Travelling around Australia + I ate crocodile meat

It looks like Christmas happened and I promptly disappeared from the food blogging world. It’s been an insanely busy start to the year and I’m ashamed to say, I have baked exactly one thing in that entire time (and for the curious, it was a 10 Second Coconut Bread in the Thermomix – not exactly a big effort on my behalf). But it seems to happen to me every year. I hit peak baking time at Christmas and then disappear until life settles back into routine. I’d like to say I won’t go away again, but the truth is, if I have nothing to write about food wise, then there’s not much point in just writing.

That being said, I was given three calendars for Christmas, and I’ve started putting one of them to good use and am actually making an editorial plan for this blog. I still want my blog to be something, I’m just not sure exactly where it’s heading yet, so I’m working on a plan.

Planning

Now you know things are coming (again. I always seem to be saying that here), now onto one of the things that has taken up most of my time in the last few weeks, travelling.

Travelling foodie…
My day job has involved an insane amount of travelling and thus an insane amount of meals eaten out. Normally, I love eating out. But when it’s every single night, in a city you’re not familiar with, it gets hard to choose and you get sick of eating food that you wouldn’t eat at home. But I had two and a bit weeks of it during February. Some meals were revolting, one such example being the $15 English muffins at the Pullman on the Park Hotel in Melbourne which were cold, under cooked and came with peanut butter but no butter. Others, were excellent.

A few notable meals and places:

Two Fat Indians in East Melbourne was in walking distance of my hotel. Their chicken korma was awesome, and I was  sad that staying in a hotel denied me of the great pleasure of Indian takeaway; reheating it the next day. But it was really good and I’d definitely go back if I was in the area again.

Also in East Melbourne was Persillade. I had two mornings where I started work later than 7 and was able to eat the most delicious breakfasts here. The first day, I had a piece of grainy, grainy toast with smashed avocado, grains and seeds, ricotta and radishes. It was to die for. And while the picture makes it look really small, this was a filling and satisfying breakfast. The second day I opted for simple scrambled eggs, and while I would have liked one extra piece of their grainy toast, it was delicious as well. As was their coffee.

Laurent Bakery, just next door to Persillade, was a good place to grab a slice of delicious olive toast and a nice hot chocolate and sit with my book for a few minutes. But what was even better were the danishes I bought to share with our staff for morning tea.

I got one night off in Melbourne and a friend took me down to Hardware Lane for dinner. This was a foodie experience like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. As soon as you hit the top of the lane and start to look at the menus outside restaurants, the staff descend on you. They don’t simply talk you through their menus, either. Rather, they offer you deals and specials: “You eat here, I’ll give you a glass of wine for free.” We settled on an Italian place, where the deal we were offered was a free drink and a free dessert. Sadly, while the meals were fabulous and I really enjoyed my free wine, we didn’t get our free dessert. But it was an interesting experience.

I took a side trip after Melbourne, down to Tassie to see my pop. He took me out for pretty much the best buffet dinner I’ve ever had at the Launceston Country Club Casino in the Links Restaurant. After a week of mostly take out in Melbourne, the huge plate of vegetables I dished myself here was a welcome change.

After Tassie, I flew home to Queensland, then the next morning, drove straight down to Lismore. By the time I got back to the motel after work, I was tired, starving and couldn’t be bothered going to look for food, so I ventured into the restaurant. There wasn’t much I could eat, with most of the food including red meat, and while I was inland where ordering fish isn’t always the safest bet, and also not the biggest fan of barramundi, that’s what I ended up ordering. And my god, it was amazing! The sauce was creamy and I think it toned down the usual fishiness I find that barra has. In the morning, room service breakfast was delivered spot on time, was hot and delicious. The food at the Lismore Bounty, was about half the cost of what I’d eaten at the hotel in Melbourne, but it absolutely ruled over the top in terms of flavour. I made sure I passed this on to the receptionist when I checked out, and the chef was there too, so it was nice to pass on the compliment. So, should you be passing by Lismore, I’d definitely recommend checking out the Bounty Motel’s food!

In Canberra, Thai Cornar provided some much-needed veggies! There’s something reliable about Thai food that I like when I’m travelling; you can pretty much always rely on getting something packed full of fresh veggies.

We also had an awesome staff dinner at Soju Girl. This was a restaurant where we let the locals do the ordering and the plates of food just kept coming. My favourite dishes were their fried zucchini flowers and then the scallops. I found the staff really helpful, particularly when it came to interpreting some of the items on the menu, and they were also really accommodating with dietary requirements.

We ate breakfast both days in Canberra at Maple + Clove because of its proximity to our hotel. While the food was pretty good, the service was poor. The second morning we waited for over an hour to get some zucchini fritters (mine) which were undercooked and slimy, and my colleague’s banana bread. It wasn’t the waitress’ fault though; it appeared they were seriously understaffed and she did really well considering we weren’t the only table kept waiting.

Last stop on the tour was Adelaide where I arrived and instantly wanted pasta. So the first night we had the most delicious plate of pasta with so much crab meat I could have cried with happiness at Cafe Brunelli. Honestly, one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had, and it was so quick. I nearly licked the bowl it was so delicious.

On our last night. we had a celebratory dinner at Clushaw’s Restaraunt (at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel). This, my friends, is where I encountered a dilemma. All week I’d been telling my co-workers at restaurants that I’m not a real vegetarian; if it flies or swims, then I’ll eat it. So of course, we go to a place that serves modern Australian food and they have crocodile on the menu. And technically… well, they swim, don’t they?

I didn’t order the croc in the end, instead I opted for the oven roasted chicken breast which had confit potatoes, quandong relish and pepperberry chimichurry cream sauce. It was flippin’ sensational! But my colleague tried the restaurant’s signature ‘Hop, Snap and Swim’ which included the crocodile tail. And I did try it. The verdict? Tasted like seafood, sort of similar in consistency to calamari, and I’d probably not shy away from it again.

And that’s my four state/one territory travelling and eating during February!

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