Breakfast Thieves

Breakfast Thieves is one of my top two favorite breakfast places in Melbourne. I thought I would just come right out and say it because I don’t you want you to mistake it for anything else.

You’ll find Breakfast Thieves in the bottom floor of a renovated warehouse on the corner of Gore Street in Fitzroy. It’s the one with the top to botton windows. I feel in love with the detail and simplicity of the decor straight away. They use a combination of wooden and white walls. Purple flowers in a silver vas and a loosely tied paper with the story behind the building adorn each table. Water and the menu were giving to me as I sat down. This is important because the water came in a very expensive looking old whiskey bottle, which I have put on Pinterest to replicate one day.

I ordered a strong cappuccino which came out almost immediately. It was the first time in Melbourne the coffee mug was not a standard brown, or black; it was bright blue. It’s the little things that do it for me. The coffee was so good I had to ask where it was from; the Social Roasting Company. I asked for a second.

I was craving french toast so I ordered the Pain Perdu. This is one of those plates you have to take a picture of because you will be showing it off to friends and they will ask for a visual: Thick, soft brioche topped with slow cooked caramelized apples, fresh strawberries and mascarpone cream and some pistachio nuts scattered throughout. There were colors, accented flavors and different textures, everything I think a french toast and pancakes should be.

It took me at least two bites to realize the mascarpone cream was not ice cream. It’s a cream made from cheese. I have never been as pleasantly surprised by a case of mistaken identity.

The Pain Perdu from Breakfast Thieves will be the the first meal  I have upon my arrival in Melbourne come November.

Breakfast Thieves420 Gore Street Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia 

Losing It at the Market

The idea of getting fresh produce from a farmers market or local out door market has always intrigued me. I always thought I could some day recreate a page from a magazine where the girl looks cute as a bowtie for no reason. You know the one… her hair is down, silky and flowing. She looks effortlessly cool, but also comfortable because the only thing she’s carrying is the cute tote her groceries will call home. She has her iPod with her and even though she’s taking her sweet time she looks completely in control of every aisle she turns on.

My hair is always too dirty and up in a ponytail on days when I would have the time to go to the market so it never seems worth it to take the trip.  But once upon a time the stars aligned! The perfect opportunity for a field trip to the beautiful South Melbourne Market in Australia showed its face. My 8am boxing class was cancelled Sunday morning and I still had what was left of my blow dry from Saturday night.

What happened next is not essential but still important. I put on my comfortable but stylish navy blue pants, a white button down shirt and my brown Oxford shoes. I was going after the whole J.Crew catalogue look. I took $50 out of my wallet, my tram card and shoved it in my pocket. I was really going for it! I don’t know if you can imagine how giddy I was, but I had my playlist of Broadway songs on shuffle to match my excitement.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I know what an out door market looks like, I’ve walked past hundreds of them for fruits sake! I thought getting in and out of the market would be a breeze, a walk in the park. But I’m here to tell you… it’s not. Not for me at least. Going to the market on a whim proved a bad choice and extremely unsuccessful. With so much produce to choose from, coming up with a meal just seemed desperately impossible. I found myself completely frozen in time awing at all the people and colors around me.

I couldn’t understand how they were moving around so fast, knowing very well what they wanted and what to grab for. Either everyone was on high speed or I was in slow motion (I think we both know which one). I felt so out of place I decided it was best to ‘stop and smell the roses’ both literally and metaphorically. I decided to make this first trip to the market about observing other people, taking in the smells and colors, getting to know all the different shops, witnessing how some people would buy corn at one shop but prefer buying capsicums at the next one. Why? What’s the secret?

What makes one better than the other? How am I to know if I should buy green grapes from the Fruit Seller rather than green grapes from the Man Who Sells Fruit across the way? I don’t think I’ll ever know but I did learn the following

  1. Prepare a list of items you want/need before the trip. Maybe even look up recipes you want to make during the week and work from there.
  2. If you accidentally bump into the tomatoes and they fall to the ground one by one, in slow motion, don’t panic! No one will yell, they’ll be very kind.
  3. Stay away from the cupcake section, even though they look and smell delicious it’s not what you came for.
  4. Keep repeating number 3 to yourself until you’ve made it back to the fruit.
  5. If you buy half of the items you need at one shop, and half the items at another not one person will give you the stink eye. They most likely don’t know you exist.

