The top end of Logan Road at Woolloongabba never ceases to amaze me.
It's cute, quirky, filled with great restaurants, interesting antique shops and one of a kind homewares. Parking is surprisingly easy to find on the street and will only cost you a few dollars for a couple of hours.
I was there today for an Australian Society of Travel Writers Lunch which was hosted by Trafalgar Tours. We dined family style on one long table, serving ourselves from platters in the middle of the table. This was designed to echo Trafalgar's new Be My Guest tours.
It seems the days when Trafalgar could be called just a bus tour travel company are gone. They still have the buses, but now they are taking us inside people's homes to dine, cook and meet the locals. It's all about family run properties and working farms, including dining with Beatrice de Montferrier and her daughter Alexandra in the warmth of their 17th-century farm on regional produce.
Or hearing stories from Klaus Nickelig and his sister Anita about the knights who once roamed the walls of their castle perched on the top of steep hill overlooking the Rhine Valley while dining on a German feast.
Then I heard that the tours don't leave before 9am on their At Leisure itineraries and include multiple night stays at each location - bring it on!
I'm all for exploring new destinations with a spirit of adventure on your own, but I've travelled enough to realise that there are local's secrets that you can easily miss without the right advice and that a local expert is worth more than their weight in gold to add depth to a visit. After all you've most likely come a long way at some expense to experience this destination - it would be a shame not to discover some of the best bits.
But back to lunch - it was Italian style with a delicious blend of dishes. Even though there were several courses it was so hard not to pig out on the risotto and gnocchi, but I'm glad I saved space for the crisp-skinned porchetta. I was out of control by the time the tiramisu landed and just gobbled it down - so light and creamy.
Here's what we ate -
|Affetatti misti - selection of cured meats with bread|
|Gnocchi di patate - potato gnocchi, pork & fennel sasage, black truffle tapenade|
|Porchetta - roast pork, lemon and caper|
|Insalata del giorno - mixed leaves, buffalo grana, 10 yr old balsamic|
|There's footpath dining as well as a spacious interior.|
Bottom line: Great destination, excellent food.
Best tip: Hard to pick between the gnocchi and the risotto, then there's the tiramisu...