So, I could address you all as “faithful readers,” ” my dear company” or “wonderful people, ” but you and I all know that I would never be kind enough to call anyone that in writing.
Same goes for an apology of absence, assuming I believe there is anything to apologise for to begin with. Nej, dear, wonderful reading company, I do not apologise. I have been, for the last seven weeks, part of the mechanical monster which I affectionately refer to as The Double Chin. For those of you who have not yet caught on, it is Chin Chin and it’s Thai (but the qualification of our cuisine at The Double Chin is possibly a post for another time).
For a clean slate, amnesty and perhaps a snapshot of what the hell has been going on in the last 2 months, I’ll give you a somewhat-chronological pictorial. Many of these places are oldies and goodies and I have written about them before, so think of this as a “greatest hits” (though, I hate saying hits, as we all know what that is an anagram of):
At some stage, I was invited to the Lavazza dinner at The Point when Scott Pickett still worked there before directing all his energies into his new baby The Estelle. This coffee-cured salmon was an appropriated idea inspired by Ryan Clift after one of the collaborative SED dinners. This dinner was so long ago, all I remember after being caffeine-spiked in every course and cocktail that I returned home shaking like a motherfucker and drinking whiskey neat till I fell asleep. It was also this point where I realised that I was a pansy.
Also, if you haven’t been to The Estelle, check it out before it becomes a bit of a flavour of the month. But hey, I can’t really say much more on it due to circles and nepotism so just read Ed’s take on it in the link.
It became a little bit of a mission to eat and drink as much as possible before The Double Chin opened. This was a charcuterie from The Provincial. Tasty as the food was, I couldn’t help but think that the parfait looked like a Japanese anime turd. Since, I have been back to The Provincial a few times for ridiculous amounts of wine and to watch my hungry friends eat meat on a Monday night.
Then, there was THAT salad from Union Dining, which is the loosest sense of a salad- smoked ham hock, cornichons and fregola with a soft poached egg.
And I have been living off sandwiches. This is the rare roast beef baguette from Waffle On near the subway entrance at Degraves St. Basically, Marco remembers me from the day he opened about 9 years ago when I would walk from my bus stop on Lonsdale St, down to Degraves and have my morning espresso made by his then-barista Laura while in school uniform with my Nikon F2 around my neck. He started peddaling waffles, which have grown to become THE waffles to have in Melbourne and I would befriend his doe-eyed waffle-boy talking about all things music. Then, I graduated and never returned.
I heard about his baguettes a few years ago but seeing as I needed a quick lunch with my BEST FRIEND PHIL who has just come back from Austria, we hit up his stand.
All baguettes are the same price, he makes the bread himself and all the fillings as well. The rare roast beef indeed has the rarest of beefs, literal spoonfuls of dijon mustard, whole cornichons thrown through the length of the baguette with salad leaves and tomato. I don’t know if he is subbing his tomato due to the change of season, but I am happy to go back to see. For a hole-in-the-wall space, there is a reason why there are lines pretty much all day outside of his shop.
I have also noticed that when you eat with men, you start to eat like a man. The suckling pig with corn puree from Pandora’s Box almost gave me a pork-over. But Pandora’s is also one of the few places that I cross the river for. I just feel sorry for Lok as he looks confused every time I turn up as he knows my face, but not my hair. The fact that I’m rocking the natural hair colour with symmetry these days is really throwing him off.
It’s the little things that make me laugh.
“When the world is going to end the French don’t go to war, protect their property or try and fight the inevitable, they accept the world is going to end that they eat some fucking niiiiiice cake.”
From Le Petite Gateaux, and made by the Frenchman Pierrick Boyer, this was brought to my friend’s cafe at the end of the day after we had thrown back a few shots, a few glasses of wine and decided to crack into the cake like this. It was pretty fucking amazing and also defeated the 5 of us.
I’m pretty sure his kitchen staff had fun opening in the morning.
Of course, the trusty gin martini with olives at Gerald’s Bar. I know this is technically not a food, but when you have been working doubles and haven’t eaten all day, you thank god for the olives in your martini as you realise they are the only sustenance you will get for the next 12 hours ahead of you as well.
That is unless you do have the night off and order the fried whitebait and school prawns because, well, who can’t go past a plate of fried miniature shit from the ocean?
There is of course, that race against time where you pray that you knock off earlier than the closing of The European because as much as you love the food at your own work, there is only so much Thai food you can eat over the course of two months. The staff here know me and several other faces from The Double Chin. As they order toasted sandwiches, pasta dishes, pork and cheese croquettes, sausage rolls and cheese I decide to get my unethical side on and eat some baby cow lathered in emulsified tuna. Rock on. Dare I say this rivals my staple vitello tonnato at The Gerturde Street Enoteca?
Speaking of which, I have been frequenting on my days off drinking bottles of this with Mat. This was probably just before the big mother-fucker annoyance of Channel Ten rammed itself into all the orifices it shouldn’t be ramming itself into. See, he has a girlfriend named Jess who is not I- she is Italian. Being on twitter and also a food blogger, dumbass media fucktards assumed that I was his girlfriend and emailed me or phoned me at work asking about the “exit.”
My response was, “Sorry, you have the wrong flavour of Jess, please proceed to the other side of the foodcourt.”
Well, that was that. The purpose of this photo was to caption it with, “Drink what a Masterchef drinks.”
Yes, it was funny at the time, but I believe we were also several beers and negronis down.
