Healthy fare Melbourne

After hitting all the cafes I mentioned here, one should definitely check out the following clean eating spots while in the mecca of all things food, aka Melbourne.

Clean Eats and Treats (non cafe)

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The best airport snacks I didn’t get to enjoy; the glass bottle smashed on the floor. Sadness.

Green Press, Little Collins Stret, CBD

This little shop offers cold pressed organic juices, raw treats, smoothies and clean lunch options. They’ve created their own version of a donut, made with pumpkin and almond meal. My favorite juice: Captain Planet with blue green algae, coconut water and grapefruit.

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Ex salad master of Laneway Greens waiting for her smoothie.

Laneway Greens, Flinders Lane, CBD

This small salad bar on Flinders Lane should make the cut to any list of salad bars, great lunches, healthy food, smoothies, and value for money joints. I might be a bit biased to talk about this place since I was part of the team from day 1, but at least I can say that they really ARE what they preach. No cutting corners, all clean and hearty fare, big enough portions to save some for later, and smoothies that are the best money can buy. I can’t recommend any one salad, since all of them are to die for, but the Miso Salmon would probably be my favourite, along with the Seared Tuna. All dressings are made in house, with no extra sugars or additives. You can also get your smoothie bowl and chia pudding fix at LG, or grab a fresh pressed juice to go. 

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Glass box of pure goodness at Pana.

Pana Chocolate, Church Street, Richmond

This little chocolate shop on Church Street sells the most delicious handcrafted raw treats you can find. In addition to their chocolate bars, Pana sells different slices, pops (think ice cream pops but made from chocolate, coated with nut crumble), truffles and such. Guilt-free indulgence at its’ best! 

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Guilt-free lamingtons. Nom.

Terra Madre, High Street, Northcote

Not a cafe or a quirky small independent artisan shop, but the best shop for all things organic, natural and eco-friendly. Fresh veggies, breads and eggs, huge bulk section full of nuts, seeds, flours, spices and dry cooking things, and everything you could imagine buying for your kitchen (and bathroom). Cheap cheap, too!

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Bulk goodies at Terra Madre.

Yo-Chi, several locations

Froxzen yoghurt to the win! They usually have one soy option and one coconut-based option for vegans, otherwise the flavours speak for themselves: how about rose, matcha or mango? The various toppings seal the deal. Other great sweet tooth fix: Frozen froyo on Chapel street and Melbourne Central. 

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Nordic Food Co. selling homey goodies in Alma Park on Saturdays at the Hank Marvin Markets.

Markets: Queen Victoria, South Melbourne, Prahran – and pop-up markets such as Hank Marvin

Fresh seasonal veggies and fruit, delicatessen and anything you might need for a picnic in the park, the markets are my go-to place when it comes to weekly shopping or being ingredients for a dinner with friends. Best hummus in the world: South Melbourne market, Steve’s Deli. You can also find coconut cheese from South Melbourne market! 

Byebye Australia – For Now

Leaving Australia after building a life in Melbourne was very sad, something I had ticking in the back of my head even a few weeks before leaving. I had booked a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, just because I needed to go somewhere, not because I necessarily wanted to. In Melbourne I had friends, a lovely laid back job with great work mates, and still heaps of exercise places to try out, it was the best season of the year…and I needed to let go of it all, get rid of the clothes and things I managed to hoard in 12 months, move out of my apartment and figure out what’s next in life. Easy to admit, the last few weeks have been a tad hectic. I was lucky enough to have a lot of work until the end, and to still managed to have the time to check out all the cafes I’d wanted to go but hadn’t had the chance yet…it was living life to the absolute fullest, with minimum time for rest and oh-so important me-time. One chapter of my life is now over, and I am off to the adventures awaiting me. To the Hobbit land!

Brighton beach huts.
Brighton beach huts.

After going to eat breakfast out for 4 days in a row, having farewell drinks and games and bbq (finally, a real bbq experience!), I got myself to the airport with my expensive cold pressed organic juice and only 17kgs of luggage, just to drop the juice to the floor and find out that I won’t be let in New Zealand without a ticket out. After a quick panic attack, some phone support and Skyscanner scanning, I chose to fly to the Gold Coast after 20 days in New Zealand. I calculated that 20 days would be enough to get me from the south island to the north, and to see ALL THE THINGS on the way. And what an adventure it is going to be…

Last meal in Melbourne in Auction Rooms.
Last meal in Melbourne, Auction Rooms.

