Girls Gone Mild – Day Five

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Today is our last day. I got up early to hit the gym again.

Every morning I’ve been, I haven’t seen anyone else in that gym.

It’s nice having the whole area to yourself.
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This morning however, someone else came in and it was still very early. 4am to be precise.  I wondered what the hell someone else was doing in the gym that early on a Sunday morning!

Then ten minutes later, someone else came in! A girl who was doing some stretching and yoga. A few minutes after that, two more people put their heads in.

This was all before 5am on a Sunday morning!
I was going to let myself go  easy and walk more than run however with other people in the gym, it forced me to run more because, well that’s just what we do right?

b4784d4f53d6fd5bb580055961ab52bc--fitness-gym-fitness-humorMy sister came in very early also and when we were leaving (about 6.30am) we saw there were people in the games room playing table tennis!!! What is going on! Why were all these people up so early on a Sunday morning!

If I’d known I’d be encountering other humans, I wouldn’t have let myself be so scary looking and actually attempted  to look vaguely alive.

Have to say, the facilities in this place have been pretty good!

As we weren’t able to store our luggage in the building we were staying at, we didn’t leave our room until just before check out time. I mean who wants to walk all over the place with heavy luggage?
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We thought we’d go to Victoria Markets again just to kill a bit of time and perhaps snap up a bargain.

You don’t realise how difficult it is to pull a heavy luggage bag until you have to do it up and down crowded aisle ways.

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It’s even more difficult when you’re a party of five and trying to somewhat stay together.


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In any case, after buying a few more trinkets, including a pair of earrings that the shop owner assured me would not go green if worn in the shower.

We shall see about that!

We stopped to get coffee in a nearby foodcourt and I saw this…

You probably can’t read the sign above the piano but it says “play me”

I wasn’t going to but I heard a couple of others tinker and realised I wasn’t going to be worse than they were so I got up to play also.

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What I didn’t see was the woman at a table behind me who had her fingers in her ears!

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Ah well, can’t please everyone!

IMG_8179Time to leave the market…

Have to share this funny sign we saw along the way to the bus station.

Not sure if it was just because we were tired but it made us chuckle!

We were hoping to leave our luggage in a locker at the bus station but unfortunately, they were mostly all taken! So again, we were faced with the prospect of trailing them behind us.

Luckily, we saw the outlet store about the bus station and the foodcourt there had lots of comfy seating so we took it in turns to mind the bags while the others shopped.

After some more successful shopping (No photo, but I got a jacket from Jacquie E that was original $249 for $34.95!!!!) we hopped on the skybus back to the airport.

My daughter and I were on a different flight to the rest of our party so we had to separate at that point. It was sad, especially after spending so much time together.

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But we made up for it by sending photos and messages while we were waiting for our planes to leave.

As my sister, mother and sister-in-law had more time, they went to  a wine tasting that was set up in the airport.

They drank their samples and then the guy asked my mum where she normally buys her wine.
I’m pretty sure he meant what winery she was partial to.
She replied “Liquorland”

Ah, I wish I’d been there!

On our flight we were given snacks.
IMG_8183I saw the cabin crew coming down the aisle and I thought she said “Cheesecake” as she handed another passenger a box.

“Cheesecake!!” I said excitedly to my daughter. “We’re going to get cheesecake!”

But no, I was wrong, it was cheese and crackers.
Can you imagine the disappointment.

So I sent the picture of our cheese and crackers to the girls on the other flight.

They sent a picture of their “cheese and crackers”

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And yes they definitely win!!!

My mum had these taralli with her AND some cheese that had been left over from our trip.

Throughout the whole time away, no matter how obscure, if I asked my mum if she had something, the answer was always yes.

“Do you have some sharp nail scissors?”
“Do you have some water?”
“Do you have tissues? No, the wet kind… like you get from KFC?”

There’s loads more but I just can’t think of it right now. She came prepared! And we loved her all the more for it.

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They sent us this photo and I took one of my daughter and I to send back but I was making a face in that one that is definitely not fit for public viewing so it didn’t make it to the blog.

We had a great time being silly together and I’m grateful to have such a loving, close family.

