Massive Wieners

Ah Massive Wieners. Specialising in massive hot dogs (12″ being the exact measurement) and fries, I’ve wanted to try it out for a while now, if only to say that I had a massive wiener. I know, so mature and professional of me.

One of my friend lived in Prahran a couple years back, and I’ve literally asked her to come to Massive Wieners with me a dozen of times, but for one reason or another, we never made it there. And then one day last year, I was determined to make it happen, but realised that it was actually under renovation.

After making sure that it was indeed, open, we visited the hot dog joint on a sunny Sunday. The space was quite grungy and bare, and it was actually smaller than what I had expected. Orders are placed at the counter, and then brought out to your table by a friendly staff.

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Kraut (Average Joe) – $7.00

All hot dogs come with the basics – ketchup, mustard, onion and cheese. There are a range of toppings you can choose to add to the basic combination, and I chose kraut. Although deceptively simple, the hot dog was actually very tasty. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into the selection of ingredient, from the toasty bun, to the hot dog itself, which was a lot more meaty and had a firmer texture than cheaper hotdogs elsewhere. The kraut was addictively sour, and lent some extra crunch to the wiener.

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Classic (Average Joe) – $6.00

My friend went for the classic, and it was equally as delicious. We both went for the Average Joe, a 6″ wiener, and it was more than enough. Did we want to give the massive wiener a shot? Sure, but we also wanted to play things safe and save room for some fries on the side.

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Disco Fries (Average) – $7.00

Out of the three fries options, we went for the disco fries; crispy fries topped with gravy, cheese and onion. This is the type of fries that can only be eaten with a fork, and taste best when you can get a mouthful of all the elements.

Massive Wieners delivers exactly what it promised; hot dogs and fries, done with love and care. The straight-forward offerings means that it is perfect for a quick bite to eat, especially after a night out, which is perfect given that it is open until 4am on a Friday night. So next time, trade your kebabs for some hot dogs, and I guarantee that you will thank yourself the next day.

Massive Wieners Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Moon Dog Brewery Bar

The end of Summer means that there is an exponential decrease of number of outdoor activities that is available. Other than the real outdoorsy ones – hiking and camping –  I will also miss is outdoor cinemas, rooftop bars and cosy breweries.

Breweries are something that I’ve only started going to last year. They’re fun, relaxing, and creates a vacuum of endless conversations. The most recent brewery that I had visited is Moon Dog, which specialises in a number quirky flavoured beers. We went on quite a warm day, and the intimate almost lounge room-esque area was filled out by people.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

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Son of a Spritz – $15.00

Sunny days calls for refreshing cocktails, and Moon Dog’s version of the classic Aperol Spritz was perfect for the occasion. A little more tart than the traditional version, it was hard to stop at one with this drink.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetFood wise, on top of the free popcorn available from the bar (just ask, they have an addictive seasoning!), there’s a pizza truck outside of the lounge area.

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There ain’t no mushroom in this town for… – $16.00

We started off with the cheesy and earthy mushroom pizza on the menu. Mushrooms are some of my favourite ingredients, and the trio of field, shimeji and porcini mushrooms really hit the spot. Being on a garlic base further accentuated the umani coming through, and the dough was thin and crispy enough, but still held onto the toppings quite well.

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Pimp My Marg – $14.00

A good margherita pizza is deceptively simple, but full of flavour, and this was a prime example of that. The vibrant combination of tomato, basil, ricotta and mozzarella really came together. The dough was slightly thicker, which was perfect considering the toppings were considerably more weighty compared to its mushroom counterpart.

The laid back atmosphere at Moon Dog stood out to me from the get go, and the quirky drinks available on tap ensured that everyone can find one that suits them. Whether you’re looking for a destination for pre-dinner drink or spending a relaxing few hours playing Jenga while gauging on popcorns, Moon Dog is the place to be.

How to get there:
Moon Dog is located on Duke Street in Abbotsford. Catch tram #109 from Parliament station towards Box Hill, and get off at McKay St/Victoria St, and the brewery is a short 3 minutes walk away.

Moon Dog Brewery Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dexter

I know I know, I’ve been gone for the longest time. Let’s leave that aside for a second and focus on the topic at hand – the amazing meal I had at Dexter.

The American-style eatery featuring various types of BBQ has been on my list to try for a while now (what’s new), and after a lackluster meal my friend had there (not because of the food), I made it my mission to visit the joint as soon as I was back in the country (travel post coming up soon I swear).Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

The location was quite discrete, in fact, the only thing that gave it away was the X above its door. The warm and romantic lighting, minimal designs incorporating the airy space, and the overall sophisticated atmosphere certainly is not what I had in mind for a American BBQ restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised. Upon realising that there were only seats available at the bar in the indoor area, we opted to eat outside instead.

