Cellar Doors

Today we drove down to the Mornington Peninsula (about an hour outside of Melbourne) to visit three wineries — Foxeys Hangout, T’Gallant, and Montalto — for tastings and lunch. We liked Foxeys best, because it is smaller and has greater variety in terms of reasonably priced food, although all three are worth a visit (mid-week would probably be better to avoid the crowds). Here are some snaps.

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The Great Australian Breakfast

I have finally arrived in Melbourne, the place that, along with NYC, I consider home. I come here each year to visit my friends, and being here a nice break from “the road.” I have alluded to it in past posts, but Melbourne is a serious foodie city. Australia generally has amazing produce — fruit and veg, meat, fish, dairy, wine, etc. are some of the best I’ve ever had. Going out for breakfast (not brunch) is a bit of a cultural phenomenon here, and one that I have yet to find to the same extent elsewhere. Needless to say, it is something I really look forward to doing when I visit. Sadly, the cost of living, including the cost of eating out, has become exorbitantly expensive, so I’ve had to reign in my out-for-breakfast habit a little bit — but not enough to miss out.

You might have heard of a full English breakfast, but believe me, it is nothing compared with a full Australian breakfast. Australian full breakfasts usually include fresh, high quality, bakery bread, poached eggs, avocado, roast tomato, mushrooms and Australian style bacon (which tends to be less fatty than its American counterpart). On Sunday I visited one of my favorite breakfast spots called Lawson’s Grove, which is a little cafe and convenient store that is set in an apartment block on an out of the way side street that only locals know about. This was the result:

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Oh, I almost forgot, the coffee in Melbourne is world class (and these days you pay for that standing).

While I love the full breakfast, when in Melbourne, I usually get what is my favorite form of breakfast — bircher muesli. I’ve found it in a few places outside of Australia, but the quality never compares. Bircher muesli is any variation of the following combination: oats soaked overnight in yogurt/milk and a bit of juice (usually apple), grated apple, slivered nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and fresh or poached fruit to top it off. It is very easy to make at home, so if it appeals to you, look up some recipes online and try it.

I’ve had bircher a couple times already, including my first day in Melbourne when Bron took me to a local institution — Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder. I had my first taste of proper bircher muesli in over a year plus the cafe’s delicious cheesy toast.

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(the bircher looks a little washed out in this photo, but I promise, it is delicious; I will try to photograph another one so you can see it in its full glory).