Sunday, November 26, 2006

Food Wine Friends, Bright

This "Foodies BLT" left a bitter taste in my mouth, literally. It was a classic case of fancy ingredients and "gourmet" food done badly. Excellent Milawa sourdough, but such fat slices that they totally overpowered the filling, and barely toasted to boot. It was as if the bread had been waved in front of the grill just long enough to dry the surface. And on the inside? Some limp bacon (the menu said "crispy"), cos lettuce, thin-sliced tomato (the menu said "thick-sliced"), and the bitter residue of something called avocado and almond pesto. Welcome to food wine friends, 2/6 Ireland Street, Bright, Tel +61 3 5750 1312.


On a brighter note, FWF serves excellent Jaspers coffee, and an impressive range of bruschetta, which is probably a better way to use the Milawa sourdough. The "Breakfast Bruschetta", for example, is a thick slice of fruit toast topped with bacon and Milawa blue cheese.

But no eggs, unless you count quiche.

In short, FWF is a great place for coffee and maybe lunch. If you happen to be in Bright.

[no eggs, no score]

Friday, November 24, 2006

Superfino, Melbourne

If small is the new big, then Superfino is quite large. By which I mean it's quite small... and cosy... and ever so groovy. It's a strong contender for the "Quirkiest CD Collection" award. Unless they ripped this stuff off vinyl and went straight to the iPod? Maybe I need a "Quirkiest Playlist" award instead? CDs are soooo last year.

You will find this place on Flinders Lane, between Swanston and Elizabeth, right next door to the lane with the beam-me-up-scotty "sculpture".

They do a very nice line of toast, including Dench Bakers sourdough or multigrain. You can have spreads on your toast, or maybe avocado/salmon and fresh lime. They also do a tasty serve of beans on toast with goats' cheese (nice soft beans in various shapes and sizes). And the Genovese coffee is great.


I will, however, have to reserve judgment on the eggs. The menu lists two versions of free range scrambled egg ciabatta: one with asparagus, parsley, parmesan and spinach; the other with smoked salmon, goat's cheese, lemon and spinach. But both were "unavailable" for some mysterious reason (none given).

[score pending due to unavailability of eggs]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

McDonalds, Melbourne

This really was the perfect weekend to make up my own mind about breakfast at McDonalds, somewhere in Melbourne (or anywhere else in the world for that matter). First, I got to feel all warm and fuzzy about the donation of a whole dollar to charity, by virtue of McHappy Day. Second, with Melbourne gripped by G20 riots and anti-globalisation loonies, any visit to the golden arches had the extra thrill of danger... the risk that, at any minute, you might be KO'd by a flying wheelie bin. I like to live on the wild side.

And so it was that I scurried into Maccas just after the 10.30 cut-off, but just in time to score a McValue meal of Bacon & Egg McMuffin ("dusted with polenta"), a hash brown ("golden pieces of top grade seasonal potatoes cooked in a canola oil blend"), and a coffee ("WARNING:HOT"). The very nice young woman behind the McCounter slipped a bonus Sausage & Eggs McMuffin into my bag, which meant I got to sample two versions of the McMuffin product line.

What can I say? It was warm. It tasted like McDonalds. It had cooked egg inside. It had warm, soft muffins outside. The bacon was real bacon, and not too bad. The sausage was brown and slightly spicy. The "cheese" was fluoro orange. I quite enjoyed eating it. And I felt sick afterwards. Your typical McDonalds experience really.

I'm beggin' for it

Anyone who's seen the current Maccas TV ads will be amused to know that the promoters of Fast Food Nation have pulled off an inspired piece of ambush-web-marketing. If you accidently (or deliberately) type into your browser, rather than, you end up at a spoof site for Mickey's Burgers. Funny.

6/20 "not a powdered egg in sight"


Friday, November 10, 2006

Piadina Slow Food, Melbourne

I'm sorry, but this is one fad I'm not sucked in by. The piadina bubble of 2006. A culinary yo-yo and rubik's cube all rolled (or folded) into one. Anyone still eating this stuff in 2008 will probably be wearing leg-warmers and an oversized "choose life" t-shirt. Or maybe a hypercolour t-shirt? Or both.

