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Posts Tagged ‘fitzroy’

It was my birthday recently. Happy birthday to me, right! Yay! I know many people get quite coy about having birthdays and let them slide sneakily by while saying airily two weeks later, “Oh, yes, my birthday was ages ago,” but we all know I am terribly childish and have been talking as excitedly about it as a five-year-old. I made a short list of demands of Teach: new cushions (check) and dinner at Smith & Daughters (check). I also got a plethora of other lovely things, but as I am not actually five, I’ll spare you the excited commentary.

We got my folks to look after the Rocket so we could dine properly here, as it’s more a fine food restaurant than the usual Lord of the Fries/Guzman y Gomez type food we’re always stuffing ourselves with on weekends. The poor little spaceship was sick – she’s coughing in bed and wailing afterwards even as I type, breaking my heart completely – but my mother is very good, as mothers can be, at issuing a hug and an icy pole to soothe a sore throat (she would also say honey and lemon on a teaspoon but we didn’t have either.)

And OH. My friends. Smith & Daughters delivered. It’s been open for months and I’ve been desperately trying to get us there the entire time, but have failed to get us babysitting that doesn’t end in us seeing a movie like Godzilla (it’s no Pacific Rim) or Spider-man 2 (it’s no Spider-man 1) or Maleficent (it’s no Sleeping Beauty, thankfully). Anyway, here we were, and I was all flappy with excitement, and the people were immediately lovely. The seats are a touch crowded – we were elbow-knocking distance from the first-date couple beside us – but as more people came along it became fun and rowdy and no one cared any more. The couple beside us were exclaiming over the menu using words like “meatballs” and “chorizo” and clarified with the friendly waitress that everything was vegan, which, yes, it was (I was going to tell them so but no one needs a know-it-all to butt in on your date, even if it is her birthday weekend), and I wanted everything on the menu, especially all those things with corn chips. Eventually we ordered tacos (I had jackfruit, Teach ordered the spicy chorizo), the tuna, cheese and pea croquettes as per all of my friends’ instructions, the patatas bravas (potato and chorizo), and the uh I forget but they compared it to a Cuban shepherds pie. Then I gotan $18 hot buttered rum because did I mention it was my birthday?

Sadly I forgot to take any pictures but I am going to very liberally steal some from Where’s the Beef, absolute five-star food bloggers who are overseas at the moment which hopefully means they won’t remember to come after me with a pointy stick once they return. This was the potato! The chorizo was not sausage-like in slices like we thought it would be, but it was lovely all the same, and spicy just like they said.

First, though, the tacos came out, as swift as anything, and my jackfruit taco was the bomb. We traded bites and both declared our own choices the best, because in love everything is a competition, right? Yes. The croquettes flew over shortly afterwards and were just divine. Cheesy! Crumby! Not-really-tuna-y-but-that’s-okay, and the sauce was gorgeous and creamy. I don’t even like crumbed things. All crumbed things are horrible – all but this. This was amazing. The cheesiness, dear readers! No wonder our table neighbours were suspicious. These people are magic kitchen elves.

There was a slight delay between that and our next courses but our lovely-lovely waitress stopped by to make sure we were okay and let us know food was coming, and I was relaxed and happy in the tummy due to the first things being so great, and getting very warm in the brain from my hot buttered rum (first sip: this tastes strange and was a bad idea; last sip: this is incredible and I will order fifteen more). Their playlist was right the hell up my alley with surf rock all night, the decor is stones and signs and giant candle monsters and playful salt-and-pepper shakers and moody lighting, and we progressively became happier and one with the world. Then the patatas and pie arrived; the patatas were good because they were potatoes and seriously who can’t love potatoes, and the pie was quite good, with this cornbread-type crust that I was all over because back when the S&D owners were running South in the People’s Market their cornbread was heaven on earth. This was Teach’s choice, and it had a mushroom filling, which I liked a bit despite the fact I hate mushrooms, though probably wouldn’t get again, because I hate mushrooms. If Teach got it again (which he was already saying he would when we left), I would totally steal a quarter of it again anyway because the flavours were grand.

Sorry Cindy and Michael sorry sorry I stole this one too but the tart was SO GOOD lookit that ice cream

By the end of that we were far too full to ever eat anything again, so we ordered dessert: I got the salted caramel tart with avocado ice cream and Teach picked the quince-filled donuts because we’d been thinking of going down the road to Big Lou’s and getting some hot jam donuts afterwards. I had my doubts about avocado ice cream because I’m not very inventive and it sounds completely terrible, but when it came and I tried it with that eyebrows-raised British-stiff-upper-lip face that you do when trying new food, it was, hands-down, the most unexpectedly excellent thing I have tried in a long time, and I ate all of it with the tart (well, the half of the tart I could salvage from Teach’s grubby paws) and it was a very good moment in my culinary life. I could only fit one of Teach’s donuts in my belly, but the quince filling was actually a really subtle and beautiful flavour and the donuts were excellently fluffy and sugary, and I could fit two more in my handbag in a serviette so that worked out well.

