A guest post from the husband – Drink here: Holgate Brewhouse, Woodend, VIC

Holgate Brewhouse
79 High St, Woodend, VIC
http://www.holgatebrewhouse.com/

On our way to Bunjil Farm the other weekend, we made a few stops on the way, including Woodend. It looked like a cute little town, and it’s also home to Holgate Brewhouse. You can eat, drink and even sleep there, and the food is apparently delicious, but we were there for one thing only: the beer. Husband is a fan of Holgate’s work, and wanted to stop in and have a look around.

It was a gorgeous building, with creaky old wooden floorboards, beautiful stained glass windows and plenty of seating. But this post isn’t about the building, it’s about the beer, and I don’t really know about beer, so I’m gonna hand this post over to a guest blogger, a beer baron, the most knowledgeable authority on beer that I know: the husband. He wasn’t really sure how to go about it, though, so he’s going to give his review on the 8 beers currently on the Holgate Brewhouse sample paddle roster.

TOP ROW from left to right:

1. Norton Lager
Holgate’s description: Our Kellerbier pours a pale straw colour and glows with a slight yeast cloud. The nose displays sweet, honeyed malt with some floral, citrus hop aroma. The palate has a fullness that comes with characteristic keller-style breadym honey malt flavour which is balanced refreshingly with lemon and grapefruit characteristics from the delicate use of Australian hops Ella and Vic Secret. The finish is clean and dry with every sip leaving a gentle, moreish bitterness on the back palate.
Husband’s verdict: “Pretty standard, run-of-the-mill lager. No real outstanding features and lacked flavour. Wouldn’t buy it again.”

2. Mt. Macedon Ale
Holgate’s description: Mt. Macedon dominates the landscape overlooking the Holgate brewery.  It’s massive, moody and magnificent – not to mention insanely popular with tourists and locals alike. No wonder they named it after our beer!The real Australian Pale Ale, using Australian grown Cascade, Ella and Topaz hops, balanced by a malt base of Australian Vienna giving this  brew a delicate caramel malt flavour. The result is a pale ale of broad appeal and, like the mountain, a local landmark.
Husband’s verdict: “I reckon it was basically a more flavourful and better version of the first one. It was like a good beer that would suit anyone – it’s not offensive, it’s a people-pleaser beer. This would be my choice if you were in for a long session.”

3. ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
Holgate’s description: Your new best friend. A long-standing favourite among beer enthusiasts and our most awarded beer. A classic earthy English bitter you meet in the pub and invite home for a round of snooker and darts. Paul Holgate’s northern English heritage finds a spirited expression in this deep amber bitter. Served on a traditional beer engine at the Hotel and tap room in Woodend, the ESB offers depth and complexity that makes it at once challenging and eminently drinkable. One of the two recipes that launched the Brewhouse in 1999, it includes English crystal and roast malts, an abundance of East Kent Goldings hops and is enhanced through dry hopping with a touch of Aussie Galaxy. Oh so moreish. Softly carbonated and served through traditional Beer Engine at 8-10 Deg C at Holgate Brewhouse, this beer is a great accompaniment with full flavoured dishes – beef, game, duck.
Husband’s verdict: “I think it’s one of their more well-known beers and rightfully so. I haven’t tried many other beers like it before so it was hard to compare, but I loved it, probably my favourite beer on the paddle.”

4. Road Trip American IPA
Holgate’s description: The Perfect Holgate family holiday? A US Pacific North-West beer tour, of course. Result? Our 2009 odyssey to hop heaven lives on in this tribute to the spiritual home of craft beer. A super-charged but dangerously sessionable All-American hop-bomb, this golden hued IPA is loaded up with multiple additions of Chinook, Centennial and Citra hops from the Pacific Northwest of the USA, resulting in an explosion of piney, citrus and grapefruit flavour and aroma. 
Husband’s verdict: “Me being a BIG fan of IPAs, I naturally found it bloody good, however not a lot different from a standard IPA, but it was very nice.”

