Sunday, 30 August 2015

A Brief Intermission

Hi everyone. I haven't disappeared, but it's mid-cycle review season/job application season/starting to write reports season/trying to finish my diploma season, so I've taken a little break and will be back in a week or so. The yummy adventures have continued even though I haven't had time to post them, so stay tuned for more tasty goodness coming your way soon!

In the meantime, if you'd like to see a little recap of what I actually do for a living when I'm not eating my way through Melbourne, you're welcome to hop over to my professional blog or my class blog for 2015.

Bye for a little bit!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Pho Minh Long - Not So Long To Wait For Noodles

I'm so lucky to work where I work. There is usually someone else who forgot their lunch and needs to go to the shops to get something, and when that person is the inimitable and lovely Bu Glenda it's no tragedy that we have to go find sustenance together.

She suggested we go to Pho Minh Long - it's a favourite among all staff at school as it's cheap, the menu is EXTENSIVE so EVERYONE finds something they like, and it's usually pretty quickly delivered to the table or ready to go as take away.

Pretty looking soup

I ordered the prawn and pork noodle soup. It came in several separate containers (one of which was a bag that I wasn't even sure was mine and forgot to put into my soup - whoops) which meant the noodles still held their shape and the meat wasn't overpowered by the broth while being transported. The taste was spot-on, even without the chilli - just enough coriander (cilantro) to give it a twinge, and the broth was super tasty without being too salty. All the meat was well-cooked and tender, and the noodles softened as they sat in the broth.

Without any doubt in my mind, I can say I'll be back again before the end of the term!

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Our Delish (Interesting) Dumpling Experience

I drive past Delish Dumplings on the way home from work every day, and since I first noticed it after its opening I'd been itching to give it a try. The Khocolateman is not a big dumpling fan, so I jumped at the chance to grab some when he agreed that yes, dumplings might not be a bad way to do dinner one Friday evening.

The menu is quite short, so what they offered, I expected done well. There are some interesting anomalies to be found - barbecue wings, for example, and aioli as a complimentary sauce for the dumplings - but the rest of the offerings were pretty standard. We ordered what we thought would be enough food as we were expecting company - seared and steamed dumplings, wingalings, an omelette, fried rice, and a pork dish.

Whoa mama. The serving sizes are HUGE. Just be aware of that. We had leftovers for two days afterwards.

Holy dumplings. That's a lot of food - and that's not all of it.

The pick of the bunch for me were definitely the steamed prawn dumplings, dipped in the black vinegar sauce (I drank the dregs, I admit it). They were yummy and packed full of veggies as well as prawny bits. A close second would have been the combination omelette - it was immensely generous and had huge chunks of veggies, chicken, pork, and a couple of very decent sized prawns in it, mixed with a butt-tonne of garlic (which is very popular in our house). Great as leftovers the next day, too.

The Khocolateman liked the wings, and went to town on the seared chicken dumplings and seared pork dumplings. They came kind of fried together in a dumpling pancake and the taste was good (again with that black vinegar!), but they were very, very oily.

It was a little pricey - I paid close on $70 for the lot, and I know there are definitely cheaper places in nearby Box Hill, but for convenience's sake I'd probably hit these guys up again for their steamed dumplings and combination omelette, though I'd probably give their seared ones a miss.

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Friday, 7 August 2015

The Melbourne High Tea Party

Please note that while I did win tickets to the High Tea Party at the Sofitel in Melbourne, I was not required to write this review as a condition of my winning.

The High Tea Party comes up on my Facebook feed quite a bit. I almost bought tickets last year, but work got in the way and I missed out. Lo and behold, this year the High Tea Society held a competition in conjunction with The Peppermint Group (the organisers of the High Tea Party), offering as a prize a night at the Sofitel on Collins Street, and a double pass to the High Tea Party the following day.

I'm living proof that not all competitions on Facebook are a scam! =D

I asked Auntie Spanx to come with me as my plus one (not really the Khocolateman's cup of tea, pardon the pun), and we had a (classy, sophisticated) night on the town before getting all dressed up and getting ready for our day of ladylike leisure.

Check out our ladylike selfie. We are a hot pair.

Our sitting for high tea was at 12:30, and I'd read that we needed about two hours to do everything on offer outside the hall where we'd be eating, so we headed downstairs to the lobby with plenty of time - to find ourselves in the middle of a thriving marketplace of jewelry, pamper stations, make-up, drinks, nibbles, shoes, and fashion. Too much to blog everything - here are a few highlights:

Auntie Spanx is famous for her love/fetish/obsession with shoes and the resulting shoebrary in her bedroom, so when we saw boutique heels on offer in some very funky patterns and bright, vibrant colours, we had to stop for a browse and a try-on. She ended up buying a beautiful pair of slingbacks, which were delivered to her door the Tuesday after!

