Thursday, October 31, 2013

McDonald's - Australia

I walked into Maccas the other day (after a long absence) and was pleasantly surprised by the addition to their healthy menu options of two new Salads.
The Warm Chicken Salad with your choice of several dressings was my first choice.
I chose the Balsamic Vinegar with Garlic & Pepper dressing. I think 40 ml for one salad was a bit too much - but that is my opinion and you don't HAVE to use it all!
I added a small serve of freshly made fries and a cup of tea and felt it was a nice healthy lunch.

On the road again a couple of weeks later, and my next visit I happily tried the Crispy Chicken option with Honey Soy dressing.
This also was very tasty - the only issue I had with this one was the size of the cutlery!
The little plastic knives and forks may be OK for hotcakes but my salad kept falling off my fork!
Thought for next time - - bring own cutlery or Chopsticks!

I did however, quite possibly, ruin all the good I got from the salad, by having a beautifully made large Latte and the most awesome full flavour hit with the accompanying Raspberry Macaroon.

McDonald's - Keep training your Baristas like the Lady that served me yesterday and you may well have won me back.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Air New Zealand ....

Yes you saw correctly this post is about AIRLINE food!

During my recent trip overseas I had wanted to write about the various meals we received whilst in transit - the only problem was none of the other Airlines we flew with actually gave us anything (other than complimentary drinks).

Air New Zealand spoilt us with beautiful and tasty breakfasts. Our choice of  hot or cold dishes for all of our flights.  We were even given lunch on a flight we were not expecting any meals on.

I had heard horror stories about food served up on flights so was delighted to find the attendants offering us a meal that was better than I actually make for myself when at home.

And I must say that I have never seen a cup of tea poured with such theatrical panache as I did on these flights - obviously the attendants LOVE their job!

Would I fly with them again - Oh yeah... Definitely!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

reLAX Lounge

Now THIS is the way to fly - or at least the way to cool your heels whilst waiting 8 hours for your next flight anywhere out of Los Angeles Airport.

The reLAX lounge - situated in the Tom Bradley International Terminal is an oasis in the centre of this busy airport.
This quiet 'pay to stay' lounge is a wonderful option for the ordinary traveller and well worth the fee of $15 per hour (less if you stay longer - capped at $50 for the entire day)  There are large recliners that you can grab some needed sleep - or comfortable chairs that are large enough to curl up in.
Internet access, Food and Drinks are included in the charge. (so when you factor in the cost of food for your lay-over it makes the option even more enticing).

With the reception desk attended at all times, this makes a weary traveller feel safe enough to close your eyes or leave your bag for a few minutes while you grab another cuppa - and yes they have tea....and Danish... and really nice small rolls.

Would I come back - Definitely ... next time I'm transiting through LAX

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Conference - Traverse City Michigan

The reason we went to the US was to attend a Chemistry Conference at the very lovely Grand Traverse Resort just out of Traverse City Michigan.
I had never been to anything like it and it was interesting to sit on the sidelines and observe.

What is the collective term for a group of people in this field?... 
no one seems to know,
so we decided that 
"An Explosion of Chemists" - seemed just about right.

I must admit being a little concerned, and bemused at the same time to observe this exchange.

I do wonder what exactly they were so intrigued about!

I left them and DD to their conference and spent a bit of my time wondering whether I could 
"Quilt the Carpet".  
There were certainly elements that are do able. 

The rest of the week was - just resting and walking the extensive grounds - I could have even taken up Golf if I had wanted to!  With THREE Courses at my fingertips it was tempting.  
But WHO needs another hobby?

All in all it was DD's time and a very successful one for her - 
She returns back home having met and talked with some of the top people in her field and with lots more ideas and techniques to explore. 
She also collected the
Prize for the Best Scientific Poster! 

(Makes it kinda worth dragging it half way across the world and back.)

(Footnote: DD is standing in front of the Conference Poster - 
Her's is in the Cylinder she is holding.)

