Fitzroy street art – September/October 2014

There may not be a lot of attention or publicity around it, but there is some seriously awesome street art on and off the main foot traffic areas of Smith and Brunswick Streets in Melbourne’s suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy. I like to spend a bit of time roaming the streets at least a few times a month in my favourite place; here are some of the incredible designs I captured over the last few months!

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Through my eyes: Patong Beach bars, Thailand

I love Thailand; the colours, the noise, the people. I came across this place on Patong Beach in Phuket during my last trip (January 2014), and the bright colours completely stopped me in my tracks :)

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This guy noticed me taking the first photo and stopped to pose for a second one! What a perfect place to stop for an afternoon drink!

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Cook this: quick & healthy – chicken & greens with coconut peanut sauce (gluten free)

OHHHH THIS IS SOOO GOOD!!! A HUGE thank you to the lovely Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower who posted this recipe a few weeks ago – as soon as I saw it on my reader, I knew I had to give it a try! If you’re not pulling recipes from other blogs to try out in your own kitchen, you’re missing out, by the way; bloggers are real people, in real kitchens. Their photos may not be fancy and shiny and magazine quality, but because it’s coming from a real person, you know the food is going to be amazing!

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Her chicken and greens looked delicious, but what really got my attention was the sauce – a combination of hoi sin, peanut butter and coconut milk. As soon as I read it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen this idea before – three incredible flavours, which all worked perfectly together!

It’s a very, very quick dinner, and it actually is pretty healthy too! Andrea’s version looks amazing, and you can get her recipe from her blog. My version went something like this:

Veggies: stir fried broccolini and bok choy with garlic oil and a little soy sauce.
Chicken: sliced breast fillets, grilled on the BBQ with just a little salt and pepper.
Sauce: exactly as per Andrea’s instructions:

Add hoisin sauce (1/8 cup), peanut butter (2 tbsp, crunchy), and coconut milk (3 tbsp) into a small pot over low heat. Use a heat resistant spoon or spatula to stir the sauce. Once the ingredients are evenly incorporated, remove the sauce from heat, and pour it into a small bowl.

How simple is that?! Best part was that I doubled everything and it all re-heated really well for dinner the following night, too!

Stay here: Hotel Pasitea, Positano, Italy

Positano Art Hotel Pasitea
Via Pasitea 207, 84017 Positano, Italy
http://www.hotelpasitea.it/

5.9

This was the view from our room at the Hotel Pasitea in Positano. Not bad, huh? And guess what? The hotel itself was as good as the view. Ohh take me back…

It’s a beautiful design hotel set in the hills of Positano, doubling as an art gallery and also having the advantage of a balcony view for each room. The rooms themselves are beautiful in white, simple in white and wrought iron. I absolutely adored our room, with the big painting behind the bed and the postcard view. But it was the smaller touches that I loved too, like the kindly gentleman at the front desk who generously complimented my broken Italian, and politely laughed at the one or two words I spoke in dialect rather than proper Italian. He greeted us each day with a smile, and always asked how our day was when we returned from an outing. It’s true – the people make it :)

5.4

Some of the notable features you may want to know about when considering a stay here..
– fantastic location
– on site carparking
– free wifi
– all rooms have balconies (!!!)
– LCD TVs
– daily housekeeping
– private bathrooms
– air conditioning
– telephone
– hair dryer
– tea/coffee making facilities
– buffet breakfast

5.3

This hotel was fantastic – the staff were amazing and really looked after us, the location was great (was easy enough to walk everywhere from where we were), the prices were really good considering the standard (and the view!) from around $135 per night off peak, and it’s somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend or stay at again :)

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Batman Market, Melbourne

Batman Market
http://batmanmarket.com.au/

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I’ve been looking forward to this market – it’s had plenty of advertising and word of mouth leading up to opening weekend (October 11th & 12th), so I was pretty excited to find out I had nothing on and was free to eat and shop my way around. The fact that it was opening weekend and a sunny 24 degrees was just the cherry on the cake!

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You can read a bit more about the market on their website, but the basic premise is that the team behind the Batman Market are working to build a new iconic multicultural market for Melbourne to enjoy, representative of the “Australian weekend lifestyle.” They’re hoping in the future that it’ll be a site that can be used to host events for the community, as well as celebrating multiculturalism through food and creative locals selling their wares. Stalls will cover the spectrum from street food style sellers to health food and groceries, as well as homewares, jewellery and second hand pieces.

