Tasting the City: Melbourne Australia

coffee town
Monk Bodhi Dharma

When I started this blog I intended to revisit and recollect some of the amazing cities I’ve explored. More importantly I intended share with you some of the incredible life-altering foods I’ve tasted. Since a friend of mine is going to Melbourne in, oh 12 hours or so, I figured this was as good of a time as any to start my “Tasting the City” series. So here we go!

We arrived in Melbourne after 8 days of traveling via campervan (good ole’ Sheila) down the eastern coast of Australia. Melbourne would be the first big city in Australia we got to hang out in for a few days and really take a bite out of. (Puns always intended). I was extremely excited about Melbourne because I heard it was home to the best coffee in Australia. And it didn’t disappoint. We hit up at least 5 coffee shops but my absolute favorite was Monk Bodhi Dharma. This tiny brick building is tucked behind a grocery store with a menu that is small but mighty. First the coffee, which is made in-house, as you can see as soon as you walk in, is delicious. It is Australian style which is much more compact and bitter than elsewhere. We were delighted to see they offered  pour-over coffee, a pretty rare thing to find in Australia. I ordered a cup of heaven on earth, otherwise known as Chai Tea which was steeped in milk for 5 minutes in front of me. I LOVE me some coffee, but sometimes a girl just needs a spicy, earthy chai latte. I tasted Bill’s coffee and it was fantastic. We ordered breakfast at Monks and to this day I drool every time I think about my banana bread french toast with just about everything delicious on top (including a caramel sauce). I mean… just… drool…

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Week 13: Malta

Broad Bean Dip
Broad Bean Dip

When narrowing down 80 countries from around the world, Malta may seem like an odd choice. Most people probably haven’t heard of Malta, and if they have there’s a good chance they think it is an Italian island like Sicily. I have had Malta on my brain for almost a decade now, thanks entirely to my dear friend Liz. Liz’s parents are both from Malta and they own a home there where Liz and her siblings spent summers parading up and down the island, causing a big raucous I’m sure. She is extremely proud of her heritage and won’t let you forget it. So when I told her we were finally cooking food from Malta I received an overwhelming amount of texts that went something like this: Continue reading

Week 12: Austria

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Plum prep

I had one of the most romantic evenings of my life in Austria. Bill and I were on our first international trip together, a two week tour of Italy, Austria and Germany. We spent a couple of days in both Vienna and Salzburg where I fell further in love with the Bavarian area and culture. One night in Salzburg we found an outdoor restaurant at the base of the Hohensalzburg Castle. We ordered pork and golden potatoes with seasonal white asparagus smothered in a hollandaise sauce. We also had the most amazing dessert of fried ricotta cheese with stewed apricots. The cheese balls were light and fluffy and oh so mouthwatering. Then we walked across the Makartsteg footbridge under the stars with a live band playing in the background. Makes your heart go pitter-patter right? Continue reading

Week 11: Scotland

Scottish Cheeses
Scotch and Cheese

Meal number 11!

I’m kind of blanking on what to tell you about Scotland. I swear it has nothing to do with all the  Scotch we drank…. okay it has everything to do with the Scotch.  We each brought a bottle of Scotch ranging from 12-16 years old. Bill and I even went to this Scottish store in downtown SF to look for a bottle. Everything there was a bit out of our price range (think $80 to unlimited) but if you really want a good bottle I highly recommend it. Our Scotch was called Bunnahabhain 12 and around $60. Now, let me preface this by saying, I love whiskey. How much do I love whiskey? Here is a picture of me right before I was about to walk down the aisle (I know it’s bourbon):  Continue reading

Week 10: Portugal

Porto
Porto

You know those TV episodes that start out as a complete disaster? You wonder how the characters ever got themselves into that particular situation. And then the scene pauses and these bold words appear… 24 hours earlier… Let’s imagine this is that episode. Start with me running around the kitchen, slightly drunk, nothing at all cooked, and the doorbell rings, “AHHH”… Continue reading

Week 9: Switzerland

My Swiss Chalet
My Swiss Chalet

Switzerland couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It was our last dinner before Christmas, and when I think of Switzerland in winter images of snow capped mountains, cozy ski cabins, turtlenecks, and fondue come to mind. We planned a night of fondue like no other – a three course meal of dipping delicious food into vats of boiling cheese, oil, and chocolate. Continue reading

Week 7: Sweden

Swedish treats
Swedish treats

Sweden was to-date my most fun country to research. My first real introduction to the Swedish culture was in college through one of my favorite families, the Brevicks. The Brevicks are a farm-raised, 7 children family, all blonde, all towering over me by at least a foot, and as nice as they come. I was fortunate enough to go to college with four of them and watch the other three grow taller and kinder as they aged. My “domesticated” education really began with the Brevicks, with Karin teaching me how to bake apple pies from scratch. The best part of fall for me were the days laying in their hammock, eating the leftover crust that we’d bake with cinnamon and sugar, while the sun was setting over the Palouse. Continue reading