Melbourne will always have a special place in my heart, and I am pretty content I will return there some day. There is still so much to see, do, eat…! I have made lifelong friends, gained tremendous amount of great memories, learned heaps of life and myself, and developed myself both professionally and personally. What a great year, regardless of the rough patches throughout. I have definitely become stronger, and also learned that from now on I will not risk having to buy tickets at the airport. It is stressful and not fun. While starting and sorting out my New Zealand adventures, I will post some foodie things from Melbourne.

Melbourne cafes

Melbourne is definitely foodie’s paradise, and for someone who comes from the world’s leading coffee consumption country, the plethora of out of this world cafes and roasteries is mind boggling. When coming to Australia, I chose Melbourne as my base from the get-go, and a year after I am glad I did. During the 12 months I spent in the coffee capital the world, I did go through quite a few delicious spots and dishes. Here are a few of my favourites.

Cafes
There’s plenty of great breakfast and brunch spots in most of the neighbourhoods, and I preferred to explore and venture to new spots instead of going to the same ones several times (though some were just too good to leave just for one visit).

Proper iced coffee.
Proper iced coffee.
Hipster interior design in Patch.
Hipster interior design in Patch.

Patch, Bendigo street, Richmond
One of the best feeds in Melbourne. All options are more or less paleo and gluten free, with a lot of variety. Go for the pancakes or the Caveman, a plate with a bit of everything. They make paleo bread in house, which is completely perfect in texture but in my opinion could definitely use some herbs or even salt.

Paleo waffles. Nom.
Paleo waffles at Patch. Nom.

 

Admiral Cheng Ho, Johnston Street, Abbotsford & Monk Bodhi Dharma, Balaclava
Two lovely vego cafes who have true passion for coffee. You can choose from 5 different beans for your coffee of choice, and enjoy a delicious and healthy breakfast or lunch while at it. Lunch specials on the black board, menu staples include amazing mushroom dish and a delicious acai bowl with superfoods like lucuma and maca.

Umami mushrooms, Admiral Cheng-Ho.
Umami mushrooms, Admiral Cheng-Ho.

 

Little Big Sugar Salt, Victoria Street, Richmond
In the heart of Little Vietnam, this quirky cafe is hustling and bustling with hipsters getting their fix from this cafe with the best menu ever. And by menu I mean the actual menu paper, with jokes, classified ads and even a recipe for their divine pancakes. Try at home? It’s good for glu-tards, cow-tards and fructose-free-ks.

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Code Black Coffee, Brunswick
This coffee roastery has another branch in North Melbourne, but I went only to the Brunswick one. They have a nice twist on the classic cafe staple, smashed avo, served with kale pesto and pistachio chia dukkah. Throw a poached egg and some goat’s feta in the mix and wash it down with freshly roasted and ground coffee, and you’ve experienced the ultimate Melbourne brekkie experience.

Mother of all breakfasts, Code Black Coffee.
Mother of all smashed avos, Code Black Coffee.

 

Industry Beans, Rose Street, Fitzroy
Another in-house roastery coffee shop, another industrial interior and guaranteed wait on weekends. Smaller and larger plates, either to share or devour on your own. More lunchy options besides your stable bircher, chia pudding and eggs. Delicious teas, too!

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Bonus: Hot chocolate at Hash, Hardware Lane, CBD
This drink is an experience, and probably the most delicious hot chocolate you’ve had. 80% Mörk hot chocolate (made in Melbourne) in a glass jug, to be poured over a mug full of fairy floss aka cotton candy. Watch the chocolate melt the fairy floss and make the concoction sweet and deeeeeelicious.

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Melting fairy floss with chocolate, Hash.

On Working Hard vs. Hardly Working

There was a time when I got barely 2 days of work per week. The last week or few weeks I have been working more than sleeping or doing anything else. Somehow you adapt to the 12 or 14hr workdays and when you actually have free time, there’s this odd emptiness about what you should be doing to be more productive and as effective as possible. Working in Laneway Greens for the past 4 months has taught me a great deal about over the top cleanliness (it must be the cleanest kitchen in the Southern hemisphere!), dealing with extremely busy service, and to handle stress. I think the biggest learning I’ve got is to let go and not stress about work too much. There are only so many things I can affect, and so many things I can do. After making a mistake, it is best to learn from it, and to let it be. No point in dwelling and feeling like a loser. I think realizing not to stress (oh boy did I stress about anything and everything for a good few months) makes you actually work better. It definitely improves your mood.

