Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heaven Gastro Lounge, Melbourne

Today in Melbourne is one of those desert-like, dry, hot summer days where to step outside is to become a melting puddle of a person, desperate to seek the cool shelter of a shopping centre or movie theatre.  Yesterday was the same.  The streets in my suburb are eerily quiet as everyone bunkers down inside to escape the heat.  I think the only way to keep cool would be to sit in a nice cool bath and change the water regularly - and unfortunately, I do not have a bath.

Last night, when it was slightly cooler due to the presence of a gentle breeze, my friend Tim and I went to dinner at Heaven Gastro Lounge on St Kilda Road.  It is an unlikely place for a restaurant open on weekends, nestled as it is in the basement of an office building, but it was a fantastic find, courtesy of a discount voucher that I purchased online.  

The top of this post shows the interior of Heaven - dark and moody, but with fairy lights on a latticework partition and Campari posters on the walls, with television screens silently showing MTV.  On its website, Heaven describes itself as "modern English Gastro Pub food with French, Italian & Asian influence".  I pretty much think that says it is unique and makes its own path.  The chef, Sanjeev Johri, has over ten years experience, and has worked for, among others, Jacques Reymond.

Our deal entitled us to an entree (described in American style as an "appetiser" on the menu), a main and a dessert, with a cocktail.  Our Cosmopolitan cocktails came out first (curiously, sans cranberry juice), and in the heat did not touch the sides.  Accordingly, I followed it up by purchasing a glass  of Fleur de Lys sparkling wine.

For entree, Tim chose the cured New Zealand king salmon served with salmon caviar:

while I chose the five spices calamari with lotus root, Spanish chorizo and spicy tomato sauce:

Both dishes tasted good, and with mine, I enjoyed the contrast of the cool vegetables against the zingy five spice coated calamari.

For main, I could not go past the pork hock with chilli caramel sauce, apple puree, Vietnamese salad, pickled melon and pan seared scallop:

The meat apparently slow cooks for 5 hours, and comes out crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.  The chilli caramel sauce makes the dish - it is the perfect balance of zinginess and sweetness, and complemented the dish nicely.

Tim selected the crispy skin duck in traditional Yorkshire sauce served with potato mash, pumpkin and daikon salad:

The duck was pleasingly soft and moist under the juicy skin, and Tim liked the citrusy tang to the sauce - not immediately what I'd associate with Yorkshire, but that is being nitpicky.

For dessert, Tim chose a very fine tiramisu made with chocolate cake:

while I chose the trio of icecreams (chocolate, vanilla and a raspberry sorbet) with chocolate stick and brandy snaps: 

The brandy snaps were absent, but I didn't mind - I deliberately chose the icecream as a light option for dessert after my rich pork hock main.

Mains at Heaven are around the $30 mark, entrees are around the $20 mark while desserts are around $15.

The staff were very attentive and friendly, and it was suitably cool and dark inside the restaurant to provide relief from the heat outside.  All in all, it was a good experience, and I'd definitely go back.

Heaven Gastro Lounge
580 Lower Ground Floor,
St Kilda Road,
Melbourne VIC 3004
Ph: (03) 9041 2129

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daring Bakers - Back to Basics: Scones

There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. `Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; `only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.'

From Chapter VII, A Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I have now been a Daring Baker for 4 years - since January 2008.  My first Daring Bakers recipe was lemon meringue pie.  Every now and again, especially when I am time poor, I think about giving it up, but then a recipe surprises me and I keep on going. I look forward to the possibilities that this year will bring with the Daring Bakers, a group of thousands of bakers from all over the world who bake the same recipe once a month.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones are a tea time favourite in Australia, inherited from the British migrants to this country.  Traditionally, scones are served with jam and cream to make a Devonshire tea or a Cornish tea, depending on whether you put the jam or the cream on first (or so I have been told).  On my first trip to England in 2001,  I made sure that I had tea (in a pot, of course) with scones with jam and clotted cream in a small tea room in Kensington, London, somewhere close to Harrods.  It was fabulous, of course, and is a treasured memory of my trip.

