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Thanks to OpenTable, some of Melbourne’s most POPULAR restaurants are offering a $40 Restaurant Express menu as part of this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Yep, you heard right! From the 8th – 24th March, you can dine on two courses matched with a Victorian beer or wine, at more than 70 restaurants across the state.

With the festival launching this Friday, 2 Hungry Guys got an exclusive insider taste test of three eateries ahead of time. And we can tell you that this is ACTUALLY THE MOST PERFECT EXCUSE to check out these Melbourne restaurants.

OpenTable is increasing Melbourne’s dining opportunities and we think this is a brilliant reason for the hungry folk of Melbourne, as well as visitors to the city, to visit the very best on offer in Victoria, and most importantly, at an affordable price point.

Handmade Spinach & Cheese Ravioli
Mortadella & Ricotta dip on freshly made flaky pastry

Trattoria Emilia
360 Little Collins Street, in Gills Alley https://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/program/restaurant-express

Treat yourself to authentic Italian cuisine at Trattoria Emilia. Whilst the menu on offer changes daily based on what produce is available, you can’t go wrong with a home cooked meal.

There’s an immediate homely feeling as you step into Trattoria Emilia; the smell, vibe and sounds were all too similar to Nonna’s kitchen. Taking humble Italian food to the next level, we were blown away with each dish particularly the Mortadella and Ricotta dip served with freshly made flaky pastry and the handmade spinach and cheese ravioli that burst with flavour in your mouth, with every bite.

It’s places like this that really get us excited about food.

Chargrilled beef flank with nashi pear, lettuce cups and Ssamjang dressing
Banana fritters with roasted rice, coconut and vanilla bean ice-cream

Lucy Liu
23 Oliver Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000 https://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/program/restaurant-express

Take a journey through Southeast Asia at Lucy Liu. This popular Melbourne institution serves up Asian shared plates in a trendy and buzzing street food environment. It’s insanely popular so make sure you book in advance through OpenTable’s partnership with Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Their must order dishes were definitely the Chargrilled beef flank with nashi pear, lettuce cups and Ssamjang dressing, ending with their delightful banana fritter dessert with roasted rice, coconut and vanilla bean ice-cream.

I can still hear the crunch of the crisp golden nugget of banana flavoured goodness. 

Crab noodles with chargrilled corn
Korean Fried Chicken

Supernormal Canteen
2/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda VIC 3182 https://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/program/restaurant-express

This is Supernormal’s younger sister, and a long time venue on our MUST visit list (that we can now finally tick off!). Located in St Kilda, this is a more relaxed and cosy dining experience. Every single dish we had here was fantastic and unique, with flavours I would have never picked but certainly enjoyed.

Favourites were their crab noodles with punchy morsels of pickled chargrilled corn and the most insanely crisp and golden Korean Fried Chicken that was so tender and juicy on the inside, I’m fairly certain the bones were just ornamental. Add to that, a moreish hot sauce and you have yourself a recipe for success.

What I liked most about Supernormal Canteen was their easy going vibe and superb staff. We already have a return visit on the cards.

The OpenTable $40 Restaurant Express menu is available exclusively during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, 8-24 March 2019. Book while you still can here.

The post OpenTable is giving you the opportunity to book $40 Two Course Restaurant Express Menu at some of Melbourne’s most popular eateries appeared first on 2 Hungry Guys - A Sydney Food Blog.

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Poolside at Ani Villas

If a next level personalised luxury experience is on your check list, then Ani Villas Sri Lanka is the perfect place to stay. With 15 suites, this private resort is the ultimate experience in customised and personalised vacationing. And as this is a private group resort only, the dedicated staff will cater solely to your group, fulfilling your every need.

” if you have the opportunity to stay at Ani Resorts, do so – without hesitation and for as long as possible “

We arrived on a beautiful sunny day after a long but scenic drive from Colombo Airport (about 3 ½ hours away from Ani Villas). Stepping out into absolute paradise we were warmly welcomed by the staff with cool towels and refreshing drinks. As our bags were whisked away, we were escorted on a walking tour of the resort, past multiple pools with watersides, relaxation areas, a tennis court, day spa, numerous dining areas and bars – and then finally arriving at our beautiful suites.

Next level luxury One of the main private pools Our luxury suite Our private plunge pool

The rooms are large and spacious with sweeping windows to enjoy the views of the beach or pool. If possible, I think the bathroom was almost as big as the room itself with a spa bath, double vanity, indoor and outdoor shower. With an experience like this it’s the little things that make a huge difference, like the various amenities including wifi, portable speakers, chargers, Apple TV, insect repellent and sunscreen available at your fingertips. Some suites even have their own private plunge pool. The resort also offered a huge range of included services such a laundry, guest activities (I’ll get to that shortly) and even someone to clean your sunglasses and phones/tablets while you’re chilling by the pool, or sipping on your sunset cocktails.

Now lets talk food. There was a lot of it! Probably because you have your own personalised chef there to cater a menu of delicious meals and treats all day, everyday. Breakfast was my favourite meal. If waking up and walking down to freshly brewed coffee and a plate of tropical fruit wasn’t enough, the versatile buffet of both western and local breakfast options certainly was.

Sri Lankan breakfast for two

I’m a firm believer that if I’m in another country I’m not going to eat food I can have anywhere else so the Sri Lankan breakfast was right up my alley with hoppers, dhal, chicken curry and milk rice to name a few of the delicious dishes we enjoyed. On top of that, my favourite was a warm crepe filled with sticky coconut and enjoyed with tea, called Pani Pol that was out of this world. I’m tempted to go back just for that.