 

TOP ROW from right to left:

5. Temptress Chocolate Porter
Holgate’s description: Some beers just won’t take no for an answer. A sultry seducer, this luscious winter warmer infused with Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans takes an old story somewhere new and bewitching. In 2008, we introduced a swing in the hips and gleam in the eye to our classic porter recipe, with the inspired addition of rich cocoa and vanilla to an already robust brew. Together with a belnd of seven malts, the result is a complex palate of alluring chocolate, coffee and caramel flavours, balanced by a hint of vanilla. Be tempted! Softly carbonated and served through traditional Beer Engine at 8-10 Deg C at Holgate Brewhouse, this beer is a A perfect accompaniment to meat pies and chocolate-based desserts. 
Husband’s verdict: “Super. One of the best dark beers I’ve ever had. Walked away with a 4 pack, would have been a slab, but it was a little pricey for what it is. The fact that Jess hates beer and actually enjoyed this one was a super effort!”

6. Hop Tart (sour pale ale)
Holgate’s description: Light and hazy gold, Hop Tart has a zesty aroma of citrus and bright tropical fruits. The flavour awakens the palate with a surprising hit of sourness that blends beautifully with the lemony hop character. The finish is sour, dry and refreshing. A true new world beer, not bound by any style but led by the brewers longing for a quenching summer ale.
Husband’s verdict: He really didn’t like this one. At all.

7. Kristallweizen
Holgate’s description: Literally “crystal wheat.” A Kristallweizen is a filtered pale Weissbier or Hefeweizen, the German wheat ale. It pours “crystal”-clear rather than yeast-turbid. In all other respects, it is not different from an unfiltered wheat beer. It is spritzy-effervescent and refreshing and appealing to the eye. Like its Heferweizen counterpart, Kristallweizen develops a richly-textured, firm, white head in the glass.
Husband’s verdict: “Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of wheat beers, but as far as they go, this was a really good one. If you like Hoegaarden, you’ll love this.”

8. Millennium Falcon
Holgate’s description: Millennium Falcon pours a bright golden. The aroma is a blast – a super-fruity confectionary cocktail of juicy pineapple, tart citrus, stone fruit, boiled lollies and bubblegum. On the palate the fruity melange is underpinned by a bold, evergreen hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is full and luxurious yet the finish is dangerously dry.
Husband’s verdict: “Best part about this beer was the cool name and it all went down hill after that. Strangely had no smell to it at all, however it had plenty of flavour. It was a strange taste, though, that just didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s a beer that grows on you after a while, hard to tell with such a small amount. I would warn people when drinking this that the 10% alcohol percentage might punch them in the face.”

Husband’s closing thoughts:
“In my opinion, it was the best layout and building of any brewery I’ve ever been to. Disappointed I didn’t try the Pilsner or Hopinator, but will be heading back there very soon with some mates and will give them a go then. One of my mates said he had a brown ale there that was one of the best beers he’s ever had, so as soon as they put this back on the menu I’ll make the drive up.”

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Eat. Travel. Blog. The 2015 highlights :)

Holy wow, 2015 is over… I never believed mum when I’d hear her say “the older you get, the quicker it goes!” I hate to admit it, but she’s kinda right… It simultaneously feels like it was only a few weeks ago/it was all a big dream that we were on our way to America for our mega-trip, but it was this time last year we were half way through it all!

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It’s been a pretty big year for me. Among other things, this year has seen me:
– turn thirty  >_<
– travel to America, Canada, Mexico and Japan
– get closer to some friends and finally shed some toxic ones
– start a new job
– finally acknowledge my depression/anxiety/disordered eating and get help for it all
– acquire a few new tattoos
– complete my first 5km fun run, and a consequential 8km run
– thoroughly enjoy Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club
– discover that I’m lactose and fructose intolerant
– start getting back to who I used to be

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It’s been big. It’s been fun. It’s been challenging. It’s been heart breaking and joy bringing and all the rest of it. Because that’s what life is. The other thing 2015 gave me was the opportunity to write. I love blogging; I love being able to do what I love, whenever I want. And the fact that there are so many of you out there interested enough in what I have to say to read along means more than you can possibly imagine! From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much for reading along from time to time; I’ve been writing and recording since I was old enough to put pen to paper, and I’ll continue to do so for as long as I can still hold a pen in my hand 🙂

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I thought that I’d follow suit with so many other bloggers and take a little walk down memory lane at some of my most popular posts over the last year…

