The Taste of Home

After reading a week or so ago on Adam Roberts's blog An Amateur Gourmet about the importance and rarity of the perfect first bite, I wondered what our first bite should be when we arrived in Australia.

Considering that, for Graeme, this trip is a homecoming, I thought I'd let him decide.

I cheered when he said meat pie.

I love meat pie.

A meat pie is a savory pie, with either a traditional crust or a flaky phyllo crust. The pie is filled with tender-cooked meat in a thick, rich gravy, seasoned with herbs and spices.

So, yesterday, when Graeme's parents picked us up from the airport, we asked if they would please take us to Vili's for meat pies. They were a little surprised, as it was 10:30 in the morning, but they obliged. When we got there, the place was already packed. We're not the only ones who love meat pie.

We stepped up to the busy counter where people were ordering everything from meat pies, to sausage rolls, to vanilla slices for dessert, and we drooled over our options:

At Vili's, the pie crusts are phyllo-style. Pie choices include the meat pie, which is a traditional beef pie; beef steak and mushroom; chicken pie; chicken satay pie; curry pie, which is a beef pie seasoned with curry; goulash pie; kangaroo bushman pie; lamb, mint and rosemary pie; and the new beef and beer pie, for which the beef is marinated in beer prior to cooking it.

Graeme went for the beef and beer, while I, though curious about the kangaroo bushman, went for beef steak and mushroom. Next time, I'll try the kangaroo for sure.

It really was the perfect first bite. The flaky crust was both crispy and airy. The meat was fresh and tender and rich in flavor. The gravy was thick and provided the perfect suspension for the meat.

We shared a pint of Farmer's Union Iced Coffee to wash it down.

Three years ago, when I first had one of these, I found it way too thick and way too strong. The coffee was so strong, it tasted like motor-oil. The milk was so thick, I thought it had to be half-and-half. I called it a heart-attack in a carton.

I don't know which of us changed in the last few years, but yesterday, I thought it was perfect: strong, mildly sweet, and creamy.

Thanks, Vili's for the great start.

For the next six weeks, as Graeme plays his way across Australia, I plan to eat my way.

When I get home in six weeks, I promise to post my recipe for meat pie for you, so you can make it and try it yourself. I make a traditional pie crust. For the filling, I slow-cook the meat for a few hours to make it tender. I like to cook it with blend of thyme, fresh if possible, garlic, a little onion, tomato paste and a little flour to thicken it up, and worcestershire sauce to give it a little kick.


PS: Today's photos were downloaded from the internet. My camera battery died when I sat down this morning to upload my own photos. I need to get an adapter this afternoon so I can charge it. Hopefully all photos will be originals soon.


  1. Yuuummm! That sounds delish :)

  2. Sounds like a great first meal.
    Can't wait to hear more, and... I really wanna try that coffee!! :0)

  3. 1) You're a great writer!
    2) I will be making Janaynay's Meat Pie in around 6 weeks' time.
    3) I need to buy an oven before then.

  4. Sounds so yummy! During my year abroad in England, I ate a fair share of cornish pasties, which sounds to be the English cousin of the meat pie. They're one of the things I miss most!

  5. Hi! Thanks for reading. I'm having fun with this. : )

  6. Sara, I had a Cornish Pasty yesterday. It was delish.

  7. Thank you, Trevor! That means a lot.

    I hope you're able to get an oven cuz the pie is yummy!

  8. Aunt Judi, I've been wondering if I could find a way to bring some back for you. I've been drinking a lot of it. I wonder if they'd let me bring it through. You would love it.