Monthly Archives: October 2013

THE CHOPPING BLOCK

So we were visiting Mum and Dad and caught up with a friend at The Chopping Block Cafe (the same friend who made us quinoa maple hazelnut muffins!) before she had to go to work .

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We had a quick catch up without food, just coffees. Ben had a latte, Friend had tea, I had a mocha. We all oggled the menu board (for next time?) and the display cabinet.

We were lucky we ordered when we did, because this is a busy place on the weekend! You line up to order but meals and drink are brought out to you.

We all enjoyed our drinks. It had been ages since I’ve had a mocha and this was was nice. Love the freckle with your drink! my friend had to wait a while for her cake, but the staff were very nice and apologetic when we inquired. Curious to try the food properly next time.

 

*Urbanspoon link will be updated when The Chopping Block gets added*. Thanks for your patience (but feel free to remind me).

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CAFE CHECOCHO

So if you go to Cafe CheCoCho on Hardgrave Street, you must not sit at the Hobbit Table.

What is the Hobbit Table, you may ask? Well, frankly, it’s my table. Okay not literally but it’s decoupaged in dozens of pictures taken from Tolkien stories and as someone who has read “The Hobbit” over a dozen times and “The LOTR” about six, I feel compelled to sit there and sad when I don’t. Don’t worry, the other tables are just as charming and skillful. I’m also partial to the vintage ladies table when the Hobbit is occupied.

So enough about tables.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

I passed Cafe CheCoCho (Chess, Coffee, Chocolate) for years before I finally went in. I’m sorry I didn’t go earlier. Until the move this year, we went there while our laundry was washing up the street on a Sunday morning. It was a ritual we had. Although I don’t miss lugging laundry to a laundromat, I do miss that ritual!

CheCoCho does a standard-ish cafe menu really well. You’ll find some lovely vegan options for breakfast and drinks and they make a mean bowl of chips.

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The All Day Breakfast, vego option.

The best breakfast option is by far the $9 All Day Brekkie. The veggie option comes with roast veggies instead of bacon, which sounds unusual but works so well. This time, I ordered The All Day and Ben ordered an omelette. Ben got a latte and I got a chocolate milkshake. Vegan milk options are happily used.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

I love how consistently excellent the poached eggs are here. I really can’t recall getting a bad one and as regular readers will know, I eat a fair few poached eggs in and around Brisbane. Just after this breakfast, I took a good non-vego friend here who also ordered the vego All Day Breakfast and she loved it. It was totally satisfying sharing the poached egg love.

I’m also happy that there are a few places left that serve milkshakes in metal canisters. Does anyone else remember getting them when you were little? I loved that. Or, at a close second, in a milkshake glass with the leftovers in the canister and both served to you. I’m getting flashbacks to this diner from my childhood in Victoria called …something “Park” which served milkshakes this way and HAD A SMOKING SECTION (Today, there is no smoking in any Australian shopping centre or food service area). So very old. I digress. Here’s our drinks (Ben always enjoys the coffee here and orders a huge one):

Don't spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it's on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Don’t spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it’s on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Seriously, just eat here. It’s old, it looks a little grubby at times, it’s not air conditioned but it’s really affordable and it sells books for $2 (Such a cool and varied selection as well). It’s just very West End.

Yoooooooolk.

Yoooooooolk.

Ooey gooey.

EDIT: The owners have had to get rid of most of their decoupage tables except for the big indoor one because, due to age and rain, they had gotten gummy and were peeling. This means the Tolkein Table is gone and I am sad forever, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to eating on a non-fantasy epic table. In time. Perhaps.
Checocho on Urbanspoon

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Super Duper Easy Chickpea Rissoles

So this is one of the easiest recipes in the world. I make them regularly and they’re full of protein and very flexible on the flavour balance.

I like to make these on the weekend and eat them for lunches. They freeze well and are nice hot or cold. I took this batch to a picnic on a perfect Sunday afternoon. Very yum.

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inGREEDients:

2 cans of chickpeas

2 eggs (if you want to make these lower calories, just use egg whites. I hate waste).

