YO MELBY

Hey mates of the slightly more south!

Me and my friend Radge are coming down this weekend to play some shows. We were actually coming to see Lil’ Wayne’s sideshow but the dick promoters cancelled that yesterday so I feel you as a city owe me a decent weekend. Please join hands and attend these wonderful events.

SATURDAY – Favela Rock at Ms Libertines – I’m DJing. So is Radge and a tonne of Melbourne homies.

SUNDAY – BUNZ & GRILLZ at The Mercat – this one is big time. I’m gonna DJ and man the BBQ for a few hours. Check out the terrifying poster up the top. Radge, Mat Cant and Evet aka Juicy Jean are DJing too and all we are playing is good time West Coast & Southern rap. 

On the menu will be:

LEV’S DAWG a grilled kosher frankfurt with tomato salsa, pickled yellow peppers, chipotle mayo and mustard on a steamed brioche bun
GRILLED WATERMELON & BACON BURGER with onions, rocket & lime mayo (available without bacon for our vego pals)
GRILLED CORN with lime mayo, chipotle salt and coriander

Entry is free and the food is cheap. 

Come be a pal, Melbourne pals! Come pal around and shit. Krillin‘s coming down too. Fun!

ME PHOTOBOMBING ME

Dan Boud of Boudist took my picture for this month’s Time Out Sydney. Ever the smarty pants, Dan thought it would be a cool idea to have me photobombing my own photo. I obliged and some magic (and photoshop) went down. 

You can read what Dan had to say about the shoot here. Thanks to him, and to Myffy of Time Out for awarding my hot dog 2nd place in her countdown of the best dawgs in Sydney. Come eat one at The Dip some time!

WHAT’S UP HOT DOG

DO THE DIP

Oh hey! I opened a restaurant with my gal Bianca inside Goodgod Small Club aka the greatest club in Sydney (which is now even greater thanks to us!).

Our little diner is called THE DIP and you can do the dip every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. We’re grilling roo burgers, smoking pork shoulders and filling hot dog buns with all kinds of awesome.

We opened last week. It’s been a crazy first few night with surprisingly few fuck-ups. We’re getting a hang of this thing! Come by for a feed if you’re near by.

Oh and check out our sweet ass website designed by the same sweet ass who designed this one, Mr Bennett Wong.

Do the dip motherfuckers!

I made these bad ass banh mi’s for my birthday. Thanks to Boz for taking photos like he does every time! What a legend.

sandwichface:

Roast pork belly, head cheese, pate, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, coriander, fresh chili, shallots, soy sauce and mayonnaise on baguette. Made by Levins.

http://yolevins.com/i-made-these-bad-ass-banh-mis-for-my-birthday/

HALF BAKED: THE STONER DEGUSTATION

Half Baked: A Celebration of Stoner Food

On the 6th of December, I joined forces with Dan Hong from Lotus & Ms G’s plus Mitch Orr and Tom Lim from Duke Bistro (all pictured above sippin’ an Arizona Stoner Iced Tea) for a night of unbelievable excess; a tribute to stoner food. We called the night Half Baked. 60 lucky people sat down at Duke Bistro and were treated to 9 courses (with matched drinks by Andy Penney) of greasy, cheesy, fried, chocolately ridiculousness.

First course was an after school stoner classic – a chip sambo with french onion butter, made by Mitch. Mitch cut and fried the chips himself.

Limbo made the second course – a corn flake milkshake with deep fried corn and bacon pancakes. The pancakes were battered and rolled in crushed up doritos before they were fried!

Third course was a genius creation by Dan Hong – a cheese, bacon and sauerkraut spring roll with butterscotch mayo. Biting in to the spring roll and discovering the molten cheese was insane.

I made the fourth course – deep fried pickles with ranch. I made sure the batter was extra thick and these were super crunchy.

Fifth course: instant noodles with bong water, made by Mitch.

This one was hilarious – a bowl of noodles with a fried egg and shallots was given to each diner and a bong was put in the middle of each table. The bong was filled with a dark mushroom broth which you poured over the noodles! It was so funny watching everyone cringe at the idea of adding steaming bongwater to their bowls. It tasted delicious though!

Limbo’s sixth course was a meal in itself! Mac & cheese fondue with fried chicken and French onion toast.