Audax's recipe for scones was neither hard nor expensive, but I certainly learned a lot about scone making, despite having made scones since as far back as home economics in year eight at high school. I was pleasantly surprised by how high and fluffy the scones I made this month were:

I am scraping this in the day before it is due on the Australia Day holiday, so I haven't made any variations.  I just made Audax's basic recipe.  I froze the grated butter, I cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, I  rested the dough for twenty minutes before cutting it, I used a cold cutter, I didn't twist the cutter when cutting out the scones, and I brushed the tops with milk before baking, and baked them in the hot oven recommended.  I am not sure which element it was, or whether it was all of them, but these were the highest, fluffiest scones that I have ever made.  I was very pleased!  The only downer was that I only got three scones out of the recipe - perhaps my cutter was too big?

In the Australian/English tradition, I served my scones with jam (blueberry on this case) and whipped cream, all gussied up in little soy sauce pots from a sushi set:


Thanks to Audax for proving that even when you think you know something, there is always more that can be learned about it.  Audax will publish the recipe on his site, if you would like to try it.  And check out the other Daring Bakers efforts at The Daring Kitchen.

FFwD - Broth-braised potatoes

Ahhh, it's Fabulous Friday - in a few hours time, I can kick back and relax for a couple of days. Yah!

This week's French Fridays with Dorie dish is broth-braised potatoes.  This involves boiling potatoes in chicken stock and various herbs for flavour.  My initial thoughts were that it wasn't worth the effort, but I was pretty happy with the end result.  The potatoes were mighty tasty, and made a change from potatoes boiled in salted water.

I served my potatoes with M. Jacques roasted chicken from FFwD a couple of weeks ago.

To see what all the other Doristas thought of this simple but tasty dish, visit the FFwD website

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pavlova Roulade with Passionfruit for Australia Day

Australia! Australia! so fair to behold
While the blue sky is arching above;
The stranger should never have need to be told,
That the Wattle-bloom means that her heart is of gold,
And the Waratah red blood of love.
From Waratah and Wattle, Henry Lawson

Today, 26 January, is Australia Day, and Australians have a public holiday to give us a moment to pause and think of what makes us Australian and what we love about living here. 

To celebrate Australia Day, I have made a pavlova roulade with passionfruit, that I will take to share with my friends at Jazz in the Gardens this evening, a free event sponsored by Stonnington Council.  Tonight, the function will be held in Malvern Gardens in High Street, Malvern. 

My roulade is inspired by Julie Goodwin's Pavlova Roulade recipe on page 174 of the December 2012 edition of The Australian Womens Weekly, and by Donna Hay's Pavlova Roll recipe on page 170 of the December/January 2012 edition of Donna Hay magazine.  However, it is not the same as either of them, and I have set out the recipe for my version of the roulade below.

Pavlova Roulade with Passionfruit


4 egg whites (~100g)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla
250ml thickened (heavy) cream
2 passionfruit

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Line a 26cm x 38cm Swiss roll tray with baking paper, leaving some overhang on each side to use as "handles" later.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Continue beating while adding the sugar, a little at a time and scraping down the sides as necessary, until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the vinegar, cream of tartar and vanilla, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Spread the egg white mixture evenly over the lined Swiss roll pan, then bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until the top of the pavlova is just firm to the touch.

Remove the pavlova from the oven and allow it to cool on the tray on a wire rack for ~ 5 minutes.

While the pavlova is cooling, lay out a clean cotton or linen teatowel on the bench, and cover it with a piece of baking paper.  Sift icing sugar liberally over the baking paper.  Take the pavlova and turn it out of the pan, face down, onto the baking paper.  Carefully remove the pan liner from the pavlova, ensuring that you avoid tearing as far as possible.  Allow the pavlova to cool to room temperature. 

In the meantime, whip the cream with two tablespoons of icing sugar until firm peaks form.  Spread the cream down the centre third of the pavlova.  Remove the pulp from the passionfruit and place evenly on top of the cream:

Fold each long side of the pavlova up over the cream to encase it, using the baking paper to assist, and flip the pavlova over with the seam side down.

Carefully lift the pavlova onto a serving tray using a long spatula or egg lifter.  Cut a small piece off each end of the pavlova roulade to expose the filling:

Cut into slices and serve with extra cream, icecream and berries, if desired.  Enjoy!

