It was Thursday night, and Steve and Krisztian had set out for the Crowne, the local casino, to have their hand at poker and a boys’ night out.  Adrianna and I, despite our best attempts, could not convince them to meet up with us after quitting time at S&C, so we set out for dinner and drinks on our own, determined to spend at least as much as the boys were liable to be spending at the tables on some fantastic food and wine.  At Adrianna’s suggestion, we ended up at CODA.

 I’d heard much about Coda from Adrianna in the first few weeks – she just gushed about the locale:  small plates, good wine, good atmosphere, who could ask for more?  $70 later and I’d agree, good wine, small plates of impossibly filling, fantastic little morsels, and great, lively atmosphere.  We had a seat at the bar (it’s impossible to get a table in Melbourne without a reservation at anywhere half-decent, and especially on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday night…) and scoured the menu.  I settled on a plate of shiraz-infused salami, a miniscule but tasty sea scallop served on a seashell atop a bed of potato puree and crested with salmon caviar, a Ha Noi style pork and mushroom egg roll (which apparently means that you wrap the egg roll in iceberg lettuce and bamboo leaves and dip before eating) and quail and risotto lettuce wrap.  Needless to say, I was pushing the culinary bounds for your normal Thursday night-out and it was spectacular.  Two glasses of Yarra Valley shiraz to top it off, and I barely remembered my husband was off at the casino with our credit cards and nimble access to our checking account and all the money we had to secure an apartment and buy new belongings…

Food:  A+;  Atmosphere:  A- (not being on a bar stool next to the server stand might make the difference next time;  Drinks: B+

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