Tuesday, May 31, 2011

City library visit and Afternoon tea @ Journal cafe

Today was very busy in the RMIT library at Swanston st and I found it really hard to study. So I took a tram down to Collins st and walked a bit further up and turned right into Flinders lane and went to the City library and Journal Cafe
1) City library
The city library is next to the Centre for Adult Education. Here the library was really cosy and quiet, unlike Swanston library. I was able to get some work done. You can use the computers here for free provided that you book them. It is run by the City of Melbourne and open to the public.
To make you feel at ease there are free to read Vietnamese, Chinese, and other language magazines and books. But you can't take the magazines out of the library. You can also learn English here.
There are fictional and non fictional books of every kind and subject. Unlike RMIT, there are also DVD movies and music that you can borrow for free. There is also a photocopy area, but I'm not sure how much it is to photocopy here.
There is a quiet study space upstairs and unlike RMIT it is actually very quiet.
Membership is free for everyone provided that you live in Victoria. You need to sign up online and bring in your ID and address into the library for it to be activated.

2) Journal Cafe.
The Journal Cafe is just outside the library entrance. This place specialises in chai tea and I have read really good reviews on urbanspoon.com. They only take cash only. The decor here is lively and I loved the music. You can study here with a good pot of chai tea. Here you can relax with a pot of chai latte ($4 for a big pot) and $10 for a big bowl of soup.
Today I had the pot of chai ($4), a Portuguese tart ($3) and a friand ($2). Both the friand and Portuguese tart were overprieced. The friand was really sweet and tasted like shortbread. It was so little that I worked out the price to be $0.50. WRONG!!! It was $2. The portuguese tart had too much pastry and not enough egg filling in it. And it was too cold. But the chai was done perfectly with the perfect blend of spice. You can add your own honey and milk in it. The pot of chai is enough for two people.

Journal Canteen on Urbanspoon

This is big enough for two people

This looks burnt but its actually the brown sugar

I would come back here for the chai and maybe to try out the soup and some other hot dishes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Superfoods for everyone

This is a list of superfoods we have here in Melbourne. Most of them you can find in RUSU Realfoods. These foods help keep you healthy and are inexpensive to buy

week 13

Today is a lovely sunny day and it will stay that way for the rest of the week. Yay! We can all go walking in the park/beaches (if you live near one that is), when we want a break from our studies.
This is the week of SWOTVAC, thus I will be checking out the Journal library, the exam venue and South Melbourne. SWOTVAC is a time when we all stay at home or come to the library to do last minute study for exams. Its a really good idea to book a computer at the library so you don't miss a spot. I have also seen on Facebook that people got really angry when they wanted a computer and someone is using it for their Facebook accounts. So to avoid stress please book a computer.
Or you can check out the Journal library and cafe in Flinders lane, just about a two minute walk from Flinders st station
Also the nights have been colder in the last week. This morning was so cold. It was about 4C. The grass outside my house was so frosty. So make sure that you rug up. Capes and huge coats are in now.
Some people might find it hard to sleep in the cold. Meh that is normal. If you want a good nights sleep, drink green tea. It has a calming effect on you. You can buy it in any tea shop or supermarket.
Good luck with your exams.
XO Sal

sushi and dessert @queen st

Today was a lovely day to have sushi. I have read many reviews on Dontoo and decided to visit there. I have heard it was really good.
Dontoo is on Queen st near the law buildings. Here you can take the free city circle tram from RMIT and get off at Queen st. It is really small, like all the other buildings up that end and the bathroom is outside. You need to get a key for it and unlock the door. It is really dirty inside. If you can hold on for a while, great!
The waitress was really friendly and a real Japanese waitress. You don't get that much here in Melbourne. In most of the Melbourne Japanese take away joints they are either Chinese or Australian.
Dontoo was really popular. Being such a small place it was really crowded and there was a line of people all wanting takeaway. There is no outdoor seating though.
Today I had a miso soup and chirashi don for $10.50. The rice was a little bit too warm for this dish, but the sashimi, vegetables, cold tofu and ginger in this dish redeemed itself. I think that they should have left out the rice all together and put more vegetables in there.

