Thursday, 28 November 2013

cumulus inc. @ flinders lane, melbourne

I'm a strong believer that a decent breakfast gives you a good boost to the day. My daily breakfast generally consists of toast, otherwise yoghurt - never really got into the cereal thing but over the years, I've learnt that keeping it healthy is the way to go. Healthy keeps the energy levels up and keeps you fuller for longer but saying that, I wouldn't say no to the occasional chocolate croissant or muffin (both are amongst my favourite!)

And when I go on holidays - finding great places for breakfast is always on the itinerary. On our recent trip to Melbourne, we were recommended Cumulus Inc. as one to try and when I get a recommendation, I generally make a commitment to check it out.

Starting the day with coffees and cannele (there's time when I've considered moving to Paris just so I could eat a cannele every day). At Cumulus Inc, they serve these in 3 sizes - of course I went with the big one.

The Full English Breakfast consisting of bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomatoes.

I opted for the House made crumpets with whipped ricotta and rooftop honey. Rooftop honey seems to be the 'it' thing in Melbourne - this wasn't the first place we saw had it over the weekend we were in Melbourne.

All the cakes to be found near the coffee machine.

To sum up Cumulus Inc., expect really clean flavours and honest, good food. They're also open for lunch and dinner which I'd wished we'd stayed longer to try as the menu looks pretty awesome. And they have a cookbook too - which yes, I almost bought till the self control kicked in!

Monday, 11 November 2013

little cupcakes @ degraves st., melbourne

I love finding cute shops and little cupcakes on Degraves Street in Melbourne is a cutie! From the cupcake motif in their shop sign, the blackboard signage which draws you in, inside you'll find some cute bunting, filled glass jars and a cabinet filled with cute as a button cupcakes!

Here's the shop from the outside.

From where I was sitting.

We had a Belgian Chocolate milkshake which I'd highly recommend. I reckon Raspberry would've been ace!

Here's the cabinet with all the little cupcakes. So many to choose from and you can order them for birthdays too.

It wasn't hard to decide on Elmo & Cookie Monster - how cute are they! Just realised looking at this photo that I picked all chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes are the perfect size - you can have that extra one without feeling too guilty.

That's me inside the shop!

To be really honest, it's been ages since I've had a cupcake. They were the 'it' thing at one point but then cupcake shop after cupcake shop started popping up and the cupcakes just got bigger and bigger and not very tasty. Good to see that little cupcakes has them just the right size and tasty too!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

wonderbao @ a'beckett st., melbourne cbd

I remember growing up eating Chinese steamed buns. Mum would make these for breakfast or our nanny would serve these up as after school snacks. My favourite is the Steamed Bun with Lap Cheong; something I always had to fight dad with to see who got the last one. So for something that's been around for awhile, it's amazing how the 'steamed bun' has made a resurgence with 'bao' places popping up here and there. On my recent trip to Melbourne, a colleague recommended Wonderbao as one to try.

Arriving at 10am that particular morning, I'd actually wanted to try the Roasted Pork Belly Gua Bao which is apparently they're specialty but wasn't available till 10.30am. Instead, the boy and I ordered their mixed selection of sweet and savoury bao's with some hot soya milk.

There's only a handful of seats available with most of the space taken up by the kitchen and counter. I was expecting to see buns being made on location but looks like they're being made offsite (as I saw the car pull up transporting the un-steamed buns in plastic containers).

Aside from soya milk, there's a selection of what they call 'FOB' drinks - love it!

Unfortunately, didn't manage to stay long enough to try the Gua Bao but after eating 2 buns each, we were a little stuffed so wandered off. Of the bao's we tried, the Custard Bun was probably my favourite with the Barbeque Pork Bun following closely behind. Personally I think it's a great idea what they're doing in this space but wonder how long it's going to last. Definitely the Gua Bao's still have my interest but a part of me still thinks that the 'bao's' that mum used to buy frozen and steam at home were just as good as the ones I had this visit.

Friday, 1 November 2013

huxtaburger @ smith st., collingwood VIC

Can you believe it's the first of November already? Where did the time go?! The last 4 months of hiatus from this blog has included a trip to the Hunter, various weddings, watching Recipe to Riches on TV (and subsequently getting sucked in to buying the products each time I head to Woolies - will blog later), bit of a roller coaster ride at work but on a more exciting note, a long overdue trip to Melbourne where I did plenty of eating.

If you're like me, you're probably jumping on the Huxtaburger bandwagon a little late but hey, who's to judge. The tiniest of kitchens (pictured below) are serving up Melbourne's most sought after burger.

