Monday, 18 November 2013

Doughnuts is the New Black

So in recent years, we have experienced the macaron craze, the cupcake craze and most recently the cronut/zonut/ donut+croissant hybrid craze. But maybe it's good timing to get back to basics and rediscover something old and familiar - doughnuts.

No, I am not talking by the sad dozen of discounted cinammon sugar ones sitting in the bakery isle of your local Coles, nor the artery-clogging, insulin-spiking variety on offer at Krispy Kreme. These aren't what you would call clean treats, but when one has desperate cravings for their guilty pleasures, one must maximise the satisfaction gained from every calorie consumed. I am talking about hand crafted, dipped-to-order creations by Doughboys Doughnuts.

I discovered the existence of these gems through an instagram post some months ago. A picture of a plump, golden doughnut, covered in luscious glaze and toppings. It was love, no LUST at first sight. I quickly followed the boys' instagram account, and many mornings of constant drooling on the train ensued. Given the distance between my office and Mr Nice Guy where the popup shop was located, it was difficult trying to squeeze in an early morning doughnut run.

My opportunity finally arrived when I took a day off work after the Melbourne Cup. My original brunch plans had just fell through and guess what popped up on the top of my instagram feed. I knew it was the last week of the pop-up and it was my cue to go get some doughnuts and coffee for breakfast (I mean, like, yolo right?)

I had such a difficult time deciding which flavours to get. In a perfect world I would have loved to tasted all 4 flavours on offer but good judgement made me stop at two. I chose salted caramel and lime coconut as they have made numerous appearances on my instagram account, it would be unjust if I had left without having a bite of each.

I decided to have a soy latte with the lime coconut. The lime zest in the glaze instantly made the doughnut refreshing and not overly sweet. The doughnut itself is was closer to the texture of bread than cake. The salted caramel on the other hand was simply pure decadence. I don't think one can ever go wrong with salted caramel flavoured goodies, period.

After the consumption of one and a half decent size doughnuts I must conclude these sweet treats are definitely a sometimes food. These bad boys will definitely satisfy even the most intense sugar cravings. Here's hoping the doughboys will be setting up shop again before my next craving hits.

Doughboys Doughnuts
(currently closed)

Doughboys Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Goodbye October

So I admit I have been pretty lazy as of late with updating my blog.
Given summer is just around the corner, I have cleaned up my eating habits significantly which means I have not been eating out so much in recent months. 

Yet eating out still makes up a large component of my social life. So, as long as I hang out with my friends, I will still occasionally allow myself to indulge in delicious, guilt-ridden calories.  

Here are some places I have visited in the past month: 

1.The Stables of Como

Judy was down from Sydney for the weekend and I was racking my brains for ideas of places to take her to. Given both of us love all things pretty and girly, the newly opened The Stables of Como was the perfect destination. The familiarity of the menu that I have grown to know and love at Snow Pony and the beauty of the surrounding Como House and garden made The Stables of Como a real treat. We ordered a slice of brownie and scones to share. The staff was attentive, the scones were just as delicious as ones previously consumed at Snow Pony. The only downside is the menu is significantly marked up in comparison to other ICKE & IGBY establishments. Having said that, I would still happily return for brunch on a nice sunny day as the surroundings are so magnificent that one could almost believe that they have been teleported to France. (disclaimer: I actually am yet to visit France)

The Stables of Como
Como House
Cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave
South Yarra VIC
Ph (03) 9827 6886
The Stables of Como on Urbanspoon

2. Naked In The Sky
Cocktails and Moscato, yes please!

Eggplant Chips drizzled with blue cheese dressing and honey
After visiting Como Gardens, we decided to cross the Yarra and head north towards Fitzroy so I could show Judy the awesomeness that is Naked In The Sky. This place is soon becoming one of my favourite rooftop bars, and will definitely warrant future visits as the weather gets warmer. 
The crumbed eggplant chips drizzled with honey and blue cheese dressing blew my mind away. We had already eaten quite a bit of food by then and the chips were naturally oily and heavy, but the addicting flavours kept me reach in for more and more. omg such a pig.