To all of my fellow Australians, I hope that you are having a wonderful Australia Day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesdays with Donna Hay - Brown-Buttered Beans

Welcome to Wednesday!  This week, Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table and I are making brown-buttered beans for Wednesdays with Donna Hay.

If you have never tried browned-butter, then I can highly recommend it to you.  It involves cooking the butter until it turns brown, which in turn makes the flavour nutty, and makes it a perfect accompaniment to sweet and savoury dishes.

This is the first time that I have used browned butter in a savoury dish (as far as I can remember, anyway), and it gave a superb flavour to the steamed green beans, which are also topped with roasted pine nuts for crunch.  How good is that?

Kayte is cooking these along with me - go visit Kayte to see her beans.  And of course, you are welcome to cook along with us - the recipes are online at

Next week:   Puffed cheese omelette

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blue Dish, Highett VIC

Blue Dish, in Highett, Melbourne, is a rare gem of a cafe introduced to me by my colleague Lee, who in turn was introduced to it by our colleague Jess. The interior of Blue Dish has an old-fashioned charm, with upstairs and downstairs seating available.  However, the food is definitely not old-fashioned, and an all-day breakfast menu is available as well as the lunch and dinner menus.

In addition to in-house dining, Blue Dish sells an array of take-away gourmet products and patisserie items.  The patisserie items in particular look delicious, but I have avoided purchasing them to date only from the view of being able to fit into my clothes after lunch.

There is something for everyone at Blue Dish.  At the top of this post is pictured the pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw,  which is a firm favourite with Lee and Jess.  It smells devine, and the sauce on the pork is delicious, but it is a little too rich for me to have every time.

Other dishes which I have tried at Blue Dish include the Moroccan Baked Eggs, which had a fresh, almost Thai-style flavour:

Most recently, I tried the devinely creamy pumpkin, spinach and goats curd risotto:

This is a perfect vegetarian option.

Other dishes that I have tried include the steak sandwich and the home baked beans with lyonnaise sausage on toasted sourdough, both of which I highly recommend.

The service at Blue Dish is attentive, prompt and friendly, and I love that they always ask if I enjoyed my meal. I feel lucky that we work close enough to Highett (which is otherwise outside my sphere) to enjoy this cafe occasionally for lunch.

On a  totally unrelated note, I could not resist sharing this photo of 4 cheeky cockatoos perched on the power lines that I saw on my walk to the train last week:

They raucously announced their presence to anyone below while gaily swinging on the power lines, including upside down at one stage.

Also, I wanted to share the gorgeous birthday cake that my friend Lorien made for the first birthday of her youngest son, Oliver, whose party I attended in Queensland on the weekend:

The cake was chocolate cake, decorated with rolled fondant.  The small children especially enjoyed the smaller cakes in the shape of alphabet blocks, although Oliver himself did not have any cake, and had the idea that "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to".  Big brother Liam came to the rescue by blowing out the candle, and middle brother Alexander charmed us all  with his dimples and golden curls.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Blue Dish
326 Highett Rd
Highett, VIC 3109
Ph:  +61 3 9939 6641

Friday, January 20, 2012

FFwD - Quartre-quarts

This week's French Friday with Dorie is Quartre-Quarts.  Well you may ask, "Eh?"  Well, to explain it in Dorie's words, it is like the French version of a pound cake.  However, in my view, it is much lighter and springier than a pound cake, and dare I say it, more delicious.

Look at that golden fluffy crumb: 

The cake is topped by a sprinkle of brown sugar which is supposed to create a glaze, but in my case, kind of sank into the cake - which suited me, as it caramelised and gave a certain crunch to the cake.

I loved this cake on its own, although Dorie suggests serving it with cream and berries - but why mess with perfection?

To see what everyone else thought of this cake, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website (but give it a while - the US is half a day plus behind Oz).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesdays with Donna Hay - Sticky Chicken Parcels

Today's Wednesday with Donna Hay recipe is Sticky Chicken Parcels, selected by Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table

Who doesn't like getting a present, and these little parcels certainly are a gift.  They contain chicken breasts marinated in soy sauce, plum sauce and garlic, paired with vegetables (baby corn, leek, capsicum, carrot and ginger), all wrapped in parchment paper.

