Sunday, January 28, 2007

Even Better Than a Logie?

There seems to be a tradition in the bloggging world that when you are nominated for an award, you go all coy and giggly and post a message along the lines of "OMG! I just can't believe that I've been nominated... blah blah blah... I almost choked on my vegemite toast when I found out... blah blah blah... I'm so humbled just to be spoken of in the same sentence as those other amazing, talented bloggers... blah blah blah..." Or something like that.

2007 Bloggies

I am going to resist that temptation. I just think it's funny.

The Breakfast Blog is a finalist in the 2007 Bloggies, and if you vote (on or before February 2nd), it might just end up winning the Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog award. How funny is that?

I feel like Norman Gunston on the eve of the 1976 Logies.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Best Breakfasts 2007

If something happens twice can you call it a tradition? Whatever. It's Australia Day, and once again I am dishing out some random awards for eggs and other stuff you eat at breakfast. These are the stand-out performances from places visited during 2006...

Best of the Best
Mart 130 especially the eggs number 2

Best Big Breakfast
Pistachio or Greasy Joe's

Most Unusual Breakfast
Chicken Livers with Spinach and Bacon at Annie Smithers

Most Innovative Breakfast
The Eggs Bagna Cauda at Replete or the Breakfast Burrito at Las Chicas

Best Bacon-Free Breakfast
Carrot and date loaf at Las Chicas (or the French toast)

Best Business Breakfast

Best View
Top of the Gherkin

Best Name for a Breakfast Dish

Starvin' Marvin at Palate or Skinheads on a Raft at Fruits of Passion

Most Dog-Friendly Venue
My Dog Cafe

Best Benedict
Hard to pick between Turtle Benedict and Healesville Harvest

Best Omelette
Black sausage omelette (special) at Replete Providore

Best Scrambled
Madame SouSou

Best Bacon
Healesville Harvest

Best Fritters
Fusion-fritters with thick-cut honey-soy bacon at Replete Providore

Best Bangers
Beef sausages with the Walter's Wine Bar big breakfast

Best Hash Browns
Zucchini and potato hash at Big Mouth

Best Beans
Georgian beans at Babka

Best Mushrooms
Mushies sauteed in butter and sage at Ludo

Best Toast
Sourdough anything at Dench Bakers

Best Croque
Croque Madame at the Green Grocer

Best Bombaloni
Baker D. Chirico

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Culture for Breakfast

It was a difficult choice. Celebrate Australia Day with a breakfast of meat pies and a slab of VB. Or celebrate Australia Day with breakfast at a fancy cafe and an overdose of Ned Kelly paintings. Ned Kelly won. So off we went to the Heide Cafe, at the Museum of Modern Art at Heide, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, +61 3 9852 2346. They don't really do breakfast, but at least you can get egg and bacon panini.


Rather good egg and bacon panini, actually. The egg is cooked omelette style with some chives, slipped inside a panino with smoked bacon and some tomato relish, then grilled. It looked very pretty, served with fresh rocket, and sprinkled with some pink Murray River salt flakes (very nice salt flakes, believe it or not).

As you'd expect from a modernist gallery cafe, the venue is slick and stylish, with lots of white stuff (chairs, tables, etc). But it's not all modern. The cutlery (including bone-handled knives) is pre-loved.

Actually, now is a good time to visit Heide if you fancy a bit of modern Austraaaaalian art. In addition to all the Kellys, there's a nice collection of Tuckers (although not this particular one) on show.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Breakfast Blog BB100 Eggs & Bacon Price Index

Forget the FTSE. Ditch the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Say no to the Nikkei. Stock prices are, like, sooo 1987. There's a new index in town and it tracks the price of bacon and eggs. Actually, bacon, eggs and toast, if we're being picky.

The Breakfast Blog 100 index (BB100) is my new way of tracking changes to the price of a nice cooked breakfast, and also provides a benchmark against which to measure whether any particular venue is relatively expensive or cheap.

2006 is the benchmark year, and it turns out that the average price of eggs and bacon on toast was almost bang on ten bucks... $10.01 to be precise. This is based on my analysis of prices across about 70 venues, mostly in Melbourne, but also in Sydney.

From now on, every venue reviewed will be measured against the BB100 benchmark price for the previous year, so that you can see how much more/less they charge than the current average. So, for 2007, I will be recording variations above and below the 2006 average of $10.01.

This way, we all get to see where to go for a bargain, and where you'll be paying top dollar.

Looking back at 2006, two venues tied for most expensive plate of eggs and bacon on toast:
  • Three One Two (Melbourne) $16
  • Bills (Sydney) $16
Using the BB100, these venues are rated for price like this:

Eggs & Bacon $16.00 BB100 +60%

Whereas a bargain serve of eggs and bacon, like, say, Pronto, is rated for price like this:

Eggs & Bacon $7.00 BB100 -30%

In summary:
  • What's the price of eggs & bacon on toast?
  • Red means it costs more than the BB100 average
  • Green means it costs less than the BB100 average
  • By what percentage is it above/below the BB100 average?
So, you may not know the price of fish in China. But at least you'll know the price of eggs in Australia.

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80 Spaces, Prahran

If we had some eggs we could have eggs and ham, if we had some ham.

