‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #7 “Boxing Day”

It’s the day after Christmas, where a good majority of people spend the aftermath of the festive day either shopping it up and trying to get the best bargain, or drinking VBs and turning lobster-red at the cricket with their best-est mates.

So why do Australians call December 26, Boxing Day?

It occurred to me that I did not know, when I discovered just last week that the next Frozen movie was not arriving in our cinemas in late November like the rest of the world. No… we had to wait until Boxing Day.

As I said the words out loud to baby girl, I realised she would be baffled.

“What is boxing day?

Honey I have no clue. But I am going to try find out for you.

Oh, and that is another thing we Aussies tend to get the day after Christmas… the box-office blockbusters.

The term originated in the UK and therefore the story of it lays there, so it comes to reason that several countries part of the British Empire (i.e. Australia) would therefore celebrate the 26th of December.

One popular theory hails from the 1800s, and the Oxford English Dictionary explains it as: “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”. 

It was a day in which the rich gave to the poor, whether it was to those less fortunate, or their own servants. Also servants were deemed to have the day off after Christmas, and went back home to their families with ‘boxed presents.’

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

While the exact origin is unknown, the European tradition of giving to those in need dates back to the Middle Ages. And it is one that certainly should not be forgotten. At a time of year when consumerism and spending is rife, we should definitely not forget this time-honoured tradition and try to give what lot, or little we can, to someone in need.

Whatever the reason be, perhaps the most exciting thing for us Aussies is that it’s a public holiday. Spend the day as you will, shopping it up, watching a movie, or going to the cricket. Or something else… how do you spend your Boxing Day?

I can almost guarantee we will be getting Frozen this year… shiver.

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

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

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

 

Green Cafe

Lilo Café
1/725 Esplanade Mornington

(Visited January ’18)

It was the Australia Day weekend that had us venturing for a sea view from a café on the Esplanade. During some of Hubbie’s early morning Sunday drives where baby girl and I kept on sleeping (she doesn’t fall far from my tree) he came across Lilo several times, and seeing the amount of people bursting from the joint, decided immediately that we must go there.

And so it was a Sunday. A steadily approaching 35 degree day Sunday. I had to work later in the day so this was our little venture out as a family, trying to pack in quality time before I headed off. As we were seated in the bustling café, at one end of a communal table where there was an older couple on the other end of it, something started to become apparent.

Green vase.

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Green plants (ok duh, but stay with me).

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Green cup.

Green cutlery holder.

Green clock.

Green on the walls.

And then when I looked behind me at the counter/café section there was green everywhere!

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Green, was the theme.

There was a nice quirkiness to it all, not cliché or overdone or just tacky. It was kind of like your Grandma’s house, but not like your average Grandma – rather this was the cool hippie Grandma who never remarried, swings with other like-minded independent pensioners on twice yearly cruises, and out-drinks the 20 somethings at the Christmas gatherings… and goes to bed after they have fallen asleep on the couch. And she loves green because it reminds her of that time with your Grandad at the park… never mind.

That kind of Grandma.

I perused the menu and while Hubbie got his first latte of the day, I opted for a fresh

Watermelon mint and apple cold pressed juice

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(See, green straw).

It was tasty, and I could have easily had another. Hubbie meanwhile had an extra strong latte, as suggested by our waitress when he asked how strong the coffees were (apparently not that strong if he had to order strength up times two).

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(Green saucer!)

The café was fairly busy and noisy too. You could see outside to the trees across the road, which blocked much of the view of the water, but sitting at certain vantage points right near the window would definitely give you peaks of blue and sparkling.

It was hard at times to flag people over for service, being the public holiday weekend that it was, since everyone was out to play and eat, apparently, and also being Mornington having a 50% increase in general foot traffic through the eateries there… but once that was all done and we had a little wait, our breakfasts finally arrived (we were famished by that stage):

I had the Lilo brekkie – two poached eggs on toasted sourdough, potato croquettes, Istra bacon, peperonata

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Hubbie had the B.L.T. Istra bacon, cos lettuce, tomato, relish, Noisette bun, fried egg

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And baby girl had Pancakes with fresh strawberries, ice cream and maple syrup, and side of strawberry jam

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I really enjoyed my meal. The eggs were poached perfectly, the potato croquettes were so yum and creamy, and that combination with the peppers that tasted like the home-style ones our parents make (Hubbie agreed) was just a fanciful flavour combo. The bacon wasn’t as clean as I liked, but that’s why I have Hubbie you see, to take the fat while I keep the clean bits. It was a simple and classic dish, not too weird to put people off of the standard fare, but still interesting enough to be memorable. It was a safe kind of different.

As you can see above, there was green lettuce in Hubbie’s burger… ok I am just kidding. Obviously, it cannot be purple (actually it can, aha!) Hubbie loved his burger, and said he would get chips with it next time. Yes, next time. He had added the egg which was optional, and really I don’t know how anyone can’t when you are having brekkie. He had a side of sauce because SAUCE FANATIC, forgetting that there was already relish in the burger… oops. Never mind, two sauces makes my butcher-sauce-loving Hubbie a very happy man.

Baby girl’s pancakes looked fresh and inviting. But at the same time she was firmly not into berries then, and so all she had to indulge in were the two very small pancakes with lashings of jam that we had asked for, and the ice cream. Size was on the meagre side, as I had to give her half of my toast just to satiate her appetite.

