Go fuck yourselves. Commenting disabled.
Go fuck yourselves. Commenting disabled.
“Rock Star Trip”: Flying in for one night to see a show and only packing a change of shirt and tooth brush.
The Melbourne Comedy Festival lured us back to that city that reminds us so much of San Francisco. We did a double feature of Maria Bamford and Paul F. Tomkins. The Comedy Festival is extensive. It lasts for a month and includes hundreds of acts from all over the world. So of course, we went to go see two American comediennes. Honestly, we were a little worried about going to Aussie shows where we would 1) possibly not get most of the references or 2) any America bashing would activate long dormant nationalistic tendencies and cause us to fold our arms in defiance.
Maria Bamford was fun to see in person since a lot of her act is in her facial expressions, but we were disappointed that 60% of the show was material we knew. On the other hand PTF didn’t disappoint. He is a masterful storyteller and his show is more like an artfully written short story than a string of jokes and observations.
Sunday was schizophrenic weather-wise, so we choose to go to the Melbourne Museum. It is akin to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. We spent a lot of time looking at geodes, stuffed animals (for reals), and bugs on pins. In the pictures below check out the armadillo looking thing.
Meals were taken at Cookie, James Squire Brewhouse (again) and Heirloom, the restaurant in the same building as our hotel.
Cookie is a Thai place decorated like a it walked straight out of etsy.com, including their clientele. On top of our flowery oilcloth and lace table decoration, we were served some really flavorful dishes. Drunken shrimp, lemongrass chicken and Thai sausage. Thai sausage? Our check came in a pageless children’s book. How adorable!
We didn’t try Heirloom the last time we were in Melbourne and kicked ourselves for our oversight. Our intro was on Saturday when we stopped in for a drink and snack before checking in. We had a wonderful crisp Rose and some oysters and crab fritters. Our experience of the place was so positive that we came back for breakfast on Sunday. Beth’s enoki and shitake omelet was filled with wholesome crunchy-tender pea shoots and topped with yummy crispy onions. Durkees be damned, these were the real thing. Douglas had the Atlantic salmon eggs benedict with salmon roe to top it off. Next time in Melbourne we’ll try out their French-Japanese dinner.
James Squire puts out one-step-above pub food. Beth ate the fish and chips. The fish was breaded and fried to perfection so as not to be too greasy and keep the fresh flaky and tender. Douglas had the steak sandwich . . .
For Beth’s Birthday we had dinner at Quay – a true ModOz extravaganza. Check out Peter Gilmore’s Snow Egg (coincidentally, also my favorite dessert):
We went for the full tasting menu (of course) with “Classic” wine pairing. While tempting, the premium pairings would have made the meal cost as much as a car.
The pretty bite served in the scallop shell was our amuse bouche (see pictures which follow).
Sashimi Hiramasa kingfish, pickled kohlrabi, nasturtiums, white dashi jelly
2009 Vigneti Massa ‘Pietra del Gallo’ Vino Rosso, Piedmont, Italy
Baby white heirloom cucumber gently braised in oyster and wakame juices, shaved black lipped abalone, oyster cream
2009 Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu, Loire Valley, France
Native freshwater marron, rose salt, organic pink turnips, jamon de bellota cream, oloroso caramel, green almonds, society garlic flowers
2010 Domaine Lucci Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Between fish/veg courses we were served a warm consomme of duck and fish. Very subtle.
Butter poached coturnix quail breast, pumpernickel, morel and ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle custard, milk skin
2008 TerraVin Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
Slow braised Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil
2009 William Downie Petit Manseng, King Valley, Victoria
This course was a substitution. Not sure if they were out of Wagyu beef or concerned that rubes would think it radioactive. At any rate, it was a squab dish served rare. Delicious, but that is sadly all the detail I have at the moment.
2007 Tapanappa Shiraz, Wrattonbully, South Australia
White nectarine snow egg
2010 Cascinetta Vietti, Moscato D’Asti, DOCG, Piedmont, Italy
Preserved wild cherries, coconut cream, chuao chocolate crumble, cherry juice, chocolate sorbet
Claude Courtois, ‘Les Cailloux-du-Paradis’, Vin de Mistelle, Sologne, France
Coffee, Tea, and Petit Fours
While I’m perfectly willing to take pictures at the dinner table, using a flash would not have been appropriate for this particular meal. Pictures of latter dishes were too crap to post.