Sleeping Bear Dunes - Michigan

With the title of "The most beautiful place in America" Sleeping Bear Dunes and National Park was our choice for the Conference Excursion.

So we eagerly climbed aboard the coach, delighted to be out and about and able to, at  last see something more of Michigan, other than the inside of a (very lovely and comfortable) Resort.

The sight of this Dune was breathtaking - Oh WOW - that IS big. Photos just can't give you the scale of this sand cliff that goes all the way to the fresh waters of Lake Michigan.
I researched the area before leaving home and was familiar with the Legend of the Mother Bear with her 2 Cubs that fled bush-fires by swimming across the Great Lake, only to get to the other side and see her Cubs had drowned in the water behind her.  So devastated was she, that she laid down and cried great tears before dying herself.  Thus forming the Great Dune and two smaller Islands within the lake.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Catfish Cabin - Albertville AL - USA

That's right folks - Alabama USA!

I have taken to the Air and landed in North Alabama where DD & I have been treated to some "Southern Hospitality", and a special treat was to be taken to Catfish Cabin.

I could easily become a fan of the delicate flavour of this fish, and the accompanying Hush Puppies (Cornbread balls) which are so moorish that our hosts ordered a second helping.

With a side of 'hand-cut' coleslaw and French Fries it was a perfect meal to round off a very long and adventure filled day.
Hush Puppys & Coleslaw

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What a Day in Alabama USA -

I am sitting in the quiet on the back porch of my Hosts home, watching the gentle rain just drop out of the sky, only broken by the leaves on the trees of the Oak 'Forrest' that is in front of me.  It is very peaceful, but I am afraid it has put a dampener on a lot of folks 4th July plans.
BUT - yesterday was a different story.  It was a cool day for the middle of Summer and we set off to go down a few 'rabbit holes' - Just like Alice, we found so many wonderful things that left us in awe, and gave our cameras a good work out.

First stop was Noccalula Falls, where it is said an Indian Princess threw herself over the edge rather than being forced to marry someone she didn't love. It was a pretty place to stop and stretch our legs before driving the Little River Canyon Ridge Road, where we stopped at all the lookouts for more photos.

One of the things I like to do when out and about is collect interesting signs.  So I snapped this one.  Expecting it only to warn us of a traffic Island, we were stunned to round the bend to be confronted by these massive rocks that would have been very comfortable guarding the entrance to Middle Earth or perhaps they were Trolls caught out in the rising sun?

Either way they would make a fantastic movie set!
I couldn't quite work out where thay had fallen from, so decided that as they were indeed  ancient, and quite possibly had just had the surrounding soil errode away over the passage of time.

I wonder what interesting things I will see today - if the rain lets up?

And to all my American readers - Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cathedral Cavern - Alabama USA

I don't like being underground, but I will put that fear to one side when I have the opportunity to see inside a Cave.
Not your 'garden variety hole in the cliff' type cave - I mean the one's with the most spectacular formations made over millennia by the constant trickle of water through Limestone.

North Alabama USA is said to have the one of the highest densities of these caves in the world. Whilst we were visiting, we were fortunate to be taken to Cathedral Cavern.

Entrance from Inside the Cavern

To say it was HUGE is putting it mildly - not the largest cave in the area - but the largest we have been in. With 1.3 miles (round trip) of paved walkway to a point in the cavern where they just could not go any more - and still there were formations and tunnels ahead.

It is very difficult to get a decent photograph in these conditions and keep up with the tour group but I managed these few to share.

This formation was used in the filming of the 1995 Disney movie "Tom & Huck".

The Cavern is also home to what is said to be the largest Column in the world "Goliath" measuring 14m tall x 74m in circumference.
(that's big and very, VERY old).

We got here!

Hi everyone and greetings from Huntsville Alabama!

What can I say?  The trip was VERY long and we were VERY tired by the time we got here.
Arriving in Nashville airport was a treat - It has got to be the most beautiful and comfortable airport we had passed through to date. (Although Auckland was pretty spiffy too!)