I needed more hours and, to be honest variety to just whirring the Vitamix, so I snatched a job in the kitchen (looks more like the setup of a food truck) of a non for profit bar just around the corner from my old job. The place is very relaxed, I am basically my own boss since I’m in the kitchen alone most of the time, and I work with a bunch of people who never say no to a staff meeting (aka shots behind the bar meaning in the kitchen). The job is very social since I’m making the food in front of customers who sit outside, and I think having that aspect is good for me. Doesn’t make me feel so bad about spending my nights at work. And after the shift I can sit down, have a drink (yes the times of sobriety ended as I started working a bar) and go see a gig downstairs. So it’s like having a night out, without actually having to go anywhere. Too easy, as they say.

Summer is coming. I’m riding my bike everywhere. Trying to get a tan, started reading books again. Have grown a muscle next to my knee. Have no time to cook or go shopping, so saving money. Have no time to exercise like a maniac, but still do as much as I can. Exciting things coming up next year! And a new computer soon, so pictures again, yaaay!

Stay chill my friends.

A Week in Melbourne

This week is not by any means like every other week, but it definitely has many similarities to others. It seems like the less I plan things, the more fun I end up having!

Friday
It is a public holiday, since it’s the Grand Final of Aussie rules football (AFL) the following day. Wait, what? So no work on Friday, and everything has weird opening hours. I am lucky enough to have a friend lend me his bike since he bought a new one, so I need to learn how to a) ride a road racer and b) learn how to obey the rules. Luckily enough there are heaps of bike lanes in the city.

I go to South Melbourne market, have a bike ride, and spend the evening with a friend in a huge artists’ market browsing through all the wonderful things that would be cool to have but I cannot afford. It’s about 30 degrees warm during the day, so I can easily walk home at night with just one shirt.

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Saturday
The Big Game Day, and I have no clue what to do. A nice bike ride in the morning sun, Southbank-Albert Park-Saint Kilda-Prahran-South Melbourne-Southbank. I do stop at Prahran market as well as stock up on Questbars in the awesome hidden gem, Prahran convenience. Afterwards I decide to join a friend to a pub in Richmond to “watch the game”, more like observe all the interesting Aussie spectacle sports behavior. During the game we come up with plans for the next steps, and decide to head to a random house party in Fitzroy. We take a pitstop in Little Saigon to fill ourselves for the ride and the night. The party turns out to be in a massive dream house that has a sweet sweet pool, and we leave only when we can’t keep our eyes open anymore at 2am. First bikeride in the dark, empty city feels good, probably because it’s again t-shirt weather.

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Sunday
Picnic day. I spend the morning baking stuff (not smart to keep the oven on in the heat), and head to the Carlton Gardens around 2. All other people are pretty much late, so I get pretty frustrated with all the lying down and not doing anything. All in all I end up spending 5 hours at the park, hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. Afterwards we go to St. Kilda to a funky party with singers walking in the crowd while singing. Decent end for the long weekend. And I didn’t even burn in the sun!

Monday
After work I have a dreaded dentists’ appointment, and they suggest they take my wisdom tooth out. Half an hour later I walk out to the heat with one less tooth that they refused to give back me due to Australian law (wtf), and stitches in my swollen mouth. I have banana ice cream for dinner, and wonder if the numbness wears out by the next day.

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Tuesday
After work I go to a bar to work for a few hours, after which I spend the evening with a friend who always makes me want to improve myself in many ways. I miss my wisdom tooth, physically. It hurts.

Wednesday
Free coffee in the park after work, yay! I feel sluggish after not working out for 3 days, so I decide to go to a TRX class. I love the sneaky burn with no jumping and running around.

Thursday
I work 10 hours and find out my F45 class I was looking forward to is cancelled. I get frustrated, go to pilates instead, and don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I take a “little” detour on my way home and decide to bike trough South Yarra and Prahran to Southbank.

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Friday
I have a PT appointment after work and have to ride on some scary roads and a bridge to get there. Worth it, though! I rush to the city to go the Asian food truck festival in Queen Victoria market. What a summery night – warm, good music, loads of people, food!

 

And this was just the beginning of the weekend! (Ok fair enough I worked on Saturday so weekend was just Sunday for me, but I did manage to have a swim, dinner date, and go to a Japanese festival where I wore a kimono and did tea ceremony. Success.)