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I visited on opening day, last Saturday, and the atmosphere was fantastic; there were people of all nationalities, all ages, all walks of life. Hipsters, nannas and babies in prams co-existed in happy harmony, absolutely packing the sunny market place. There were seriously good vibes coming out of the place! The stalls I looked at were well set up, with heaps of gorgeous little trinkets for sale – the jewellery stalls in particular caught my eye, there were beautiful handmade pieces, and I’m looking forward to another visit after pay day so I can make some purchases!

The food was the big draw card for me, so with husband’s help, I ate my way through as much as I could. Here’s what we devoured..

 

Nuoc Mama’s
https://www.facebook.com/NuocMamasFoodTruck

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It reallllly upsets me to have to give this place such a bad review, because I so wanted to like it… I realise that opening weekend for an event this big presents teething problems, and you have to anticipate there are going to be some waits while the teams in the trucks find their feet. But this is not a new food truck. They’ve been around for long enough to be able to pull it together, and they didn’t on Saturday.

We ordered a crispy pork belly pancake and proceeded to wait for 45 minutes for a dish that I can cook at home in 10, having learnt in Hoi An. After watching the lady in front of me ask for her money back and walk off pretty frustrated (understandable), I was getting ready to do the same, but was told my pancake was next up. The pancake we finally received was raw in the middle (I’m not a big fan of raw batter) and I found the pork to be pretty bland. Not only that, but when I went back to tell the guys in the truck that my pancake was raw, all I got was a shrug of the shoulders and “oh… sorry…”

Unacceptable; you CANNOT serve RAW food to your customers. You also CANNOT tell them to expect a quick 10 minute wait and keep them waiting for three quarters of an hour. We were disappointed and frustrated beyond belief; if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that I rarely have a bad word to say about people working hard in the food industry because I know what a tough gig it is, but this was ridiculous. Hopefully they can take it and learn and up their game next time!

Nuoc Mama's on Urbanspoon

 

Now that that’s over and done with, let’s get to the good food, of which there was heaps!!

Not sure what this place was, but they did BBQ pork belly on a stick. With some really delicious cumin salt sprinkled on top. It only cost $3.00 per stick, the fat was so nicely rendered and it was just a meat lollypop of loveliness. They had some other great looking stuff, like the soft shell crab and calamari, that was flying out of the place.

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Ayomo Frozen Yogurt – but I was there for the waffles

http://www.ayomo.net/

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This was possibly the best waffle I’ve ever had, no exaggeration. You pick a base, 3 toppings and a drizzle on top – I went with peanut butter base, oat crumble, chocolate pearls, peanuts and hazelnut chocolate drizzle. Best $8.00 I’ve spent in a while. Massive points for the lady and gentleman working, who were still smiling and genuine with each customer despite the hot sun and the long day they’d already had. Oh, and to offset the crap food and service at Nuoc Mama’s, when the lovely lady who took my order here realised she’d lost it, she apologised quickly and pushed my order to the front. From first order to receiving our waffle, we clocked no more than 6 minutes.  Won’t be my last visit to these guys. Make it a priority when you visit.

Ayomo Frozen Yogurt & Juice Bar on Urbanspoon

 

Strawberry iced tea. No idea where this came from because husband went to buy this while I was waiting in line at Nuoc Mama’s; it was soooo good! Ice cold, neither the tea nor the strawberry flavours were overpowering – it somehow magically tasted equally of both. $5.00, do yourself a favour and track this down! Delicious!

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Señor BBQ
http://www.argentineanbbq.com/

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Chorizo choripan. Chorizo sausage in a crunchy roll, smothered in chimichurri. This was pretty delicious. Nothing special, nothing I’d rush back for, but it was very good.

 

Aaaand a little bit more dessert…

Queqedjoe
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Queqedjoe/577441329049302?sk=info

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Indonesian handcrafted mini no-bake cheesecake pots. Yeah. This little cup of love is the mango and salted caramel cheesecake, and it was really, really good. Silky smooth, the caramel was salty but still sweet, and the biscuit crumb base was perfect. Amazing dessert, so unexpected, but I’d definitely be keen to try some more flavours!!

And one I didn’t get a photo of.. or catch the name… which I’m cursing myself for. There’s a bakery, they had chocolate croissants, probably the best chocolate croissant I’ve had, including the one I had in Paris. Whoever you guys are, you are FANTASTIC!!

 

So, worth a visit this weekend? ABSOLUTELY!! Get around the Batman Market; the team behind it are doing really great things and they need the support to make this market as big as it potentially could be! They’re open Saturdays and Sundays, 9am – 3pm, so head down this weekend and enjoy it!