I was craving pizza and since I haven’t been able to make it for a long time (six months or so, can’t think of good toppings for a pregnant lady), we went to Allora Cucina to try out some relatively local pizza (still about 20 minutes drive). This place used to be called The Way to San Jose, I wanted to go since back then but never seemed to have a chance. It seems like they’ve re-branded to a more traditional Italian themed restaurant. The location is a bit odd, just a little strip of shops in a suburban neighbourhood, but that’s good for Mckinnonites I guess, a quality restaurant in a quiet location is always a winner in my books.
The menu consists of pizza, pasta, salads, some meaty dishes, and a bunch of other sides and extras, there is also a special boards too. We went with a couple of pizzas, a salad, and a kids pasta for Oscar, it was just the right amount after I ate half of Oscar’s pasta :D.
There were a couple of pasta options for kids, one was a lasagne, and one was a fusili pasta with bolognese sauce (or napolitana sauce), we went with the fusili as it was a safer bet for Oscar at this stage, he loves pasta (he has to be able to see it clearly). You can see in the picture that the portion is pretty substantial, Oscar did well to eat about half of it, so for kids it’s a pretty decent size, and the pasta is hand made and had great chewiness.
As per usual since she’s been pregnant (and probably even before that) Emmy went with a seafood option, the Positano pizza has prawns, zucchini, and chilli on top of a regular pizza base. It tasted as good as the picture suggests, nice, fat prawns and just a little spice from the chilli. It’s always a challenge for Emmy to find something that she can eat these days but this one was a winner.
I basically went with the meat lovers, the Milano pizza comes with pancetta, salami, and salsicca, on top of a regular pizza base, of course this being a normal pizza restaurant they didn’t use BBQ sauce on the base, thank goodness. Even Emmy had to give this a try even though it’s full of those cured meats that she isn’t meant to eat :D. The pancetta was really thin and crispy and not as salty as it sometimes can be, which was definitely a good thing.
We definitely have a winner here and without a great number of options in our area, this one is on the list for return visits for sure.
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve so this is the last post for the year, I’ve got a couple other posts in the backlog that I’ll hopefully get to early in the new year. But until then have a wild new year, and let’s hope that I can be a bit more punctual and consistent with updating the site in 2018.
Hello, I forgot to mention that I was taking the fam to New Zealand (Queenstown to be exact) last week, and that I’d be taking the newest addition to my family, my Pentax K-1 as well. I’ll probably post something on the K-1 after I’m done with the New Zealand stuff (as I’ll have had plenty more time to evaluate it (it’s been about a month so far). But anyway, we jumped on to a Jetstar sale and took a week off to try and catch some Autumn colours across the Tasman. Queenstown has to be one of my absolute favourite places to visit, there is just so much to do and see there, that my landscape eye never gets tired, except after driving for a few hours on not much sleep.
Our flight left Melbourne at 6.15am, which meant that we had to get out of the house at about 3am which wasn’t fun, and then to make matters a bit worse, the weather in Queenstown awaiting our arrival was unruly as well. Fierce winds meant that we had to circle the airport twice before the pilot decided it was safer to fly to Christchurch for the time being. After a short stopover it was decided that we’d have another go at flying to Queenstown, third time was a charm and despite some turbulence (it felt like) on the landing we landed okay about three hours late (3pm).
So with half the day gone and the timezone a couple hours faster, we ended up just skipping lunch and going straight to dinner. I took the kids to Winnies which is a pizza place, the highest rated in Queenstown, I went there ten years ago with Alf, and it is still good. We didn’t get garlic bread this time (:(), but a half and half (pescara/seafood and Luigi’s Italian), a kumara salad, and the soup of the day (mushroom and blue cheese).
The pizza was pretty good (both halves), the salad was hearty, and the soup (was for Oscar, but he decided that he was going to make sure he got the most out of his terrible two’s and not eat it) was creamy and rich. It was too much food, but I managed to finish off the pizza and salad at least.
The Monteith’s black that I tried wasn’t half bad either, in fact, it was very good. We decided to call it a day early so that we could rest up for the next day.
We decided to take a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw the next day, and with no plans for lunch we took the gourmet BBQ option, we managed to squeeze on to the 12pm option having only arrived at the booking office at 10am. The cruise is about fifty minutes one way, and about 3 and a half hours in total (including lunch) so you have about an hour for lunch, and then 30-40 minutes to wander around and also watch a sheep dog and sheep shearing demonstration. Lunch is a buffet and is of a very high quality, I tried all the meats, my favourite being the pulled pork, the lamb was second. The salads were good, and then for dessert, being full already I just had a serve of chocolate mousse and a serve of raspberry sorbet. There was also cake and chocolate brownies, etc, but unfortunately I ate too much before dessert. Had the Queenstown Brewers Wry Red which went very well with lunch.
