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Girl talk at Chez Dre…

Lunch at Chez Dre was a gossipy affair over some delicious light meals. I was feeling really bad about the last time my friend and I hung out because as usual, my wedding talk took over, and I didn’t manage to ask enough questions about my friend to find out she had a new boyfriend… self-centred bitch that I am! Wedding talk is super boring compared to new boyfriend talk… as we both found out!

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella & Pancetta Bruschetta
Moroccan Baked Eggs with Sourdough

I ordered the bruschetta which comes with an egg. The combination sounded little strange but totally worked for me. The pancetta was fab. The Moroccan baked eggs looked amazing and were ordered with sourdough instead of ciabatta to avoid too much crunch. We basically both ate brekkie at lunch but nothing wrong with that and to top it all off… they had one of their incredible cakes on tasting as we paid the bill… Yyyyeeeeesssssssss!!

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South Melbourne lunch special…

So we have a new South Melbourne local but there is a problem… It’s so bloody good that it’s getting super busy. The place is run by a team of two behind the bar and stove…. oohh… I get it now… Stove Monkey… Suddenly the name makes sense but I think they may need to be hiring another Stove Monkey soon to keep up with demand… There aren’t that many lunch spots in South Melbourne where you have to queue: the market dim sims…. and Origami Japanese but this is going to be the latest methinks…

They do a few sandwiches and a couple of soups that you can have eat-in or take-away. They are brilliant sandwiches and soups too… peeps in the office start calling from 11am to find out what’s on for the day but in my opinion the two absolute winning dishes that you must have if you have time to eat-in are the cuttlefish & calamari spicy tabbouleh salad and/or the fried chicken on coleslaw with a crispy fried egg… What does a crispy fried egg taste like? Try it… It’s definitely worth it!

calamari & cuttlefish on spicy tabbouleh
Pork Belly Ciabatta
chicken with coleslaw and crispy fried egg

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Creole with clients at My Mexican Cousin

Client entertaining at My Mexican Cousin was an interesting experience that I have been thinking about for a few days before starting this post… I was chatting about it to some friends earlier today, in this week’s episode of the Northside brunch challenge, and one of them told me about a food blogger, BurgerMary, who wrote an honest and critical review of the menu when MMC first opened. In a surprising and humble response, the powers that be at MMC hired her as a menu consultant… but then, perhaps equally surprisingly at the end of her contract, changed a bunch of her well advised revisions prompting her to once again update her story. BurgerMary obviously has deep knowledge of Creole food and seems super-qualified to comment. Reading her blog and the comments feed made me realise that I am definitely not qualified to talk specifics and origins of food and I hope when you guys read my blog you understand that it’s more like a food commentary. Experiences that I like and sometimes things that I don’t, because food and dining experience is obviously super subjective! Woot! Just wanted to make that clear!

Now back to our meal. It started a little ominously… We had called the day before to book as we were taking VERY IMPORTANT CLIENTS (…. they will like that!):

“Can we please book for five peeps at 12:30 tomorrow?”
“Nope, don’t worry about it you will be fine to get a table at 12:30 for five people.”

When we arrived, five people at 12:30, on a VERY hot afternoon the inside of the restaurant was full. The waitress looked around as she mumbled:

“Sorry, we’re pretty busy as we have a big booking coming in shortly”

Pretty annoying right? Given we had tried to book..? Anyway, we got a table outside… pretty hot… We ordered cornbread and chicken drumsticks immediately to quell what could have been a dangerous situation had Cyclone Stacey been unleashed. You know what they say about getting between a hungry woman and her food… DON’T.

Deep fried chicken drumsticks with blue cheese sauce

The chicken and blue cheese sauce was very rich and very delicious. The cornbread was equally tasty and was complimented by butter… and in my case more blue cheese sauce… We decided to order a bunch of dishes to share as the menu was quite different… As I mentioned above I have done a bit of research on MMC since we ate there, but before I knew anything about it I can tell you we were confused about where the inspiration for the menu came from (I have since seen the Creole-pedia on the website that explains more… but the website menu is not current, so some of my descriptions are based on my shaky memory). As I was eating I could taste different flavours that reminded me of Indian and Middle Eastern food. oops… Lots of pics below… because we ate A LOT and it looked very pretty!

Fried crocodile with fennel salad

Second day in a row eating crocodile… Final opinion is that it’s a cross between calamari and chicken… Doesn’t have much of it’s own flavour so it relies on good flavour additions to the dish.

Empanada style pie filled with pumpkin, and spices on zucchini mash

This “Jamaican Hand Pie” was FABULOUS! Maybe my favourite dish! Just such tasty vego flavours. The fried soft shell crab worked well with watermelon and chilli salad that you can’t see hidden underneath.

Soft-shell crab with watermelon salad

We ordered two serves of the beef ribs (slow cooked for 48 hours and then flash fried) and the creole chicken for main, perfectly accompanied by creole rice and a butter lettuce, candied pecan & goats cheese salad.

slow cooked beef short rib with red cabbage coleslaw
Creole chicken
Creole rice

You are now beginning to understand that this particular lunch gang are all good eaters right…? Now check out the desserts we shared! The pastry-doughnut things were out of this world!!!! Oh God… I almost had to lick the salted chocolate dish clean… almost, but thankfully regained my composure before embarrassing my colleagues..

