Out with the Old; In with the New

Let’s watch the old year die
With a fond good-bye
And our hopes as high
As a kite…

Hands down, this has been one of the most memorable New Year’s Eves we’ve experienced (or are likely to experience). We started out the day with a trip down to the Prahan Market to look for “streaky bacon” (the closest thing we can get to American style bacon) to have for our New Year’s Day breakfast.

After mixed success (our bacon still had the rasher end attached), we made our way up to the Melbourne Museum for a fabulous exhibit: Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style. Ashley would probably still be there soaking in the costumes, props, and scenery if the rest of the gang hadn’t been waiting. The exhibit included a life sized Jill Masterson (the girl painted gold in Goldfinger) on a spinning bed, M’s office, Q’s lab, and, of course, a casino filled with dresses, tuxes, jewelry, and more. There were also clips from the films playing throughout the exhibit.

As we tried to figure out what we wanted to do to ring in the new year, someone got the wild idea to spend it at the Hofbrauhaus. The evening included a three course meal, lots of German beer, and a two-man band of accordion and drums. And, oh man, was it ever ridiculous. I don’t think words can describe the sort of horrible, Twilight Zone, NYE experience we had. In fact, I’m not even going to try. Anyone who follows Drew on Twitter saw some live updates of the evening, and I think we’re going to leave it at that. We had a great time because our friends recognized how weird the night was and embraced the crazy. Needless to say, we’ll be ringing in 2015 in an entirely different manner.

We did start 2014 the right way though – french toast, bacon, berries, and crema di limoncello. A delicious start to the new year!

To all of our friends and family – we hope 2014 turns out to be a good year for you. We’re looking forward to only good things!

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Yarra Valley, VIC

Q: Where does a pirate get his wine? A: From the YARRRRRRRRRRA valley!

All joking aside, the Yarra Valley is a great place to spend a day; it’s one of the more famous wine regions in Australia, and chock full of great wine, food, and sights. The day started out on a high note as we stopped by the Domaine Chandon vineyards and tasted a variety of sparkling and still wines. This vineyard was founded by the Moet & Chandon winery to play with cool climate grapes.
Ashley particularly liked these bottles dressed up in their summer suits. Since it was conveniently 30 Dec, the group picked up a couple bottles of bubbly to ring in the new year. We enjoyed both the sparkling and still wines enough to ship half a case back as well!
From there we went to a blueberry farm. We didn’t get to pick our own, but did buy some for a New Years breakfast.  Lunch brought more tasty pizza at the Innocent Bystander restaurant.  We split a prosciutto and parmesan thin crust pizza that was amazing. We were seated in front of the open kitchen, so we had great views of the pizzas going in and out of the wood fired oven. We skipped the wine tasting there and walked across the parking lot to the White Rabbit Brewery to finish our meal. They didn’t do tastings, but we split a glass of the dark ale, which was delicious! Dark beers are a rare find in Alice, so it’s nice to enjoy them while we’re out.
We decided to go back to wine and stopped at Boat O’Craigo after lunch. The winery came highly recommended by friends in Alice, and we enjoyed several of the reds enough to bring a bottle home. The smaller wineries like Boat O’Craigo were a lot of fun to visit because the staff felt less like tour guides and more like people who enjoyed wine and working with folks.
As we began working our way back into town, we decided to stop by the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.  The chocolate was pretty good, but the place was absolutely packed. Being one of the few places around with kid friendly food drew families in from across the valley. Everyone decided that more beer would be a better idea than waiting 30 min for ice cream, so we shuffled off to the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company for another flight of craft ales.
It was a lovely day and we had the patio to ourselves. The beers were decent, with only one or two we’d like to have again. We laughed when we noticed the patio had some grape vines climbing the fence – even at a brewery, you can’t escape the wine culture in the Yarra. We finished the day by stopping at the local dairy to taste cookies (Drew) and cheese (everyone else). The cheeses were delightful and it fortified the group for a long drive back into the CBD.
More pictures from the Yarra are here. Stay tuned for one more post of our adventures New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!