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TAS2012 Wall of Fame and Shame
Almond CroissantSweet Envy, North HobartDishonourable mention: The French Quarter, North Melbourne
EntremetSweet Envy, North HobartQuark, Quiche Jelly, Lemon Curd, Dacquoise special
Honourable mentions:Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio, South YarraMango, Milk Chocolate, Ginger cake
LuxBite, South YarraMeringue Monster (Watermelon and Strawberry version, June 2012)
DanishThe Brezel Bäckerei, Sandy BayRaspberry Danish
TartChez Dré, South MelbournePassionfruit Tart
Honourable mention:Maxims Cakes, MelbourneEgg Tart
Savoury DishLuxBite, South MelbourneCiabatta of the Day (Pulled Pork, Miso Mayo, Chinese Cabbage, Pickled Carrot, Spring Onion. 09 June 2012.)
Honourable mentions:Gumshara, HaymarketPork Spare Rib Tonkatsu Ramen
Akita, North MelbourneSaikyo (Miso-marinated Patagonian Toothfish, grilled) 
Dishonourable mention:Top Catch Fish & Chippery, North Melbourne.
Special MentionsGelato Messina, The Creative Department (Laboratorio and Patisserie); Darlinghurst.City BBQ Restaurant, Melbourne.

TAS2012 Wall of Fame and Shame

Almond Croissant
Sweet Envy, North Hobart
Dishonourable mention: The French Quarter, North Melbourne

Sweet Envy, North Hobart
Quark, Quiche Jelly, Lemon Curd, Dacquoise special

Honourable mentions:
Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio, South Yarra
Mango, Milk Chocolate, Ginger cake

LuxBite, South Yarra
Meringue Monster (Watermelon and Strawberry version, June 2012)

The Brezel Bäckerei, Sandy Bay

Raspberry Danish

Chez Dré, South Melbourne

Passionfruit Tart

Honourable mention:
Maxims Cakes, Melbourne
Egg Tart

Savoury Dish
LuxBite, South Melbourne
Ciabatta of the Day
(Pulled Pork, Miso Mayo, Chinese Cabbage, Pickled Carrot, Spring Onion. 09 June 2012.)

Honourable mentions:
Gumshara, Haymarket
Pork Spare Rib Tonkatsu Ramen

Akita, North Melbourne
Saikyo (Miso-marinated Patagonian Toothfish, grilled) 

Dishonourable mention:
Top Catch Fish & Chippery, North Melbourne.

Special Mentions
Gelato Messina, The Creative Department (Laboratorio and Patisserie); Darlinghurst.
City BBQ Restaurant, Melbourne.

04:17 am, BY crankedandbaked


Trip Blips 14, 10-18 June 2012

So it’s been over a week since the last trip blip, and boy it’s been a rollercoaster of ayes and nays from the last days in Melbourne and the first few trip in Sydney.

In the photo above, meet one of the many totally chilled Melbourne city possums, this one here was at Flagstaff Gardens at 5 am on the walk to Southern Cross coach terminal on the way out of Melbourne.

I started writing this trip blip out a couple of days ago; even in point form, there was too much for a trip blip sized tit bit. Well then, let’s get to trimming the fat.

10 June, Sunday
Went walkies from Federation Wharf, to an evening at Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens with CBD possums.

11 June, Monday
Queen’s Birthday (eastern states edition), so many places closed to eat out. Ended up at Chinatown; then went walkabouts from North Melbourne, to Southern Cross Station, through the city centre then lingered around the Shrine of Remembrance in the dark.

12 June, Tuesday
Visited Burch And Purchese for a tour, but they were too busy preparing for the 5 Chefs Dinner for the Starlight Foundation on that Thursday; ended up chatting to a counterhand for a probably more than an appropriate amount of time but I did learn of the nearby MoVida bakery. After visit to MoVida, French Fantasies, and yet another to LuxBite; I managed to crawl out of South Yarra to have lunch at Bistro Vue.

