Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Melbourne Food Festival

I get very excited in March when the announcement of the Melbourne food and wine festival is made. I download the program and start planning. I'll do this lunch with this friend and I'll do this lunch with that friend and with the family, we can attend this event. Perhaps with my husband I'll go here and the list goes on. Any excuses to try as many express lunches in 10 days as possible as well attending other events. I've chosen 3 events to discuss that stand out. Libertine 500Victoria st Nth Melbourne 3051 9329 5228 I've heard about Libertine for along time and was very excited that they were included in the express lunch. Express lunches are 2 courses with a glass of wine and a coffee or cup of tea. For this you pay $35. (that's right!). On being seated the lovely waitress(not sure if she was the owner or not(Zoe Ladyman, a local Yaravillian, I hear) did not waist any time in giving us our menus and asking us what wine we would like. She also explained for an extra 10 dollars we could have 3 courses. And of course I straight away went yes that's for me. The Ambience in Libertine, is just lovely. It feels very French and old world. My entree was a cuttlefish salad with turtle beans and mint which was devine. It presented like a freshly bloomed flower and tasted light and sublime. For Mains again I had the fish - John Dory which was probably the best cooked piece of fish that I have ever had. Served on beautiful potato cooked in too much butter. Dessert was a plum and berry struesal served with Pistachio ice-cream. The service was brilliant with the waitress being more attentive to our needs than you would have thought possible. Overall Libertine has left a flavour in my mouth that I long to readdress, soon, please, someone take me there. The Healsville Hotel - The Cider Festival What a great family event! For $20 an adult and $5 a child this is an afternoon that I would encourage all to attend. This event is about cider tasting and although cider is obviously for adults the Healsville hotel made sure that our children were entertained whilst we attended the serious business of tasting. There were four stalls of tasting. I can remember three, Kellybrook, Punt Road and Coldstream Brewery. Now I mainly booked this event because my husband and one of his pals love cider. They also make batches of it now and again which they try to get me to taste. I have to say in the past I have not been too fond of cider. Well this was the turning point. I tried the Apple ciders, I tried the Sparkling Ciders and I tried the Pear Ciders. My fav being Pear. Delicious! For our $20 we got to do the tasting then we got to choose one stubby of cider and we also got a roast pork roll. The roast pork was delicious(from a spit) and I will not complain too much because as you can see for my 20 I'm already getting quite a good deal, but please, a little bit of butter on the roll or some apple sauce or chutney or even some gravy please. I would have paid extra just for that roll to be moist. Whilst eating and drinking cider our children were entertained by a clown and we listened to a lovely jazz band. Overall a brilliant afternoon! Stokehouse Schmoke house! What a disaster! Oh Lordy an example of what not to do during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. For a start the Express Lunch was downstairs, not upstairs where it should have been. Secondly whilst they were offering the Express Lunch they were still trying to do their normal menu in the bistro. We were seated on a shabby chipped table. On seating my male guest asked for a beer. We then waited and waited. In the meantime we were given the menu, which was dissapointing and uninspiring. We ordered our food as well as the wine component from the menu - then the beer came. We waited and waited and waited. We asked the waitress where our wine was and she said that she couldn't find any glasses, they may have run out. Oh! Eventually the head waitress came and bought us our wine and apologised saying that she would give us a second glass of wine free of charge. Eventually the entree's arrived for two of us and the waitress also bought out the main course for our 3rd guest. So Wrong! Do you know that the entree was so unimpressive I can't even remember what it was. We also received our second glass of wine at this point. Whilst we were waiting a waitress was carrying two plates of pizza. She tilted one plate and lost control and some of the pizza brushed on another customers shoulder. She regained control of the plate and turned around and served the pizza to the other table who had been watching. It was hilarious because she should not have served it, it was like a scene out of Faulty Towers. Again we waited and waited and waited. Lordy it's 3.30, our booking was at 1.30, our entree had been served 3/4 of an hour ago, we were starving and by the looks of things we weren't going to get anything else. So we walked! Yes that's right we got up and walked right out without paying without being stopped. That felt so good! I have never experienced such bedlam at such a supposed high profile restaurant. NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!! Just drove past Delizia and it is no longer there. Tin Pan Alley Is?? All that googling reveals is that it may be Italian cuisine with wood fired pizza's. How will Touks feel about the Pizza? Corner shop owners are not far off from opening 2nd cafe in their budding empire.Wee Jeanie's is the name and don't we love it. Very Exciting, can't wait for the opening! FYI How much do you love your cheese? Australia is one of the only countries left leaving a ban on unpasterised cheese or raw milk cheese. This is apparently to protect cheese eaters from harmful pathogens(germs). Raw milk cheese is said to have more flavour and health benefits according to some cheesemakers. Australian cheesemakers would like the ban to be lifted so that they can practice the tradional artisan way of using raw milk for cheese making. The variety of cheeses that benefit from this practice range from soft brie's and camembert's to firmer cheeses such as manchego and gruyere. Let's rally behind our local cheesemakers and support this ancient and natural process.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


The Next Craze - Bugs!

Yes! Apparently bugs are extremely good for you and they are going to be promoted as the next best thing. It's not that much of a jump really if you think of Moreton Bay Bugs or Balmain Bugs. These Bugs, the giant water bug, crickets or your average grasshopper apparently are full of protein, nearly the same as ground beef. They are environmentally friendly,they can be farmed more cheaply and on less land. They are already a part of a diet for amongst others Bear Grilles and our own aborigines.
Would you eat Insects as an appetiser? MMM!

auction rooms

Auction Rooms
103-107 Errol Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
(03) 9326 7749

On my second visit to the Auction Rooms I was very excited. First time round I had the baked eggs, and they were delicious. So in the car trip over I was having a difficult time wondering whether I should have those eggs again or whether I should have the pork Knuckle sandwich(This breakfast was about lunch time) or should I have muesli and then a sweet treat. Ah decisions, decisions decisions. In the end The baked eggs were no longer on the menu and because I wanted to review I decided to stick with the breakfast menu. The breakfast menu is not for your average bacon and eggs Jo, it is quite sophisticated with many ingredients in one dish. I like that if it works.
I decided on Coriander felafel and poached eggs on grilled flat bread with a cumin and mint yoghurt, tabouli, dukkah and a tahinin dressing.(See what I mean). Unfortunately this did not work for me. Why, because this was not cooked with sophistication. So disappointingly the eggs were hard, this dish was really in need of runny eggs due to the tabouli being really dry . Couldn't taste the tahini dressing. The dish had quite a nice nutty flavour but could have had twice as much cumin and mint dressing. It had potential but didn't come close to realising it.
I get very upset when I find it difficult to choose off a great menu and then end up with that.

I like the atmosphere here! It is a beautiful brick building with exposed wood, lights made from construction piping, great music and of course the smell of freshly roasted coffee. It's also very busy which creates that buzz that one likes to feel in groovy cafes.
They Roast their own under the name Small Batch and even I Might be tempted to try a coffee here one day. Not really, I love my tea. Talking of which although I loved the way they served the Chai, it was undrinkable. So strong and luke warm. YUK!

The service was poor at our table, the girl who served us seemed to be in La La land. I never received the rhubarb crumble tart I ordered, could not be bothered chasing it up cos I felt the whole experience was a bit laxidaisical.

Not worth leaving SKY for!