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Smith & Mills

4 Sep

Coffee

Given my current ‘every day is kind of a holiday’ situation whilst in the culinary city that is New York, I’ve been overwhelmed with choice, but have been eating brunch out pretty much everyday.  (Yep!! Have been neglecting my peanut butter obsession for almost 3 weeks now…)  So today, G and I decided to head to Tribeca (and it may or may not have been in hope of the off chance of running into Jay-Z and Beyonce… G has an innate talent for searching out celebrity hang outs and postal codes!)

Tucked away on N Moore Street, we entered to find this little gem, void of hustle and bustle – and or people – and furnished to industrial perfection.  A line of quilted seats line the borders of the cafe and it is decked out with raw iron furnishings.  We like it here.  Apparently so does James Franco… I could go on about Mr Franco and his ability to have his fingers dipped in seemingly EVERY pot of artistic cool!  But I might just spare us all and talk about the food.

The night before we’d made a trip out to Astoria – the Greek equivalent of Lygon Street in Melbourne… but kind of a lot further out on the subway- and I’d made the mistake of letting G order … or OVER ORDER!  So still feeling the food coma of last nights escapade, I decided to go for something lighter.

Greek yogurt, granola, seasonal fresh fruit, raisin walnut toast $9

Normally I would be the one scoffing at the person who would order this out!  And yes!! I am paying 14 times what I probably should be for some cut fruit and yogurt!! But after last night’s mass feed, the mere thought of ANYTHING meat or in oil made me want to hurl!  So my over priced bowl of yogurt and fruit and bread was JUST what I needed!  And for $9 it was actually a VERY generous serving.  (or maybe my values are all askew from being in the states). Although don’t ask me what that bread situation was… because although the menu said raisin walnut, I’m PRETTY sure it was just brioche.  NO MATTER!! I enjoyed every non salty-meaty-greasy bite!

French Toast, seasonal fresh fruit, butter, local maple syrup $14

George also went for something sweet, his French Toast lookin’ all cute stacked up like a Jenga tower… Oh and DROWNED in maple syrup!  By all accounts, it tasted delish.  We did some sharesies and the corner I got was nice and crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside!  Possibly the only gripe I had with both of ours was the finely sliced apple situation.  Bit of a cop out?!

Quilted interiors

Like most cafes here, Smith & Mills also offers a dinner menu and cocktails all day (New Yorkers know how to drink… and it’s anytime of day!!  My kind of people!).  The menu is simple offering raw sections, some starters with a Hungarian twist  and 4 Mains – with one of them being the obligatory burger.

The entire time, besides 2 ladies sitting at the bar enjoying a bit of a cocktail and some flirting with the barman, the place was nice and quiet!  I felt like sitting there all day.  Perhaps if G wasn’t with me, I’d be the one flirting with the Bar Man! Perhaps next Saturday…

Smith & Mills

71 N. Moore Street

New York, NY, 10013

+212 226 2515

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Lunch at Freeman’s NYC

22 Aug

Entrance to Freemans

It’s day 4 of my New York adventure with G.  And I’d say we’ve taken to being New Yorkers with great success; ask for a ‘kawfeee’ instead of a latte (save yourself the pain and frustration), look left first when crossing the street, no-one understands  the meaning of ‘down the road’ as all streets are streets, pharmacies are a girl’s best friend… they sell EVERYTHING… from Neurofen to nicotine!! But although we’ve taken to these minor little colloquialisms with some what ease, we can’t help but seek out some things that remind us of home!!

Just when we thought we’d seen enough of that “hidden lane way” establishment, we seeked out Freemans for lunch tucked away at the end of an alley way off Rivington St.

The interior is a mix of old taxidermy mixed with trophy room.  Filled with old wooden tables and distressed walls, walking into Freeman’s you’d expect to see men dressed in smoking robes, menus like leather bound books and maybe some cigar smoking.

We are seated and immediately told the specials of the day ( i  think it was some sort of braised shank thing with some sort of salad that undoubtedly involved arugula and kale – they are OBSESSED with that here).  Sounded AMAZING!  But even my “on VAY-KAYYYYY” mentality held me back from ordering a slow cooked hunk of meat at breakfast time.

