A Taste of America in Melbourne

United States of America. Land of the free. Home of the deep fried twinky. In recent times, Melbournians have been captivated by the flavours of the South, with a host of new American influenced eateries pulling crowds across the city. Admittedly, it isn’t the most healthiest of cuisines with deep fried chicken waffles and artery clogging burgers making frequent appearances. But as Paula Dean would say ” I don’t want to spend my life not having good food going into my pie hole.” I couldn’t agree more (in moderation).

The following is a selection of Americana food tried recently in Melbourne:

1. Nieuw Amsterdam

If Southern food could wear a top-hat and proclaim ‘Toodle-oo’, Nieuw Amsterdam would be it’s fancy cousin. Hidden away in Hardware Street, is a modern interpretation of traditional american cuisine. Clam chowders arrive deconstructed, and waffles are decked out with pate, terrine and crispy chicken skin. The Pitt Grill will satisfy the meat lovers, where meat is smoked in a ‘pit’ barbeque. A tad different from the ol’ barbie, but equally as delicious. The standout dish was the Clam Chowder. The mixture of thickly cut bacon, potatoes and fresh clams enveloped in a thick clam stock was sinfully creamy and delectable. Prices were also reasonable, paying only $35/head for a content belly. The winner of best casual diner definitely deserves its crown.

Chicken Waffles 

Chicken Waffles

Grits Fritters

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3D Printing in Fashion

3D printing has been a driving force in design and engineering, revolutionising the way materials are used. Initially, the technique was used to produce prototypes, to test and trial a new design, before embarking on a costly manufacturing process. These days, innovative fashion designers use the technology to create stunning wearable architectural pieces.

Designers such as Iris Van Herpen pioneered the technology, incorporating 3D printing techniques into the ‘Crystallisation Collection‘.  The stunning pieces were inspired by the liquidity of water and it’s properties of crystallisation. In more recent times, techniques have evolved to allow for the use of multiple materials. Designers have moved away from rigid contours, instead incorporating a mixture of soft and hard materials, crucial to the movability of the garment. Although the grandeur of wearable architecture can captivate a runway audience, unless you are Lady Gaga, they aren’t exactly the most practical of garments.  With innovation in multi-material printing, we can expect to see less rigid contours and softer textures.

In Australia, Amelia Agosta’s Haute Tech collection was a sight to behold. Mixing conventional and innovative techniques, Amelia created pieces that articulated an architectural silhouette, whilst using soft fabrics that enveloped the female form to soften the overall look. 3D printing has progressed significantly over time. Who knows, perhaps we will be able to print our own outfits one day?

Amelia Agosta 

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Hopetoun Tea Rooms

The historic Block Arcade houses a classic 19th century tea house, adorned in Art Decor furnishings and a stunningly vivid green wallpaper. The Hopetoun tea rooms were named after the wife of Victoria’s first governor. It was the destination of choice for ladies of the time, dressed in their fineries for an afternoon of tea sipping and cake tasting. What sets this tea house apart from the myriad of dessert houses in Melbourne, is the picturesque window front and it’s old-world feel. Tourists happily snap away hoping to capture the full width, whilst queues form outside to enter the cosy tea house.

The tarts and cakes are centred on traditional recipes. The absolute standout is the Pavlova, achieving a harmonious balance between soft and hard meringue segments. It comes embedded with fresh fruits, tempered chocolate and raspberry coulis for added zest. Out of all the pavlovas I have tasted in Melbourne, nothing beats the Hopetoun version. Specials may also include the theatrics of a bombe alaska, where a meringue dome is doused in whisky before the dessert is set alight. Savoury lunch and high tea platters are also available for those seeking more than tea. Hopetoun is a great place to bring out-of-towners, their attention will surely be captured by the elegant windows that have become a tourist icon.

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Bomb Alaska 

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Healthy Foods That You Need To Be Careful With

The sun is shining and summer is fast approaching. Some of us may be lamenting over our winter food bellies and casting a second thought to choices in food. Pizza and burgers are definitely out of the question, but not all high calorie foods are unhealthy. The following healthy foods are fantastic in moderation with plenty of nutrients and energy; however, refrain from eating too much, as they may cause you to exceed your daily energy limit. I must emphasise that I am not recommending to stray from these foods, but merely to be wary of how much you consume.

1. Smoothies/Juices

Loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, smoothies can be a great source of vitamins; however it is probably the one that is most misunderstood amongst dieters. Because it is in liquid form, and contains plentiful amounts of fruit, many have become privy to believing that limitless amounts of smoothies and juices have an inconsequential effect on their calorie intake. For instance, a typical original sized smoothie from Boost, can contain upwards  of 455 calories. I don’t know about you, but I generally consume Boost as a snack or as a drink accompanying my meal. If you add this to the calories you assume day-to-day, you can imagine that multiple smoothies can really add up. Being a short female, 1300 calories is approximately the amount I consume for weight maintenance. If I were to consume two original smoothies, that would equate to approx 900/1300 of my daily limit, without having even eaten anything. Personally, I adore smoothies, just be careful of how much you consume. Nothing beats water and fresh fruit, if health is your goal. Continue reading

Cobb Lane

Amongst the narrow streets of Yarraville, sits Cobb Lane – a cafe and artisan bakery known for its sweet offerings and freshly baked goods. The star of the show is pastry chef Matt Forbes – with an impressive resume ranging from Michelin star Noma, to hatted restaurants such as Vue De Monde. Cobb Lane was born amongst heavy fanfare, having previously supplied various Melbourne cafes with beloved sweet treats. There are certainly no boring cakes at this Yarraville landmark.

Sweet highlights include the Yuzu White Chocolate Tart, a celebration of the Asian citrus fruit, balanced by clouds of indulgent white chocolate and buttery pastry. If decadence is more your style, consider the salted caramel and cardamon tart. The lustrous glisten of the dark chocolate filling, would make any chocolate devotee swoon . This tart is for serious sweet lovers and best shared, with layers of salted caramel and dark chocolate accentuated with highlights of cardamon. For the next creation, a thin disc of tempered chocolate rests upon dollops of jasmine infused lemon curd, chocolate mousse and a soft pistachio base. Simply yum.

Yuzu White Chocolate Tart

Yuzu

Salted Caramel & Cardamon Tart

Salted Caramel & Cardamon tart

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Ramen Burger – Shizuku Ramen

Shizuku is a Japanese restaurant, newly opened amongst the Vietnamese eateries of Victoria St. Ramen joints seem to be opening left, right and centre, thriving on the cold weather and appetites for warm soupy broths. Fukuryu, Hakata Gensuke and the Little Ramen bar attract substantial queues in the CBD. If lining up is not your fancy, consider Shizuku Ramen, a newly opened Japanese restaurant whose differentiating factors are it’s craft beer offerings and the peculiar ramen burger.

Novelty is like receiving a new toy. The first bite of a cronut, your first taste of McDonalds or queuing for the latest, trendiest restaurant .  The ramen burger is a perfect example of novelty in food. Similar to many great food trends that have emanated from New York, the burger is a combination of two disparate food groups that have formed a questionable new food. In all honesty, a ramen burger sounded weird at first, but as those youngsters say – “YOLO”.

Surprisingly, the burger tasted decent. Shizuku’s version contained a sizeable chunk of braised pork belly, sandwiched between two ramen noodle patties. The accompanying sauce was sweet and the pork belly was melt in the mouth goodness. My only disappointment was that the ramen patties lacked seasoning. Is the ramen burger the next cronut? We’ll let the Melbournites decide.

Ramen burger

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