There was a party on the hill, did you want to come?

[Red Hill Brewery, 88 Shoreham Road RED HILL SOUTH 3937 ]


We all love a bit of fresh and new, and already this new year is gearing up to be filled with adventures and explorations of the culinary and epicurean kind.

As we get ready for a brand to fresh start, I will be playing catch up with a few of my favourite (edible) things from 2011… So bear with me as we run through some of the finest that never made it onto the pages of 2011….

Somewhere, well into the thrust of 2011, The Lovliness and I ventured out into the wilderness (Mornington Peninsula…hardly the wild) for the start of many road-trips to come.

First stop: Mornington Hot Springs for a proper relaxing soak
Second stop : Red Hill Brewery, just down the road for some ice cold bevs and a share platter.

* If you’re one little indecisive bunny like me, then its best to opt for a beer paddle (to sample a selection) and a share platter (ploughman’s platter as below).

T’was a truly wonderful day, and was just the very start of some serious road tripping.

Hope y’all had a wonderful start to 2012, and may this year be prosperous, joyous and filled with many lasting memories.

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Red Hill Brewery on Urbanspoon

Solo Escorregadio

. . .

[RoseGPO Hotel, 1003 Point Nepean Rd Rosebud]

Open: All day, everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Phone: (+613) 5982 3200

&

[The Box Stallion, 64 Tubbarubba Rd Merricks North]

. . .

Solo escorregadio, slippery when wet in Portuguese!!

No, I’m not learning Portuguese, however it does dance very fresh in my mind as I had a just a little taster for it and enjoyed and introduction into the language.

This girls’ weekend was a spit, drizzle and downpour away from being a washout. Lucky no-one slipt… 😉

We had breaky altogether on the saturday morning before we parted ways into impossibly heavenly Hot Springs and the surrounding area.

There was an unspoken consensus to order death by hollandaise sauce… I hardly order Hollandaise sauce, as it’s always so dubious and can easily go wrong. However, we ordered, we drowned and most were very satisfied.

(#1 was repeated a few times 🙂 )

Death by Hollandaise #1 with ham

Death by Hollandaise #1, with smoked salmon

Scrambled eggs and bacon

I’ll be honest, there was a little too much inconsistency and “blase” waiting staff. We had dinner there the night before and the young waitress brought my Pinot Noir over…it was white. Upon asking if that was supposed to be Pinot Noir, and she slaughed and said “yes, ofcourse”

It was one of my more embarrassing moments to advise the young lady that Pinot Noir is red wine… awkward.

Having said that, the eggs were perfectly poached (mmm poached-poke-ooze heaven) but I would’ve gone without the overtaking lava of Hollandaise.

Next stop on Ladies weekend was the Peninsula Hotsprings…. wow!

Below is a picture from their website of how magical it is as the sun sets.

We were there during the lunch/late lunch and were lucky enough to soak in some sunshine at points and some drizzle in others, that was also truly beautiful.

We left all lovely and pruned and relaxed like you wont believe and floated all the way to The Cups Estate and experienced some very lucky sunshine (much like last week!) and got some supplies for the weekend. Just quietly, this winery has probably one of the most beautiful views (see below), however their website doesn’t even market this serenity and landscape… strange.

Anyway, it’s an intimate and gorgeous place for lunch, pit stop or some wine in the sun overlooking the beautiful property. Bit muddy when wet, so bring appropriate footwear. 

Saturday evening was interesting… it all got very interesting upon entering the mostly 17-year-old infested time warp that is The Conti” (The Continental Hotel, Sorrento)

. . .

[The Box Stallion, 64 Tubbarubba Rd Merricks North]

Sunday, we had some wine tastings and settled down for some lunch under the heater at The Box Stallion

There were a few functions on, so it was bustling with laughter and the waiting team darted in and around the smallest of the clients.

Something to remind me of my old home…

Probably the most crunchy and “so bad for you”chips I have ever eaten…. soooo good. exactly what we needed after the night of Ace of base and dirty RnB.

The beautifully presented trio of dips with yesterdays bread… yesterdays bread was a special touch. *insert blank face here*

Lil miss “eww” and I shared some Beetroot, candied walnuts and feta salad which was just the most excited textures and flavours to have dancing around in our mouths!

For main, I ordered the below.
What is it? Juicy succulent garlic and buttery prawns on a bed of “risotto”, or rather soggy rice with sad celery that clearly wanted to die in yesterdays soup… (sorry, it was a strange contrast of “amazing and fresh” and “amazingly dead…”)

Chicken saltimbocca:
One really enjoyed hers, and the two other ladies thought it was bland and dry and didn’t enjoy the Polenta. (Me however, being a polenta fiend thought it was lovely)

Now this was, in hindsight, what I should’ve ordered!
Perfectly cooked Salmon on a bed of fresh salad and Haloumi. 🙂

Dessert was melt-in-your-mouth moorish and delicious! (but didn’t quite want to get my gear off…)

Sticky date pudding playing in caramel sauce: (DROOL!!!) with a side of fresh cream…. droool again!

