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Food Porn: And another thing (about Australia)

Beef and pepper pie at an Australian restaurant not jokingly called "Hydro Majestic."

Beef and pepper pie at an Australian restaurant in a town not jokingly called "Hydro Majestic."

Since my rantings and ravings about the food down under a couple of weeks hence, it's come to my attention that my initial manifesto about a New Orleanian in Oz may have been slightly shortsighted. I missed a couple of major notes, and I would feel remiss not to rectify the situation for you, especially that now, in retrospect, things seem even more abundantly clear about the situation.

First, I forgot to mention the pies.Yes, I know how we describe something as "American as apple pie," but these are of the savory variety, not the sweet (most of our fondness for Aussie sweets remained mostly contained to chocolate). Simple fact: Australians LOVE their pies. One of the more popular restaurant chains throughout the country specializes in the things. And while savory pies -- from Jamaican beef patties to empanadas and, of course, our lovely Nachitoches meat pie -- are enjoyed throughout the world, they're mostly not a big deal in the States. Not like, say, a hamburger, for instance.

Hence, I made sure to avail myself of the local savory pie situation at my earliest convenience, and I have to say, it was a doozy. It began at a restaurant in a town called -- in such Aussie fashion -- Hydro Majestic, up in the Blue Mountains.

This, mind you, wasn't a streetside empanada late at night outside of a bar, but a serious entree in its own right. The beef, resting in a gentle broth, lovingly stewed with black pepper and salt, the great flakiness of wonderful pie crust (I'm guessing it was lard-based, but didn't have an opportunity to ask), and a simple accompaniment of whipped potatoes and peas turned something that, in my foolish lizard brain, had been a rustic food log for greasy tourists into something almost transcendent.

So, yes, if you go to Australia, try the pies.

You'll thank me later, when we're both in New Orleans and fatter and happier for the experience.


Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, has written for Gourmet, The New Orleans Advocate, Gambit, ThrillistEdible Brooklyn, Tasting Table, The Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo essay designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Find him on Twitter @scottgold.