It seems that my readers enjoy my food review posts the most, with these Melbourne eats getting the most views:
1. Yu-U
2. Kustom Burgers
3. Supernormal
4. Cheshire
5. Mamor
6. Bad Boys
7. Leyalina
8. Addict Food & Coffee
9. Mankoushe
10. Good Ovening

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For the record, my favourite Melbourne eats of the year are a little different; my favourites were, in no particular order:
1. Lievita
2. Sookie La La
3. Rockwell & Sons
4. Gypsy & Pig
5. 1090
6. The Gem
7. Shortstop Donuts
8. Addict Food & Coffee
9. Tipo 00
10. Two Little Pigs

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This year’s most popular international eats looked like this:
1. Bangkok’s ice cream truck
2. Nong Ploy, Koh Samui
3. The Halal Guys, New York City
4. Eataly, Chicago
5. Momofuku, Toronto
6. Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington DC
7. Eggslut & Tumbras, Los Angeles
8. Shake Shack / In-N-Out
9. Central Grocery, New Orleans
10. Kanga, Toronto

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Again, my favourites looked a little different:
1. The Joint, New Orleans
2. Four & Twenty Blackbirds, New York City
3. Tartine Bakery, San Francisco
4. The Great Burger, Tokyo
5. Tsukiji Fish Market sushi, Tokyo
6. Yummy Yummy, San Francisco
7. Momofuku, Toronto
8. The Halal Guys, New York City
9. Au Cheval, Chicago
10. Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

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Recipes weren’t as popular as reviews, but the most viewed recipes were:
** Pork, macadamia, cranberry & sage sausage rolls – even though this wasn’t a 2015, it had over 350 more views than the next most popular recipe this year!! Amazing!
1. Red beans & rice
2. Poached egg & polenta
3. Tea infused porridge
4. Peanut butter granola
5. Zucchini choc chip cake
6. Quick 6 ingredient cookies
7. Coconut matcha porridge
8. Spring onion zucchini omelette
9. Cornbread pudding
10. Roy Choi’s ketchup fried rice

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And just for the record, the recipes I enjoyed most this year were:
1. 6 ingredient fried rice
2. Microwave matcha pudding cakes
3. Cranberry gingerbread granola
4. Coconut pandan oat & matcha chia parfait
5. Cornbread pudding
6. Crispy salted sage, hazelnut and cacao nib cookies
7. Olive oil chocolate zucchini cake
8. Fluffy protein pancakes
9. Chocolate pretzels
10. Tea infused porridge

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Your favourite travel related posts?
1. Dong Xuan Night Market, Hanoi, Vietnam
2. 10 Books Every Traveller Must Read
3. Through my eyes: Nutella crepes in Phuket, Thailand
4. Through my eyes: Santa Monica & Venice Beach, Los Angeles
5. Victorian mini-breaks: How to spend a weekend in Beechworth part 1
6. The New Orleans School of Cooking
7. USAdventure days 26-33- New York
8. TBT: Crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
9. Pure freedom: cruising Isla Mujeres
10. iPhoto essay: The Californian Redwoods, Warburton

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And my favourite travel experiences this year (other than those 10)?
1. “Finding myself” in St Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans
2. Inside the hospital of Alcatraz
3. Through my eyes: Jomyo-in Temple, Tokyo
4. Through my eyesL crossing the Brooklyn Bridge at sundown
5. Through my eyesL New Orleans, 10 years post-Katrina
6. Urban paradise: Milton Lee Olive Park, Chicago
7. Toronto Islands, Canada
8. Through my eyes: The streets of Kagurazaka, Japan
9. Greystone Mansion & Park, Los Angeles
10. Flashback Friday: A night at the Temple of Edfu, Egypt

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And last but not least, because I do my very best to keep it as real as possible on here, the most viewed personal musing posts this year have been:
1. Sometimes you DO get to choose your family
2. I believe the time has come for me to re-introduce myself
3. The importance of pizza and a strong father-daughter relationship
4. Welcome to my book nook
5. You’re not alone
6. Wanderlust 108: Melbourne 2015
7. Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? [Escape part 2]
8. S2, Ep2: Eat. Travel. Blog. It’s been a big weekend
9. Ways to keep your love & friendships strong: Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club
10. There is NOTHING wrong with being real

