Author: Zahra Emily

Pedro Espresso / St Kilda

New cafe on St Kilda Rd, reviewed by French Toast and Indie Pop.

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Trunk Diner / Melbourne CBD

The American inspired Trunk Diner is a charming all day diner up the Exhibition street end of the CBD. Fresh from our New York odessy, an American breakfast sounded like just the thing. There is both indoor and outdoor dining space, the indoor is small but comfortable. The wrap round windows give it a feeling of space and connection with the outside world. It’s almost hard to believe you’re in the heart of the city. We started our meal with coffee, it had a lovely creaminess with sweet honey notes to finish. Our first dish was the El Gringo. A Mexican inspired breakfast with chorizo and sweet corn chimichanga’s, refried beans, queso and fried eggs. The chimichanga was an absolute winner and perfectly fried, we would have liked more bulk to the dish though, more refried beans to act as a carrier. If you’re going to go for a Mexican breakfast, instead of all the heuvos rancheros going round, why not try this? We’re always in the mood for a eggs benedict, so our next …

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters / Lower East Side

We visited Irving Farm Coffee Roasters while wandering the Lower East Side. We enjoyed the casual and relaxed atmosphere, with the freedom to work quietly on your laptop downstairs or people watch at street level. Irving do a brilliant coffee, creamy and rich with a lightly acidic flavour. Closer to the coffees we know and love from Melbourne town than the coffee you’d expect from a cafe in Manhattan. Let’s face it, the locals are only just catching up to the coffee culture we know and love! If you’re looking for a great coffee in the Lower East Side, check out Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. Be sure to hit the follow button to keep up to date with the latest foodie goodness! You can now find me on instagram and Facebook!

The Spotted Pig / Chelsea

Welcome to the Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield’s cosy gastropub in Chelsea. You’ll find it by the cute spotted pig hanging above the entrance out in the lush front garden. April Bloomfield is an English chef with great credentials, she was originally scouted by Mario Batali before moving to New York to open the Spotted Pig. We visited just after the venue lost the Michelin star it had held since 2005, being downgraded to the Bib Gourmand guide. Nevertheless the achievement of this venue cannot be understated, to hold a star as a gastropub is to say the venue could compete with the finest of restaurants around the world while still being accessible and affordable to many.The space is small but it adds to the atmosphere. The decor is eclectic, warm and cheerful with a friendly and welcoming buzz as you enter. We visited on a weekend and gained the brunch options as well as the usual lunch choices. We started with a Cucumber Collins, a refreshing take on a Tom Collins. Given the menu crossover …

Sushi Nakazawa / Greenwich Village

It’s not often we’ll go out to eat without snapping photos of our meal, but this night out was different. We headed on a cold and rainy night to Sushi Nakazawa, a sushi bar with a unique story. Some of you might be familiar with the documentary by David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. You may have noticed a kindly faced apprentice mastering the art of the tamago (egg custard), meet Daisuke Nakazawa who has since been tempted away to open his very own New York restaurant. What makes Jiro’s restaurant special, and the documentary such a hit was his unwavering devotion to his craft, it earnt him three Michelin stars and the undisputed title of the worlds best sushi. Like Jiro, Nakazawa is shonkunin; that is, defined by the mastery of his craft and the use of it for the betterment of society. Nakazawa serves only the finest sushi in a twenty course selection, there’s no additional seasoning, no soy sauce or wasabi and the sushi is to be eaten in a single bite. …

Best Bagel and Coffee / Midtown

We’ve seen the movie Elf – we know what it means when a place says they’re the “best” at something, fortunately, this place might actually have done it. Best Bagels and Coffee was full, and we mean full of locals. It wasn’t flashy, but it was organised and clearly operated like a well oiled machine. The bagels took pride of place, with a huge array of choices for fillings and spreads. These bagels were the real deal, living up to their promise in typically American oversized serves. Sometimes a schmear isn’t a schmear, it’s a whopping great mountain of wonderful scallion cream cheese in a chewy bagel. Delicious, creamy and tangy. We also went for a sesame with egg and bacon. It was similarly oversized and served hot and fresh but a little more bacon would have better matched the huge serve of egg. Best Bagels and Coffee deliver with tasty, simple food and super quick service given their huge popularity. Be sure to hit the follow button to keep up to date with the latest …