Chocolate cake with strawberry reduction:

Girls weekend was such a success and can not wait for the next one 🙂
Always lovely to share good food, moments and laughs with a bunch of great quality ladies who will support you on your best and worst day.

thank you ladies for a lovely weekend, til next time…

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Menus:

ROSEgpo on Urbanspoon

Box Stallion Red Barn on Urbanspoon

Melting white chocolate dumplings??? oh YES PLEASE!!

. . .
[Oriental Tea house, 455 Chapel street South Yarra]

[From their website]:
Welcome one, welcome all! Feast your sense on the Oriental Teahouse – Melbourne’s premier tea and yum cha destination. A magical, culinary myriad of taste, aroma and atmosphere, here to welcome you with open minds, open arms and open menus.

Stace and I had a reunion over brunch the other day, and as I hadn’t seen her beautiful face since 2010, it was certainly an afternoon filled with laughter and tears of joy.

She took me to this beautiful YUM CHA style restaurant, Oriental Teahouse. Now this isn’t everyones ideal place for breakfast, and to be quite frank I did have ‘my first meal of the day’ already…. however thats what breakfast is all about isnt it? Indulging in it all day…. DROOL!

We drove to Chapel street (in Melbourne) to feast on yummies, as stace divulged in her stories of ‘yummies’ over the summer. 😉

We both decided, as the sun was high and scorching, an iced tea would be suitable.

I ordered iced toothpaste and licorice tea …(peppermint/aniseed… what a mistake!!!)

And Stace ordered a dreamy berrilicious tea

For food, we decided on a banquet for 2:

“Big dumpling lover” ($21.00 pp)
* Seafood basket dumplings
* Chive & baby pea leaves dumplings
* Variety Basket dumplings
*Pork shu mai & Buck wheat vegetable dumplings
*Satay Pork dumplings

and let me tell you, they tasted as good as they looked!!! YUM!!!

Prices:

after all that, we decided, YES we are still hungry. how?? I hear you ask? I will tell you how!

check out this: Steamed white chocolate dumplings ($5.90 for 3 pcs)

OH YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we’re definately going back for the CHOCOLATE steamed dumplings. WHOAH!!

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Joanna

Gauchos = Grouchos…

[Gauchos, Eindhoven]

There are few words to describe this place…

The food-it was ok.

The service-was truly the most terrible I have ever experienced.

There were tables around us that hadn’t been cleared for almost an hour, or more even! and our food kept being served even though the last course hadn’t been cleared. At one point we had to actually stack the dished up high in the middle of the table….

As you can see below, our dessert [of Icecream and sauce] was served whilst our main course was still alive and breathing… awkward.

It didn’t make sense. The staff were physically there, but not in any mental or serving capacity.

It looked like a restaurant, smelt like a restaurant…but it didn’t ‘taste’ like one.

Although the photos don’t look so bad, I must tell you sitting around for approximately 45minutes [felt like 10 hours] between courses… is well so NOT ok!..

Anyway, we ordered, we waited, we ate…we almost didn’t pay. Then we left to ‘coffee shop’ our bad experience away. 🙂

Menus are beautiful to look at… but buyer beware!!

Entree: Mushroom soup.
Tasted pretty good, but we WERE starving, and had waited for a billion years for it to arrive, it wasn’t until we politely inquired where oh where our dishes were a couple of times did they arrive.

Entree: Calabrese Salad. With olives and iceberg lettuce…. hmm ok! [tasted pretty harmless though]

Main: Steak… I heard it was good.

My sad and lonely Salmon with some green and 2 yellows was also just ok. All they really needed to do was SEASON the crap out of it and fluff around with some presentation, and it would’ve been ok. ahh sigh… 😐

Service, ambience, presentation… all the things that really have nothing to do with the taste [directly], all heavily impact on the satisfaction result.
All these very simple things.

Look, I dunno, maybe there was an accident in the kitchen and thats why all the staff were being so strange….We’ll never know, but I tell you what, I’ll never be going back there again. I hate to say, I’d be so much more satisfied with fish ‘n’ chips or Maccas, at least I know what I’m in for.

Maybe thats just it, maybe our expectations were too high?

They were ‘talking the talking’ of being a restaurant, but not the walk…

They lured us in with great decor and well presented waiting staff, then trapped us in for one of the top 10 worst meals I’ve ever had. Sucks to be me. ;)FML

. . .

Tastefully yours,

. . .