I didn't have any string to tie the parcels shut, but that didn't matter - I was able to fold them well enough to keep everything in.

These parcels were very tasty and quick to make, and I like the fact that it was a "one bag" meal (although I paired it with potatoes and beans, this is not necessary).

Go visit Kayte for an alternative view on these parcels. 

Next week - Brown buttered beans

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thai Nee Cafe, Brunswick East

On Saturday night, I headed out to Thai Nee Cafe in East Brunswick with my Northern dwelling friends, Veronica and Christian.  As the name suggests, Thai Nee is a relatively tiny establishment tucked into the non-touristy end of Lygon Street, and is a firm favourite with the locals judging from the reviews online.  Thai Nee is BYO and cash-only, so bring your alcohol and a cashed-up wallet.

The prices at Thai Nee are very reasonable, and the food was good.  The service was a little slow, but this was likely because the restaurant was very busy, despite it being 8.30pm before we arrived.  Veronica and Christian have been before, and said that on a Thursday night, the service is much quicker.

We shared our dishes.  For entree, we started with the chicken mince spring rolls, with sweet chilli dipping sauce (the full serve was 6 rolls):

We also ordered the very delicious fish cakes, which also came with a sweet, honey-like dipping sauce (forgive the blurry photo):

 These fish cakes were not battered or crumbed, but were rather flat cakes of fried fish mince with herbs and spices - and were utterly moorish.

For mains, Veronica and Christian ordered their "signature dishes - the chicken yellow curry:

and the ginger beef:

The curry was very mild and sweet, while the beef dish was zingy with a touch of bite.

As the newcomer, I ordered sweet and sour chicken "with pineapples" (according to the menu):

I was relieved when no whole pineapples arrived at the table - rather, the rich, tomato-based sweet and sour sauce was bejewelled with pineapple pieces.  Veronica was a fan, as was I, but Christian not so much.

We also ordered steamed rice for the table to mop up all of that glorious sauce.  The rice arrived in a large patterned aluminium bowl in a matching stand, looking for all the world to me like the goblet that Edmund drank from when given a drink by the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The food was very reasonably priced, with starters around the $7-8 mark, and mains at ~$12  for pork, beef or chicken, and $16-17 for seafood.

Thai Nee is definitely a keeper - just remember to leave the plastic at home.

Thai Nee Cafe
150 Lygon Street
Brunswick East VIC 3057

(03) 9388 0411

Friday, January 13, 2012

FFwD - M. Jacques Armagnac Chicken

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is for M. Jacques Armagnac Chicken.   This is basically a chicken roasted with brandy (or Armagnac, if you have some) with vegetables and seasoning.

I am never sure which way up to roast my chicken, and mine looks rather immodest - I assume that I got it wrong again.  Oh well, it tasted good (I adore roasted chicken), but it didn't knock my socks off.

I did like the flavour of the vegetables, which were seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and bay, and after roasting, are left to bubble away in the thickening sauce on the stovetop:

This was my dinner on night 1 of this chicken dish:

I was too lazy and it was too late at night (this dish takes around an hour and a half to make) to add some greens to the mix - perhaps tomorrow night.

To see what the other FFwD members thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the website.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesdays with Donna Hay - Roasted Pistachio and Honey Yoghurt and Smoked Ham and Cheese Toasties

Hooray!  I am so excited, because my blogging buddy, Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table, and I are going to be making Donna Hay recipes together this year, and posting the results on Wednesdays.  Kayte is from Indiana in the US, so it will be double the fun to watch her post exactly the same thing as me all those miles away and approximately 16 hours or so apart!  (As I write this on a Tuesday evening, it is currently an obscenely early hour on Tuesday morning in Kayte's part of the world - hopefully she is still asleep.)

Kayte first suggested last year that if I had the same Donna Hay book as she did, we could both make things together out of it.  I didn't have the book, so time ticked by, but the end of Tuesdays with Dorie gave me the kick I needed to raise it again with Kayte.  In time, we may go to one of Donna's fabulous books, but for now, we have decided (Kayte's suggestion) to cook recipes from Donna Hay's website.  For the uninitiated, Donna Hay is a phenomenal Aussie foodwriter, food stylist and cook; you can read more about her here.

