I’ve been enjoying a few days with my Mum, visiting from the sticks to spend some time with her kids (my brother, sister and myself) and my kids after a couple of months in Europe. In that time Miss One started walking and talking so the difference for her has been significant. Miss Three adores her, not least because she gets to share her room with Nana, therefore having easy access to someone to snuggle and read with at the crack of dawn (or earlier). It’s great for me, I get to sleep in until after 8 (except on works days obviously). It also allowed Mr Good and I to have a ‘date’, we went to my new favourite restaurant La Spaghettata, on Lygon St. The spaghetti marinara is the nicest I’ve ever had (and I’ve had quite a few) and is very generous with the seafood.
Another revelation was the bruschetta siciliana, which was ciabatta topped with fresh tomato, prosciutto, bocconcini, fresh basil and olive oil. A simply delicious combination and one I intend to steal the next time I’m after a starter for something.
To follow our culinary evening, on Saturday Mum, my sister and another friend and I went to the Taste of Melbourne. I went a two years ago with my sister when I was just pregnant with Miss One. I wasn’t telling anyone at that point so I had to avoid the no-go foods and drinks without looking too obvious about it. I must have done alright because my sister didn’t pick up on anything. This time around I indulged in everything and LOVED it. The idea is that a selection of top restaurants serve up small portions of some of their best dishes, usually an entree, main and dessert, but not always. You pay a smallish amount and get to try the dishes that appeal to you from as many different restaurants as you like. It’s a great way to find a new eatery or try somewhere you’ve always wanted to go without having to deal with the long waiting list to get a booking that some places have.
Over the course of the afternoon we tried prawn burgers from The Aylesbury, crumbed pressed confit pork medallions (my third favourite dish) from The Botanical, pressed terrine of chicken from Libertine (one I’ve actually eaten at already after trying them at the last Taste of Melbourne I attended, highly recommended if you like French food), beetroot cured salmon (my second favourite pick) and grilled marinated chicken Tyska from Livingroom, a trio of dumplings from Mahjong, saltbush lamb shoulder (my favourite dish) from Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar, and tempura prawns from Taxi Dining Room. There was one really disappointing dish which I haven’t included in the list. It was the most expensive dish we tried, but was also to stingiest serving and the least impressive flavour-wise. Needless to say I won’t be rushing to dine at that restaurant. Our top pick for restaurants to try was the Livingroom, as all their dishes were great. There were a few dishes we really wanted to taste but the lines were so long and our patience limited so we passed on these. However, I am now determined to try the fish tacos from Mamasita and the chocolate tart from Albert St Food and Wine.
Along with the restaurants offering up these delectable tasting plates, there were lots of food and wine producers supplying samples of their latest products. Salted caramel, ciders of various varieties (orange and ginger!) and ginger beers were some standout products for me, yum, yum, yum! I also tried a spectacular fig balsamic vinegar from Pukara Estate and some amazing cheeses from Organic Dairy Farmers. Finally I found out about the Sustainable Table, which looks like fabulous resource for living and eating sustainably.
And so ends another foodie weekend wrap, with just a touch of sunburn after one of those deceptive days where the sun comes out after a grey start and sneaks up on you, oops.