4 tbls flour

4 tbls parsley or other greens floating around (spinach, coriander, etc.)

Cumin, paprika, ground coriander

Salt and Pepper

Any other spices or flavours that you fancy

 

DO:

Drains and rinse the chickpeas. Chuck those puppies in the food processor and give them a blitz to get them started. Add all the other ingredients and blend until sticky (you may want to mix more or less depending on what texture you like).

Roll into balls or patties and bake on a well oiled tray until outside is crispy.

These are really nice with sweet chilli sauce. I had them the other day with a spinach and feta dip and they were delicious. You could also put this in felafel.

Makes about 2 dozen balls, depending on how small you roll them.

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So easy, you won’t have any excuses not to try them and report back!

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RAW ENERGY

So Ben and I have been to Raw Energy since forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but certainly ever since there has been a branch at Cotton Tree. There are also branches at Mooloolaba, Peregian Beach and Noosaville. We like Cotton Tree on a Sunday morning. This time, I went with my mum on a Monday morning.

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Despite the name, Raw Energy doesn’t have a lot of raw products outside of its juices. Until recently, they had almost no vegan food either, but this is starting to change. There was a vege stack that was vegan on the day we went there and they sell some energy balls that are vegan. I’ve had the avo and tomato toast when I was vegan which is really yummy.

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal :)

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal 🙂

I opted for my “usual” juice: Green With Envy. It’s apple, pear, celery, broccoli, spinach and something else (I’ve forgotten) but the best part is you can’t taste the veggies! Mum had a Tropical Twist, which is orange, pineapple and ginger. I also ordered the lentil and three cheese triangle and two chialicious balls to take away for later.

These are my new favourite thing. I'm so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

These are my new favourite thing. I’m so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

This place can get hectic on the weekend and service can become slow, but today was a Monday and things were speedy. We sat at the communal table and read “Vogue” while we waited.

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My triangle was delicious. The lentils had a tasty tomatoey sauce they were cooked in and although I couldn’t name the “three cheeses”, I really enjoyed the meal and the wee bit of salad on the side. Our juices were great- they always are. There’s a huge juice and smoothie list to stare at while you order or wait.

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Overall, this meal was delicious and boosted our spirits. We went and browsed the shops and then sat in the shade behind the public pool overlooking the Maroochy River mouth. Very relaxing.

Be patient on weekends and you’ll be rewarded!

Raw Energy on Urbanspoon

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Undress Brisbane

So I spent the evening peering over people’s shoulders at a runway and drinking delicious organic cocktails in a multistory carpark at Undress Brisbane‘s 2013 Runway event, a sustainable fashion show.

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So many shoulders. Such little view.

Now I know why women wear heels to fashion events.

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RUMPUS ROOM

So I’ve been to Rumpus Room a fair few times over the years. The most memorable was definitely a 29th Birthday party where we had hired a party bus and frantically drove all over Brisbane to some of the best and worst bars whilst playing party games. At Rumpus Room, the game was simple: if someone put their head on the floor, everyone else had too as well. The last person to put their head on the floor had to drink a shot. It was a complex game.

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This time as the Rumpus Room was much more tame but still lots of fun- we arrived during happy hour (5 until 7) and had many $5 wines and beers and a few $10 cocktails. My sister-in-law and I checked out every guy in the bar (sorry if you were subjected to our oggling) and debated who looked like a decent person for my sister-in-law. I thought there were some interesting looking guys but she wasn’t impressed. I once came here with a friend who was them chatted up by three guys in 20 minutes! Maybe my S-I-Law needed to be there a little later.

Rumpus Room is open later than most West End bars (most close at about midnight) and has a good mix of people- diverse ages, subcultures and styles. I miss the giant bean bags. Those things were FUN (but probably grotty).

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I like it.

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ORAWGI

So I’m in love. I love raw food places because you can feel the care in the food. I’m serious! Nothing can be “slapped together” in a raw food cafe because everything is a process- blending, chilling, dehydrating, marinating, etc.

Orawgi (meaning Organic, Raw and low GI) is run by the supremely talented Jamie Louise Stevenson. I like to think her parents read her Treasure Island as a child. It’s actually located inside another building- BioSolar- on Ipswich Road in Wooloongabba. Their Facebook page is here and the owner also runs the yoga studio next door.

