Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

8 Mile Creek NY: Aussie Food Overseas

A friend living in New York recently dined at an Australian themed restaurant  called the 8 Mile Creek restaurant and sent me the above picture.  According to their website, they’ve been in business for over 10 years sourcing out the best of Australian wine and food for NY.  Lamb and barramundi sound great but had to laugh at the “Lygon Street” spaghetti.

Outback Steakhouse, a multinational chain of Australian themed restaurants that has locations in Australia (Australians looking for Australian themed food?), takes the cake with their Kookaburra wings and Chocolate Thunder from Down Under. Maybe they should make their Melbourne steak a huge steak with influences of Asian and Greek spices.

Shocolate: Another chocolatier hits Melbourne

Shocolate Chocolatiers

I first spotted something being built at the back of the old Fitzroy GPO last month. Google provided no information to what Shocolate was other than bad spellers of chocolate. I had to have a try after Brian from Fitzroyalty declared it as “possibly the best hot chocolate of my life” and MelbourneHotorNot’s Joyce declaring it HOT.

What is Shocolate?

It’s best described as a cross between Koko Black and Brunetti. They offer both hot and cold chocolate based drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), individual chocolates, and pastries/cake type desserts. Where they differ from Max Brenner and Koko Black, for now anyway, is the lack of hot desserts.

The story which I hopefully have right, is that the Greek owner and a French chef decided to set up shop at the Fitzroy location. They were due to open in March but due to some delays were only able to open last month. Just like the other chocolatiers around Melbourne, they are looking to expand into other areas.

On my 2 visits, I’ve tried the Iced Hot Shocolate, Iced Mocha Shocolate, a chocolate ball with orange inside ( pictured above), an Exotic tart which resembled a Lemon Meringue pie, and a Mocha Tart (pictured below). All of them were top notch.  Some of their hand chocolates pack some unique flavours and the day I was there I tried the Vegemite Chocolate, which to someone who doesn’t really like Vegemite, found it to be quite nice.

Shocolate Chocolatiers

Staff are extremely friendly and they all seem to have European accents. I don’t doubt that this place will be around for a while especially as they have a fantastic location right in the heart of Fitzroy. The only downfall for me is their lack of website. Seriously, just stick a PDF of your menu up there instead of having a website that says Under Construction?

Shocolate Chocolatiers

Johnston & Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Next to 120 Bar)

Costco Melbourne

Melbourne's Costco A couple of months ago, I had a bike ride on the Capital City Trail. The trail loops from Carlton North  through to Flemington down to the Docklands, and along the Yarra back up north again. On the way down to Docklands, I spotted a sign for Costco. Costco, for those not in the know, is a huge bulk buy store for food, alcohol, clothes, electronics and everything in between. Why buy a half litre bottle of tomato sauce when you can buy a 5 litre bottle? When I travel to the US, I make a point to stop by a Costco to pick up pain killers (96 for a few dollars) and gum in bulk.

According to the AAP, Costco Dockalnds will open in July and the company plans to open up a Sydney store at a later date. Any shakeup to the duopoly of supermarkets in Australia is great for competition and will hopefully mean lower prices for Melbourne.  When I first heard that Costco was going to open in Docklands, I thought it was not going to work due to lack of parking and accessibility for cars. I stand corrected as it has positioned itself in an area with ample parking located on Docklands Highway just near the Citylink on ramp. Incidentily, it happens to also be on the Capital City Trail. At least if they can get Costco open it will make up for the debacle that is the Southern Star Observation Wheel. .

The dark heart of Melbourne

In the city which ushered in the Espresso Age in Australia, a new culture is taking root with a darker, sweeter and more seductive nature.

The chocolate cafe, selling chocolate hot or cold, dark or white, made with cocoa butter by a skilled chef, is becoming entrenched in the proud Melbourne dining scene.

How true.

Koko Black was still a novelty act in 2004 and I remember visiting their tiny store in the Royal Arcade and staring at those chocolates sold in a jewellery-style glass enclosure. Quite the experience. Back then it was the only Koko Black (as far as I’m concerned) store around.

Within 18 months a string of chocolateur chains sprung up all over the city. Max Brenner is probably the most famous. Then to my surprise, Koko Black opened in coffee-culture Lygon Street. I had no doubt it will do well as it caters to a different market altogether. Unlike *cough* Starbucks *cough*

I do make it a point to purchase Koko Black’s choc mocha every time I head into the CBD. At around $6 a cup, it’s not cheap. If you can afford it, the chocolate infused coffee (a pleasant coconut aftertaste, you gota try it to believe it!) doesn’t disappoint!

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S.H.A.C. response to eviction notice: free dinner, collective meeting, and slumber party

For those who haven’t heard, “SHAC” is the Student Housing Action Collective. The rental market is set to hit the poorest Melbournians hard, and that includes people trying to get through university courses while keeping food on their plates and shelter over their heads. SHAC is demonstrating a fairly powerful solution to the problem, by occupying a university-owned building (that has gone unused for three years while students and other citizens dealt with ever-increasing rents), bringing it up to code, and turning it into a Housing Collective, with plans to make it a community hub.