On to the recipes!

Week 1 is breakfast, and was actually last week, but I was away from my own kitchen, so I am catching up this week.  Kayte chose Roasted Pistachio and Honey Yoghurt - you can see Kayte's post, which includes the recipe, here.

My version is pictured at the top of this post, served in a martini glass a la Mad Men (I would love to look like Joan Holloway in another life!).  I used roasted pistachios and passionfruit yoghurt.  I may have been a little heavy on the honey, as my nuts sank right into it.  (See Kayte's version for nice layers.) 

My Christmas present to me was a DSLR camera - you can see from the yoghurt shot that although my photos should get better, I have a way to go.  (Gotta love the auto-focus though - makes life so much easier.)

This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay (it rhymes!) is lunch - and I chose Smoked Ham and Cheese Toasties:

You can't see it that well in the photo, but these decadent toasties have Dijon mustard, smoked ham and grated cheese on one side, and cheese sauce on the other side - oh so good!  I had to flood the pan with the leftover cheese sauce, because I kept dipping my finger in to eat it as is! I used light Coon cheese instead of Swiss cheese, but otherwise made the recipe as suggested. 

The only catch with these toasties is that you need to make my nemesis, the roux, to make the cheese sauce.  I tried to use an ordinary saucepan first up to make the sauce instead of a heavy bottomed pan (because I didn't have a small one).  This was a disaster - the roux burned.  Luckily, I was making this recipe for one and didn't get past the first step, so there wasn't any harm done, and I ended up making the tiniest amount of cheese sauce in a whopping great pan.

Go visit Kayte in a few hours time to see what she thought of these toasties - and check out her fab nutty honey yoghurt.

Next week: Dinner - Sticky chicken parcels

Friday, January 6, 2012

FFwD - Bubble-top brioche rolls

It's a new year for French Fridays with Dorie, and this week's challenge is Bubble-Top Brioche Rolls.  These cute little brioche rolls are given their bubble-top effect by rolling the dough into little balls before its final rise.

You are supposed to use a muffin tin to bake the rolls, but as I am at home with my mother and she doesn't have one, I used the friand tin that my brother gave me for Christmas.  This is why my rolls are oval-shaped.

The end result is a glazed, shiny, nicely-shaped roll, which is fluffy and golden inside:

I also almost added salt instead of sugar to these because I mixed up the jars - this would have been a huge disaster! Luckily I realised my mistake after spooning the salt on top, so I scooped it off, and from the taste of the end result, successfully removed most of the excess salt (although these were slightly saltier than usual).

I ate these plain - they were good with absolutely nothing on them.

To check out what the other FFwD participants thought of these rolls, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Atlantic, Crown Complex, Melbourne

Bringing the dining experience back home, the legal group Christmas lunch was held just before Christmas at The Atlantic seafood restaurant in the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne.  On its website, The Atlantic describes its philosophy as follows:

The Atlantic is inspired by the famous New York meat packing district and the hustle and bustle of the fish markets of years gone by, in New York and Chicago.

With an uncompromising focus on excellence – our seafood is sourced from Australia’s very best producers, it is this spirit that infuses every aspect of the restaurant, from its design and ambiance to service and of course its cuisine- all in this magnificent waterfront location.

The food was magnificent, and a lovely way to cap off my last day at work before Christmas. 

I wasn't going to post about this meal originally, but my colleague, Lee, took photographs anyway, so this post is for Lee.  I don't have any photographs of my entree, but after being banned from ordering the Beetroot Salad, I ordered the devine Atlantic Seafood Cocktail of spanner crab, Moreton Bay bug, prawn, iceberg lettuce, rockmelon, basil and (wait for it!), soft-boiled quails eggs.  This was simply delicious!  We also ordered one of each type of oyster each, fascinated as we were by the menu description that some of the oysters were salty (expected), while others were creamy (definitely unusual!).  And much to my surprise, they were right - I have never tried an au naturel oyster that was creamy before, but now I have, and I am converted.  (I believe the creamy ones were the
Duck Bay oysters from Tasmania).

