance recipe book. There are some excellent recipes and Emmie’s cake looks and sounds beautiful.

Now, see Emmie’s book up there with that gorgeous cover and enticing blurb? You could win it. All you need to do is share your favourite dining out dish. So you know the drill, Feasters. Get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 10th April AEST. Open internationally.

If you’d like to learn more about Emmie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.


A fraction late with this announcement, but this giveaway has closed. Congratulations to our winner, Natalie, and thanks to all who to took the time to comment. Much fun was had!

21 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Emmie Dark

  1. AvatarLaura

    Hello Emmie,

    I loved reading through this post. The food sound so enticing. My favorite dining out is Lasagne.

    Congratulatuons on the release of Cassie’s Grand Plan.

  2. AvatarKeziah Hill

    Where to start, where to start… I’m a great eater out, so it’s hard to pin point one dish. Lately I’ve been going to the Leura Garage in (wait for it) Leura, and having their prawn and garlic linguine. They also do a gourmet version of a meat lovers pizza with chorizo and other yummy smallgoods from Trunkey Creek, a boutique smokehouse in Orange. I’m also fortunate to live not far from Vulcan’s in Blackheath and their famous checkerboard ice-cream. Ok, this has to stop. I could be here all day …

    Congrats on the debut Emmie!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Gawd, that sounds fantastic, Keziah. Nice that you have so many gorgeous eateries close by. I haven’t heard of that Orange smokehouse. Will have to investigate!

  3. AvatarJuanita Kees

    Hi Emmie and Cathryn
    Oooh, I love San Francisco! So many great places to dine out in the Bay.

    It’s so hard to pick one favourite dish. I love my food (eating it…cooking it is a dangerous past time!). Because I have trouble choosing, I love going to Eat Greek in Fremantle. They have a buffet style menu with loads of different dishes to choose from. I’ve been there a few times now and have something different every time. If I had to make a choice it would definitely be the Stifado (Beef and Onion Stew) and of course Baklava for dessert.

    Congratulations on the release of Cassie’s Grand Plan. I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂 I have it on my wishlist.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      A Greek buffet? Oh, oh, oh! That sounds like heaven, Juanita. LOVE Greek food and baklava is quite the most wonderful thing. That’s one of the great things about our move to Melbourne – we have any number of fantastic Greek restaurants to choose from..

  4. AvatarEmmie Dark

    Hi Laura — I love lasagne too, but I have to admit, my favorite version is my mum’s, so whenever I have it in a restaurant it’s never quite as good!

  5. AvatarEmmie Dark

    Hi Keziah — what a wonderfully delicious-sounding list of food! Yum! I love finding gourmet local produce too, so the smokehouse stuff sounds fantastic. Thanks for commenting!

  6. AvatarEmmie Dark

    Hi Juanita — I have to say baklava is one of my favourite desserts (in small portions!) and it’s something I’d never bother to make at home so it’s definitely a dining-out option for me. Love the sound of your Greek restaurant!

    I didn’t realize in writing this post that I’d end up getting some fantastic restaurant recommendations — but I’m loving it!

  7. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    You may not want to talk about your yummy food but I will. This gal is a seriously great cook – everything from Moroccan tagines to the most stunning cupcakes. But I digress. Hmmm, favourite dining out would be anything at all from Da Noi in Toorak Rd. Their degustation menu is always amazing.
    Congratulations on Cassie’s Grand Plan, Emmie. It’s a fabulous book.

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      I suspected this was the case, Louise. Someone who loves dining out and can talk as passionately about food as Emmie can has to be a great cook!

      Thanks for the Da Noi recommendation. I’ll be able to check it out now I’m a Melbournite.

  8. Avataranniewest

    Emmie, your trip to the US sounds positively mouthwatering! I love eating out and trying new things. Keziah’s comment about eating in Leura reminded me of the fabulous zucchini and feta fritters at ‘The Red Door’ there with cumin yoghurt. Hm. I also love ‘Bistro Tartine’ in Newcastle for its fabulous unpretentious French food. So many wonderful dishes there. Or one of the terrific Turkish restaurants in Canberra…

    Sigh. You know, you’ve got me pining for a night out feasting on someone else’s cooking!

    1. AvatarCathryn Hein

      Oh, yeah, Bistro Tartine is a lovely restaurant. It was one of the first restaurants we tried on our return from living in France and their charcuterie plate was spot on.

      I keep thinking they need a Mecca Bah in Newie, Annie. Right on the harbour. If Canberra and other places can have one, surely Newie can?

      1. AvatarEmmie Dark

        I’m sure I’ve been to Bistro Tartine! Awesome food from memory and a fantastic wine list too. I love your idea of a Mecca Bah on the foreshore there Cathryn — I’d definitely pop in!

  9. Avatarmaria perry mohan (@gaelikaa)

    Hi Emmie, the food you described sounds absolutely fabulous. I too love food but I’m between cultures. I like the Irish food I grew up eating, but is my husband is an Indian, I find myself cooking mostly north Indian vegetarian food, with the odd south Indian dish thrown in.

    My original favourite food is Italian. Give me a good (beef: don’t tell my hubs) lasagne, a bottle of red wine and a nice bar of chocolate and I’m in heaven!

    1. AvatarEmmie Dark

      A combination of Irish and Indian cuisine sounds intriguing! I’m guessing it might result in some amazingly spicy stews? 😉

      I love the sound of your favorite meal though — I’d definitely join you for that!

  10. AvatarCathryn Hein

    He he. Wine, lasagne, and chocolate…pretty hard to go wrong there, Maria. Comfort food heaven.

    Thanks for dropping by Friday Feast. I bet you have some wonderful foodie stories to tell!

  11. AvatarNatalie Moress

    Zucchini and pistachio spice cake with lime frosting – YUMMO! Sounds divine. I love to bake, and have a great pumpkin bread recipe everyone loves.
    Fav dining out experience – I’m very predictable – garlic prawns. I like to order something I don’t cook at home, or else, what’s the point?
    Cassie’s Grand Plan sounds like a great read. It’s on my TBR list, for sure!

    1. AvatarEmmie Dark

      The cake really is divine, Natalie – I strongly recommend giving it a try.

      I’m not much of a seafood eater — I like fish, but not shellfish. Not allergic, just don’t really like the taste much. But I keep trying it every now and then — you never know when something like that might change!

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