Friday, August 27, 2010

Parisian Patisserie - Moonee Valley

The bf was sweet enough to take me to Parisian Patisserie on Keilor Road today after a disappointing outing to a cafe in the CBD where I missed out on crazily hyped macarons by mere seconds. I didn't plan on taking him up on his offer as I don't really eat pastries and don't really have a sweet tooth (really!) but at his insistence we set off in search of this place famous for its Almond Croissants.

It was packed when we got there around 11.30am on a Friday morning, so we settled on a table outside. Good thing the sun was out and the weather was warm enough. 
Yummy goodies on display in the window.

Quaint deco littered the pathway outside

I had the Egg & Prosciutto Brioche. I liked this as it was 1) savoury 2) had some meat and protein in it. My two faves in every dish :) I thought the brioche itself was a letdown and somewhat underwhelming as it wasn't as buttery as I would've liked it to be. Behold the magnificence of gooey, runny egg yolk ... mmmm....

We also had a couple of other brioche pastries:
Mixed berry brioche- again, was let down by the brioche, but the mixed berry filling was tart and lovely.

Almond & Apricot brioche- I thought this was so-so.

Buttery Almond Croissant- This is absolutely amazing. It's flaky and buttery on the outside, and takes on a semi-cake like texture on the inside so it's different from your typical croissants which are usually lighter on the inside. This would taste absolutely delicious paired with a cup of good coffee.

Brownie for breakfast? Hmm, I wasn't so sure about having something so chocolatey and heavy for breakfast but the boy seemed to enjoy this very much. I'm sure this would make a delectable treat for afternoon tea.

We also took away some food for later (ie. right now! yay!)- Pecan & Macadamia Tart, Cheese Twist (I just had this, it's so buttery and flaky yummm), and a couple of macarons (a little too sweet for me: Raspberry, Blackcurrant, Pistachio and Rose Water).

Definitely a place to return to for its heavenly almond croissants, and next time I'll make sure to try some of their sandwich offerings!

Parisian Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 23, 2010

EARL Canteen - Melb CBD

Barely even 4 months old, EARL Canteen has been one of the most talked about eateries on Urbanspoon and amongst food bloggers alike. Hopping from one food blog to another, I've seen many different reviews of EARL, but they all ultimately write about the hero of this place- The Pork Belly Sandwich. Not just any pork belly sandwich...but THE Pork Belly Sandwich. If you like your pork and your crackling, you would have (no doubt) already tried the Roast Pork Sandwich at David Jones' foodcourt. You have to be early though, on many occasions I've rocked up at 1pm only to be told that they have sold out. I believe this might be the same story at EARL Canteen, so I hedged my bets. I woke up bright and early, dwaddled at home for a lil bit, and off we went for an early lunch. 

Having spent last Monday up in the mountains, I'd forgotten how the CBD felt like on Monday mornings. Suits everywhere- rushing to and fro from one meeting to another. I'm not a suit anymore.....I finally have time to do a couple of things I've been putting off, but till I become a corporate workhorse again, I'll bide my time and take it easy :) EARL Canteen is one of those places where I'll go to get takeway lunch everyday, they use fresh ingredients and seem to know how to marry different ingredients and flavours together beautifully. Salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets- they have a variety of food and unique flavours to cater to every tastebud. 

It was a little difficult to find at first, we had to traipse through the NAB building to get to it.

The different types of sandwiches up on the menu board- made fresh when you place your order.

A display case full of salads, ready-made sandwiches and delicious macarons. A lunch box set ($13.50) lets you pick your own ready-made sandwich, a side of salad and a sweet pastry of your choice. Pretty decent isn't it?

The kitchen and coffee machine- where all the magic happens.

Yummy goodness in a baguette- the famous Crispy Skin Otway Pork Belly sandwich ($13.50). The pork belly was perfectly cooked and tender, the crackling was amazingly crispy and well seasoned...these combined beautifully with the sweetness and crispness of the apple, cabbage and fennel coleslaw. All these flavours were neutralised with the wilted silverbeet. I seriously could eat another one right now. Delicious!