It was an amazing, perfect, superlative dinner out. Teach and I are usually order, smash-food, pay and run-type diners, clearing a fancy dinner in twenty minutes like it’s a competition (because life is a competition, yes?), but we lazed happily around our meal for an hour and a half. It felt like a proper birthday dinner, with the wait staff and owners as perky and kind as friends. A++ would eat again.

As far as kid-stuff goes, because well this is supposed to be a parenting blog and all, apparently they do have high chairs, and while it’s date-friendly it’s also light and fun enough to accommodate children, especially with the speedy table service. I’d bring the Rocket for sure – but probably for a weekend brunch as the evenings might be too boisterous for her – and not order booze to keep the price a bit more reasonable. I think she’d love the croquettes, and I think she’d love my good mood about it.

And thus ends my 1200-word essay about my birthday, thank you very much.

 

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick St

Fitzroy

9939 3293 (but book online)

website

No steps to the door, and I didn’t use the toilets.

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yong green food ii

So I don’t know about sensible people, but it so happens that the way our finances work is that we spend three weeks a month lamenting that we have to put all our income into rent and blueberries, and then one week when we get paid and throw all of our money around like we are celebrities with lavish lifestyles. I mean, it’s Target clothes, dumplings and new crayons out the wazoo. Crazy times.

So that one week a month is when you’ll find us reasoning that we should go out for lunch and dinner instead of making it at home, and also go out for cupcakes and gelati for dessert, and thus these types of posts are born, and not the ones where I post recipes made up of two-minute noodles and an old can of corn I found in the cupboard.

We’ve been to Yong Green Food before, and continue to wander over there if the mood strikes us, if Teach has a hankering for a dragon bowl or the queues at the Vegie Bar are too alarming. Yong Green Food focuses on wholesome vegetarian (mostly vegan) food, some with a Korean/Asian theme, lots of macrobiotic stuff and a decent range of raw options if that’s your thing. The prices aren’t particularly cheap but the servings are lavish and the food always good, so it’s worth what you pay.

I ordered the buckwheat crepes with mushrooms and some kind of tasty dressing (sadly Yong’s has no website for me to check and I have no brain for remembering ingredients – maybe wasabi but I don’t think it was hot?), along with a bowl of miso soup. The crepes were absolutely gorgeous as per usual and look super fancy on the plate; the miso was fine, but not as amazing as Wagamama’s, though the tofu in the soup is much tastier than anywhere else I’ve tried. Teach unsurprisingly ordered a dragon bowl with soy beef, and had to skimp on the super spicy sauce that is served alongside it as he correctly predicted that the Rocket would shout at him to share his rice and he didn’t want to set her on fire. We’d dragged our friend Dani along with us and she ordered a burger; it was ENORMOUS, and she has a pretty small appetite at the best of times but still put a fair dent in it. The Rocket enjoyed my miso soup more than anything, and they had a high chair for her which made life easy with all of our plates and dinosaur sandwich boxes everywhere. The service is always friendly (they forgot Teach’s drink but flew it to him when he pointed it out afterwards), the food arrives speedily, the staff smile at kids and I always leave feeling tremendously healthy and ready to go gorge myself on cupcakes until I am sick.

Yong Green Food

421 Brunswick St

Fitzroy

phone: 9417 3338

 

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merry cupcakes

We all love dessert. What a future this is where there are now tiny shopfronts that only sell macaroons/macarons/macaques thanks to Masterchef busting out that ridiculous tower; where cupcake places spring up all over the place for us to delight in. I’ve long been a fan of Cupcake Central, who always make delicious vegan cupcakes, but WHEEEEE now there is a new place for us to go to all the time: Merry Cupcakes! Located on Brunswick St in Fitzroy, a place full of so many amazing-looking people that you immediately hate your body and need to convalesce in a pile of icing, it’s my new favourite dessert option. The front window is always decorated in some exquisitely adorable fashion – at the moment it’s a giant, shimmering, 3D party-popper – and it’s all bright solid colours and excellent signage inside. All – ALL!! – their cupcakes are free of animal products and we have yet to taste a bad flavour, though I will always get Strawberry Fields Forever which has strawberry icing and a choc-chip base. Teach froths at the mouth over the Vanilla Ice (vanilla icing and base). Sometimes we get seconds, or some to take away. Er, sometimes we do both. And, enormous hurrah, they do lovely little babycakes too, so the Rocket has her own to hoover down in seconds before trying to scam some of ours. They make delicious coffee and (squeak!) iced coffee and chocolate which you can have with soy milk/ice cream if you want. The other day when we went I ordered a chai latte and they asked me if I wanted honey and I said no AND THEN THEY DIDN’T BRING HONEY. This never happens! I always end up with honey anyway! Also, and I’m babbling now, but they are the loveliest people, always friendly and chatty and never critical of my endless indecision (future self take note: you will just go the strawberry chocolate chip because YOU ALWAYS DO, stop DITHERING.)