Creme brulee with nuts and caramelised banana bits
Dark chocolate mousse with pulped orange, raspberry coulis & cream
Pastry, doughnut-thingys with salted chocolate & chantilly cream

Overall my MMC experience was excellent! Even though we had a little hiccup with booking in the beginning, and sat out in the heat, the food trumped all. It was really, really rich and as you can see by how many times I have written “fried” unlikely to rate well in a weight watchers survey… But I really, really enjoyed it and would def go back for more creole “influenced” food when I need a rich lunch (and no dinner)…
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Friday feasting in South Melbourne…

Another good day to work in South Melbourne… I started my day with an early morning spin class at South Melbourne Rec. A very positive move from someone intending to eat out for both breakfast and lunch… a negative move in fashion stakes though… So annoying having to plan your outfit the night before… especially when you have a bit of a late one… So I ended up heading to breakfast looking super cool in a pair of denim knee-length jeans (?!?), two sizes too small… dammit! And also no jacket, on a morning where autumn was well and truly showing her presence… double dammit…

First up, a breakfast meeting at St Ali. First we had to do a quick drive-by Freshwater Place to pick up one of the attendees…. That shows the love we have for St Ali… that we would do a round trip to pick up and drop off our buddy to eat a quick brekkie. Had a great gossip session over a couple of yoghurt boards and Stacey’s breakfast antipasto – A made-up breakfast of sides with seemingly no central focus but when combined it made perfect sense…. Similar to our conversations really….

Yoghurt, chunky muesli & poached plums

This was a case of me ordering light as I knew I was out for lunch later that day. Pretty tasty light brekkie but it’s hard to go to St Ali and not eat My Mexican Cousin…. mmmmmm…. must eat corn fritters…
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Lunchtime was another girls gossip session… Obviously in between the gossip, we had some serious work discussions too right…? FUN! The weather had improved drastically since the morning and it was actually too hot to walk to Lamaro’s from Clarendon St. I have already written about Lamaro’s on my blog but I just love eating and telling you about it so I figured since it’s so delish, it worthy of a second story. Also I ate very different dishes this time. We shared the tasting plate between three. It was HUGE! On the menu it says “a seasonal selection of tasty morsels for the land, sea and garden”. No kidding!

The incredible tasting plate

Let’s play spotto from the top: I can see quick fried prawns, goats chess fritters, salami, prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, pickled onions, gherkins, mini toasts, olives, relish, pate, rillette, beetroot salad and…. PORK BELLY!!!! wahooo!! Seriously impressive! And easily enough for the three of us!… ooh I forgot breadsticks too! ha!

For mains it was nearly three for three on the raviolo special. Pumpkin filled and topped with burnt butter sauce, walnuts and chives but Lise couldn’t go past the parma… An old favourite. I sensed a minor case of food envy on her part. I also forgot to take pics before we had hoed in too much… Oops. But I did take dessert pics of Jocks sorbets and the yummy chocolate fondant.
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Great day… great, great day! and for dinner… peanuts and rose… Woot!!

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A GAStronomical start to the day in South Melbourne

There are a lot of good things about working in South Melbourne. Food choice being at the top of my list, particularly brekkie choices. If I go out for brekkie it’s rare that I would go past some kind of hot dish with eggs. My feeling is, if it’s cold, it’s pretty easy to do myself. There is one exception that I go back to time and time again…. The muesli at GAS on Coventry St South Melbourne. I am not going to say it’s the best in Melbourne as I cannot claim to have tried them all (and have heard the muesli at Pope Joan is to die for) but in my muesli realm it is definitely the best yet. I am talking about the roasted muesli of course.. And although this dish is essentially a cereal, I think it would be difficult to claim a low fat tag…. I could be wrong but his stuff tastes far too good to be healthy!

On this particular morning, a work friend and I were just going to grab an energy boosting bite to eat before a three hour meeting. We went to GAS but we were trying to be healthy so we ordered away from our standard roasted muesli with greek yogurt and two serves of rhubarb and instead ordered a similar, seasonal speciality… the mango cheeks with rhubarb, pomegranate and greek yoghurt…

Mango cheeks, rhubarb, pomegranate and a special side dish

Notice anything..??

We just couldn’t go a brekkie at GAS without the muesli and asked if we could get a little on the side…. hahaha!
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Lamaro’s – a picture perfect pub meal

A local to my workplace and a regular for Friday lunches. This is somewhere I return to often… the biggest compliment for any restaurant.. If the walls could talk at Lamaro’s, the peeps in my industry would be shaking in their boots! The most annoying thing about this wonderful gastro pub is how stringent the parking inspectors can be dammit!

Delicious seafood entrees at Lamaro's

There are a number of separate areas; a bar, a main dining room and private dining rooms to ensure all media secrets are kept secrets and I guess, to also facilitate many different eating and drinking occasions! This place is a brilliant lunch venue (lucky me) and also a brilliant function venue.

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