Zuppa : the answer to the common soup…

[zuppa, Trier]

As the autumn weather starts to kick in, or rather full steam ahead… and the colder climate starts to dominate, there is nothing more delicious than ducking into to the local soup cafe for some interesting and hearty homestyle soup options.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and very German [clean and organised]

The soups change everyday, depending on what ingredients are available and what mood the chef is in I guess :).. there didn’t seem to be a clear ‘theme’. One thing is for certain, there are about 6 soups on offer daily, and they are always going to sell out!!! fast!

I had bumped into Dili in the innenstadt and we decided to try this new soup place…
The moment we stepped foot, we enjoyed the warmth that filled our bodies and souls with the magic of a good soup cafe.

Soup options included: [from what I could understand]

Mexican style
Indonesian style
Lentils & beans
Pork & Plum
Creamy Potatoe
Chicken….and something [it looked good, but I had no idea what it was] I think it was dates. I do not fancy dates…

The place is small, but it makes it cosy and you often share your table with a few people….there is something nice about that, especially when enjoying warm soup.

and that was it, whether it was a good day or a bad day, Zuppa was the answer to the common soup!! [yes, I have been watching too much Mad Men ;)]

. . .

Tastefully yours,

. . .

Bernkastel-Kues vs Beilstein

Welcome to Bernkastel Kues, a famous winegrowing town located on the ‘middle mosel’ in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhinland-Palatinate.

The beautiful view of the rolling hills/river and architecture takes your breath away. Even on the cold, windy day we graced Bernkastel-Kues with our presence, we could still appreciate the beauty of the near perfect German scenery.[apologies for the quality of the photos]

We ducked into the warmth of Cafe Hansen in Kues for a very healthy breakfast of Apple strudel and Butter cake…. ‘healthy’ :), we then made our merry way to a small town by the name of Beilstein where we indulged in the fairy tale town’s warmth and cosy hospitality.

[Cafe Hansen, Bernkastel Kues]

It was freezing!! so we decided to swim through the sea of ‘jack wolfskin’ wearers and tuck ourselves away into cafe Hansen.

We shared an apfel strudel mit sahne und vanilleeis [apple strudel with cream & icecream] …. simply dreamy, creamy and full of tasty bad things for your body 🙂

Followed by fluffy ‘butterkuchen’ encrusted with toasted, shaved almonds and dusted lightly with melt-in-your-mouth icing sugar 🙂 aka fairy dust!! 🙂

Hot chocolate to wash it all down…. I was in HEAVEN!!!! sugar, sugar and MORE sugar… sooo bad, but soooo good. ♥

[Winzerschenke, Beilstein]

For lunch we located a gorgeous fairytale village called Beilstein, and there nestled in the heart of the town was the warmth of a Family run inn/restaurant.

We tried the local ‘spaetburgander’ – aka Pinot noir, which happened to be a speciality from winery literally down the road.

so good in fact, that we bought a couple of bottles for home, and maybe a sneaky bottle of the local riesling.

Lunch wasn’t anything to sing and dance about, but it was warm and cosy and made with love.

I had the potatoes with onion rings with warm brie. [I was fooled into thinking it was ACTUALLY like hungry jacks onion rings hahah!!…they were in fact RAW RINGS OF ONION…. FAIL! hahha]

Sausages on a bed of pan-fried potatoes with ham.

Lunch wasn’t amazing, but I would go back as the service was delightful, helpful and warm in more ways than one. Which is better…bad food/good service or good food/bad service….
Bernkastel-Kues really needs more than a few hours to explore, but from what we saw it was enchanting and full of life, Beilstein on the other hand can be walked through within the hour, an enchanting fairytale hour at that.

. . .

Tastefully yours,

. . .

Adiós. . . for now ☺

[Caffe Fiorino, Barcelona]

Heres a little picture story for my last spanish blog post…. for now 🙂

We started with creamy coffees and fresh OJs at Caffe Fiorino.

The view inside is warm and inviting with quick and simple food.

[Euskal Taberna, Barcelona]

We then decided lunch would be a ‘grazing’ affair, and in true spanish style we dabbled in tapas and sangria @Euskal Taberna. 🙂

The sangria was sweet, delicious and just what we needed after being on our feet all day.

[Taller de Tapas, Barcelona]

Paella was on the menu for dinner @ Taller de Tapas

Galician style octopus was amazing as usual, the fresh grilled ciabatta with garlic and tomato was crunchy and a nice break to cleanse the palatte.
And the Paella in broth was morish but quite simply not enough. We wanted more 🙂
We ended with a perfect espresso which was oddly strong for Barcelona, but still very welcomed.
As we were also quite close to Gelaaati di Marco, we once again had a nice serving of diabetes… eek!!

This concludes the ‘foodaholic in Spain’ segment… for now 🙂
Stay tuned for some more german flavoured tasty adventures 🙂

. . .

Tastefully yours,
. . .