Naked In The Sky
285 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, VIC
Ph (03) 9416 2238
Naked In the Sky on Urbanspoon

3. South of Johnston

Long black on ice

Omelette filled with roasted pumpkin, proscuitto, sage, baby spinach and pinenuts on sourdough toast and side of goats cheese ($18.90)

Seared salmon salad with poached egg ($18.90)

#yolkporn ;)

Occasionally the inner workaholic can get the best of me and compels me to spend a perfectly delightful Sunday afternoon inside the office that I would return to the very next morning. Sometimes I am not alone, and on this particular Sunday, Nisha and I decided to keep each other company while we slogged through unread emails, ovedue training and file submissions. But we also agreed that we were not to completely deny ourselves of enjoyment, so we ventured out to Collingwood for brunch before turning on our office computers. 
We headed to South of Johnston for some much needed brainfood. This was the day where Melbourne "swelltered" to 31 degrees and the spacious interior of the cafe instantly brought the temperature down few notches. Although it is a tad dark towards the back of the cafe where natural light struggles to reach, the lounge area and the communal table gives the place a really nice chilled feel. It is as if we are visiting a friend's house that happens to contain a significantly enlarged lounge and dining room. Given the heat, we decided to order something light but filling. The combination of Salmon salad and omelette was perfect and ensured that we got our recommended daily dose of protein and essential fatty acids. I also got a long black which I poured over ice to enjoy cold. 

On the way back we stopped by the newly opened Hinoki Pantry to grab some sustinence for the rest of the day. Hinoki must be the cutest and cleanest Asian grocer I have ever been to. Coming here makes me want to visit Japan again so badly. Definitely a place to visit when I need ideas for the care package my mother in japan sends me from time to time.

South of Johnston
46 Oxford St
Collingwood, VIC
Ph (03) 9417 2741
South of Johnston on Urbanspoon

4. Cibi

Genmai tea, green tea and red bean muffin

Traditional Japanese breakfast ($17.50)
I had previously lamented about how hard it was to find a nice cafe in Melbourne, where I could dine alone without feeling self-conscious that I would be labelled foreveralone. I think I have finally found my perfect fit in Cibi. Unlike many popular cafes in its surroundings, Cibi's decor is very modest and understated. Mismatching tables and chairs scatter through out the cafe, which has a subdued level of noise even during the busiest trading hours. On a nice sunny day I like to sit by the window sipping my Genmai tea and slowly work through a green tea and red bean muffin. On my last visit, I tried their traditional Japanese Breakfast and it was simply devine. The tamago-yaki was sweet, the salmon flaky with a crispy skin. The quinoa rice and side vegetables completed the balancing act and brought the entire meal together. I think Kappaya's miso soup is still handsdown the best in the world, but Cibi's version is nevertheless hearty and satisfying.

45 Keele St
Collingwood, VIC
Ph (03) 9077 3941
Cibi on Urbanspoon

5. N2 Extreme Gelato

Deconstructed kaya toast gelato ($8.00)
Strawberryen ($8.00)
Black lava salted caramel ($6.00)
Pash me pavolova ($6.00)

I don't know how to justify my obsession with N2 Extreme Gelato, I am no icecream fanatic and I have concluded it is simply the curiosity that is getting the best of me: "ohhh i wonder what deconstructed kaya toast in icecream form would taste like?" And sometimes it is simply: "Did someone say SALTED CARAMEL??? OMFG GIMMEEE"Anyways, since the opening of N2, I have already paid 4 visits and spent more money there than what I would have otherwise spend on other forms of icecreams in an entire year. Although I cannot wholeheartedly justify this form of food expenditure, I do have to say their gelato is pretty damn good. Secretly I am also excited about the arrival of Messina on Smith Street and am keen to see how this gelato battle will play out in the coming summer months.

N2 Extreme Gelato
329 Brunswick St
Fitzroy VIC
Ph N/A
N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Today I don't feel like doing anything... but eating.

The older you get the faster each year rushes by. It seems like only yesterday when Stacey and I were sitting down outside of Backstreet Eating admiring the cuteness of Kimmy's new puppy dog and soaking up all the gorgeous March sunshine. And now we have already arrived at mid-July.

And today Stacey and I caught up again in Fitzroy, this time the weather was cold and miserable and this time we met a few blocks down at Breakfast Thieves. 
I have previous posted an entry about this cafe, and this was my second visit.
Before getting to the cafe I knew my heart was already set on ordering the Botak Chin as I recall the deliciousness from my previous encounter. Stacey went for the Breakfast Chain as she liked the idea of getting a bit of everything.