Here is the Rocket eating a babycake we took to the nearby playground behind the Melbourne Museum. I’m sad I didn’t get any pictures of the shopfront, or the interior, or even any of their beautiful cakes intact, but let us save that for my post MERRY CUPCAKES 2: EVEN MERRIER.

Merry Cupcakes

261 Brunswick St

Fitzroy

phone: 9416 3991

website

Small step on entry (I think?) No high chairs. Ordering at a low-ish counter.

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lord of the fries 2

SO the past few weeks have been taken over by this seemingly brilliant idea we had about moving house. Whose idea was this? They are clearly an idiot. If I’d known back then that moving meant things like CLEANING and SCRUBBING and taking things from one place to another then arranging them in the SAME WAY, except two kilometres east of where they just were, I would have STAYED THERE, even though it was like living in a brown-curtained cave and, uh, had termites. Anyway, here we are now, in a shiny new place that has bad parts (now in zone TWO travel-wise, we are sharing a wall with someone, the carpet is vaguely scratchy) and good parts (dishwasher, central heating, stupendous natural light, a chimney for Santa to climb down, a front AND back yard, train station ridiculously close, EVERYTHING ELSE OH LORD I LOVE IT). And now the old place is mostly clean, and I just unpacked our internet and computer, so basically everything else that needs to be unpacked can be ignored and I will just pretend I live in a box fort until the cardboard breaks down naturally in a few hundred years.

 

Apart from moving, and my father in hospital (he’s okay and is home now), I recently had a very thrilling invitation to attend and blog about a tasting event at Lord of the Fries in Fitzroy. I posed the idea to Teach, and then we all had a grand laugh because come on, I mean, we spend most nights talking ourselves OUT of going to LotF for the third time that week so like we needed an actual excuse, just give me the food already. Then disaster struck when Teach realised he had a dentist appointment scheduled for that night, and came home feeling a bit worse for wear and not ready for chewing at all, and thus I decided not to go. Then the Rocket was hollering, and my friend Steph messaged me saying that there was a sticker with my name on it, and I thought, UNSELFISHLY, it would be best if I took the screechy baby away from the sore father and to a tasting event. Because I am noble.

 

 

I was late, but luckily that didn’t stop the super friendly Fry-Lords from continuing to dish up food. See, the excellent thing about LotF is that they make the mini sizes, so you can eat more than one thing and not be full. Lends itself to a tasting, really. Teach consistently orders the Original (LotF patty, cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce, Belgian mayo, mustard, ketchup) and I never do because it looked like the sort of burger I didn’t even like before I went veg, but when someone stuck a miniature version in front of me I was actually surprised to find I really enjoyed it. So poor Teach; next time we head out, he’s gonna have to relinquish a bite to me. Also served up was a Tijuana hot dog (jalapenos, cheese, onion, sour cream, spicy ketchup, mustard), which I hadn’t tried because I can be a bit of a spice chicken, but OH MY, it was completely delicious. The sour cream. It’s genius. Until LotF, I’d always ordered my hot dogs with sauce and so help me don’t put anything else on it or I will kill you, but now suddenly stick a hundred things on it and make it spicy and apparently I’m totally cool with it. Who says your tastes don’t mature as you age? I’m a total fast food connoisseur now. More burgers and hot dogs were served, but alas I filled up on chips which I also bravely branched out with, trying sauces I’d never let a chip touch before (Thai satay, which was maybe a little too gritty-peanutty but let’s face it I adore peanut butter things and would eat a bucket full of; and the vegan mayo, which was absolutely grand); I also hoovered down a decent amount of nuggets, which I hadn’t really tried before; they’re a bit thick on the batter, but tasty. It was all capped off with one of the chocolate mousses, which are the most rich dense things you’ve ever had. Buy it for sure, but share it with someone.

 

 

The Rocket was a little cranky at the start but mellowed out with all the attention and hoovered down a chip. I may have fed her a little bit of mousse too but no one can be entirely sure.

 

The verdict: like the food, the people who own the business, and those who work there, are friendly and delicious and you’d love to go visit them again. Go to Lord of the Fries, eat everything, be happy forever.

