Thursday, July 30, 2015

The European Night Market and Bottega

The European Night Market is on every Friday night and here it is all good. It was busy on this damp winter's night. It is in the city on Madame Brussels lane where the law offfices were.

It was here that a new Goz City opened and they were having a launch inside and I wasn't invited. Oh well. We did however have to wait twenty minutes for food to come in the cold.

Whilst waiting I listened to some lovely music and smelt the mulled wine.

I was thinking of getting dessert there but I thought it was too busy. So I booked Bottega on Dimmi for dessert. And I am glad I did because it was way too busy at 8pm with people enjoying a late night drink or dinner. If I didn't book there would be no table.

I did a bit of research on Zomato and found that the best desserts were the chocolate soufflé and the tiramisu. I am not a fan of coffee after 8pm so I went for the chocolate soufflé. The waiter told me it would take a while. I didn't mind that it did because it was really good. It was of Masterchef quality. I loved the dark chocolate and the mandarin peel. The flavours worked well together. However I think vanilla ice cream would work better then the coffee one. I just really wasn't a fan of the coffee and the mandarin peel. They had two contrasting flavours for me.

I am a sweets girl and Bottega did not disappoint.
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AFIS's Amazing Race

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

AFIS has done a few Amazing race events where we had lots of fun with our teammates finding out lots about Melbourne and walking around. Here we went to eight stations (some of us only went to seven stations as we had other places to be).

It was $3 to get in but we got complimentary McDonalds burgers to start the race off with. We had not much time for lunch so I suggest packing your own. And you do need your own water bottle.

The first stop was the Botanic Gardens. This one was the hardest of all as it involed lots of walking and burning those unwanted calories.

Right near it was the Shrine of Rememberance. And the silly posing.

At Batman park it was all about food and trying out the wasabi and vegemite sandwiches. The wasabi one was so spicy but I did enjoy a snack or two.

Then it was over to Ross House for cards. This was quite challenge as we had to build a pyramid and ours kept on falling over.

Then it was over to Flagstaff gardens and Carlton Gardens for more fun.

Then it was over to Bourke St Mall and that's when I said my goodbyes. Later on I found out that I had burned 950 cals and burnt off my 600 cal burger by all that walking.

Many thanks to AFIS for having me. And do join their next one which will be sometime soon!

Union st Brewers

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Union St Brewers is a place just outside RMIT University in Brunswick. They had just opened in November last year and I had decided to check them out.

They are a rather cozy open air cafe in which students can do some study in or hold group meetings in. There weren't many people in there after 11am which was good. I was able to ask questions and watch them cook my food and do my coffee.

My scrambled eggs were a little bit watery for my liking. I would have liked a little bit more milk and even some chives and onions to liven it up. But the chilli paste was good and it worked well with the feta and eggs.

The bread was a good Dench bread. The crust was hard to cut through but the bread was soft and doughy.

The filtered coffee was light and acidic. I don't know which blend it was as they did not say. The taste reminded me of flowers.

Rating: 14/20- tis a good place to hangout near Brunswick campus.
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Bastille Day Celebrations at the State Library

RNIS was invited to the movie by the City of Melbourne.

We talk about the movie and about the exciting event in Melbourne.

On the 18th and the 19th of July there were Bastille day celebrations in Melbourne. Here there were stalls and some French music. Because the event was in the state library there were no food stalls except for the stall that sold macarons and Perrier water by the Bastille Day volunteers. I didn't need to buy the Perrier water and the macarons as these were supplied to the movie goers.

The macaron is from Cacao and was quite a joy to eat. Cacao's macarons are always lovely. The movie was normally $10.

The French Film was quite long and very entertaining. The actors and actress were all excellent as all the French actors are. The film was in black and white and was very dramatic at times. There was a shootout towards the end. The film was set just before the second world war in the Countryside in Paris. It is sort of like Romeo and Juilet where two families (in this case gangs) of people fight with each other about money and all. It features a lot of drinking and gambling and paying off the debts and rent.

Many thanks to the City of Melbourne for the invite.

RMIT turns a cool 128 years old

Happy birthday RMIT!

Image courtesy of RMIT University on Facebook.

RMIT turns a cool 128 years old. It is one of the better colleges in Melbourne and today is the day we celebrate with a huge bang. With balloons and cake and free food for all.