I was also very excited to see hubby who was waiting for us as we arrived.

And now I don’t want to think about anything else but my bed!

 

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Sixteen

Our time is coming to an end and we’re kind of running out of new things to do but I also feel like I want to spend more time around this Dotonbori area.

There is just so much to see and do!

So many different foods! So many people. It both terrifies and excites me.

This is not the place to be if you don’t like crowds!

Hubby was having a bit of a lie in this morning so I took myself for a walk and really enjoyed watching people going about their business.

Most of the shops aren’t open until 10am. That may sound late but they also stay open very late. I really wanted to get some junk cute things from Daiso. I know we have this store in Australia but I’ve never been in one in Australia.

IMG_4213.JPGI know there’s just cheap, nothing goods in there but it’s exciting!!

So are the 100 yen stores! I just love them!!
“This is really only 100 yen??” I find myself exclaiming.

It’s much easier to shop in these stores when hubby isn’t around.
Look at the cute little Hello Kitty bag I got for 100 yen. I think it might actually be a bag to carry cold/fridge foods but I’m going to use it as a make up bag for as long as I can. It’s just too cute!

When I got back to the room, hubby and I had a breakfast of coffee and naughty bakery goods (Oh god I love them so much) then set off to walk through the streets and I snapped a couple of pictures along the way.

 


I took that pic on the left to show how every apartment has an area for bike parking. There aren’t that many places for cars and usually they’re off site (not in the same area as the apartment block) but bike parking you’ll see EVERYWHERE!!!
It’s pretty stressful walking down the street. We’ve seen lots of near misses between people on bikes and cars/buses/pedestrians but never actually seen a collision. I don’t even know how we haven’t because they’re crazy on their bikes!!!

As we walked we talked about places we’ve been and foods we’ve eaten and we started reminiscing about the huge bowls of ramen we got at this particular food court. Unbeknownst to me, hubby started to walk towards it (we were about four kilometres away) I had no idea. He didn’t tell me, he just kept walking.
It was about 2pm at this stage and I was starting to get pretty hungry. I kept pointing out restaurants saying “Mmmm that looks delicious, should we go there?” but he would barely grunt out an answer.
I guess it was his little way of annoying surprising me.

We got to our favourite food court eventually but when we went to the place we ordered the ramen from, the menu looked different. We couldn’t tell what it had been that we used to order!!
The girl at the counter didn’t speak English (we were trying to ask if a particular dish had meat in it. Pork? Chicken?) So she told us to wait and got someone else who also didn’t understand us.
IMG_4206In the end, hubby pointed to some things on the menu and said we’ll just take that.
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I’m not sure that there was any meat in it. There could have been very very very pink bacon in it. Perhaps some tofu like thing… Not sure, but it was pretty delicious!
In the middle there were like fried noodles. I’m not sure exactly. They were crispy. I don’t know the name for them.

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We also chose to drink Calpis which is everywhere here and a delight to say out loud.

“Oh I just loving drinking Calpis.
Would you like to drink Calpis?
thought you’d never ask!”

It was like a more delicious version of lemonade. I really liked it. No diet version though so it’s unlikely I’ll be having it again. Diet drinks aren’t easy to come by here by the way. You will find them, but not as easy as you find them in Australia and many restaurants don’t offer any sort of diet drinks.

So although we enjoyed what we ate, it wasn’t what we were expecting.

We consoled ourselves by visiting the 100 yen bakery downstairs.
OH.MY.GOD this place!
I could have eaten the whole store but we only picked two varieties.

 

I liked the one on the right a lot more. It had a chocolate filling too! The berries were soooo sweet. I just loved it. The other was either a baked cheesecake or had a custard filling. I wasn’t quite sure.
It too was delicious but not as good as the first.

Tomorrow is our last day in Osaka and we’re capping it off with a visit to Rinku Town!! I’m so excited!! The train has taken us past this place every time we’ve arrived or left but we’ve never stopped. It’s full of outlet malls apparently!

I’m not even a shopper but I’m excited!!! Hubby, where’s your wallet??

Cafe Astros

Today on The Dining Diaries,

Staff who anticipate our every thought.
Serves to make us shout “Opa!” and
Dessert good enough to leave room for.

