Eat here: favourites revisited – Rockwell & Sons, Nieuw Amsterdam and Shortstop Donuts, Melbourne

Wednesday afternoon – congratulations friends, we made it past half way this week already! And honestly, if you’d asked me on Monday night, I wasn’t even sure I’d get to Tuesday arvo! Remember back on Monday when I said it was gonna be a long, trying week? Well, yup…

Monday night saw me teaching my second class at Laneway Learning, which was scary, but I got through it! And hopefully I was able to help some fellow FODMAPpers enjoy their sweet treats while looking after their stomachs 🙂 Last night was an even tougher one – I realised last week that I was starting to go under again, so I pulled on my big girl pants, and made an appointment to see a new psychologist who specialises in eating disorders, because if I’m being honest with myself (if I’m feeling really ballsy, I might even try to write a bit about it), that’s something I really need help with. And it’ll be really nice to have someone on my side to help!

Not that I’m totally alone right now – I’m one of those lucky clichéd bitches who can honestly say they married their best friend. Over a decade together, and I can truly say that he has always been there. He’s seen me at my best, but also at my worst. He’s knows me better than my friends, my sisters, my parents, anyone. When he sees me struggling, he reminds me that more often than not, I’m actually strong enough to fight my own battles. But if I start to drown, he’s there, without hesitation, questions or judgement, to scoop me up and bring me back. It’s never been an option for him not to support me; I shudder to think of how things would have ended up for me without him.

But here we are, two best friends who love each other to bits, occasionally shit each other to tears, and wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in the sunshine eating good food with anyone else! As I wrote on Monday, Melbourne stepped up with a beautiful, sunny spring weekend – we kicked it off with pancakes in our backyard on Saturday morning, and visited a few favourite spots over the rest of the weekend for some backyard exploration and some amazing eats.

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I haven’t written a heap about the disordered eating portion of my current shit storm, but basically I’m dealing with a bingeing/throwing up/restricting cycle. Over the weekend I wanted to just enjoy some down time with my husband and some good food sans guilt, so I challenged myself to eat at some of our favourite spots without overindulging, without bingeing, without feeling the need to throw up afterwards or restrict my food the next day. Mission mostly successful, food completely delicious, and still highly recommending these places upon second blog reviews! Here’s how the weekend played out on the plate…

 

Rockwell & Sons
288 Smith St, Collingwood
http://www.rockwellandsons.com.au/

Original review: March 2014
Re-visits since:
three
Order this:
There’s really only one thing you can order here – the double patty smash burger ($12).

We tried adding bacon this time around, but it was actually pretty disappointing – super dry and cardboardy. This is one of the rare burgers that actually does not need bacon to improve it. It can’t be improved. Just order it as is, and enjoy the magic that is a truly perfectly smashed patty. Oh, and don’t forget the fries with the malt vinegar aioli… wow.

Rockwell and Sons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 


Nieuw Amsterdam
106 – 112 Hardware St, Melbourne
http://www.nieuwamsterdam.com.au/

Original review: June 2014
Re-visits sinc
e: three
Order this: the lunch menu is amazing at the moment. Get a Cubano sandwich ($12) piled up with pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on a perfectly soft and yet still somehow crunchy roll. And add chips for $3.00.

Also, seeing as they do BBQ particularly well, get yourself a meat tray – we went with a large serving of brisket ($13) + a small serving of ribs ($9) served with fries, slaw, pickle and a few slices of super perfect bread (+ $6).

Still a favourite place of mine. Also, try the cheeseburger – you won’t be disappointed!

Nieuw Amsterdam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 


Shortstop Coffee & Donuts
12 Sutherland St, Melbourne
https://www.short-stop.com.au/

Original review: October 2014
Re-visits sinc
e: three
Order this: everything. Order everything. Just get all of the donuts. This particular visit entailed a whiskey maple bacon raised donut ($4.50), which we both agreed was the best, best donut either of us had ever had. And if you’re a regular around here, you know I eat a fair few donuts. Light. Fluffy. Soft. Perfect.

Also, a cake style peanut butter, caramel and chocolate donut ($4.50). Chocolate cake donut. Gooey salted PB caramel. Salted peanuts atop chocolate frosting. It was like a cakey Snickers, but better.

Yes, I know, $9.00 for two donuts! So extravagant! So much money for dessert! SO WORTH IT!!! And you just won’t get it until you try them, so just go and do it this week – take my word for it, you will not regret spending that donut money!

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

Now, how can you possibly have a bad weekend when you’re enjoying food like that in the sunshine with your best friend?!

