‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #11 “Shut the Gate!”

During last week’s Bachelorette finale when the soon-to-be rejected runner-up, the man who would go on to capture the country’s collective heart when he comforted Angie on having to let him down –

PHEW!

Timm, uttered the words “shut the gate” I turned to Hubbie immediately.

“What? That’s what you say!”

Apparently Hubbie is not the only one.

This wild and free Aussie bloke, Timm, was known for his quirky and Aussie slang during this 2019 season of The Bachelorette. But no phrase struck me so much than the words he spoke then, and maybe it was because I had heard them so many times before…

But would others understand the meaning? And how would non-Aussies react if they heard such a phrase… “shut the gate!”

Like, close this?:

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Photo by Lomig on Unsplash

🤣🤣🤣

No no no.

Let me explain.

And this comes solely from my own experience with a ‘shut the gate’-r. I don’t need no google here.

Shut the gate is a phrase to mean “end of story”

“case closed”

“done deal”

“definitely!”

Typically ‘shut the gate’ adds emphasis to what is being said, so you would have a point to make and add “shut the gate” as your closing statement. 😉

It can be used in examples like –

“That song is awesome! Shut the gate!”

“Harden shut the gate on that 3-pointer!”

“Shut the gate it’s gorgeous outside!”

See if you too can use ‘shut the gate’!

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

Going Retro in time

Retro Café
31 Salamanca Place Battery Point TAS

(Visited August ’18)

What a different experience our proper day #2 eating out for lunch was compared to our proper day #1.

Oh the drama!

It was all about the freaking parking meters.

THE FREAKING PARKING METERS.

This was because we had to book our afternoon trip over to the MONA museum via the ferry, but finding parking to do that, and then working out where to go was a feat in itself…

I will do a Hobart post about our adventures which will recount ALL the fun – both real and sarcastic. Really, we DID have a ball. You just need to know a thing or two about parking meters if travelling there (especially if you have a hire car and have to you know, occasionally ‘park’ or something crazy like that).

🤦‍♀️

But what we also had to do apart from book the ferry tickets, was of course, eat.

We needed no drama. No fuss. Baby girl was cranky and we were going to find out later it was due to her getting increasingly sick (note to self: do not plan a birthday party for your child to be infected with other kids diseases, only days before embarking on a family holiday. Repeat, DO NOT).

Well we eventually parked in a 2 hour slot at Salamanca Place, so we literally went to the closest café on the corner. The Retro Café.

We were sitting outside, and to be honest most of the time we were preoccupied with parking woes so we didn’t see anything retro about it. But it was a simple café, with a simple menu, some specials on the board out front, and on that cold and sunny day in Hobart, we cracked on to the task of ordering.

We had a ferry ride waiting, after all.

It was a clearly visible spot amidst some weekly foot traffic. It was interesting to observe the locals about, mainly work people and friends meeting for lunch, and I wondered how clearly it looked to them all that we weren’t from those Kansas quarters?

 

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(The Whaler, which we went to on our last night)

With an increasingly sicker baby girl, we plopped the ipad in front of her and hoped to salvage some shred of this holiday ($$$), breathing a sigh of relief as the food arrived.

Thank God.

Baby girl got (keeping in recent dairy theme), a toasted cheese sandwich.

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I got one of the specials: Grilled vegetable bruschetta topped w/ grilled haloumi and hummus

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While Hubbie got a vegetable salad roll

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I realised how unwell baby girl was by her inability to show interest in any sign of food there… but I slowly and surely through persistence and strong willingness to cure her of any ill health during our trip, got her to finish most of it.

My haloumi was really good. I mean bruschetta. You know what I am getting at here… it was a satisfying yet still light lunch option, a perfect in between of feeling healthy with vegie toppings, and then… well cheese and bread. Need I say more?

Hubbie felt just as healthy with his salad roll. It was a salad roll, and that was that, keeping him light on his feet as we had A LOT of walking ahead of us that day.

We didn’t dawdle there long, just due to, you know, afore-mentioned parking constraints (do people not hang around here long?), meter change issues, and a sick girl… 😦 I headed on in to pay, happy with the meal, hoping the day would lift just as the food had helped us do.

Food: 7.5/10. It was satisfactory café-style food, and did the job in making us less hangry in amongst frustrating parking meters.

Coffee: N/A.

Ambience: It was really quiet and calm, quite coastal-town like whilst on holiday… hold up, we were on the coast there, and it was mid-week and we were on holiday… it just seemed quieter than usual, considering the Salamanca Place locale, an area we would come to know quite well in the days that would follow.

People: People meeting for lunch, business-types on lunch… those who were actually from the area.

Staff: They were nice. Hard to flag down to grab our order though. We found this an increasing Melbourne vs Hobart trend. If you’re native to my Victorian parts, remember this one thing when going out in Tasmania… BREATHE. LET GO. RELAX. (That’s three things but you get my drift).

Price: $30.50… wait, what? Only $30.50? Here, the strike of the cheap Tassie was happening again. Wait a minute, we didn’t have any coffee or alcoholic beverages… still it seemed cheap compared to a similar meal we would have had in a similar region, in our old Morning-Town…

Advice: For the love of God, keep gold coins, ANY loose change on you. When you come to park you will totally get it.

