Saturday, April 30, 2005

market - cafe - springs

Originally I wasn't thinking of making this a cafecruise, but then I changed my mind and then changed it again.  Well considering I had enough info to do a cafecruise but also enough in my mind just to do some general banter. Yesterday being a Friday, I went along with my mother and brother down to the Queen Vic Market to get some things for Ukrainian Easter.  After dropping off a letter to a lovely chap at the railway station, mum picked me up along the way and our first point of call would be the lovely deli section of the market.  This would have to be my favourite place in the market and I'm pretty sure it would be most other peoples, not unless you like the nice fishy smell of next door. The most unfortunate thing that we could not do was sample the meat we were buying since it was Ukrainian Good Friday.  Having missed out on having a latte when the lovely chap decided to leave work early, we went to the Elizabeth Street side of the market and stopped off at the "Le Croissant des halles" for a latte for myself and a cappuccino for mum.

Le Croissant des halles

Situated on the corner of Therry and Elizabeth street is the lovely croissant cafe.  As soon as I walked in, my attention really wasn't the coffee but a really cute good looking customer who funny enough would be in my view the whole time I was sitting down enjoying my latte.  I didn't really pay enough attention to the food, only because I probably would have wanted meat with it but wasn't able to have any (food wise).  Being a nice day and that a majority of the seating was all outside, we sat on the Elizabeth Street side of the cafe over looking the tram stop right next to us, and also looking down to the other shops and cafes associated with the Market, and the good looking guy on the next table.

The coffee itself was quite nice, even though the glass may have been a bit warm but I found the friendliness of the staff to be quite pleasant and the company of my mother and brother rather enjoy to be able to savour the moment and enjoy my latte.

Food and drinks are quite reasonably priced, and when you have a nice sunny day then you're able to enjoy place and settings even more.

Moving on from there we still had to get a few more items, but beforehand having a browse in a shop next to the cafe selling a range of items including classic Christmas decorations.  Well worth a look. Walking past a couple more cafes before walking into the fish section.  I had one curiosity in my and always wondered what a Moreton Bay Bug looked like before it landed on your place.  Well I found out sooner than later as one stall just delivered a fresh lot in their display case, when I mean fresh you can't get fresher than the bugs still moving.  Mum managed to get some Dori fillets at an unbelievable cheap price.  Our final port of call was to get some spuds and on our way we went back home.

Well I was supposed to met up with someone in Caroline Springs, but unfortunately that didn't ended up being a non-event. Last time I went via the back way from Caroline Springs was a couple of years ago.  This time I took the same way going there and a lot had changed.  First of all I knew that they would have sealed Taylors Road to get there, but it's amazing on how the perception of new estates have changed compared to the past.  So much is really put into the presentation, it's designed to get your attention and buy there. With the usual houses and quite a few very nice architecturally designed houses it really makes you wander how far tastes and styles have evolved to be able to achieve what we are able to produce today.   On my way back since I was rather disappointed, I decided to stop in at the CSSquare (Caroline Springs Square).  This place had only just opened and it was their Grand Opening week.  For a new shopping centre it had a very good variety to provide.  Ace's Place (Italian Style restaurant), Sumos Noodle & Sushi Bar, Hair Design Studio, Gloria Jean's Coffee, Baker's Delight, Green Olive Tree Deli, Juicee, Pharmacy, Fruit Market, Coles, Lakeside Kebabs, Bendigo Bank branch, Bakers Boutique & Patisserie, Pioneer Gold Freshly Cut Meats, Springer's Charcoal Chicken, Ocean's D'Lish, Blooming Springs, Newsagency and Tatts outlet.  It's a nice architecturally designed centre which is also catered by public transport and situated right next to a lake.  I just made myself comfortable in Gloria Jeans and read the Herald Sun before driving back home.

I think I'll stop here as it is rather difficult to type with frozen hands. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

cafecruise : blush - fruits of passion - hot poppy

This time I've decided to do three cafe's in cafecruise, that's mainly because I actually went to two cafe's in the same suburb in one day (yes I am known for doing more than that, just depends on how many latte's I've had so far) and decided to stay up-to-date with one I went to today.

I'm back in Kensington again and it's Anzac Day. I've met up with a friend and I suggested going to Kensington for lunch since I do know there are plenty of cafe's open and I would be very sure that one of the them at least would be open. Well Shan suggested one place that was along the way and it was in a very nice setting so we stopped off there for lunch.


Blush is a 10 minute walk from the railway station and is nestled in a grove of trees and lovely old buildings (except for that bloody orange brick house opposite it). Well one building I was eyeing off was on the opposite corner. By the looks of it, it use to be a shop of some kind, but it was a lovely Victorian style brick building with verandah around the front. Blush itself is located in a lovely old building complete with verandah out the front. With ample seating and tables on the wide footpath, you walk past that to go inside and see the room filled with maroon and purple and an assortment of other neutral colors. Located just off the counter but centered in the middle of the cafe is a wood fire which will keep you warm on those winter days.