Huntsville is a very pretty town with the most beautiful streetscaping.  The sight of sweeping lawns and Crepe Myrtle in full bloom down every street and in every carpark is just breathtaking.

Our Hosts have spoilt us with sights of Chipmunks and Squirrels and Fireflies... and that was without leaving their house!

I have missed my promised Photo a day, as I have had issues with my small tablet not wanting to talk to my Camera, so unfortunately I will have to post without photos for the moment.
(I'll come back and put them in later when the issues have been sorted.... PROMISE!)

.... and I do have some wonderful photos to share.

* * * * * *

Promise kept. . .
 It has taken me a while but here is the promised photo - Red Crepe Myrtles in the streets.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Bags are packed ...

We're ready to go.

I am hoping to be able to post a photo a day
So, check back occasionally
and join me in my first trip to the USA !

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lena's Cafe One - Reservoir

2017 UPDATE:
This Cafe is permanently closed and looks like it will be part of a re-development of the corner property.
* * * * * *

2016 UPDATE:
Arthur and Lena have sold their Cafe to new owners and I am yet to go see what they have on offer.
With the recent building of the new Reservoir Library next door, parking is still available but not accessed through the lane-way (now a pedestrian mall).

* * * * * *

I have been resisting writing up this lovely new Cafe for a while, as I am not sure  if I wanted to "Share it" with everyone just yet!  <VBG> But it is just too good to keep to myself.

When Lena's opened almost a year ago on the corner of Edwards Street and Spring Street,  I wondered how it was going to survive but I have discovered that it is ideally situated.

Just across the road from the Reservoir Train Station and with a Bus stop outside the door, it has plenty of passing traffic.  The Reservoir Civic Centre and Police Station with their huge off street car park is just next door.

The owners, (Husband and Wife team Arthur and Lena) are vibrant people who love their work and it shows in their food.

The cabinets are always stocked with the most delicious assortment of Focaccia, Pizza, Quiche, Croissants and Salad to make into healthy sandwiches.  Or browse the menu board for something HOT. My favourite is the Warm Lamb Salad.
If that is not what you are looking for,
then there is the fresh made Juice option
or Yoghurt
or Ice-cream
or just Coffee and Cake.

Well worth a visit.

Lena's Cafe One
1 Edwards Street
Reservoir Vic 3073
Ph: 9090 7002

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Now THAT wasn't on the Calender

Regular visitors (to my Aussie Kilted Quilter Blog) will be aware that I have a LOT on my calendar this year. Things were settling into a plan (of sorts) and I was thinking 'Yes I CAN do this'.  And then DD came home and said....
"Mum - I need to go to a Conference - Will you come with me?"

To many of my readers it is a common occurrence to pack bags "Jump on a 'plane" and end up somewhere else - BUT....
believe it or not ...
I have never flown ...
anywhere ...
before ...

You may well guess by the photo that this is NOT a 'local' conference.

Now, I love going on adventures and this is going to be one BIG adventure.
I have worked out that by the time I get back home 
I will have flown 35,000 km  
on 9 different types of Aircraft, 
cooling my heels in 7 different airports, 
over the space of 17 days.
And I have been reliably informed that I will be travelling through ...
a Gazillion timezones!

I realise that it would be daft to go all that way, just to go to a conference. Without seeing anything - other than the insides of airports and the conference venue (albeit a very NICE conference venue). Therefore, I have planned a little side trip to visit an Internet Friend on the way. 

So folks .. in a little over Three Weeks DD and I will be on our way to Alabama then on to Michigan!

AND - If anyone has any hints on what to do in an airport for 8 hours - your comments will be appreciated!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tao's - Bulleen

A special event requires a special dinner and so we found ourselves recently at Tao's in Bulleen.  What can I say about this Restaurant with its intriguing Modern Japanese/Australian Menu?

.... Be prepared to try ANYTHING but do not hesitate to go.

We arrived for Lunch and so had the "Set Menu" for the day - our choice of 4 dishes for each of the 4 courses.

This is the Starter - it wasn't on the menu, it just came.. with instructions to eat from right to left.
(I have never had Oyster before - Oh Yum!)

DH chose for his Entree the Sashimi platter.

I had the Thai Style Crispy Chicken with Lime Chilli Sauce.

And from then on it was just one delight after another ....

The Staff were, of course, very polite and attentive.
The courses came quickly so if you were on a tight lunchtime schedule there is no need to worry.

Oh.... and the Dessert -
I'll leave you with Perfect Creme Brulee

Tao's Restaurant
201 Bulleen Road

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Mills Cafe - Coburg

When they built The Lincoln Mills Homemaker Centre in Gaffney Street Coburg, it was good to see a cafe set up in the far corner. What more could you ask for when you have spent the better part of the morning at Bunnings?
Unfortunately the Original owners sold up and the new people.... well, lets just say.... we stopped going there.  So I was very pleased the other day when I saw that it is now "Under New Management".

The pleasant new owners may just have won us back.  The Cafe felt fresh with new table tops and a clean approach. (A staff member not only wiped down the tables but the chairs as well, and then returned with a broom to get the crumbs from under the table - now that's good service!)
The menu is basically the same but a glance at the Specials board out the front showed a few new additions - like Barramundi (Fish).

With any Cafe, the Coffee is only as good as the Barista.
Our first visit the coffees were perfect - yes, even DH went back to compliment the lass behind the machine.  And the Soy Latte (for the Lactose Intolerant one) was made by someone who understood, as she too 'had to drink soy'.

The second visit - different Barista, different quality coffee, I gave 'brownie points' for the coffee art but - - I couldn't drink mine.  (I didn't fret over it too much as it was included with the poached eggs breakfast menu.)

I will return, as I really want to check out the new menu, but my drink for the day, Coffee or Tea... or maybe one of their freshly squeezed fruit juice concoctions, will be determined by my mood and who is behind the Coffee Machine.

The Mills Cafe
Lincoln Homemaker Centre
6a/64 Gaffney Street

Ph: 9354 - 5001
Open 7 days

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Charlie's at La Trobe University

I have been hearing a LOT about 'Leo' over the years from DD who has had ample opportunity to check out ALL of the Coffee shops at La Trobe Uni during her time there doing 2 degrees and a Phd.
Leo, works at Charlie's and I understand makes the best coffee on Campus.

So - when I had cause to visit the University recently I  just had to see for myself.
I must admit that arriving between lectures gave me a good indication as to how this team works.
I was initially dismayed at the sight of the queue outside and I was told "No Mum - those people are waiting for their orders...."  I was then led inside where one lass took our order (greeting DD by name).
We then went to join the others and in no more than 10 minutes, while I watched Coffee after Coffee and the occasional Tea being dispatched efficiently to the waiting throng, had our Coffees and were on the way to find a shady/quiet seat to enjoy them.

And for the actual brew... Not bad at all, but next time I won't ask for a weak one!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lady Bower

Situated just around the corner of Reservoir's Broadway shopping strip in Marchant Avenue is a small Cafe that looks like it would be more suited to the bustle of High Street Northcote.  The owners have converted a couple of shops into a pleasant "Indoor/Outdoor" dining area, with the clever use of artificial turf on the concrete floor instead of mats.

The staff have on the most part been very pleasant and happy to chat if the cafe is not too busy.

So - How does the menu stack up?
Coffee, has been a bit hit and miss. DH has, on both occasions we visited, stated his Strong Flat White to be 'a nice coffee' (high praise indeed) but the follow-up Long Macchiato was disappointing.  My weak Latte was a little too weak and unfortunately - tepid. 

The Breakfast Menu has lot of things on Toast.
There does not seem to be any choice in what kind of toast you have (Multigrain) and it seems that there is only one setting on the toaster - CRUNCHY!
I prefer my toast crisp but not that crisp that it shatters when I cut it.

This visit DH tried the Omelet which came with a nicely dressed salad.
I tried the Grilled Cheese on Chutney with the plus Egg option.  The eggs were beautifully poached, and I enjoyed them.  What I didn't enjoy was the cloying over-sweet (homemade) chutney coupled with a generous amount of what quickly became cold grilled cheese and nothing to offset the richness of the dish.

That being said....
On our first visit, we ordered from what must have been the Summer Menu.
Perfectly poached Eggs on toast come with nothing except a grind of black pepper unless you order a serve of something from the add-on  section.  In this case beautiful marinated Rosemary Mushrooms.

And just to show it is not all Toast and Eggs - 
Poached Peaches on Warm Brioche with Labne, Muesli and Salted Caramel Sauce.
Once again - way too sweet for me, but I will be watching the menu for it's return, and next time I will share it with someone else -

-with maybe a Pot of Tea.

Lady Bower
1a Marchant Ave
Reservoir Vic 3073

(On the Broadway side of Reservoir Station)
Closed Mondays

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Frappe Republic

After a successful morning shopping with DD and her 3 Bridesmaids, I was rather in need of finding a Coffee Shop to celebrate the purchase of DD's Wedding Dress.

The Staff at Frappe Republic in Mt Alexander Rd welcomed us with friendly enthusiasm and made sure we were comfortable.

DD was more than happy with her Iced Coffee and mine was just what I needed.  But I must admit that I allowed the occasion to dictate what cake we would have. - But OH WHICH cake - that was the question!

We really couldn't choose - so had a slice of TWO - but it was to share between the FIVE of us!

We were informed that towards the end of the year they will be undergoing renovations to turn this lovely CafĂ© into a Restaurant.

Will we return?  Sure! - we need to collect the Gown - and that day I'll need TWO coffees, and maybe another slice of cake or perhaps if we got there early enough... I could check out their Breakfast Menu!

Frappe Republic
509-601 Mt. Alexander Road
Moonee Ponds  VIC

7am til late
Closed Mondays

Friday, February 1, 2013

Jelosia - Fairfield

2017 UPDATE:
Jelosia is no longer trading as a cafe - However, there are several very delightful cafe's in the immediate area.


Tucked away in a side street off busy Station Street Fairfield is a gem of a coffee shop that I walked into today.

Indulgence Sweets and Deserts opposite Fairfield Railway Station, is a Cake Bakery that has opened a Retail outlet with Coffee and Cake and .... lots of other tempting treats.

The Lactose Intolerant One was more than impressed with his Bonsoy Latte and Flour-less Orange Cake and I indulged in the Coffee & Cake deal of the day with a Night & Day cake (just $5.50).
My coffee was stronger than I usually enjoy, but cut through the sweetness of the generously sized white chocolate mousse cake.

The staff were delightful and I left wondering what excuse I needed to make in order to return and  try their breakfast menu.

254 Wingrove Street

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Signature Brew at DFO

A shopping trip to DFO at Essendon Airport saw us looking for lunch and after perusing the menu at a rather disappointing "Villa and Hutt" at the entrance to the complex we ventured inside in search of something that may pass as Coffee.

We were pleasantly surprised to find, tucked away in the second food court, a new (to us) Coffee booth.
Ignoring the glistening array of Krispy Kreme Donuts we were drawn to the generously filled Panini  and  decided that one would be enough to share.
Double "Brownie Points" were awarded for the Coffee Art that sat atop of a very nice Rainforest, Fair Trade Organic Brew from Green Bean Espresso.
And if Coffee isn't your forte then they also serve Tea Drop Tea.

The staff were friendly and genuine in their enthusiasm - definitely would return next time I am in the area.

* * * * * * * 

2017 UPDATE:
Signature Brew is still serving wonderful coffee and tasty food (although you will need to get there early if you want some of their fantastic Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls)
And the Staff always greet us with the same warmth and enthusiasm. It is the ONLY place we go to at DFO for Coffee.

Signature BREW
DFO Essendon
100 Bulla Road Essendon Fields
(That is at the Bulla Road Off-ramp on the Tullamarine Freeway)

Open 7 days 10:00am - 6:00pm