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First try of Hanoi Hannah

A quick run through of our lunch trip today. Hanoi Hannah on High St, Prahran. There has been a lot of hype about this tiny restaurant/bar. The Facebook page had numerous fans before it officially open a week or so ago. A friend told me they walked past on Tuesday night at 10pm and the place was pumping, with Melbourne celebrities sitting out the front. To say I was excited about good, cheap, Vietnamese food on the south side would be a massive understatement. Reading the menu increased excitement levels… Yummy, springy, spring rolls, pho, something called ‘a pork belly slider’ which I was super intrigued by and spiced quail, my favourite!

Unfortunately it was not to be. Don’t get me wrong, the rice paper rolls and spring rolls were fine and I can definitely see myself cruising by to pick some up on the way home from work. The chilli prawn salad looked great and tasted great according to my dining buddy.

Prawn & chilli salad

The other two Vietnamese salads were okay but devastatingly the pork belly sliders and quail were on the *dinner menu only* dammit! The bar area is cool and the cocktails are apparently awesome but it was the last day of Feb (THANK GOD) so no cocktails for us… Overall the meal was good but not like Quan 88, it just seemed to be missing the flavour kick, whether that means spice, or herbs, or something… it was missing…. But, we paid 15 bucks each for lunch which is pretty rare and I will def go back to try the *dinner menu only* dishes that I am now officially craving! I will keep you posted…
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A Happy Hen at The Argo

It’s February and I am four days sober…. I feel great but had my first real challenge today with a beautiful friend’s hens day… Wow, that sounds like the start of an AA meeting… I am being overly dramatic… I can still have fun without drinking obviously… I am choosing to ignore the other non-drinker for the day (who apparently thinks being pregnant is a better excuse) who told me: “you are boring when you don’t drink! Now who am I going to laugh at?” Well, I can think of a few… Just sayin’

Anyway, anyway…. Back to The Argo. What a great lunch was had! Super value too and really good service. An example, the paid-for drinks time was about to expire and after giving us a 20 minute warning, rather than just letting if go if we hadn’t gone up to the bar to re-fill, the guys came around and filled up everyone’s glasses one last time.

We sat in the wine pod, a room with walls of wine racks filled with stock bottles (not at all tempting for one on Febfast…. Lucky I saw the cameras before anyone did anything silly) We had a three course set menu with two different pizzas and a salad for entree, a choice of three mains for lunch and churros (spanish doughnuts) with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert.

The beautiful hen with her first drink
Salmon accompanied by shoestring fries and salad... I might have eaten a sweet pea or two
asparagus, fontina & pea risotto

Key out-take for the day. Highly recommend The Argo for functions. They have a few other spaces too in case you think temptation might be too great in the wine pod. Another key out-take… I am definitely more fun when I have a champagne or two at hens days… Shame I have another one and an engagement party this month…

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The Second Ladro – South of the River

This is a tale from 2011… A dinner at Ladro Greville St… probably first half 2011 but I was back very recently for another hit with the bookclub ladies.. On that most recent visit I was very lucky. Most of the bookclub ladies seem to be pregnant and we had the set menu which included a prosciutto, salami & pancetta plate…. enough for 16 ladies…. See what I mean? Lucky! WAHOOO!

Anyway back to the visit that we have pictures for because it is a meal that sticks in my memory as one of my best italian meals ever. I’m going to say there were three of us at dinner. Normally with this gang there would be four but I can’t find enough meals to feed four so am guessing one of the girls couldn’t make it this particular evening. We ordered a pepperoni pizza, the pasta special and the main special to share as we are a happy, adventurous group that like to taste everything. I have actually been to Ladro’s a few times between this visit and the bookclub visit. I have had my fingers crossed that this pasta special would return… my favourite pasta dish alongside the seafood agnolotti with cherry tomatoes at Carlisle Wine Bar… but alas I have never seen it again.

simple & delicious pepperoni pizza
flat gnocchi with pancetta, bocconcini & incredible salsa
Fabulous roast pork loin, with cornichons and I think polenta

Obviously we got dessert since we had skipped on the entree (to be healthy) and shared a delicious tiramisu and chocolate ravioli… sweet pasta is aahhhmmmmaazzzing! And by the way, when I say shared, I’m pretty sure I mean, the others had a taste and I polished off the lot..

dessert duo: tiramisu & chocolate filled ravioli

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The Duchess & The Smith

I had a fab eating day last Sunday. It started with a brunch in the west. I don’t often cross the Westgate to eat but we wanted a change from the norm and with a little man in tow, a trip to Williamstown beach was on the cards. I put a post out onto facey for some west recommendations and only got two which suggests some unchartered waters perhaps?

We decided on The Duchess of Spotswood based on the quote “it’s really good…. even for the west”. I had the prettiest brekkie ever called Simple Pleasures, and it really was a bunch of delicious, simple, pretty ingredients! The rest of the menu looked amazing too. I think we will be making the trip back.

Poached eggs with marinated avo, heirloom tomatoes, goats curd, radish, peas, herbs

The foreshore stroll was highly enjoyable, especially for the little man Gus, and his running buddy Ben, dodging bikes as they raced each other along the waterfront.

For dinner Ben and I accompanied Ben’s dad and another couple (family friends from France) to The Smith in Prahran. I was really excited to try it as I had heard great things and it’s super local for me. We decided on the $65/head 5 courses menu. This always makes me happy because I get to try more things! Woot! To start we ordered some bubbles, once again celebrating getting engaged (you can never drink too much bubbles). Sidenote: It was at this stage my intention to drive home. It became clear quite quickly however, that the entire dinner was going to proceed in French… hhmmmm… I understand of course, that when I get married in December I will become half french and I am really excited about it… It’s just that my second language skills suck! So, at this stage the decision was made to leave the car and really enjoy the fine food and wine as I couldn’t understand anything else that was going on at my table. The waiter certainly found my situation amusing and was really helpful in filling my glass regularly with the fab Crawford River Riesling

unfortunately... I can't remember which fish this was... prob due to the wine consumption
lamb cooked two ways, with peas and jus.... by the looks of things

So I really enjoyed the entire evening… including the conversation by the end when I’d had enough wine to join in… even if by joining in I just mean yelling out the words that I knew… oops

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