Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Breakfast at Friars Cafe, Shepparton

So in the space of 24 hours, I travelled to three cities in Victoria and visited just two restaurants (wtf, lady, how did this happen, I hear you asking yourself). I'll write about my flying visit to Geelong another time, but this post is about my day trip to Shepparton to play Ingress.

A very good Ingress friend of mine, Snow987, co-ordinated the Layers of Awesome operation, and while I missed out being named in the sitrep, trust me, I was there, and I have the platinum Illuminator to show for it! We met at Friars Cafe in Shep for breakfast, wherein I had a good breakfast burrito (warm and soft tortilla with eggs and bacon in an adequate burrito to filling ratio, served with amazing relish, and a pretty decent banana and other things smoothie (perfect fuel for my nervous mind and stomach). Others indulged in pancakes, french toast, and bacon and egg scramble, all of which were reported to be very tasty indeed - and their consumers to whom I am grateful for letting me take photos.

The staff coped exceptionally well with 30+ Ingress agents plus encumbrances descending on their loft area, despite being in the middle of the Sunday brunch rush; everyone was served quickly and efficiently, and billed the same way (hooray for amazing people who can cope with split checks!). They were more than accommodating for those of us who flitted in and out throughout the day, too. Snow987 spent most of the day holed up there and they were more than happy for her to commandeer a table. Kudos to them.

Friar's Breakfast

Awesome day, kicked off by an awesome breakfast.

Friars Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi Station, Mitcham

Don't we just love forgetfulness? Yup... I forgot my lunch again. I feel very lucky that I work somewhere with choices as to what I eat when I do! I took off up the street with orders from two other teachers for sushi and hit up Sushi Station for a Japanese fix.

sushi

I got a couple of California rolls. The others got avocado rolls and salmon and cucumber rolls. What I had was pretty good, but a little dry, especially the crabstick. No wasabi was provided, nor was there any ginger or the usual extra bits you get with takeaway sushi, except for soy sauce (love those little fish bottles). It was also a little disappointing that at 1pm there wasn't anything much left in the cabinet, but I was impressed that they were prepared to make SOME of their selection fresh while I waited.

Will I go back? Hmm, not sure - there are other places in Mitcham that have good sushi too but it will depend on how pushed for time I am, and whether I remember I forgot my lunch early enough to go get sushi of my choice rather than whatever is left.

Sushi Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 28 September 2015

Wheelers Hill Hotel, Wheelers Hill

Spring came to Melbourne very, very briefly about ten days ago and the Khocolateman and Auntie Spanx headed up into the Dandenongs with the new drone to film a fancy car meet (I'm sure it's actually called something much more technical, but I don't know what it is, so ehhhh). They were hungry on the way back so they swung by to get me, and we headed to the Wheelers Hill Hotel for a late lunch.

We hadn't been there for ages - I remember going there once or twice when I had just met the Khocolateman, but since we moved we've just been hitting up other places. We sat in the beautiful atrium area after ordering, and drank in the view while basking in the warm afternoon sun. It's beautifully decorated, with splashes of blue giving it a fresh, contemporary feel.

whbistro

Auntie Spanx and the Khocolateman ordered the roast of the day with veggies, mash and chips (not all together). They said it was okay, that the flavour was good, but the roasted meat a little chewy. I ordered salmon with potato rosti. It was a really tasty dish - the little rostis were soft without being oily, and the salmon fillet was cooked through without being tough, with a crispy skin. It was covered in a yummy sauce with the only wtf of the meal being the cocktail shrimp scattered over the top. I like cocktail shrimp so that's cool, just a bit anachronistic.

I think we're planning a return for when Auntie Spanx is free so we can try their parmagiana night (a variety of different kinds of parmas for a special low price). Looking forward to it!

The Wheelers Hill Hotel Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 25 September 2015

Indian Spice Pavilion, Scoresby

Sunday nights are hit and miss in our house. Some weeks, I'm organised and cook with groceries I've bought earlier in the day. Other weeks, I fail epically at organisation and find myself doing the groceries at 8pm, after which I don't feel much like cooking. That was last weekend.

We are still looking for a really good curry joint super close by, but one did pop up on my radar in Scoresby which isn't too far when I'm already out at Woolies. I shot an order through using eatnow.com.au (more about that another time) and it was ready for me to pick up fifteen minutes later.

indianspicepavilion

We ordered butter chicken (perfect both hot and as leftovers the next day, perfect chicken-to-sauce ratio), lamb vindaloo (okay, not super duper hot, but it had a bit of bite to it, and the lamb was well-trimmed, no gristle or fat left on it), palak paneer (an oldie but a goodie - love my paneer in creamy spinach sauce), and kheema naan (bread stuffed with lamb mince - a little dry but as a result not too greasy or oily). All up, a super tasty meal, not too hideously unhealthy, and lots of leftovers for lunch on Monday.

I'll definitely be back!

Indian Spice Pavillion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Twig and Two Berries

I found myself in need of a warm place to do some marking one morning while waiting for Dalek to finish at the groomers. Usually I'd hit up Blackburn, but between one thing and another on the road, I ended up sailing past to Laburnum and visited The Twig and Two Berries instead.

twigberries

I ordered a chai latte and a spinach and feta mini-muffin and settled in for the next ninety minutes. The chai was packet, but it was fine, drinkable, no added sugar and a nice froth-to-drink ratio. The mini-muffin was OMG YUM. They served it warmed with a little side of butter, but I ate it by itself. It was flavourful and moist, and you could really taste the feta - it almost tasted like goat's cheese after being warmed up. I liked it so much I decided to order one of their pumpkin and feta ones as well. I liked it, but not as much as the spinach one.

