Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Eat. @ Gelato Messina

237 Smith St, Fitzroy ph (03) 9017 5470

Gelato Messina from Sydney has landed in Melbourne.   I've driven past here on numerous occasions since its opening and seen the crazy lines out the front and thought to myself - how good does the gelati have to be to make me wait in line more than 2 minutes?  

Well the gelati here are really worth waiting for!  The "kinder girls" and I came out to Fitzroy/Collingwood for a dinner night out recently and decided we would join the queue with the crowd of gelato afficiondos half our age and try it out for ourselves.  It was Saturday night after dinner and the crowd was buoyant, the line moved surprisingly fast, and the time passed really quite quickly.  This was helped by the fact that wee were given menus to study whilst waiting, and struggled with our decisions as everything sounded yummy!

I had the Apple Pie, and the Coconut and Lychee, which were beautiful and smooth.  I also tasted some of my friends' gelato - the most memorable was probably the mojito - it tasted like a real hit of mojito but was quite tart after a big scoop so it was best to share!

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eat. @ 400 Gradi - Pizza Masterclass

99 Lygon St, Brunswick East 3057 ph (03) 9380 2320

Last month I was invited to a Pizza Masterclass by Chef Johnny Di Francesco from 400 Gradi.  Whilst I am passionate about my baking, my skills at savouries and main meals are only passable efforts for the sake of survival and are really nothing fancy.  

The masterclass has totally changed my way of viewing the humble pizza that every Australian kid has grown up loving.  The real deal is so much more than  the thick chunk of bread laden with meat and cheese and an occasional piece of pineapple that is so often seen around town!

Chef Johnny Di Francesco, whose family is from Naples, is the "Mr Pizza" behind the restaurant, known for its real Napolitan - style pizza. He is passionate about the art of pizza making, and is not afraid to share the secrets in his hands on classes.

Johnny is keen to pass on his knowledge of how real pizzas should taste and be made, so that the next generation of Australian kids (and adults) won't think that "pizza hut" pizzas are the norm.  I couldn't agree more!

During the class we learnt about everything one needs to know about making a great wood-oven pizza, from the type of flour, to the techniques of dough making and the tricks to stretching a light base with airy crust.

Then we were given free reign at the toppings.  The trick is to keep it simple!  Then it's straight into the 400 degree oven, where it only takes a few minutes for the pizza to be perfectly cooked!

Yours truly is a sucker for anchovies as you can see.  Napolitan pizzas is actually a pretty healthy meal really.  No fats in the dough, and just a scattering of mozarella and prosciutto for my topping.  So delicious with a drink at the of the class!

If you'd like to go to one of Johnny's masterclasses, these are held on the third Saturday of every month.  Pretty cool Christmas pressie (and even Valentine's Day!) for this time of year I say!

400 Gradi on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer : I attended the Pizza Masterclass at 400 Gradi at the invitation of 400 Gradi courtesy of AMPR Public Relations.  Opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eat. @ Spring Street Grocer

157 Spring St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9639 0335

Gelato fever has struck Melbourne!  With the arrival of the Sydney imports N2 Extreme Gelato and Gelato Messina, I was reminded of our visit to Spring St Grocer for a good old fashioned ice cold treat we had, ironically on a freezing cold Melbourne Spring day.  

Mini Me patiently wait for the gelato
The artisanal gelato here is to-die-for, and I love how they offer a great selection of flavours that changes daily.  

When you finish the delicious treat you can pick up organic fruit and vegies and a great variety of gourmet ingredients in the grocery section, reminiscent of the local Grocers of the old.

Spring St Grocer on Urbanspoon

Eat. @ Grill'd (Fairfield)

126 Station St, Fairfield 3078 ph (03) 9481 2566

I remember when Grill'd was new to the scene - it was a one of the first great alternative to the overly greasy heavy burgers from the local take-away or the highly processed  "burgers" that tasted like anything but.  Fast forward to 2013 and the business opens its 28th Victorian store in Fairfield and has become a favourite place for a quick bite.  I was invited to check out the store recently and so Mini Me, Macaron Monster and I had lunch there a few weeks ago.

The store is quite big and comfortable, with large communal tables good for big groups and taller, bar-height tables with barstools to perch on.  

The kids menu is one of the things that made me visit Grill'd initially, as they have a cute little "Mini Me" Pack ($7.5) comprising of a mini-burger made with either a beef pattie or chicken fillet, with a mini-serve of chips and a choice of juice or water.  They come with entertainment in the form of pencils and coloring pages so that I can enjoy my meal in peace!

Mini Me had the Mini-Moo Snack burger ($7.5) which is a smaller version of their full sized burgers.  Quite substantial and not that mini in my opinion!

I usually have the Crispy Bacon and Cheese Burger or the Summer Sunset (with pineapple!), but on the day I chose to try their salad.  It's been on the menu for a while but for some reason I never noticed it!!!  A lovely, lighter, lower-carb option, the Chicken, Pomegranate and Goat's Cheese Salad was delicious and a great alternative when I'm not in the mood for burgers (okay, that's fairly rare!).

I love this strip of shops in Fairfield, as they have an interesting array of shops and of course for those with little kids you've probably visited Fairyfields for a kids party or two.  Grill'd is a welcome addition!

Grill'd Fairfield on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer : Kids and I  dined courtesy of Grill'd Fairfield.   Opinions are my own.

Toilets - Yes
Highchairs - Yes