Since then, they’ve received support from the community and, now, trade unions as well. The University of Melbourne is hoping to kick these kids out, so today they’ve holding a free dinner and collective meeting, leading into a slumber party, to show support for SHAC’s ideas, and to give them a sense of safety in numbers.

From the SHAC blog:

After our highly successful rally and continued community support and solidarity, SHAC has now received a final eviction notice.

The University has stated that SHAC must vacate by 5PM tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd December, or action will be taken to vacate the property.

Come down tomorrow at 4PM for a free dinner out the front of SHAC to show your support!

For those who are keen to stay around, SHAC will be holding a collective meeting and then a slumber party after dinner.

Spread the word, come enjoy a free meal and support affordable student housing!


It just hailed (at my place) … followed by

Just what we all need. A dose of Mother Nature at its finest, we had the hot weather a couple weeks ago, thunder and lightning since yesterday and now hail!

Does wonders to the image of Melbourne as a tourist destination, when friends from the UK are asking me to say hello to the Sun on their behalf.

And I was thinking of attending the “Strawberry and Cherry Weekend Festival“, being held in Bacchus Marsh. Thought it might be a good day for strawberry picking (not).

Oh, guess what, the sun is out now. What’s the chances of seeing a rainbow now?

Victoria’s Annual Olive Festival

Olives anyone?
Olives remind me of Tuscany, sun and wine; a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends and family. This year’s Annual Olive Festival will have it all, weather permitting.

The 8th Annual Olive Festival will NOT be held at the usual Mt Atkinson Olive & Nut Grove Farm but at the Witchmount Estate, which is accessible from Melton Highway. A short ride from home, Witchmount is next to the Windmill restaurant, another place which you can’t miss from the road, it boasts a windmill!

There will, of course, be the olives and olive-derived products, namely locally produced olive oil. I mean why purchase overseas products made months or years ago when you can buy locally produced, fresh olive oil?

So, make it a day trip, and a family one, there will be cooking demonstrations, live music, as well as children’s activities.

Entrance is free, parking is free, tasting samples will of course, be free. Event starts at 10 am and finishes at 5 pm.

Do not forget that, Witchmount Estate is also famous for their Shiraz, winner of the Best Shiraz 2008 of the Syrah Du Monde of France.

Get into Art, and Vegan food, this Sunday

This Sunday (26 October) there are two big events happening: the Get into Art! public art galleries open day, and the World Vegan Day Festival

Get into Art! is an annual open day of public art galleries across Victoria. This year, 41 galleries will be
participating with free activities and events on Sunday from 11am-4pm.

Some examples I’ve picked out of the Get into Art! program are:

Get Into Architecture at City Museum at Old Treasury – tours, talks and exhibits focusing on the architecture of Melbourne. Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building was designed by nineteen-year-old architect JJ Clark, and is widely regarded as the finest nineteenth century building in Australia.

  • 11am Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 12noon Talk about the architect JJ Clark
  • 1pm Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 2pm Curator talk – The Impermanent City
  • 3pm Tour of Old Treasury Building

State Library of Victoria free tour

  • 1-2pm and 3-4pm Free Library tour, including exhibition galleries and the famous dome.

Comic book jam at The Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn and the annual Yeah Write! Zine fair at Hawthorn Town Hall including zine making workshops for both adults and children.

For the full list of program highlights, see this pdf.

Another event on Sunday is the World Vegan Day Festival, described as…

a positive celebration of being vegan: a lifestyle which includes a plant-based diet and endorses compassionate choices and sustainable consumption. It is a day for vegans, those interested in the vegan way of life and all their friends to come together and learn how to live longer, kinder and with a smaller carbon footprint.

If you’re keen to learn more about veganism, this is a great place to do just that. Running from 10am to 5pm, this is a free event. It will be held at Rosina Function Space, The Abbotsford Convent (1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford). There are some great talks being held on the day.

For more information on these events:

Singapore Day

The weather’s a lot nicer these days (though it still warrants a light jumper), so if you happen to be around the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this late morning or arvo, check out some local and distinctive Singaporean fare at Singapore Day 2008. Note the choice words of Singaporean, not Asian. Asian food is so varied and colourful, calling it ‘Asian food’ like most Asian food stalls do is just another nail into an Australian’s stereotyped penchance for ‘fried rice beef with black bean sauce’ when they think Asian food.

But I digress.

With the inaugural Singapore Day in New York City a runaway success last year, organisers have brought Singapore Day into our antipodean shores. Although registration is required, there should be no reason why you can just waltz up into the grounds as entry is free.

Oh btw, Singapore Noodles DO NOT EXIST. That’s a bastardised version of our famous Prawn Noodles and Hokkien Mee. I’ll be making my way to the grounds soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a ‘Singapore Noodle’ stall existed. Or some ignorant foreigner walking around asking for a Singapore Noodle stall.

What happened to Dragon Boat?

I have to admit, it has been quite sometime since I wandered along Little Bourke Street. Thinking of enjoying some yum cha in the spacious Dragon Boat restaurant, I was bewildered when I encountered boarded windows and the entire complex in total lock down. What happened? I know the cinema was shut down some time ago but I was expecting the entire complex to be closed up.

Where does Mayor So go to for his meals now?

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