13 June, Wednesday
Visited Le Petit Gateau, got a tour of the kitchen with the chef there Pierrick Boyer.A short and slightly awkward chat since I’d saved up specific pastry science questions for Darren Purchese out Cath Claringbold at Burch And Purchese; and trying general pastry questions might dig too deep into reach other’s house business. Had lunch again at Akita, spent too much time at Shrine of Remembrance in the daylight that ran out of time for Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Then got greased out at Tooraking restaurant for dinner.

14 June, Thursday
Go fuck yourself MyMulti and AirportLink; if you haven’t guessed it, yes I’m now in Sydney. Had a delayed check in I think because of State of Origin. Had lunch at Gumshara (according to google Maps anyway), oh, my, god; the pork stock is… woh! Went on my first visit to Chef’s Warehouse.

15 June, Friday
Went for a second trip to Chef’s Warehouse after deciding what sizes of what I could use. Heading north to Gelato Messina, then walked across the city to Zumbo at The Star casino.

16 June, Saturday
Goddamn rain; charged through it to visit the Zumbo in Rozelle, which I guess started selling out since there was less patisserie offerings at Rozelle than at The Star. After that, got distracted by the carcass of White Bay Power Station, finally seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge after three days in Sydney. Visited the Sydney Fish Market, where the first thing I bought was fruits.

17 June, Sunday
Went walkies around North Sydney during the day, then after dinner and a snooze, more walkies from Luna Park, across the Harbour Bridge and through the city.

18 June, Monday
Explored the bakeries and patisseries of Surry Hills, and another stunning ramen at Gumshara.

Anyways, it’s now 01:20 am and I going to wake up at 03:30 for a flight back to Perth.

11:33 pm, BY crankedandbaked


Trip Blips 13, 09 June 2012.

Another rainy day in Melbourne, but much wetter today unfortunately; but Sunday is supposed to have a nicer forecast, if it stays that way, oh you know Melbourne Weather.

In the essence of Trip Blip, I’ll let the pictures do the talking, and reduce the amount I have to write more on this phone’s touchscreen, and keep analysis for “Trip Blops”.

Today I first visited Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Chapel Street in South Yarra, picked up a Mango, Milk Chocolate, Ginger Cake for $9, portion size is huge compared to Chez Dré, and a packet of White Chocolate Rubble with freeze-dried strawberries and mint which is about 150g for $11. Oh and that “Where Science meets Sweetness.” sign on the wall, oorrrrhhhh made me all warm and gooey inside.

After B&P, I hoped over to LuxBite on Toorak Road. There I had as my first bite of the day, their weekly special Ciabatta of the Day for $12. Since I forgot to take a photo, I’ll describe this mouthgasm of a sandwich; crispy freshly toasted and buttered ciabatta, pulled pork, mildly spiced miso mayo, shredded Chinese cabbage, chopped pickled carrot, and sliced spring onion. With a filling to bread volume ratio of 1.5:1; hot, crisp made to order bread, I stopped caring that it costs double your average retail sandwich after the first bite, it’s that good!
I chose a Caramel Craving to have there at LuxBite for $7.50, then picked up an Endless Love for $8.50 to drag back to my lair to nibble on. The Endless Love clearly labelled as inspired by Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan, which is rose, lychee, and raspberry flavour pairing.

Since the gloomy weather discouraged any attempts to roam the Royal Botanic Gardens, it’s off to Smith Street to check out some bakeries there. Only one caught my eye enough to enter, Pastry Art Design; besides drowning their products in icing sugar, their viennoiserie section looked good; entremets and tarts a little clumsy, but “flavour-aroma first, texture second” is my modus operandi. I picked up a large Pain au Chocolat for $3.50 and large Almond Croissant for $3.90 from a bored-looking sales assistant. Their almond croissant is better at 5 pm when I eventually tucked into it than that sad sack of shit effort from The French Quarter in the morning, their chocolate croissant… meh.

Apparently I own a shop on Smith Street, it’s a butcher shop.