I also bought a panini with salmon and cream cheese and rocket, and had it for lunch. It was yummy - lots and lots of salmon all the way to the edge, and the bread was nice and soft. I still like the spinach and feta muffin best though!

The Twig & Two Berries - Gourmet Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 21 September 2015

Lentil as Anything, Abbotsford Convent

laa1

Abbotsford Convent on a Saturday morning is fairly awesome. There are always a million things going on there and next door at the Collingwood Children's Farm (even if all I'm there for is the food and the Ingress opportunities). The centrepiece to every visit for me is a meal at Lentil as Anything, a vegetarian restaurant with a difference.

The breakfast menu here is simple but tasty. I ordered an English breakfast tea and poached eggs with the potato rostis, which I'd seen on their breakfast menu online. Oh man. I was not disappointed in the least. Two poached eggs, two rostis, and a VERY generous dollop of garlic raita, garnished with some fresh rocket on the top. The rostis were soft and spongey, and flavoured with spices you don't typically come across in a European rosti. The poached eggs were PERFECT. What really made them was the fact that they were clearly from happy, healthy free range chooks, as the yolks were a rich, beautiful golden colour. I have a weird thing about free range eggs, so the fact that they advertise on their menu that those are all they use made me very happy.

The morning I was there they were also doing kotthu roti outside. The distinctive clack clack clack wasn't audible inside but once I stepped outside I could follow my ears to the grill.

The decor is the same as it always has been and always will be at places like Lentil As Anything and the Hare Krishna restaurants - shabby indie chic. Everything is peaceful and zen, including the music which while I was there prominently featured castanets, pan pipes and flutes.

The cost is negotiable. They operate on a donation box system, where you pay what you feel the food is worth. The kitchen and tables are staffed by volunteers (who did an amazing, smiley, efficient job while I was there), so that overhead is low, but I can't imagine rental of such a big space at the convent would be cheap, and my meal was flawless, so I donated appropriately. They told a story about the strange things they receive in the donation box on their facebook page during the week, so I definitely wasn't going to pay using chicken salt sachets and Pokemon booster packs (even if I had that kind of thing in my bag, which I never do, but probably should, because let's face it when do you NOT need chicken salt or a Pokemon booster pack?).

After eating at Lentil as Anything I felt ready for anything. This place amazes me every time I visit - I'll be back again soon for sure!

laa2

Lentil As Anything Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Japan Komo, Mitcham

So one evening a few weeks back I was killing time between meetings in the evening and decided to stop by Japan Komo for dinner. Other teachers had told me their sushi was good, but I wanted to try a couple of old favourites as a benchmark.

The interior is pretty stock standard. The service is pretty standard too. It wasn't too busy when I got there but things were picking up as I left.

japankomo

I ordered the Agadeshi Tofu and Tempura Udon. Mum introduced me to Agadeshi Tofu when I was in Sydney a few years back, and Tempura Udon used to be my favourite thing to order at internet cafes and Denny's in Nagoya when I still lived in Japan. I'd had a couple of good ones at places in Sydney when I was working there one summer, too, so it was always going to be hard to impress!

The tofu was okay. The servings were huge (justifying the price), and they were very hot when they came out. The outside was a bit too 'separate for me though - it was really heavily battered where other agadeshi tofu I've had has been much lighter. The taste was still really good though.

The udon was a bit of a disappointment. The 'tempura' was three crumbed and battered prawn sticks on a plate (like panko rather than tempura), with a bowl of the noodles and broth brought out a little while later. The udon itself was good. The tempura part was a bit of a let down.

Would I go back? Probably. Would I order the same thing? Nope. Probably stick to the sushi.

Japan Komo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 12 September 2015

My Favourite Marvel Superhero and His Burgers

captainamericas1

MY FAVOURITE MARVEL SUPERHERO HAS A BURGER PLACE IN FERNTREE GULLY. OF ALL THE PLACES. I AM IN LOVE.

Ahem.

It was a Saturday night, and we were in the mood for a burger. The cheapies weren't going to cut it, and we were a little way from home. The Zomato app yielded an unexpected find - a burger joint we'd never heard of, named after my favourite Marvel Superhero, in Ferntree Gully. Bingo. We're hitting that up, we said, and swung off the freeway to take a little detour.

We just about died when we walked in. How, the Khocolateman and I wondered, had we not known about this place before? Captain America's Hamburger Heaven took everything we like in counter food (good burgers, proper ribs, a decent cocktail menu, etc.) and packaged them in a Deep South-style roadhouse, complete with a ceiling covered in funny epithets, diner-style booths, number plates, and currency from different places stuck all over the joint. We got takeaway that night (see above for the burger outside and the burger innards shot).

We liked it so much we changed dinner plans with friends to revisit it the following night. Despite us changing our numbers three times, and them being booked out, they squeezed us in, served us quickly. We got onion rings (okay), deep fried cheese bites (awesome - check out the picture above), cocktails (expensive), ribs and buffalo wingalings (pretty good) and burgers (always good - and so large I couldn't finish mine, but good value for money so I didn't feel I'd wasted too much). We skipped dessert but I reckon I'll try it next time I'm there; who could resist Floridian Key Lime Pie?

Captain America: defending Melbourne's far east against burgerless catastrophe since our parents were our age.

Captain America's Hamburger Heaven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato