This is the renovation & interior design work of my oldest brother. He lives in a typical Australian 1950′s American influenced Ranch style brick home. With some creative uses of upcycled & recycled materials, this tight budget renovation is ‘heavy-on-clever’ [in the words once heard from my neighbor]. It is a single story 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home, with a detached garage, and a huge front patio that is perfect for entertaining, well – will be as soon as it is finished.
I ♡ Melbourne. It was great to be back in my hometown, and I loved meandering about discovering what was new, what had changed, and what had stayed the same. It will always be my ‘Home Sweet Home’.
Hosier Lane, a laneway that has its own Wikipedia page, is always changing and always popular with tourists and urban artists. Counterintuitive to all travel advice, Melbourne is a city to get lost in, especially its laneways / back alleys, for it is here you discover hidden & magical Melbourne. They are a filled with the bars, cafes, restaurants and some of the worlds best underground art. Hosier Lane is just one, of approximately 180 examples of these little streets that you can explore. Enjoy!
For us, no visit to Melbourne is complete without a visit to Movida. We popped into Movida – Next Door for some tasty treats, and as usual, we were not disappointed. Best way to order, is leave it up to your server to assist, and if you see anything good pass by ask for it. The menu is great for grazing, it is seasonal and frequently rotating, so you never get bored, and there is a decent selection of wine options. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed as they serve up nothing but flavorful goodness here. If you can’t get to Australia, you can always buy one of the cookbooks here.
We enjoyed a short stay at the QT Gold Coast Hotel, and really were surprised by this fun-filled decor. This was originally the Gold Coast International hotel, and the revamp this Hotelier did was fantastic. Bright bold colors on a simple white backwash. Beachy & playful, they really have set a new standard for the Gold Coast in leading the way for design that is environment appropriateness. You can’t but help smile and feel like you are on vacation in this location. Highly recommended.
Stringray Lounge – on the ground floor offers the perfect place for pre & post-dinner drinks, or perfect for lunch. The drinks are really reasonably priced, along with the food, and it is no surprise that locals like to hang here, it is not just for hotel guests, it is a great local spot.
Bazaar – Located on the first floor, is open for breakfast & dinner [Lunch only on Sundays] is a buffet! Normally I would run from a buffet dining option, but this one you should run too. The room, like the rest of the hotel is beautiful, albeit a lively, it is more of a asian market meets modern Australian restaurant decor. The food is largely cooked / prepared to order, and if they don’t have it listed they will make it. We asked for beef tartare and they willing made a delicious version for us. There are roasts, salads, pizza. seafood, cheese, charcuterie, there really is something for everyone. Enjoy!
PS. QT Hotel – love the hairdryer, so fun!
Bills – Surrey Hills, is always a must stop for at least one breakfast whenever we are back in Sydney. I love the Australian modern – open airy decor, and of course the sumptuous goodies on the menu. Two fave classics: the sweetcorn fritters, roast tomato, spinach and bacon; and the ricotta hotcakes, banana and honeycomb butter. Get in there and give them both a go, and get the cookbook whist there so you can attempt to recreate them when back home. Fresh, delicious & YUMMY!
We had a delicious lunch at Kitchen by Mike. It is not an easy spot to get to without a car, but it is worth the trek, and made we wish Chicago would get with the program and think outside the box when setting up new and interesting restaurants. This one is in a warehouse that hosts many functions: eatery; furniture store; art gallery; and I hear they cater events too [read more here]. The lines were long, but they moved quickly towards the buffet lunch menu that was frequently replenished as food was flying out the door. Inventive salads [watermelon & heirloom tomato / another with nectarines], perfectly seasoned fish & chicken dishes, and excellent pizza too. Value for money with something for everyone.
Oh! And the bathrooms are worth checking out too, great use of recycled / industrial materials & fittings.
Nothing warms the heart of a Australian like a meat pie. A tradition shared with Grandparents for a Saturday lunch, a must to be consumed at an Aussie sporting event, and a desperate desire after a few too many. The Aussie meat pie provides comfort. In need of some comfort food and far from the Aussie shores with a good bakery selling meat pies I had to go to the effort [with the help of the Husband] of making them myself. Pretty easy really, they just take a little time to put together.
Make a stew of your favorite kind. Here are a few ideas: Guinness, Cheese & Steak; Curried Chicken; Beef Burgundy; Lamb & Rosemary with Red Wine; or anything that you can cook-up in a crock-pot will work too.
To make the casing for the pie use some store-bought ready rolled puff pastry. All you need to do is line some pie tins with puff pastry on the bottom, add in some warm filling, add-on a lid and seal up the pastry. Then cook in the oven at 350*F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooked serve it with some tomato sauce [not ketchup] and add a side of warm peas. I prefer to eat my with my hands, but my husband likes to go at it with a knife and fork. Warning – pie eating with the hands is a skill, one that we are taught as kids in Australia growing up, it can get very messy.
Want to read more about Aussie Pies? Here are a few blog posts to check out: Pie in the Sky; Wikipedia – Aussie / NZ Pies; head head here in the USA to buy online or visit them in NYC; and love this method for making mini pies.
As we were driving through Tasmania, when we stopped into a little town for a meat pie for lunch. Whilst we were eating our tasty steak and kidney pies a man on a motorbike happens to share a random piece of information with us “Hey if you have some time make a detour up the road and check out the pub in the paddock with the pig”. Sounded random and peaked our interests so we decided to follow his worldly advice.
We found the pub in the paddock easily enough, and went inside to see what all the fuss was about. It is a tiny little building with friendly bar staff. We order a beer and sat looking at each other, then the women behind the bar offers us the opportunity to “buy the Pig a beer or two”. Ah-ok! We buy the beer, head to the paddock to find Priscilla and the minute she saw us she made a bee-line not to us, but to the beer. Holy pig can she guzzle it down.