Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pizza Meine Liebe

Where: Pizza Meine Liebe 
What: An early weekend dinner
Rating: 14/20

I have had to listen to my "trendoid" friends from the northern suburbs of Melbourne rave about Pizza Meine Liebe for some time. I personally am amused by the establishment's choice of name - an homage to an Austrian-Italian border town? I have no idea!

What I do know is that I was glad to share a cosy meal with a group of close friends at the eatery on Saturday night.

The four of us split a salad; a "Ring of Fire" pizza (pictured top right); an artichoke pizza with extra garlic (pictured bottom right); and a "Pizza 4 Kate" (pictured bottom left), all washed down with a few bottles of pear cider. The first two pizzas were good - very good, in fact. Not quite outstanding, but certainly recommended. The Ring of Fire didn't quite live up to its name (not that you want to know these sorts of details!) - specifically, it may have benefitted from a greater chilli kick. Nonetheless, I would happily order it again. The artichoke pizza was likewise delicious - the extra garlic was the stroke of genius of my best friend, who thought it would help improve her head cold. I'm not sure about improving her head cold, but it definitely lifted the pizza.

The Pizza 4 Kate (tomato, fior di latte, basil, chilli, prawns and semi-dried tomatoes) was not my favourite. However, my opinion was probably swayed by way of a direct comparison with my local pizza joint's "l'Olivo" pizza (standard Friday night fare in this household), which runs rings around its PML counterpart. The feature ingredient (the prawns) were just okay and were really not bursting with juicy flavour as expected.

Would I return to PML? Certainly, if I was in the area, but I probably wouldn't make the trek from the other side of town...

 Pizza Meine Liebe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Loving me some Chobani!

Many of my favourite US food/healthy living blogs have raved about America's top selling yoghurt - Chobani (see, for example, Meals and Miles and Daily Garnish). When I got wind of the company's arrival in Australia, I was understandably excited to try this purportedly amazing yoghurt and headed straight to my nearest Woolworths for some yoghurt love (currently, Woolworths is the only major chain that stocks the product in Oz). I picked up an assortment of fruity flavours and commenced "operation: yoghurt scoff" to discover that not only did the yoghurts taste just as good as my US counterparts claimed, but that the little tubs ticked a whole lot of other boxes. Specifically, they:
  • are all natural with no preservatives or artificial flavours;
  • include lots of pro-biotic-y (yes, that is the technical term!) goodness;
  • are full of *real* fruit that still has a bit of texture;
  • have twice the protein of regular yoghurts; and
  • come in a perfectly portion-controlled size. 
I was so enamoured by my mango Chobani that I declared my delight to the Twitterverse. A few days later, this arrived at my doorstep:

That's right - the awesome folk of Chobani Australia delivered a colourful assortment of their finest right to my door! *commence happy dance*

Even this little guy was impressed.

I immediately cracked open a plain yoghurt and mixed into it some home made muesli and a drizzle of honey. 

My beloved, strange as he is, combined a peach Chobani with freshly baked sun-dried tomato and olive bread - I am marrying the man, so I can't be too critical of his evidently strange way of combining flavours, right?!

A big thanks to Chobani for their generosity - I am most definitely a fan. 
Here's my take on their yoghurt:

The good?
As can be expected from a Greek yoghurt, Chobani is thick, creamy and tastes like *real* yoghurt - much better than the numerous runny supermarket alternatives. The portions are perfectly sized and the sugar and fat contents both make me happy. 

The bad?
Honestly not much. Perhaps the price is a little high (around $1.50 per tub/serving), but for the quality and taste, I really can't complain.

The in-between?
I remain envious of the array of Chobani flavours on offer in the US and hope that the company considers expanding their Australian range (may I suggest pomegranate and apple cinnamon?).

