I'll spare you the "Mexican wave" pun, but the fact is that Melbourne's appetite for new wave Mexican dining over the last two years remains insatiable. If Mamasita, the Newmarket, the Taco Truck, Paco's Tacos, Fonda, Gringo Vibes and Livin' Burrito Loca weren't enough, we've got two more trendy Mexican restaurants opening in Melbourne, both in the next month, both in the CBD.
I'm particularly excited about Señoritas: its co-founder Ricardo Amare, its head chef Hugo Reyes (formerly the head chef in several Mexican embassies) and their full cooking team are all Mexican, and "authenticity" appears to be their watchword. There's a whole page dedicated to authenticity on their website, and it promises dishes from regions like Oaxaca and Yucatan. After a somewhat lengthy gestation period the restaurant should be open in early March in Meyers Place, with the Waiters Club and Meyers Place bar on its left and San Telmo and Lily Blacks on its right. While its proximity to Mamasita suggests it may scoop up the overflow of those unwilling to wait for hours on a staircase, I'm willing to bet it'll become a star attraction in its own right.
The other one is called Touché Hombre and it'll be opening in a few weeks at the site on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Tattersalls Lane previously occupied by izakaya J-Pub Shogun. Less is known about this one but from the sounds of things, there'll be plenty of tacos, margaritas and street art. Watch this space.
I'm guest judging a baking competition at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival! A gang of bicycle belles known as the Rad Rebel Riders are organising the Bikefest Village Picnic and you're all invited. It's an optional gold coin donation on entry to the picnic, and it'll be held from 11am to 5pm on Saturday 10 March at the Mercator Lawn at Abbotsford Convent (conveniently, the Collingwood Childrens Farm Farmers Market is being held on the same day, so I'm planning to do both). More picnic and baking competition details:
A long feast table will encourage communal grazing, with the picnic concept of ‘bringing a plate to share’ extended to both friends and strangers.
The Rad Rebel Riders put your oven skills to the test with a cake-baking competition, winners taking home foodie prizes like dinner vouchers at the Italian restaurant Mister Bianco. Spread out on your picnic blanket and taste the delicous offerings of the Convent Bakery's gourmet sandwiches & Moritz's special shandies or kickstart with a short black from our Cargo Bike Coffee crew.
A face painter will get creative on kids and not so grown ups and there are Village Green style games to pick up while you’re listening to folklore-gypsy sound by Susy Blue and friends to while away the afternoon. Time Out has some magazines up for grabs, as well as homemade cupcakes and freshly squeezed lemonade.
Your bike will also get a treat, with a free professional advice and service workshop provided by Abbotsford Cycles, and why not upgrade your food carrying capacity and find the right cargobike for you with free testing available on the Convent grounds. On top of that, the red & white crew of Roll Up Bicycle Valet parking will look after your pushy while you spoil yourself on the lawns.
Submit your baking entry from 11am – 12:30pm, judging will be at 1:30pm.
Bring family, friends, your Picnic and a plate to share!
And speaking of MFWF: this weekend (3rd/4th) the Festival has arranged for all of Melbourne's food trucks to be in the same place at the same time for Melbourne's first Food Truck Jam (see Festival website for details). When news of the event broke over Twitter last week, I was amazed to see that my tweet linking to the event page was retweeted and favourited so many times that @melbgastronome started trending in Melbourne. The take home message? PEOPLE *REALLY* LIKE FOOD TRUCKS.
Know this: the hot duck roll at Ora in Kew is SENSATIONAL. They add confit duck to a ciabatta roll, wrap it in foil and place it in the oven for ten minutes, then remove it and add Kewpie mayo, black sesame, spring onion and cucumber salad. $15.
A dazzling number of apple varieties on display at the Slow Food Market at Abbotsford Convent on Saturday. Brought to you by Peter the Permie from Telopea Mountain Permaculture Farm.
Puchased at the Slow Food Market: tomatoes for Sunday night's Green Zebra Caprese, and tomatillos which I roasted for a salsa on Saturday night.
I've written before about how good the "inauthentic" pizzas are at The Moor's Head. Last week I fell in love all over again with Omar Shariff, or rather, the $17.50 pide named after him: it's made with three cheeses (twisted halloumi, feta and ashawan), nigella, fresh mint and soused onions. Highly recommended!
Links of Note:
- Why do most cafe startups fail? Peter Baskerville answers.
- Melbourne's burger experts awarded Melbourne's Top 10 Burgers of 2011 on their blog The Burger Adventure.
- I haven't been to Sydney restaurant Barrio Chino, but I like that its interior shies away from the typical "Mexican aesthetic". Design blog yellowtrace interviewed their designer, who shared her original concept presentation boards for the fitout.
- Katie Quinn Davies, aka food blogger What Katie Ate, announced her new role as a regular contributor to Delicious magazine, doing an eight page feature every month featuring 5-7 themed recipes. Nice work Katie!
- Enjoying the cocktail blog Booze in Pretty Cups, written by two bartenders in Perth.
- Burch and Purchese posted a link on their blog to 80 pages of fascinating research from the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science.
- AFR journalist Rachel Lebihan writes a blog called The Food Sage. She recently wrote about her adventures perched up at the bar for dinner in three Melbourne restaurants.
- "I just don't want to be a Noma clone. It's everywhere. You see it in the way people plate, and it's nauseating." Eater interview with Manresa chef David Kinch.
- Also via Eater: Yes, the Food Blogging For Dummies Book Is a Real Thing. Apparently chapter 7 is "How to Write a Top Ten List" and chapter 12 is "Using Words Like Toque, Delish, and Drool-Worthy For Fun and Profit." *HEADDESK*
- I was interviewed by City Weekly and asked to name some of my favourite places in the city. Coming up with good answers for some of those questions was surprisingly hard - what would you have answered?