Eat here: Addict Food & Coffee, Melbourne 

Addict Food & Coffee 240 – 242 Johnston St, Fitzroy, Melbourne https://www.facebook.com/addictmelbourne IMG_7536 I realise this next statement may make me sound like yet another Melbourne hipster, but quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I love a good weekend brunch. Particularly in the Fitzroy/Collingwood region. Yup. Hipster. In my defense, they’ve been my favourite suburbs for a long time now, since I went to uni in the area, years before the hipster revolution. Now I sound like an old hipster. Crap. So, Addict is one of the newer kids on the block, having been around for about a year now. The fact that it’s taken me this long to get there because every time I’ve been past it’s been absolutely jam packed with a line out the front speaks quite highly of it already! Last weekend, we decided to roll out of bed on Sunday morning and head straight on over, hoping that our naturally early rising body clocks would beat the hipsters; we were right 😉 IMG_7529This may be the first coffee shot on my blog – see, I’m not a stereotypical hipster, I hate coffee! My husband used to as well, but he’s converted. Sell out. He said it was really good though, so if you’re a coffee person like 98.97% of other Melbournians, this is a good option. I’m a nanna, so I got a pot of tea. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. But we weren’t there for drinks, we were there for food. And food we ate; there were too many amazing options, so we decided to combine them all with the breakfast board! Clockwise from top right, you’ve got – Potato hash nuggets – Grilled cheese kransky – Cured ocean trout – Perfectly poached eggs – Toast with relish – Even more perfect french toast with berries and mascarpone and berry coulis IMG_7533 This may be one of the best breaky spreads going around. Honestly. There wasn’t a single thing on this board that I didn’t like. Picking a favourite is pretty much impossible too. Actually, it is. I loved everything on there. And surprisingly good value at $32.00 for the words. It would comfortably fill up two normal people. But we’re pigs, and I wanted to try the coconut chia pudding with mango puree and strawberries. So we got that too. IMG_7535 Outstanding chia pudding, the coconut cream was smooth and properly creamy, the mango puree was great, made even better by the little chunks of peach hidden within it. And the puffed buckwheat was the crunchy icing on the chia pudding cake. I know everyone is doing a variation of this, but Addict’s was totally on point. And perfectly sized, too – not impossibly big, not tiny. And the other thing that makes or breaks a place, in my opinion; the service. Absolutely top notch, even with the long weekend craziness. We were well and truly looked after, even my request for a cinnamon-less serving of French toast was fine, and as an even more pleasant surprise, it was not only service with a smile, but service with personality and fun! Some people might not care, they’re just there for breaky, but first thing on a Sunday morning, it makes the world of difference to be served by someone who looks like they’re having a good time, and not pissed off to be helping you! I’m kinda pissed off with myself, though, for having been so put off by the crowds now. I wish I’d visited a year ago when they first opened. I wish I’d been visiting regularly. The weekend is coming up again, which means the hipsters are starting to plan their weekend brunches. Put this place on your list, hipster or not. That said, if brunching with delicious food makes me hipster, pass me the super tight jeans and ironic accessories, and meet me at Addict!

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Cook this: Nonna Gemma’s buttery, salty French toast

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I’ve been a bit flat lately. I’ve been feeling like crap, physically ill, on and off, for months now, and really can’t work out why. Actually, it may be years, not months, if I’m being honest. There’s a lot going on, both mentally and physically, and on the physical side I’m being tested for gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, iron, vitamin D, thyroid, etc stuff. Mentally & emotionally is a bit more complicated. I think one of the contributing factors is missing my grandmother.

It still feels weird to talk about her in the past tense, that she doesn’t “exist” anymore. I don’t like writing that she “was” a big part of my life; she still is. She helped raise me as a child. She taught me to knit and hand stitch in her sewing room. She taught me to pick out good produce at the market, and then to cook it like a pro. She made outfit after outfit for me, including my deb (debutant ball) dress. And the veil I wore on my wedding day. She gave me crap for my ripped jeans, asking if they needed mending, and telling me that wearing them wasn’t cool. She always started phone conversations by asking if I’d eaten (no, it’s not some Italian joke, she legit asked every time), and how Marley, my dog, was going. After she’d told me off for not answering my phone earlier in the day (Sorry Nonna, I’ve been at work. “Why?!” was her response, most of the time – I could never tell if she was serious or just taking the piss).

Anyway, I live with a teacher, and as such I now observe the comings and goings of the school terms. I guess my dis-ease came to a boiling point this week, because when husband told me he was totally ready for school holidays, the most random thing happened. A memory filled my head and took over for a second, like one of those crazy movie flashbacks… I was a primary school aged kid again, at Nonna’s house – I’d usually stay at her house a few nights every school holidays, so we could just hang out together and do stuff that mum wouldn’t let me do. I was sitting at the bench in the kitchen, on the wooden stool you can see in the picture below, where we had breakfast together, watching her cook French toast for us. And I felt my soul crack a little. It’s cracking again right now, as I type this.

Nonna would work SO intently at her little stove top, making sure our breakfast was just right. Everything had to be perfect for her grand children, especially the food. Our favourite breakfast was French toast, made with thick, fresh Italian bread, cooked in an absolutely ludicrous amount of butter, with more than a sprinkle of salt. It was always perfectly crispy and golden without ever burning. She was a master, really.

Anyway, I’ve been told to load up on gluten before being tested, so screw it – last weekend it was French toast for breakfast! Yes, it’s indulgent, and no, it’s not going to benefit you to eat this regularly. But sometimes when your soul is crying out for a hug, comfort food is where it’s at. Here’s my best attempt to re-create Nonna’s French toast.

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It was pretty simple – a few eggs and milk whisked together, dip the bread in (I went a la Nonna and used a loaf of Italian bread, bought from the Preston market, sliced myself with the crusts removed – stop judging me) and fry up on a non-stick pan containing a small ocean of butter. And yes, I added some fruit to try to justify all of the butter and carbs. I also went on a really freakin long 15km walk after I ate this!!! It also cheered me up a bit, and goodness knows I needed it. If you need a pick me up too this weekend, whip yourself up a plate of this buttery deliciousness this weekend – trust Nonna Gemma, it’ll make you happy!

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