And now, onto the Huxtable love. My usual trio of oysters washed down with something containing gin. In this case, a Plymouth gin and tonic with a wedge of orange.
No points for guessing the location.
This is at Cumulus, my honorary knock-off bar which is booze-monkey’s crawling distance from work. Yes, to all the Cumulus crew, I apologise for my continued presence.
And along came the this chicken sandwich from Pope Joan which is called The Cornish. No wonder Matt Wilkinson won the title of bestest sandwich man around. I know that EARL like to say their sandwiches are a little like last night’s awesome leftovers in a sandwich, but this definitely fits that description- roast chicken, stuffing and jalepenos. Boom-fucking-chow, it definitely rivals the others around.
The warm-in-foil thing also gives me a little sense of playground-nostalgia, not that I ever ate a chicken sandwich while I was in primary school or played in the playground, but this is what I imagine all those kids who spent their time throwing rocks at me because I was Asian were doing.
How could I not put this amazing highlight of my bi-month (yeah, it’s a word now) here. During the time of the volcanic ash-cloud, my friend’s boyfriend was trapped in Brisbane and she used that time to watch as much trash and eat as many nachos as she could. She stumbled upon Gwyneth in Country Strong where she is this disgusting, melodramatic country singer who is pretty much a failed, hussy version of Faith Hill.
After she gave me a massage and we consumed nachos, she skipped to all the overemotional parts of the movie and we were on the floor crying with laughter. I mean, who doesn’t love the screwed up face of Gwyneth blown up on screen next to the American flag?
What would have made this perfect would have been if my friend cooked some bullshit out of Gwyneth’s edited version of a Mario Batali book where she claims it is for and about her family. Yes, I said it.
In the case of insomnia, I find myself unslept and charged as a motherfucker at the Slow Food Market, annoying the hell out of EssJay. After a trip to the Burch and Purchese studio where I bought a few cakes for some peeps, she dropped me off at home. I am guessing she is very grateful that I didn’t discover that my dried pear from the Happy Fruit guys looked like this while I was in her car, otherwise it would have been at 10am squeal of, “OH MY GOD, MY FRUIT LOOKS LIKE VAGINE, AWESOME, CAN I TWEET IT?!??!!?!”
Yes, sometimes, even without coffee I can be that annoying.
To be fair, that day at the market, I saw a dog in a baby sack on some guy’s chest (and claimed he was doing that because he couldn’t make his own people) and a child on a leash within 20 seconds of each other and started chanting, “The world is upside down,” for about 3 minutes.
Delerium, I think so.
For more civilised action, please refer to the above image. This is one of the courses as part of the Truffle Dinner as part of the Fringe Food Festival. The first dinner and was hosted by the aforementioned EssJay and the food was done by Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan. The second was on Bastille Day and hosted by Ed Charles and Scott Pickett was the food man (quite fitting as he uses truffle like he does butter when he has it available).
When I say civilised, I don’t actually mean it. I sat next to Rory Kent and EssJay and @Missjacksoncafe suggested negronis. St Ali didn’t have the booze, so Rory made two trips to the Vintage Cellars and had me mixing jugs of negroni. Thank god they had ice.
The next morning’s twitter stream read as:
@thatjessho: OUCH negroni OUCH
@missjacksoncafe: ouch, off to have breakfast at the cafe.
And so on.
I should let you know as well, the dish above was a comparison of all the truffles from the pop-up truffle store from next door to St Ali, Madame Truffles . From left to right, we have WA, NSW and TAS truffles. After the comparitive tasting, it may have been the negronis, but smells can be deceptive. Despite being in love with the aroma of the NSW, @missjacksoncafe, Rory and I unanimously decided we liked Tassie truffles the most in the line up.
And for some food porn, this was the cheese course served at the dinner in preparation. This is a Brie de meaux with WA truffle shaved into the cross section. The top was put back on and left to infuse for a week before they let assholes like me eat it.
Unable to consume solids, I opted for a bowl of borscht at Provenance which was more of beetroot consomme which left me thinking I was dying for about three seconds the next day. It was the bill-book which made my day:
Some fucking tasty sweetbreads, which was their special for the day.
Oh, and they crafted me an Asian orange, too.
At some stage, I hit up Mister Close when I had the day-time off and had some chicken dish. This was their Spanish rendition and my friend had the African.
Without sounding like an smart-assed dick, I tried to ask, “What makes your chicken African or Spanish?” to their waitstaff and it seemed to have stumped them. I acknowledge that this is a new venture, but from someone who loves salt so much to claim that they would salt a salt lick, this was salty. It also said it came with mash, which my friend wanted to steal, but I didn’t care (as you can see, it’s cous cous).
I’d totally hit up their sandwiches and salads, but this dish has scared me off their hot food for a while.
But I always like to end on a high note, so here is the most kickass delivery ever. Not only does Dave of Provenance let me use his cafe as a personal delivery space for foodstuffs (THANKS DAVE), but they kept my box of Bruny Island Cheese in the fridge while I was at work. This is part of their Cheese Club offer where they send a box out eight times a year where the cheeses are ripe, are in season and is ridiculously good value. This box contains the Big Old Tom, 1792 (which is stinky as fuck and I can’t wait to eat), Odo, Mark and an apple, pear and almond paste.
There are two months worth of eats, I fit in Golden Fields somewhere but the images are gone due to my computer dying in the ass and loosing all of my data.
My life’s pretty boring when I edit it to a PG13 audience, isn’t it?