Totally unrelated but also advice: if you are holidaying after throwing a kids birthday party (could happen) DO NOT actually throw the kids party. Throw it after your holiday when you don’t care about getting sick. In fact don’t see any kids, at all before your holiday for like, a month (other than your own child, but if you can avoid them, well…)

In a nutshell: A really cute and simple corner café that gives you some regular and fresh options beyond some of the usual café fare you might find. It’s close to shops and walking distance to other parts of the city… just don’t forget that change.

I just realised with the whole parking meter thing, how truly retro the place really is…

Retro Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Life Rules by SmikG #2 About always moving and celebrating your small wins

Keep this list handy…

#2 Celebrate the small things. Forget that which does not serve you. Keep moving and looking forward, no matter how small your steps may be.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Explanation: I’ve had a new approach of late, and didn’t realise how much I had implemented it, until I saw it happening in each part of my life.

I have been trying to eat healthier and more naturally, using healthier sweet alternatives when I feel I need them, instead of any processed forms of sugar.

I am generally a healthy eater. And I am highly realistic about what I can and can’t do. Each time I make the right choice for a meal I give myself a quiet pat on the back.

And each time I indulge in something considered ‘naughty’… I still enjoy the snack fully. I let myself appreciate each bite. Then I forget all about it, while reminding myself that I am being normal.

Be kind to yourself when you are trying, when you are learning. If you can’t forgive yourself and move on for not making the ‘appropriate’ healthy choice, then how do you expect others to forgive you for anything?

I am very realistic about these things. I don’t believe in limitation and diets. If you focus on those words, well no one is inspired to do better for their bodies. But focusing on health, vitality, energy and enjoyment, with treats when your body truly wants it, not just because you reach for it by habit… that is important.

Likewise with movement, and exercise. I am not doing near enough what I wish I could do. But I have a health app on my phone. It tracks my steps, my sleep, and my daily movement.

Some days I hit my target. Other days I smash it. Some I am not even close.

And still I move on, telling myself that each step, regardless of when and where it falls, brings me closer to health.

And then… there’s books. My love. ♥ The online book club I am part of reminds me on a daily basis how much I am not reading. Readers post books they are reading over the weekend, discuss their favourite authors, and what didn’t work in that last outback romance they just read in a 6 hour free block…

And I sit there bemoaning the fact that I have so much to write.

Hubbie reminds me of this. “You are writing a book! They aren’t!”

Sure. He is right. But still I try. A page here and there, a chapter a night, sometimes…

Then there are all those book reviews I have to do. And like I said, ALL that writing. Sure, I don’t have to write those reviews… but I promised myself when I started all this that I would, and if I break my promise to myself, what chance do others have to depend on me?

Harsh yes. Hard definitely. But one day I will be more caught up, when word by word, bit by bit I reach a stage I consider socially acceptable for a writer to be ‘behind’… LOL.

And despite all this… I keep moving forward. I don’t stand still. I may only do the tiniest thing every day, but I am still doing something. I am still, moving forward.

It’s the only way to go.

Note rule number 2!

Strong Arms in old Richmond town

The Richmond Arms
42 Bridge Street Richmond TAS

(Visited August ’18)

This was the first place we dined out for a meal, properly (bar takeaway), when we holidayed in Tasmania in late August of 2018.

Firstly, they had said it would be cold. So cold. I was preparing, you know, for the worst.

We brought our jackets. For sure. We were from Melbourne after all. If anyone knew, it was US.

But instead, sunshine shone so much that day, we left our jackets in our car.

In Tasmania! True story.

Secondly. We had heard a bit about this old-fashioned Richmond town. It was nothing like the inner-city suburb that Melbourne knows so well, home of the yellow and black footy supporters. No.

This was something else entirely. Sure it held a lot history much like it’s sister city back in Melbs…

But unlike Melbourne’s Richmond, Tassie’s Richmond still looked like it was in the 1800s.

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After a wander up and down, into Sweets and Treats, Richmond’s lolly shop, for coffee and what else, lollies, we really needed a bite to eat. It was our second day in Tasmania having arrived the day before, and really, our first proper spot of sight-seeing.

What a place to start on.

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We had travelled approximately 30 minutes from Lutana where our accommodation resided. The scenery was striking and beautiful. What immediately struck me was the constant views. They were all the same, yet so different and continuously beautiful. That’s because largely, there were hills, and water.

Hills and water.

Hills and water.

HILLS AND WATER.

It was very picturesque. We started to understand quite quickly why people said Tassie was such a beautiful place. We went up Grasstree Hill Road and then back down it, winding around and around to finally reach our destination at Georgian-style Richmond town.

And of course when lunch time came, we really had to go old-school too.

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At The Richmond Arms.

The interior certainly matches the exterior. Where the outside shows the age of the building and the time it came from, we found not much was changed inside. Though perhaps slightly updated, the rooms are definitely of another time and place, so don’t go expecting anything life-changing here. The room we sat in was away from the area that housed the bar where Hubbie went up to order and pay at, and in one way it felt like we were sectioned off into a room that may have very long ago been a lounge room.

The Richmond Arms Hotel also has accommodation, something to consider if you want to spend more than a day in Richmond. There is plenty to do and see, and considering the history and beauty of the town, why wouldn’t you?