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KFC (Kentucky Fried Cauliflower) – $9.00

This was our healthiest dish of the night, I mean yes it is deep fried, but there are large pieces of cauliflower being encrusted in the batter, definition of a balanced meal. Although extremely crunchy, the cauliflower was actually a little bland, but the red sauce on the side did help to bring some flavour to the dish.

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Hot Meat Donuts – $12.00

Here they are, the oh-so-famous meat donuts. The concept sounded pretty magical, but it wasn’t until I took my first bite into the sugar-dusted donut that I knew what I was in for.

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Hot Meat Donuts – $12.00

The tender and juicy beef brisket was as delicious as it can be, and the light donut batter took the whole thing to the next level. The concept of the hot meat donut kind of remind me of Chinese meat buns, or the dim sum Ham Sui Gok, but obviously with a American BBQ twist. The flavour and texture of the donut and the meat filling worked so well together that it took some serious self-restraint to order another 3.

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Cured Pork Neck – $27.00 and Caramel Short Rib – $32.00

Moving onto the more substantial dishes, we ordered two of the large dishes to share. The caramel short rib was hands down, the best ribs I’ve ever had. The complex combination of the caramel marinade and the the smokiness of the rib meant that the flavour had seeped through every bite of the meat. It was also very tender, but not too much so.

The cured pork neck was overshadowed by the short rib, but then again, what wouldn’t be. Being a less fatty piece of meat, its flavour was not as rich as the rib, but it was still delicious nonetheless, especially after being doused in the gravy.

Although the meats are the star of the show, the accompanying sides were also distinctly more tasty than your run-of-the-mill mash, pickles and bread. My favourite was the bone marrow mash, the bone marrow adds so much flavour to the smooth mash, making a simple dish into a decadent extravaganza.

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Shoestring Fries – $7.00

The fries were tasty, but I don’t think even the best of fries could reach the unbelievably standard set by the previous potato dish. The serving was quite generous though, and they didn’t charge us for extra sauce, which is always nice.

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My dining experience in Dexter was better than I could ever imagined, it challenged my understanding of what American BBQ is, and how tasty it can be, in the best ways possible. I would happily return and try some of their other meats, but it’s going to be hard to not order the caramel short ribs every single time.

Given the limited space of the restaurant, I’d highly recommend to book ahead, and while I’m handing out tips, ditch the fries and order an extra serving of the bone marrow mash, you won’t regret it.

How to get here:
Dexter is on High Street in Preston, catch a train on the South Morang line and get off at Preston, and the restaurant is about 7 minutes walk away.

Dexter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jaidee Thai

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Thai food seems to be a bit of a hit and miss in Melbourne; whilst a pad thai is available in every food court, authentic papaya salads are hard to come by. One of my Thai friends gave a glorious recommendation of Jaidee Thai, and I was more than willing to give it a try.

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Som Tum Thai – $12.00

Piled high with thinly sliced papaya, with pieces of of tomato, snake bean and peanuts mixed through, this papaya salad is probably my favourite rendition of the dish. The dressing was very balanced, with hints of acidity, sweetness and heat. The little pieces of roasted peanuts were my favourite, adding more dimension to the salad.

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Nam Thok (Pork) – $15.00

The grilled pork salad was something I had never tried before. The pork were a bit dry than usual, according to my friend, however it was still quite flavoursome, with the help of the sweet and sour dressing. The mint leaves and red onion kept the dish on the refreshing side, and it helped to lighten up some of the heavier dishes we had ordered.

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Green Curry with Chicken – $14.90

Can you really go to a Thai restaurant and not order the green curry? Not in my book. The curry sauce was light and fragrant, with a good amount of fresh vegetables thrown in, and the large portion was another plus, which went perfectly with the coconut rice on the side.

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Coconut Rice

Speaking of which, the coconut was rice was a bit overcooked for my liking, however the coconut flavour was quite prominent, and there was even coconut meat thrown into the mix!

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Pad Se Ew with Chicken – $14.90

More carbs came in the form of the Pad Se Ew, and it was a much more exciting affair. The stretchy and thick noodles provided the perfect base to soak up all the flavour of the soy based sauce, and the fresh Chinese broccoli ensured that we felt good about eating our vegies.

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Mango with Sticky Rice – $7.50

Even though we were pretty full by this point, some dessert never hurt anyone. The simple mango with sticky rice, drowning in coconut cream, was the perfect way to end our meal. The sticky rice was a bit salty, which helped to offset the richness of the cream, and the slightly hard slices of mango rounded the dessert off.

