Brunching at Alimentari

Lisa and Amanda with their cocktail looking apple juice – yum!!

Alimentari – Eatery and Delicatessen, 251 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
“Good food and camaraderie”

My first lazy Sunday in what feels like forever so it started with a smooth coffee and catch up at Alimentari. Having never been to this local institution before, I made sure to bring along my camera to capture some happy snaps – I really need to upgrade my mobile to one that takes clearer, brighter photos.

I had an early brekkie of baked beans, toast and egg with my little man so by the time I got to the deli, I wasn’t too hungry. I knew I needed to try at least a little something so Hayley and I decided to share a plate. I normally opt for something along the lines of a big breakfast but the muesli that came out was perfect! – creamy, sweet and so easy to eat, I could have easily finished one on my own :).  It went down very nicely alongside my flat white.

Boy talk, travel talk and relationship talk occupied us as we enjoyed brunch and a walk down the street to Clear It for a spot of quick shopping! Scored myself a jacket for $10 amongst all the Alannah Hill, Jack London and Dangerfield goodies and will definitely back for more and maybe post another shopping haul! ;)

What did you get up to on Sunday? Any other good brunch places to check out – let me know :)

Picture perfect muesli

Fresh paninis, sandwiches and wraps

How scrumptious do these glistening hot cross buns look!?

Hit with Pho Fever!

2014 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Sunshine Pho Fever – 10th-13th March, 2014
Sunshine Business Association

It was a sold out event last year and luckily this year Kenny (Consider The Sauce) reminded me to get my pho fever on! Sunshine Pho Fever was again part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and this year we joined other guests on a walking degustation tour of the Vietnamese eateries that boast the drinks and soups Sushine is renowned for.

From the placemats with interesting facts printed on them to the goodie bags we were given at the end of our evening, it was a very organised event in which the hosts and restaurant owners’ love for this district’s cuisine was evident and contagious. We were charmed by Simon and Phong who hosted the two separate groups that night – they did a fabulous job showing us around.

Pho fever was a great night out where I learnt all about the origins of pho, how it is cooked, met the people behind the scenes and also met other interesting diners. Networking and pho – I’ll be back next year pho sure! (Sorry I had to do that!).

So without further ado below were the 4 stops that those of us in Group 2 enjoyed last week!:

Cafe #1:
Sao Cafe 3/308 Hampshire Road, Sunshine (9312-0546)
To start the evening off we were welcomed with a red carpet and our choice of refreshing drinks. Wes and I enjoyed ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) and taro with some pearls. Mmmm yum.

Cafe #2:
Pho Hien Saigon 3/284 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (311-9532)
We love this place! Being a regular weekend lunchtime favourite, something new we experienced was a meeting restaurant owner Cung and hearing about how his workers and himself prepare their delicious pho and the hours it takes to get it right. Cung explained that his pho is in the making from 9am to 9pm each day . In the evening they take out the ingredients and let the soup rest overnight. It is then ready to serve the next day after Cung himself comes in the morning to season it with his secret mix of spices and herbs.

Cung explained that his uncle originally from the south of Vietnam, now living in California gave him a recipe for pho except Cung felt it had too strong a taste and aroma so after trying pho from different places he tweaked it to his taste, and ours! – I finished my chicken pho even though I thought I should’ve been pacing myself for the rest of the night. It was too good not to! Pho Hien opened 7 years ago and recently expanded its floorspace to accommodate their adoring patrons.

We had the chance to sit next to Kenny and Lauren (Footscray Food Blog) and it was great seeing the different “routines” people have when seasoning and eating their pho (I’ll have to write that up in another blogpost if you’re interested).
If in Sunshine or if you just want to try somewhere new you must try Pho Hien Saigon’s pho, combination rice vermicelli, crispy fried chicken and rice, pork and broken rice and their amazing avocado smoothie!! – ok basically everything they serve here is drool-worthy :)

Pho Vien

Cafe #3:
Thuan An 253 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-1119)
Next up the beautiful Julie welcomed us with a candlelit table and the ingredients of her pho displayed along the table runner – star anise, cumin, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cardamon, and rock sugar. Julie explained that their pho broth takes 18 hours to cook and that it is compatible to suit the tastes of those people from both the north and south of Vietnam. Julie informed our group that the spices must be put in at the right time or it will make the soup too light or too dark in colour.

