I've been lazy again. But I've also been away. A Darling Friend turned twenty-four on March 7 and, while this is not such an auspicious birthday, I packed a suitcase and headed south to celebrate with him.
My friend lives in Orange, a medium-sized town about three hours north-west of Sydney. While there I spent countless hours wandering the oh-so-English gardens and parks, snapping photos of all manner of flora and fauna, and eating...eating...eating. Although, with much less of a gap between each bite.
Yes, as with all adventures, much of my time centred around gluttony, the sin for which I'm sure I will eventually be cast into death by heart failure. The area around Orange is prime farmland, filled with cattle, sheep, vinyards, and all manner of delicious foodstuffs. Ironically, Orange is not famous for oranges, rather apples and cherries of which, again ironically, I tried neither while there. I did however buy some local honey (for a belated Christmas gift) and experience a restaurant that you simply must try next time you're in the neighbourhood.
Tonic is situated a half-hour drive from Orange itself, in a town which I'm sure I'll go back to experience sometime in the future. But for now, Tonic. Set in the old Millthorpe picture theatre, the restaurant itself was enough to make me smile (I love old buildings and architecture), but the food: Heaven.
The menu on the website is slightly different to that available on the night, but I'm sure even the fussiest gourmand could appreciate their Vennison with duck liver parfait, or the rediculously delicious amuse bouche of roasted capsicum and tomato soup. It sounds simple but fresh capsicum, basil, tomato, lime...I'm drooling!
Dessert was no less fabulous. My Darling Friend had a raspberry chocolate semi-freddo we all agreed would substitute sex quite nicely, while my mango souffle and french vanilla-bean ice-cream would easily entice me to take a vow of chastity in order to taste just one more bite. If I could offer any advice it would be to skip the complimentary petit fours as they left a dry, dirty taste where once had bean* only sweet delight.
*Still dreaming about that ice-cream...