 

Lord of the Fries

383 Brunswick St

Fitzroy

website

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trippy taco

The weather was unexpectedly excellent this afternoon, so once we’d done enough block-flinging (the Rocket) and cartoon-watching (Teach) we went out to Fitzroy to the endlessly tasty Trippy Taco. We’ve just recently rediscovered this place after a few years of neglecting it (why past self, why?) and have visited it relentlessly since. We generally order the same thing (two mandarin Jarritos, trippy fries, quesadilla for Teach and the tofu asada tacos for me) but with Teach limited to one arm and me limited to one arm due to being the one to hold the baby, we both ordered burritos.

Teach ordered the original, and I got the tofu asada (because, well, I don’t really like change), the Rocket ate some of her That’s Not My Robot book and as per usual everything was delish. The trippy fries have this smoky seasoning that is near-mythical in vegetarian circles, and help me with my need for skinny fries. The tofu asada burrito (or tacos) is full of spicy chargrilled tofu, cheese (real or soy), salad and salsa, with a squeeze of lime. It was the right decision regarding the ability to eat it one-handed, but still ended up over everything, including my chair. Lord, do I love me the tofu asada–I don’t know what they do with the tofu, because I am bad at all things tofu, but these guys make it divine. There’s a step into the cafe and it is almost always insanely busy and is far too crowded for a pram inside–though not as much as their previous location on Smith St–but they’ve never minded us bringing the Rocket in, and today we sat next to a two-year-old who pointed out to the Rocket what teeth and chairs were, and called her gorgeous. So their clientele is clearly one of excellent taste.

After that, we wanted to make the most out of the weather and the end of Teach’s school holidays, so we went to Studley Park in Kew to look at the ducks. Teach bought some duck food and we sat by the Yarra River feeding them, and the Rocket was having a grand old time watching them intently. Turns out, ducks there are very tame, and will come right up to you for food. Turns out, baby toes look like duck food. Upshot is she got nommed on the foot, I shrieked unhelpfully, and that is probably the story of Why Rocket Hates Ducks Forever.

Trippy Taco

234 Gertrude St

Fitzroy

9415 7711

website

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yong green food

The Rocket and I spent today in the city with my lovely friend Katy, having cupcakes* and tacos** and managing to spend a really great afternoon within about ten square metres of Melbourne Central, because we are very skilled at sitting. Then Teach came to meet the Rocket and I and we decided to go get dumplings in Chinatown, until we thought about parking whereupon we sighed dramatically and decided to go to Brunswick Street instead, to the trusty Yong Green Food.

We were thrilled to see it’s now expanded, taking over the bottle shop next door with more tables and excellent murals. We went there when it first opened and the owners were lovely, so I’m really happy it’s going well for them, especially as they are not only vegetarian, but they do a lot of raw and macrobiotic food, which is a bit of a niche market. Teach excitedly ordered the same thing he always does–a Dragon Bowl, full of brown rice, salad, soy beef and superhot chili paste, and accompanied by YGF’s excellent miso soup–and I went all out, ordering three entrees because I am indecisive. I’d love to say my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but no, I ate it all.

I had the corn chips with beetroot walnut and hummus dips, soy chicken, and kimchi gyoza. I hate beetroot, really I do, but the YGF dip is basically divine, and this meal (which I’ve had repeatedly) reminds me that corn chips and hummus are almost as good at being pals as hummus and grissini sticks. The soy chicken has a slightly sticky sauce and pairs well with the coleslaw. The gyoza was not excellent, but that was because I saw “gyoza” and thought “DUMPLINGS” instead of seeing “kimchi” and thinking “Fiona, you hate kimchi, remember?” So I cannot blame YGF for my misinterpretation. Excuse the food being in stacks–it’s my fault for ordering three dishes before recalling that I have a grabby child that tries to stick her fingers in everything. The absolutely awesome waitstaff served us very well, I was the one who destroyed the layout.

 

Yong Green Food were more than happy to have kids in the restaurant; they have high chairs and pulled faces at the Rocket, who was Very Serious back at them because she is Corporal Crankypants at the moment for reasons unknown. (Well, the reason is that babies are emotional critters.) She made friends with a two-year-old girl next to us and they sat on the floor and Rocket attempted to poke her eyes out while the girl helped the Rocket find her toes. It was very cute. I got the impression that if you asked, they’d probably knock up something little and mushy for your baby. Basically, they are super excellent in regards to kids. The food isn’t cheap, but it’s reasonably priced–the dragon bowl was $18 and my entrees were $7.50-$12 each–and you get benefits in freshness and service. It would be hard to negotiate a pram, but Teach recalls there being a ramp in the doorway.

 

Yong Green Food

421 Brunswick St

Fitzroy

9417 3338

 

* Post to come, probably

** Post less likely to come because the food is good but let’s face it, a lot of the time tacos just look like they have been sat on.

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