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Jaidee Thai may seem like a run of the mill neighbourhood Thai restaurant at first glance, however its extensive menu and authentic flavours have won me over. In fact, I am willing to overlook the lackluster service to try out other items on the menu. The restaurant stayed relatively quiet during our visit, so if you’re ever in the area and don’t feel like waiting for Jinda Thai, this is a great alternative.

How to get here:
Jaidee Thai is located on Victoria Street, catch the train on the Hurstbridge and South Morang line, and get off at North Richmond, and the restaurant is two minutes walk away.

Jaidee Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr Hendricks

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It’s no secret that Mr Hendricks is one of my brunch go-tos in the Eastern suburbs. Its space may seem a bit small upon first glance, however, there is a courtyard, and an elevated courtyard on top of that, preventing a wait even on a Saturday morning.

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Cold Drip

Given the scorching weather on the day, I settled for the cold drip. The cold drip at Mr Hendricks was served with sparkling water on the side, which I was quite confused about at the start. However, I quickly realised that the sparkling water was to be poured into the cold drip, making it a rather refreshing drink.

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Croque Madame – $16.00

The Croque Madame is a new addition to the menu, and in true Mr Hendricks fashion, the serving was huge! Sandwich between the two slices of buttery and crunchy bread was a ham hock terrine, elevating the dish from more pedestrian renditions of the sandwich. The bechamel sauce and the gruyere cheese added more creaminess to the dish. Although delicious, this dish was quite decadent, and could have benefited from a small salad or the like to lighten it up a little.

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Rosemary Chips – $7.50

A balanced diet requires some chips on the side, and these are some of my favourite chips in town. The thick cut chips were fried to perfection, golden on the outside and super potato-ey on the inside, and the rosemary salt was earthy and comforting.

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I’m so glad that Mr Hendricks is on my side of town, its more than reasonable price, ever-changing menu and just general good vibes means that I will be returning for years to come.

How to get there:
Mr Hendricks is located on Whitehorse Road, catch tram #109 and get off at Northcote Avenue/Whitehorse Road, the cafe is just a minute walk away.

Mr Hendricks Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Humble Rays

Opening earlier this year, Humble Rays has quickly become a contender for having the longest queue in the Carlton area during brunch hours. Its pastel colour palette, plethora of air-hanging plants, and Asian-inspired menu that frequents Instagram ensured that it had a cult following. Arriving at midday on Wednesday, we still had to wait for 30 minutes, proving its popularity.Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

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Iced Matcha Latte – $6.00

Hearing rave reviews about the Matcha Latte, and given the humid weather on the day, it was a no-brainer to order the iced matcha latte for my drinks. The matcha flavour was indeed a lot more prominent than other matcha lattes I’ve tried in the past, and I had to restrain myself from finishing it too quickly.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

I strayed away from some of the more popular dishes and ordered the steak sanga, the serving was a lot larger than I expected, and am used to around Melbourne.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

The goodies that were sandwiched between the roll included the titular flank steak, cheddar cheese, chilli bacon jam, balsamic onion chutney, rocket pesto mayo, and some rocket to trick you into thinking it’s a balanced meal. The only problem that I had with the sandwich was that it was quite difficult to eat, however once I had overcome that, the dish was delicious. The chilli bacon jam and rocket pesto mayo elevated it from a steak sanga that you can get from your local fish and chips, and the quality ingredients together presented a simple but tasty meal.

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Egg Benny – $18.50

The eggs benny is probably the most raved about dish from Humble Rays, and my friend liked it so much that she ordered it both times that she visited the cafe. The pork belly was braised to the point that it fell apart at the touch of the fork, and melted in the mouth. The ginger flavour wasn’t too overpowering in the pork belly, which means that even if you were not a fan of ginger, you’d still enjoy the dish. The korokke was akin to a potato rosti, but a lot of crispier, and the yuzu hollandaise prevented the dish from being too heavy.

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Green Tea Skookie – $12.50

Even though we were pretty full by this point, we still had some room for the green tea skookie. Skookie is essentially a cookie baked in a skillet, topped off with marshmallow, ice cream and cookie crumbs. The soft cookie paired with the gooey marshmallow perfectly, and ice cream is never a bad idea in dessert. The idea is ingenious, and we demolished the skookie in minutes.

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Even in the saturated brunch scene, Humble Rays is able to set itself apart with dishes that are both reasonably priced and interesting, whilst not losing touch with the most important factor – tastiness of the food. There’s a reason why it has been able to draw a crowd amongst other cafes around the area, and I can see it continue to thrive amongst the student population nearby.