Despite the age of the tables and chairs, I really was quite taken aback by one feature wall within… it had a quote so beautiful, so treasured and meaningful, and also so close to my heart, as it was a sentiment confirmed to me as the years have gone by, a written manifestation of what I had known all along, but never really verbalised… that I had to photograph it:

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‘An opal-hearted country,

A wilful, lavish land,

All you who have not loved her,

You will not understand

though Earth holds many splendours,

Wherever I may die,

I know to what brown country,

My homing thoughts will fly.’

– Dorothea Mackellar “My Country.”

WOW.

After ordering Hubbie brought over our drinks, a beer for him, and of course a local for me – the Richmond Arms Sauvignon Blanc

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Considering it wasn’t awfully busy it still took some time to receive our meals… I used this time to run around the old-fashioned shops within the street, to find out of all things, a mobile phone car charger! It appeared that my phone was just not coping with all the photos I was snapping, and I couldn’t bare to waste all my battery and go home having not photographed all of Richmond-town. Oh, the horror! My prayers were answered at the large convenience corner store kinda opposite the Richmond Arms.

Exhale.

When the food did arrive, we were very hungry, and it looked delish. Well worth the wait.

I had the Asian vegetable and Hokkien noodle stir fry

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Hubbie had the Chicken schnitzel – served with chips/salad or vegetables and your choice of sauce (no salad, with sauce)

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And baby girl had the Macaroni cheese

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Firstly, Hubbie was so jealous when he saw my meal! I guess the thing with being married to someone is you have to give each other bites of your meal… for better, or for worse. I for one know Hubbie is hanging to have a bite of whatever I order when he starts offering me bits of his… in an attempt to subtly hint “hey, I want some.”

Ha ha.

The sauce was very flavoursome and the noodles and vegetables all combined well to make a delicious dish. There were bits of all kinds of veggies, and the presentation really was up there, not what I expected from the kitchen of that hotel… I was surprised. Pleasantly so.

Hubbie enjoyed what he had ordered. He was happy in that it was a hearty pub-style meal, and to be honest, simply what he had expected… it was chicken with vegetables after all. He was full, let’s just say.

Baby girl’s macaroni was overwhelmingly cheesy – hence the mac and cheese – so she struggled with it. She was not hating it, but wasn’t so much a fan as that was during her ‘plain’ phase. And this cheese-dripping-over-every-inch-of-macaroni meal was as far from plain as you could get. We fed her that, and chips and vegies from Hubbie’s plate to satisfy her lunchtime requests.

No fault of the meal’s… it was all her tastebuds that decided for her. It was an especially cheesy meal, not for the faint-cheese-hearted.

When it was time to go, we left happy and satisfied. We had been venturing through Bridge Street, and next… to Zoodoo Zoo it was!

It ended up being a most wonderful day 🙂

Food: 8/10. It was hearty, tasty, presentation was great… it ticked many of our boxes for good old-fashioned fare.

Coffee: N/A. We can’t put all our food and coffee eggs in one basket can we? We like to try out as many places as we can when we’re someplace new, meaning food and coffee don’t tend to happen at the same place. That happened over at Sweets and Treats earlier! I hope to one day be back at the Arms, and then I will know.

Ambience: Quiet. Lunchtime in Richmond tends to be a calm affair, even with the fact that it is a destination… it may pick up on weekends?

Staff: Almost non-existent, other than to bring our food over. If you need them, you know where to find them… up at the bar.

People: Pensioners pensioners pensioners. You know there were a lot of older people wandering around the street, clearly tourist-minded, however considering what there is to see, do and appreciate, I am surprised there were not a lot of younger families? Perhaps we came during off-peak season, which come to think of it, is not a bad thing.

Price: $69.00. Is that it? For food and drinks? Crap I am moving to Tasmania now…

Advice: Go when you’re not yet overly hungry, so you don’t mind waiting that extra bit for that steaming plate of love that comes out of the kitchen some time later.

In a nutshell: A really authentic and memorable lunch experience. The food is not average or out of date in any respects, despite what the interior and exterior may look like. The surrounds are interesting and reflect the nature of the street and town as a whole, which make the whole experience that much more pure and relevant. In my mind, legs and ARMS, it’s the only place to go.

The Richmond Arms Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

‘What Does It Mean?’ Monday #3 “Easy peasy pumpkin easy”

I have only ever known it as ‘pumpkin easy.’ But my daughter insists, every time I say it this way, that it is in fact – “lemon squeezy!”

I honestly thought it was her stubborn nature as she often proves herself to be 6, going on 17 and all… until I did this google search…

“EASY PEASY…”

And the “lemon squeezy” result came up far more times than my “pumpkin easy” preference did!

It must be a generational thing. Hubbie too finished my testing ‘easy peasy’ opener with –

PUMPKIN EASY.

Ok, so besides who says it what way, what does it actually mean?

Simple. Like literally. It means super easy or extremely simple.

“See, we fold this here and there you go! Easy peasy pumpkin easy.”

“We turn right into this street and it’s there – easy peasy lemon squeezy!”

The original term is easy peasy. Common add ons can be:

Pumpkin easy, or

Lemon squeezy, or even

Japanese-y!

WHAT?!

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Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash

The latter part of the sentence contains playful words added on perhaps for the fact that it is often used in the company of children (hence my almost everyday use of it). It is an example of a rhyming duplication… think other examples like teenie-weenie, and super-duper.

The term ‘easy peasy’ was originally used in the 1940 American film called The Long Voyage Home. We can only guess at the lemon squeezy addition, with some believing it goes back to a British commerical for soap in the 50s-60s, where the slogan used was “easy peasy lemon squeezy” to promote its lemon-scented dish soap called “Sqezy” (pronounced squeezy).