The Huxtaburger. Served with crinkle cut chips.

Burger innards. It's a tasty burger and I'd recommend it for the burger pattie if anything. Crisp on the outside which gives the burger a real texture kick.

We were at the the Collingwood store on Smith street - only limited seating available. Four of us were sat on benches facing the wall so a little hard to chat and if you observe around, most people dig in to their burgers and get out of there pretty quick. (You can't help it though cause the queue forms out the door and you'd feel pretty slack for occupying your seat too long)

One thing our Melbourne friends mentioned to us is that a bar opens up in the evening so you can enjoy a tipple or two with your burger. It's a cute little place and with 6 burgers on the menu - there's every excuse to pop back!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

dulce luna @ king st., sydney cbd

Recently, two of my cousins started their food blogs and it's been with much excitement and gusto that they've been digging into their food and blogging away. These days, they know a lot more about what's going on in the food world and Dulce Luna was one that came highly recommended. I admit that I was a little bummed to discover Dulce Luna so late in the game; though better late than never!

At Dulce Luna, they serve up 'just the right size' croissants and savoury pasties. I'm very much a sweets girl and took my pick of the raspberry and the almond croissants; though I've been told the Dulce de leche is probably their best one on the menu.

There's only a handful of seats by the side of one wall so it's a bit of a squeeze but it's also prime viewing seats into the kitchen where they prepare their croissants. Be prepared for the thoroughfare of deliveries and people moving to and fro if you choose to take a seat.

Coffee - the perfect accompaniment to a croissant!

There's a handful of food blogs out there with a much thorough review as Dulce Luna brought food bloggers into the kitchen when they first opened up (which I think is a rather smart way to start a food business - and yes, if you're a food business, please invite me into your kitchen as I'd love to be there!) But I digress -  I wish I worked closer to this part of the city so I could actually try the rest of the Dulce Luna menu but until next time, do let me know if you visit here and tell me what you think!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

the thai place restaurant @ beecroft rd., epping

I love those days when you don't know what to eat, you wander into the closest restaurant and end up having a awesome meal. The Thai Place in Epping is where we found ourselves one Saturday lunchtime and no doubt will be back for a feed. If you're after tasty and cheap Thai food, look no further!

We ordered off their lunch menu (which is a limited version of their full dinner menu). Every meal comes with a free entree - in our case, our choice of a curry puff each was indeed very tasty.

My all-time favourite Pad Thai. Did you know that in the Thai language, this translates to 'Fried Thai'?

My number one dining companion.

Pork Spicy & Basil Noodle might just be my next all time-favourite Thai noodle. Perfectly spicy and just that little bit different with pork.

Their dinner menu is actually a lot more extensive so will need to report back when I pay them a visit. If you're keen, their menu is on their website here:

Monday, 17 June 2013

piccolo's @ darling st., rozelle

It's been a little quiet on this blog since I discovered Instagram and it seems like a fair few food bloggers have jumped on the Instagram bandwagon; much easier to post and well, it's addictive! In an effort to stop me from being addicted to my phone and liking pictures at all times of the day, I thought I'd make an effort to come back to this blog and catch up on a serious back log of posts. I've still being snapping away with my nifty Canon of mine and you can only call it ridiculous how many photos of food I have sitting on my computer ready to be shared.

Let me introduce you to a nifty weekend brunch haunt in Rozelle; a place called Piccolo's where coffee is served at all times of the day.

I usually love the idea of an all-day breakfast but the chicken panini was the one that caught my eye this particular morning we were there.  Perfectly toasted and very, very tasty. I've been wanting to buy a sandwich press for awhile now but apartment living has meant we've had little to no bench space - so hopefully when we move to a bigger place, I can finally get one and make a panini of my own at home.

The boy opts for the big breakfast which is generously portioned as any big breakfast should be. I hate it when places serve up a big breakfast and you only have about half of what you see in the photo on the plate.

My regular brunch crew; we're happy eaters!

Don't be turned away when you first come through the doors of Piccolo's; there's actually ample seating tucked at the back which you don't notice when you first come into the cafe. And can I just say that these guys know exactly how to bring customers back; just as we were paying, I noticed the most scrumptious tray of iced cinnamon scrolls by the register which I wish I'd known about earlier. And yep, I'm always thinking about food even when I've eaten :)

Monday, 20 May 2013

adriano zumbo's salted caramel macarons

When Adriano Zumbo launched his bake at home range late last year, I swiftly acquired the entire range thanks to my lovely mum who knows how much I love to bake and how much I love Zumbo. In the past half a year, I've made 3 out of the 4 that were part of the original launch and lo and behold, there's another 2 which have launched in the past month! For those that follow Mashi, you would've read her post here as the two of us had a crack at the salted caramel macarons late last year.

A most pretty array of Adriano Zumbo's bake at home range.

Fun on a Friday evening.

Patiently piping our shells in the hope of some macaron feet.

Look at the determination in Mashi's face in this photo!

First batch that came out of the oven - some came out a little crackly but other's came out with feet. I did my happy dance at this point.

Not so great to start with...

But perfect macarons we have here!

Unfortunately these macarons look better than they taste. Despite leaving them to sit overnight in the fridge, they were airy to the taste and just didn't have the crunch and chewiness you'd expect of a macaron. And for salted caramel macarons, these came out rather orange!

Instructions are definitely easy to follow but you'll need to set aside a good 2-3 hours from start to finish to make this batch of about 20 filled macarons. Makes you appreciate the ones you buy outside; suddenly they don't seem so expensive after all when you consider all the effort that goes into making the two discs and a filling that comprise that one macaron. Anyway, have yet to try the Passionfruit macarons and I hear part of the new launch is one more macaron flavour; hopefully they work out a bit better taste-wise!

Monday, 13 May 2013

the grounds of alexandria @ huntley st., alexandria

There's been much on the grapevine about 'The Grounds of Alexandria' and I've been one of the slower ones to head over to check it out but when a friend came visiting from Melbourne, it was the perfect place to catch up!

Albeit it's a little hard to nab a seat on a Saturday; I hear you need to head there nice and early. For those there at around 11am, you'll find better luck grabbing your food to go and eating in the courtyard. If you ask nicely (which is what we did), a kind lady moved across slightly for us to seat the three of us at the end of a table.

Fruit yoghurt muesli and a Bacon & Egg roll. Coffee a must to start a weekend.

By our table they were serving freshly made donuts and how can one resist? Choice of nutella topping or berry topping.

The awesome K who I call the crazy cat bag lady. The last time I saw her she bought a crazy cat bag.

I felt a little bad about this piggy who was positioned nearby the bacon & egg roll stand.

These two make me laugh so much. They were trying to do a lover's entwined toast with their cups of fresh lemonade which didn't really work - you need to hold with opposite hands!

So much to see as you look around The Grounds of Alexandria.

A cute yellow tricycle.

Hoping we'll have better luck next time getting a table inside! There's much more on offer on the menu and well, I'd be happy just to eat all the things I ate on this visit. Actually, there's a muffin I bought which I ate much later and it was absolutely scrumptious! One of the bonuses of coming here is that there's ample all-day street parking nearby so breakfast can easily extend into lunch. Oh, and all the pots of jams you can buy - it's really quite a foodie's delight!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

marion grasby's singapore noodles

So here it is, Singapore Noodles from Marion's Kitchen range. Took me awhile to get to this one as it didn't seem all the supermarkets stocked it but thanks to Woolies and their weekly specials, nabbed this one up and voila - I've now tried out the entire range.

Here it is - signature yellow packaging which the boy remarks is a little hard to read.

Follow the simple steps on the packet and 20 minutes later, you have a wokful of noodles. (FYI: We had chicken thigh, green beans and chinese cabbage in our version of Singapore Noodles)

Noodles ready to serve.

Best eaten fresh. The boy took some for work the next day but ends up being a little soupy.

And my final verdict - to be honest, probably my least favourite from the entire range but for a quick 20 minute meal, you really can't ask for much more.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

la cachette @ mitchell rd., erskineville

There's days when I have to admit I'm getting old; and usually I feel it more so when it's yet another younger cousins birthday; gone are the days when they were children and are now actually starting uni and doing all those grown up things; where did the time go? Happy Birthday cousin C!

This birthday called for a brunch celebration at La Cachette in Erskineville. Recently under new management and just happens so to be the auntie and uncle team of my one of my younger cousin's girlfriend. They're serving up Toby Estate coffee which is already a win.

The big breakfast which is a hearty feed and a great way to start the day.

Having had a bite to eat that morning, I opted for a lunch selection and went for the Chicken & Vegetable Pie. Looked good when it was sitting in the cabinet as a whole pie and tasted even better on my plate. Sources tell me that the pies are home mad so well worth a try.

Great place to start the weekend and excited to see what new items they bring to the menu in the coming months. Erskineville is conveniently placed for those who want to head out to Marrickville for one of their famous pork rolls; which is exactly what we did afterwards!