DonToo on Urbanspoon

The miso soup was really good though. I would come back here to try the bento box and soba salad. The bento box from a couple of tables away looked really good.

After lunch I felt like a chocolate fix and saw a pie face nearby so I stopped there. Here Pie face specialises in pies small or big. I had a small, cold, sickly sweet pear and ricotta pie. I couldn't taste much of the ricotta in it though.  The hot chocolate I had was quite nice. Altogether my pie and chocolate costed $5.95. The wait staff there were quite unfriendly (with exception to the guy that asked me quite politely if he can take the spare chair after a lady left. Mind you I had to share a table with someone.)

My horribly cold pie and my lovely chocolate

The other lady's unfinished pie. I had to take it for you just to see how horrible the place is

The decor was really nice though. The pies looked really nice, but take one bite inside and they're horrid. The lady who I sat with told me so. It tasted so horrid that she left bits of her pie behind. I managed to take a picture of it before it was taken away just to show you how horrid it was.
I would come back here only just for the hot chocolate.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stress less week

This week was Stress Less Week. There were stalls manned by the Student Union. They gave away free fruit, food, stress balls in the shape of a brain, calendars, 5 minute massages and free advice on what to do if you can't make it to an exam. Many students came to this event and the balls were really popular.
Special consideration is one of the primary focuses of the blog. I have been talking about how to avoid the need for it, but sometimes you can't. If you can't you need to download a form from the RMIT website, print it out, fill it in (if it is necessary get your doctor to fill in the medical bit and tick severe( if they don't tick severe chances are your application will be rejected)) and hand it in with the supporting documentation at the HUB on your campus. Then you will have to wait about 10 days for a decision to be made.
If your application was rejected, then you should ask the Student Union for some advice on what to do next. The student union has highly trained Student rights officers who can assist you.
Back to the event though. During the week there were free beef rolls and hot dogs. I had a hot dog at the Carlton campus and the meat was so artificial. The roll was chewy and too big for me.
I did like the balls and the fruit though.
The poster

The free fruit

25 ways to make pasta

Here are 25 ways to make pasta that is quick and simple. These are quite cheap and you can make a batch of sauces to put in your freezer for those days that you don't have money.
What you could do during the first few weeks of semester is to go out and buy a lot of pasta that is dried and come 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eat @Mister Close in Bourke st

This place is like Pearson's and Murphys in that it serves a range of great food. But the only thing that they don't serve is cakes! How annoying, but then they have just started and the waitress is really down to earth and friendly. They also do catering and lunch orders (click on the website below to check out their menu and contact hours)
It is next to Starbucks (in the Target Arcade in Bourke st). This place is much better than Starbucks.
I was really hungry and today I had one passionfruit, chocolate and nut muffin ($4.50) and a hot chocolate ($4). The hot chocolate was really small. I was expecting bigger than this. The muffins were also small. For $4.50 I was expecting much bigger than this. I saw that other people's meals were also small and they had to pay around $15-$20 for their meals.
Mister Close on Urbanspoon

The place and what its about

The interesting salt jar

My Hot chocolate

My muffin which was warm and slightly dry

The globe light. How cool is that?

The muffins tasted a little bit weird. It would have been better without the chocolate in it. I don't think chocolate and passionfruit mix together really nicely. It just has this strange taste.
The hot chocolate was ok though. I'd come back for the hot chocolate.
I think that this is only a cash only place
Link to: http://misterclose.com.au/

great site on superfoods

This is a great site for all to read. It lists all the superfoods and defines them. Some of the foods such as kale, raw cacao and goji berries can be found at RUSU realfoods in the city campus.
Most of the superfoods can be organic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

make cheap coffee at home using an espresso machine

Hey guys another article here. This time its saying that you could make coffee at home yourself instead of buying it.
But you need to buy your own espresso machine. These usually cost around $100 (if buying it secondhand)- $800. These do last a lifetime. When buying them secondhand make sure that it works, because you might not be able to get a refund or fixed freely if something breaks down.
Then you need to buy the beans. They cost around $7-$16 per week (if you buy one bag that is).
This method saves you around $728- $1092 per year, which then means that you can spend it freely on other things