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From the bottom of my heart guys, thank you so much for reading this year 🙂 Writing is my biggest love and passion in life. It’s what I’ve always done, truly, since I was as young as I can remember. I write primarily for me, but having other people read and appreciate my work is absolutely the biggest, kindest compliment I have ever been paid. So, whether you’ve been reading most days or just read one or two posts this year, thank you so so much 🙂

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve saying farewell the year that has been, saying thank you for the lessons learnt, and getting ready to take on 2016 with reckless abandon xoxo

Eat here: Grazie Woodfire Pizza, Melbourne (pizza)

Grazie Woodfire Pizza e Ristorante
541 High St, Preston
https://www.facebook.com/GrazieWoodfirePizzaAndRistorante

Holy wow it’s December tomorrow. When the hell did that happen?! I feel like every year, once my birthday hits, the few weeks that follow leading up to Christmas absolutely fly; its been two weeks today since my birthday, and it feels like it’s only been a few days! To be fair, we’re also nice and organised this year – our Christmas gifts are already purchased, wrapped and under the tree (which we traditionally put up the day after my birthday, because why the hell not?), Christmas parties are starting to take over weekends, and the general holiday mayhem is in full swing. I feel like it started a little earlier this year; knowing that things were about to get crazy and after the unexpectedly massive weekend that preceded my birthday, I wanted nothing more on that Monday night than to sit at home on the couch in my PJs with my boys and relax with a few pizzas. Fancy pants birthday dinner. That’s how I roll.

I’m a little bit in love with the Menulog app in terms of how easy it makes it for me to be lazy when I so feel the urge. This is actually incredible rare; I grew up in a house where mum had a hot, fresh, home cooked meal on the table every single night. We got McDonald’s four times per year only (once each school holidays), and the only time we ever had take away pizza was at sleep overs or friends’ birthday parties. The idea of ordering take away on a Monday night instead of cooking a good dinner was as likely as Freddie Mercury strolling through the front door and cracking out a delicious rendition of Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy. Generations of good Italian women have ingrained in me that you buy fresh ingredients and cook dinner with them each night, and that’s that. So when I decided that I wanted take away pizza for dinner on my birthday, I felt like a cheeky child instead of a fully grown now 30 year old woman.

But I wasn’t going to be a complete disgrace and order anything too plebeian – it was my birthday, after all! I still wanted a good pizza, wood fired and thin crusted, not too oily or using crappy ingredients. Enter Grazie, opened only a few months ago in June, a welcome addition to the High Street pizza scene in Preston. A lot of the existing ones are same same kinda places – margherita, Hawaiian, capricciosa, meat lovers, vegetarian, and the “special.” There’s nothing exciting there. Grazie’s menu caught my eye immediately – prosciutto instead of just plain shredded ham, buffalo mozzarella instead of the regular supermarket stuff, grilled eggplant and fior di latte cheese and pancetta and artichokes – fantastic!

We ordered the margherita di bufala – napoli sauce base with buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato and fresh basil. This is one of the two benchmark pizzas against which all others should be measured – if you can’t get something so simple right, you shouldn’t be making pizza. They nailed it.

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The other benchmark pizza for us is the prosciutto – this one came with fior di latte cheese, prosciutto di parma, basil pesto, fresh tomato, shaved parmesan and rocket. It also usually comes with a napoli sauce base, but we opted out of that, because it’s better without it. This was a really, really good pizza . They were clever enough to put the parmesan cheese and rocket in a separate tub when it was delivered so we could add it on when we received it, instead of getting half melted parmesan and wilted rocket, which was much appreciated! Quality prosciutto and plenty of it, too!

