Up North - Black Waffle Gelato @ Monday, July 31, 2017

Saturday 8th July

A neighbour told us about her friend's ice cream shop a while ago, and one day we came across a groupon, two scoops for $3.50 which was a pretty good deal. Add a free night and adventure seeking we ventured up far north to Northcote to the main street. It only took a couple months, but we made it!

This was one big shop! Not very space efficient in design with seats in the back. 

Along with ice cream it's a cafe that sells coffee, and cakes. 
$5 a scoop seems to be the standard these days.

Cakes, slices and tarts.

There's limited flavours (onlyy 12), half were vegan water based sorbets though there's a rotation on the flavours. In a hipster friendly area they were vegan labels which I admit are a repentant to me. We all know that sorbets are waterbased, a (v) is fine, but the whole word idk, might need to get a steak after this. XD

Bio guy had the chocolate and salted caramel. No tasting required, he's a simply guy with simple tastes. The salted caramel was pretty good, sweet and tangy he says. 

That's one thick leakproof waffle cone! I can't tell where the cone ends and serviette starts though...

Meanwhile I liked the idea of breno but the waffle fragments were stale... What if they used those crispy pearls instead? The second scoops I had was pistachio which was awesome! Creamy, smooth and real.

In the fridge there were some cakes, perfect size for a couple people.

Seats in the back. There was almost no deco except for a few plants and very yellow sign. 
A tv provided atmosphere? The lighting was very bright and not quite right...

That is one cool sign!

As we were leaving a bit after 8pm, that's when the crowds arrived.

Good gelato (not the Ferrero Rocher) at standard prices. 

262 High Street, Northcote
Monday to Thursday 9am–10pm, 
Friday to Sunday 9am–11.30pm. 

Black Waffle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Local Eats - Pizza @ Mother Dough @ Sunday, July 30, 2017

Charlie & Co dined as guests.

In this small town of Hamelin Hawthorn which spans two blocks plus one cafe there's two places when it comes to pizza, though one only does take-away (and pizza by the slices for lunch) while the other is nice and warm inside with plenty of seats! During weekdays it's nice and quiet during lunch. 

For warmer days there's also a courtyard out back. 

Hot Chocolate

Rich and creamy, with chocolate sauce this is a hot chocolate like no other in this town. Everyone else uses a powder. Trust me I've tried most. Bio guy said the drinks here are on par with any cafe and some are even better.

With exposed brick walls there's a rustic feel though fortunately no risk of those old outdoorsy tables where my lace dress was snagged and destroyed (refer to Miss Korea post). Tables are polished and the seats are comfortable.

Pizza Bruschetta

Diced tomato, parmigiano and basil with balsamic vinaigrette 
served on our homemade foccacia mother dough style

A solid starter with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette balancing out sharpness of the parmigiano cheese and adding that perfect balance in flavours. The dough was oh so soft and fluffy that it was just perfect! I have been back to order just this for lunch. 

Homemade Black Angus Wagyu Meatballs
Served in Napoli Sauce with Homemade Focaccia

Hearty and full of flavour this is the perfect winter entree (though you can get it as a main too!). The rosemary adds that special something to compliment the rich tomato sauce which works well with the herb composition and balances the flavours of more than just meatball-ness. Served with a soft pillowy crust (yes the same from the pizza) to mop up the sauces, this is the perfect serving size for an entree. You can order the crust on its own and somehow that's not crazy - I love that!

San Daniele Prosicutto + rocket, shaved parmigiano, fior di latte

The first pizza we tried was the San Daniele Prosicutto. With a tomato base it had all those classic flavours, the soft beautiful cheese, the saltiness of the prosicutto balanced with the freshness of that something green. With a very thin base it was a challenge to pick up and something to be attempted at with a knife and fork. 

I would not recommend these pizzas for a quick takeaway to be consumed on the train!

Il Porcino - truffle paste, porcini mushrooms, speck, smoked scamorza

I absolutely love truffles and mushrooms so this for me was a highlight. Cheese, mushroom, truffle and pizza, what could be more amazing? Bio guy says that speck that adds a little saltiness though still keep a balance between all the elements along with something different in texture.

