Monday, 27 September 2010

On yer bike Winter!!

Ok ... its that time of year again when the sun pokes its first tentative rays out on this great burnished land and you can hang your clothes out on the line and leave them there without further rainy recriminations. Time once again for the rejuvenation of body and spirit, when thoughts turn to future endeavours and creative juices slowly bubble to the surface. And what better way to celebrate all things new but with my song of the year (hands down!) - Mark Ronson's Bike song:

Aah Spring!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Avarice!! Thy name is Cutler & Gross

Ok ... why oh why do I have expensive tastes and not the money to indulge!!! Its a curse!! I go into any random store and the only thing I like is burdened by a hefty price tag!! I break out in hives when I walk into a Jay Jay's store ... I can barely negotiate a single arm of Highpoint without having a petite mal of some description (ok I exaggerat! Call it poetic license).

Anyways I was doing my usual lunchtime powerwalk round the city and saw a whole rack of what looked like Isson ripoff sunglasses. Except they weren't  rip-offs but the real deal. (Shouldn't these have been under glass?) In the rack alonside this, there were about 10 or so chunky framed sunnies in black and variants of tortoishell and wood with rounded overtones ... totally now!,  totally sexy! and exactly what I've been looking for.

The sales assistant kindly informs me in an atrocious accent that they are Cutler and (what I initially heard to be Toes) Gross. Cutler and Gross have been in the Optical racket for nigh on 40 years. This English company is known for its quality and sophisticated styling and is much beloved by the likes of Lady GaGa, Posh Spice and a host of other doyens of the fashion elite. And then there's little old me ... and at about $550 a pop, I remain as always the kid outside the candy store looking in.

Any sugar daddies out there wanting to throw some loose change at this not so fresh twinkie??

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Demise of the CD

Ok .. after realising that I am no longer financially solvent, I was determined to start off on an austerity drive following last month's pay date. This has already been de-railed by the $10 CD sale (and that is every Single CD on the racks except audio books) at Borders!!! I am hating myself and also lamenting the gradual demise of the humble Compact Disc!! It wasn't that long ago that I was scrounging round empty warehouses slowly acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome flicking through endless boxes of vinyl priced at anything between 50 cents and 2 dollars. Imagine if JB were to clear their CD stocks as well ... I think there may very well be rioting in the streets ... I'd certainly be taking a week off work to traverse the state in an effort to secure as many bargains as I can at pretty much every single branch of JB to be had!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Vanakam ... my kind of curry!!

Ok ... another CBA friday night when M felt like fish at the Station but the place was chockers!!! So driving back into Footscray proper we chanced by a new joint called Vanakam (which means Welcome in Tamil) ... not a single cauc in sight which was enough of a recommendation for us.

We started off with M's favourite starter - a Vadai in Samba ... a little too heavy on the evaporated milk but the samba itself was on the money! Just the right amount of tanginess and the usual hint of South Indian's triumvirate - curry leaves, mustard seeds and dried chilli.

We followed this with Lamb Shukka which was dry fried lamb with a ton of shallots, green chillies and curry leaves.

And we also had something curiously called Fish 65 - sort of a tandoori of battered fish which was surprisingly non-oily. A little on the sweet side but moreish nonetheless.

For the mains we had a spicy chicken curry called a Chicken Chettinadu which was typically South Indian in flavour and a punch of a dhal with spinach ... a green lentil mess that was out of this world! I reckon it was cooked with frozen spinach but don't let that put you off ... I am dying to replicate this at home.

For carbs we ordered a Lamb Briyani ... and I warn you, if you do not like the taste of strong lamb, avoid this dish. The lamb pieces were bony and hardly had any meat, but the lamb flavour was suffused throughout the rice.

And like Jack White says:

"my left brain knows that all love is fleeting
she's just looking for something new
and I said it once before but it bears repeating now"

Go Go Go!!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Friday Night Fever at Vue De Monde!

