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Bar Santo, Fitzroy St, St Kilda

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Aranchini with fetta, garlic and aioli. These were really nice but left me with a strong aftertaste of garlic.

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The aranchini was ordered from the tapas menu. My friend ordered two other items from this menu rather than a main meal. These were crispy fried calamari and meatballs.

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I ordered a entrée size Salmon Linguini with capsicum, served with salad. This was something a little different and was really nice. The capsicum and salad gave it a different taste.

The restaurant was empty when we walked in (a little late) for our 12.30 lunch. This was surprising because it was a Saturday lunch. However the restaurant began to fill up at 1pm. Service was ok. However I did notice the waitress delivering food to one of the other tables while talking on the phone to another customers. That’s not one of the best things I’ve seen in a restaurant.

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The Stokehouse: Iconic Melbourne restaurant burns down.

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Yesterday I was one of many people that were very sad to hear that this beautiful, iconic restaurant in the beachside suburb of St Kilda had burned down on Friday night. So many people have celebrated special occasions in this fine-dining restaurant. I celebrated my 40th birthday there. It was very memorable because of the food, service and the view of Port Phillip Bay on a hot, Summer day. The building itself was a 110 year old weatherboard building that looked like a beach house. I believe the owners are going to rebuild and I look forward to going again when it reopens.

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Luna Park turns 100 in December

Luna Park, one of Melbourne’s icons, will turn 100 years old next month.  It is the longest continually running such park in the world and has never closed.  Sydney’s Luna Park has closed at various stages.

Luna Park is one of the best places to take visitors to Melbourne.  One of the oldest and most popular rides is the Scenic Railway.  Not only does it give you a hair-raising ride but it also gives you some of the best views of St Kilda, Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay.   You can hear the screams from people on the rides for quite a distance.

When I was growing up, my great-aunt lived in Acland St, another of St Kilda’s famous streets.  As a treat we would sometimes be allowed to go over there.  My favourite ride is the Dodgem Cars.  I love crashing and bashing into other cars on the small circuit.

A program of events was launched today that includes a concert, staff dressing in replica uniforms from the past and a community event with invitations being given to local people and charities/organisations.

The Stokehouse, St Kilda

For my birthday in February, my friend Mel and I went to The Stokehouse in St Kilda for lunch.  It’s a restaurant I’ve wanted to go to for a long time.  It’s right on St Kilda beach giving magnificent views of  Port Phillip Bay.  It was a beautiful warm summers day which made the view perfect.

We arrived a little early and the somewhat snooty maitre ‘d told us we would have to wait outside so we went for a bit of a walk around.  We passed a man who was just waking up who had fallen asleep under a tree beside the restaurant.  We weren’t sure if he was homeless or just decided to have a sleep there.

When we re-entered the restaurant we were led upstairs to the restaurant and shown to a window table.  I was hoping to sit near a window so I could enjoy the view.  The waitress came over and explained what the specials were.  I decided to order my entree and main meal from their main menu.  I ate Seared Atlantic scallops, ruby grapefruit salad and a fennel puree.  It was delicious.  The scallops were cooked to perfection.  Mel ordered Tuna carpaccio, tamarillos, yoghurt, caperberries, salmon roe.

For our main meals, I ate Crispy battered King George whiting fillets, hand cut chips, lemon and tartare sauce .  Mel ate ocean trout with prawns and a tomato salad.  Neither of us ate dessert.  I could only just finish my fish.  I left a lot of the hand cut chips because I told eat many chips and the waitress was worried I didn’t like them.  They were very nice.

When it came to the wine list there were three choices in the Sparking Wine section of the list.  The $25 glass of wine caught my eye but I thought I’d better not spend that much even though it was a nice wine (I can’t remember what it was).  A few minutes later I thought “what the hell” and decided to order it.  It was my birthday after all.

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June 2, 2012 – When does a month contain 45 days?

When it’s my friend, Mel’s, birthday month.

Mel’s idea is that a birthday doesn’t have to be celebrated for just one day.  It’s a great idea and one that I’m slowly adopting.   There are way too many restaurants and cafes (as well as family and friends) in Melbourne to restrict your celebration to just one day.  This year the birthday month stretches to 45 days because some of her in-laws are away and won’t be back until mid-July so they can have dinner with her to celebrate when they return.

We have decided that we will try a different restaurant or cafe for each of our birthdays every year.  Earlier this year we went to The Stokehouse in St Kilda for my birthday.   For her birthday, Mel chose to go to Cafe di Stasio http://www.distasio.com.au/ in Fitzroy St, St Kilda.   It’s a cafe that has stood the test of time, having been open for over 20 years.  They serve beautiful, simple Italian food. 

The first thing you notice when entering is that there is only one simple sign hanging above the footpath and no signage on the windows.  The next thing are the bronze hands that serve as door handles.  They are definitely unique.  The final thing that struck me was that it’s very small inside.  Just the size of a normal double-width shop.  I’ve seen photos of the interior and ássumed there was more to what had been photographed.  It’s a very cosy and warm atmosphere.  Not sure about the blue paint on the walls though. It looks like they started to paint and ran out of time. I forgot to ask why they did that.  It has been there for a long time though.  I’m sure it’s a big talking point.

Our booking was for midday and we were the first ones to be seated inside.  We got a nice table in the window although I couldn’t see outside because I was sitting with my back to the windows.  That was fine with me because I could see the whole of the restaurant and parts of the kitchen when the waiters opened the doors. 

The waiters were great.  They were very attentive even as the restaurant began to fill up.  We were given the menu for their lunch special (limited menu of 2 courses for $35 including wine and coffee/tea) and the a la carte menu. While perusing the menus we ate hot fresh bread.  I chose Smoked Salmon with creme fraiche and brioche for my entree and we both chose the Salmon Linguine with prawns for my main meal.  My favourite of the two was the Smoked Salmon.  I just love the taste of good, fresh smoked salmon.  The creme fraiche and brioche were to die for.  They complemented the salmon perfectly.   We both drank Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  I love Marlborough wines and this was one I hadn’t tried before.

Overall we both loved the food.  I know I would like to go back because there were several dishes on the menu that I would love to try.