Of course, no meal is complete without having dessert. I opted for 2 macarons- Chestnut & Cognac and Salted Caramel. They cost $2.50 each and were very, very tiny. I would have liked them to be a little bit bigger, because when you're having something good.....your only wish is to keep on eating it! I used to like the macarons at Lindt, but since having macarons from Adriano Zumbo and EARL Canteen...Lindt has a lot of catching up to do. The ones I had above packed a punch with their flavour and were so fresh they crumbled when you bit into them. Mmmmm.....perfectly textured on the outside AND inside- what creamy, delicious fillings. 

EARL Canteen, well done. I can't wait to try the Lime Poached Chicken and Duck Confit sandwiches next.

EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seven Seeds - Carlton

I finally managed to make it to Seven Seeds, 3 months after having a soy latte at its sister shop Brother Baba Budan in the CBD and having the man sitting beside me suggest I pay Seven Seeds a visit. 

Decked out in the usual warehouse setting it was filled with people, but definitely not packed and we didn't have to wait for a table.

Coffee bean family tree?

I'd been wanting to have Waldorf salad (why is it so difficult to find a cafe that serves Waldorf salad in Melbourne, btw?) since once of my ex-colleagues talked about what she had for lunch. The last time I had Waldorf salad would have been years ago. This was perfect for me as well, since I was still a little bit sick when I visited. Only gripe I have is they should have used another type of salad mix instead of rocket, and used fresh grapes instead of dried currants. I love my Waldorf with heaps of fruit! No complains about the chicken, I like my salads with chicken.

The boy chose the baked beans with chorizo, goat's cheese and chilli salt. It reminds me of the cannellini beans I had at Mart 130. I'm still not a big fan of goat's cheese, but I thought the baked beans, chorizo and chilli salt were quite delicious and hearty. 

All in all, Seven Seeds is meant to serve one of the better coffees in Melbourne but feedback from those that had coffee today was that the coffee was so-so. The breakfast menu was smaller than I expected, but they had a couple of pastries at the counter, for those that need that extra bit more. 

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 20, 2010

#2- Going places...

What I loved about my job was the fact that I could break up the monotony of being in the office with regular client visits, with some visits taking me to beautiful countrysides. I've had the opportunity to work in the Hunter Valley (a wine country in NSW) for the past 3 years and it was only last year that we took full advantage of our free time and paid some wine estates and olive groves a visit. Don't get me's not all about fine wining and dining, I was working for a mining client hence I was out at one of their mines. It was great being able to see what our client does on a day-to-day basis.
Part of the office building.

Dirty coal.

Mining machinery

On one of the days, having finished our work way before deadline, we snuck in a few hours and headed to Pukara Estate- which is an olive grove. It was here that I tasted delectable olive oils and vinegars, and it was here that I was educated on how to distinguish between quality and generic olive oils. I will never go back to normal olive oil again! The real thing is so amazing- you just can't compare.
Hello olive trees!

Look at the selection of olive oils and vinegars on display. I particularly liked the EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), chilli olive oil and balsamic vinegars.

Mmm...I bought 4 bottles to take home. Prior to the visit, I never knew of the existence of so many varieties of oils and vinegars!

Our lunch tasting platter- with olive tapenade, vinegar, olives, olive oil, dukkah and some sort of cheese. 

On our last day on the way to the airport we made a quick pitstop to Bimbadgen Estate for a sneaky glass of wine. Lunch was at Esca in Bimbadgen.
It was too chilly hence we chose to sit inside, otherwise the weather was perfect.
Rolling hills and blue skies.

Seared scallops on creamed corn with pancetta

Wood spit roasted duck with shitake mushrooms and greens

This was a winner- ocean trout in pastry served with salmon roe and creme-fraiche

And then my other jobs have given me great views. Normally in the office I have no view whatsoever...I have no idea if it's raining or sunny outside... I changed my wallpaper to something that's happy to look at! Alexander McQueen Skull Clutch come to me!

I wouldn't mind sitting in this room working away when I've got such great views. 

And then taking a break in this well-stocked pantry

If you were a guy who followed AFL you would be jealous of the next room I worked from. Ok, maybe not jealous as there wasn't a match going on at that time, but still....! It's a corporate box overlooking the Etihad Stadium!
Up close and personal with (imaginary) action! :D

And finally, having lunch overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge....just beautiful...

Looking back at these pictures I really do miss the travel opportunities- but it's only onward and upward from now! :)