Eat here: Pomona Café, Melbourne (café)

Pomona Café
474 Murray Rd, Preston
http://www.pomonacafe.com.au/

It was a very happy surprise to realise that the house we bought a few years ago was actually just around the corner from one of my best friends. We met in high school, and originally didn’t like each other a whole lot, for reasons I cannot for the life of me remember. A year and a half later, we were best friends, and a decade and a half later again, we still are.

After a year travelling with her lovely husband, followed by an utterly hectic last few months/festive season of 2015, we FINALLY had time for a proper, unrushed breakfast date over the weekend, thank goodness… We chose Pomona Café, local for us both and a stone’s throw from Preston Market, to sit back and relax over some good food and a few pots of tea  : )

The café is beautiful – a light, modern space with homely touches like the wooden tables and the veggie patch out the back. They specialise in gluten free and special diet eats, which was great for me – finally somewhere I didn’t have to feel too guilty about making special requests! They do all day breakfast and lunch, and have a pretty impressive range of food available (staples like porridge, hollandaise and French toast, as well as some more creative plates like the creamy polenta with egg, mushroom and kale, and the salmon bruschetta).

I went with the hot cakes – it’s something I’d never bother making myself for breaky, and I kinda wanted something that felt like a “treat.” Because of the fructose intolerance, I asked for mine without they spiced honey, but they kindly provided a dish of maple syrup on the side. They were thick and creamy, just sweet enough with the fruit and maple, and the mascarpone cream was the perfect addition. They looked a little on the small side coming out, but they were VERY filling, so don’t be fooled!

Big tick for the food! And the catch up was awesome too – it is SO good to talk to someone you don’t have to justify yourself to, and you have plenty in common with and just say what you think and what you mean without worrying how they’ll react and if they’ll be offended! It was also great to talk travel experiences and travel plans all morning, which got me reminiscing over the weekend about some of the cities we’ve both visited…

 

Pomona Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Ruby’s, Melbourne (cafe)

Ruby’s
138 Nicholson St, Coburg
https://www.facebook.com/RubysOnNicholson/

This little cutie pie art deco café has been open around 18 months now, and I’m guessing it’s tucked-away location on the quieter side of Coburg is the reason it’s not more popular. Husband and I found ourselves in the area not long ago, and having visited before, I suggested stopping in for lunch.

They have an incredible milk shake menu that fits perfectly with the kitschy diner-style set up and had me once again cursing my lactose issues. On the food side, there are equally delicious jaffle options, and a Greek inspired brunch menu. Husband went with the chili scrambled eggs with (very generous) sides of bacon and avocado, and he loved it – the fresh chili in the eggs especially.

I went with the olive toast with grilled haloumi and fresh herbs, plus a fried egg on top. Clearly the most perfect little fried egg to ever come out of a kitchen, as you can see below. The haloumi was the perfect topping to the olive bread, and the fresh mint was an especially nice touch.

This place was designed to be a laid back, down-to-earth, dog & child friendly eatery, with good, unpretentious food and attitudes, and it delivers 110%. Yet another reason to head to the North this weekend – the cafes there are seriously the best in Melbourne!


Ruby's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cook this: orange, cranberry & rosemary cake

There are some really great things about being part of the food and travel blogging community. You make new friends all over the world, get some great ideas to add to the bucket list, always have like-minded people to bounce ideas off, and best of all, always have great new recipes to try  : )

I saw this one on Rachel’s site, Emerging Adult Eats, last week, and immediately added oranges and cranberries to my shopping list. I love orange and cranberry – one of my favourite old recipes is orange, cranberry and oat cookies. I was also really intrigued by Rachel’s addition of rosemary, for a savoury touch… I intended to make this as more of a cake than a bread, and planned on omitting the rosemary, but once the matter was made and tasted before being poured into the tin, I decided to add a little dried rosemary that I had in the spice cupboard anyway – it just seemed the right thing to do.

Anyway, I made my only little adjustments, as I am want to do, and here’s how it went…

 

Ingredients:
– 2 ½ cups self-raising flour
– ½ cup caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– ½ cup olive oil
– ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt
– juice of 2 oranges
– zest of 2 oranges
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup dried cranberries
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp dried rosemary
– ¼ cup mixed seeds (I used pepitas and sunflower seeds)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a bread loaf tin.

2. Combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, yoghurt, orange zest and juice, and the vanilla.

4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the flour until completely combined – you may have to scrape out the whisk a few times.

5. Finally, stir in the cranberries, salt and rosemary, pour the batter into the tin, and sprinkle the seeds over the top.

6. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Eat here: Longhorn Saloon, Melbourne (American)

Longhorn Saloon
118 Elgin St, Carlton
http://www.longhornsaloon.com.au/

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The husband made it through another birthday last week. And while he doesn’t like to celebrate it, he does very much like good American BBQ, so (much like my birthday) we had a bit of an unbirthday dinner at Longhorn. Another brain child of the Balleau (Le Bon Ton) family, it’s got that gorgeous Southern feel to it, which was only helped along by the awesome playlist of Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty, that homely decor and the loveliest staff.

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The birthday boy chose a few dishes to share and we sang along to Trombone and reminisced about the good times we’d had in New Orleans while we waited (which wasn’t very long). First up were the fried chicken tenders with a cheddar biscuit & cracked pepper white gravy, The chicken was crazy good – tender, white flesh coated in the most delicious crunchy coating. Plus a fluffy biscuit and creamy gravy; it’s really good stuff, and the birthday boy’s favourite.

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Next up was the 5 Points Deli Brisket Reuben (on dark rye, with corned brisket, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing). It was one of the biggest sandwiches I’ve ever seen, and the brisket was delicious, especially the rendered, melty fat pockets in there. There was probably a bit much sauerkraut and dressing for my liking, so I pulled mine apart and ate all the meaty goodness. And the pickle was unreal.

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Last up was the Le Bon Ton Cheeseburger (Wagyu beef patty, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy ketchup, aioli), which I really liked. Good choice with the iceberg lettuce which kept things crunchy, perfectly cooked bacon with molten cheese on top – it’s what you want in a cheeseburger.

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The service was quick and super friendly, the food was delicious, the setting was gorgeous, the tunes were on point – it was the perfect unbirthday dinner  : )  And if you can make it through another Monday today, you can treat yourself to dinner there tomorrow night!

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Longhorn Saloon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tea time: Captains of Industry, Melbourne (café)

Captains of Industry
Lv 1, 2 Somerset Place, Melbourne
http://captainsofindustry.com.au/

As you can see, not just a café. Captains of Industry has been around for a while now, servicing many of the city’s original hipsters. They deal in the art of being a gentleman – bespoke leather shoes and accessories, lovely grooming products and traditional barbershop haircuts and styles. They also do breakfast, lunch, tea and coffee, which, not being a gentleman of the world, is why I visit.

It’s one of my favourite tea spots on the city to spend a lunch break; it’s beautiful inside. Having grown up around a family business that deals in leather goods, being surrounded by lovely leather pieces and that smell just feels warm and cozy and homely to me… Down a little Melbourne laneway, with creaky wooden floorboards and big, communal wooden tables, vintage touches of furniture and tidbits, the natural light through the windows overlooking the street below; it’s all my idea of perfect.

The tea is great, too, as is the coffee (so I’m repeatedly told) and the service. Catch up with a friend, enjoy a cuppa alone over a good book (like I tend to do), enjoy a bite to eat, do some shopping, get prettied up – whatever tickles your fancy! It’s a really lovely place to unwind and switch off from the world for a while, just in case you need to at the end of this long week  : )