Tuesday, February 24, 2009

breakfast around town

Though you wouldn't know it from the number of posts around here, I've been busy, using my abundant holiday time wisely.
Maybe it's a holiday thing too, that I've discovered the joy of making breakfast an event in the day. I used to hate the fact that a big breakfast out would take away the point of lunch, because lunch is one of my favourite meals, along with breaky. and tea.

The breakfast that changed my mind was nowhere less worthy than Dench Bakers, North Fitzroy. Right at the start of my holidays, i.e. November.. it was a cool morning. We sat inside, feeling a little bit cold, tired and under the weather, and between two of us ordered hot chai, bircher muesli with berries and French toast with cooked pear. We couldn't finish the muesli, and don't I wish I'd had a picture... that French toast changed my life. I didn't care about lunch. I wanted it to be breakfast time again.
Breakfast for lunch also made me pretty happy when I tried the award-winning corn fritters at Mart 130, Middle Park. I'd read about them on Claire's blog a while before and was blown away. Sweet corn, smooth sour cream, coriander, salty snappy bacon and tomato relish. It's not very me, and oh how that just didn't matter.

Another cool morning in the city found me loving a nice warm coffee from next door and a savoury mushroom crepe at Concorde Crepes, GPO, as reviewed at possibly my favourite blog WTB. I don't think they do buckwheat crepes, it's all the same batter, so my mind told me it was probably unauthentic but my mouth made me unable to care. (Bonus if you care about lunch - this left enough room for another meal later.. or an immediate sweet crepe. I thought about it, because my friend's banana, ricotta and almond looked so good. Next time.)

Oh! pictures! Please forgive my tangents. In accordance with my enjoyment of corn fritters, I was told I'd love the breakfast stack at the Green Refectory, Brunswick. That's it you see far, far above, complete with potato thingie (a lot of), bacon, grilled tomato, haloumi, spinach, a poached egg, and encircled by some good tomato relish. It's a good concept but this time, it seemed to matter that it wasn't my thing.
Here on the right is their French toast with poached pear. It was quite nice.. a bit meh. Maybe I'd been spoilt by Dench.

The BEST EVER breakfast out I have had, a couple of Tuesdays ago when I headed to the Jam Factory to see the dwindling Twilight. Chapel St is a long way for me, so I don't get there very often, and I made sure to visit my favourite bakery Amici after the movie. But for breakfast beforehand, we went to Babble (can't find a review I like), Izett St, Prahran. It was 11:30 by the time we got there and we had to be out by 12:10. Could we do it?
Happily, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Split two ways, we got to have both:
1. Polenta vegetarian breakfast - words, used by me, cannot describe how good this was. Why oh why did I not have my camera? Triangles of the best, crunchy, creamy but still light, polenta with some hint of chopped green herb, grilled field mushroom with rosemary, tomatoes, just-enough-seasoned spinach and a little pot of plain yoghurt on the side.
My friend K, this is waiting for you. I am almost scared to go there again in case it isn't as good.
2. the French fruit toast! with mascarpone, banana and strawberries, and some subtle syrupy strawberryish sauce. The Best. Delicious. There was some coconut in there too somewhere. Ohhhh, the French fruit toast.

While I research and wait for the perfect French toast technique to show itself through my hands, it must be pancake time. Breakfast at home is also very good.

And not least of all when it's Bill's blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

PS Shrove Tuesday! Crepes tonight, perhaps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Orange, we glad we went

... to Gigibaba. I'd heard of it a few times over a few months and was quite keen to try. Then Larissa Dubecki's article in the Age Epicure, Orange, You Sad You Left? came up a week or two ago and reminded me. So on the spur of the moment, a couple of friends and I went to line up at 6pm and got a spot at the bar.
All the staff were wearing orange, and the title of the article was stuck to one of the bar shelves, at which I couldn't help but smile.
I didn't have my camera on me, but I thought I'd blog about it simply because of how ridiculously exciting it was to be somewhere so hyped up.
The food was really good. I didn't drink because there hadn't been time to get to the ATM for any extra money, but liked the sound of the national Turkish drink. This was a pity as the style of the place is Turkish tapas, plus I had an hour to order, eat and leave, so it was a little bit frantic.

They were out of BBQ Hellim cheese! weep! but sold us instead some delicious zucchini fritters, egg-shaped and gooey inside, but not too much, and with flavour. I adored the smoky eggplant salad with walnuts, tomato, lemon, parsley, and tahini yoghurt, which my companions quite liked but for me, smoky eggplant is the KING.
We also had lamb in vine leaves (the others liked them a lot, maybe not my thing), lamb kofte (this is what all kofte should now aspire to be) and some enjoyable but very tapas-sized BBQ chicken with black-eyed-bean salad.

You order things in sizes for 2 or for 4, and it's all small. Worth going when you have a while to first wait, then eat and drink, and about $50 up your sleeve to make the most of it and order the whole menu. So price-wise, it's not somewhere I'll be going for my next dinner.

But if anyone wants to teach me how to use flavours like theirs, I'm listening.