America’s version was ‘easy as pie,’ used as far back as from 1976, but we can still see that the British term was in use much further back than when the US one arrived on the scene.

I for one, have no idea where the pumpkin came in… only to assume that it may have digressed from the ‘easy as pie’ expression, and someone thought that pumpkins (and their pies!) were easy… hence ‘easy peasy pumpkin easy’?

As for the ‘Japanese-y’ addition… a few sources cite that it comes from a silly childhood rhyme:

“Easy peasy Japanese-y

Wash your hair in lemon squeezy!”

Why I never. I can imagine there was more rhyming and schoolyard nonsense attributed to this version rather than a downright racial slur… but fair to say I will still be using the orange vegetable version thank you very much!

Do you sayeasy peasy”? Which version do you use?

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

Number 9

Vela 9
9 A’Beckett Street Inverloch

(Visited July ’18)

It was during our little mid-Winter getaway to the Bass Coast region in Victoria, in particular the Inverloch RACV Resort to take advantage of some cheap July stay options, that we ventured onto the main street in town and found this little café, an unassuming place that was hidden off the street (even being the main street!) but literally showed its depth and width once inside.

It was so windy that Tuesday, but surprisingly sunny. We had been up and down A’Beckett Street, venturing into cute little gift, homeware and clothes shops, and if we didn’t eat soon and get some much-needed respite from that wind, we might have just blown away.

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The exterior was dark not allowing much to be seen from the outside, and we came across a sign on the door, saying they were going to be closed for renovations… from the next day. Talk about timing. We were there literally on their last day of trading for a while. We opened the doors and headed on inside, and despite the very dark exterior saw it was your typical nice local café. There were spots of people situated about, eating some lunch while reading the newspaper, and your local man having his coffee by the counter, chatting to the lady behind it.

We would surely stick out like tourists in this place.

We sat down in the middle of the room on a large communal table, and I set about getting baby girl amused while we perused the menu.

They had drinks behind the bar! Score for Hubbie as he quickly got a Fat Yak, and straight scotch.

Well not just him, I was on a mini break too… a wine for me as well please.

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The insides were quirky and provided points of interests, with funny signs up on the wall that baby girl and I observed, which I then made doubly sure to keep her well-behaved (didn’t want her having no coffee!)

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After having a bit of a discussion with the main lady (it was only her and the chef out the back) she told us they were running a bit low on some menu options, what with their end-of-shop transformation starting the next day. We still found something to eat, and they were very flexible as we chopped and changed options and sides.

I ended up getting a kind of bacon and vegie chowder, with toasted bread on the side

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Hubbie got a steak pie with chips, salad and of course you cannot forget the good ol’ dead horse (that’s ‘sauce’ to my International readers, apologies, Aussie slang)

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And baby girl got a simple cheese toasted sandwich

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Now, I have been eating more bacon over the past few years. I am very fussy about what type of bacon it is, as I like mine just with the clean meat, no fat, and therefore Hubbie often ends up with most of it on his plate when I get too many streaky bits.

Only short cuts here peeps.

I don’t know why I went for this chowder. It was a risk, but the holiday spirit must have gotten to me.

I looked at the soup and went wow… lots of little fatty bits.

Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots.

I started to question whether or not I should have gone for something with so much predominant bacon that there was really nowhere to hide.

It’s not that I am scared of the fat… I don’t like the bacon fat texture.

Despite all the fat in the bacon and the fact that I would usually balk at this, I pushed forward and very tentatively, took a spoonful.

And then another. And then another.

It was actually really good.

Because it was chopped into so many tiny pieces, the texture was softer and in amongst the soup, it blended into one. It was a big bowl, but alongside the beautifully warm bread, I actually ate most of it.

It was tasty, and the texture of the bacon I enjoyed! Why I never.

I had surprised myself.

Hubbie’s verdict was that it was a gourmet pie. It was a nice lunch for him, nothing to write home about, but nevertheless his only concern is that a café stocks alcohol, especially when he is on holiday, so do not be concerned over my too-fussy butcher-Hubbie. He was fine.

Baby girl was kept amused watching girls play with dolls on my phone while eating bit after bit of cheese sandwich. She was happy, and it became our side accompaniment when she could have no more, but by this stage our meals were also gone and we were already bursting at the seams. We paid for our meals up at the counter, had a brief chat to counter lady as only locals know how and headed back into the sunny, Wintery wind.

Food: 7/10. It was good hearty café fare that reflected the time of year well.

Coffee: N/A.

Ambience: Quiet and low-key, but it was Winter, mid-week, and remember, we ain’t in the built-up parts anymore Toto…

Staff: Well, the two people there were both attentive and nice, as the waiter came out and had to readjust an order, and there was smiling… 😉

People: Locals dining on their own mostly, older generation.

Price: A very respectable $67.20 considering there were 3 alcoholic drinks involved. If you like your alcohol you might want to consider moving out of the city as it’s so much more affordable!

Advice: A great place to while away the day and escape the elements.

In a nutshell: It was hard to write a review as they were on the cusp of a renovation that would see them close shop for weeks, the day after we visited!

And giving out advice considering the above felt a bit unfair, but also surely, anything I could write or ponder over would surely be made better by them, by the time my words landed on the world wide web, right?