It has never been a better time for them as they attract hundreds of new students each year and lots of money. It used to be the Working men's college but now they offer all sorts of different courses mainly specialising in business and management.

To their wealth and to another 100 more years. Happy birthday RMIT

What do you think RMIT can do to be more successful in terms of retaining students?

Darrell Lea cafe in Geelong

Darrell Lea is a sweet store which has been around for years. But in the last few years many stores in Melbourne's CBD shut up shop for good due to increasing rents and not enough customers. Oh and lets not forget the GFC.

But I was surprised that the store in Geelong stayed open for all this time. This store reminds me of my childhood days where I used to enjoy lots of sweets on the odd occasions. I remembered one such store in Melton.

This Darrell Lea was not too busy on a Wednesday afternoon during Taste festival. I would have thought that the promotion of free sweets would have got people in the door, but I guess not.

I enjoyed my green tea along with a Turkish Delight and a complimentary biscuit. All for $5.20 It was very relaxing in there sitting in a very comfy cushion. Nowadays in the city not many drinks have a complimentary sweet. You usually have to buy it.

Oh and you can buy lots of Australian made lollies to take home to your country as a soveneir. Many people love the Rocky road.

If ever you are in Geelong and you need a sweet break then do try out this place.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bluestone Restaurant

RNIS was invited to this place by Dimmi and this place is reviewed by Claudia who understood the meaning of fine dining

Bluestone restaurant is a fine dining place and its good for all the fine dining lovers out there. You do need to take your time with your dinner as service is quite slow.  I recommend public transport as parking is a hassle.

They have a set menu which some people chose. Instead we wanted to go ala carte and ala carte we did. The service was very slow from the word go.  We waited ten minutes to order and another ten for dessert.

After we ordered the bread came. It was freshly baked in house. The extra virgin olive oil was really lovely and it wasn't too salty like some of the others.

I think they made the chips themselves as it really was quite lovely. And I was happy to have it without the sauce. But Sally wanted sauce. Typical Asian she is.

The salmon with hummus and zucchini salad however was good but the salmon was little bit dry. It was hard to cut through it all. The hummus was very nice and went well with the zucchini salad.

Dessert took ages to come. I really wanted to just go without but after seeing others photos on zomato, I just knew I wanted to try. I got the desconstructed apple pie. When it came it reminded me of the desserts on My Kitchen Rules in Colin's Kitchen and at elimination. It was just that good. All the elements worked well. Sally however went without but waited for me.

Rating: 18/20 loved that and the friendly service there. But fine dining isn't for everyone though and there are some people on Zomato who complain about the service. The service was slow but friendly.
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Tastes of Central Geelong

The Tastes of Central Geelong was on again this year and was a month long event. We went along to their pop up Friday nights and their Champagne and shop event.

Their Champagne and Shop event was held at 87A Little Malop st at the Collective and there we tried a few different sweets. My understanding of this is that they will change each Friday night. But here we tried a macaron and two pieces of their chocolate cake.

Every Friday night there was a live band playing at the Event Hub. This time around the band was very entertaining and they held us all captive with their live performances of some of Australia's favourite tunes.

As part of the Pop Up collective a few places were offering $5 bites. We sampled two places

The Workers Club

Here we sampled $5 tacos and there were a range of tacos to choose from. The roasted mushroom one was divine and I enjoyed all the flavours of the mushroom and feta. They came along quite nicely.

Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete is an American/Louisisna food place. We were expecting big portions and big portions we got. Here the Cajun fries were lovely. They did not have much oil on them and it was not too spicy. I love spiciness but some people don't.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the Tastes of Central Geelong where we talk Darrell Lea and beaches.

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The Luna Winter night market

The Luna night market is on again this year and it is always exciting as their summer night market. We talk about our experiences at this night market.

This is at the Queen Victoria Market and it is on every Wednesday night from 5pm-10pm. There are huge lines everywhere for stuff. There are not as many stalls as the summer night market and everything is undercover. Whilst in the summer there is sangria, at the winter night market there is mulled wine.
Warming up by the fire

I came after 7pm and there were huge crowds of people and no parking available. For those that live in the country you should take the train to Southern Cross station and then just walk. It is about a 20 min walk and you will be burning about 50 calories. If you walk back then you'd burn about 100 calories. And if you're like me and can't stomach a lot for dinner then you should do two trips if you can or share. I did two trips.