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The decor is white and bright but a lot of fun. I forgot to take a picture of the wall that was just black and white photo frame wallpaper with the staff’s colour photos stuck on it, but it was very cute. There were quite a few people there and the three staff were bustling and busy.

Ethics is the name of the game here. Everything is vegan (except for honey in smoothies) and organic and made in the store. It’s not cheap, but when you consider the labour that goes into making an organic dehydrated pizza base or quiche or bagel, it’s worth it! Take away containers are biodegradable and non-plastic wherever possible.

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I oggled the display cabinet but decided upon the pizza straight away. I think most of the meals were $15 but a lunch deal is $20 and includes either a drink or something sweet. I ordered The Jefferson Special smoothie (walnuts, protein powder berries and honey) with my lunch and it also came with salad. I had the garden salad and the kale salad (although you can just have one or the other if you want). This might not look like a huge serve, but I was FULL by the time I’d finished.

That is not a real orange. It is my "magical orange" which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

That is not a real orange. It is my “magical orange” which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

The salads were tasty- the kale one had purple carrots and a Asian soy-ish flavoured dressing with lots of sprouts and seeds. Fresh.

How do I describe raw pizza? Hmmm… well the veggies included tomato, capsicum and florets of broccoli (trust me when I say that broc on a pizza can work!) on a crispy base. The base is made from nuts that are made into a “dough”, rolled thin and then dehydrated (dried without cooking) until crispy. The sauce was amazing- it tasted like sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps capsicum buzzed up in a Vitamix blender until super-fine and smooth. There was also a drizzle of cashew sauce- cashews, garlics and I’d have to guess perhaps some nutritional yeast- which serves as the “cheese”. This is not Dominos people, this is nutrient dense food that tastes great.

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I also ordered a brownie to take away but they were all out so I had the chocolate and salted caramel tart. It’s a hard life. Even though it has coconut oil/butter in it, it lasted all the way home via the fruit and veg shop without turning into a gloopy mess. I don’t know what I liked more: the base or the toppings.

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The verdict?

Can you marry a shop?
Orawgi on Urbanspoon

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Stay Positive

So I’ve recently stuck these up on our bathroom mirror. Does anyone else do something similar? Do you think it helps you to stay positive?

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Jacarandas. A Brisbane thing.

So there’s this tree that blooms up here in Queensland called a Jacaranda and they’re bright purple and you know you’re getting towards the end of the year/semester/term when they start blooming.

They’re blooming now.

IMAG2778There’s a park in Yeronga called Jacaranda Park (creative, I know) that for 10 months of the year is a boring, square park with trees around the edge but at the moment looks AMAZING because Jacaranda flowers fall and create a beautiful purple carpet on the grass.

I know they grow elsewhere, but to me Jacarandas are a quintessential Brisbane thing.

They’re beautiful, they’re everywhere and they make me very happy. If you’re a Briswegian, do you know of any cool Jacaranda pockets blooming at the moment?

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Book Launch: Art/Fashion in the 21st Century

 

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So I went to a book launch and panel discussion at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) yesterday. IMAG2849

The launch was for Mitchell Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler’s new book Art/Fashion in the 21st Century and it’s huge and lovely and I shouldn’t have but I bought one for a friend’s wedding present. Worst wedding present ever. Best book for the bride though. And I got them both signed!

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The panel was the authors joined by Susan Dimasi, (Director and Artisan Designer, MaterialByProduct) and Dr Nadia Buick (Co-Director, The Fashion Archives) discussing big questions such as “Can fashion be art?” to changes in fashion over the last 10 years to the blurring of lines between art, fashion, design and film.

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I also bought Mitchell’s older book Fashion: Australia and New Zealand Designers which I hope will be a fun read and a break from the academic reading I’m doing at the moment.

Today I browsed the books in the sun (yes, I read books I buy for others. Sorry) and strolled down to the Young Designers Markets and Southbank for some visual fun.

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A fabulous fabric-centric weekend.

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