Gelati is an Italian type of ice cream which is low in fat and does not have as much cream as the normal ice cream. You can find many gelati shops in Melbourne.
Gelati comes in many flavours from Chocolate to lemonade and lime. You can eat it in a cone or a cup. 1 scoop of gelati costs around $3-$4.

some more soup recipes for you to look at

There's three more soup recipes for you to try at home. Soup although it requires a lot of time is cheap to make and you can make many meals out of this.
These will warm you up in winter.

Key on the wall restaurant and Lygon st, Carlton

Last night for dinner I went to Key on the Wall restaurant in Lygon st, Carlton with my library group. There was about twenty people in all. The place was a little bit hard to find, because Lygon st has many Italian restaraunts.

Lygon st
It is the Italian precinct of Melbourne. Here you will find many Italian food places such as Brunettis, Il Gambero and other Italian places. Here you can get authentic Italian food. Some of the Italian places are known for their "great espresso". Brunetti's is one such place. There are also many authentic Italian delis and shops. There is also a German spice shop here.
There are a few gelati places around where you can buy cheap desserts. There is also a famous bakehouse here, but I have not been yet.
There is also a little cinema that shows world movies known as Nova. Here there are great student specials.
There is also Borders and Readings bookshops where you can sit and read books. Inside Borders there is a Gloria Jeans coffee shop, where you can sit and read books for hours.
At nighttime the place can be a bit scary, with people hoon driving. There have been a few muggings and drunken people, especially after 9pm. Don't walk to the tram stop alone at night (its about a few blocks away from Lygon st in Swanston st), walk to the bus stop instead. There are a few bus stops in Lygon st, where you can catch the bus to go back to the city. There are times posted at the bus stop, check them out during the daytime.

Key on the Wall Restaurant.
This restaurant is really small and cozy. The bus stop is just a block away from the restaurant. This is great for people like me that don't like to walk to the tram stop after dark. I got there at 6:30pm. The restaurant was not too busy when I arrived, but later on it did get busy. I liked the authentic Italian decor and the photographs on the wall. When you are in Lygon st and dining in an Italian restaurant this is what you will find. They served wine by the glass. This is also what you will find here in Lygon st.
The waiter was really friendly, although it did take a a while for us to order. He was also really attentive, waiting for everyone to finish before clearing the plates.
The meals range from $15.90 (entree) to $26/$27 (mains). Here there is not a lot of vegetarian meals. There is heaps of seafood meals, as the Italians love their seafood.
I had a fettucine with pesto and pinenuts in an entree size ($15.90). The entree size is big enough to fill you up. It was really cheesy which I liked. The sauce was consistent and the pasta was cooked perfectly.
My dessert looks beautiful

Our free bread- look how small it is!

For dessert I had strawberry crepes ($9.90). Here this was done the French way which I liked. I loved the decorations on the plate and the cream. It was so worth the money.
This restaurant is good for only special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. Because of the price, I wouldn't go there everyday. If there was something special I would come back
Key on the Wall on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

better health channel

Here's a really good website that students should go to. Here it has all the information on staying healthy, avoiding food poisoning  and some remedies for coughs and colds.