After getting lost trying to get to Babka Bakery on Brunswick Street, I ended up in Edinburgh Gardens [Reserve]. It was a little unsettling at first being so quiet in suburbia after half a week in the inner metro, even the city gardens and parks are surrounded with the drone of traffic, the constant swish of car tyres in the rain, the squeal and rumbling of trams. I could still see the skyscrapers less than five kilometres away, but it’s quiet.

Babka Bakery, I don’t know, it seems people go there for coffee and the heater rather than the cakes, hmm…

After Burch & Purchese, LuxBite, and le Petit Gateau; that marks the end of my unannounced scouting to must go patisseries in Melbourne. Sugar Dough is tickling my fancy, time permitting; please don’t disappoint me.

That was today so far; time to seek out dinner locally, since everyday I lack any motivation to travel into the CBD for supper. I better end this Trip Blip before the Vietnamese, Italian, or Malaysian restaurant I was thinking of checking out close. Heaven forbid I have to crawl back to Nando on Victoria Street, 500 metres south south east of the hostel; I might rather go hungry than go into my first McDonalds in over six years if the chicken place closes too.

Edited: 09 June 2012, AEST 2245. Typos and grammar.

06:43 pm, BY crankedandbaked[2 notes]



Weekend Plans

Best weekend guide ever.



Weekend Plans

Best weekend guide ever.

04:47 pm, BY crankedandbaked[2,843 notes]


Trip Blips 12, 08 June 2012

My cloth tape and card pamphlet compact camera lens hood, only three sided to allow access to the control ring around the lens. Problem now is my mind says “get out there!”, but my body and headache say no.

09:10 pm, BY crankedandbaked


Trip Blips 11, 08 June 2012

No early breakfast today, but I did have Lunch at Rubicon on Errol Street. The Saffron [seafood] risotto, which I don’t remember seeing any saffron threads but wasn’t creamy enough for a risotto; maybe a wet paella, it gets a thumb up. Only one thumb because they got a little heavy-handed with the lemon juice which did mask a lot of seafoods’ subtler flavours, the chef did apologise via the waiter and offer a complementary dish, coffee, or drink; but I was saving my stomach for desserts. But farther credit to them, it’s not often I get to see menu prices reflect the material costs involved, too many restaurants over inflate the vegetable dishes; thankfully not at Rubicon.

Then after lunch, I went and checked out Crumbs Organic Bakery that I earlier walked pass looking for lunch. From a quick web search, this could be a newly established outlet for the Ascot home base. I didn’t see this shop at night as it still had signage for the hairdresser that previously occupied the shop space, and the only signage was two small chalkboards paced inside the window and baked goodies facing the other window. Since besides the bread, every muffin, slice, or pizza was missing a name and price tag; I don’t really know what I picked up and for how much each. I got an orange poppy seed muffin, not a cupcake, or a muffin-sized cupcake; and dome sort of apple crumble top, blueberry almond cake slab thing. Total for the two items was $7.20.

Onto the 57, then 55 tram we go to scout out le Petit Gateau on the western end of Little Collins Street before I snoop around the kitchen next week. Since I visited quite late at 2:45 pm, about half their individual entremet cabinet was sold out. I had a fresh fruit, not canned fruit Danish, which unfortunately didn’t fare too well since the morning; the pastry might have freakishly consistent and squared rise and lamination, and a real buttery mouth feel, but it just got a little too chewy after so many hours. After the Danish, I had a Hazelnut Millefeuille which was delicious even though I disagree which calling it a millefeuille, as that would involve puff pastry. From top to bottom it was; St Honore wave of choc crème chantilly, milk couverture tablet, milk ganache with whole hazelnuts sandwiched between that and a choc-praline-paillet feuilletine crispy glued onto a thin biscuit joconde base. Like Crumbs, no price tags, so I have no idea what each cost, total spent at LPG was $11.50; I might have to check with the ACCC in regards to displaying prices.