There were quite a few people in the cafe and a small group had occupied a long table. Our table was located next to a window in which the manager opened up for us as soon as we sat down so we could enjoy that lovely air outside. There are a few options available on the menu, unfortunately lunch finishes at 11am. Funny enough we ended up ordering the same dish which was rocket and fennel salad with pesto chicken strips. I ended up having a Chinotto and latte (no wine as I was working that night). The food was extremely nice and the chicken nice and tender and very easy to eat, but then it's always a challenge to be able to eat the small rocket leaves. The latte was quite nice and very easy to drink, but I would have expected them to be a bit more creative with the milk.

For the wine buffs, from what I noticed on the menu this would be one place that you would like to go to. For the King Valley fans we have a Pizzini Sav Blanc and a wine from Chrismount Estate.

On the staff factor, well service was very good. The staff always made sure everyone had plenty of water. As for the cute staff, they were in the kitchen preparing the meals. I do intend to go back to enjoy a Pizzini wine with a nice meal.

Blush foodroom - 43 Epsom Road, Kensington T: 9376 1222 - Open 7 days Rating : 4.5 out of 5

Fruits of Passion

After deciding to go for a walk since I had heaps of time to kill before work, we walked around Kensington and decided to stop of at Fruits of Passion for another latte. Fruits of Passion is located just across the road from Kensington Railway Station and on Anzac Day was one of many cafe's open. With heaps of seating available outside I decided to make myself comfortable after ordering a latte. Using an assortment of old outdoor furniture outside and using a similar feel on the inside giving that retro appeal that would make you feel comfortable. The only bit of concern was when you were sitting outside, it gave you the impression that you were about to tip over in your seat since some of the chairs and tables are not all on level ground, but it gives you that fun to pretend your on a ship and the boat is swaying side to side and you watch your latte going from one side to the other (well that's what I did anyway). The quality of the latte was very good, with an improvement on the presentation of the latte and some sort of effort being made to be creative with the milk. You could enjoy yourself here with a light lunch or a nice cake and you don't have far to go to catch your train.

Service from staff was quite reasonable and the quite friendly, but for some strange reason I actually wasn't paying much attention to them there. On the whole, it was quite relaxing and the place had attracted quite a bit of business for the day.

Fruits of Passion - 188 Bellair Street, Kensington - T: 9376 8588 - Monday - Sunday 8am - 5pm Rating : 4 out of 5

Hot Poppy

Well I had to have a new stereo head unit installed into the car today (27/04/05) and I knew that I would have some time to kill and the main shops of North Melbourne was only a couple of blocks away from where the car was. I had a wander down Errol street to see what was available and as I passed Hot Poppy, I though I would wander in and have a bite to eat. Well one major plus for this plus apart from the cute staff is that they have an all day breakfast menu. They also have selection of lunches, cakes and a small selection of alcoholic beverages. I decided to eat inside as I noticed that most of the tables were occupied outside but I found being inside more comfortable. Along the wall is a nice padded seat and you were also able to read one of the Herald-Sun's available (the age just would not fit). I ordered a plate with Chipolata sausages, poached eggs and some toast along with a latte and they also provided a bottle of water.

The actual meal itself was quite nice and the sausages were so juicy and so easy to eat and the bread was nice and crispy. Keeping an eye on the time I was only able to have one latte before heading back to the car. Most of the seating is outside the cafe due to the very wide footpath and it is all covered by a lovely verandah and on the inside, most of the seating is along the wall with the counter and kitchen area in front. Just off to the right as you walk in the door, there are also a couple of sofas for you to lounge on whilst you enjoy your beverage.

A good atmosphere and great music they were playing, with a few cute guys to perve on since their counter was right in front, I couldn't complain and serve was quite friendly with ample staff able to assist. Access to this part of North Melbourne is quite easy, only a short distance from the CBD or just up the road from the Queen Victoria Market using Tram 57 (West Maribyrnong) which will take you right to the shopping precinct.

The Hot Poppy Cafe Bar - 9 Errol Street, North Melbourne T: 9326 9299 - Tuesday - Sunday 7.45am till late. Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunday, April 24, 2005

spencer st open day

Yesterday was the Open Day at Spencer Street Station for the Revitalising Victorian Rail Project.  For the past two weeks there have been posters displayed at most metropolitan railway stations and there was an ad displayed in the MX over the past week and also in the Herald-Sun and The Age (so I've been told).  There really wasn't much to be expected.  The media release stated that there will be an "Improved" Connex set, a V/Line Velocity and a rebuilt Pacific National loco.  To be a bit more precise with the afore mentioned trains, the improved Connex set was actually a Siemens train with Connex livery applied and the rebuilt Pacific National loco (XR557) was actually a brand new locomotive.  Upon arrival at Spencer Street it was discovered that only the Connex and V/Line set were only on display then these were situated on Platform 8 South. The only thing there was a marquee situation at the entrance of the Collins Street bridge with stalls for Pacific National, V/Line, VicTrack, Transport Ticketing Authority, Department of Infrastructure, Spencer Street Station Authority, Metlink and Connex.  You were able to purchase items from the Pacific National stall, obtain a nice fridge magnet from the V/Line stall and a cheaper version from the Metlink stall.  Various bits of information was obtainable from each stall, however I found the Ticketing Authority stall to be lacking in that area as space was more the issue with plenty of it.

