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Wild Dog Winery, Warragul

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Deconstructed lemon tart.

An impromptu lunch was called for on the last day of Winter. Although the calendar hadn’t flicked over to Spring yet, Mother Nature had decided it was Spring. She put on a gorgeous day. My friend and I decided to go out for lunch and chose this winery because it was one of the ones on our ‘to do’ list.

The winery is in Warragul which is 105kms from Melbourne but only about 35kms from where my friend lives. It’s a lush, green area of rolling pastures filled with olive groves and vines waiting to be filled with grapes.

We were really pleased with what we chose from the menu. The scallops I had for entrée were perfectly cooked. The Deconstructed lemon tart was very tasty. I love lemon tarts but they can be a bit heavy. Being able to mix each element myself on the plate was great. It kept the dessert very light.

And of course being at a winery we had to choose one of their wines. We both chose the Wild Dog 2011 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc. It’s a very light, refreshing sparkling wine in the traditional methode champenoise style.

The restaurant is featured in the 2014 edition of the Good Food Guide having been given a rating of 14/20.

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This dessert is called Candyland. It is made up of a variety of sweet treats such as bubblegum ice cream and other pieces of deliciousness. It’s their brand new dessert; it has only been on the menu for a few weeks.

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We sat on the deck on the far left, in full view of the sun.

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The very relaxing view from our table.

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My friend’s entrée. Roasted Root Vegetable Salad – sweet potato, dutch creams, baby carrot, parsnips, swede, fried garlic, onion, truffle salt, avocado oil, rosemary.

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My entrée – Hervey Bay scallops, cauliflower puree, fennel, dill & cucumber, Yarra Valley salmon roe

Wild Dog Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Metung

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Last February my parents and I went to Metung, a tiny village in the Gippsland Lakes in eastern Victoria. It is such a beautiful, isolated place. There’s no passing traffic so it’s very quiet and is a bit of a mecca for families and retirees. It’s the sort of place where you have to relax, unwind and maybe try some fishing.

From the internet we booked one nights accommodation at the The Moorings at Metung in a two-bedroom two-storey townhouse. It was a great apartment and we wished we were staying more than one night. I’d love to come back and stay there again. Although the village is small and everything is pretty much within walking distance, the Moorings was only about 100m from the village green and the few restaurants there.

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We stayed in the 2nd townhouse from the left.

For dinner we went to the Metung Hotel which overlooks the lakes.
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Entree of smoked salmon bruschetta

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King George Whiting and chips. This is my favourite type of fish but is normally quite expensive.

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After dinner we walked around to the bay to watch the sun set. It had been a warm day so it was really nice after dinner.

Yering Station……Lunch with a view – December 1st

Every year at Christmas time, my friend Mel and I drive the short drive to the Yarra Valley for a Christmas celebration lunch.  It’s only about half an hour from my house so I’m very lucky to live so close, given that it’s one of the best wine regions in Australia.  This was our third time in what has become an anuual event.

This year we decided to do a bit of winery hopping.  Lunch was at the Wine Bar Restaurant at Yering Station.  We enjoyed magnificent views of the valley while eating.  I wasn’t well but somehow the view and the food made me feel a little better.

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The view from our table.  The wine is Yarrabank Late Disgorged Cuvee Brut Sparkling which was a lovely, light sparkling wine.

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We shared an entree of Wagyu beef tartare, smoked beetroot and pickled onion.  It was quite filling so we both agreed that it was good that we shared it.

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Mel’s main meal of Hapuka, tempura zucchini flower and squid ink.

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My main meal of Roasted pepper and herb tortellini with pecorino, sliced almonds and parsley oil.

Overall it was a beautiful meal but not cheap.  However it is featured in The Age Good Food Guide as one of the best restaurants in the Yarra Valley so you can’t expect a cheap meal.  We have now eaten at a few restaurants from the guide and look forward to eating at more.

Bendigo – Wine Bank on View

Wine Bank on View is a cafe I’d wanted to visit for a long time.  I’d read about it on different websites and it had some excellent reviews as well as a huge variety of wine.  It’s like having a cellar door in the middle of a town, offering wines from a lot of local wineries.

The cafe is only small with walls lined with dozens of bottles of wine.  It has a very cosy atmosphere due to this although as we were the only ones eating breakfast there that day, it was very quiet.  We had to have breakfast because we didn’t need to have lunch the day before and it was one of the places we really wanted to eat in.  It has also been been reviewed in the 2013 Age Good Food Guide.

Their breakfast menu is of a type I hadn’t seen before but I’m sure many restaurants and cafes offer this choice.  You can choose two eggs (cooked the way you want them) with toasted ciabatta and then choose from a range of sides such as tomato, mushrooms, bacon etc.  I chose two poached eggs with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce.  It was delicious.  Mel had an omelette with tomato, bacon, onion and basil and it was the largest omelette I’ve ever seen.  We both loved our meals though.  Again there was no thought to what we would have for lunch as there was no way we would need to eat again till dinner.

The building that houses the cafe is an old ANZ bank building, built in 1876.  It’s a lovely old building, typical of 19th century bank buildings.

Bendigo – GPO Cafe (one of my favourite ever meals)

This meal turned out to be the highlight of my weekend in Bendigo.

Pan-fried snapper fillet served with a prawn croquette, served on a rouille  with parsely coulis

We had picked this cafe from The Age Good Food Guide because it was ranked as one of the best ones in Bendigo.  We realised the night before that it was next to the Shamrock Hotel.

I decided to google their menu on the way to the cafe and was worried I wouldn’t be able to find something I wanted to eat.  I’m hopeless when it comes to choosing what to eat from a menu.  There are normally so many things I want to try.

They have a range of share plates but I wanted something more than that.  The easiest decision of the night was choosing the wine.  They offer one of my favourite Domaine Chandon wines so I chose that.  I then sat and read and reread the menu soooo many times.  I just couldn’t decide.  Eventually I spotted the pan-fried snapper and decided to have that.  We were sitting near the dessert counter which had a lot of small cakes and puddings as well as what was on the menu.

I loved the simple presentation of the dinner.  The snapper was beautifully cooked and on a bed of rouille.  I had no idea what that was so googled it while waiting for it to be served. In case you are wondering it is a sauce that consists of olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers.  It was delicious.  I even loved the parsley coulis.  But the thing I loved the most was the prawn croquette which was amazing.

After I finished I ordered another glass of my sparkling wine while pondering what to have for dessert.  As you may have read before I’m a sucker for a lemon tart or pie.  Lemon tart was one of my choices again.  This time however I decided to try the GPO Affogato.  This is two scoops of ice cream with shot glasses of frangelico and espresso and a honey drizzle.  I poured some of the espresso and frangelico over the ice cream and waited for the ice cream to melt and mix with the yummy flavours of the liquids.  OMG it was to die for.  Then just when I thought I’d finished I hit the honey that had been drizzled into the bottom of the glass.

GPO Affogato

http://www.gpobendigo.com.au/userDocs/documents/GPO%20Dinner%20Menu.pdf