Everyone got two pieces of fried chicken and a fried bread roll spread with cornflake sprinkled french onion dip. Next to the plate was a bowl of mac and cheese fondue to dip your chicken and bread into. It was ridiculous!

Not quite as ridiculous as the seventh course though: Hongy’s Juicy Luther.

A beef patty cooked juicy lucy style – with the cheese inside the patty, served with fried bacon, pickles and sauce on a Krispy Kreme doughnut! People lost their shit!

By now everyone was so full but they still had to squeeze in two desserts…

Seventh course: Mitch’s dessert – peaches and panna cotta ice cream with a Chomp bar!

People were breathing a sigh of relief when they saw that Mitch’s dessert was relatively small. They weren’t safe yet though…

I made the ninth and final course – a deep fried banana split with peanut butter ice cream, raspberry sauce, chocolate fudge and spicy peanut brittle.

This was so rich I felt guilty serving it as the final course. We heard that at least one person threw up after eating everything. Success!

Limbo and Mitch plating up Limbo’s fondue course.

Limbo’s mac and cheese fondue was epic.

Hongy putting the Juicy Luthers together.

We put a bunch of the bunch of Juicy Luthers in the Krispy Kreme box and ate them ourselves. I made sure I got a photo of the moneyshot as we bit into the burger and the cheese exploded out of the patty!

Limbo

Mitch

Hongy

Me

Andy Penney, who put together all the amazing cocktails for the night, which included Arizona Stoner Punch – mint, gin and peach iced tea; a fanta and campari ice cream spider and Caucasian Jugs – his tribute to The Dude’s favourite drink – a White Russian, complete with Milo around the rim of the glass! Unfortunately I couldn’t get out of the kitchen to get a photo of his drinks but trust me, they were killer.

This is what the floor looked like after all the cheese had gooped out of our Juicy Luthers!

We put together a little ‘stoner sampler’ plate for the kitchenhand, if you could buy this plate anywhere I would probably eat it every day and would be fat as shiiiit.

Kylie Javier had been working the floor all night and once all my desserts had been plated and served she piled the leftover bananas, chocolate fudge, raspberry sauce and peanut brittle on top of each other and the front of house crew got stuck in.

Kylie was a super important part of the Half Baked crew too – she lit weed incense sticks all through the restaurant, but the necessary eye drops in the bathrooms and put the mull leaves on the menu below.

So there you go, that was the first ever Half Baked! Thanks to everyone who came and passed out shortly after eating. We’ll be back with some more hectic shit in 2011!

HOT DOG DAY

We had some good pals round one Sunday in Spring for a hot dog feast.

GRILLIN SUM DAWGS

We grilled some yellow peppers too.

The homie MItch Orr helped out with these professional mustard squiggles.

Ultimate dog – Kosher frank, roasted tomato salsa, chipotle mayonaise, roasted yellow peppers and mustard.

The dogz were a hit with the boyz and the girlz.

Om nom nom nom nom.

HANOI PART 2

Even though 90% of the reason we had come to Vietnam was to eat mad shit, our stomachs were only so big. With so many amazing, unique foods on offer that we NEEDED to try every day, we were bound to overdo it at least once. And boy did we overdo it today.

The breakfast at our hotel is pretty decent – B fills up on eggs and I slurp down a bowl of pho ga before we head out for some morning beers. Hanoi specialises in bia hoi – fresh beer brewed every morning and poured out of kegs by thousands of beer vendors across the city for a couple of cents a glass. It’s delicious.

So was the bun cha we ate yesterday, maybe we should eat another bowl at a new place?

It wasn’t quite as good as the bowl we shared the day before but it was still pretty awesome!

We were north of the lake for reasons besides bun cha. We were looking for a pho spot that served up a darker, beefier broth. The place was called Pho Thin (13 Lo Duc Street).

Although this was easily the most run down place we ate at in Hanoi (not hatin, just statin!), the smell billowing out of the pots was wild, and the bowls of soup the staff were putting together at lightning speed looked incredible.

What set this pho apart from the rest of them was that the beef was stir fried before joining the soup in the bowl. It was such an intense, beefy taste. I think this was the best bowl of pho I’ve ever had.

SMAAAAAASHED!

