Dinner to die for

The first thing I thought when I saw the bar / restaurant Coast was that it brings a bit of big city chic to the Fraser Coast. Its environs and atmosphere most-certainly rival that of the trendiest cafes in Melbourne, Sydney or Noosa.

IMG_5237I’ve been there a few times for drinks and the service is always stellar.

And as for the Sunday afternoon sessions: listening to some fabulous acoustic music on a warm summer’s day with champagne in hand… well, it doesn’t get much better.

Everyone – locals and visitors alike – RAVE about the menu and food, something I hadn’t experienced until recently.

Last Friday I found myself there enjoying a pleasant glass of champagne or three when my fellow drinkers decided they’d love to stay on and dine.

It was my first evening there and I was pleasantly surprised that the place was just pumpin’ (in a good way). Lots of nicely dressed diners were arriving and I realised it is most certainly one of THE places (if not THE place) to go in Hervey Bay.

As a coeliac I often struggle to find suitable options. The team at Coast however advised they could adapt recipes to suit my needs as required.

Which meant that my main dilemma when it came to the food at Coast (and many other restaurants) is that… I don’t eat shellfish. In fact I have a bizarre aversion to any food which looks like it did when alive. Even eating meat off a bone is problematic if you’re slightly screwy in the head – which it seems I am.

Given my fussiness and gluten-consumption issues, we decided on one of Coast’s famous shared plates; going for the slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with sides of crushed chat potatoes and a kale, corn, spring onion and chilli mayonnaise dish.

And… Oh. My. God. I forgave the lamb its bone. The more culinary-gifted of my friends went to carve the meat and it just fell off the bone.

It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The potatoes were great, I’m not sold on kale, even though it was part of a very tasty combination of flavours, but I did try some (there’s a first time for everything!).

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We stuffed ourselves beyond full, though after a short respite my friends decided to share a dessert.

I was horrified when they went for the ‘banana split’ imagining some American diner version of the popular dish. No sirree… this banana split was infused with all sorts of stuff and well, was apparently just amazing. I was offered a taste but turned it down, thinking of my waistline. Well, that and the fact that I don’t actually eat fruit. (Yes, yes… I know…)

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People rave about Coast’s Sunday afternoon $10 buckets of prawns ; or the Friday Happy Hour $3 pork buns; but I am well and truly a convert to the shared meat dishes and will certainly be going back for more! In fact, I should probably peruse the menu now to decide what I’ll have next time…

Life in a Tourist Town

(First published 5 February 2013)

Three months have passed since I moved into my esplanade apartment at Hervey Bay, and I have just survived my first holiday period as a local* amongst a throng of holidaymakers.

viewThe biggest fear I had about my choice of ‘home’ was that – my esplanade view and lovely modern accomodations would be counteracted by living in an apartment complex which would possibly be home to noisy holidaymakers on a regular basis.

I’m not, you see, the most (ahem) tolerant of people… so I had visions of myself screaming at drunken tenants partying at 1am or devil-possessed children frolicking about our complex pool.

But, I have to confess – it hasn’t been as bad as I expected.

Sure there were the guys in the apartment below me trying to channel Freddy Mercury before dinner one night; and there were a few badly behaved children in the pool – torturing siblings or crying hysterically about some world crisis or another. (Bloody little sooks!) And of course, the place in general has being busier than usual with overflowing caravan parks and beachside apartments.

But, on the whole… it was quite pleasant to see my new home AND hometown being enjoyed by so many visitors.

The people-watching is surprisingly interesting and has the potential to be quite exciting. Like Hotel. Or Adventure Island. Or Melrose Place. Or similar.**

poolI got a giggle out of a couple of oldies who seemed to strike up a bit of a romance friendship at the poolside. And smiled every time another guest headed off to the local pier with his fishing rod and supplies (and came home empty-handed); proud that my new hometown offered such simple pleasures.

And then there’s the opportunity to chuckle in a smug superior manner when visitors do those silly things that cause we locals to roll our eyes. “Tourists!” we groan.

And now… school’s back in and the Vacancy signs are again littering the esplanade as the holidaymakers have headed back to their own part of the world.

Although I haven’t been too disrupted by our visitors, I must confess I much prefer having the place and the town to ‘ourselves’ again.

There’ll be no more queueing for a table at the Boat Club for a while, no need to book at pub down the road and no need forpatience at the overflowing playgrounds. And the supermarkets will again (mostly***) belong to we locals.

* I grew up nearby so feel I can call myself a local despite having only lived here for thee months!
** There could be a TV series in this!
*** I say mostly because I DO live in a beachside town so there are always a few overseas tourists and weekend vacationers here.

PS. Am showing my age and channeling The Dream Academy’s Life in a Northern Town in the title. In case you didn’t get the way-too-clever reference!

And your thoughts…Tourists: love em or hate em?