Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travelogue: Australia – Murramarang National Park (Part 2: Perfect Food!)

This weekend’s side trip is to Murramarang National Park, on Australia’s eastern coast in New South Wales. A colleague of mine and I headed out for a day of adventure to the coast. I played the part of driver and planner, he filled-in in the role of navigator and spotter. On the way, we stopped for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat at an amazing little boulangerie in a town called Bungendore.

The town may sound like a character from the Harry Potter books, but the restaurant was excellent! The owner was an émigré from France and the restaurant, though it was built in an old frame house, could have been on a street in any of the little country towns that dot the French countryside.

The place was called Le Très Bon and it truly was très bon! It was, the kind of place that my dad used to always seem to be able to find when we were on road trips, the kind of place that looks like nothing special from outside and inside, it was surprisingly excellent.

Bogdan and I had croissants and coffee and with the croissant, the restaurateur served a marvelous green tomato-fig preserve that he made from the fruit growing in his back garden. It was the most amazing spread! Alas, he does not sell it bottled! Drat! I know, I asked.

Our brief respite elapsed, we headed back out on the road. Out next stop was to be Bateman’s Bay. A quick stop at the tourist info office to get a local map and a recommendation for lunch, and we were off again.

Bateman’s Bay is a lovely town on the NSW Coast. We parked the car and explored on foot for a bit. And then it was time for lunch. At yet another French café! This one, Monet’s was right on the waterfront and had the most amazing food! I had a prawn salad with a creamy kefir-aioli dressing; my colleague had Sri Lankan prawns with julienne vegetables in a chili-basil-honey sauce. Our server was backpacking across Australia on her break from college; she was from Calais.

Out table overlooked the bay and it was such a perfect day that it was hard to get ourselves excited about going on to our next destination, but the pull of the open road eventually won-out and we set-off, sated; or as we say back at home ‘fat and happy.’

Even though it was a lovely day and the beauty of the spot was enticing, we made the decision to hit the road, picked a direction and headed off. We would be glad, as the day wore on, that we made the decision we made at this juncture, but that is a story for tomorrow.

Wherever you are this morning I hope that you are still feeling the afterglow of an excellent weekend!

Don Bergquist – 27 March 2012 – Canberra, ACT, Australia

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