Exterior.jpgDiners today we dined at Cafe Astros

I really didn’t know this place existed. Tucked away on Sussex St. in Hawthorn, I’ve probably even driven past this Greek restaurant many times and have never noticed it.

Hubby emailed me the menu during the day and all I’d been craving was a good Moussaka.I was so in!

FullSizeRenderIt’s not a large place. The tiled pattern lino floor almost made me want to turn back but we didn’t and I’m glad because most of what we had here was exceptional.
A waiter guided us to the warmest seat in the place (It was bitterly cold tonight!!) and took our drink orders.
Not sure if he was an owner but he really seemed invested in wanting us to have a good time. I watched him with other diners throughout the night, always attentive, always a step ahead and wanting to please without being intrusive. It made you feel special and welcome.
Although the decor could use a lot of sprucing up, it was clean and comfortable.

It was cold, and we were very hungry so we ordered an entree to start off with.

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Wagyu Beef Meatballs served with salsa & pita

We were so hungry that we had actually started eating before I took this photo.

The first thing I tried was the salsa and it was so divine. Sweet and flavoursome.

In fact I loved that even more than the meatballs themselves.

I could have had a plate of that with some crusty continental bread but I digress!

That plate did what an entree should do – make you excited for the food to come!

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Moussaka

I ordered the Home Made Moussaka served with salad.

Again the first thing I noticed was how fresh everything looked! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more inviting salad!
The moussaka was not exactly what I was expecting. It was nice, but I think I would have prefered more bechemel and I couldn’t really taste a lot of eggplant even though I could see it was in there. It wasn’t unpleasant, I liked what I had, it just wasn’t how I imagined it would be. I would like to have been there with someone who regularly eats this dish to see what they would have thought.
On such a cold night though, it definitely did the job of warming my insides!

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Souvlaki

Hubby ordered the Mixed Souvlaki  – choice of 2, either lamb, chicken or prawn, chargrilled and served with chips, salad, tzatziki & pita

He ordered one lamb and one chicken. Again, everything looked fabulously fresh on the plate. Even the chips had been fried in fresh oil.
He went straight for the lamb first and it was just so delicious. Miraculously he shared a bit with me so I can attest to that! Char-grilling gives such a wonderful flavour.

We were sitting in front of the fridges that staged the desserts so it was inevitable that we would have some. They just looked too good!

Blueberry cheesecake and baklava. Both large serves and very reasonably priced.
The cheesecake seemed wonderfully rich. I only had a little spoonful. Not sure I could have eaten the entire slice but hubby devoured it like he’d never seen food before.
Normally you think of a Baklava as being rich but this one wasn’t overly so. It was drenched in that honey water and tasted beautiful but it wasn’t sickening. There was a strong nut taste inside that stayed with me all the drive home.

I almost forgot to mention that they  have $0 corkage on BYO bottles of wine on Tuesday and Wednesday all day. I can’t remember the last time I saw that!

I’m really glad we made it to Cafe Astros and I hope this review encourages some of you to visit it also.

Have you been to Cafe Astros?
What did you think?
Let me know int he comments below.

 

Till next we chow…

The Fleurieu Pantry

IMG_5393.JPGThe Fleurieu Pantry  is a delightful little place in the heart of Port Noarlunga. Their facebook page says their food is organic and sourced locally.
I fell in love with this place a few years ago when I wandered in here by accident with my barbershop quartet Esprit.

Today, hubby and I were joined by my daughter, Sarah.
We were greeted at the door by a waiter who was very helpful and welcoming. The first thing I noticed was the colour! Beautifully decorated, using repurposed items and furniture from years ago, it felt like I was walking into mama’s kitchen. There was so many interesting things to look at (including the delicious cake display) that I felt we were shown to our table too soon!

I think hubby was a little intimidated as this is not the place he would usually choose to go to.
The menu itself offered a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options if you’re into that sort of thing.
The physical menu itself was a little disappointing. Just a few pieces of paper stapled together and ours were old and a little crinkled. I mean it’s not really a huge expense to give your customers something a little more interesting is it?? And considering the wonderful food they produce, I find it a little perplexing that they would present what they have to offer in this way.