Safe to say, there has been nothing unfavourable to speak of. I’ve spoken of my experience which is still tied to the café, and the people there, which I believe and hope for their sakes are still running the joint. All was great and it is definitely a place I would like to go back to, to see how their renovation came along, and see what other fare they have on offer.

Definitely my go to when we head into A’Beckett street again.

Coast on down, to number 9…

Vela 9 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pick your Transport

Transport Hotel
Federation Square, Cnr. Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne

(Visited July ’18)

It had been a massive July day. Unusual for the month, being the middle of Winter and all. But I had been up early watching Croatia progress further in the World Cup. I hadn’t been able to sleep after all the excitement, but I wasn’t allowed to either.

It was a show-filled day.

Our first stop was seeing Lah Lah in Chelsea for baby girl to enjoy, and the last stop would also be for her… Disney on Ice in the city. In between?

Well, we were going to have some fun now, weren’t we???

Since we were headed into the city anyway, we had wanted to check out the MoMA New York exhibition at NGV that had made its way over to our shores. Also, we needed a spot to eat. Hubbie loved the bustling vibe of The Transport Hotel, and even though it was literally packed to the rafters, with footy fans and families moving throughout, we still lined up to try for a table.

Lucky we stuck with it. Or else Hubbie was just determined to get a table. The waitress told us she’d have a look, while another couple looked around the busy room on the ground floor and headed off. She saw us still waiting after she cleared some tables… sure enough someone was leaving. She ushered us over.

Window spot. YES.

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Baby girl and I were sitting with our backs facing against the window, it was kind of like a long window seat, whereas Hubbie was up on a high stool opposite us. He soon got a scotch, and he was IN HIS ELEMENT.

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I also opted for something light and refreshing, and got an Apple Mojito – apple juice, lime, fresh mint, soda… while he chased his first one down with a beer.

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It was a great vibe. There were surprisingly a lot of families around in that footy/pub vibing place, however a massive portion of the footy watchers were in the other room, standing with their beers and watching the action on the big screens. I watched the people outside exploring Melbourne city, the iconic Melbourne trams rolling on by, and it just seemed like a general wonderful stopping point to relax and take it all in, while remaining right in the centre of it all. It was relaxing, yet lively fun. Sunday out with friends. Family. No work in sight. And though it was looming the next day… you wouldn’t know it by looking at these people.

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Knowing it was cold out too…. Ahh. Better.

With all of the cold however, I would have to get myself a warming meal, right? I mean, it was clearly the current trend (and I hadn’t learnt my lesson apparently), so I ordered:

A vegetable curry with pumpkin and lentils, coriander and flat bread

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Hubbie got the Grilled Porterhouse, garden salad, chips with pepper sauce

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While baby girl got the mini parma, chips, salad off the kids menu

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It was hilarious, because as you can see by the above two photos this was right in the middle of baby girl’s fuss-pot phase. We took the ham and cheese off her parma and it became a snacking point on Hubbie’s plate… vacuum waste-not people that we are.

Baby girl’s meal was great value. A decent piece of chicken and chips and salad! Kudos for green on a child’s plate, kudos. Though she didn’t eat it (we did, as before-mentioned, vacuums) just seeing it there to get her used to it for future meals… she enjoyed her chips and chicken as we feasted on our meals too.

My curry was good. It wasn’t anything I would go and order again. But for that day it did the job. It was warming, it was hearty. The flat bread was delicious and I recall baby girl hacking into that too (carb-girl). It was a lovely meal and also something Hubbie took particular pleasure dipping into every now and then.

As for the rest of Hubbie’s food… he was happy. It wasn’t anything overwhelmingly amazing, but for that city style of commercial menu, and with that many people there that day (and the kitchen most likely, overwhelmed) he was happy. He ate it. It was passable. It didn’t detract from the atmosphere of the day, and in that he was stoked with.

Oh, what a lunch. We felt grateful to have found a spot in such a busy, happening place, and now we were also FULL. We got up to head off on our way, ready for the next lot of events to take us through the city.

Food: 7/10. It was good fare, nothing to blow our minds but the menu options were interesting and wide-ranging.

Coffee: N/A… we were stuffed with food and had to balance our intake. Our coffee hit came later at NGV.

Ambience: Really happening and bustling but also in a warm way. Because we were seated in an area looking out towards St Kilda road, away from the footy TVs in the communal sports room, it felt quite cosy. It was a great place to be, bustled up with everyone else.

Staff: They were actually, really good considering how busy they were. Big credit to them, because often smiles are the first out the door when the volume of people increases. They actually, gave a shit. So, maybe the drinks took a while to arrive… but I mean, they were packed.

People: A bit of everyone! Family groups, older friends, parents with littlies, and of course, the discerning fan with pint of beer in hand and footy scarf wrapped around their neck… all were present that Sunday 😉

Price: $88.50 Actually decent. How did this happen when Hubbie had two alcoholic drinks? Oh that’s right, I didn’t.

Advice: Be prepared to wait for a table if you are arriving at a peak time, for example Sunday lunch.

In a nutshell: It is a great meeting point to catch up with friends in the city. A wonderful melting pot of people, doing whatever they like to do on a Sunday afternoon, whether that is watch footy or have a bite to eat or have a drink… you will find them all here. I would be more than happy to go back and see it all, and be amongst it all.

