Misty’s Diner

103-105 High St, Prahran
Phone: 9510 1959

It kind of happened by accident, really. I happened to be in the neighbourhood, and Mr I happened to be free. The (healthier) Japanese restaurant we were thinking of going to happened to be closed, and I happened to suggest that we go to Misty’s. A lot of stuff happened to make this blog post happen.

You know how some movies are so bad that they’re good? Like Showgirls. Misty’s is a bit like that. A guilty pleasure, which is best enjoyed by others who also appreciate the novelty of the experience. So, of course, I went with Mr I (of evolkween fame). I mean after all, we watched The Room together, so our novelty/kitsch appreciation levels have been suitably verified.
imageMisty’s is an American style diner, with a retro Hamericana decor – airbrushed pictures of Marilyn, Elvis and the kids from Happy Days adorn the walls – and the super-processed menu to match. And it’s attached to a CAR WASH, people. It doesn’t get more Hamerican than that. And you know what? It’s fun. The music is that 50s-60s era ‘rock’n’roll’ that my dad used to listen to when I was growing up, and even on a Monday night, the place was full and buzzing.

After both exclaiming at the calorie-laden menu, and joking about ordering salads – I think Mr I was only half joking, but I shamed him out of it – I went for the trio of sliders, with a side of chili con carne fries. Ugh, my arteries are hardening just thinking recalling it.
imageIt seems odd to judge the quality of this type of food, because eating it is something of an exercise in pure calorie ingestion. Nay, I jest. But it does feel a little strange to complain about the quality of the sliders, given that I had ordered mini-burgers, on white bread, covered in re-hydrated de-hydrated diced onions. But the fact of the matter was that the burgers were over-cooked, and pretty dry. Fortunately, I had opted for the optional side of ‘bleu cheese’ dressing, into which I dunked – DUNKED – each slider before shoving it into my mouth. The resulting explosion of fat and sugar on my tongue, and indeed all over my face, was something I’d rather you not tell my personal trainer about. Hahaha, no, I don’t have a personal trainer.
imageThe chili con carne fries weren’t bad. There were a lot of beans in them, which I suppose is good for fibre, right? The helpful waitress had explained to me the gradings of their hot sauces, and advised me to stay away from the hottest one, with some extravagantly long name, because it has Death sauce in it. I took her recommendation, and went for the second hottest one, the XXX sauce. Fool me. I had to dump the whole lot on the fries, as the heat was pretty lacking.

Mr I had the Western and Bacon burger, involving mushrooms, smoky barbe-qua sauce, and an onion ring. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, even if he didn’t get much of it on his face. imageimageHe had a side of con queso fries, which we both thought would have meant ‘with cheese’, but seemed to mean with taco mince and some cheese. He had them medium hot, which basically meant lacking in any spice at all.imageAll in all, we both had a good time there. I’m not sure I’d go back in a hurry – there are better burgers in town, and well, it’s on the wrong side of the river. 😉
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The Crimean

351 Queensberry St (cnr Peel St), North Melbourne
Phone: 9329 3353

It’s been a while since I last posted, I know. A lot’s been going on, but the most prominent and exciting thing is that I have a new job! Huzzah!

In any case, here’s a tale of one of the last lunches I had while I was still working at my old job. It was a lazy Friday afternoon, and I took the opportunity of being in ‘What are they going to do, fire me?’ mode – after having given notice – to join my gainfully semi-employed friends for lunch.

The Crimean’s been around for a while, but doesn’t seem to get a lot of press. For a place with such a rare – if not unique – proposition, I find that a little surprising. The first time I visited, it was just for drinks, and let me tell you, the Eastern European wine selection is pretty eye-opening. I tried an interesting ‘dessert wine’ which was more like red wine’s answer to moscato than a port. There are also an interesting range of cocktails on the list, which will be expertly mixed for you by the King of Hipsters.

Anyway, onto lunch. We started off in the bar with a drink, then once we had all arrived, we were shown through to the dining room. I arrived at the table last, after pausing to take a photo of a poster with an otter on it, and being jovially chastised for my photo espionage.

Clearly, that didn’t stop me from continuing to take photos. After we ordered, we were presented with an amuse of borscht. It was quite full-bodied and flavoursome, which was a contrast to the rather watery, insipid borscht I’d last sampled at Borscht, Vodka and Tears.

imageOne of the failings of The Crimean, as opined by N, is that they don’t actually have a lunch menu. Given the hearty nature of Eastern European/Baltic food, this can make having lunch there something of a heavy affair. D started with the beef and pork pelmeni, which looked quite tasty. But then they look like Chinese jiaozi, so of course they look tasty…imageN had the Poor man’s caviar – beetroot, that is – served with some awesome thin rye bread crisps. Yes, of course I tried some when she offered!imageA and I forwent the starters, sort of, so let’s move onto mains. D had the ‘Bigos‘, described as ‘Polish hunter casserole of housemade pork sausage, smoked pork belly, braised pork neck, juniper, sauerkraut’. While it wasn’t quite as large as the name implied – yeah yeah, bigos probably doesn’t translate as big dish – it certainly looked hefty and rich. D said he enjoyed it.imageN had some sort of beef short rib, which has since been taken off the menu, but it certainly gave me meat envy. And Brussel sprout envy! I love Brussel sprouts, but I have a feeling that was because I wasn’t brought up eating them over-boiled.imageI had decided I couldn’t face a main course, so instead I had two starter dishes. It’s actually a good tactic, one which I picked up from my sister. Not only do you not get ridiculously full, but you get to try more stuff! I had the pierogi, which were beef, but have since been changed to duck and prune on the menu. Which would have been even better!imageThey were quite tasty, but the dough was little heavy and dry. Perhaps that’s the style, I’m not sure. I’m far from being an expert on the cuisines of the Black Sea.imageI also had the stuffed vine leaves, which were like a drier version of dolmades I guess. They were well spiced, and I remember feeling guilty not offering anyone a taste. They’re off the menu now as well. In some way, that’s a little frustrating, because it makes writing about it a little redundant, but it’s also quite heartening to see that they refresh their menu so often.imageA had little mini blinis, with salmon roe and house cured gravlax. She also didn’t feel like a big lunch, because she had an impending big dinner. Props for planning stomach space.imageA paired the blinis with a side ‘mountain salad’, which looked lovely, until she poured the accompanying lurid beetroot dressing all over it. Then it looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. But she said it tasted good, though.imageHaving chatted with a few other bloggers about the Crimean after my lunch there, there seems to be a sentiment that it’s ‘not all that’. I have to say I quite liked it – the decor and service are a little quirky, but in a fun way, and while the food isn’t particularly amazing, it’s good, and something a little out of the ordinary. It’s probably a better option for a hearty dinner destination than a light lunch spot.

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