After le Petit Gateau, I tried to find Laurent Bakery to see whether they haven’t disappeared up its own arse in irrelevance to quality. I managed to wall pass it, over three major streets, and 59 metres out from the eastern end of Little Collins Street. $4.70 takeaway Almond Croissant, a slight improvement on The French Quarter’s effort. Interesting observation at Laurent is that the display the sandwich rolls open with the filling laying flat and the bread butterflied out.

Since I was in the area, I wind my way south to Cake Deco opposite Flinders Street train station. One of little shops packed from floor to ceiling with products; no empty shops to spread out, no money or time to move somewhere else prime in the CBD. *Pumps fist* Polycarbonate chocolate moulds for under $20 each, and fat-soluble food colouring for those long overdue projects.

Upon exiting Cake Deco, hopes of dry weather to go gardening to munch my sweet treats disappeared in the spray and fading light. So back to the hostel I retreated, snack away, drop off my shopping, recharge my phone and get ready for dinner.

I had plans to stay out as Insomniac Photographer after dinner; but on the walk to Little Africa restaurant, the spray is spoiling my mood. Not because I don’t like getting wet but my camera lens might disagree with me. Maybe I’ll start fabricating a lens hood out of cloth tape and paper tourist information pamphlets.Who knew Little Africa would be such a small place, with room for about 20 in tight formation. I got Zghini for $15 takeaway since there was no spare space, a big dish of stewed lamb, moist and mildly sour pancake, and a small garden salad. 100% on 33 votes on Urban Spoon, a touch too salty for me.

Oh, another Trip Blop. Anyways…

McGuyver time!

07:12 pm, BY crankedandbaked


TAS2012 Trip Blips 10, 05-07 June 2012

Oh it’s been a shaky start in Melbourne town; like Singapore, there’s a lot of food businesses around, a lot are shit, since population density does keep afloat longer than they should for diners. Also like SG, so many franchise food outlets, too many, agh! Go away!
Besides Chez Dré on Coventry Street in South Melbourne, Akita on the corner of Blackwood and Courtney Street in North Melbourne; my Melbourne culinary experience has been a bit of a disaster. Why do so many east Asian restaurants think it’s their duty to sell sushi? Why the addiction to chicken stock powder, even in Singapore diluted chicken broth-water tastes more appealing than yellow powder saline solution, oh FFS.

I need your help gentlereader, please help me did someone who knows how to do a proper great Wanton Mee Dry? It can be in Melbourne or Sydney, even Perth when I head home.

Now hitting rewind.

After hopping from Launceston on 05 June, Tuesday; I have to say SkyBus is pretty awesome especially if you have inner metropolitan accommodation to take advantage of the fare included hotel transfer shuttle bus service. I say this now while I can enjoy the user friendly public transport network in Melbourne; before I have to jump on the most expensive per kilometre train ride from Kingsford Smith Airport to Sydney Central, stupid MetCard/MultiRider MyCard bullshit, weaving through the boroughs around Parramatta River and Sydney Harbor and figuring out the geometry of Sydney’s old city layout.
Enough shitting on Sydney town before I go back there, after checking into YHA Melbourne Metro, I rushed off to Errol Street to get dinner and do laundry since I got my last thermal top all sweaty climbing the Zig Zag Track along Cataract Gorge in Launceston. Hmm… I haven’t checked out the in-house laundry at the hostel, I wonder whether they price match or better the North Melbourne coin laundry rate of $4 wash, $1 tumble dry; hopefully I’ll see my first change machine at a laundromat, if not, at least there’s a 24 hour reception desk to harass for $1 coins.

Yesterday was my first full day in Melbourne with a nice start at 11 am with a fire drill at the YHA, onto the medium strip lawn we go under dark moist clouds rolling overhead. After that drama, I walked 100 metres north to the end of the street to Akita Japanese restaurant for Beef Tataki and Nabeyaki Udon for easily affordable prices you wouldn’t expect for the high quality of food. After that delightful lunch, I jumped on a tram towards South Melbourne; on board the 55 tram was a member of Melbourne Transit Demographics Unit (Myki Customer Service Assistant) profiling MetCard users and out of town looking people. I passed undetected.