There’s no excuse in not getting there either. From the train nearby, close trams and buses, or even your own personal uber… Transport is available from all locations. 😉

Transport Public Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Shards at Sunny Ridge

The ideas for school holidays can sometimes feel lacking, or too-familiar, or too boring…

“let’s go to the park”

“let’s go to the library”

“let’s go to the movies,”

And although these are all great ideas, things I would do again and again, we all need something different sometimes, don’t we?

And even though it ain’t strawberry picking time, it doesn’t mean you can’t go to a strawberry farm, right?

I mean, part of it was for my own indulgence too. Other than strawberries (yum) and other café indulgences (drool) it was to satisfy my own little curiosity, something that has been brewing for years and years, ever since my very first visit to Sunny Ridge with Hubbie, while I was pregnant with baby girl.

Back then it had been high strawberry picking season. I had picked myself a punnet (or two), gotten some other take-home goodies, and also indulged in a most fabulous strawberry sundae on that superbly warm day.

Before…

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And, after.

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Both myself and growing baby girl had been in agreeance: delicious!

So this time we headed on down again, at the end of week one of Sunny Ridge’s school holiday program, which unbeknownst to her, was her second visit 😉

Week one saw an activity where kids could let their inner Jamie Oliver/Heston Blumenthal/Nigella Lawson soar with a creation of what was basically, a giant chocolate freckle!

(Maybe even Gordan Ramsay, if the chocolate was not melted to the right temperature?) 🤣

The workshop started at 10:30am, with the general café and store opening to the public at 11am as per their Winter timetable (see website for opening times below).

A small group started off, soon growing into a large group of kids ranging from about 2 to 9 years of age, with parents to boot, each expressing their foodie selves onto their own personal piece of melted chocolate on a plate…

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Throw in some things like honeycomb, coconut, cocoa pops, and of course freeze-dried strawberries along with their own cup of mini marshmallows, m&ms and other little chocolatey goodies…

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The decorating part took as long as the fussy or not so fussy kids allowed. Let’s say, about 15 minutes. Into the giant freezer it then went, and while they waited for their chocolate to set, the colouring paper came out.

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A nifty idea and cute little activity to keep them busy as they waited for their take-home treat.

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I have to say at this stage, the staff were pretty awesome. There were two main women helping out, one was the host of the crafty bit, going around and getting personal with the kids and their creations, while also providing some sweet feedback, and then there was another one who was busy running around putting plates in the freezer, and hurriedly attending to kids with a sharpener for the flat colouring pencils. Top marks for care factor.

I was meanwhile, busy eyeing off the corner coffee machine and the specials up on the wall. DRRROOOOLLLLL.

When baby girl seemed to be getting overly decorative with her drawing, (it must have been at least 20 minutes) I gently prompted her by telling her that we would get some drinks and treats when she finished…

And suddenly she was finished! Fortunately so too was her chocolate freckle, as the host went into the freezer and brought it out all set and ready to eat!

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What a fantastic and fun idea. Melted chocolate on a plate? Who knew? (Actually we all know, chocolate is delicious).

The deets!

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is located at 244 Shands Road, Main Ridge

During the Winter school holidays and in general during their ‘off’ season, which is May – October, they are open Friday to Monday, 11am – 4pm (plus public holidays and VIC school hols)

In the ‘on’ season (sunshine time!) from November – April, they are open 7 days a week, 9am – 5pm (excludes some public holidays).

‘Pick your own strawberries’ is available during the ‘on’ season. You pay for entry (kids 4 and under are free) and pay for the strawberries you pick.

***In the second week of the school holidays from July 8th to 12th, kids will be making their own hanging strawberry origami and berry page munchers! Starting 10:30am, this fun activity is only $12!***

Check out their website here or call 5989 4500 to book.

And let’s not forget the cafe…

They have a selection of strawberry-themed and other warming desserts on offer, and their food store displays a range of strawberry jams, biscuits, candles, chocolates, candies, and other local fares from the region…

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Even if you don’t like strawberries, there is something for you:

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We got a deliciously scented strawberry body cream, and a fresh but sweet soap.

You know how I said baby girl was perfectly happy with me eating strawberries when she was in my tummy? Well she ain’t so much a fan nowadays… never mind, because…

You know how I said we were getting treats after her activity?

SCONES!

HOT CHOCOLATE!

COFFEE!

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It was amazingly warming enjoyed in the crisp and sunny Winter’s air. There is nothing quite like sitting amidst nature and taking some time out to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Let me finish on this image…

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Sweet. 🍓

P. S. The chocolate freckle was, AMAZING!!!! 😋

Italy in the Bronx

Bronx Napoli 1999
1a Queen street Mornington

(Visited May ’18)

What was happening in 1999?

Well personally… I was in year 10, and listening to and doing “Livin la vida Loca” to Ricky Martin.

I watched 10 Things I Hate About You, and it became EVERYTHING. Heath Ledger God rest his soul, and that song routine on the school bleachers? Heaven.

Only one of my most FAVOURITEST SHOWS OF ALL TIME debuted… Angel. Ahhh. 🙂

I dabbled with more blonde in my hair.

Worldwide, everyone was freaking out about the whole year 2000 and subsequent Y2K bug, and if that wasn’t going to end us, apparently at the end of the year, or sometime during the year 2000… the whole world as we knew it would go kaput. You know, the usual Nostradamus prediction stuff and all.