I opted for the combination pho this time which included strips of tripe, sliced beef, meatballs, tendons and brisket. It had a strong flavour and I liked the different textures however I was quite full from my chicken pho that I couldn’t finish it no matter how hard I tried! Or maybe I was just too excited to get into the kitchen and check out their 240 litre pots of broth. The kitchen staff were very friendly and happy to have us in their space.

Our fellow table folk this time were the lovely Tracey (SBA’s new marketing manager and Malcolm from the Academy of Design). We got to chatting about everything from pho, arts, youth, council and area development. Keep an eye out for big things happening in the area! ;)

Cafe #4:
Nhi Nuong 2 Sisters, 255 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-6522)

We were welcomed, fed and serenaded by the talented sisters Yen and Elizabeth at our last stop on our Pho Fever adventure – Nhi Nuong. It was a colourfully decorated cafe and I was glad to see fresh fruits, crunchy spring rolls and beef in betel leaves. I was so full I doubt I could have finished a third bowl of pho – again props to the organisers for taking on feedback from last year’s event!

The first thing we were asked to do was to smell and taste the tea and guess what it was made of. The tea on our tables was warm and fragrant and had a calming effect. We were informed that it had pandan in it and could not be brought in stores – it is specially made in a country town in Vietnam and imported to the restaurant for $80/kg! The betel leaves that enveloped the scrumptiously marinated beef was $45/kg and came from Queensland where the weather produced good quality leaves. We were also served tall glasses of refreshing sugar cane juice flavoured with cumquat and with a guitar and beautiful singing voices, we listened to a traditional Vietnamese children’s song about a child having sugar cane whilst waiting for her mother to finish her grocery shopping. What a night!

If you’re after a night of good food, great company and passionate cafe owners committed to serving you, then Sunshine’s annual Pho Fever is a must visit in Melbourne.

In the meantime if you want to experience more of the area’s food and talent – this weekend is the first year of MaDE in Brimbank (Music And Dance Event). This Sunday March 23rd from 12pm-8pm, come and grab some lunch or dinner from local stalls or an array of food trucks. While you eat, you will be entertained by talent from locals and also XFactor guests and the twins from My Kitchen Rules! For more info check out: Brimbank’s MaDE.

Life Lately #7 – Summer and the new year

During the new year and summer days we lazed around the pools, learnt to cook some traditional Filipino dishes, had lots of coffee catch ups with friends and family, attended many pre-wedding events and dance rehearsals at least twice a week – phew! Baby D is not so baby anymore and I’m trying to think of something else to nickname him, any thoughts? Anyhow hope you’ve all been well and I’ve got some exciting posts and giveaways coming up soon so happy reading and hope you’re all having a great first half of 2014.

Birthday feast at Rustique

Rustique antipasto platter The Urban MaRustique exterior

Rustique Co. – 75a Mt Derrimut Road, Deer Park 03 9017 6655
Modern Australian

These days even though we would love to have a meal in the city on a weeknight, it sometimes feels like a great feat having a walking, talking one year old toddler with us. While other patrons sometimes look a little irked at our little one as he messily enjoys his food, I try to quickly eat my meal in case Baby D decides he wants to walk around and explore. Therefore when my little sister’s 21st came up, she thoughtfully booked us all into a family-friendly restaurant for dinner to accommodate for our one year old and the newest addition to our family, my beautiful 7 week old niece.

Rustique has only been open for around 8 weeks and we were welcomed with a spacious layout and a fun playground situated right near our table. What a great find! Generous meal sizes and a good variety on the menu and reasonably priced, I enjoyed the entrees the best! Baby D loved the playground and the capsicums on the antipasto platter and the mash that came with my veal scallopine.