Monday, May 23, 2011

how to avoid food poisoning when going out

To make sure that you don't get food poisoning/gastro or any other illness after you have gone out check out my tips. You don't want to end up in hospital nor do you want to miss your exams. Most restaurants do the right thing, but there are quite a few that break the food handling rules. You can have a look at my worst restaurants page to give you an idea.
You should always plan your restaurant or cafe before going out. have a look on Urbanspoon.com for some of the latest restaurants in Melbourne. Type in your street or you can search by suburb. See what people say about them. If the majority say that they don't like the place, don't even bother. If you are on Facebook, consider joining Top Melbourne Restaurants, a group that is known to discuss good restaurants/cafes and bad ones. See what they recommend is good. Have a look at people's blogs as lots write about Melbourne and Melbourne food places.
Some tips to consider when going out:
1) If the restaurant/cafe looks dirty, don't even bother going in. Chances are they'll poison you with their food.
2) Do people wash their hands after touching money/bins/eating/drinking/going to the bathroom? If not chances are you'll get food poisoning. Best to stay away. They're supposed to wash hands after they have done these things
3) Do the prices look to good to be true (for example: $1 for a plate of 20 dumplings)? If yes, then chances are that they are made really badly or done unhygenically.
4) Is anyone who is sick working there? If so chances are you'll get their illness.
5) Has the food that is supposed to be cold been out for more than two hours? If so chances are you'll risk getting salmonella (a food borne illness)
6) Are people touching food with their bare hands? If so it is best to avoid the place. They should use tongs to avoid giving their germs to everyone.
7) If it is a buffet place (ie one that is self serve) are there adequate serving equipment? If not don't touch the food. Chances are someones already touched it with their hands  or their dirty spoon and put their germs in the food.
8) Is the toilet clean? If not chances are that the kitchen is not clean and your food might be infested with bacteria.
9) Can you see the kitchen from where you are sitting (only available at some cafes and restaurants)? If so, this is great! You can see how they are handling your food.
10) Has the food been thawed properly? If not there's a good chance you'll get food poisoning. Food is supposed to be thawed properly before serving it.
11) Is the food warm enough and cooked through? If not you might risk getting gastro or food poisoning. Food is supposed to be really warm at 65C-70C. If the food is cold, tell the wait staff. The meat should not have any red blood coming through it- if it does don't eat it and tell the wait staff.
12) Is the food handling certificate and license displayed at the front of the restaurant? If not then they could be operating illegally.  To operate a food business the place must have a licence and everyone needs to have a food handling certificate. Best to stay away.
13) Are there rats/insects/cockroaches and other pests everywhere? If so, it is best to go elsewhere, as rats and their droppings, insects and other pests make you really sick.
14) Check for hairs, dirt and dead skins in the food before eating it. If so don't eat it.

fuel espresso bar

Today I ate at the Fuel Espresso bar. It is a cafe specializing in coffees and hot drinks. It is just across the road from Moonee Ponds Station. You can catch the train and the station is right outside the cafe. Everytime I walk past the station to the supermarket, I can always see a throng of people at the Espresso place and I always see the specials outside on the board.
I checked this place online at Urbanspoon.com and saw that many people really liked the place. So today I decided to check it out.
I sat inside. I loved the decor and the noise canceling walls. This meant that I couldn't hear the trains outside, which was perfect as I wanted a quiet breakfast. There is outdoor seating, but its only for the people that love the trains coming in and out of the station and hearing the loud train horns. Besides today was too cold to sit outside.
They have really cheap meals there. Prices start from $6.90 for eggs and toast to $12.90 for pizza. They are only opened for lunch and breakfast. They do open on the weekends. Muffins are $4 each and drinks are from $2-$6. They also have a muffin and coffee deal ($5 or $6).You can make your own juice for $4.50/$5. They do gluten free meals. I'm not sure about vegetarian meals though.

Yeah my camera's not really great at taking pictures in the sunlight/clouds.

See how perfect this is!

Fuel Espresso Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon
But today I had a $12 breakfast combo which consisted of Eggs Benedict and Hot Chocolate. The eggs benedict was a bit small, but I really enjoyed it. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the sauce was really buttery. They should have put some vegetables with it or at least have the same combo but with veggies instead of ham. I think that the ham is champagne ham, because it is thin and flavoursome, but I'm not too sure. I liked it with the English muffins; a good option for people that don't want to eat too much in one sitting.  I saw a plate of eggs and toast go past and the toast was huge! Next time I should try it.
The hot chocolate was huge and included two marshmallows. The hot chocolate was the same old but I did like the looks of it when it came out.
I think I would like to come back here with friends, preferably on a weekend where there is not that many trains around.