Ok ... firstly ... I can now say I've been to Bistro Vue and Cafe Vue ... so I'm slowly making my way up to the $250 10-course degustation!! I'm not going to harp on about how fantastic the food at Vue de Monde is, but just to say that by and large, they deserve the accolades given. What I will say is that even though I have completely no memory of the last course, I do remember being taken on a tour of their kitchen, thanks to the lovely K ... it really is not what you know but who you know!! This would have been the highlight of an already splendid evening. Although, we didn't get to taste anything while we were being shown around, we giggled drunkenly as our french (?) tour guide poured liquified nitrogen on the ground, and we ooh-ed and aah-ed appropriately at the big vat of melted chocolate ... and caroused where required as the various sous-chefs, commis chefs, whatev chefs were introduced.

The night itself had a music theme - Friday Night Fever - although there was a sad lack of 70s style fro wigs, white pant suits or flares. Narry a chunky necklace nestling cheekily amongst chest hair in sight. But we brought the party ... we got down and dirty!!

I must apologize for the quality of the photos, or lack thereof. We were in the outdoor bit of the Vue monolith ... the bit with the flower pot walls.

Having imbied quite a bit of bubbly (with a small sifter over at the Oirish pub across the street), we were well and truly primed for our first cocktail:

Motown - rye whisky, cognac, vermouth & Dom Benedictine

I have a problem with scotch and its derivatives (this is a story for another time!) so this was probably the least favourite of the cocktails for me. The Rye Whisky was the dominent flavour ... and I'm sure the rest of my fellow cocktailers would attest to the subtle peat aftertaste, but I chose to down in 2 gulps and concentrated on the dish that was served with it.

Crab & Oat mille feuille with seaweed gel - the seaweed gel was one of those alchemic chemistry set marvels that seem almost old hat in its fecundity. You're not quite sure what it is ... it doesn't really have a distinct flavour ... but is reminiscent of something both in flavour and texture that stirs up an ellusive memory ... I guess therein lies the alchemy!

Next up - Bossa Nova - cachaca, lime, sugarcane juice & sparkling coconut water (dispensed by some fancy kind of soda stream container). Oh and Ariba!!! This was my kinda cocktail!! I'm not sure if distilling the coconut water as a foam added much in terms of interest, but the actual drink was superb. I think we were all agreed that we could have easily gone another jug for the table.

This was served with a Coconut & Chicken Blanquette with corn cake - one of those sous vide efforts! Nice moist fresh flavour and the corn cake was delicious - it was a dish that honoured the intrinsic flavour notes of its ingredients.

Next course was Hard Rock! - bourbon, blood orange juice, vermouth & cherry brandy - the citrus hit was strong followed by the cloying alcoholic taste of the bourbon - sadly I did not taste the cherry brandy beyond the sweetness - and again, not quite my kind of drink ... but at this stage, you could have lit a match at our table and we would have combusted!

Accompanying our 3rd cocktail was a dish of BBQ Wagyu ribs with potato salad & coleslaw. When we lifted the bone off the plate, the meat just slid off as a gooey gelatinous mess - heaven!!

Next up was Hip Hop - gin, rosemay, honey, lemon & apple juice - now you're talking baby!! Let me fix my weave and check my grind! I fully intend to try this at home - can't wait for a summer barbie to wheel this one out for the folks. The combination speaks for itself and does exactly what it says on the bottle!

Our amouse bouche (well kinda) for this cocktail was a Goat cheesecake serbed with walnut & endive. M wasn't sure about this. He found it all a little too schizo! Was it trying to be a dessert, or was it aiming for savoury? I didn't really care. I love goats cheese, and I love cheesecake and the bitterness of the endive cut through the richness quite aptly.

Finally, it was the course that I have no memory of whatsoever - ELECTRO!! - vodka & passionfruit served with Milk chocolate & passion fruit cake (oh and yes that is a glow stick stirre). And really folks, I truly have no memory of this, but here's a photo of said desert:

I think I was falling asleep at the table at this stage. I'm sure everyone noticed. We had one last hurried drink back at the Oirish pub and then it was really time to go.

Thank you once again K for organising this. And since you also have contacts at Movida, lets lock that one in soon.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My Dad refused to let us join the school band ...

Ok ... and now I know why!!

This was on my friend K's FB ... and I don't know why but it had me paroxyc with laughter for at least 10 mins ... I'm teary, in pain, and now I like to share it with you:

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Magik ... without tears!! A night with the Klaxons

Ok ... food and music ... can it get any better? Oh wait ... forgot about the company ... in one word ... delicious!!

After a long arduos Friday at the office, where I worked through the creepy empty hours after 5pm to kill some time, I traversed Melbourne's darkening streets to meet up with the lovely W & R for a bit of culinary respite before heading off to The Palace for the cosmic rock jives of the "best thing out of the UK since Radiohead" (not my words): The Klaxons!

D was also attending with his friend E and they had arranged to meet up at Meyers Place for dinner. We decided to scope the place out and see if we could get a look in. Its one of those hidden Melbourne gems that only people in the know ... well ... know! Although this one has been around for donkey's years ... it was quite literally a club for Italian waiters ... established in 1947 ... it soon became the local haunt for spanish and italian waiters to unwind, play cards, drink vino and carouse after slaving in the city's culinary establishments. It has been owned by the one family (since the late 70s) ... the wonderfully named Sabbadinis ... in fact, Denis Sabbadini still runs the joint (incidentally Denis taught my colleague Chemistry in an earlier incarnation).

Anyways, The Waiters Restaurant is on top of the Meyers Place bar, up a dingy set of stairs reminiscent of the Supp Inn. Its the cheap and cheerful stopover for the alleway drinking set. The food is nothing fancy, and its not really a venue for lounging and chewing the fat. You order, you eat, you leave!! Its the simplest of transactions.

The food is not blow your mind fantastic ... but its tasty nonetheless and does help to line the stomach before a night on some serious turps.

I had a whole lemon sole on a bed of wilted lettuce served with a bowl of steamed veg. This is my kind of fish dish ... but it could have been a tad moister and was crying for some kind of creamy tangy sauce for dipping.

W, who turns out is one of those "on the side" girls had the spagehtti meat balls and R opted for a parmagiana. Wine is served in water glasses ... which given the smoke stained interiors was suitably quaint. Its more about the convo here than the ambience.

After satisfying hunger and slaking thirst, we crossed the street for a night of hardcore dancing and air punching, stage rushing hi jinx with the amazing Klaxons.

After the moderate success of their difficult sophomore album, we knew the crowd would go off at the favourites ... and they did!! And we were right there with them. You can take your "little old man" and stick it my friends, with a live act this good who cares if I could have fathered 98% of the crowd, I'm hoisting up the high pants and metal-signing the stage!! Rawk On Motherfuckers!!

PS ... D's new house is fantastic!
PPS ... I'm glad that I refused that last beer or I couldn't have driven anywhere
PPPS ... I'm glad we took a taxi to the car
PPPPS ... D! Smoking? At a venue? Hhmmmm!!
PPPPPS ... Pink Rosette Earrings ... explain
PPPPPPS ... my whitey friends asked for extra chilli ... bless!!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Keleroni!! - Revisioned

Ok ... I think the hipsters have been unfairly unkind. Kele's The Boxer is actually not a bad album at all!!!

So it doesn't break new ground in terms of innovation and sound, but like the Bloc Party were tipping the vanguard of a post-punk revival from the 80s, Kele in his solo debut is looking back to the 90s when techno started to creep into the mainstream (lets hold the trance shall we!!).

I think the album sets pace and mood reasonable well. And its a great album cover, self aggrandisement aside ... yeah girlfriend you've been to the gym we can tell!

Anyhoo, the album has finally hit its groove with me ... and its starting to pay dividends quite nicely. Wish  I could hear this loud at a club ... but I'm scared of the little old man syndrome ... so I have to make do with the disco down in my head!

Old Friends - a modernist Haiku

Ok ... Old friends - a poem:

Cabin pressure
Top left
Fax Machine

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Ok ... a whirlwind visit from a dear old friend has been eclipsed by the Outrage!!! of MH's pannacotta triumph!

I can't believe this is his first time and that he simply whipped it up like Dionysius from the heights of Mt Olympus.

P, we have to step up our game!!!!

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