After disembarking on Clarendon Street, I scooted over to Chef’s Hat. They more or less sell the same variety and ratios of product as they did when I last visited them five years ago, with loads of crockery, some cookware, a bit of bakeware, and a bunch of small utensils. I guess needs and tastes change, I find the utensils section a bit too home kitcheny with techniques needed or product result with those tools. I’ll have a look at the CBD located Cake Deco, if I’m left disappointed if it turns out to be a possible fondant and royal icing land. Hopefully Chef Warehouse in Surry Hills, New South Wales can save the days, considering they have four sizes of all copper sugar pans instead of just the one in Chef’s Hat.
After leaving Chef’s Hat empty-handed and a little disappointed, I slipped through a little alley of Coventry Street to enter possibly the rear entrance of Chez Dré, I say possibly because when inside the shop I noticed a courtyard that looked like it opened up to a bigger alleyway.The cabinet was 1/3 full because I visited 20 minutes before closing time, first impressions were good variety and execution, but initially it looked a bit more expensive, more on pricing later. I picked up a Passionfruit Tart and Hazelnut Crunch for $8.50 each in little white card boxes in a form fitting brown paper bag.

After picking up my sugary treats, I rushed off to the Little Bourke and Elizabeth Street area before the shops close for the day to search for a one inch fabric belt to reduce the wedgies caused by new pants I got from Launceston over the weekend, a duffel bag to simplify luggage juggling two daypacks and a bedroll since silly me didn’t buy a new 70 plus litre hiking backpack, a small compression sack because warm fleece takes up way too much space in my backpack.

After evening tea with my Chez Dré pastries, to juxtapose some of the best food I have ever had, why did I think I can trust the local fish and chip shop on Errol Street, or should I retain some Melbourne-Wankery and insist it be called a “Fish and Chippery”. Generic breaded calamari paste rings, astonishingly watery fish, a half fucked saving grace might just be the just crisp chips. I say so because besides Burger Got Soul in Launceston, Tasmania has an addiction to barely cooked flaccid potato sticks. Strangely even though the fish batter and everything else was bland at this North Melbourne fish and chippery, I still managed to get salt abrasion on my tongue. Got a little peed off after walking pass The Leveson on the way back to the hostel and checking out the very reasonably priced menu that could have saved me from deep fried starch and watery marine protein grumpiness.

Back onto today, I thought I could trust another Errol Street local with The French Quarter Patisserie while I spend the morning planning my itinerary in detail for Melbourne. Gawd, $5 for an almond croissant and $3.20 for a plain croissant, and a whole cabinet filled with sad looking food. There’s something very wrong with their viennoiserie products, there’s no flakiness and the internal crumb has a bready texture, the most bizarre and uninspiring lamination, or lack of. Thankfully the mascapone and marmalade I brought over from Tasmania made swallowing that tragic mistake possible.

After morning research and planning, went walkabouts and ‘gardening’. Walked pass Queen Victoria Markets, I’m still not sure if this is the biggest and most famous market in Melbourne, having only remembered visits to Footscray and South Melbourne Markets. After Victoria Street; headed east through Lincoln and Argyle Squares, or should I call them Lincoln and Argyle Skate Parks. Crossing the tramless southern end of Lygon Street, heading farther east, the mammoth National Museum and Royal Exhibition Building emerged quickly over the narrow horizon. There must have been some sort of examination in the Royal Exhibition Building as hundreds of young adults poured out of its tall doors onto the footpaths of Carlton Gardens. Luckily I got my photos of the main fountain at the garden, before they shut off the water pumps at 6 pm!

In the darkness, I headed west on Victoria Street to White Lotus, with a stroll through lower Lygon Street in between. Had a nice meal there; but for a vegetarian restaurant, too much trickery and playing around with textured soy products on the menu, instead of making the most of fresh tasting vegetables. They operate on a tiny roster for dinner Thursday to Saturday, with the one waitress covering 35 seats front of house. Poor lady, running running non stop.