While heading over to the toilets one of several times that visit (experimental 4 year-old, that’s why) the theme that had been so prevalent throughout the dining area only expanded…

Because along with the eclectic wall of teaspoons that decorated the area directly opposite the male and female individual toilets…

The large and spacious inside toilet also continued with the green theme! Can I say, Grandma’s old school toilet is very, very cool. A large model of a lady hung on the inside toilet door, and the green continued in fixtures and fittings, towels and posters. It was a very attractive toilet, if I DO SAY SO myself. It really was, and maybe this was part of the reason baby girl had to go like, 3 times during our visit.

We ordered coffees after our meals were done with, and not surprisingly these probably took just as long as our food to arrive, they were that busy.

Cap, latte, babycino and choc-chip cookie.

Honestly, I was surprised the cookie did not come out on a green plate. Even the choc-chips. Come on, why?! :):):)

The coffee was mild and to my liking… and now I am questioning whether they have green coffee. That would just tip me over the edge. Ok I will stop now.

It was a busy and full experience there at Lilo, and since my time with family was limited, once our bellies were full of all things good, we headed towards the counter…

Food: 8/10. It was inventive yet also traditional in that it gave you the good stuff you would come to expect of a café… and based on our second and third experiences there, we have come to learn that they are very good at balancing the right flavours within a dish. Party in your mouth. Yummo Bravo.

Coffee: 7.5/10. Mild.

Ambience: Very busy and bustly, seems a noisy place and even when there haven’t been many around things just seem to echo. Considering the tranquillity of the across-the-road views, this café seems to block out everything else.

Staff: They were very busy that day, however other times we have found them, how should I put it, hard to come by? They tend to appear on the ‘understaffed’ side, therefore ‘stressed’ side, albeit still trying their best.

People: A very mixed bag, really it is everyone in here, with a good portion of the older generation seeming to inhabit. Why of course, it is Grandma’s friends.

Price: $78.65. That included a 10% surcharge for the Australia day public holiday. Although still acceptable, based on a future review of another café we dined at where we were slogged a 15% surcharge, I have to say…

WHAT THE?

I understand that staff need to be paid extra on the public holidays, and I certainly DO NOT oppose that. But I have two questions/statements, one from me, and one from Hubbie…

There is unreservedly a greater influx of people coming in on these days, meaning more customers = extra $$$, which I argue discounts the need to charge a surcharge to cover your staffs wages.

Second, Hubbie asked: If cafes create this imposed surcharge to cover their staffs additional wages, why then don’t the shopping centres charge us extra on public holidays to cover the definite increased wages they need to pay their staff? Safeway, Coles? Do they charge us extra?

(One can argue they already do, but I mean do they charge us additionally because of this day?)

NO!

It does not make sense. Cafes, STOP doing this, it is wrong and very annoying.

Advice: Now that I’m done with my outburst… sit as close to the windows if you want a sea view. Have one of their fresh juices. Go to the loo, and just be in the moment (seriously). Also if you love carbs, the potato croquettes in the Lilo brekkie are GOOD.

In a nutshell: It’s a café with a wonderfully retro character, which follows cleverly throughout. The food is simple yet done VERY well, and when eating you can tell the chef knows what he is doing. With a beautiful locale, it is easy to see how so many flock to this eatery, both for the food, interesting and homely atmosphere, and also for the chance to peak out at the waters nearby…

I guess it is kind of appropriate that a stretch of bushes and trees watch the café from across the road. Green.

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

Rebel with a Glaze

(Disclaimer: I am using the wording ‘donut’ for the sake of the business I am reviewing, but we all know the proper spelling is ‘doughnuts!’ Because there is dough, duh. Onwards…)

I was utterly shocked over this past Summer when I read some fellow bloggers’ posts that they had just gotten sneak peeks at a soon-to-be-opening new donut shop just down the road from me… what? It was literally DOWN THE ROAD. I could essentially walk there. Something I would probably have to do a lot of if I did in fact visit the place… but probably not a good idea to test out, for risk of it being too convenient, you know?

But, I was enraged! How did I not know about this? How did they get a sneak peak, and your neighbourhood friendly SmikG did not? Harumph. That’s ok. I would still visit… and review them quietly, as per my identity…

MWA HA HA.

It was Australia Day, the day to enjoy the Australian and Western World privilege of not cooking for yourself (public holiday, so not doing much of anything for that matter) and so after getting for ourselves some takeaway food for the night, we popped into Rebel Donuts, to see what these guys had in store.

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A lot, it appeared.

There were over 15 varieties, and I now know from repeat visits that these often change. Each visit will bring you a surprise combination, a quirky name (like a Ned Kelly or James Dean inspired one), and a headache from having to make the tough decision of which to choose each time! They prepare donuts according to seasonal occasions, there are vegan varieties too, and for my fair people of Mornington, guess what? DELIVERY! Yes you can have your donut delivered, AND eat it too.

Why, I never.

That day we put on the brakes and brought home just 3.

(From left: a custard donut, plain with sprinkles, and Tim Tam).

The verdict? They were GOOD. They had a distinct yeasty taste, something that reminded me of my Mum’s doughnut making – and that is a good thing. Because if they have that hint of homemade, they will always be a winner in my books.

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Soft, delightful, exciting to pick and choose from… these guys can’t go wrong. If you are headed to Mornington, past Mornington, or you just need an excuse to get doughnuts, well here it is!

The deets:

Rebel Donuts

968a Nepean Highway (actually on the corner of Nepean Highway and Mornington-Tyabb road, in the same complex as McDonalds, Red Rooster, Dominos, as well as other fast food eateries. They often have a large billboard up on the corner pointing to where they are, so just look for the pink!)

Trading Hours: 8am to 10pm daily, unless sold out.

#rebeldonuts #mornington