La Sfiziosa - Napoli, pesto, parmesan, San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella

While not as interesting/unique as the other pizzas, paling on comparison but only after that amazing truffle pizza the Sfiziosa still had that perfectly consistent flavour and quality. 

Seafood Hotpot
Variety of seasonal fresh fillet seafood with homemade focaccia 
sculpted to the bowl and risen in our wood fire oven

A showpiece, and one to impress this is the one to get. A herbed seafood mix (the good fresh kind rather than supermarket premix) bio guy felt that the broth didn't do enough for the dish upon which we agreed, though enjoyed. The bread top part was like naan but lighter and crispier without being a cracker!

Homemade Gnocchi Goat Ragu, Oven-baked with Rosemary and White Wine

Ragu is one of my favorite wintery foods and so I had high expectations and this dish didn't disappoint! With slow cooked-like melt in your mouth goat, the buttery pillows of gnocchi with a sprinkling of rosemary this dish was magical! One of the very best gnocchis I've had! A highlight and one of our favorite pasta dishes We're excited about returning for this.

Beetroot Filled Ravioli 
Cooked in a thick gorgonzola, with parmesan, scamorza and asiago

In this dish you couldn't really taste the beetroot under all that beautiful cheese! If you wanted something that's mostly cheese, this is it. Other than seeing the slightly pink colour of the beetroot I didn't taste it.

Nutella Calzone
Nutella filled calzone topped with strawberry & vanilla gelato

A giant bready croissant filled with nutella; drizzled to death with nutella (not that that's possible :P ) with a sprinkling of macerated strawberries, dusted with a light snowfall of icing sugar. It was amazing! The best nutella dessert I've had! If you love bread and chocolate like us, this is for the one for you.

White Chocolate Heaven
Melted Italian white chocolate, sprinkled in oreos & nutella topped with gelato

For ultimate dessert pizza food porn points this is the one. With all my favourite dessert toppings, this was heaven! The best dessert pizza I've ever had, you'd think it might be too sweet but it's actually just right. 

To be shared between 4-6 people, with a scoop of ice cream each. Cookies and cream of course.

Look at that lovely lighting!

Tiramisu - Beautifully presented, creamy goodness. I love tiramisu! 

Of course any Italian place has to have the ultimate Italian dessert with another set of things I love: coffee, chocolate, coffee liquor and cream! Of course there's also lady fingers in there. At this point we were totally stuffed full off pizza and could only manage a spoonful.
To be shared between two (at least).

With warm inviting lighting at night and a quiet place for lunch, quality ingredients and what we reckon is our favourite restaurant in town this is the place to go when you want Italian, and a place to impress your friends! They also have a $15 lunch menu which includes crunchy paninis (I'll link it when it's up).

Our top recommendations? The bruschetta and meatballs, truffle pizza, gnocchi ragu and all the desserts! 

Tip - When ordering sauce-less pasta like the linguine we'd recommend asking for less salt than usual - from past experience. 

Mother Dough Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Vietnamese Date @ House of Hoi An @ Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thursday 6th July
Charlie & Co. dined as guests.

House of Hoi An is a restaurant as part of the Taste Vietnam restaurants and hotels mainly in Vietnam itself in Hoi An (a UNESCO World Heritage and popular tourist attraction), created by internationally renowned Vietnamese chef and restaurateur, Ms Trinh Diem Vy.

Ms Vy is a third generation cook whose focuses on family-style gourmet Vietnamese, regarded as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Vietnamese cuisine unique in the way that it places strong emphasis on the balance and harmony of flavours and textures. And one of our favourite cuisines!

Located off Chapel St, Windsor end House of Hoi An is hidden gem when it comes to Vietnamese food! Finally a lovely dates-worthy Vietnamese restaurant we could take the in-laws to! With lanterns out front, a warm atmosphere and lovely service you're in for a treat.