Sunset dinner on the beach with bonfire
One must always have Champagne

Lunch was always a treat with tasty dishes like grilled fish or wraps to tide us over for the main event. Dinner is where it gets really interesting. Being the only two in the resort at the time, we were privy to some of the exciting experiences that takes Ani Resorts to the next level. Over the course of our 3 night stay we enjoyed candlelight dinners in the courtyard, a very cool setup in the pool and the most spectacular sunset BBQ on the beach with a roaring bonfire for that extra touch. Our beach BBQ comprised of succulent grilled meats as well as fresh seafood like lobster, cuttlefish and giant juicy prawns. The great thing with having a resort all to yourself is that you can be in control of what the menu is or leave it to the very capable and talented chefs.

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Y’all know that Black Star Pastry’s WORLD FAMOUS watermelon cake is an absolute favourite of ours. Like, we live for it.

And this Saturday 29th at North Sydney Oval, Australia will be hosting New Zealand for The Women’s Commonwealth Bank T20 cricket International Series.

And this is where we come in…..

THERE WILL BE AMAZING FOODIE OPTIONS available for all cricket fans in attendance.

Think Sydney’s popular restaurants serving up all things iconic. Black Star Pastry will be slicing up their world famous watermelon cake, Gelato Messina will be scooping out gelato and Porteno Restaurant will be serving up some of their favourite dishes.

So if you’re in the area, be sure to pop down to North Sydney Oval and cheer on the Southern Stars, whilst devouring some tasty food.

What: Women’s Commonwealth Bank T20 International – Australia vs NZ
Date: Saturday 29 September.
Time: Gates open at 6pm. Match starts at 7:10pm
Where: North Sydney Oval

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for concession and kids go free! You can get your tickets here.

The post World’s most INSTAGRAMMED CAKE at Womens T20 cricket appeared first on 2 Hungry Guys - A Sydney Food Blog.

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Keeping on top of your diet is important for maintaining your health. What you eat makes a huge difference in how well your mind and body function, so building a balanced diet is essential to getting a better outcome for your health.

But with the fast-paced nature of our lives, the food we eat seems to take a lower priority. It can be hard to try and keep on top of your diet when you have multiple responsibilities to juggle. What you should eat becomes just another decision to deal with every single day. The latest HelloFresh decision detox plans revealed that almost half of all Australians find decisions revolving around budgeting and cooking food the most stressful thing in their day.

It can be hard to figure out what you plan to eat throughout the week. Here are five tips to help you plan out your weekly meals!

Plan before you buy

It’s important that you consider what you plan to eat throughout the week before you decide to go grocery shopping. Shopping for food mindlessly can result in buying things that don’t get eaten and eventually spoil.

To prevent waste and overbuying, you should first have a rough idea of what your week looks like in terms of food before you head to the supermarket. You should also check out your pantry for the food you already have to prevent buying excess and to see if there’s any food that expires soon so that you can prevent wasting it.

Keep in mind that you should be maintaining a balanced diet. Getting the right combination of the food groups is important to maximise your health. Planning at the start of the week before your regular grocery shop can make your busy weekdays more efficient and less stressful for meal planning.

Work around events and activities

Think about what your week looks like. Consider what social events and activities will conflict with your meal planning and work around them. It’s common for people to eat out as a social activity, so taking that meal into account and adjusting your food decisions can help maintain a healthy diet.

Some events might make it difficult for you to cook, especially if your day is particularly packed. Be realistic with your meal planning but be committed as well. Don’t let your diet be overcome by social events and activities. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend them, but watch your portions and try to adjust the rest of your meals accordingly.

Account for portions and leftovers

When you’re preparing a meal, it’s important that you think about how many it will serve and whether you’ll have leftovers. It’s important that you don’t end up overeating just because you’ve made more than you need.

Keep any leftovers for another day, and try to adjust recipes so that you get an amount you’ve accounted for in your meal plan. You can choose to cook more so that you have something to eat for your lunch tomorrow, or limit your ingredients so that you don’t overcook and have it go to waste.

Write it all down

It only takes a short amount of time to write everything you think down. Whether you have a physical meal planner or a note on your phone, having something to reference makes it easier on what you have to remember.

Having a physical meal plan will help you to remember what to eat throughout the week and in retrospect, what you’ve eaten and whether you have maintained a well-balanced diet. It’s a useful tool for keeping on top of your food decisions.

Outsource your planning

Meal planning is easier than ever with food subscription services, which compile healthy recipes and send the ingredients needed to cook them straight to your door. By incorporating such services into your weekly meal plan, you have a lot less to worry about.

The best thing is that you can still choose what you want to eat, but other than that, it’s simply a matter of following the recipe. Knowing what you’re putting in your body and having assurance that ingredients are well-sourced without having to do the shopping yourself saves a ton of time.

If you don’t want to plan out every meal you have but also want the reassurance that it is healthy and good for you, food subscription boxes are a great option. Grocery shopping can take up a lot of time, and subscription boxes make it easy for you to cook a meal at home even on a tight schedule.

Planning healthy meals can be hard, but incorporating some simple planning can help you to keep on top of your diet and ensure you are maintaining a good level of nutrition. Ultimately, what works for you is going to unique to your body, but experimenting with these planning strategies can help you to establish your own routine.

The post Five Tips For Planning Your Weekly Meals appeared first on 2 Hungry Guys - A Sydney Food Blog.

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