For main, I selected the pan roasted hapuka from New Zealand, which is pictured at the top of this post.  It is bright yellow because the fish is coated in saffron before being roasted in the pan.  The dish also featured capers and sherry vinegar essence.  It was good, but not outstanding.

Mark ordered the Portalington whiting on the bone:

He was the only one brave enough to order a whole fish.  It looks good though!

Lee and John ordered the Citrus-Marinated Olive Oil Confit Salmon (what a mouthful!).  It features ragout of spring vegetables, confit lemon, blood orange chip and lemongrass foam: 

Sitting next to it in Lee's photo is the mashed bintje potatoes with butter, cream and nutmeg.  I preferred the thrice-cooked russet potatoes with rosemary, garlic and sea salt which we also ordered.  Our other side dish was the sauteed green beans with garlic and parmesan:

As it was our last day, and we were in the partying mood, we also ordered dessert (my favourite course!).  I ordered the raspberry tart, with vanilla custard and raspberry sorbet:

This tasted as good as it looks!  John ordered the Strawberries and Cream - layers of shortbread, lemon marscapone and strawberry salad:

And Lee ordered the magnificent peanut butter and jelly sandwich:

This was amazing - a PBJ sandwich in a dessert!  There really was jelly in the middle of a peanutty fudge layer.

This was a magnificent celebratory lunch - thanks to our benefactors Mark and John for taking us out to this grand repast to celebrate the end of the year.

Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006
Phone: +61 3 9698 8888

Monday, January 2, 2012

Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company, Los Gatos, CA

What did you do for New Year?  Were you like me, and let it all pass you by, or were you out partying hard?  Whatever you did, I hope you had a great time, and that 2012 is a fabulous year for you.

Seguing into the last instalment of my recent work trip to San Jose, it would be remiss of me to leave out the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company.  On its website, this cafe is self-described as "The town's favorite gathering place for delicious coffee, conversation and camaraderie."  It is certainly very popular, as both mornings that we were there, it was filled with people enjoying breakfast and a coffee, and many had brought their laptops to avail themselves of the wi-fi service at the cafe.  On the first day, everyone seemed to know everyone there, so as a small group of strangers with funny accents, we really stood out.

This cafe-come-diner in the heart of Los Gatos was decked out for Christmas when we were there (as seen at the top of this post), and was one of the cutest places you could ever go for coffee.  The people who made the coffee greeted us cheerily both mornings that we were there, and you can get an enormous coffee to kick start your day (a 16 oz!).  I opted for the slightly smaller 12 oz, which gave me all the caffeine I needed, and the coffee was really good - American coffee has a bad reputation here, based mostly on the ubiquitous filter coffee, but this was the real deal made with a coffee machine.
On the first morning for breakfast, I ordered the oatmeal:

It was a steal at USD2.95 plus tax, and was served with dried fruit, nuts and brown sugar on the side.  Unlike the glorified gloop that I have had in some cafes here (at around three times the price!), this oatmeal was made by people who know how it ought to be, and was absolutely delicious.  I thought it was so good, I ordered it the second morning as well.

There is a range of hot food available at the cafe - as an example of what is on offer, my colleagues ordered breakfast calzonis and quiches.

I also continued my fascination with trying uniquely American flavour combinations, and bought a slice of pumpkin cream cheese loaf as "take out" for later in the day:

This was perhaps a little dry for my tastes, but the flavour combination was interesting.  It has been a while since I have baked with pumpkin, but I will have to try and include it in my repertoire some more.

To give you a feel for the town of Los Gatos itself, here are a couple of photos taken in the street near our hotel: 

As you can see, even the burger joint is picturesque!  Beats the plastic fantastic of the Golden Arches and  Hungry Jacks any day.

We were also in for a treat being there at Christmas, as there were Christmas lights in the town square: 

Even though this photo was taken with an iPhone, you get a feel for how lovely it was - Christmas fairy-land material.

If you ever happen to be passing through Los Gatos,  drop in for a coffee at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company, and say hi to the friendly baristas.

Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company
101 W. Main St, Los Gatos, CA
+1 408. 354.3263