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Every year in December, Chris and I celebrate our anniversary, his birthday, and Christmas, all in the span of 2 weeks. Instead of doing 3 separate things, we usually just end up having one lavish session of present-exchanging and food-eating. But this year I had a bit of trouble picking the restaurant; out of all the ones I haven’t been to, I couldn’t get into any of the 3-hat restaurants, and all the 2-hat restaurants were divided up into untested newbies and older places I’m not so interested in. And 1-hat restaurants, well, it just doesn’t quite feel special enough, you know?

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Rice Queen

The funny thing about being a food blogger is, you get to know a lot of restaurants very well by name and the food they serve, but only have the vaguest idea of where the restaurant is and what it looks like. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve walked past a restaurant, glanced at the menu on the window, and said Oh that’s where so-and-so is! Rice Queen is one of the many restaurants in that list; I know of the restaurant, and I know of the dark building on Brunswick Street festooned with garlands of flowers, but I’ve never put two and two together.

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Hell Of The North

A few weeks ago, I quietly darted off to China for a couple weeks to see my beloved grandparents and extended family. I lived with my grandpa and grandma (on dad’s side) for a good 2 years in my early childhood, and despite that not being very long in the grand scheme of things, they feature in some of my fondest memories. Eating is serious business in China, with every street corner and side alley packed with restaurants and street food, all jostling for attention at rock-bottom prices. However I did predict that I would be aching for something Western after 10 days, so I booked a long lunch at Hell of the North for when I came back. And…

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The Napier Hotel

Before tapas and clean eating became popular, the corner pub was where it was at. There was no gluten free or organic, just huge, hearty meals served up with a cold pint. The Napier Hotel has honoured the age-old tradition of meat and 3 veg since 1866, and despite the ongoing gentrification of the Fitzroy area, still remains a beloved local watering-hole to this day. But then again, calling The Napier (The Naps? Nazza?) a corner pub seems like a bit of a short sell. Although the rabbit warren of comfy rooms and well-worn furniture has hardly changed with the years, the menu has kept up with the times. Along with the standard pub meals, there is also a long…

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Kiki Riki

After a solid 7 years of friendship, Ethan and I finally have birthdays worked out. No presents, but we will take each other out for a nice dinner. So after Ethan went skydiving courtesy of his fiancée (congratulations again, Ethan and Jaz!), I treated him to some Latin street food at Kiki Riki. Despite the pretty reasonable reviews however, Kiki Riki was completely deserted when we visited, though in all fairness it was Tuesday, and it was close to freezing outside. With that said, it didn’t stop a steady trickle of locals popping in and out for some takeaway tacos.

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Yong Green Food

Yong Green Food, along with places like Vegie Bar and Lentil As Anything, are amongst the oldest, and most stalwart of vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne. They were around back when it wasn’t yet fashionable to eat gluten-free and plant-based, and remain popular to this day. And with a rating of 4.3/5 on Zomato (beating out the amazing Smith and Daughters!), it was about time I went to see what the fuss was.

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