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For a little neighbourhood pizza place, Grazie was such a pleasant surprise; the bases were deliciously light, and at the same time perfectly crisp underneath – no soggy bottoms. The ingredients were fresh and of great quality.  They weren’t the slightest bit oily, which meant we weren’t heavy or sickening at all. The delivery was bang on time, and the prices are pretty reasonable considering just how good they are. If you live out in these parts, I’d really highly recommend jumping on Menulog tonight and ordering yourself a pizza for dinner. Go on, it’s Monday, no doubt the next few weeks are about to get hectic for you, too, and cooking dinner means you’ll just have to do dishes… be a little bit naughty (don’t tell mum) and treat yourself to a bit of a gourmet dinner tonight 😉

 

Grazie Woodfire Pizza e Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Suzume no Oyado, Tokyo, Japan (okonomiyaki)

Suzume no Oyado
Maruyamacho 9-3, Shibuya
Open from 5pm

 

We’ve all been there; an idea lodges itself within you, just a little side thought to start off with, and before you know it, that idea has taken on a life of its own and holds you hostage until you find a way to bring it to life, come hell or high water.

This category of ideas combined with my insurmountable stubbornness has been responsible for some of my bigger achievements in life, like self-publishing a cookbook, saving $10,000 in a year to use on travel while never missing a mortgage repayment, earning my taekwondo black belt, and having a new house built/getting engaged/getting married in the space of 12 months. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows though; that same volatile mix has also been the source of tears, heart break and a lot frustration on numerous occasions.

Anyway, it happened again while I was away; I had to find some good okonomiyaki in Tokyo.

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Unbeknownst to me, okonomiyaki isn’t really a Tokyo thing; it’s a lot more popular in Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. But I love the stuff, and Tokyo is a lot closer to Kyoto than Melbourne is, so I resolved to find a place that specialised in it. Easier said than done. After much Googling, one place kept popping up – Suzume no Oyado. And, unlike a lot of other places, it wasn’t far away from my Shinjuku hotel – located in Shibuya. My Googling said it opened at 11am, and I was already planning on revisiting Shibuya the next morning, so I added the address into my nifty little Tripomatic app and went to sleep, dreaming of Japanese pancakes…

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The next day, after a good morning out, I eventually made my way in the direction of the promised land at around 12pm. For someone with no sense of direction at home, I navigated my way there like a pro, though some dicey looking back alleys and past a string of night/strip clubs. I made it to the front door, according to the blue dot, but couldn’t see anything that even remotely resembled an eatery. I was stuck between a high gate and a small, rundown apartment block. I walked to the end of the street and showed the address I had on my phone to a guy watering his garden – yup, back the way you came from, it’s right there!

On the next pass, I noticed a small, neatly typed sign in kanji (Japanese letting) with only a few numbers wedged in between – 17:00 (more kanji) 23:00. I garnered that meant Google had led me slightly astray and hoped that it would re-open at 5pm. I left disappointed by not deterred.

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After a day of solo travel, my travel buddy and I decided to catch up for dinner. “I think I found an okonomiyaki place… we have to go through some dodgy-looking alleys and strip clubs to get there, but I reckon I can find it again. Keen?” My friends are idiots, and have blind faith in me when I say I know somewhere to eat, regardless of how dicey an area it may be in – off we went!

If the are looked a bit off during the day, it was text-book “what are you doing here?!” by night. And yet, the idea of getting okonomiyaki had me by the throat and wasn’t letting go. We pushed on, me leading like I knew what I was doing, my friend following only slightly apprehensively. Much to our relief, I actually found the place again without a problem, and this time, the gate had been slid open, lights on and red flag out. Thank goodness.

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Through the giant red curtain we went, ending up in what looked like someone’s (immaculately beautiful) front yard on the other side. We made our way up the path and through the front door, into the most vibrant, red foyer. A lady rushed to meet us before we crossed the threshold; despite not sharing a common language with which to communicate, she very clearly indicated that we were to go no further until our shoes had been removed and placed into one of the lockers provided.

Once that formality was observed, we were led up a staircase into a beautiful dining room, laid out with tatami mats and floor cushions. My travel buddy, quite a tall guy by their standards, promptly smacked his head on a low roof beam, starting the evening with a light concussion. Bloody foreigners…

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After lowering ourselves onto the floor and trying to fold our long legs under ourselves in a manner that would make a caravan of camels look graceful, our patient waitress handed over our menus. In Japanese. English? Her shaking head and pointing back to the menus we already held indicated not.