That’s almost the end of this stupendously long Trip Blip, or is it a Trip Blop? All typed out on a tiny phone touchscreen. Other initial Melbourne observation; for such an advanced city I don’t know why they still insist on maintaining thousands of little two car parking meters.

Anyway the east coast Queen’s Birthday long weekend has started, must figure out what can and can’t be done while I’m around.

Edited: 08JUN2012, 1125.

08:55 am, BY crankedandbaked


TAS2012 Trip Blips 9- 01-05 June

After checking out today at 10 AM, headed up to Tant Pour Tant on Charles Street for breakfast. I had a apricot Danish, a Pain au Chocolat, and a dark chocolate mousse-based Framboise; a bit of hit and miss from this Launceston bakery and patisserie.

Also on a sweet note, on Saturday at Harvest Launceston; I picked up a fruit Danish, a Palmier, and a sourdough olive beard from Manu Bread in Invermay suburb. Hmm… the newest authentic French bakery, hmm… it shows, need some work. Oh Hobart bakeries, I miss you, but f’it, I’m in Melbourne town now to gouge myself on goodies.

Back to today, after breakfast at TPT I haul all my luggage, all 20 kilograms of it to Cataract Gorge on foot, but luckily Cataract Gorge is literally on the edge of the Launceston city centre. I crossed Kings Bridge, taking the north bank by the gentler River Walk to First (and now only) Basin, crossing the little stone footbridge on the outlet of First Basin, then oh so fun unsealed, steep step lined Zig Zag track on the south bank. There’s peacocks! For some reason the peacocks cluster around the food outlets at First Basin

After Cataract Gorge, I hauled ass to Fresh on Charles for some tasty, perfectly seasoned and cooked, but awfully expensive cous cous (fregula) before transiting to tinny Launceston airport for the less than one hour hop over to Melbourne.

09:02 pm, BY crankedandbaked[1 note]


#TAS2012 Trip Blips 8, 30 May to 01 June 2012

A bready sort of time in Hobart town and now back up in Launceston this evening.

Just some of the wheaty items I picked up over the past few days just from bakeries and patisseries alone:
- Wholemeal sourdough Vienna loaf and Almond Croissant from Zum Bakery.
- Hazelnut Caramel Brulee, Framboise; and an unnamed new item that was lemon curd, dacquoise, basic mousse, quince jelly; all from my first visit to Sweet Envy. Top photo.
- Raspberry Danish, Lagerstick (sp) just the phallic version of their Breadzels, Hazelnut Horn, and Bienenstich from The Brezel Bäckerei.Sorry, no mobile phone photo of my German bakery stash, silly HTC Wildfire S again had low internal memory problems. My snacking at Marieville Esplanade got rudely interrupted by an I presume hungry Great Dane.
- Just today after checking out from my accommodation, made another trip to Sweet Envy before boarding a bus from Hobart to Launceston. Had an Almond Croissant and Banoffi tartlet there, and picked up a Focaccia with garlic cloves, sliced onion, pumpkin, granular salt and rosemary baked in. It’s pictured above in the foreground of the bottom photo, in front of a pizza from Italian Pizza House in Launceston. *Nudge nudge* the focaccia is better quality and value than the pizza.

Onto a different flavour; I haven’t done the touristy thing and had fish and chips or oysters in this coastal region, but I’ll see how things work out tomorrow morning at Harvest Launceston market for ‘em oysters.

On a different note again, I’ll be using the standardish web version of tumblr to post Trip Blips. The mobile web pages and smart phone apps are a little flaky when it comes to posting more complex items and formats.

06:31 pm, BY crankedandbaked

picture HD
#TAS2012 Trip Blips 7, 30 May 2012

Finally kicked myself out of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, after three hours in there and still there was more to see.

Before leaving, this somewhat creepy locked down merry-go-round popped up.

#TAS2012 Trip Blips 7, 30 May 2012

Finally kicked myself out of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, after three hours in there and still there was more to see.

Before leaving, this somewhat creepy locked down merry-go-round popped up.

01:26 pm, BY crankedandbaked