With warm lighting from the glow of lanterns, candles in lotus holders, and the almost spanishy guitar, it was a lovely Tuesday night. With laughter and chatter filled the restaurant at 8pm.

On arrival we were offered a shot cute glass of tea, which mother loved! Note - Mother does not love anything, so for something to impress her it has to be remarkable, this is a woman who only uses French brands when it comes to fashion and beauty.   

Vietnamese 5 Spice Tea  - The signature housemade tea, made daily containing warmer days, it's a hug on the side, with cinnamon, lemongrass and ginger house. Very fragrant, lightly sweetened cinnamonny tea. We've never had a tea like this one before! I'm not a tea person and I liked it, while mother ordered a pot. 

I had the Coconut water, this is the cocobelle like one rather than sweet asian ones in a plastic can-ish container. Which was unexpected though the diners here are more the local crowd than the type you'd see at Vietnamese eateries. Dates and events worthy, this is the place for a birthday dinner. 

Roll your own’ ~ Shrimp Mousse on Sugarcane (2 pieces)

A popular, traditional Southern dish available throughout Vietnam, made from local marinated shrimp, wrapped around thin pieces of sugar-cane, grilled and served with rice paper, rice noodles, fresh herbs, sweet and sour dipping sauce. 

Shrimp mousse on sugarcane. A fun hands on dish with peppered prawn mince wrapped around sugar cane (yes you can chew on this after to draw out the juices), vermicelli, peanuts, lettuce and mint with fish sauce. Fresh, fun and fabulous! We just love mint in a salad! Definitely recommended.

Pomelo Salad with Chicken             

Pomelo segments, shrimp, sliced onions, sesame, roasted peanuts, 
mixed with pulled chicken, tossed in with coconut dressing.  

As Americans we tend to eat a lot of "sometimes food" more than just sometimes and so I love the contrast of a fresh salad! Flavours, textures, colours this one dish has it all! Textures - crunchy peanuts with marinated chicken with an unexpected pomelo/grapefruit with a salad. Quite rare. This is the best salad I've had in a long time! With a light creamy coconut dressing , all the fresh authentic flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, I'm adding this awesome salad to my top 5 list!

Mother quite liked it too though suggested that the prawns be marinated too or tossed lightly in salt and pepper. Can't wait to return for this salad!!

BBQ Chicken and Lime Leaf (Ga Nuong La Chan) 

Chicken thigh BBQ with lime leaf and herbs served with rice and salad. 

The skewers smell amazing! Juicy tender chicken breast marinade of lemongrass, honey and oyster sauce to name a few ingredients, it had the perfect balance of flavours. Paired with coleslaw with a hint of chili cut through the meatiness and rice. It was perfect.

Eggplant Clay Pot with Mince Pork and Spring Onion Sauce 

Eggplant pan seared with chili, garlic, spring onions, 
soy and fish sauce topped with sautéed pork mince.  

Soft melt in your mouth eggplant. I loved the scent of the fragrant fried onion infused oil! Spring onion garnished the dish adding that fresh green contrast, and the lightly seasoned mince complimented the mince. 

I feel like this could be a dish on its own, as well as a side, served with say, the chicken without the rice, though needs a bit more salt (served with fish sauce). This would be your vegetable based dish, though I'd still recommend getting a salad.

Crème Caramel / Kem Flan  

The Vietnamese were taught to make this slightly sweet, 
silky dessert by the French with sweetened condensed milk. 

A french classic with a twist, being served in a coffee and coconut cream. Not too sweet said mother, though being American I think it could have had a sweeter syrup. :P

Everything is beautifully presented, bring your camera and your in laws! Probably not both of the same time though :P The prices are higher than other Vietnamese places, and so it's a special occasion kinda place.

Mother's wants to return for a birthday, and shall recommend this place to her friends. This is coming from someone who doesn't believe in dining out. She has never liked any place we've dined at before.

Everything was delicious, that salad though was the highlight of the night. 
A return is due soon! For a special occasion.

House of Hoi An Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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