More Interiors

The Brunch menu is divided into 4 main sections of Starters, Sweet, Savory and Dessert, as well as a column of sides.  You find starters like Hot Artichoke Dip with crisp bread and Mixed Greens, apples, radishes & lemon olive oil dressing.  Savory offers a quite a heavier meal, with the obligatory Burger (everywhere has a burger on the menu!  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to find one amongst a Dumplings menu in china town… these people are OBSESSED!), Beef Brisket Hash and of course a few Egg options as well.

After much deliberation (ordering here takes me twice as long!! a) because the menu seems to go for days and b) because when i’d normally just go for the meatiest option… each menu offers me at least 5 meat options!!)  I decide on the Smoked Trout, and pass on the Bloody Mary.

Smoked Trout, Hard Boiled Egg, Horse Radish Cream and sourdough toast $11

My meal came out served on a round wooden platter, and you can’t really tell from this picture, but the serving was very American… super generous!  Reminder to self:  It’s named the Land of the Fat for a reason!  The trout had a wonderfully fragrant smokiness, and with the squeeze of lemon, a mouthful of pickle and horse radish cream jammed all together (…which is officially my new favourite condiment) in one oversized American mouthful… Flavour Nation!

George decided to go with the Grilled Egg Whites which came out PIPING HOT and smelled absolutely delicious.

Grilled egg whites with goats cheese, heirloom tomatoes and basil $12

Must be something about having to walk everywhere, but every time our food arrives on the table, we seem to inhale everything before the plate even begins to cool.  I got to have a little taster of his and (although it was vegetarian…) it was a well balanced mix of textures and flavours.

We continue to be astounded by how cheap brunch is here in comparison to Melbourne, even with the addition of tips and tax… we are loving eating our way around this new city (quite literally… walking.  eating.  Walking to our next eating place…) But it’s so nice to find little gems that remind us of home.

Freemans Restaraunt

8 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 420-0012

Bread and Jam for Frances

11 Apr
 Sandwich and Juice offering

If I was writing this post this time last year, you would by now be sick of reading about the 11th day of my ‘eating as many different Hot Cross Buns (… a day… ) Challenge.’  But with Easter only weeks away, I am still yet to sink my teeth into a fragrant, fruit filled, sweet, over buttered, cross covered bun!

You see, after years of delighting in eating Hot Cross Buns (rather excessively) over the recently extended Easter period (… YEP.  Its New Years Day.  And they are already selling Hot Cross Buns at Woolies) my indulging has caught up with me.   Last year I realised I was allergic to them – maybe it was the over consumption.  But lesson learned everyone;  everything in moderation – or suffer the consequences!

After a morning at the Farmers Market amongst all the fresh produce and fresh bread on offer, DDO decided to keep it local for brunch this week.  Since the Dench Bakery crew opened Bread and Jam for Frances in Hawthorn and N moved (momentarily) back to the burb’s, this place has been a GODSEND when we need a decent coffee, sweet treats and artisan style bread locally.

Freshly Made Hot Crossed Buns

Fresh made Hot Crossed Buns

As soon as I walk in all I can think about is ordering a Hot Cross Bun!  The sheer memory of them makes me salivate –  the bun itself, all soft and fluffy with that perfectly spiced fruit and a hint of zest… If you are so lucky to be able to enjoy a hot Cross bun this season, make sure you try at least one made by Dench.  They are AMAZING!!

In addition to bread and buns, BAJFF also offers daily specials, and a selection of tempting brunch options that cover sweet and savory, as well as, of course, a changing selection of freshly made pastries and cakes for those  sweet cravings.  N decided to go with the soup (soup of the day was Thai Pumpkin soup) 1/2 and 1/2 – which is a half serve of soup with half a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  I got to have a taste, and as simple as this sounds, the soup was rich in pumpkin flavour and a really nice creamy consistency.  The toasted sandwich was made with Fresh Dench bread.  I’m not sure what cheese was used, but it tasted AMAZING! Really punchy flavour and nice and stringy!  The makings of a perfect toastie!

Soup of the Day: Thai Pumpkin soup

I was feeling rather defeated by my cursed food allergy, so I went with the Breakfast Trifle.  (I’m actually really surprised the word Hot Cross Bun didn’t spill out of my mouth like verbal diorrhea when it came to order time).  I rarely go the sweet option for brunch, but this sounded like it would look pretty and I figured that would distract me from temptation.