Hubby looked forlornly at the menu, not usually one to pick a gluten free or vegan option, and said “I think I prefer the kids menu” . He soon spotted nachos however, but didn’t know what Najobe beef nacho’s were so he asked the waitress. The waitress explained that Najobe Grass fed beef is just that, 100% grass fed beef! With no steroids, hormones or antibiotics. However she also added that they had just run out.
At this point I had to look at the time. 12.10pm. Wednesday, early afternoon. I mean had lunch even started? And her words were they had “just” run out.

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Chicken Pizza

 

Hubby ordered the chicken pizza instead.
I went for something different and ordered the Pumpkin, cauliflour and parmeson soup with sourdough bread. I also ordered the Roast capsicum bruschetta which sounded interesting.
Sarah ordered the Falafel Salad Bowl.

I was super excited! I just loved everything about this place! Even the cobwebs that were spun liberally about the place (no spiders in sight) seemed to add to the experience.

While we waited for our food to be ready, Sarah and I wandered through the antique store that is attached to the restaurant. We were surrounded by beautiful items and it felt like we were somewhere very special!

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Falafel Bowl

 

 

The food came out and again I didn’t know what to look at first!! It was all so colourful and beautifully presented. My bruschetta was on crusty continental bread just as it should be!

The soup looked delicious and was a gorgeous colour. It was all almost too good to eat! It was deliciously creamy and quite temperature hot which is how I usually prefer it. It was served with sour dough bread and sour cream on the side.

Hubby wasn’t too happy with his pizza. He wasn’t a fan of the crust and didn’t think it had been made on site. I took a bite and it had a wholemeal kind of taste to it which I didn’t mind, but I guess you have to like that taste. At least it was firm, unlike the pizza we ate at Melt

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Roasted Capsicum Bruschetta

 

I ended up giving hubby a piece of my bruschetta and he said it was more filling than his pizza.
Although he’s surely entitled to his opinion, it did look like there was a lot of food on his plate so I’m not sure that I would have agreed. Maybe it was more that the pizza he got was not what he was expecting.

Sarah’s Falafel bowl was beautifully and colourfully presented also. She said she was expecting the falafel to be a bit firmer.
It tasted lovely (better when paired with the salad) however it had the texture of mash and she wasn’t expecting that. It was coated nicely in Sesame seeds and who doesn’t like sesame seeds?

She had a few sauces included with hers and one was an eggplant pickle which was really tasty and gave your taste buds a nice kick!

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Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup

We don’t normally order dessert but today just felt different so Sarah and I went up to the counter and picked out three we liked the look of.

We picked a Berry and lemon cheesecake, a Peanut butter stack and a Protein ball. The waitress did describe all these desserts and how they were made and which were organic, made from raw ingredients or vegan friendly but honestly, I just wanted some sweetness in my mouth so I wasn’t really paying too much attention.

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Desserts!

The Berry cheesecake was exquisite in that the cheese part of it was very tart, but the berry top and biscuit base were sweet. A wonderful combination!

The Peanut stack was one of those desserts that you kept eating even if you didn’t really know why. It had a bit of an unusual texture but peanuts are nature’s own goodies aren’t they? It had a chocolate topping and it felt a little like spooning a bit of peanut butter together with a bit of Nutella and shoving that into your mouth. That’s “yum” in anyone’s language! It was very rich but also a little crumbly but that didn’t stop us from digging in and enjoying it.
The protein ball had a perfect texture in that it was dense and moist. I had forgotten that the waitress said it was a mint chocolate protein ball so what a nice surprise when I got that mint taste! The only thing I would have left out of it was the dates. Not a date fan.

I tried to pick my favourite dessert but it was hard. It would really depend on what mood I was in on the day I think. They would all have their time and place as my favourite.

As I went up to pay our bill I noticed they had Ed Sheeran playing and it just seemed to finish off the afternoon nicely! I had to stop myself from gushing to the waitress. I really loved everything about what I ate and my experience at The Fleurieu Pantry.

Have you been to the Fleurieu Pantry? What did you think? Please let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…