I really shouldn’t have finished the bowl right to the bottom. I mean, I had to, a rule is a rule – but I’ll recount what I’d consumed so far this day, and keep in mind that it was barely midday!

– 1 bowl of pho ga

1 bowl of bun cha

1 bowl of pho

2 iced coffees

– 2 glasses of beer

I was done. Totally game overed. We walked back to our hotel, clutching our bellies. I collapsed on our bed and enjoyed 3 hours of food overload crazy dreams before B woke me up and informed me that it was time to eat again. Lucky me!

We visit this lady for some Bánh cuốn nóng, little rice dumplings with pork and mushrooms inside.

They were very nice, but most importantly they were small! Was this all we were gonna have to eat tonight? Was I going to get off this easily?

Oh no! It’s B’s biggest weakness! Banana fritter vendors! 

Surely that counts as dessert right? Something sweet to end the night on? Wrong again!

We walked past these little fellas and figured we better eat them too. All the banana fritter did was increase B’s appetite for deep fried goodness…

These little prawn cakes are fried until crispy. Then you wrap them in lettuce and dunk them in the sweet papaya dipping sauce. Very good. 

Minutes before I was set to explode, Bianca found the place she was looking for:

Bun Bo Nam Bo means ‘noodles from the south’. They serve up big bowls of awesomeness – beef, noodles, bean sprouts, papaya, lettuce, herbs, carrot, peanuts and shallots swimming in a sweet sauce.

As full as I am, this is crunchy and fresh enough to eat till it’s finished. “I probably shouldn’t have eaten all that” I think as we waddle to the nearest corner for a final bia hoi.

While we drink, a local man comes up to me, killing himself laughing. He wraps his hands around my left thigh and then wraps those same hands around his own waist. Although he cannot speak English, his message is clear: “Have another beer you fat, western asshole!” 

AND I DO.


HANOI PART 1

Almost 2 weeks into our Vietnam trip we found ourselves in Hanoi. We found ourselves there because we bought plane tickets. Plane tickets to Hanoi. 

Immediately Hanoi asserted itself as the best city in Vietnam. “Enjoy the excitement of Ho Chi Minh with the relaxed attitude of Hoi An!” it yelled. “Walk as many of my streets as you want and I dare your eyes not to pop out of their sockets as they marvel at my people’s clearly superior way of living!”.

Just one hour passes and we start wishing we had added another week to our trip just to hang out in Hanoi. We need to soak up as much of this amazing city as we can in the few days we have here. We also need lunch. Bun cha time!

Just around the corner from our hotel is Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim. We set out in the afternoon on the hunt for pho, only to find that all the pho spots had shut early. So we stumbled into Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim (67 Duong Thanh St) with little idea of what bun cha was other than a fun dish to say over and over as loudly as possible. 

We sit down and are quickly served a plate of rice noodles, some herbs, lettuce and two bowls filled with a sweet vinegary broth. One of these bowls has some green papaya chips floating on the surface while the other is swimming with charcoal grilled pork and pork patties.

After pretending that we knew what we were doing and trying to wrap the noodles, pork and herbs up in the lettuce and stuffing into our mouths, we notice the locals doing it the right way – you pick up some noodles with your chopsticks, dip them into the sweet broth, add some herbs and slurp some pork, herbs, noodles and broth at once. It’s amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa etc.

We also order some fried crab spring rolls (nem cua be) which are as crunchy as they are crabby. They’re real good slurped up with the broth too.

2010 marks the 1000th year since Hanoi was established and the West Lake was all fancied up with balloons and drinking Bacardi like it was its birthday.

Every bench around the lake is taken by body of water enthusiasts, who sit amongst countless couples tying the knot and taking pictures.

There are at least 6 couples getting hitched in this photo!

All laked out, B and I head back to our hotel for a siesta before we embark on another nightly food pilgrimage. This time we’re going to chow down on a recent craze in Hanoi – a greasy combination of a kebab and a banh mi. Seriously!

The doner owner at Cafe Goethe (56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc St) shaves some pork from his glistening pork pyramid and puts it on a Vietnamese roll with lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickled red cabbage. If it was a lot later and I was a lot drunker I would probably proclaim this as the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten, but sober at 7pm it tastes pretty great too. 

Around the corner we buy another banh mi kebab from a street cart that has no name but proudly displays its certificate in public health inspection out the front. Maybe its name is APPROVED?