Scarletto's Shoes
Smexeh Shoes

Your Tea
I love tea. I've inadvertantly ended up collecting it, partly because we are given a lot of it, partly because I keep buying it for knitting, and partly because it's just awesome to be able to offer a dozen different options to visitors when they pop by. Your Tea had a clean-cut, wholesome-looking booth with just a small selection of tea on offer for purchase, so I got one box each of the Chocolate Rooibos and the Premium Peppermint pyramid teabags.

Mmmmmm, tea!

Freez had a whole lot of clothing and accessories on display. My eye was drawn to their scarves (I wear them every day at work, and can always do with one or two more to add to the collection) and I had a hard time choosing just two, but I got a pashmena-style one and a lovely lightweight cotton-blend one.

I can totes choose awesome accessories

The High Tea itself was held in an enormous ballroom with a runway down the middle. While we ate, an image consultant ran a little fashion show where she made over four ladies who'd won a competition she'd run. They also drew a bunch of lucky door prizes, which unfortunately all came from the same side of the room, much to the indignation of many ladies who grumbled rather audibly around us.

The Tea

Afterwards, we wandered a little more and claimed our free glass of Jacob's Creek bubbly, met two equally bubbly ladies who stopped us and had an extensive conversation about why we should wait to have children, why swearing in public is totally normal, and how awesome Auntie Spanx's eyelashes are (look at the photo above - they're totally right). If they ever find this and are reading it, me and Auntie Spanx (aka Princess) would like to catch up for a night on the town in Melbourne!

The final note: tickets in 2015 were, I believe, $60 a head for the standard high tea. Personally, if I'd paid that, I'd have been a little disappointed. I think our decision is that next year we'll be aiming to attend the VIP High Tea upstairs on the 35th floor rather than cattle style in the ballroom, and we're living in hope that the high tea itself is a little more upmarket as well, as the food was a little bland. We had a blast, though, and I'm really grateful to have been given the opportunity to spend a day with so many classy ladies (especially my personal image consultant - Auntie Spanx could totally do what the one on stage did!).

See you next year, High Tea Partygoers!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

New Kingdom - Gleny's Newest Yum Cha

The Khocolateman spied New Kingdom at Glen Waverley station a little while back and has been hanging to get in and give it a whirl. We finally managed to get a morning on a weekend where both of us were free and hit it up for yum cha (because we all know how much both he and I need our chicken feet fix).

The interior is nothing special - pretty standard - but the waitstaff were unfailingly smiley and had a bit of a chat with the tables as they went past - outdoing every other yum cha place we've been to where the service has generally been quite impersonal.

A montage of yum cha goodness

The food - yum! We went hunting for our two usuals - chicken feet and steamed barbecue pork buns - and found chicken feet on the first trolley that went past, and put in an order for the buns. Both came out so hot we had to wait to eat them - another first at a yum cha joint, where the food is generally fairly lukewarm!! The chicken feet came braised in a sweet and salty sauce, different to those we'd had at other places, and the pork buns were adequately soft and squishy, sweet and porky.

The telling sign that this yum cha place was the real deal was when we saw pigs' trotters come out alongside dishes of braised tripe. We took the trotters (but gave the tripe a miss). They were really good, but it wasn't until afterwards that we discovered the sauce they were served with had peanuts in it... so just the one for me, and a whole lot of water to stop my throat and stomach from chucking a hissy right there in the restaurant. If I'd been able to see peanuts on the top it probably would have been okay and I'd have given it a miss, but they were tucked underneath - and as they're not a commonality with yum cha I didn't think to ask. Silly me.

All up, though, our lunch came to just $38 including drinks, tea, and our food. AMAZING. We left very satisfied and will definitely be back again soon!

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Domino's Pizza Mitcham, We Salute You

Domino's is not usually my first port of call for pizza. I like my local pizza joints in Dandenong and Rowville, and the closest Domino's - hell, I don't even know where I'd find it. The Khocolateman isn't a big fan of Italian food, so if I order pizza, it's usually for parties, and it's usually from whatever we have coupons for to make delivery cheaper.


I do like spicy pizza. Namely, I like jalapenos. When I can order jalapenos as an extra on something, I do (including on subs from Subway). Domino's Mitcham delivered when I wanted something spicy to keep me awake through my last few parent teacher interviews last week, and satisfied my chilli cravings brought on by bland food for two weeks while having and recovering from gastro (bleh). Meet the Firebreather.

Milk on standby... jalapenos away!