With no idea what the menus said, we waited a few minutes, then pressed the little bell on our table for service. The only part of the menu in English was the wine list, so I pointed to a glass of the house white; my friend used the one word he knew in Japanese, birru. And two okonomiyaki please, pork and prawn. We thought she understood, but it was anyone’s guess what we were going to get. She fired up the grill which took up most off the table and left us again.

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A few minutes later we had a bowl each of prawns, and another bowl with everything else, including the batter and egg. Having watched the girls sitting nearby, we mixed of all up, threw it on the grill, and cooked up dinner!

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While my favourite accompaniment, mayo, was missing, we had plenty of others to choose from – a rich BBQ sauce, bonito flakes (my other favourite), chili oil.., the works. And once they were cooked up and dressed, they were some of the best okonomiyaki we’d ever had!

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After committing the embarrassing faux pas of putting our shoes back on outside of the designated area and apologising profusely on our way out, we agreed it was easily one of the best dining experiences either of us has had – the fun of DIY, the danger of essentially using a hot grill as your dinner table, the deliciousness of the food and the process of actually finding the place makes for one hell of a night!

Eat here: The Great Burger, Tokyo, Japan

The Great Burger
6-12-7 Jingumae, Shibuya
http://www.the-great-burger.com/

Hey guys! I’m in Tokyo!!! I cannot even tell you how much I already love this place, even after only two days.. It is incredible! I understand now how it’s possible that I’ve never heard anything bad about it; it is pristine clean, the people couldn’t possibly be nicer or more helpful, there is SO much to see, and the food is truly outstanding!

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While I’ve been enjoying the actual Japanese food, I couldn’t come here and not try something called The Great Buger, given what a committed burger lover I am, and especially after Googling them and seeing how perfectly Instagram-ready they are.

So, we were in the neighborhood in Harajuku yesterday and figured a burger lunch wouldn’t be a bad idea. We found The Great Burger tucked away off some side streets, and were stoked to find the line was only a few people deep (because in Tokyo, like Melbourne), people line up for ridiculous periods to get good food). This place is open from 11:30am, so our 12:15pm arrival was perfect.

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Imagine if an American diner went cute and hipster, and that’s what you’ve got here. The menu isn’t all burgers, either, they also looked to do some pretty amazing hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches and other American classics.

But we were there for a great burger – bacon cheeseburger (1350¥ + tax) with shoestring fries. I’ll go out on a limb and say probably the best shoestrings I’ve had with a burger; every single one was golden and crispy outside, soft and spudly inside. Nice.

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Burger: wow. Bacon, melty cheese, pickle relish, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and a perfectly cooked beef patty. It was juicy, a little messy, but everything was in perfect proportion, making it easy to see why it’s at the top of most Tokyo burger lists. Melbourne has a great burger culture right now, and I’d confidently say this one would comfortably stand up against most of ours! If you’re a burger head visiting Tokyo, better put this one on the list!!

Eat here: Sookie La La, Melbourne (cafe)

Sookie La La
593 High St, Northcote
http://www.sookielaladiner.com.au/

In their own words, Sookie La La is a “diner style café serving sundaes, shakes, delicious Wide Open Road coffee, bagels, waffles and New York deli style sandwiches.” Sounds pretty good, huh?! This is one of those places I’ve driven past a million times, always noticed the big, simple black & white DINER sign hanging over the sidewalk, and still somehow never stopped. Until last weekend, when I decided it was finally time to get past the front window see what it was all about. I called upon one of my best friends for some girl time and delicious food, and we were not disappointed.

This cute-as-pie little eatery has everything you’d want and expect from a diner; cosy booths lining the far wall, a picture perfect little bar/counter, bright yellow and red condiment bottles on the table, and some seriously friendly but sassy staff to make you feel right at home.