But in other parts… well the eatery off Main street Mornington, either its brainchild flourished in that era… or they just like the graffiti from the Banksy of Naples… OR they’re really into football.

The place I’m talking about is of course Bronx Napoli 1999.

To work out which of the above explanations it could be, click through to their website here.

But very randomly, one Tuesday night in May, we found ourselves without power… but it wasn’t the Y2K bug at work. The failure of power wasn’t that surprising, since we had been given advance notice that electrical works to the area may result in no electricity, from 8 in the morning to oh… 3pm?

But at 4:30 when I got home from the library with baby girl and there was still nothing… I knew the candles would have to come out.

A short walk over to the road work men, and Hubbie found out sometime around 6pm, that they had experienced difficulties, and the work had been delayed… they hoped it would all be working in an hour or two.

???

No electricity? Why it was dinner time! With no working power in the house, even if we got takeaway, candles were not sufficient enough to light up the table, rooms, the house?

So naturally, we had to go out… and eat.

I don’t know why we went here, but we did. We were just so happy to go into a warm and well-lit place that honestly, any place would have been sufficient.

It is a wide, high-ceilinged restaurant. An open kitchen allowed us to see through into where the chefs were preparing our meals, and in front of the open counter was a selection of their own home-made pastas to take home… ooooh!

Soon enough we ordered drinks… A Mornington Pale Ale for Hubbie, and a Stumpy Gully Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula for moi:

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What I loved was the accompaniment of warm bread with olive oil and balsamic reduction…. Drool. This I loved. It was on the house (well, you know, as much as ‘on the house’ means work is paying for your meal, not you 😉 )

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Baby girl was a fan of this one too.

We sat in the dim light of the restaurant just taking in our surroundings. It was warm. There was light. Ahhh. Electricity. There were plenty of families about, and we tuned into the conversation about European travel from the 45+ double date couples beside us.

One day.

Soon though, our food arrived.

I had ordered the Spaghetti di Mare – fresh spaghetti tossed with Napoli, chilli, vongole, mussels, prawns, calamari, fresh fish, white wine and garlic

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Hubbie had gotten the Cottoletta Milanese – Free-range Pork schnitzel breaded with parmesan and served with rocket and shaved parmesan with balsamic dressing

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Baby girl had the Bambini only pasta for kids, which was ‘pasta of the day with Napoli sauce topped with parmesan (and olive oil on the side).’

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And as an addition we also got a side of Patate fritte – thick cut potatoes, served with garlic aioli.

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So firstly, my spaghetti. I enjoyed my meal as it had a mild seafood flavour, strong enough to be yum, not so much to be overpowering like other restaurants (ahem, Manhattan?) The seafood was cooked well too, and that is always a plus seeing as biting into some longed-for prawns goes a bit awry when rubbery. But this was great.

Baby girl in fact did not have the Napoli sauce as mentioned in the bambini menu, she had cheese and oil on the side of her plain pasta. The waitress went to great lengths to ensure she got her order right, and even when it was delivered she was particularly interested to see if she was happy about it.

Someone interested in my 4 year-old being happy? May sound absurdly odd to think this as being so foreign, but alas no one gives a shit about kids. So I was happy, that she wanted to make baby girl happy.

And, baby girl was happy 🙂

But now, to the fussy butcher.

His exact thoughts, (and I recoil writing these words), were that the pork was turning. If you are not eloquent in Butcher speak, or aren’t married to one fine specimen, or don’t watch a lot of cooking shows, basically what he meant was that it was old. Old old old. He could taste it in every bite, and though he still ate it, because he was hungry, he was not impressed.

Don’t ask me how he knows…. He just knows.

On the positive, his rocket, parmesan and balsamic dressing was amazing. Anytime anyone gives me that combo, I am SOLD! Alas it was not enough to save his meal, but I was happy, picking at bits here and there.

And the patate fritte? Well, chips. Chips are chips. But these were super hot and actually quite yum. And the garlic aioli made it especially moorish.

We soon finished our meals, our bellies fuller, our bodies warmer, and hoping to go home and find our house, a little bit lighter…

Food: 7/10. I find it hard to score and average out when components of the meal are great, others not so. Because majority meals won, 7 it is. Baby girl was tended to with care, and the chips and my spaghetti were delicious.

Coffee: N/A on this visit.

Ambience: Dimly lit, yet with that chatterbox restaurant air. Cosy despite those high ceilings.

People: A lot of families of all ages. Young, old, double daters, and a group of pensioners arrived as we were leaving, enthralled with our girl in Queen Elsa costume.

Staff: Our waitress was very serious, but worked hard to please us. Extra points for her care towards baby girl.

Price: $96.50. That was 2 adult meals, one child’s meal, one side, and two alcoholic drinks… Hmmm it sounds about right, but had Hubbie’s been up to scratch, I would have been happier with that amount.

Advice: I think going the pizza or pasta route at this place is the way to go. It is abundant in their menu, and the way our pastas were brought out, the care is evident there. There is also a share menu for groups of 4 or more, and so having them select the best plates for you and your group to share, would also be worth doing if in company.

In a nutshell: I liked the place… Hubbie was not so impressed. But then again, this is me and my adventure with a fussy butcher Hubbie, and so that has become quite the norm. He swore off restaurants after this visit, but it was no fault of Bronx’s alone… it was the build-up of unsatisfactory meat meals at both Manhattan and Kirks, prior to that visit, from restaurants we both loved.