Cheese, pepperoni, chilli, jalapenos - all on a tomato-ey, crunchy-edged, soft-middled pizza base. What could go wrong?

Simple. Nothing.

Domino's Mitcham is an awesome option for affordable, predictable pizza. They never stuff up our massive orders, and they always deliver on time.

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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Arnotts' Caramel Slice Recipe (Now With Chocolate Ripple)

Nothing says "girls' night in" like chocolate, bikkies, and tea. Well, maybe just chocolate and tea. Okay, fine. Just chocolate.

Auntie Spanx came over one evening to hang out and I thought I'd give something a bit different a whirl. My stomach was back to normal so it was time to hit the 'Food I'll Eat When I Can Stomach It' list for a sweet treat - aha! Arnotts' Chocolate Ripple Caramel Slice recipe it was.

Mmm... slicey happiness.

The verdict on the process: caramel slice of any kind is easy to make, but hard to get right. The instructions for this one were pretty easy to follow, and the quantities were spot-on. I'd forgotten how many pots and pans it takes to make it though!!

The jury's decision on the final product: not terrible, but not as good as my grandmother's caramel slice either. She was a master of baking, and hers were hard to beat. I have a way to go to learn to make caramel as good as hers, as mine was pale and didn't set as well as I would have liked. It was very, very chocolatey, what with its chocolate ripple base and all, and a little piece went a long way taste-wise (and, I suppose, calorie-wise as well...).

Would I make it again? Definitely, though I'd probably practice the caramel part again first. I think that would make a big difference to the overall product.

Have you made this or something else from the Arnott's website? Share below!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Three Way Conferences and The Mitcham Noodle Bar's Contribution

Thank goodness for the Mitcham Noodle Bar. Four times a year, we stay back at school until 7:30pm for three-way conferences (teacher, parents, and students attend). Fortunately, school feeds us - and we always get something from the Mitcham Noodle Bar.

With 20-something of us in attendance, it's hard to find something that keeps everyone happy, but their LONG menu generally means everyone can choose their own stuff with any special needs (eg, no chilli, extra chilli, no peanuts, peanuts on the side, etc.) catered for easily.

I'm really boring and I get the same thing every single time (it's that awesome =D). Their Fried Kway Tiew (also known as char kway teow, char kway chow, char kway dew, and probably a dozen other morphlings I'm yet to encounter or remember) is REALLY REALLY GOOD. Big thick rice noodles tossed with bean sprouts, fried egg, pork, chicken, and prawns. There are probably other diced vegetables in there too, but the soy/kecap manis-based sauce they cook it in makes it a bit hard to tell.


Also, their prawn crackers and spring rolls are very much a favourite - everyone (that isn't vegetarian) dips into the prawn crackers (never too oily, always enough for everyone to have some) and there is subtle eyeing-off of the spring rolls to see who'll get them

Their cost is very reasonable (hey, admin has a budget to stick to!), and they rarely stuff up orders (even for 20+ people). Pretty impressive as a package!

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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Lord of the Da- I mean, Fries!

I want to tell you a story.

Several years ago, when the Khocolateman and I were still in the 'let's go out to Crown/Lion Bar/Charlie's Bar until 2am' phase of life, we discovered this place called Lord of the Fries while looking for munchies en route home one night. The Khocolateman pronounced their gooey, tasty, salty, chippy food to be amazing. This happened at least twice. The third time, the Khocolateman learned the truth - that Lord of the Fries is actually vegan, right down to the patties on their burgers and the gravy on their chips. He was incensed. The prime meat eater himself had admitted in front of a very intoxicated (yet rather observant) audience that yes, indeed, vegan food was edible. And not just edible - bloody good into the bargain.


Fast forward a few years - and I still love them. In fact, still hungry off the plane from Sydney last holidays I stopped in to one I hadn't been to before - that at Spencer Street Station (oh, sorry - Southern Cross - I'll never get used to that!) - and ordered my favourite snack, the Jalapeno Popper Munch Box with French Canadian sauce.

French Canadian sauce has another name for those in the know - it's poutine, or a toothsome combination of cheese and gravy smothering your chips in a warm blanket of yum. If you haven't done it, do it. You won't regret it.

JALAPENO POPPER MUNCH BOX OF DOOM... with bilingual chips

This Lord of the Fries gets two thumbs and two big toes up. It is by far the most generous with the sauce of the chains that I've experienced, the Jalapeno popper was super fresh (not that weird skin that the crumbing makes if you leave it in the freezer for too long), and the chips, oh man. Thick-cut, soggy-to-crunchy-ratio perfect, and not too oily.

Suffice to say, I'll be seeking them out again. Well done Spencer Street/Southern Cross/DFO Lord of the Fries - you rock my world.

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