They’ve made a name for themselves in the sandwich game, but the specials board was calling E’s name – she went with the cheeseburger and fries. Amazing, and she said she highly recommends trying one if it manages to stay on the specials board. She also had the most gorgeous picture perfect classic chocolate milk shake (they also have some more exotic stuff like the maple peanut butter, lemon slice, snickers and cherry ripe) complete with red & white stripey swirled straw. It even had the frothy bubbles on top. I so wish I liked milkshakes…

I heard the Cuban calling my name, because a) it seemed the most low FODMAP friendly and b) it just sounded bloody delicious, what with the ham and roast pork and swiss cheese and pickles… and fries, obviously. They were kind enough to make it with gluten free bread, too, and I think may be the first place I’ve ever been to who didn’t charge me more for my bodily intolerances! They were also more than happy to give me the honey mustard mayo on the side (on a side note, I decided to test things out and put a little on my sandwich. Didn’t end real well later on that afternoon. Fructose is definitely not my friend..), which was refreshing not to be sighed at like I was some weirdo health freak who was happy to have a meaty sandwich and fries, but didn’t want to have the fattening condiment – I swear I’m not like that!!!

The sandwich was delicious – chock full of meat, the pickles were unreal, even the GF bread was really good! And those fries… every single one was golden crunchy perfection. Not a single soggy chippy in there. Happy days.

 

I thought I was done after that, but miss E decided a sundae was in order, so we were with the most FODMAP friendly looking one – a coconut sorbet sundae with toasted coconut and chocolate sauce and some perfectly sweet and acidic berry sauce business on top. THAT’S how sundaes should be done. Big thank you to the server who suggested that we’d be total softies if we finished up  our lady date without dessert – it was the deliciously perfect end to the meal and totally worth the slight stomach ache later on!! That coconut sorbet was phenomenal!

I also caught sight of a seriously sexy dessert display on our way out, and am already pretty keen on another visit for a smoked salon bagel and some pie…

It’s no wonder the hipsters are flocking to the Northern suburbs in zombie hoards right now – with food like this in quiet little Thornbury, you’d be mental to go anywhere else! Oh, and they’re open until 9pm tonight… and back in business at 8am tomorrow… go on, you know you want to 😉

 

Sookie La La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Nippori, New York, (Japanese)

Nippori
245 W 51st St, New York
http://www.nipporiny.com/

So, I’m currently curled up on the couch, coughing violently, with what I suspect is a  slight fever, and feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. But (light at the end of the tunnel) I’m also off to Japan in 43 days… this is rolling around SO quickly!!! This whole low FODMAP thing is a bit shit when I feel like a burger or a donut, but one of the other foods I frequently crave (and can actually eat at the moment) is Japanese! Yay! Every now and then I get crazy cravings for Japanese food. But good Japanese food, not like Japanese-by-numbers crap. I had one of those cravings in New York earlier this year, and did a bit of research online (AKA I Googled for 10 minutes before getting bored and hungry and settling on the first one I saw) and we ended up going to Nippori for dinner before seeing WICKED – conveniently located across the road,  by the way!

Nippori is a gorgeous little place, small but beautifully set out, with the very high standard of customer service you would typically associate with such a nice Japanese restaurant.  After being invited into the warmth from the New York winter cold and greeted like old friends who hadn’t visited in months, we were immediately seated and handed our menus. Everything looked to be pretty good, and the food envy started almost straight away, watching meal after meal being brought out of the kitchen and placed on surrounding tables. We decided to order a few plates, in the interest of being able to try as much as possible; we ended up with:

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Top left: one of the specials of the day, a perfectly braised pork belly with onion, bean sprouts, and the most magnificent sauce. Perfect choice!

Top right: pan-fried pork gyoza, one of my favourites. Nippori did gyoza particularly well, great flavour without that unsavoury aftertaste you can sometimes get with dumplings.

Bottom left: assorted sushi platter. The fish was fresh and buttery, fell apart as you ate it, and the rice was really well seasoned. One of the better sushi platters I’ve had.

Bottom right: oyako don – this chicken, onion and egg on rice dish is a favourite of mine to order at home at Shiki Japanese, and despite being a little different and a lot more expensive AUD$9.50 vs USD$13.00), it certainly didn’t disappoint. The spring onions gave it a great taste, and the sauces they used were perfect with the chicken and egg. Loved it!

It wasn’t the cheapest place to eat, but then again, nothing really is in New York (particularly in the theatre district!). It was more than worth it though; good Japanese food is always something I’ll happily justify spending a little more on, and it’s a place I’d definitely recommend if you’re craving some good Japanese food in New York, too. And while we’re talking Japanese food, any exceptional recommendations for Tokyo??!

 

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