Botak Chin ($17.00)
When I read the menu I noticed the steamed asian buns that had previously accompanied the braised pork were now replaced by asian crepes. I didn't think it would make much difference hence I proceeded with my order.
that glaze!
The pork I received was just as delicious as last time, however the crepe was lacklusture and did not provide enough backing for the dish. The deep fied enoki mushrooms provided good texture and the side salad of carrots and orange helped cut through the richness of the dish. A steamed bun or two could have helped soak up some of that delicious Char-siew sauce. 
The Breakfast Chain ($17.50)
I also had a chance to taste the sweet components of Stacey's meal. Although my tastebuds were already in overdrive eating all that yummy pork, they were still able to appreciate the sweet stewed apples and cinnamon from the crumble. The trifle yoghurt on the other hand was too sour for my liking. Perhaps it was my fault for tasting it straight after the crumble. 
crumbleeee :D
It was such a miserable, wintery day, so I decided to spend the afternoon at Ikea with Vanessa. Talking to her is a form of entertainment in its own right, but trying out various couches and pillows etc as we trailed through the display showrooms made it a hilarious experience. 

As Vanessa had never tried the infamous Swedish meatballs, we had a meal break at the Ikea restaurant. My belly was still half full from my earlier brunch, so decided to get the Banoffee Pie - which happens to be a first for me - to satisfy my sugar cravings. 
Banoffee Pie ($4.95)
Other than the tart case being quite crunchy and nice, the banoffee pie was nothing special, it was sweet, I tasted hints of banana flavouring throughout the pie and it was topped off by more than enough whipped cream.

So it's been a pretty decadent day of fatty meats and consumption of sugar and cream, but I must say I probably did burn a decent amount of calories off just wandering around the entirety of Victoria Gardens. Leaving the shopping centre behind, both Vanessa and I were pretty knackered and were ready for bed, at 5pm. Naturally neither of us made it to the gym as we had originally planned. I guess today is one of those days we can just say: "oh well, there is always tomorrow." 

Breakfast Thieves
Shop 1, 420 Gore St
(03) 9416 4884

Breakfast Thieves on Urbanspoon

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe
630 Victoria St 
(03) 8416 5000

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday Breakfast for One

I paid Miss Frank an impromptu visit last Sunday after visiting Camberwell market. I had just missed out on some fresh roses from my favourite florist  and had accidentally spilled half of my Prospect Espresso SL down my front whilst juggling my phone, a bunch of second-hand garments and my wallet, really unco stuff. Given I have already had a below-average week I was convinced that a brunch treat was justified.

Because I was under the impression Miss Frank was somewhere along Riversdale Rd and not far from the junction, it felt like forever before I turned into Through Rd (which is actually much closer to Warrigal Rd end of Riversdale) and parked across the road from the cafe, which is nestled among a shopping strip of suburban small businesses and eateries. The double shop frontage houses a spacious dining area and a providore.

The interior was clean, minimal and slightly industrial. Props to the owners for installing a wheelchair lift making the elevated back dining area wheelchair-friendly.
The menu at Miss Frank was rather extensive, with breakfast and lunch options covering the entirety of an A3 sheet. I wasn't really ready when the waiter approached to take my order so I pointed to the first item that came to sight - a poached egg on multi-grain toast. It sounded a bit sad on its own so I asked for some avocado and dukkah to accompany my egg and help boost my omega 3 intake. 

Poached Egg on Multi-grain Toast with Avocado and Dukkah ($11.00)
The egg was so translucent, I had never seen such a pretty poached egg in Melbourne, like ever!
I was really hoping for gooey goodness to gush out once the egg was popped but sadly contrary to the external good looks, the yolk was a bit of a let down and didn't flow like I had anticipated. 

Don't judge a book by its cover, so they say? 
In terms of flavour, there was no super-wow factor in the dish but when showered with salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon, every element tasted delicious in a wholesome, simple kind of way. The only downside was the toast was absolutely drenched in butter so it bled of oil every time it was poked with my fork, ew.  
Delicious array of baked goods at the counter. 
If I were to come to Miss Frank again in the future I would definitely make a girls brunch or gathering out of it. Whilst the food was nice, Miss Frank probably isn't the best place to chill alone on a cold winter day. And thus my search for the ultimate cosy brunch-for-one continues... 

Miss Frank
200 Through Road 
Camberwell 3124
(03) 9078 5351

Miss Frank on Urbanspoon