Breakfast Trifle; bircher, poached pears & apple with yoghurt and berries

As soon as mine arrived I couldn’t help but do the obligatory “ooohhh”-ing and “ahhh”-ing you’d expect any person to when presented with such a painterly assortment of food in a tumbler.  The fruit was not over cooked, and although you had to dig a little deeper to get to it, pushing the bircher  helped amalgamate all the juices.  The slithered almonds on top were a welcome garnish to mix up the textures, so I didn’t feel like I was eating baby food (or anything too healthy…)

Coffees

As we sipped our well made coffees at the end of our meals, I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating myself.  There was nothing to fault about Bread and Jam for Frances, with it’s friendly staff and tidy interior.  And if it were any other time I would not question leaving 100% satisfied.  But I couldn’t help but consider suffering the consequences; dealing with the wrath of the dreaded delicious HCB and giving into temptation…

I may or may not have left with one to take home!  Lets just say, that later, in the comfort of suffering in my own home, I was finally satisfied!

Bread and Jam for Frances

1/701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, 3122

Tel 9819 2122

www.breadandjamforfrances.com.au

Hardware Societe

3 Apr

People that know me will doubt what I am about to admit.  But as of today, I am in love!  They say the best way to a Man’s heart is through his stomach… turns out, I am a man and Hardware Societe has won my heart.

Hardware Societe has been on my ‘brunch must try list’ for a quite some time now and arriving on this brisk Saturday morning to find a cluster of hopefuls waiting for a table , I must admit made my stomach turn.  I hate a line.  I live to be waited on, not to wait!  But thankfully, the extremely efficient and super friendly staff were quick to take our name, and assure us it was only a 5-10 minute wait.  And sure enough the DDO duo (N and I) were seated within 10 minutes in a cosy bench seat overlooking the open kitchen.  Tick and Tick!

view from the bench

As soon as we were seated water was brought to us, our coffee orders were taken and a menu was offered.  This place is busy.   But they run a tight ship.  Tick number 3!

It was a pretty hard decision choosing from the wide and tempting offerings, with Noisette breads, a range of eggs and of course the lighter cold offerings (one being the continental, which included an extremely tempting mix of fruits, crumble, fresh Bio yoghurt which I can’t recall exactly but it sounded delicious) as well as an AMAZING looking fried brioche.  I wanted to eat EVERYTHING on the menu, but decided to go with the Fried Eggs with Jamon, pesto and snow pea shoots.   They also have daily specials, which on this day was Pork belly served on a bean ragu with poached eggs.

Plating up.  Pork Belly to the front, Croque Monsieur to the back. 

I’m actually really glad we were seated where we were.  It gave N and I the opportunity to have a cheeky perve on how the dishes looked when plated up.  Given my indecisiveness on choosing a dish (if only I had the 4 stomachs of a cow…) seeing the finished product helped me decide on something.  N decided on the Mushrooms served on Brioche with eggs en cocotte.

Coffee’s come served with mini cinnamon donuts

Our dishes arrived just as I finished the last sip of my coffee and everything perfect.  I can’t actually remember the last time I went out for a brunch and (despite the crowds) was genuinely excited and happy to be amongst it!! My fried egg’s were cooked to perfection.  Still a little runny in the yolk, but beautifully crisp edges of egg white stacked atop 2 thinly toasted slices of whole grain Noisette bread. This is the perfect example of good quality produce, cooked and served to its full advantage.

Fried Eggs with Jamon, snow pea shoots, pesto and grated cheese ($13)

Of course N and I have a mutual understanding of the sharesy situation, so we got half of each.  And i’m glad, because I definitely would have got food envy if we hadn’t.

Mushrooms on toasted brioche and olive tapenade with eggs in a pan ($15)

The mushrooms were earthy and meaty (oh yeh, vegetarian options too…) atop a tapenade covered, thick cut brioche finished with cheese in the grill.  And then paired with some runny egg yolk… Flavour nation!!  These guys sure know how to impress a girl!!  Having grown up hearing the phrase, “there is no such thing as perfect” you do leave Hardware Societe questioning that very suggestion.  And if their only fault was how (understandably) in demand they are causing a 5 minute wait, I’d say the service, food and that sweet little donut that comes with my coffee is enough for me forgive and forget. Love is a many splendid thing.  And Hardware Societe, you are Love!!

Hardware Societe  20 Hardware Street Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9078 5992