The first one I had just vegetarian curry at Drums café. It was just before 7:30pm that I got there. I wasn't served until about 7:45pm. My vegetarian curry meal was $10 and they do stellar meals. Roti was an extra $3

Now compare that with the second time where there were not so many people. The curry was much better at Autorickshaw and it too was a mere $10. All the ingredients were really fresh.There were no lines this time and I got my meal in a flash. I had time to enjoy a few short films from Swinburne University students and support their work.

Which stall do you like the best? Do comment below.

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club in Geelong is a small little kiosk. Here they are a franchise and that day I had just wanted a drink. I just happened to be there for the Tastes event wanting to relax.

The guy behind the counter was really nice to me, service was pretty slow. It was 4:30pm and not that many customers were in this store. Some of them wanted a late lunch and others just wanted a drink.

The green tea was alright but for $4.10 I expected my saucer to be clean and it wasn't. I told the guy this and he got me a clean one. And then I noticed all the dirt on the floor.

The ladies at the table next to me got slices. They looked alright but I didn't think they enjoyed it. They did not finish their slices.

Not returning. The Airport West store is much better in terms of cleaniless and they are in a Westfield too.
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Your rights with the ticket inspectors

 International students have you had any recent encounters with a ticket inspector? Do you know what they are? Do you know your rights when dealing with them? If not then read on

At a tram stop. Image courtesy of University of Melbourne adventures
Many International students travel on public transport every day and sometimes they might not have a validated ticket. i.e: no money or forgot to validate their MYKI.

Most students try to do the right thing.

What do ticket inspectors look like?

They can be either in uniform or plain clothes and they will have a badge.

Your rights

They are there to do a job but they should give you an opportunity to validate your MYKI. They should also shout out "Checking MYKI!" at the front of the tram so that there is a warning.

The Public transport users association says that there should be better transport and cheaper MYKI.

The ticket inspectors are not the police. Like security guards in shops they are only just there to check tickets. You have the right to ask for their name and their badge and they have to produce that for you. I.e they cannot search your bags. They can only take certain stuff which is illegal.

Seeking help

Many International students don't understand their rights with the inspectors. Most will just jump and pay the $75 fine without considering their chances for an appeal. The system is such a bad system which is full of flaws. Many International students don't want to seek the help of their uni's legal service as they are not always confident in doing so.

Have you had an encounter with an Authorised officer latey? What sort of tips do you have for others in this sort of circumstance? Do tell us below.

Remember you can also seek advice from your University's legal service as it is free for all students.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Town Hall Hotel

The Town Hall Hotel is in Fitzroy near Brunswick st and they have changed hands. Hence a smaller menu. They now focus on steak, fish and pasta and other Italian goodies.

Loved the F for female sign
I was served by a lovely lady who did not know what the Instagram tags were for the hotel. I would have thought that they knew.

I came just before 8pm and wanted just tapas. But I did not know that they changed hands. If Zomato can update this for me that would be good.

The complimentary bread was really good and the butter was nice and soft and very creamy. But the gnocchi was overcooked and there was too much cheese sauce. I could not finish this. They should offer entrée sizes for those that have a small appetite.

The salad was good but it would have been even better on its own. I loved the crunch off the walnuts and the lovely pears. But I think the flavour was marred by all that cheese.

I saw another tables chips and looked darn good.

Rating: 12/20 not great pasta and no entrée sizes. Oh well I might just come back for drinks and maybe with Julia.
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Chow Down

Chow Down is a fairly new Malaysian place in the city and its within close proximity to RMIT. It is about a five minute walk from RMIT. I never set discovered it until a Scoopon for this place came along and it was $6.

They cater a lot for the university students who study in the city.

They are a tiny little Malaysian joint in Mid City arcade and I have stumbled across their Facebook and Instagram photos of their Nasi Lemak and thought that I will give it a try. And so I did. They were really generous with the rice and nuts and anchovies. I have learned how to make this in Aunty Khoo's class and for the Good neighbourhood month last year where I helped a friend to make it and serve it to people.

Their vegetables however were a little bit odd. It was really salty and they used the frozen variety. I don't mind frozen vegetables in times of need but fresh ones are always better.

Rating: 15/20- go for the nasi lemak and not the vegetables. I would love to try their drinks and their other snacks since they looked amazing. I am glad that the real thing has come to the city.
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