Lots of dribbling gunzels and very cute ones for me to look at.  As I was in uniform since I was going to work afterwards, even I was asked a few dumb questions.  From what I saw, there was not enough interest in the open day from the public.  Who knows there may be another one once they actually finish the station.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

cafecruise : java

It's always handy to be able to discover cafe's in your own side of town, and even better to be able to enjoy the experience with a friend or a work colleague. Yarraville is one particular suburb that has an interesting amount of charm and a typical village setting. Only a short drive or a train trip out of town, Yarraville is one suburb that I will be covering quite a bit in cafecruise.

Whilst being on a quest to find an issue of "B News", Frank and myself decided to make ourselves comfortable in Java MFG Cafe, located in the Sun Theatre precinct.  As soon as I walked in, I was able to obtain the issue of B News that I was after, but the feel of the cafe was quite welcoming.  The general layout of the cafe is quite cozy, but does offer ample seating inside and outside.  With mirrors lining up the wall opposite the counter and nice red cushioned seating is provided on the inside.

I had my usual latte and Frank ordered an Earl Grey.  Normally I would only just note my observations or feelings that I felt about the cafe, but this time I've also decided to add in Frank's opinion of the lovely tea that he consumed.   Well they brought out the latte and tea and we were both impressed when the tea was served in a plunger since that does also guarantees the freshness of the tea plus it also gives you the added bonus of being able to have two cups of tea from the plunger.  My latte was quite nice and at the right temperature very easy to enjoy. 

Java has a very good selection of cakes (I was really eyeing of the lovely tray of tiramisu) and a nice savoury menu.  Also providing a nice range of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.  The perfect setting would be to start off at the cafe with a nice drink, then visit the boutique bookshop next door (in which I did purchase a very good book), and then finish off with watching a movie at the wonderfully restored Sun Theatre, not forgetting that you can enjoy a movie in the style of gold class. 

The cafe does attract a large amount of patrons, which also portrayed that this venue does do very well.  Staff are quite friendly in both senses and no I didn't try to pick any up.  You will enjoy the atmosphere of the cafe.

Jave MFG Cafe, 12 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. 

T: 9786 3300

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thursday, April 14, 2005

cafecruise : small poppies

I seem to be concentrating on cafes a little bit on my blog recently, but I'm am trying to keep yourselves up-to-date with cafes that I have been to recently.  As I did mention when I first started this series that it will be a frequent occurrence that I will be reporting cafes. 

I finally visited this particular cafe yesterday (Wed 13/04/05), since it had been open for quite sometime and every time I have been on a train I will always see this place through the window inside my carriage.  Small Poppies is located in Footscray which is an inner western suburb of Melbourne.  Many people have varied views on this particular suburb in the range of activities that one can get involved in, but many do not realise that there is a nice little cafe culture dotted here and there in the suburb. 

On the outside it's a blue brick building and as you step inside (you'll notice the rainbow sticker before you enter), the cafe is rather spacious.  You'll find an odd sort of recycled sofas, tables and chairs.  To the right of the entrance is the counter and bar, unfortunately the kitchen had closed before I arrived so I wasn't able to fulfil my hunger.  Having a pleasant surprise of bumping into a work colleague there and having a good little chat whilst I ordered a latte.  I ventured outside to the balcony which is the main feature for the cafe.  For an avid railfan, this cafe is perfect with it's view.  The balcony sits directly above the rail freight lines and directly to it's right is the line to Ballarat/Bendigo, and just off in the distance the line to Geelong.  You'll get a great picture if you stick you lens through the fence and get a nice shot of a train shooting past.  The fence on the balcony represents a train carriages complete with wheels.  You'll also notice a rail level crossing sign and an old Footscray Station sign.

My latte finally arrived and I wasn't exactly pleased with what I saw and felt.  Unfortunately the milk was burnt, which also meant that you were not able to pick up the glass to enjoy the coffee, but that also meant that the milk did not have the silky effect that many people would enjoy whilst drinking their latte. After the milk had cooled down slightly, I was able to enjoy my latte whilst enjoying the view of trains passing, people drinking Heineken's, and the company of a work colleague (i don't remember his name). 