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Eat here: Sookie La La, Melbourne (cafe)

Sookie La La
593 High St, Northcote
http://www.sookielaladiner.com.au/

In their own words, Sookie La La is a “diner style café serving sundaes, shakes, delicious Wide Open Road coffee, bagels, waffles and New York deli style sandwiches.” Sounds pretty good, huh?! This is one of those places I’ve driven past a million times, always noticed the big, simple black & white DINER sign hanging over the sidewalk, and still somehow never stopped. Until last weekend, when I decided it was finally time to get past the front window see what it was all about. I called upon one of my best friends for some girl time and delicious food, and we were not disappointed.

This cute-as-pie little eatery has everything you’d want and expect from a diner; cosy booths lining the far wall, a picture perfect little bar/counter, bright yellow and red condiment bottles on the table, and some seriously friendly but sassy staff to make you feel right at home.

They’ve made a name for themselves in the sandwich game, but the specials board was calling E’s name – she went with the cheeseburger and fries. Amazing, and she said she highly recommends trying one if it manages to stay on the specials board. She also had the most gorgeous picture perfect classic chocolate milk shake (they also have some more exotic stuff like the maple peanut butter, lemon slice, snickers and cherry ripe) complete with red & white stripey swirled straw. It even had the frothy bubbles on top. I so wish I liked milkshakes…

I heard the Cuban calling my name, because a) it seemed the most low FODMAP friendly and b) it just sounded bloody delicious, what with the ham and roast pork and swiss cheese and pickles… and fries, obviously. They were kind enough to make it with gluten free bread, too, and I think may be the first place I’ve ever been to who didn’t charge me more for my bodily intolerances! They were also more than happy to give me the honey mustard mayo on the side (on a side note, I decided to test things out and put a little on my sandwich. Didn’t end real well later on that afternoon. Fructose is definitely not my friend..), which was refreshing not to be sighed at like I was some weirdo health freak who was happy to have a meaty sandwich and fries, but didn’t want to have the fattening condiment – I swear I’m not like that!!!

The sandwich was delicious – chock full of meat, the pickles were unreal, even the GF bread was really good! And those fries… every single one was golden crunchy perfection. Not a single soggy chippy in there. Happy days.

 

I thought I was done after that, but miss E decided a sundae was in order, so we were with the most FODMAP friendly looking one – a coconut sorbet sundae with toasted coconut and chocolate sauce and some perfectly sweet and acidic berry sauce business on top. THAT’S how sundaes should be done. Big thank you to the server who suggested that we’d be total softies if we finished up  our lady date without dessert – it was the deliciously perfect end to the meal and totally worth the slight stomach ache later on!! That coconut sorbet was phenomenal!

I also caught sight of a seriously sexy dessert display on our way out, and am already pretty keen on another visit for a smoked salon bagel and some pie…

It’s no wonder the hipsters are flocking to the Northern suburbs in zombie hoards right now – with food like this in quiet little Thornbury, you’d be mental to go anywhere else! Oh, and they’re open until 9pm tonight… and back in business at 8am tomorrow… go on, you know you want to 😉

 

Sookie La La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Parkway Bakery & Tavern, New Orleans, USA

Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans
http://www.parkwaypoorboys.com

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I was having a sook yesterday via Instagram about a) boredom levels of sitting in a hospital room for a few hours getting hydrogen breath testing done to work out what the hell is wrong with my body and what foods it doesn’t like, b) hunger levels after 15 hours fasting, and c) very, very high “take me back to New Orleans” levels, exacerbated by listening to Trombone Shorty and scrolling through the AMAZING work of Seph Lawless, who’s been shooting in NoLa, whilst in said waiting room. Hunger and take-me-back factors combined, and had me thinking about how badly I wished I had a left nut to give for another proper, legit, New Orleans po-boy. Damn…

If you’re like me and prioritise eating well when you’re travelling, chances are you might do a little Google search for must eat items in the places you’re visiting. When I performed this ceremonious task for New Orleans, Parkway Bakery & Tavern just kept coming up. It also made appearances on various travel/food shows I watched leading up to the trip. So, obviously, it made its way onto the list.

Parkway is a true New Orleans institution, having opened in 1911, changing ownership in the early 1920’s, and having the signature po’ boy introduced in 1929 to help feed the poor and hungry victims of the street car strike. It’s changed hands a few more times, going through a few periodical closings and openings… you can read more about the history of Parkway here, but all you really need to know is that they make really damn good sandwiches.