Do you get the impression that I was less than impressed by my breakfast at Piadina Slow Food, 57 Lonsdale Street (backing onto Punch Lane), Melbourne, Tel +61 3 9662 2277?

Well you're right. It was a dud.

I ordered the scrambled egg, parmesan and spinach piadina with bacon, and it arrived looking very much like a burrito (nicely rolled up). The problem was, there was no parmesan (none that my humble taste buds could detect), and some genius decided to soil the whole thing with za'atar [I originally moaned about dukkah, but I have since been corrected]. It was gross. Maybe some people like eggs and za'atar. I don't. It tasted like someone had swept greasy lawn clippings and dirt into my breakfast. And I really hate it when "bonus" ingredients are added without warning (ie, not listed on the menu). I ate half and gave up.

OK, got that off my chest.

So, why is everyone else raving about PSF? It is a buzzy little venue, particularly if you score a booth. They do serve a decent cappucino, from BunCoffee in Byron Bay (although at lunch time they have an annoying rule that coffee can only be ordered at the same time as you order your food, supposedly to hurry things along... slow food, not slow eating). And, for lunch, the slow food options are really very good.

For a different perspective (ie, rave review), try Ukelele, Mellie or the Matt Preston piadina puff piece for Epicure.

12/20 "flat bread fad"


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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

French Toast a la Small Block

Scored a window seat at Small Block today and decided to check out one of their sweeter options. I toyed with the idea of ricotta hotcakes with poached pears, but settled on the daily special: orange-scented French toast with a pistachio marscapone. Mmm... pistachios.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Arcadia, Fitzroy

I'm trying hard to plug any obvious gaps in my quest for Melbourne's best breakfast. So this morning I paid a long-overdue visit to Arcadia, 193 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Tel +61 3 9416 1055. Thanks to Melinda C for the reminder. The food was very good indeed.

This morning's Breakfast special was both original and flavoursome. Lightly fry a big fat cake of mashed potato, drop it on a bed of fresh rocket, top it with anchovy mayo, fried bacon and two poached eggs, and garnish with a generous blob of chunky pesto. Brilliant. I just wish the potato cake was a but more crispy (as the menu had promised).

I'm told the wok-fried "Shanghai" eggs with oyster sauce, chili and spring onions are also very good. Ditto the parmesan scrambled eggs with oven roasted tomato.

Arcadia is quite a buzzy venue, with high ceilings, plenty of space and a choice of inside, street-side and courtyard seating. But it's another place where you have to schlepp up to the counter to place an order, which means you have to stand there like a stalker till you make up your mind.

The coffee was strong and excellent.

16/20 "tasty"


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pistachio, Seddon

So huge was my brekky with the lot this morning that I fully expected a tyre blow-out as I scootered home. Unlike at Green Grocer, the serves are big at Pistachio, 86a Charles Street, Seddon, Tel +61 3 9687 1374. Very big. It's enough to turn a bloke bulemic.

The quality was good too, with creamy, Bill's-style scrambled eggs, tasty bacon, a juicy veal and pork sausage, tomato and capsicum relish, mushrooms, tomato, spinach and a "potato and sage" hash brown. I super-sized all this with a side of house-made baked canellini beans with tomato and marjoram sauce. The weak links were the tomato (which was under-cooked rather than "slow roasted") and the hash brown (which was padded with some kind of batter). And the spinach was only barely wilted.

According to Seddon local Andrew D, Pistachio's house-made crumpets are also pretty special. They serve them with stewed apple and mango compote and Indian treacle, which beats plain old honey. Another one for the sugar-freaks is the toasted vanilla brioche, served with mixed berry compote and "orange blossom cream" (only $8.50).

Speaking of crumpet, it's Derby Day today, which means half of Melbourne suits up, slips on a fancy frock and gets pissed in the car-park at Flemington. It also means that by late afternoon, the whole city has turned into a giant game of Frogger, with trashed race-goers leaping randomly in front of on-coming traffic. Scary.

15/20 "home-grown crumpet"