Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Malthouse Kitchen

As much as wearing soaking wet clothes to work is unpleasant, I am grateful for the change in weather - it was such a hot weekend. We tried cooling down in the pool, lying in front of a fan and eventually moved as little as possible. My herbs were dying (I think the coriander is gone for good) and my skin was getting very pink... maybe the pool hadn't been the best idea after all.

It was definitely too hot to use the oven or stove or just be in the kitchen at all. And while doing very little seems very appealing on a Sunday, we needed a way to escape the heat and nourish ourselves after the festivities of the weekend. 

With an extra straggler (Ben) still around in the light of day - a few of us had traipsed back to my place in the late hours of Saturday night to continue our 'deep' philosophical conversations - we ventured out to the Malthouse Theatre to grab a bite from the Malthouse Kitchen.

The late breakfast crowd had dissipated and only a few people were sitting outside under the shade of large umbrellas. Being early in the afternoon on a Sunday (they close at 1pm on a Sunday), there was still a few paninis and salads left, but not much else. I chose a noodle salad and the boys got toasted paninis (it looked like it had salami in it).

Monday, 27 February 2012

Taco Bill

Once upon a time, late in the afternoon, two young ladies were searching for a drink and some food in Melbourne's CBD. They stumbled across open doors leading to a staircase, and up that staircase was...
Taco Bill.

From this humble beginning, Taco Bill restaurants (Russell St and South Melbourne in particular) have become somewhat symbolic for my friends and I. From birthday gatherings to dinner and drinks before tenpin bowling ('TacoStrike'), Taco Bill offers an informal and vibrant environment where we can eat and drink and feel merry. (I can literally fill entire photo albums with crazy photos and memories from our times there.) And even though we're older and less enthusiastic about fish bowl margaritas and giant sombreros these days, Taco Bill is still a familiar haunt we like to visit occasionally.

Since my views of Taco Bill are obviously skewed, here are Dan's thoughts from our most recent visit...


Having just worked up a sizeable appetite at the gym, Dani alerted me to the fact there was a Taco Bill just around the corner, it seemed like a convenient choice.

As we headed up the stairs we could hear the slight clattering of plates and the low rumble of voices emanating from the current crop of diners, so we continued eagerly. Walking into a room that could have been designed by a Grade 6 Musical crew, we were greeted by a waitress who kindly showed us to a table and placed menus in our hands.

Monday, 20 February 2012

St Ali

Brunch is one of those wonderful meals where you can take your time deciding what to order (or make), indulge in something delicious and read a newspaper front-to-back. Even catching up with a friend seems more blissful during brunch. So on Saturday, I had brunch with a friend at St Ali - a Melbourne institution for coffee lovers. (But I must confess... I don't drink coffee or pretty much any hot beverage.)

While I frequently visit South Melbourne and knew roughly where I was going, stepping into an unmarked doorway (which almost felt like stepping into the back of someone's converted garage) - I really wasn't sure I was in the right place. Thankfully, 30 seconds later my brunch companion poked her head through the same door and we both sighed with relief that we'd found St Ali (and each other).

Despite looking very busy, we were seated immediately, given menus and asked what coffee we'd like to order - of course. We both ordered juice. (Yes, cringe away coffee lovers.)

I should note that though we arrived at 10.30am and managed to get a table straight away. By the time we left, around 11.30am, there was a queue of people waiting for a table in the laneway.

Like most friends who haven't had a decent chat in a while, we were completely absorbed in conversation. Thankfully the waiters who continued to check if we were ready to order, didn't seem too bothered by our lack of urgency.

After asking some questions about portion sizes etc. We settled on the My Mexican Cousin (minus egg) and the Deconstructed NYC Bagel.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

181 Domain Cafe Bar

What is better than a walk and a light lunch on a Saturday? Ok, probably a few things.

But being a near perfect 28 degree day in Melbourne, we decided to stretch our legs around The Tan and check out the cafes on Domain Road along the way.

With the sun beating down, we were all craving a nice cold drink within 5 minutes. Luckily, 181 Domain Cafe Bar was able to please us all, even Maple (my dog), as there was a small bucket of water on the footpath for pets. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Bull Run

Though I'm not one for romantics, small acts here and there certainly lift my spirits. Flowers randomly sent to work. Dinner already prepared and cooked when I get home. Every gesture, big or small, makes me appreciate the main man in my life - it is so true that actions speak louder than words.

So yesterday when Dan offered to meet me for lunch... I have to admit I was a little giddy.

I was running nearly an hour late, thanks to an impromptu meeting at work, but Dan was still patiently waiting. Well maybe not patiently, but he was still waiting. (Cha-ching extra bonus brownie points right there.)

Feeling rushed and apologetic, I suggested we go somewhere close, really close. We literally went 3 doors down - to Bull Run.

A long display of food and a row of people waiting to help stood before us. Oooh what to have? A roast vegetable salad? A chicken sandwich? Meatballs? Pasta?

We were drawn to the fleshy chicken foccacias. Chicken and chives with avocado for Dan. Chicken, mushroom, avocado and lemon for Dani. Yes, our taste in food is about as different as our names. And since a focaccia and a small drink was only $10, we grabbed a couple of cokes too. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

Australia Day & Chocolate Buddha

Melbourne has been buzzing lately. City suits relinquished the CBD to camera wielding tourists. Fed Square and outdoor bars became seas of people. Screeches and grunts filled tennis courts. All the while, the sun was sizzling the grass and our noses.

The buzz, the people, the events, all seem amplified on Australia Day (26 January - for those who don't know).

Australia Day commemorates the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain at Sydney Cove in 1788. The day is controversial for some, but for many involves friends/love ones, a BBQ and triple j's Hottest 100.

Australian flag paraphernalia and the host at work

Beginning the day with a sizzling BBQ, foldaway chairs, a table covered with food and a handful of good friends. I couldn't want for anything more. And of course, the BBQ was delicious (thanks Renee!). Sausages, roo sausages, chicken & beef shaslicks (made with veggies from the host sister's garden) and hamburgers. Garden salad, asian salad, potato salad and rice salad. Nom nom.