This is the 9th post in the “my waist line is expanding while my bank account is decreasing” series.
If there’s anything that can capture my attention more than a cute baby wombat in the wild, it’s the promise of a good meal — and then delivering on that promise.
I’m not alone. I’ve been road tripping with two like-minded friends…we’d rather spend our money on delicious food than activities or a place to stay. Needless to say, we’ve been on a daily mission to find the best eats each town has to offer.
Sometimes Tasmania delivered the goods, sometimes it disappointed, and sadly it gave us a FAIL or two. Let’s review a few of the best and worst, shall we?
Tamar Valley wine region
We only sampled a few wines here, but the woman who was pouring was friendly and easy to chat with…the same can’t be said for all of the wineries we visited.
Who would have thought that the Cradle Mountain Cafe would actually serve up quality food? Not me and Adam, that’s for sure. When you’re located at a major tourist destination, you know people will need/want to buy meals, snacks, and drinks, whether the selection is quality or not. This means that you sometimes find run-of-the-mill menu options and the execution is just as average.
Thankfully the cafe won us over and then some…the hot, seasoned chips we had on day one were some of the BEST I’ve ever had, and the lamb pizza we shared on day two was absolutely beautiful. I still think about those chips from time to time. If you’re Cradle Mountain bound, get the chips. Seriously.
I learned about Hobart Woodfired Pizza through the Foodspotting iPhone app and figured we should give it a go. Adam and Nicole weren’t as impressed as I was, but I LOVED the pizza Adam and I shared — chicken, brie and asparagus on one half and Tas Seafood (shrimp, crabmeat, fresh fish, calamari, cheese and garlic) on the other. What made this pizza for me was the cheese baked to perfection on top of the other pizza toppings. Unfortunately, that’s what my travel companions didn’t like about it.
Smith Street Store
We had high hopes for a solid brekky at this cafe. While Nicole’s pancakes with berry compote rocked, my omelette was dry as a bone and largely inedible. Adam’s egg dish fell somewhere in between.
For a quick dinner, we grabbed a dish at the Noodle House. My “Green Box” (wok tossed chicken fillet pices, pineapple, garden green veg, and spinach noodle in coconut and green curry sauce) was as tasty as I had hopped.
Savory pies are a staple for Aussies, and the scallop pie reigns supreme in Tasmania. Before we even boarded the ferry bound for Devonport, I was looking forward to eating a scallop pie at the Salamanca Bakehouse based on a food blog I’d stumbled upon.
The flavor was nice, but I could have used a few more scallops in the pie. It’s like calling an ice cream flavor “cookie dough” and only having a few, tiny balls of dough in the entire container.
Everyone and their mother seemed to be catching up with friends over a coffee and cake at Jackman & McRoss, so we decided to go too.
This place was truly a hit or miss! The tart above was heavenly, they served a perfect hot chocolate (complete with two big marshmallows), and they made the best piccolo latte yet. On the other hand, our first visit was a disaster with a beyond dry and flavorless muffin — so much so that I’m shocked we returned on day two and three. Thankfully we did.
After trying my first scallop pie in Hobart, I was determined to have another before leaving Tasmania. Driving up the west coast to Cradle Mountain, we passed through Strahan, and I made a beeline for Banjo’s Bakehouse.
See the three scallops in the photo above — the photo that’s on the outside of the bakery, enticing you to come inside and enjoy their superb filling and flaky pastry?! Apparently those are meant to represent the ONLY three scallops you’ll find in your pie, as I only had three in mine. How can you call it a scallop pie with three scallops the size of my pinkie fingernail?!
After leaving Paul Heinz at KMart Tyre & Auto, we had some time to kill before our Boags Brewery tour — enter Cafe Rossilli. My scrambled eggs on toast with avocado (a whole one — crazy!) was top notch (simple but delicious), and Adam’s coconut bread with lime marmalade was a winner.
We figured Kate’s Berry Farm would warrant a quick pit stop — park, look inside, and get back on the road ASAP. What we found was a great spot to have a meal and slice of pie.
We hadn’t anticipated wanting lunch, but the special of the day (the only option for lunch, in fact!) was calling — a homemade chicken pot pie. The chicken, veggies, and filling was topped with a thin, perfect layer of pastry. For dessert, we somehow mustered some self-control and split a piece of strawberry and rhubarb pie, served with one of the most creamy ice creams I’ve ever had. It was all so impressive that we returned for a piece of pie the next day. This place is a must visit!
North coast foodie tour
I was never more disappointed in Tasmania as I was our last couple of days.
Even more than the scallop pie, I’d been looking forward to a visit to Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm. The promise of a raspberry latte (complete with “lust dust”, whatever that was!) and a menu bursting with raspberry meals had me chatting this place up like it would be the promised land.
We arrived to an empty parking lot. We walked inside and immediately Adam’s foodie radar set off a warning. I told him to keep the faith.
First, my raspberry latte arrived. It tasted nothing like raspberry. And the “lust dust” (dried raspberry) was just barely sprinkled on top. Sigh. At least our french toast with raspberry jam and chocolate would be better. Right?
What we were served was nearly tasteless bread that had been toasted — and it wasn’t french toast by any means. The jam and chocolate made it go down a bit easier, but it was a massive let down. Maybe I just had high expectations and the reality couldn’t compare? My two comrades felt similarly.
There are several other food stops (cheese, chocolate, fruit, etc.) in and around this same area. The only one I think was worth the stop was the Melita Honey Farm in Chudleigh. Sample heaps of flavors and then buy a scoop of honey ice cream!
It’s hard to believe, but as I’m writing this, I’ve been back on the main land for a month! We’ve driven from Melbourne to south west Western Australia, and there’s HEAPS to share…mice, locusts, and crickets attacking Paul Heinz; beautiful beaches in South Australia and Western Australia; interesting fellow campers (from folks doing it cheaper than us to “gray nomads”); and of course, a few good eats.
If you just can’t wait for another post and are missing me terribly (play along if you’re not), visit our 1Yank1Aussie YouTube channel and the daily videos we’ve taken since day one. Adam is sure to amuse you, you’ll hear me more often than you’ll see me, and if you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of the elusive Nicole.
Featured image by xb3.