The cruise itself was very smooth, the boat doesn’t rock at all, and you get some great views of the lake surrounds from the upper deck and can even see the crew hard at work in the (coal fired) engine room downstairs (nice and toasty down there).
With nice weather I decided that we should head up to Bob’s Peak to check out the view before dinner. Since it was a bit later than I first planned I decided that it was better just to take the gondola up and down rather than hiking up and gondoling down (especially with a toddler in tow). I wanted to ride the luge but nobody was with me, so I just went up to the viewing deck and staked out a few different angles (still ended up with the same picture I took ten years ago! not quite as wide though). There’s basically one really good spot up there where you won’t be blocked by any obstacles and you get the best angle, but two guys had already staked out that spot so I had to settle for roving around looking for some slightly different shots.
This very famous burger joint was our destination for dinner, and fortunately it was a Monday because the lines outside this place seem to get longer as the week gets goes, by Friday and Saturday, it’s just completely packed at night (even during the day too). There isn’t much seating space so we just got take away and ate back at the hotel. It’s a pretty good deal, we just got the basic burgers (Ferg) which are a decent size (and a kids burger for Oscar), it’s hard to find a similar value meal for the price in town (probably why it’s so popular).
With such clear weather I decided to try my hand at some night photography, specifically trying to catch the milky way. I’ve done long exposures to capture star trails before, but I wasn’t going to be taking enough time to get any interesting star trails, but with my new camera, getting the milky way would be something that I coiuld definitely attempt. My aim was to get the milky way hovering above the Remarkables or some kind of mountain for reference, I managed to capture something, and while it may not be great, I was certainly very pleased for a first try. I’ll be able to learn from this and hopefully produce something even better in future. Next day, Milford Sound, a lot of driving, how will we go?
At least I think these photos were taken in or around May, didn’t really get up to too much over the past month other than a bit of a self-harm, and watching a lot of movies. The picture of my hand showing the stab wound caused by my own clumsiness, I was wiping down the bench top, and stupidly left one of the magimix blades in the drying rack (hanging over the edge of course), and pushed my hand right into it with quite a bit of force it seems. Anyway, I got three stitches which will hopefully come out this Sunday after two weeks, and I can resume normal activities.
The caterpillar photo was a stroke of luck as it must have fallen out of a tree and landed on our gate where it was easy pickings for me (first), then I’m sure for some bird afterwards. After that are a couple pictures of some pizzas I made, the bacon and egg one really came out funny, perfect for Valentine’s Day, the Salami one tasted better. I did learn that with our oven it is better to cook for a bit longer, and also to fry the bacon a bit before putting it in the oven, probably the egg too. The last two shots were taken up at Lake Eildon National Park where we did a nice three hour hike (could’ve been faster but you know me :D), that’s it for now, I just got back from Hobart, so will be posting some pictures from that trip soon too.
This place opened up in Thornbury sometime last year, it was really close to my old flat but since I’ve now moved, it would be on a very rare occasion that I get to try it out. I was in the area last Friday and looking for something to eat with a couple of hours to kill. Read about this place in the age so headed over to see if we could get a table (for two). Fortunately it was very early (before 6pm) and so the place was empty and we sneaked in a table before the place filled up. The cuisine is middle eastern (Lebanese I think) style pizza with modern flavours. There are two types of pizza, Pide and the other one I can’t remember, Pide is the traditional style round circular shape of pizza, while the other one is a canoe/boat style pizza which is a novelty, but I have to say, I prefer the normal shape because the base was nicer, crunchy and not too thick while the canoe pizza was too dough-y.
We got the Bosphorous (canoe style) which has prawns on it among other things, it would have been nicer if it was on a normal pizza base I think, the base was just too soft and thick for my liking. The second pizza we got (because the first was not filling enough) was the Emir Bashir II, this one I really liked, very yummy and the base was just right, it had Turkish sausage, olives, tomato, parsley and hummus (cheese probably would have been better but I’m like that). We tried the cured beef for starters although it didn’t come out before the first pizza, it was nice but I didn’t think it was anything special. Definitely worth a try if you’re in the area, why are all the good pizza places in the north?!?!?