Freelancer Friday: Pizza!

Freelancer Friday is fast becoming a tradition for me (we don't get the customary office based wine-o-clock so have to invent our own...).  After a long week, myself and freelancer friend Sarah Kempson made our way to Pinocchio in South Yarra for Friday, our way.  I'd heard they offered a gluten free friendly menu and Sarah had heard that it was - quote - an "institution".  Despite all that, I'm always keen to try new pizza (who isn't?).

After a few champs at The Lyall we arrived at Pinocchio's, starving and in need of serious indulgence.  We told our waiter about our aversion to wheat and gluten and he seemed very educated about it all. 

To start we opted for the red wine braised baby octopus with Italian style chorizo sausage tossed with roasted peppers and light mint dressing ($12).  Ours came sans-chorizo as our waiter was concerned the sausage might contain gluten.  So we threw in a side of hot chips instead.  The octopus was tender, minus any chewiness, and while octopus heads do somewhat freak me out, the dressing (I would call it a sauce) was thick enough to cover the octopus well; no irkyness at all.  I can imagine it would be a fairly rich dish with the chorizo but it's not overly huge so I wouldn't see this as a problem.

Octopus - and chippies!
Prosecco and entree inhaled and it was onto the pizza and wine.  Many GF pizza bases become soggy, fall apart easily, are too sweet, or simply fail to hold an adequate amount of toppings - for all the above reasons.  As a result, GF pizza can be vastly less enjoyable than eating pizza should ever be (sacrilege).  This was not the case at Pinocchio's.  The base was crisp and firm, but not chewy, and did a good job of holding highly satisfactory amounts of said toppings (as per the images). 

We opted for the pumpkin pizza - or eloquently put, the "Zucca": Fior di latte, wood roasted butternut pumpkin, ricotta pesto pancetta vin cotto "(R $19 L $22).  I'd describe this as fresh, buttery and light.  Seeing as the GF pizza only comes in regular size, we felt it more than reasonable to order two. 

Our second pizza was the Prosciutto: San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, San Daniele Prosciutto, rocket, parmesan and balsamic (R $20 L $24) - and we added chicken.  This one had a bit more oomph with the tomato base and sharp flavours of the stronger toppings which worked perfectly together.  The two pizzas balanced each other very nicely and we ate the lot, bar two slices (which we succumbed to taking away).

As far as ambiance goes, it was a comfortably busy Friday.  We could chat without feeling like we needed to yell; a refreshing change to some of the hot spots in town.  The interior is modern and comfortable with the right amount of lighting.  Maybe that's why we stayed until close without realising we were the only ones left...
I liked the Pinocchio figures throughout the venue too, from the walls to the plates - very classic and very cute.  Character.

Whether we caught them on a very good night or whether this is standard fare from the "new" Pinocchio I've heard about, I found it a welcoming, warming space with friendly, helpful service and fresh, wholesome food. 

No word of a lie.

Enjoy - LMM xoxo

152 Toorak Road, South Yarra
03 9867 2772
Twitter: @pinocchiorest


 Recognising good taxi vs bad taxi in Melbourne...

image source:
Of the many things I love about Melbourne, our taxis are one of them.  I love that they are all yellow.  I love that I can walk out of my apartment and not have to wait longer than 5 minutes for a cab to drive past.  I love that they are nice to you when you are nice to them.  As a city girl without wheels who is always running late, taxis (and, at times, my darling friends) are my savoir for getting around our big ole town.

Don't get me wrong - as with any service delivery, there have been moments... On my own at 3am and refused journey four times (four!) only because I was traveling to the other side of the city.  A case of a 'broken meter' so 'cash only on this ride, please'.  The old story of booking a taxi for an early flight but getting a no show in the morning.  Sure, it happens.  But many times the experience has been different - so when there's a lot of the bad, I want to recognise some of the good.

I once managed to get to a wedding in Prahran, via the city, in peak hour traffic, in 25 minutes.  The amount of times I've been reassured on the way to the airport that I'm not going to miss my flight, are too many to count.  And a driver recently gave me tips, unprompted, on how to ID and report any dodgy taxi drivers, which inspired this post.

After witnessing a mugging over the weekend and a chase that ensued by several strangers which saw the victim getting his phone back, I figure we all have to stick together.  The same goes with taxi drivers. They are just trying to a job and we are just trying to get our destination safe and on time.  Maybe the best way to help them do a good job (apart from being fabulous passengers) is reporting those who do the wrong thing and encouraging the ones who are great.

SO this is what I've picked up thus far:

  • if the meter is "broken" the taxi is not considered roadworthy and thus not permitted to take passengers - get out and grab another
  • drivers must always have their photo ID on show - you may want to check this before you get in
  • the driver's details are always printed out on the receipt - the receipt which must be provided to you on request with all the deets of the journey
  • adorable fluffy blind dogs - or 'assistance animals' - are always, always allowed.
More rights for passengers are listed on the Victorian Taxi Directorate.  You can also provide feedback on a good or bad experience on the same site, and they've got some good quick safety tips on there too.

So kudos to you, our good Melbourne taxi drivers. Thank you for getting me to my meetings on time.  Thank you for being polite even when you're having a bad day.  Thank you for always helping me with my overweight luggage, and keeping your 'office' clean and smelling fresh.  Love your work.


Little Miss Melbourne xoxo

Got a Melbourne taxi story? Tell it!

Dating Detox

It’s safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of dates this year.  In fact, if dating is a numbers game, I should've won the lottery by now.  

In everyone's defense, lack of continuity has simply been a mismatch of perceptions and intentions, as is the nature of dating.  I am, however, now also convinced that the universe has been playing a very cruel joke on me.