What we ordered:

- Antipasto platter with cured meats, cheese, salmon, olives, fruit and bread
- Salt and pepper calamari with crispy shallots, chilli, lime and sesame
- Scallops baked with breadcrumbs, parmesan and aioli
- Eye fillet steak with mushroom and pepper sauces
- Veal scaloppine with mash, bacon, mushrooms, asparagus and cream
- Open lamb souvlaki with pita and sauces
- a fish dish – can’t remember the details but it was really tasty!

What I want to try next time:

- the scallops with parmesan again!
-  the pasta tossed with mussels, prawns, scallops, calamari, salmon, garlic and olive oil
- and the cakes in the window display looked delish!

Rustique serves hearty meals in a kid-friendly environment with sleek decor and enough room for high chairs and prams. Comfortable for both families and those wanting a more intimate dinner, we sat in the “family” area right next to the playground. Rustique also take bookings for functions and on the weekends it can get busy so it’s always a good idea to call ahead. Looks like we’ll be coming back here and trying more of the menu soon :) Happy birthday again baby sis! xx

Rustique Co on Urbanspoon

Rustique scallops The Urban Ma Rustique calamari The Urban Ma Rustique playground Baby DRustique salmon The Urban Ma Rustique open souvlaki The Urban Ma Rustique steak and mushroom jacqfruit Rustique veal scallopine The Urban Ma The Urban Ma dines at Rustique

Wardrobe Wednesdays – D in Action

cool Daniel jacqfruit

Saturday Styling – Baby D in action

I can’t believe it’s been 15 months – Baby D is not a baby anymore, he’s growing up so fast. He’s learning so much and taking in everything that we bring to his attention and, loving every minute of it! A few weeks ago he was finally able to rock the J’s that he was given by one of his godmothers so hope you enjoy his little get up!

OOTD details:

- Beau Hudson Checkmate Bando
- Fresh Baked “DJ in Action tshirt” (in homage to his dad!)
- quilted pants with leather lined pockets (from Hong Kong)
- a pair of Jordans to top off his outfit :)

Daniel DJ 2

Baby Styling – Relaxed summer

 Styling Daniel – Relaxed summer baby

Before the scorching heatwave that hit Melbourne last week, Baby D enjoyed a nice, relaxing summer day visiting the ducks at the various parks walking distance from our house. Dressed in this comfy combo we enjoyed running after his furry friends, flying in the air on the swings in the playground and spending quality family time in the great outdoors.

- tshirt by Zara Baby
- red shorts and casual shoes by Pumpkin Patch

Baby D has grown up so much over the past few months and it’s been such an amazing journey so far watching how much he is wanting to talk and communicate with us! He is starting to copy things we say and is developing his independence already. I can’t believe that just 12 months ago he was just a little baby needing to be carried everywhere and only eating breastmilk – now Baby D is eating anything and everything he can get his hands on from olives to anchovies and kare-kare goodness! He is totally loving this summer weather because he just gets so excited being outside. Ahhh the simple things :) <3

South Melbourne’s Tuckshop

Tuckshop menu The Urban MaThe Urban Ma South Melbourne

The F.T Tuckshop – 2 Charles St, South Melbourne

As you can probably tell by the shaggy and untamed fringe Daniel is rocking we visited this place quite a few months ago now! – I found a few unpublished posts that I need to get up on this blog. I found this place whilst taking a random stroll down Clarendon street’s surroundings as I waited for my sister to meet me. It pays to look up and as we made our way down Coventry street and its cute boutiques the words “cheeseburger, jaffle and milkshakes” caught me eye.

In a small space down the laneway emerged Tuckshop – suitably named as ordering through the little window was like ordering lunch at the tuckshop at primary school :) With quite a substantial menu for lunch, Baby D and I couldn’t go past the meatball sandwich and a Banoffee milkshake. The bread roll was soft and the meatballs were covered in just the right amount of sauce and melted cheese. Our milkshake was served with a cute striped straw, creamy and super delicious! :) We lounged around and watched people on their lunch break enjoying old school jaffles and quality coffee. If you’re after a satisfying meal of good old classics served by friendly staff check out Tuckshop! :)

The Urban MA Tuckshop milkshake meatball IMG_5105[1] IMG_5112[1]


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