Roberta’sΒ / East Williamsburg

Roberta’s is the hipster Italian joint you never knew you needed. It’s smokey, noisy and invariably packed but all kinds of wonderful. You’ll find it hiding away in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You enter past the pizza oven with wood smoke permeating the whole space to prepare you for the pizza to come. Roberta’s is dark and noisy, with load beats and plenty of chatter from the diners. The service is good, a balance between fawning over service and too cool disinterest you’ll often find when dining in hipster New York venues. The menu, like the atmosphere is interesting, with the focus of course being on the pizza. We started our dinner with the meat plate, followed by the Little Stinker pizza. The meat was fantastic but the bread is scorched fresh in the woodfired pizza oven and really stole the show with it’s smoky flavour. Roberta’s pizza absolutely delivered on its promise, a garlic and cheese overload with no meat required. I’m sure this stinker followed me for days but I would do it all …

Little Collins / Midtown East

Another of the Melbourne coffee renaissance coffee shops happening in NYC is Little Collins, who went so far to take the name of one of Melbourne’s well known city streets. Loved by the locals for their great coffee, we visited on our last morning in the city for one final hurrah. It’s not hard to see why New Yorkers have embraced Australian cafe culture, it’s something that’s really been missing from their food scene.Little Collins is a small and narrow venue with limited seating just like you’d find in the laneways of Melbourne. You place your order at the counter and give your name for the food to come out to you, unfortunately cafe table service isn’t as common here. You can put an Australian cafe in New York City but you can’t take the New York out of it – the staff were loudly having personal conversations behind the counter which was just a little off putting for us quiet Aussies.We started with a latte using Counter Culture beans. In a nice touch it …

La Esquina Taqueria / Midtown

La Esquina have opened a new midtown location, La Esquina Tacqueria. It’s a casual, cheap and easy Mexican diner in the heart of Midtown. Place your order, pay and pick it up at the counter. Take in the eclectic little space and people watch as New Yorkers head out on the town outside. We started our meal at La Esquina with a guacamole and corn chips. The chips were pre-packaged, initially off putting but actually very fresh. The guacamole had basic flavours but was fresh and nicely done. We order a pork taco and a beef taco for our main meals. The pork was fruity, moist and light, while the beef had a more intense flavour with a hit of spice. The salsa too was simple but nicely seasoned. This was authentic, easy and tasty street food. Finally we tried the chicken quesadilla with a tomatillo salsa. It was cheesy and warming, lightly spiced and best with the sweetness of the salsa. We really enjoyed our visit to La Esquina, this was quick, easy and …

Bluestone Lane Coffee / Bryant Park

For when you’re craving a proper Australian coffee in the heart of NYC meet Bluestone Lane. New York does a lot of things well, but espresso coffee has not been one of them. Hot, burnt, bitter, under and over extracted, scorched and mostly milk are just some of the ways you could describe the coffee we’ve tried here. Oh and if you don’t want it in a giant cup (let’s face it, it’s a coffee milkshake) you’re out of luck, seriously the smallest size at Starbucks is a ‘tall’ and it is indeed tall. Cue Bluestone Lane, where you can get a Melbourne magic or even a proper flat white.We opted for the magic, a perfectly microfoamed dash of milk in an extra strong coffee that brings back all the Melbourne coffee feels. Bluestone Lane have a few locations around the city, a sign that New Yorkers have fallen in love with Australian coffee. Why not, when there’s a so much to love about our brews! Be sure to hit the follow button to keep …