Overall the place did have a good atmosphere about it and I wouldn't mind sampling the food and the alcoholic beverages that they do provide.  Oh and on my cuteness level of the staff, he did have nice eyes and he was good looking.

Small Poppies : 165>169 Nicholson Street, Footscray T: 9689 0344

The cafe is situated right on the corner of the street and is only a 5 minute walk from Footscray Station. 

Rating : 3 out of 5

Saturday, April 09, 2005

cafecruise : pepper

Continuing along with my little reviews of cafes that I have visited recently. Now since I've upgraded my mobile, I will be able to show you shots of a cafe latte and some other features. No I won't be able to take any shots of the cute staff members even though that's something I'd love to do. Well I thought I'd put out this review out earlier.


Just north of Kensington is the suburb of Flemington. Home of the internationally acclaimed Melbourne Cup. This particular suburb hosts a small amount of cafes and this particular cafe managed to attract my attention. Well after working at the Newmarket Railway Station directly opposite the cafe, I noticed one of the staff member packing up and just say that his general appearance was very friendly to my eye. Well since that time, whenever I had the chance to work at the station in the afternoon, I would make sure that I did go early to be able to try the cafe out and managed to do that twice. This time I managed to have a bit more time up my sleeve and actually had a couple of lattes and savoured the experience.

Located in a lovely old double story brick building (don't know whether it's Victorian or Edwardian, I'll have to check again) on the corner of the street and lined up on one side is a row of oak trees. With autumn now upon us, the leaves of the oak are now changing colour and falling to the ground or into your latte. Sitting down outside is a very pleasant experience and does cater to a decent amount of clientele. The do have an assortment of savoury and sweet foods available and also stock a range of wines and spirits. Seating is provided outside on unique picnic tables that have been refurbished but add quite well to the feel of the cafe and fits in with the general surrounds. On the inside utilising neutral colours and also providing ample seating on the inside. Directly behind the counter is the square shelving, housing the assortment of wines, spirits, coffees and other refreshments that are available for purchase. The food is very reasonably priced and is quite tasty.

The service provided by the staff was quite reasonable and they were able to cater with the needs of the cafe patrons.

Pepper - 44 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington Vic, T: 03 9372 2726

This is one place that would frequent whenever the option arises. As I did mention before there is a hottie working there.

Rating - 5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

cafecruise : limebar

After starting cafecruise on the lifestyle page in my website, I've decided to move the column to a better arena where I had a bit more room to play with and I can also receive comments from readers.  This will be a frequent occurrence as I do have the privilege in frequenting numerous cafes during my time in and out of work.

 Lime Bar

Kensington is a suburb a buzz with feel of cafe's.  One particular cafe has a different feel to the rest of them.  Located in Bellair Street, directly opposite the Kensington Railway Station.  This modern and trendy looking cafe represents a relaxed but ritzy feel for enjoying your cafe latte or having that nice and cool refreshing glass of Chardonnay. The cafe has a very opened up feel about it.  With the two large windows on the cafe's facade reflecting the view inside of the white walls and comfortable seating awaiting you inside.  The general layout of the cafe is quite simple; outside are the tables and chairs, perfect for a nice warm day or for that chance of a refreshing breeze.  On the inside you'll find an assortment of tables and chairs, but the best piece of furniture to relax on would be the black leather sofas. 

With my first visit to this establishment, being a warm day and not being able to have any alcohol, I sampled a lovely iced coffee and was able to relax on the lovely and comfortable sofas.  The iced coffee was lovely, but it's always good to be able to sample the real taste of the cafe, that being the coffee.  On my second visit to the cafe, I was able to sample a cafe latte (unfortunately this time I was able to stay inside to have one).  The milk was at a perfect temperature and tasted like silk, and the coffee was quite smooth and did not leave a bad aftertaste.

Service at the Limebar was quite reasonable, only noticing two people who were working the second time I was there and also on my first visit.  One factor that does attract my attention to entering a cafe is the type of staff working there.  On the first occasion there was a cute guy and a girl working and the second time, a cute and good looking guy were working there.  The attitude of the staff are quite good and the staff levels are quite reasonable at the quieter time of the day in which I attended. 

Limebar -192 Bellair Street, Kensington Vic 3031 - t: 03 9372 2285 Mel Ref: 42 K 2

I would like to come back again and at least have the opportunity to have an alcoholic beverage and also sample what's on the menu (besides staff).  This is a cafe that I would recommend going to.  Stay tuned for more. 

Rating - 4.5 out of 5

Monday, April 04, 2005

John Paul II died in his private apartment on Saturday evening after a long illness, aged 84. More than one million people are expected to visit the Vatican in the coming days to mourn Polish-born John Paul II, whose 26-year pontificate was the third-longest. Cardinals will meet later to set the funeral date and begin preparations for the election of a new pope.