When the temperature is 38 degrees and I get in my hot car to drive into the city – fortunately not a long trip – but seems longer with the blistering sun and airconditioning that takes a while to warm up (cool down?) – I know that I’ve made plans for a good night ahead. Or I wouldn’t be going out at all. I much prefer to hibernate at home sitting in my bedroom with my new airconditioner on its coldest setting. But last night I had made plans to catch up with two of my favourite people in two separate events – dinner and seeing a band.
First stop was picking Sydney Shop Girl – I am always embarrassingly early and this trait worked out well as I got to wait for her in the coolness of the hotel lobby, admiring a beautiful bride, and just being thankful I wasn’t in the heat. 15 minutes later and SSG came down to meet me, I was calm, and we were set for a fabulous dinner.
We headed on to My Mexican Cousin – which is situated in the Melbourne Recital Centre on Southbank Boulevard (where I won my Yooralla Media Award). Unfortunately there is a big lack of parking in the area, and we had to park around 500 metres away. Ok, it was probably less, but in that heat it seemed a bigger distance. I was pleased to be able to swing my car into a tight spot (I am not good at reverse parking, having only ever done during my driving test back in 2000 – gosh, it pains me to admit that in writing, on the internet, which will be forever – but with SSG’s guidance, I made it. And also did another semi reverse park later in the night! Things are looking up for my reverse parking skills. Note – I am pretty competent at driving forward.
It was a good job we parked so far away because we ate So. Much. Food. And needed to walk it off. My Mexican Cousin is not the Mexican I’ve been obsessed with lately. It is more like home-style Southern American tapas and mains. Which may prepare me well for my American trip.
We were perched at the bar, where the cool kids sat, quipped the barman, drinking wine and starting off with bar snacks.
First up – spicy and sweet popcorn. It had bites of chilli and perhaps honey. I definitely know there was chilli on the popcorn as some of it ended up in my eye and I had to make a hasty trip to the bathroom to dab my eye with water and eye drops. I want to try making the popcorn at home. I promise to be careful with the chilli.
Entree was salt cod fritters – cod and mashed potato with a side of garlic aioli. The fritters were deliciously fishy.
Our first main course was the Poboy sandwich – shared – deep fried prawns, lettuce, mayo and a semi spicy Creole tomato chutney. It reminded me of eating a Vietnamese Banh Minh. The prawns were big juicy and flavoursome. I could eat a whole Poboy.
We had a conference about dessert and decided our tummies could withstand two desserts to share. So we chose chocolate brownies and pecan pie. Wow. Perhaps on this rare occasion, my eyes were too big for my tummy. But I ate for Australia and made it through the not very arduous task of finishing my desserts.
The chocolate brownie was fudgey and dense, filled with pistachios and cardamom. It was served berries in their juice, the most delightful sweetened cream, strawberries and mint leaves. When eaten altogether, the flavours were amazing.
But it was the pecan pie that won my heart. There were shards of toffee were scattered over the plate was a brown sugary-pecan filling was atop a shortcrust pastry. The vanilla bean icecream was a perfect match – but it melted too quickly for me to eat it with the pie.
We enjoyed sitting at the bar – the staff entertained us with their cocktail skills and humour.
Sydney Shop Girl and I had a lovely chat and she promised me she will give me some tips on eating affordably in London, as she heads off there next week. She tried to convince me to buy that spotted blue dress from Target but I stayed strong.
After getting lost around the maze of streets at Crown Casino (I always do) I said goodbye to SSG and headed to Northcote to meet my friend Melissa at the Wesley Anne. Again I drove around and around to find a park. At one stage I entered a tiny, dark and isolated carpark in a backstreet, and a man looked to be walking to his car. I he waved to me, gesturing me over to his park and I started to turn around, nodding that I was coming. He then ran to my car, shaking his hands around. I got a bit scared, and sped off. Anyway, after driving for about 10 minutes, I scored a carpark right out the front of the venue!
Mel and I were there to see Tania Doko – formerly from Bachelor Girl and She Said Yes. The show was acoustic, and really lovely. Mel and I got there just in time to see Janine Maunder who sang such pretty songs. Janine also performed backing vocals for Tania.
She did a mixture of old and new – it was nostalgic hearing the Bachelor Girl songs. She also did two songs by the Eurythmics which matched her voice perfectly.
Lots of her friends and family were in the room – she told funny stories about her Dad, and gave shout outs to her boss at White Lion where she’s a youth worker, and mentioned her Italian teacher.
My favourite part of the show was Buses and Trains where she sang parts of it in Italian, and got the audience to sing along. If you listen closely you can hear me singing at the end. The chorus seems to go on forever and today it is in my head – in a good way!
So apart from the relentless heat, last night was a really good one. Great to catch up with BFFs, eat good food and see wonderful live music.