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First thing you need to know before you visit is that this place is insanely, inhumanely busy, ALL THE TIME! If you want a quick lunch, you’re in the wrong place; you need to adopt the attitude that it’s an experience, not just a quick feed. We arrived  literally 5 minutes before opening time, and the line was already snaking its way through the restaurant itself, through the indoor entryway, out the front and spilling onto the street. We waited just under 45 minutes to get to the counter and place our orders, and the incredible thing was, we did not hear a single word of complaint from anyone in line! If anything, there was an atmosphere of gratitude, to be able to have the opportunity and good fortune to be lining up for this stuff… amazing! Anyway, use your time wisely while you’re in line – grab a menu and start studying, because if you don’t know what you want when you get to the front and become “that guy” who holds everyone up, I have a feeling the happy atmosphere will turn on you pretty quickly.

Anyway, our minds were made up well and truly before we hit the counter – we couldn’t decide between a fried shrimp and a roast beef, so we got the Surf & Turf and enjoyed the best of both worlds! We saw the monster sandwiches coming past us while we were lined up so opted to just get the one, as well as a serve of sweet potato fries and a bread pudding with rum sauce, because why the hell not?

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So. Po Boy. There are truly not many foods I’d be able to justify a 45 minute wait for; this is one of those very rare exceptions. Shrimp – crispy and golden outside, tender and white inside. Beef – soft, tender, smothered in the most tasty gravy you can imagine. Bread – soft and fluffy and just crunchy enough. And perfectly dressed with tomato, lettuce and mayo. It was just a really, deliciously perfect sandwich, and I couldn’t be happier we made the trip out there for it!

The sweet potato fries were nice, but not necessary due to the size of the sandwich. And unfortunately for me, the bread pudding was smothered in cinnamon, so I had a dessert of more sweet potato fries (no, I don’t eat cinnamon. It makes me gag. Eww.), which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 

Verdict: absolutely fantastic po boy, easy to see why it’s always a contender for the best in the city. And not only is the food unreal, the atmosphere and experience of it all is so much fun, too! Consider it a must visit while you’re in New Orleans.

 

Parkway Bakery & Tavern on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Chew Burgers, Preston, Melbourne

Chew Burgers, Preston, Melbourne
http://www.chew.net.au/

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

We live in the Northern suburbs, in an incredibly multicultural area, where you’ll find standard Aussie pubs sharing the same street as Indian, Thai, Italian, Lebanese and Chinese restaurants. Which is why we love it so much. But what the area lacks is a good old fashioned burger place. When we heard about Chew opening a few suburbs away, we put it on the burgers-to-try list. On our way out to meet a friend for a drink over the weekend, we realised we’d just driven past the place; we were running early, so we turned the car around, parked, and decided to give it a try!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Started up by three mates, three locals, who identified that Preston was missing a good burger joint, they opened up this place next to a favourite drinking hole of theirs, Racoon Bar. They use local ingredients, make their sauces in house, and keep it simple. It pays off.

I ordered the namesake burger, The Chew (brioche bun, 190g wagyu beef, cos lettuce, tomato, pickle, cheddar, mustard and aioli – $12.00), husband went The Plenty (brioche bun, 2 x 190g wagyu beef, cos lettuce, tomato, pickle, cheddar, bacon, mustard, aioli, smoke & dire sauce and zucchini pickles – $16.00), and a side of Parmesan shoestring fries ($3.50)

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

My burger was bloody fantastic, but did require several (5 in total) napkins for the extreme juice factor. The pattie was soft enough to crumble when you bit it, but held together really well, and had a simple but really nice flavour. Great burger pattie-to-bun ratio, and the bun was really nicely toasted, so it really didn’t go soggy (amazing feat considering the juiciness!!). Simple but delicious and noticeably fresh accompaniments of lettuce and tomato, and the aioli was unreal.

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

The shoestring fries were perfect – not over or under-done, just crunchy enough. That said, the Parmesan salt really didn’t have a strong Parmesan flavour – option for a side of dipping sauce would have made these just about perfect.

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

All in all, bloody great effort from these three mates, we’re ecstatic to finally have not just a passable, but brag-able burger in the area, and will most definitely be back!

 

Chew Burgers on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew, Melbourne (Burgers)

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew, Melbourne

http://www.brotherburger.com.au/

We’ve eaten here before, husband and I. We were on our way to a concert last year, having already eaten dinner, and were driving past this place on the way. We’re both burger fiends, and the glowing, little, neon hamburger out the front drew us in like moths to the flame. We weren’t even remotely hungry, but it looked really cool place, and I’d heard good things about it, so we somehow made room for a second dinner. We thought we remembered it being a pretty good burger, but we weren’t 100% sure because we weren’t actually hungry when we ate it…

Anyway, we decided we were well overdue for another trip, to test it out on a hungry stomach. We rounded up a few mates and made our way into Brunswick Street last night, and settled in for a good time. The boys’ eyes started to pop out of their heads at the sight of the beer menu, while I went straight to the burger list.