This is probably a statement of the bleeding obvious, but, if I ran a cafe that opened for breakfast and lunch, I would serve eggs. Unfortunately, this is not a view shared by the proprietors of 80 Spaces, 108 Chapel Street, Prahran, Tel +61 3 9510 8288. They serve very nice coffee, and all sorts of pide, but no eggs. So I had to make do with beans.


The beans were fine, but it wasn't anything special. Just some home made beans with a tomato based sauce (with a few strands of onion mixed through), scooped onto a bit of toasted pide, with another bit plopped on top. That's it. Beans. Toast. And some individually packaged portions of Devondale butter.

I think the rest of the menu consisted of a B.L.T. (pide, of course); toasted pide with jam or whatever; and maybe some muesli. So much choice your head will spin.

So, if you don't like eggs and you fancy some pide, head on down to 80 Spaces.

[no eggs, no score]

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Las Chicas Expands

Las Chicas has expanded (which is good news). So has my waistline (which is not). So this morning I decided to try something new. I ordered "healthy" food: a glass of Bircher muesli with poached fruit (not bad); and a half serve of carrot and date loaf with pistachio ricotta (very good). What could be healthier than carrots and dates?

date loaf

But then I read about a recent American fashion industry "health initiative" and got very confused. Apparently "healthy snacks" like carrot sticks are being used by fashionistas to fatten up skinny models. For serious. It's OK for anorexic models to drag their skeletal bods up and down the catwalk. Just as long as they have a few carrot sticks to munch on backstage.

At least the Italians are saying no to skeletons. They've banned ultra-skinny models from the Milan catwalk shows this year. Maybe they should feed them Bomboloni for breakfast, too?

Anyway, enough of that.

The new, supersized Las Chicas has annexed the place next door, punching a doorway and a few little portholes through the wall in the process. I sat in the old bit, but the new bit looked quite snazzy, with a long banquette along one wall and a bar across the front window. Hopefully this extra capacity will translate into shorter queues. I didn't have to wait at all.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Filter Cafe, Fitzroy

I want to go to culinary school because I love cooking. One day I'd love to open up a restaurant or cafe.
Mary-Kate Olsen (ex-child star, famous twin and fashion icon)

If the Olsen twins ever come looking for cafe inspiration in Australia, they really must do breakfast at Filter, 285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Tel +61 3 9416 3752. It's an excellent cafe. It's run by twins. And Mary-Kate's bobo homeless chic look is just perfect for Brunswick Street.

filter eggs

The best thing about Filter is that the substance lives up to the style. I went for the signature dish of "Filter Eggs" and it came out looking quite the supermodel. Two eggs fried in a big slice of white sourdough (with two round holes in it), topped with crisp, tasty bacon, rocket and aioli. All of which was surrounded by a ring of pesto, with "filter" scrawled across the plate in balsamic reduction. Very fancy. And it tasted even better. A tad greasy, but very very good.

The all day breakfast menu oozes choice: 2 different mueslis with poached fruit and yoghurt; "Raw Hide" porridge with maple syrup; fruit poached in red wine with yoghurt; 3 stack of pancakes; various toasts, including gluten free; 3 different omelettes (including smoked salmon, dill and brie); a "Brunswick Brekkie" with the lot; Eggs Benedict, Florentine or Atlantic; "Classic Eggs" poached on muffins with asparagas wrapped in prosciutto and topped with hollandaise; and scrambled tofu for the vegan crowd (which looked disgusting, if you ask me, but I'm no vegan, so what would I know).

Service is friendly and good, the Di Bella coffee is very good, and the venue is spacious and tastefully fitted out.

Yes... with cafes like Filter, it's hard to disagree with the wise words of Mary-Kate:

Australia is so cool that it's hard to even know where to start describing it. The beaches are beautiful; so is the weather. Not too crowded. Great food, great music, really nice people. It must be a lot like Los Angeles was many years ago.

17/20 "eggs bobo"


Eggs & Bacon $9.00 BB100 -10%

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Dog Cafe, Port Melbourne

With the benefit of hindsight, today might not have been the ideal day for a visit to My Dog Cafe, Station Pier, Port Melbourne. It was blowing a gale. It was raining cats and dogs. And a scary number of Melbourne's Greek community decided it was a nice day to jump off the pier and go for a swim.

But a bit of rain never hurt anyone. And Honey and Pippin weren't to be denied. Where else can you get a dog-a-cino with carob sprinkles and your own seat at the table? Who else serves doggie muffins and petit fours?

There's no doubt about it: My Dog cafe is very dog-friendly. But how do they treat the humans?

My eggs benedict ($14) was so-so, but perfectly edible: the eggs and hollandaise were very runny, the toast a little stale and the ham ungrilled. Nothing to get excited about. A better choice is the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and dill marscapone, served on sourdough and a bed of rocket. They also do a good job with plain old eggs and bacon ($11), also on sourdough. And our sides of sauteed spinach and mushrooms were both good (although the mushies were very salty).


If you're not into eggs or dog food, you can have sourdough toast with jam ($5), hazelnut & fruit toast ($6.50), or toasted muesli with yoghurt and honey ($8).

All brought to you by one-time fancy chef Andrew Blake and My Dog (part of the Mars food empire). Surely it's only a matter of time before they open a schmackos bar, for pooches who like to party.

12/20 "one for the dogs"


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