By 8pm we’re two sandwiches deep, clearly it’s time to eat a massive bowl of pho. Hours of stressful “best pho in Hanoi” Google searches lead us to Pho Gua Truyen (46 Bat Dan).

There’s a line out the front which is crazy because apparently Vietnamese folks don’t queue for NOTHING. So naturally we’re excited about these noodles.

Huge hunks of aged beef hang next to the counter, dripping fat on to the floor. The aged beef is called chin but out of habit I order pho tai, which comes with rare beef. When our bowls are sat down in front of us I’m disappointed, but still pretty eager to get my slurp on.

Why would I be disappointed? This pho is the real deal, super flavoursome, great noodles and a generous helping of tender meat.

The sriracha chili sauce sits in buckets on the table. Maybe it was made at the restaurant? It’s thinner than what you get in the bottles and a little feistier too.

Out of respect, I finished that bowl of pho to the bottom. It’s important that you do that when pho is good. And this bowl was great, but as we walked back to our hotel I couldn’t stop thinking about how good the pho chin with the aged beef would’ve been. For the next four nights I slept uneasily, pondering over what could have been.

BUT FOUR DAYS LATER WE RETURNED TO PHO GIA TRUYEN AND I PROUDLY ORDERED THE PHO CHIN…

…AND IT WAS SPECTACULAR. SPECTACULARLY SPECTACULAR.

So of course I smashed my bowl with much respect. But in a rare feat of being able to eat as much as her fat boyfriend, Bianca respectfully finished her bowl of noodles too! The pho chin was that good!!

RESPECT.

HOI AN 2

At night in Hoi An, the tide rises and the river extends itself up the streets. Some of the buildings in town are used to having their whole first floor completely filled with water during the wet season!

B and I head to the other side of the river in search of a snack that makes no sense to me: banh dap, a sticky rice cake stuck between two crunchy rice cakes, served with a shellfish dipping sauce. “How the hell does that work?” I would think every time B reminded me of this snack we had to add to the long list of mad shit we needed to eat in Vietnam. “Is it like a sandwich?”

“No it is not like a sandwich at all, good sir” I think to myself as I snap the above photograph. Banh dap is a big sticky glob of rice batter, squashed between two thin, toasted rice cakes. It’s tasty as fuck and the dipping sauce rules too. It’s hardly big enough to be our lunch though, maybe we should go back to that amazing banh mi spot we had those life changing sandwiches at yesterday. Yes let’s do that!

OK LOOK AT THAT! Amazing right?! Now look at the pic of the banh mi we had yesterday – this one is bigger and better! You can check out what Bianca had to say about it here. She breaks down all the ingredients we think were stuffed into the baguette: Processed pork, roast pork belly, fried egg, pate, onion, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, mint, coriander, soy sauce and 3 kinds of home made sauce.

We took a video of the awesome sandwich being constructed which I’ll put up soon, it’s so awesome to watch! In the meantime hopefully these photos will satisfy our banh mi lust (yes that is a thing now).

Since heading back to the banh mi stand ended up being so goddamn awesome we decided to pay another visit to the lady who sold us that killer bowl of cao lầu. She was happy to see us again!

The day before we ate our bowl of soup while the vendor next to us bugged us to buy banh xeo from her stand. We bought one of her little fried pancakes today and I’m glad we did!

Banh Xeo is different here to what it was like in Ho Chi Minh City. Here the pancake is much smaller and you roll it in rice paper before you dip it in sauce! It is as crunchy as it is delicious, although I definitely prefer the banh xeo we had in Ho Chi Minh. This one is a great little taste to have before a big bowl of yesterday’s great memories is plopped in front of us.

Is it as good as it was the day before? Of course, maybe even better! Will I be able to have another bowl of these beautiful noodles again before I kick the bucket? I hope so!

Thanks for the good vibes, Hoi An. Thanks for the fresh beer. Thanks for the cheap suits and shirts. Thanks for letting me laugh at the young locals desperately forcing flyers for the one nightclub in town into my hands every day. Thanks for wetting my shoes during high tide. Thanks for that fucking sandwich! And for the two fucking sandwiches I had after that! Thanks for those noodles too, can you please send us a few bottles of your magic water so we can make them here? Thanks.