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Month: August, 2011

Coffee @ Plantation in Melbourne central

Plantation had only just opened about two weeks ago. It’s a coffee place with their own blend, reminding me of st Alis coffee blend. They are the sister shop of St Ali
I just had the chance to try it. They are also a specialty coffee shop, meaning that they specialise in only coffees. Hence limited food is sold. They don’t do cupcakes but they do other cakes such as the flour less chocolate cake which I got to try and like. They also do muffins and sandwiches, some of which are vegetarian. The ambience is a bit like Mister Close, small and welcoming.
I also sampled a mocha ($3.20). I wanted this to eat in but they gave it to me in a takeaway cup. I think I said eat in to them when they asked. The guy that did my mocha looked like he was half asleep. He could have said “sorry”. But he did offer to redo it again.

my coffee with no artwork on top.

The coffee was a bit watery that not much artwork was there. But I did like the nutty and coffee taste of the mocha with a hint of chocolate. I was told that they do it in a syphron machine (this machine filters coffee to make it really geeky). I would have liked to be a bit more milky and a little bit more chocolate.
I went and bought cupcakes from Cupcake central across the road and they went perfectly with my mocha. I had a buy one get one free voucher from the Entertainment book and I used it today to sample black velvet and cookies and cream cupcakes and I liked them both.
The Asian lady was really attentive and really knowledgeable about the products. Kudos to her that let me try the cake and told me about the syphron machine and coffee blends.
I think Big Fil from Eat and be merry should visit as her favourite eggs and museli are sold here. Also Miss Adriennely might like this and Cupcake central across the hall
UPDATED: I did have a chance to try their cold drip coffee. This is really bitter and very strong. It does not have milk in it. It is nice in summer and spring, but just be careful. If you can’t sleep on a strong coffee like me, then better not have this. You’d be better off trying one of their mochas or smaller coffees.

Plantation on Urbanspoon


Eat@Mrs Fields in Melbourne Central train station

I did not sleep so well last night because it was darn COLD and FREEZING. So I went to Mrs Fields along with my friend “A”.
Mrs fields is a big coffee and muffin chain that is every where in Australia. But this Mrs fields is right at the train station just after the barriers.

 They were promoting their $2.50 toastie but I had breakfast at home and wasn’t in the mood. I had the buy one muffin and coffee voucher and get one free from my Entertainment book.  In all A had shouted me the hot chocolate and muffin and paid around $6. So I got the white chocolate Macademia muffin and A got the double chocolate muffin. We both got a hot chocolate.
My hot chocolate wasn’t sweet but that’s ok because I had the muffin to compensate for the bitterness of the chocolate.
I don’t know about A’s chocolate and muffin because she had to rush off for a meeting straight after and we got them take away because there is no seating at the store.
The guys that work there were pretty friendly, but A thought that the service was a bit slow. It was a little bit, but they took extra care with our chocolates.
I really want to try the toastie here and I recommend this place to students.

Melbourne Winter festival

Today I went to the Melbourne Winter festival to check it out and will return a few times during the week. It is outside the Royal exhibition building and is open for this week from 12pm-10pm each day. You can get there by the number 86 and 96 trams as well as the free city circle tram. The closest train station is Parliament.  It was such a cold day that it is good to enjoy some of the spectacular winter sights and scenes here. I had great fun watching the ice skating in the Lipton Chai lodge. Here it is really warm and cosy.

Sorry this looks really bad, but my camera doesn’t take pictures in the dim light very well

I tried the free chais that was on offer.
I also tried, proffetjies for $5. These are little dutch pancakes which are mainly sweet. Here you can choose many toppings. The lady there was lovely.
There’s also crepes, sausages, pasta, pizzas, hot chocolate, alcohol, French wine, ice creams etc for you to try. Everything here is priced between $4-$10.
I didn’t walk away empty handed. Instead I got heaps free chai sachets thanks to Lipton.
Its free entry but to ice skate costs extra.

The garden cafe

This place is just outside the Academic registrars office at the city campus. It is in Elizabeth st in the CBD. The tram stop is just a few meters behind the stop. This is mainly a uni student cafe hence their prices are really low.
I walked in here just on my way to work from the Queen Victoria Market after buying a few goodies.
Most of their food is single priced. Most of the meals are priced around $7-$9.90. They do have some $5.50 coffee combos.
I had a $5.50 hot chocolate and jam donut deal. Whilst the hot chocolate was nice, their jam donut was a bit cold and a tad soggy.
The lady there was really nice, the man however wasn’t. Whilst the lady tried to get to know me the man said nothing.
I’d be happy to come back here and try their meals out.

The Garden Cafe on Urbanspoon

Breakfast at Ikea

Ikea is a big furniture and homewares department that is in Richmond. This company is from Sweden. They have lots of cheap things for you to take home. The store is in Victoria plaza, near the corner of Victoria and Burnley sts (zone 1). Here you can catch a 109 tram from the city to this or you can do what I did which is take the trams 75 or 48 to Bridge rd and then just walk ten minutes from there.
But they also have a cafe and mini market. It is here that I went to to try their delicious and cheap food. Here they have breakfast food that is priced under $5. Their meals are priced between $2.50-$3 and hence this is mainly self serve. There are some gluten free and vegetarian meals here. There is a free membership to the IKEA family club and that entitles one to discounts such as free coffee.
I had a vegetarian breakfast, cinnamon scroll, hot chocolate and some Swedish cake that I don’t remember the name of. But hey it was really nice. Altogether it was $7.95. Sweet!
But the hot chocolate you had to do it yourself without any help with the machine. Mine turned out to be watery. I like it when they do it for me, like they used to. It was all nice and foamy. Its not the same.
But the breakfast filled me up though. I would have liked it a bit better if they had provided some sauce. And its great that they didn’t provide bread, instead two potato hashbrowns. This is more healthier this way.
I loved the cinnamon scroll. It was nice with lots of bursts of flavour.

Later on I went to the Swedish food market which is outside the check out.  Here they had lots of cheap food and specials for you to take home and enjoy. Here everything is between $10-$20. You can also find chocolate, coffee and tea for around $3-$6.  I also found out that my cake is sold here in big bundles. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures and the security guy was watching me like a hawk. A tip to them: next time if you want shoppers to look around don’t employ security guards that watch people like a hawk and not be friendly. If you don’t want people taking pictures just put a sign saying no pictures allowed!

This really reminded me of a school canteen or a boarding school dining hall. When you have finished your food you have to put your tray of dirty dishes in the big trolleys and the kitchen staff will empty it.  Here it was filled with young mums and kids and I reckon that Eat, Play and shop and Miss Adriennely would love to come here.
To the lady that served me: it would have been nice if you asked me if I know how to use the machine or at least smile, instead of look dead tired.I got confused using the machine and couldn’t ask for help.
IKEA Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

coffee at Ruckers Hill @ Northcote

I was feeling particularly sleepy today, due to not much sleep last night. My hayfever was really bad. I knew I had to be out in RMIT Bundoora today to attend an AGM and to help out.
So I felt like a mocha to pick me up. On the way to Bundoora on the 86 tram I saw an interesting looking place called “Ruckers Hill”(zone 1). You get off at either stop 32 or 33 and its in the middle about 1 or 2 minutes walk.

Ruckers Hill is an organic foodstore but they also do coffees and run a cafe. Here the cafe uses the Atomica blend of coffee. They love to do their salads and have really yummy goodies.
Here it was lovely and very clean and they love to use lots of plants and wood to brighten the environment.
The ladies there were really friendly and one of them said that they love food blogs. So I am hoping that this will please her.
Today I had a mocha $3.50 and two macaroons $5.00 altogether. The macaroons were salted peanut and cookies and cream. I loved the saltiness of the salted peanut and I loved the sweetness of the cookies and cream.
The mocha was really nice and it did the trick. I could taste a little bit of chocolate in there.
Kudos to the waitress who was really nice and smiled. Kudos to her that recommended her two favourites and was really warm. I wish everyone was like you! I recommend this place to Miss Adriennely as one place that she could try. I also recommend this to Meld Magazine.
One day I will be back with my friend
Ruckers Hill Cafe on Urbanspoon

Volunteer Degustation dinner @ realfoods

So last night the volunteers and I (I being a volunteer of Realfoods) learnt how to use the Thermomix machine. This machine can do lots of stuff such as mixing, chopping, grinding and the list goes on. A machine costs around $2000 to buy. You can’t buy this in store or online, just by direct sales.
This was really fun and we got to make and try:
Orange juice

Samosas and pies

Banana and strawberry sorbet

Green smoothie

Beetroot salad

Warm Quinoa with carrots, bean sprouts, beetroot etc salad.

Hommus dip


Chocolate nutmilk made out of real nuts.

We also had fun playing with the machine.
So students if you have time volunteer at Realfoods for a couple of hours per week and there you will learn some valuable cooking skills as well as get to attend some events like these.


1) Cadbury’s dark chocolate- 500g block- Price $3-$5. Not really dark, more milky and really sweet. Rating: 3.5/5
2) Lindt Strawberry chocolate- 250g block- Price: Really flavoursome and not too sweet.
3) Hersleys chocolate- its American and you can buy this at Costco in the city. They have all sorts of different flavours. Rating 2/5


Sauces are a quintessential ingredient for cooking. Here I tried a few asian and non asian sauces.
Key ratings: 1- not recommended, 2- disappointed and will not try again (try it at your own peril), 3- neutral, 4- good and will try again, 5- recommended.
1)ABS- Kecap manis (this was a sample and thus has not hit the shelves yet. When it does I will let you know). It was really sweet and soy flavoured, better than the Indomie Mi Goreng sauce. Rating 4.5/5
2) Chang’s Oyster sauce- it was a little bit sweet and not salty enough. Recommended for Peking duck, because of the sweetness. Price: $2- $3. Rating: 3.5/5
3) Premimum oyster sauce- it was really salty, like how oyster sauce should be. Perfect for asian dishes such as beef with oyster sauce. Price: Rating: 4/5
4) Ayam hot chilli sauce- Rather disappointing, as it was sweet and not hot enough. Avoid. Price: $1.50-$3. Rating: 1/5


Here are the list of snacks and their ratings:
1= not recommended
2= really bad
3= neutral
4= really good
5= recommended

1) John west tuna crackers- these are good for people on the go and that can’t stop for lunch. This has got great omega 3 oils, found in the fish. Rating: 3.5/5
2) Edgells three bean mix- very expensive when you can make your own. I usually don’t like the dressings in them, but good for people on the move. Price: $2.50. Ratings: 3.1/5
3) Be natural bars- I love that they have lots of museli in them to give you an energy kick. They are another healthy snack. It is an excellent choice for students who are in a hurry and can’t sit down for breakfast. Price: $4-$6. Rating: 4.2/5
4) Cobs popcorn- very organic and gluten free. In fact they taste better than the ones you get at the movies. Even though they are slightly sweet they still taste like real popcorn. Price:$3.50-$5. Rating: 4.6/5.
5) The Vege chip company’s deli crisps- even though these are not organic you’ll be hooked on them. They have a mixture of flavours in each packet and are not too salty like some of the other chips. They do not contain a lot of oil. Price: Rating: 3.8/5.
6) Real foods corn thins- about $1.80/$2 per packet. They are a good filler. You can put almost anything on top and have about three pieces for your lunch/breakfast or afternoon tea. Rating: 3.9/5
7) ABE’s bagel crisps- about $3.30-$4 per packet. You can eat them whole, use it with dips/soups and salads as croutons. They have a few different flavours and are nice and crunchy. Rating: 3.8/5
8) Red rock deli honey soy chicken chips- these are high in salt. These are also flavoursome. There is a lot of herbs in this. Not recommended for everyday eating because of its empty calories but good for the movies. Rating: 2.8/5
9) Arnotts tim tams mint flavour- the flavour is really intense and this is good for when you are down. I love dark chocolate. This is one of my favourite snacks. Rating: 4/5

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