Disclosure: Chobani provided their yoghurts to me free of charge. However, all opinions are entirely mine - pinky swear!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The last month

This last month has evidently been a quiet blogging month for yours truly, so I thought I'd note down a few highlights since my return from Hong Kong:
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival - we only got to four shows this year, but, as always, had an absolute blast. My personal highlight was Judith Lucy - just brilliant!
  • Brunch at Home Dining Room in Hawthorn: standard breakfast fare cooked to perfection.
  • A visit to +39 for my beloved's birthday. Fantastic Buffalo mozzarella pizza, washed down with a Nutella and strawberry pizza.
  • Breakfast at Oaks Café at Acorn Nursery, Surrey Hills. Despite catering to an older crowd, this place knows how to please all ages - my quinoa muesli with poached pears was absolutely delightful.
  • A wonderful Latin American dinner at Los Latinos - two big thumbs up. Probably the most authentic, flavourful food from this part of the world that I have had the pleasure of enjoying in Melbourne. 
  • Lots of footy (AFL) matches - go the mighty Magpies (have I now lost all my followers?) 
  • My hens day!! Involving a blissful treatment at Aurora Spa in St Kilda, followed by "drinkies" at Circa and high tea at the Langham pictured below (yes, there were penis straws, but the girls did pretty well at restraining themselves otherwise).
  • Picking up the dress and enjoying seeing people's reactions when I tell them it's black (yes, it really is black).
  • The arrival of some overseas "peeps" for our "holy connubials" (am I the only one stoked about the Kath and Kim film coming out later in the year?!) later in May. Subsequently, my beloved and I have become the subjects of some extreme generosity.  
  • Then there's the boring stuff, like full-time work and submitting MBA assignments - oh the joy... 
Clearly, it's been a busy few weeks!

Acorn Nursery - Oaks cafe on Urbanspoon +39 Pizzeria on Urbanspoon Home Dining Room on Urbanspoon Aria Bar & Lounge on Urbanspoon Los Latinos on Urbanspoon Circa, the Prince on Urbanspoon

Hong Kong: Day 6

Yes, yes, an incredibly protracted trip report, I know. Here's a summary of my last day frolicking in Hong Kong:

Day 6 started with a sore throat and the beginnings of what would turn into a pretty rotten head cold (always the way when you take your foot off life's accelerator, right?!). Thankfully, I knew that my own bed was not far away and decided to "suck it up" (in a gross literal sort of way!) and make the most of my last day away. Mum and I headed to a vegetarian yum cha establishment for brunch - Light Vegetarian Restaurant on Nathan Rd). We had enjoyed this place on a previous visit, but were a little disappointed this time. The service was particularly slow and the dumplings (pictured below) were on the starchy/gluggy side.

Our final dish was, however, a hit - thick rice noodles with various sauces (Cheung Fun) - slippery perfection for a sore throat.

Our final afternoon in Hong Kong was spent running around Mong Kok to pick up last minute gifts. My beloved scored another few items of clothing from the Ladies Market (may I recommend one of the vendors who prints straight onto T-shirts - very reasonably priced and far nicer designs to choose from than the usual copies) and a few scarves, bags and other bits and pieces were also picked up for a bargain to bring back to friends and family.

As travel time approached, we headed back to our hotel to pick up luggage and took a taxi to Kowloon station, where the Airport Express train was only minutes away (I've said it once and I'll say it again, public transport in Hong Kong is AMAZING!). 

Our flight home was much better than expected thanks to the lovely staff at Qantas (and no, I'm not being paid to say that!). We spent a good 20 minutes chatting with a very sweet hostess, who was kind enough to find a free row for us to lie across in "cattle class" - obviously, the plane was not even at half capacity or this would have been impossible. We were later brought some business class toiletries, along with a first class immigration pass, which allowed us to pass through the staff/diplomat/ridiculously wealthy short queue at Melbourne immigration. What we did to deserve such hospitable treatment eludes me, but boy, was I happy with Qantas upon disembarking in Melbourne. I even felt compelled to write a brief note of thanks to management (something I would never ordinarily do). And no, I'm really not being paid to write this!!

Fourth time around, Hong Kong was, as always, fantastic. I simply love the energy of the place. I must say that towards the end of our stay (with a looming head cold), I was getting frustrated by the lack of fresh air (my only options were humid smog or icy air conditioning). However, after being back in Melbourne for roughly a month, I can say with confidence: Hong Kong, you *still* haven't seen the last of me!