It certainly looks we do nothing but eat out, doesn’t it?
The truth be told, 3 weeks of eating in the US has caused a malfunction (that’s what I am going with) of our bathroom scales. In much need of shedding some pre-wedding pounds/kgs, we have resorted to eating not a calorie more than is required to sustain the vital organs.
I’ve been relegated from the kitchen, as apparently you can eat lettuce leaves raw. Not entirely so, but the duck fat, pork belly and russet potatoes are nowhere to be seen. Sad, but true.
Speaking of pork belly, what does wild pig belly taste like? Have you been fattening them up on your freshly planted garden? Do they like your coconut cream?
Can you at least get take-away on the island?
I have a vision of you going “Survivor” and living off the land and sea. It’s not a comforting vision.
Ok, in keeping with our holiday schedule, the lovely Julia and I set off for Beechworth (central Victoria) last weekend. A Christmas gift from the parentals was a weekend at a B&B. Must admit, pretty fine present as I do so enjoy a well-run B&B. Barnsley House fit that bill in spades. Great time of year to be up there too, autumnal colours (fall colors for our US readers) a plenty!
I know you’ve been to Beechworth before and had mixed reviews. I’m no different. Some of it was great, some of it ok and some of it just annoyingly touristy. I’ve got a few friends who hail from the area, so got a few pointers on where to eat and what to see and do.
We arrived Beechworth a little later than hoped, so headed out almost immediately after check in to find some food. Curiously we tried the Ox and Hound only to be told “I’m the only one on, so we can’t serve you tonight”, by a clearly distressed waitress. We retreated quickly.
Moving on, we venture almost next door to the Tanswell Commercial Hotel. Yes, a pub. Pub food, beer, Laminex tables and a wine list. I can almost hear you scoffing from here. The food was, well, I didn’t leave hungry, but half a cabbage with some charred “pork belly” (hint: there was no way it was pork belly, rather rolled pork flank) was just too much.
Now to the wine list. Stunned, as I scanned the offerings, I barely noticed the average (at best) food. The usual house wine offerings ignored, I found myself looking at the pricey end of the spectrum, only it wasn’t pricey. It must have been a misprint, surely. An ’01 Savaterre Chardonnay for a mere $85? ’06 Giaconda Cabernet Sauvignon for a pittance more? This is half what I would expect to see these at a bottle shop, but at a “restaurant”?
The next day was all apples and autumn colours before a night dining at Provenance. A couple of “chefs hats” from a large Australian media company? Sure. Degustation? Sure. Matching wines? Sure. Expensive? You bet. Would I go back? The jury is out.
Yeah, the food was interesting. Some stand out dishes. The sake and wine accompaniments were, at times, challenging and I am not sure worked as desired. The stain on the night though was the intoxicated, loud and downright inconsiderate group that arrived shortly after us. Staff spent more time apologising to other diners in the room that should have been necessary. Some less than discreet “shhhh-ing” from staff was heard, multiple times. Finally, and I mean finally, the group was able to be moved to another (empty) room.
A pet hate? You betcha! These are my top 5 things that irk me most in fine dining establishments:
- Intoxicated patrons who never learned the difference between their “inside voice” and “outside voice”;
- Overly attentive staff (please, please let me enjoy spending some moments with my dining companion(s));
- I’m sorry sir, that was the last bottle of that wine. Well, why was it on the list?
- So glad we could participate in the conversation of the table 3cm from ours; and
- Let’s stop and get a pizza on the way home, I’m famished.
No doubt you’ve got some to add to this?
P.S. Definitely heading back to Beechworth, perhaps during morel season!