Last year I was very heavily invested in other people’s lives - mostly weddings, all beautiful, all which have my heartfelt blessings.  On Christmas night I decided that 2012 was going to be a year for me; putting myself first when there’s no harm to do so, taking better care of myself, and trying to be the very best version of me.

Too many dates?
On reflection, my new found theory is that by putting this out to the universe (like the hippy in disguise that I am) it determined what kind of romantic year I was set to have; that dating wasn’t due to be on the agenda when I’d made such a conscious commitment to myself.  Reasonably speaking, I’d like to think I’ve had a nice balance of both.  But we’re all guilty of absentmindedly overindulging in the things that aren’t always good for us at the time (like pork belly baguettes and dirty martinis at 2am on a school night).

So perhaps I’ve indulged a little more than I was supposed to this year on the dating front.  And what do we do when the excesses get too much?  We detox.  As much as I shudder at the thought, a dating detox could be just what the witch doctor ordered.  Going on my track record of doing any kind of detox, I don't like my chances of success.  But nothing ventured nothing gained so I'm giving it a shot for the remaining weeks of December.

If all else fails, then laugh it up Universe.  And bring me a dirty martini.


Little Miss Melbourne xoxo

Sleepless In The City

From a professional insomniac, here are my tips on how to cope the day after a night of zilch shut eye (including calling in a sickie)...

As anyone who's on Twitter with me will very well know, sleep is not one of my strong points. It’s nothing new so please, for the love of Louboutin, no suggestions of chamomile tea or Valerian. I've learned to cope with the insomnia curse fairly well over the years and ironically enough some of the random 4am ideas have been ridiculously successful.

Now, most people have trouble sleeping at one point or another.  But for those who are not quite the seasoned professional as some others around here, I thought I'd share a few damage control tips for when counting sheep has miserably failed to deliver a good night’s rest.

Take a sickie
If you've only got a couple of hours sleep - or none at all - embrace that sick leave you've been saving for a rainy day and let it pour. Without getting the sleep you're accustomed to having you're likely to be pretty useless at work.  Take the time you need to restore and replenish.  In fact, I was shocked to read recently that sleep deprivation “produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication” – drunk at work?  Save it for the Christmas party.

Try not to sleep
It's like getting over jet lag – you’ll want to snooze all day, but try not to give in until the time you would go to bed normally. Get outside relatively close to when you usually leave for work and get some morning light therapy to influence your body back into routine.  15 minute power-naps are always allowed.  Always.

Not coffee or alcohol; water and lots of it (but please don’t drown yourself).  Room temperature H2O for better absorption, maybe with some freshly sliced lemon to help neutralize your bod.  Not too close to when you’re planning to sleep again – that will just get annoying.

Nothing over the top, but a nice gentle stroll to freshen up, get some vitamin D and feel good about having the day off while everyone else is scrambling around in their lunch break.   If you’re keen, try some gentle yoga either at home or the gym – the Pocket Yoga app is pretty good for home yoga if you can spare the $2.99 download.


Fresh stuff. Apparently cherries contain melatonin but who has those lying around at home?  Note: Cherry Ripes do not count.  Go for bananas, oats, veggies and consider a vitamin B complex in the morning with some zinc and magnesium to help you with energy levels throughout the day.

Breathe & relax
Don't worry – be happy.

And finally, prepare for the new night ahead
No electronics an hour before bed, some relaxing music, caffeine free tea, a light dinner with a few complex carbs and lean protein (like a salmon and quinoa salad, mmm), and no sugar or caffeine after midday. You know all this – it’s just my chance to nag.

Happy sleeping peeps and if not, I might see you around in the twitterverse on#insomniaclub.


Little Miss Melbourne xoxo

Social Media PDA (not a handheld device)

Recently on holiday in Paris, the public displays of affection that surrounded a Little Miss from Melbourne were nothing less than beautiful – and so very French.  New to embracing the act of a public kiss and cuddle herself, LMM felt positively cured of previous fears of PDA. That was until recently.  Something happened, forcing her into remission, and it was all thanks to a Facebook status update.

Dinner was a second date with someone who’d become a Facebook friend since the first. We’d gone to a French restaurant in prelude to Paris which felt quite fitting for a location check-in on Facebook.  But it was then that I froze.  Did I check my date in with me?  It almost felt rude not to.  Although we’d only been out once; was I ready to reveal this dining partner to my digital world?  Then I thought about him.  He might not want his very whereabouts known by his online counterparts either.  So I asked my date if it would be ok for me to check him in – and of course, it was.

We went out again. This time he checked me in. What would my friends think of this late Sunday breakfast check-in with the same man?  When one of his friends and stranger to me endorsed our activity with his “like”, I wondered the same about his mates. Who was this guy and why did it matter to him?  More importantly, why did it matter to me?  It was then, after happily and publicly kissing Mr Brunch adieu for the day, that it hit me. I had developed a fear of Social Media PDA.

Since this realisation I’ve noticed it a lot; friends who adorn their partner’s wall with messages of love - even though they live together. People I don’t know making suggestive comments to those that I do - visible for everyone to see. Online arguments taking place between two people - witnessed by hundreds. There’s no denying it; social media PDA is out there imposing on our digital space.

Ok, so it might be less committal and less confronting to write a lovey dovey sentence to another, using a very non-human device, in a very public online domain.  Although in our physical world people are usually very private when it comes to their personal life involving another.  When it comes down it, if ever there were an aversion towards openly smooching someone in public, surely it must be nothing as compared to the tailored mass communication approach of social media.

With this perspective firmly locked in place I don't think I'll be embracing social media PDA any time soon.  On the other hand, I don't see any problem with openly making out in the gourmet aisle of the supermarket. So I’ve developed a new mantra around PDA in general: kiss like no one is watching, post like everyone is.  Now, if my online friends would just do the same...


Little Miss Melbourne xoxo