CMH Down Under – Melbourne (OZ) and the Yarra Valley
I want to go back to OZ even though I have already been there 6 times (My last run was April 2008 – you can hear a bit about that on Columbus Foodcast). Australia my second home. Unfortunately they don’t need any food writers or government bureaucrats (I tried).
These are a few of my favorite things.
The Yarra Valley
One of the great wine producing regions in the world. This is an incredible way to spend a day or two with good friends – tour more than one dozen wineries in the area – sampling all day long. My favorite wine of them all is –
Yering Station Fortified Shiraz
Another favorite winery was –
Coldstrem 3770 Vic
61 3 9739 1110
Open 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
But there is much more to do in the area –
The Yarra Valley Dairy offers hand-made cheeses and rich homemade organic ice cream as well as coffee, desserts and excellent views. It is located on McMeikans Rd. at Yering and is open from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. every day except Friday and Saturday when it is open to 10.00 p.m.
tel: (03) 9739 0023.
Also not so far away…..
Pig & Whistle Tavern
At Bayview Estate
365 Purves Road
MAIN RIDGE, 3928
A perfect pub, in the perfect place with great pub grub, fine service, and a winery in the back staffed by an owner that graduated from the University of Michigan. Plus some B & B rooms if you want to stick around.
The Grand Hotel is a landmark on the Mornington Peninsula. Built over 100 years ago, The Grand Hotel has a great restaurant, a fine bar, and pefect seaside view.
Mihn Mihn (Vietnamese Cuisine)
94 Victoria St.
(03) 9427 7891
“Mutiny at the Mihn Mihn”
In a nut shell – we refused to leave our table. In spite of a reservation – the owner wanted us in and out within 20 minutes. However we had 3 bottles of wine to drink. Our party consisted of the Gourmand, Ms. Mandy Culph (famous Dingley chick and supermodel), Dan Brindle (King of the Southern hemisphere ) and Katie Murray (my favorite Brit). We refused to accept the rushed service and revolted. In a series frantic of trips, every 1-2 minutes various staff came begging for us to eat faster. They lived in fear of the restaurant owner. When they graciously offered to let us finish our meal in the kitchen after saying they did not serve dessert – we declined. When they tried to sit diners at our table – while we were still eating the main course – we declined. Then the dragon lady owner came – (her famous quote “you are rich, I am poor”), we would not leave. When we did leave, after allowing ourselves about 37 minutes to eat a good meal and drink three bottles of wine while debating the merits of civil disobedience vs. open violence about this situation, the entire restaurant clapped for us because we held our ground (one of the most memorable experiences of my life). We forced the scared bus boy to take a generous tip and told him not to let the owner steal it from him. The food was great – we can never go back. Oh by the way, we were not drunk, that happened about 12 minutes and 1 cab ride later.
40 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC
(03) 9421 3802
Even better Vietnamese food, great service and in spite of two drunken Aussie gals and a brit chick singing karaoke without a machine or music – we were not asked to leave. (I was well behaved.)
Queen Victoria Market
513 Elizabeth Street
61 3 9320 5822
This giant vendors market has it all: butchers, fishmongers, vegetables galore fruits, wine shops, incredible cheeses, aromatherapy, arts, crafts, bargain clothing and hucksters. There are also regular lectures by leading chefs, market tours, music and more. Built in 1878, the Market consists of several historic buildings which are visited by over 100,000 shoppers each week.
Handorf’s Fine Chocolates
884 Glenhuntly Road
03 9525 6639
(Many locations – well executed Bavarian Chocolates)
And the Melbourne Cup! A week of tradition, horseracing, hats, heat, and more.