How to get there:
Humble Rays is located on Bouverie Street, catch any of the trams from the Melbourne Central tram stop on the Swanston Street heading away from Flinders Street Station, and get off at Queensberry Street/Swanston Street, and the cafe is two minutes walk away.

Humble Rays Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Milk The Cow

I love it when the name of a restaurant hints at what it specialises in, and Milk the Cow is an excellent example of that. Yup, you guessed it, it’s cheese, a lot of cheese, a cabinet filled with cheese.

Some people might hold the idea of wine and cheese to be a mature adult only activity, and that may be true for some, however I am neither mature nor an adult (where do you draw the line) but it is a pairing that I am quite fond of. Given how decadent it is, my friend and I saw it as the perfect place for some celebration.

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Top to bottom: Farmer’s Board; Kaas Mit Wein Zu Kochen; 3 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice

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St John’s Road Riesling – $11.50

After placing our order, I asked the waitress to help me select a wine that would pair well with the food. She recommended the Riesling, stating that it is a wine that will go with various types of cheese. I enjoyed the dry and crisp nature of the wine, and it did indeed taste even better when paired with the cheese.

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Top to bottom: Farmer’s Board; 3 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice

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3 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice – $28.00

We foregone the flight options for drinks of our own choosing, and therefore picked the 3 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice. There are over 180 types of cheese sitting in the cabinet of Milk the Cow, and this cheeseboard is constantly changing depending on the cheese that is currently ripe.

The soft cheese came in the form of La Tur, belonging to the brie family, it was extremely creamy and rich, almost buttery in its flavour. If you are not a fan of blue cheese, the Gorgonzola Bonta della Bonta may be a good one to start off with, it was a lot lighter than most blue cheeses that I’ve tried, the quince and the Shiraz and Onion Jam ($7.00) helped to balance out the flavour even further. The most unique cheese of the trio had to be the BellaVitano Balsamic, the hard cheese was nutty and sweet, and the balsamic rind made it even more interesting. My friend enjoyed this cheese so much that she bought some to take home with her.

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Farmers Board – $30.00

Milk the Cow offered an option to select four items and form a Farmers Board for $30; in addition to the Shiraz and Onion Jam, we had the Serrano ($8.00), Prosciutto ($8.00) and Smoked Salmon Pate ($12.00). The serrano and prosciutto were both delicious with the right amount of the fattiness. The smoked salmon pate was creamy with a much more delicate flavour. Although tasty in their own right, the farmers board was not as impressive as the cheese board, only because I feel that these selections were more accessible.

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Vinea Marson Prosecco – $14.00

It was time for a top up of the drinks, and this time I knew I wanted to end the night on a Prosecco, and given that this was the only option on the drinks list, it’s what I went with. This was another dry wine, a sparkling one at that. The crisp notes of apple and pear were what I tasted at first, before transforming into a more complex nutty flavour.

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Kaas Mit Wein Zu Kochen – $17.00

Cheese fondue is probably what I was most excited to try on the night, and after much debate, we settled on the Kaas Mit Wein Zu Kochen, aka the one no one can say.

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Kaas Mit Wein Zu Kochen – $17.00

The fondue was made with a mixture of Gruyere, Appenzeller, Comte and Emmenthal. A strong flavour is expected from that list of cheese already, and indeed, this was not one for the faint-hearted. The consistency was somewhat thicker than I expected, in the sense that the cheese in the fondue pot kind of all moved together.

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Kaas Mit Wein Zu Kochen – $17.00

Dip the cubed bread into the cheese, and pray that you will be able to get it out of that cheese, and then chew through what is possibly one of the best things in the world, melted cheese that is buttery, dense, and oh-so-cheesy. Every bite is as sinful as it is delicious, and even though we were filled to the brim, we managed to smash through the whole thing.

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Milk the Cow is a place that I never knew I needed, but now I can’t live without it. The combination of wine and cheese is so tentalising, add the relaxing ambience and professional yet friendly service to the mix, it is a place that I know I will frequent, even if it is just for a cheese and wine flight before or after dinner (don’t judge me). One of the waiters also gave us a complimentary round of drinks which was much appreciated.

If you are wanting to visit, make sure you arrive early to avoid a long wait, alternatively leave your name and walk around the neighbourhood, there is plenty to explore; we had to wait for around an hour on the Friday night. If you are going in a group of six or more, it might save you some trouble to just go ahead and book a table.

And no, I didn’t end up having any whacky dreams that night, another plus hey.

How to get here:
Milk the Cow is located on Lygon Street, catch tram #1 or #6 and get off at Lygon/Elgin Street, and Milk the Cow is right around the corner.

Milk the Cow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato