Are we there yet?

“They say there’s linings made of silver folded inside each raining cloud”

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 Recent reflections have led me down the path of questioning shared beliefs, values of the people I am surrounded by, and of trends. The idea of commitment, and the idea of the ideal.

20140511-225043.jpg   While in ballet, we strive to achieve perfection, and there is only 1 form of this perfection, I doubt such ideals exist in life. And that can be okay, though this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stay committed to ourselves in achieving the things in life we so wish to.

20140511-224747.jpg commitment kəˈmɪtm(ə)nt noun

1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action. 

Which leads me on to how it seems to be trending, the whole eat clean hashtag, and yoga moves. This isn’t necessarily bad, I do hope people who get into this see this as a commitment too; to themselves, for a healthier mind and body, and not merely to jump into the bandwagon, and start throwing “gluten-free” and “low GI” around for the sake of throwing them around (some of us here actually do have gluten/sugar sensitivities FYI). Being healthy for the self, for there isn’t enough time to be living life chasing after something, for someone else, nor for some-many-ones else.

 

Whether I am or am not going through what is called a quarter life crisis, I fear age in the way that it robs one of the ability to remember – to reach a point to biologically and physically, and thus mentally, be unable to grow. Such a fate is one that I cannot learn to not fear. Another fear – is to realise once I am old and grey, that I had lived my live in unquestioned conformity. Conformity – a word that has been coming up in these recent reflections. It is a nasty word at times. Have we lived life, without questioning things that are being commonly accepted? The ideas of beauty, of right and wrong, of what we believe our partners should do and should be. Have we spent too much efforts in wanting things that mean so little, that hardly even make up the bigger picture, the grand plan of things. Or has life really taken such a meagre form? Wouldn’t be a disfavour to ourselves, to live an unexamined life? 20140513-205206.jpg (Group therapy, 49 Duxton Road)

I think the greatest appreciation I have in life now, are the conversations and exchanges that I am blessed to have with loved ones still. Sometimes, and it is very easy to, we get caught up amongst these trends and fads, being in the know, having the latest and the biggest the best, that we leave behind the true ones, the ones that matter.

 

T.

Make them dance, just like you – sweets, treats and coffee in Melbourne


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“Life is so endlessly delicious.”― Ruth Reichl

 

 Life, it has its own funny way with things – and however stressful or ridiculous a situation you find yourself in, I say, treat yourself. It’s the only thing that will make sense. Trust me.
What I love about food, really, is the people who put their heart into preparing it. From the smallest of desserts, to even a cup of coffee. If there is heart, you can taste it.
And thats what I appreciate about the food I had while in Melbourne. While I have saved the best for last, i.e Brunch places, here’s a list of all the sweets, treats, and coffee that I managed to stomach. I definitely had more than this, but these are the ones definitely not to miss.

20140503-144035.jpgMr Burger – Mr Burger Food Truck (http://mrburger.com.au)

I wish i could sink my teeth into another one of those right now.

FEDERATION SQUARE
Corner Flinders St and Swanston St
11:00am – 8:00pm

20140503-144048.jpgQueen Victoria Market – Not only produce, but cured meats, sandwiches, chocolates, pizza, tea, coffee and the list goes on.

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American Doughnuts (in Queen Vic Market) – Fried fresh, with a strawberry jam centre. This was really such a treat. They operate from a food truck, find them by finding the queue.

(http://www.qvm.com.au/shops-and-stalls/american-doughnut-kitchen/)

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Can you say no? Bratwurst Shop Co, Queen Vic Market Deli hall.

(http://www.qvm.com.au/shops-and-stalls/bratwurst-shop-co/)

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Coffee and a blueberry danish – Had this after a Pilates session at the City Baths – If you know me, you’d know I hate danishes. But this was just great. Packed with blueberries, a smooth thin layer of custard, and amazingly crisp pasty crust.

(http://www.qvm.com.au/shops-and-stalls/market-lane-coffee/)

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Coffee is my remedy. Coffee is pretty great everywhere in Melbourne. But each pull and brew has its own character and flavour. Without sounding like a coffee snob, I’m gonna use just one word (though it will hardly do the cup any justice) to describe each cup.

Robust – The Little Mule
19 Somerset Place
http://www.thelittlemule.com

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Smooth (based on the cup I had that day) – Assembly Coffee
60 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
http://assemblystore.com

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Winey – Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke Street
For some reason, I adore this Brother Baba. By the same people behind 7 Seeds.

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Perfect – Switch Board
I found my little hole in the wall.
220 Collin’s Street, Manchester Unity Arcade

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Buttery (lovely people by the way!)- Oli and Levi
446 Collin’s Street

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Strong – Plantation
Shop 253, Level 2, Melbourne Central
http://www.plantationcoffee.com.au

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Earthly – Padre Coffee South Melbourne Market
Stall 33, South Melbourne Market
http://padrecoffee.com.au

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I must have had more coffee than that.

Now, South Melbourne Market. Personally I like this market over Queen Vic. But the experience is different. At South Melbourne, you’ll find loads of dried goods and health foods, quirky gifts and home deco. Be sure to grab some fresh oysters while you’re there!

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And outside the market, sits this real beauty of a cafe. Chez Dre. I would definitely revisit this place.20140503-144457.jpg

Week long birthday remember? We had the Mango Passion St. Honore, red bean macaroon, and a lychee, raspberry and coconut dome.

(http://chezdre.com.au)

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Brunetti

Everyone should visit Brunetti, especially the one along Lygon Street.  The place is huge – think counters of sweet treats, a coffee bar, a walkway of cake displays and families all around. It’s the place to be for birthdays, and even just with the family after a good cosy dinner.

(http://brunetti.com.au/brunetti-carlton/)

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Macaroons. If you are one who likes Laduree, think of La Belle Miette as her very likeable fairy-like sister.20140503-144648.jpg

Crisp shell, fully aromatic. Bite into one and a whole burst of fresh flavours dances across your palate. But then it slowly fades without a trace. No clawing sweetness. 20140503-144726.jpg

(http://labellemiette.com.au/mac/)

N2 Gelato

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Just go for it. Liquid Nitrogen gelato. While I am very traditional when it comes to gelato, this is worth the visit. Interesting flavours, but note that their flavour menu changes from time to time. So follow them on Instagram (@n2melbourne)

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Gelato. Gelato is a must.
254 Lygon Street, Carlton
(http://www.heladosjauja.com.au)

20140503-144836.jpg(Hardware Societe)

It is amazing, how readily accessible good food is to everyone here. Coffee ranges at 3-4 dollars a cup, while sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients range hover at about 5 bucks. You’ll never be hungry, nor disappointed.

Good food and a comfortable life – much of me thinks that these are only rightful things any human being should have access to.

Serious thoughts aside, I miss Melbourne. More on the amazing brunch places next time.

 

 

T.

 

 

if it’s who you love, then it’s who you love – eating and drinking in Melbourne


20140503-142627.jpg “you can’t make yourself stop dreaming who you’re dreaming of
If it’s who you love then it’s who you love,”


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7 Seeds (114 Berkeley St, Carlton / http://sevenseeds.com.au )

So I saved the best for last. Meaningful conversations over a good meal. Couple that with a good cup of coffee – that is the ideal life. You’re sure to find a cafe at every curb and bend in Melbourne.  With what little stomach space I had, these are the ones that I could manage. Memorable in their own ways, the only regret I have was that I didn’t have enough time to just sit and really chill out of these places. No less, I savoured every moment, until it was time to leave to check out some other thing I couldn’t and shouldn’t miss while I was in town.

7 seeds probably won my heart with the coffee.

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Auction Rooms (103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC 3051 / http://www.auctionroomscafe.com.au)

“I got you, I got everything. I’ve got you, I don’t need nothing more than you,” Pumpkin toast, spanish eggs with taco chips, maple soaked french toasts and candied bacon. Do i really need to say anything more?

 

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“Do you believe in magic? – Yes I do.”

To order: Lavender yoghurt custard, strawberry & pineapple gel, dehydreated berries and lychees with basil cress / soft shell crab burger

Hammer and Tong 412 (Rear 412 Brunswick St. Fitzroy, Vic 3065 / http://www.hammerandtong.com.au)

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The Hardware Société (120 Hardware Street)
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“Show me a smile then, don’t be unhappy,”

Manchester Press (8 Rankins Lane)

To order: The smoked salmon open bagel. Don’t be afraid to add a side of avocado.

20140505-221411.jpg While brunch is lovely, the city has other great food to offer.

 

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Stalactites (177 Lonsdale Street/ http://www.stalactites.com.au)

To order: Meat platter for two, calamari.

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Pho Dzung Tan Dinh (234B Russell Street)

To Order: Rare beef pho/ rare beef pho with beef meatballs. I cannot get over this.

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Let the rain fall, tomorrow is gonna be better

Chuckle Park (322 Little Collins Street / http://www.chucklepark.com.au)
This will probably be that little place in the whole city that will be special to me. From the name, atmosphere. Oh right and be sure to order the corn on cobb with some beers. 20140505-221434.jpg

Shanghai Street Dumpling (342 Little Bourke Street)

20140505-221426.jpgAnd it kills me that I did not note down where this was. But Korean food is common in the city and cheap too.

 

When it comes to food. I think the most important thing is the matter of having heart. Food prepared with decency and care, in my opinion, wins hands down over any celebrity or fad, any name and class. Food is after all meant to nourish, and more importantly to be had over mealtimes with loved ones. And this is why I love mealtimes – shared moments in our histories, exchanges and experiences to be cherished. Memories to be reflected upon with nostalgia, laughs and wishfulness. Of things kept, dearly.

 

 

T.

 

I’ll make it like your birthday, everyday – Melbourne 2014

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“Travel brings power and love back into your life,” – Rumi

20140501-224911.jpgYes, the thing about travelling is that one is often left with a syndrome commonly known as “post-holiday-blues” – No doubt I am suffering from a variant of it; who wouldn’t after being charmed and swept away by a city like Melbourne.
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I could relate Melbourne to a cup of coffee – bold, strong, with little underlying flavours that hold the city together and simply warms you up. More on coffee and food places in a separate post.

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Puffing Billy – Mount Dandenong

20140501-225004.jpgSo you see, spending 2 weekends in Melbourne felt like a 10 day long birthday celebration. More than that, it allowed me to observe and have a brief experience of what it is like living in the city. Touristy things aside, the mere luxury of space opened my mind, and assured me that there is a place on earth that is as what I imagine home to be. 20140501-225251.jpgSurf huts – Brighton Beach

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Surf huts – Brighton Beach. Each hut is different, painted by their owners20140501-225445.jpg

 

The south side of Melbourne was such a treat, from the market (which I will speak more of in another post,) to Brighton Beach, and of course St. Kilda’s and the theme park, Luna Park. Think families and weekends, fun fair grub, and the sound of children playing, and screaming over rides still manually operated.20140501-225502.jpg
Ferris Wheel, Luna Park20140501-225532.jpgSunset at the Gibson Steps along Great Ocean Road

 

But of course, the great ocean road is a must. No matter how touristy this is, nothing beats being confronted by nature. Winds, sun, sand, bush, eucalyptus trees, and the amazing sound of waves crashing against limestone and shorelines. A humbling reminder of how small we really are in this world.

20140501-225844.jpgThe Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Let me spoil this for you – there were never 12 limestone stacks to begin with. Formerly known as the Mother pig and her piglets, the limestone stacks were renamed the Twelve Apostles in light of how much tourism it was generating. Piglets or Apostles, the sight was no less breath taking. Where writers have spoken of the sea as a temptress, calling upon sea-men and their ships; I now understand the temptation of the waves. Strong, powerful and unrelentingly striking the shoreline, yet peaceful and calming.

 

20140501-225700.jpgIn a way, you could say I have rediscovered the meaning of being whole. Often, we get so caught up in chasing – chasing after things that after contemplating, may not even be important or needed for that matter. Chasing after phantoms which we think will make us happy, “better” or maybe even give us bragging rights. But are such endeavours really important? More important than creating a kind of life that was actually lived ? When was the last time you woke up without wishing you had 5 more minutes to stay in bed in loath of the day ahead or the mere fact that you just simply feel so drained and tired? Why can’t life be lived such that you would wake up and be able to afford the 5 minutes, to enjoy watching the clouds dance, to realise the sun’s warmth on your skin?

And it shouldn’t be forgotten, I was surrounded with much love while in Melbourne – my dear ones who gave me strength when I was shattered, thank you for constantly showering me with the love and care that I have now come to understand as the only right way of living as a deserving human being. If I were asked the question, “What will you leave behind in this world, as a mark of your existence?” – It is to be a reminder to people who I have crossed paths with, people who have since become important people in my life, and me in their’s (hopefully) that they are deserving human beings, deserving of the love that they do, to remind them that the universe that resides in them is wealthy with determination and strength to carry out what it is, that is their answer to this very question.

In Melbourne, I have understood the kind of love, the kind that heals.

 

 

T.