So the disappointment was wide-spread and handled out equally. ;/

But you can be assured we went out to eat again within a fortnight. So he is not an elephant. He can forget. Kind of.

I for one would like to go back with a group and try the share menu. And how could I not want to, when the wishes and whims of my little Queen were catered to so wonderfully?

Even, when in the Bronx.

Bronx Napoli 1999 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Few Buoys

Two Buoys Tapas and Wine Bar
209 Point Nepean Road Dromana

(Visited April ’18)

We headed on down the coastline on Easter Monday, to do, what else…? Well wine and dine the day away of course. After stopping in Dromana, we walked up and down the main road, umm-ing and ahh-ing at every possible restaurant and café, until we just said “stuff it!” and decided on here.

Two buoys it read… only out the front, there was a buoy, and a girl.

The restaurant holds prime real estate, part of the reason why we chose the place. Across the road there are views of the ocean, and to the left was a park where many holiday-goers were venturing to, and which baby girl had her sights on already.

Although we were seated near the front, it almost didn’t happen. As in, the sitting there part. Hubbie experienced a bit of haughtiness coming from the buoy who first spoke to him, which almost had us floating away from them like a sailboat out at sea. But holiday vibe prevailed of course, and Hubbie chose to ignore it.

It is a VERY tapas-style menu. Dining out for lunch with a fussy baby girl, a just as fussy Hubbie, and me, someone who just wants to please them all while also satisfying my tummy, well it can be a challenge at times. We pondered our selections over a preliminary beer and Totara sauvignon blanc…

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Before finally deciding on what we would have.

Some sea-gazing…

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And then our meals arrived.

Baby girl got the House crumbed chicken strips, chips, tomato sauce

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Hubbie got the Beer battered fish, chips, sumac, herb mayonnaise

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I got the Potato gnocchi, ricotta, morcilla, peas, burnt butter, herbs

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And we had a side of Wild rocket, parmesan cracked pepper to share

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I was happy with the presentation of baby girl’s meal. I set off cutting up her chips and chicken so they could cool quicker, and was a little surprised to find many unclean pieces. Sinew? Grain? Tough meat? Whatever you call it, if I don’t eat it, I don’t expect my child to. I was suddenly thoroughly unimpressed by this, because when a child is given budget cuts for their meal, I find the disrespect to the little ones meals highly degrading.

She ate the chips, and some chicken bits, but most were left untouched.

Hubbie enjoyed his meal… but for the price tag of $24 he didn’t feel it to be anywhere worth it. This restaurant was definitely tapas-style in their sizing, and yet for some mayo with a dash of herbs in it, he didn’t feel it was anything especially fancy deserving of that price.

I didn’t mind it too much I must say. That had been my first option, but when he had said he was getting it, I couldn’t get the same thing for the sake of my blog, NOOO.

But I wish I had. I did enjoy my gnocchi. It was definitely an interesting combination of flavours, and I even tried the morcilla (blood sausage) on my plate. It was all yum and inviting, but again, so small. No fault of the waitress we ordered with, she did advise it was small upon my asking. But definitely, if lunching out maybe make sure there is a side to peck on. Which I had which I LOVED. Rocket is my friend, and when combined with parmesan OMG. I loved this salad, just loved, and it won the table for me, HANDS DOWN.

We sipped some more of our drinks… looked out over some more views…

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And then Hubbie went over to pay since an increasingly squirmy baby girl was keen on getting on the swings across the road.

When Hubbie got back… he was NOT happy.

Because it was the Easter Monday public holiday, we had been charged a surcharge… so instead of simply paying for our bill of food and drink that we had consumed, I mean, as is normal, we were slogged an additional 15% because management decided they would be open, but the café-goers would be paying for the holiday rates awarded to their staff.

Fair? I think not. My first encounter of ‘the surcharge’ appeared in my review of Lilo Café back on Australia Day weekend… and despite my love of the café, I was not impressed.

In this case? Well they didn’t inform us beforehand of the surcharge. Certainly there was no sign of it outside where we sat, inside I don’t know. And when you pay an extra $12.75 to cover wages, when let’s face it management are actually receiving more business because of the public holiday, well that just sucks.

We walked off… cranky-pants.

Food: 6.5/10. The presentation was mickey mouse. Some of the food though wasn’t up to scratch, and when you are getting tapas size meals and paying good coin, you expect it to be worth it.

Coffee: N/A… perhaps better we didn’t. Can you imagine how much of our money would have gone to the staff’s holiday wages if we added on coffee and dessert?!?!

Ambience: Very chilled, beach vibe with a touch of class.

Staff: They were professional, but lacking in friendliness. Added to our whole annoyed impression by the end of it all.

People: Lots of couples out and about that day.

Price: Over $100, once our surcharge was added on. Grr, argh.

Advice: If you like tapas by the beach, this is a good place to go to. Be aware though that servings are small, and if you like me, prefer not to pay extra ‘just because,’ well don’t go on a public holiday.

In a nutshell: Ahhh…. How do I say this diplomatically?

Nice place. I can see why others would like it.

Great views.

Perfect presentation.

Amazing salad.

But kids meal chicken offcuts, unfriendly (bordering on arrogant) service, high prices for small unsatisfying meals, AND the added surcharge?

Sorry buoys. We won’t be back.

Two Buoys Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato