Yes boys and girls, it’s that time of year again! March into Merivale kicked off a couple of weeks ago, offering a variety of food and booze events (including the $33 meal deals) in the ever-expanding Merivale empire. With so many to choose from, it was hard to decide and these events were selling out like hotcakes! I was lucky enough to snag a spot at the American Diner Degustation with some other awesome peeps and we eagerly awaited a meal full of American diner classics in a room decked our with US flags and ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles.
We start things off in southern USA with the Amuse Bouche of corn and cheese quesadillas. It’s not just corn and cheese in there though – there’s also some red peppers and guacamole – and with only one piece each it’s gone before we know it. Bring on the next course!
I’m no expert on American food, but I’m struggling to see how a chopped salad with prawns features on an American Diner menu. Anyway, the dish was everything I expect a chopped salad to be – a bit of lettuce, tomato, radish, cucumber, avocado – and on top of that are pieces of a cooked, giant prawn. The prawn is sweet and juicy and though the dish isn’t exactly what I would call American, it is a tasty and refreshing first course.
Heading north now, we feast on some Atlantic salmon which has been grilled until the skin is crisp and the flesh still medium rare. It’s beautifully cooked and goes well with the sweetness of the crushed peas and shredded mint.
I’d been especially looking forward to this course, hoping for some Southern or Midwest inspired BBQ meat. The dish turns out to be a more French-inspired dish with a slow-cooked beef short rib with creamy mashed potato and a hell of a lot of thyme! The meat is meltingly soft and the whole dish is absolutely delicious, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed at the lack of American-ness.
But all is well when a bowl of fries arrives at the table! This is what we’ve been after the whole time – a simple bowl of french fries which are perfectly crisp and lightly salted, just like you would get at a real American diner.
For dessert, we enjoy a slice of key lime pie complete with candied lime zest and cream. The pie filling is nice and tangy with a cloud of sweet meringue on the top, but after a while it all starts to get a little too sweet. The crust reminds me of a good old biscuit cheesecake base and I may or may not have started digging an underground passage through my pie just to eat the base without the top.
We finish with coffees (not the crappy filtered kind) and a selection of cookies and we try to eat them in order to make sure we save the best for last! There are (from foreground to background) Grandma’s oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, choc chip cookies and home made oreos. I’m disappointed by the choc chip cookies but the rest of them were awesome and a great way to end the meal. As much as I hate raisins in my cookies, I still loved the oatmeal cookies which were laden with raisins heh. Now, if only I could get my hands on the cookie recipes!
March into Merivale runs from 16th February to 5th April 2012. Check out the website for more information on the special events and $33 meal deal menus.