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Feb 09, 2018

Take a Trip to Australia This Winter With The Thirsty Koala!

In these chilly, windy February days, there’s nothing like visiting a restaurant where you immediately feel at home. When the WHA team stopped by The Thirsty Koala on a cold (…)

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In these chilly, windy February days, there’s nothing like visiting a restaurant where you immediately feel at home. When the WHA team stopped by The Thirsty Koala on a cold January evening, we were treated to a comforting, cozy meal that made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The Thirsty Koala is one of those restaurants that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a meat-eater, vegan, gluten free, or on a strict Halloumi-fries-only diet (which I am going to create after this meal) you can find something you love. Join us as we relive that delightful evening!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I participated in Dry January this year, so I unfortunately did not sample all of their delicious-looking cocktails. For a rundown of the drink menu, Emily, take it away!

Hello friends, Emily here. It’s a tough job drinking all the drinks, but somebody’s got to do it! I should mention that Marielle helped me taste our way through these libations, and man, they were good. One of the most unique aspects of The Thirsty Koala’s cocktail menu, is that you can mix in the liquor of your choice. Only drink Tequila, drink Tequila. Gin lover till the end? Excellent! You can mix Gin in any of em’.

The Koala team worked tirelessly to make a drink menu that allows for that personal customization, and having tried multiple cocktails with a multitude of liquors mixed in, I can report that they’ve succeeded in their goals.

Although there are suggestions with each drink option, you as the drinker can make the final decision. Let’s talk about some standout/personal favorites! The beautiful golden drink in the tumbler glass above was hands down my personal favorite: The Budgie Smuggler. It’s made with elderflower liquor, lavender, fresh ginger, lemon and mint. I decided to put Vodka in my Smuggler and it did not disappoint. Also for your Australian edification, a budgie smuggler is also known as a Speedo! Who says you can’t have a cheeky cocktail!

I’m not normally into Martinis, I’m more of a Margarita girl (see below). However this Pomegranate Martini,  not only had that rich beautiful color, the pomegranate provide a tart smack, and plummy juiciness came from the added blood orange.

As mentioned, I’m a sucker for a margarita. Thirsty Koala has two ritas in their menu to choose from. A Coco Pomme Margarita and Cooee Margarita. The Cooee was my personal favorite because of the healthy kick of spice it brought. Made with Tequila, aperol, Cointreau, jalapeño aguardiente, Tabasco, ginger beer, fresh lemon, and cilantro. The ginger beer, Tabasco, and jalapeño made this nice and spicy, which is just the way I like it. If you aren’t into a spicy drink, the Pomme is a better choice. All in all a great cocktail menu-go see for yourself! -Emily

Okay, so back to the eats. We started with the aforementioned Halloumi Fries, which I absolutely devoured. Since I wasn’t drinking alcoholic beverages, I may or may not have taken way more than my fair share of these fries. (I definitely did.) Fried Halloumi cheese with a little squeeze of citrus? Absolute perfection.

Next up, the Grilled Spanish Baby Octopus. Oh man, this was tasty. Octopus is usually a favorite among the WHA team at these group dinners, and The Thirsty Koala team delivered. (We’ve actually talked about organizing an octo-crawl, where we visit a number of Astoria restaurants that serve the dish. Lemme know if you’d be into it and we’ll make it happen!) This version is served with kumquat, crispy chickpeas, and a gremolata garnish. All the flavors paired together excellently, and I’ll definitely be getting this next time I visit.

 

Now that football season is over, why not upgrade your typical wings order? We tried the Duck Wing Drummettes, which everyone agreed was a winner. The soy and gluten-free dish was served with pomegranate, chili glaze, and sesame seeds.

 

One item that, to me, is a signature dish at The Thirsty Koala, is the lamb lollipops. There’s something about lamb that feels both special occasion-worthy and comforting, which is probably a good description for the restaurant as a whole. The meat is obviously excellent, but the hidden star of this dish is the caramelized pumpkin served on the side. SO. GOOD.

 

You guys, I don’t know if you’re ready for this: GLUTEN-FREE FRIED CHICKEN. All the crunch and juiciness of your typical friend chicken, but safe for those with gluten sensitivities. I tried to get the secret recipe out of our lovely hosts, but understandably, they’re keeping it a secret. Luckily for us, we can still enjoy their version at the restaurant!

 

Mmmmm….pork belly. Is there a more indulgent cut of meat than this? The ginger chili glaze on this dish gave it a nice brightness to contrast the richness of the meat. I also made sure to eat the greens on top, because, you know, life is about balance.

 

Another item in the Comfort Food Hall of Fame has to be STEAK. Juicy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth steak. If you eat meat, you’ll want this on your table.

 

Another item that always feels special occasion-worthy to me is scallops, maybe since it’s not something I ever think to make at home. No matter what, when I’m ordering it out, I feel like I’m treating myself. There’s no better reward for making it through January than a plate of this goodness!

 

After all of this food, we really thought we were full. The idea of taking another bite seemed impossible. That is, until the sticky date pudding came out, and we devoured it instantly. Just the right amount of sweet cakiness, with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and an absolutely mouthwatering sauce. If (and it’s a big if) you leave room for dessert, you won’t want to go home without trying this!

 

 

Thanks again to The Thirsty Koala for treating us to a wonderful evening! And always, big thanks to Marielle Solan for the beautiful photos.

This post is sponsored by The Thirsty Koala. Thanks for supporting the brands that support We Heart Astoria.

The Thirsty Koala (35-12 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria) (718) 626-5430
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About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

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