A pair of quotes. . .

The serpentine river, a muddy, twisting, restless thing that pushed out into the bay with its own sort of languid apathy. This was a river simply to be crossed. It offered no poetry. It was illegible and dangerous. From its source in the mountains, its path to the coast was gently wriggly at the beginning, but by the time it approached the city it took wild perambulations, before it straightened out and relaxed close to its mouth. Matthew Condon.

to mark a brief hiatus while I walk the streets of Brisbane, though there are a few pre programmed posts to follow. . .

Governor Brisbane decided to plant another penal station on the mainland, so remote that its prisoners would give up all hope of escape.

Bob Carr from his hilarious diary - slept from 11pm to 6am, only waking once and enjoying nutty technicolour dreams. No Normison: wonderful. Foreign minister thrashes jet lag. Keep up the weights in hotel gym despite a creaky right shoulder and kept up pilates and abs work on the floors of hotel bedrooms. Must eliminate all sugar.

A mechanical pop and a small plume of vapour as I remove the seal. No one is watching so I raise the glass to my ear for the tinkle of small bubbles. I wait for the distraction of the the CO2 to pass, but even so the first sip is more cola than wine. . . A old leather boot, polish and citrus peel. More meat, spice and autumn leaves than fruit. Quite sweet in the mouth, tart too. . . I like the finish, it soft and worn, like well crumpled leaves on a path.

Image: a field near Chipping Campden.

Not far from the Margaret river town site and south and along Caves Road, there's an extra ordinary cluster of Karri trees reaching for the sky. Tall, pale and straight, it's breathtakingly beautiful. There's a peaceful serenity and cathedral like silence, the cars infrequent as they are are muffled and insignificant.

The wine too comes from the same place, I've written about it before. It's the first red I can remember purchasing that was sealed with stelvin.

Add 3 medium beets, peeled and cubed (giving about 350-400 grams of the root) to a large pot with one litre of vegetable stock. Bring this to the boil, so the beets can cook and the stock can colour. After about 15-20 minutes, remove the beetroot and process two thirds so you have a rough puree, keep the other third as it is. Measure out 250 grams of risotto, dice a large onion and chop 3 cloves of garlic and harvest your herbs (thyme, parsley) and flowers (viola) from the garden.

For thirty dollars this is particularly sharp. Pear and mustard fruit, slate, blossom and zest. The nose is  quite intricate and expressive. Cold, stony and stern in the mouth, a pulse of electricity and a sharp edge of slate. The attack is notable and terrific, full of impact, like a cold sabre. Once again the back end is slightly sweet, but there is more balance and tension, making this the more complete and enjoyable of the pair. A+. Rheinhessen. 12%. Screwcap. Approx $A30.

on Third avenue in Mount Lawley. I remember the space well, it was once home to the locally popular Third avenue cafe, which also served pizzas from the wood fired oven and hearty but never changing meat dishes, but it was never this busy.

There are more tables in the room, red and white checks topped with paper. It still feels suburban and of course this is part of the appeal.

A lazy weekend in the lead up to Christmas, I wanted something vaguely Mexican and free of red meat for dinner but with minimal spice.

First the tortillas. 400 grams of plain flour, 110g of vegetable shortening (less fat and more stability at heat), 1pinch of salt flakes, 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Process till granular. Add 1 cup of cold water and process (5-10 seconds) until a smooth dough has formed. Tip out and shape into a log, and divide into 8 smaller pieces.

13%. Approx $A90

Mute to begin, then slate and pollen, lime zest and later still toffee apples. The first sip is the most searing and intense, but even here there is the taste of sugar cane in the background. I still find this amalgam of dry and sweet hard to resolve. . . I can smell and feel and taste the sugar, though mostly it's dry. .

As you might expect from the name and location, this is anything but low key. The bottom end of Oxford street is easily Perth's most vibrant and fashionable, even on school night the place is heaving with the bright and the beautiful. The walls of the Chow house are distressed and intentionally piecemeal, but the inescapable feel of the room is NOW. There's an energy and vibe that seems quite effortless and it is hard not be swept up in the sensation.