Huxtaburger

106 Smith St, Collingwood
Phone: 9417 6328

Yeah, you’ve all heard about it. Well, you should have. Blah blah burger blah blah brioche blah blah wagyu.
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This is the Denise (the hot one).

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Just go eat it.
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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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Tap House

T2 Domestic Terminal, Sydney Airport
Phone: (02) 8335 3000

After our weekend in Sydney, we were all dreading airport food a little, but had thought we could probably avoid it, our flight being scheduled at 7pm. We could be back home in Melbourne and hitting Chinatown for some late-ish dumplings before heading home to bed. But thanks to a three and a half hour delay on our Tiger flight home from Sydney, Mr I, Miss D and I found it necessary to park ourselves at the T2 domestic terminal’s local. Tap House.

Tap House is a pretty standard modern pub setup, albeit in an airport terminal. There’s about four beers and a cider on tap, and a reasonable selection of bottled ones. The wine list is short, but again, reasonable. In fact, we were surprised the prices weren’t inflated because of the airport location. Still, it’s just the domestic terminal – I think the international terminal might be another story.

While Miss D and I were still too full from our ramen and prawn mee earlier in the afternoon, Mr I somehow found the will to order a burger.

It was a bit of a mistake, really, but not because of the quality – it was reportedly quite good, and certainly looked fresh – but because of the size. Challenging would describe it well, especially given that Mr I’s belly was probably still full of collagen from the earlier tonkotsu meal.
I thought I’d take a more sensible option, and just ordered a bowl of wedges. Little did I know that I would be presented with an almost comically oversized serve of wedges. Which I proceeded to nurse until they got cold over the ensuing two hours left we had to wait for our flight.

So apart from the surprising find of good pub grub at the airport, the delay wasn’t all bad. We made friends with the delightful Miss V, who was similarly stuck in Tiger-induced limbo, and had recently moved to Melbourne. While I’m not eager to fly Tiger again any time soon, I do have to thank them for having been the cause for making a new friend. Serendipity strikes! 🙂

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Bath Lane Cafe

13 Bath Lane, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5441 5400

Stopping in for some late lunch in Bendigo, or so we had thought, Mr N and I thought we’d try one of the cafes along the Bath Lane strip, behind the controversial new Bendigo Bank building. The building is controversial because it’s big, glass, with bits of red and green. It wouldn’t look out of place on a suburban University campus, or maybe in the Docklands, but I can see why people in Bendigo though it was an eyesore. It definitely clashes with the surrounding heritage buildings. And Bendigo’s a lot about heritage.

Bath Lane Cafe is, if the Bendigo tourism site is to be believed, part of that heritage, as a “Bendigo breakfast tradition“. While the breakfast is available all day, we opted for some lunchier options. Mr N chose the chicken salad with a mango dressing.

The dressing was a good mix of sweet and tangy, and all the ingredients were wonderfully fresh. Despite not having eaten since an early breakfast, as we were aware that we were due at the Dispensary in a few hours, Mr N didn’t finish the salad. And well, if he didn’t finish a salad, I really had no chance. I didn’t know what I was doing…
… ordering the burger. Touted on the menu as the best burger in town, I really couldn’t go past it. It came served on a bed of chips, which were crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside, the way good pub-style chips should be. There was probably about a fish and chip shop ‘minimum chips’ amount, as you can see, on the plate; ie. a lot. Then there was the burger itself.
A monster of a beef patty, with crispy bacon, caramelised onions, a fried egg, tomato and lettuce. I sound like I’m writing a McDonald’s commercial here, but trust me, this was a world away from the cardboard meat of fast food. The burger was actually cooked to a medium, which might have put some people off, but I love all my meat on the rare side. You can really taste it properly. I think the only thing missing from this beast was some beetroot, to make it real a Aussie classic. I had to slice it in half to eat it, and I’m glad I don’t have a small mouth, because it was a challenge to fit it in as it was! So yes, I also didn’t manage to finish my lunch.
Which meant we couldn’t get one of these… so sad, because they not only looked amazing, but they were only $4.50!

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Smoken Joe’s

680 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds
Phone: 9370 4888

Smoken Joe’s is a pretty standard cafe/restaurant of that Blue Train/Automatic/Joe’s Garage vein, with a menu modelled on American Diner fare, plus pasta, plus some bistro food, plus curry (!?!?). They serve decent meals at reasonable prices, and there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the food.

As is usual in one of these places, there are a few things on the menu which are signature dishes, but you’ll find all of the usual suspects on the menu. I tend to find that they’re the best dishes on which to judge a restaurant, so I started off with the steak sandwich. The steak was still juicy and the toast was crisp. Not bad, in my books. Mr N had the chicken parmigiana. He was satisfied, and struggled to finish it all. I’ve got to say the chips were a bit of a let-down; not particularly crispy. I’m also of the belief that either you go shoestring, or you go fat chips. The KFC-gauge should be left to KFC. Well, OK, and Nando’s.



A return visit with other friends led to similar ordering. Mr I had the burger, and Mr A had the steak sandwich, on my recommendation. Both were satisfied with their meals, but there were no songs of praise to be sung. Mr A’s steak sandwich looked even better than mine.

I have been there other times when someone ordered the pasta (ho-hum) and the grilled salmon (a winner, but no photo!) but I’m yet to try their ribs or the surf’n’turf. I love a bit o’ doublemeat action.

Oh, but wait! I lie! There IS something remarkable about Smoken Joe’s. They have these OVERSIZED chocolate crackles and honey joys!!


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