We decided to try some of the snacks first – yes, they all look the same, but the little guys on the tray in the middle with the chilli sauce were croquettes of spiced potato, polenta and cheese, and the plates to either side were BB’s own Chik-O-Rolls – a crumbed and deep fried home to some really tasty pulled lamb and veggies. Seriously tasty.

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But let’s get down to business – the burger. I went with The Plain (100% wagyu beef patty with lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard mayo), with bacon and cheese. Because everything is better with bacon and cheese. Also got a side of french fries with ketchup and mustard mayo. Before the burger, a quick word on the mustard mayo. WOWWWW!!!!! This stuff is unreal!!!!! Ohh my goodness, it was seriously delicious!!! And I don’t even really like mustard all that much!

But the burger. This was amazing. Melbourne’s American/burger/diner epidemic is really making me happy right now, because a good burger is my favourite thing. And this was another bloody good burger. The bun was toasted just enough on the inside to make sure it didn’t get soggy under the weight of the condiments, the cheese was melty good, it was just greasy enough to make it feel like a good, sexy burger, without being so greasy you felt sick after it. The bacon and the patty were as good together as Han Solo and Chewbacca, and it was just an all round party in my mouth. I looked up when I realised everyone was silent to see a table full of wide eyes, furiously chewing mouths, and pure bliss all around me.

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After much discussion, it was decided upon that there’s really not much better in life than a truly good burger. A good chicken parma was thrown up, but I mentioned that I can’t remember, nor do I talk about, even the best parmas I’ve had, yet I can tell you exactly about the best burgers I’ve eaten. A good burger sticks in your mind for way, way longer than a good parma, a good pizza, a good steak. And this is a good burger. This is up there in my top 5 in Melbourne at the moment. Please go and eat one if you live in Melbourne. You won’t regret it.

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Rockwell and Sons, Melbourne (American)

Rockwell and Sons, Melbourne
http://www.rockwellandsons.com.au

You know the age old “what would eat for the rest of your life of you could only choose one thing?” question? Yeah, burgers for me, thanks.

I’m not a fancy diner, nor am I a particularly lady-like one when there are burgers involved. You know it’s business time when I’m pushing up my sleeves and tying my hair back so it doesn’t fall into the sauce.

Personally, I’m loving this whole American food kick Melbourne is on at the moment – every second place opening up seems to be USA-style, from burgers to dogs, po boys to subs, and I’m very ok with that! I love it all (except pickles. Not into pickles)!

I emailed husband at work 2 weeks ago and suggested a Friday night post-work burger & beer (well, beer for him, cider for me); he was keen. Sadly, upon arrival at Rockwell & Sons, we found it wouldn’t be opening for another 40 minutes. We were in a rush, so we ate elsewhere that night, but we returned the following week to give it a whirl.

We each got a double patty smash burger with Kraft cheese singles & special sauce on a toasty brioche bun, with a side of fries.

First off, let me say, top notch fries! It’s always a risk that they’re just not going to be quite crunchy enough, that there might be too many soggy ones and not enough seasoning. These were perfect, and the malt vinegar aioli was finished very quickly. I may have wiped up the remnants with my finger and licked it off. No shame, it was that good.

As for the burgers… Now, when I say I’ve eaten a freakin truck load of burgers in my time, I cannot even begin to tell you how many that truly is. It’s been my favourite meal since day dot, and I’ve taken great pleasure over the years in eating as many as my 5’7 frame can possibly fit.

Rockwell’s burger would have to be a top 3 ever burger contender.

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Bun – perfect, buttery, toasty enough to hold it all it sans sog, soft enough to melt on your mouth.
Special sauce – really f#^$@ng special. Really.
Kraft cheese – historically my cheese of choice on home made burgers. Couldn’t have been happier!
Patties – this smashed patty business is something else (google it – I had to!). Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside, perfectly seasoned for my liking.

At only $11 for a burger, we were absolutely stoked with dinner, and kinda just wanted to go home for a nap and then go back for another one.

Also, special mention to the staff, particularly the guy who looked after us, who came back to check in on us twice to make sure everything was hunky dory. You guys make a huge difference to the dining public and don’t get enough kudos, so thank you!

We will without a doubt be going back. Oh my, we WILL be back…

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon