Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Bitter Sweet Day (or Two) Out - Wintry weekend in Daylesford

Ok ... whats that saying? When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade? What if it hurls at you a big pile of poo? You make a stack of shit cakes and hope for the best ...

Well you could wallow in shit at home, or you could get your lazy arse off your couch of self pity and wallow in shit somewhere peaceful and pretty like Daylesford.

Which is exactly what we did! And it was fantastic. We haven't really been able to do the spontaneous bush weekend for absolutely ages. And now that we're pet free, it was easy just to find a place to stay, pack up, get in the car and go.

So on a lovely sunnyWinter's morning ...

We rocked up at The Albert on Camp street and after getting the low down hoe down from Ziggy the wrestler, we headed back out to our favouriest bookstore - Paradise Bookstore, to browse rooms full of every kind of book imaginable, including music sheets, comics and even Vinyl.

We then gradually worked our way through the town's eateries, starting with the newest addition to the Vincent Street strip, Wine and The Country, which is very much like our own Seddon Wine Store, a place owners Jenny and Owen seem to be familiar with.

 Jenny is an absolute charmer, and although the decor pulls no new punches as far as modern melbourne cafes/bars/restaurants/pop-ups go, it is a warm and welcoming space.

And strategically placed in the corner are 2 turntables and a microphone! ... ok well no microphone, but a turntable nonetheless and a stack of Vinyl, including Sigur Ros' "svefn-g-englar" - big big tick.

We sat at the communal table and worked our way through a number of glasses of wine and an amazing selection of nibbles pulled from producers in the area, including an amazing chilli and fennel salami from Istra Smallgoods in Musk*, and this delightful soft blue cheese biscuit, which Jenny kindly topped up free of charge.

We sampled pub fair over at the revamped Daylesford hotel including a reasonably cooked Steak served with yummy thin fries and a decent salad ...

and I think a less than impressive pie according to M. although taste buds could have been tempered somewhat by the darkening mood oozing from a fug of alcohol. Sometimes a few rounds in the wringer is what every relationship needs ...

We visited our friends M & S and marvelled at their collection of Hi-fi paraphernalia, including a number of valve amps that I am insanely jealous of.

We took in the wintry sights and stumbled across a Antiques shop in Newellyn, who coincidentally, ran the Antiques shop just round the corner from our house. Its an amazing place to wander round and apparently the nursery out back is pretty impressive too, but the weather was foul, and the warmth indoors made it perhaps too easy a place to spend a couple of hours, so much so, M ended up parting with his hard-earneds for a mantlepiece clock that he is absolutley chuffed with!

In fact there seems to be plenty of these Antique markets sprouting all over the shop. The Mill Markets is one such establishment, where I scored my long sought after tripod! (already filmed a few vids for my Youtube channel - Temasekdan - plug!)

We also managed to revisit the Wild Mushroom Risotto at the Himalaya Bakery - and though the price seems to have increased somewhat dispproportionately (from $10 to $18.90), the dish still remains vibrant and exciting. The perfect lunch for a cold winter's day.

Our second night we spent dinner at Gracenotes Cafe, a quaint little restaurant at the further end of Vincent Street. Its singular soft yellow glow amongst the darkened shops shut for business on the strip seemed warm and welcoming, and although the food couldn't quite match up with the ambience, we had a lovely night regardless with Brighton accents from our friendly host to boot.

I had the chicken with cumin and pomegranate, which was reasonable, rather than mind blowing. The potatoes were delicious and so was the kale, but it needed more of a cummin hit and because there was no richness for it to counter, the pomegranate seeds seemed perfunctory.

M enjoyed his Salmon with asparagus in a Bernaise sauce served on a bed of kipfler potatoes.

And we couldn't go past the chocolate lava cake. Whats a weekend away if you're not going to splurge!!

So we didn't do Cliffy's and we didn't swing by the Convent gallery like we normally do, but it was still nice to just get away from it all. Now I have the monumental task of documenting our recent European jaunt - which I hope to do in parts over the coming months. Its going to be good!

* There are a number of great places to Breakfast in Daylesford. The bacon from Istra is amazing so a visit to their shop in Musk is a must. You can sample their sausages at Bocconcini, which is a lovely shiny cafe on the main street of Dayelsford, crisp white and modern with flashes of colour.

Love the cushions at Bocconcini

My scrambled eggs with Istra Sausage
M's Breakfast with the lot!

And you can check out Istra's bacon at Larder, which is oh so melbourne it hurts! Great space, great staff, good coffee and food ... its a must try!


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