Since I’m on a tear, I’ll continue. Prior to Beth’s birthday (Mar 26-27) we spent the weekend in the famous Blue Mountains. I highly recommend the place we stayed, The Bush Hut. It’s this sweet little cabin right on the Darwin trail with a wood burning stove, a king size bed, and some lovely prints of stylized platypi (platypuses is also acceptable) painted by the proprietress, Loetje. Coincidentally, she shares a name with one of my favorite cafes in Amsterdam near the Museumplein where everyone gets the steak with frites. It was pretty much a lazily romantic, or romantically lazy weekend. Our only notable accomplishments were hiking to Wentworth Falls (the actual falls, not the town) and taking the train to Leura to have dinner at Silks Brasserie, which was lovely. We had great bubbles there from Tasmania (Ninth Island NV) as well as a crack-like Cab Sauv/Cab Franc/Merlot blend (Philip Shaw No. 17). Also, I tried lamb’s brains. Now I’m a lamb zombie.
When we hiked down to the Falls, I took a whole mess of flower pictures for some reason. Also a snake. There’s one in the set taken from above the Falls where you can see where the Blue Mountains moniker comes from.
I haven’t been keeping up with the ol’ blog, so we’re going back in time today. Picture yourself floating, floating back to the thrilling days of yester-last month. Sydney was firmly in the grip of late summer, Libya was largely intact, and Charlie Sheen’s antics were not yet tiresome. Ah, the first weekend in March 2011.
Beth and I chose to spend it in beautiful Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun). We arrived Friday night, checked into Citadines (a hotel – not a skin condition) and proceeded to grab a quick bite at Stalactites – a Melbourne institution according to their website. It is so called due to it’s zealously stuccoed ceiling, which does in fact produce a cave-like atmosphere. The food was neither great nor terrible so it doesn’t really warrant comment. Portions were positively American in their generosity (aka Too Much Food).
The nominal purpose of the trip was to check out the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. After a breakfast of tea and left-over moussaka toast we wandered around the CBD for a bit. The main event for Saturday – Cooking with James Squire. A four course meal of dishes which incorporate the tasty beers of Squire as well as being served paired with one. The big winner on the day (surprise) was dessert – a poached pear with mascarpone and Squire Porter caramel served with Squire Amber Ale. The flavors complemented very nicely, the mascarpone + caramel melding delightfully with the medium bodied ale. We met some other lovely couples (family style seating) and played pool/drank beer with them for the remainder of the day. After nap time, off to the Butcher’s Grill for some lovely steaks.
On Sunday, we meant to go to this picnic thing but we accidentally stumbled onto a wine tasting instead. A big surprise from that day was Rebello – a strawberry dessert wine that has won a gold in the SF Chronic(le) tasting. Can’t get it in Sydney but we will be able to when we return to SF. Don’t think me flip when I say, the wines of Victoria are pretty much all good.
Sunday night, we had dinner on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. It’s just what it sounds like – a restaurant on a tram car. Quite and excellent way to see the city at night while eating and drinking. It goes all the way out to St. Kilda, which I would like to check out further at a later date.
As last weekend (Feb. 19) approached, I found myself pining for San Francisco because of the Chronicle Wine Competition tasting at Fort Mason. So many lovely wines, and the carnival atmosphere of the big warehouse on the Bay. My first homesick moment. Fortunately for me, Mark and Alisa (sp?) saved the day by taking me to the aforementioned awesome event. Also, Nick and Carly joined us in the ‘Trophy Room” and I met Carly’s parents. We all tried the good stuff.
But what about the wines?
Well, unsurprisingly the whites were truly “all that”. Australian Semillions, Semillion/Sauvignon Blancs and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillions make me think of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (in which the angel Islington has in his possession the last case of wine from Atlantis). The last case of wine from Atlantis would be very much like a great one of those I think. Of which there are fortunately many.
The delightful surprises, for me, were all in the sweet department. The Yolumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier (2009) is one of the best sweet whites I have ever had – light, bright, fruity with an unbelievably clean finish. I also like that they cop to the fungus. If it was cheap and came in bigger bottles, it would surpass water in popularity within a fortnight. That said, the true cream of crack was the Morris Old Premium Liqueur Muscat. All I have to say about that is: holy shit, dude.
In the video that follows, the narrator makes an unkind comment about Australian chardonnay which does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any actual person (living or dead).
Michael and Nicole were kind enough to take us to their favorite restaurant in Sydney. A restaurant nestled in the airy rafters of an italian grocery store.
The first thing any man who payed some attention in high school wants to do when they get to the southern hemisphere is to see water swirl in a freakish clockwise direction. Here’s my first effort in this regard. Next time I’ll get some food coloring or wood chips or something and really pump up the drama.
Beth spent the day with some lovely fellow expats. Lunch at Sailor Thai in view of the Opera House, pedicures and a walk through the botanical gardens.