week 12

This week is all about last minute revision before the exams and all the coffee hangovers from studying up too late at night. So this week I will review a few places as well as talk a bit about stress less week.
Stress less week is run by the Student Union and each day there is a stall at a different campus. There are free giveaways not to mention free food and information about Student Rights and Special consideration. Now is also the time to apply for Special Consideration if you need it. You can download a form from the RMIT website or you can pick one up at the HUB on your campus. You then need to submit the form along with your cover letter and other documentation. Depending on how bad the situation is you might need a doctor to fill out one section of the form. Make sure that he ticks "Severe Impact" or otherwise you might not be granted it. Also RMIT doesn't consider a cold, migraine or period pain to be a good reason for Special Consideration. You can easily purchase these medications over the counter at many pharmacies. Chemist Warehouse is where you can purchase medicines for the half the price. They are located all over Melbourne. You just Google it and you'll find that it is all over Melbourne.
Make sure that you stay warm and eat healthily. This week I will touch on how to avoid food poisoning in many places especially restaurants and fast food outlets. In my blog, the restaurants that I have chosen are healthy and doesn't cost you a fortune, except for some special occasions.
Have fun studying and don't forget to have a break every now and then
XO Sal

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oriental teahouse in Melbourne Central

This place in Melbourne Central just opened a few days ago, so in my lunch break I went to check out the place. This place not only sells dim sims and tea, they also sell tea leaves, tea bags, tea cups and other crockery. it has a bamboo courtyard, where people can sit and watch the world go by. Unfortunately there were not that many people when I arrived, but give it some time and there'll be more people. I got to sample some teas and found them to be pretty watery and nothing like T2's teas. I have yet to try the dim sum but I saw that they are pretty expensive ($6-$17 per basket, depending on what you order).
The manager there was pretty friendly. I would go back there just to try their food with a friend.

Visit: 12/6/2012
I went in there for their afternoon special of one dumpling (or drumpling as Melbourne Central like to call it), drink and egg tart. It has been about a year since they opened at Melbourne Central and already they are receiving a few dislikes on Urbanspoon.
I had the vegetarian dumpling and it was a bit spicy. It fared really well except for the spiciness and stringiness.
It took about five minutes to come after I ordered it.
The egg tart was the worst. It was overcooked and really flaky. I mean really. I wouldn't order this again.
But the white chocolate dumplings ($5.90 for three) were nothing to write home about.
The tea was really good... it was served in an authentic mug. It is normally $3.50 but it came as a part of the deal.
It was good that I came when there was not people around. At least  I got the full attention of the wait staff. I didn't mind the Australian blonde lady serving me as she was friendly. But for some people it might just be a turn off.
Now I know why I don't come here that often.
Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

RUSU Realfoods

RUSU Realfoods is the only organic vegetarian place at RMIT. It is located in a corner of the City campus. Here we do chais, smoothies, chocolates, hot meals, sell pies, snacks and other goods with a friendly face. All the meals are under $10. Most of the meals are gluten free and dairy free. Anyone is welcome to visit between the hours of 11am-4pm weekdays during the semester. Occasionally we do close for meetings and stuff so for RMIT staff it might be better to phone ahead before coming. For RMIT staff you can phone in your order and well have it ready for you when you get there. Occasionally we do have events such as cooking classes which is free for all to attend.
Realfoods Organic Cafe on Urbanspoon
The last one we had was the Chocolate event where Living Earth (an organic chocolate brand) showed us how to make chocolate. About 60 people turned up and it was a fun event, marred a little bit by the fire evacuation. Some people went home when the class was evacuated.
Here we also learned how to make Chocolate Macaroons.

Some of the yummy snacks we have which you can buy for as little as $2-$6 (Sorry Lucy I took one of your back!)

Making Granola bars at the dessert class

Sunflower burgers which have veggie patties, lettuce leaf buns, tomatoes etc for $7.50. It is yummy and filling

Some of the salads we have. There's two zucchini pasta salads in there ($6 each)

A parfait which was made at the dessert class

Some of the snacks and drinks they sell.

More yummy smoothies.

Just the pretty decor


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