In the end I ended up buying two huge sweet potatoes, two medium sized white onions and a lovely bouquet of flowers for myself. While I was too overwhelmed to get enough groceries that actually contributed to being anything close to resembling a Sunday Night Dinner, I was very happy I took the time to go. I swear, here and now, I will do a better job on the next go around.  Maybe next time, I won’t even have to go to my usual supermarket for the rest of my groceries afterwards.

Marmalade and Soul Part Deux

If you’ve read this blog before you know that I am in deep breakfast love a beautiful cafe in Melbourne, Australia called Marmalade and Soul.

I went back. By myself. I couldn’t help it. I was craving a homey atmosphere and a good looking plate of food.

I got there early and ready to eat. When I requested to sit in the back room, the waitress asked me if I was sure, twice. It may not be next to the open kitchen,but it was completely empty at the time and is decorated by a chandelier made out of wooden spoons.  I ordered a strong cappuccino and read a chapter of “Starter for Ten” by David Nichols*. I didn’t even look at menu, I just sat back, relaxed and got excited for what was to come.

I waved off the waiters three times before deciding it was time to order. Feeling a bit adventurous I ordered the poached beaten eggs in goats cheese sauce, olive oil, and toast. I couldn’t picture what it would even look like, but I took a chance. I was in the mood for eggs and I love goat cheese. It was a no brainer.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I didn’t start eating for ages. I anticipated you wanting to see a close up shot so there it is. The detail in this plate is what gets me most. There were tiny flowers that I didn’t want to eat, I felt bad. The thought of ruining this masterpiece by eating it was unnerving, but someone had to do it.

I can’t pin point the exact reason, but Marmalade and Soul not only delicious, it also helps to cure my homesickness.

I have yet to visit for lunch or dinner because it’s a bit more expensive than I’d like it to be. Priorities.

* I read three books by David Nichols this year and loved them all. If you know any authors with the same style let me know.

Marmalade and Soul

I thought that I had already found my favorite breakfast place in Melbourne, Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, I am writing today to assure you that I was wrong. Marmalade and Soul now has that special place in my heart.

I’m not sure if it was the atmosphere, the delicious food, the simple decor, or the fact I couldn’t stop wishing my family was in Australia to try it. I want them to fly from Florida to Melbourne just so I can treat them to Marmalade and Soul – I’d even be willing to pay. Maybe.

My boyfriend, Jack, and I ordered all our meals from the Specials board, but I already  know what I’ll get from the regular menu next time we go back.

First, let me talk about the decor. Exposed brick and white walls is about all a girl who has lived in New York can ask for. Then on top of that, they had about every kitchen decoration I have always wanted from Anthropologie, combined with cutlery and baskets filled with fresh fruit and vegetables straight out of a  Williams Sonova catalogue. The kitchen is clean, lovely, organized and most importantly open for all to see, which means I got to creepily watch the chefs as they assembled my meal to be. There is nothing I like more than watching people make food, well, other than eating the food they make. I felt at home. I wanted to run behind the kitchen counter and offer my help, but I know that would be considered rude and a little annoying.

Second, the atmosphere. We originally wanted to sit outside, but the place was packed when we got there and we had no choice.  That was a good thing in the end. I don’t think the staff at any other cafe have ever been as excited to see my face – something which I selfishly relish in every once in a while. Everyone eating looked so happy to be there. Sitting by the cashier gave us the perfect location to witness customer’s comments as they were leaving: “That was SO great”, “We are definitely coming again”, “Everything was PERFECT”, and the list goes on. The only thing that confused me a bit (I hate even bringing this up) is that I had no idea who our waiter was. We had about four, all very helpful and friendly, but we never knew who to signal for.

Three, the food! I’m not the type to just pick a meal and go for it. I’m the person that picks about three dishes then asks the waitress for help. Our waitress (the one I think was ours) described each plate I asked about as “so beautiful”, but said each is so different that it’s up to me.

I ended up ordering the Ricotta Hot Cakes with Banana and Honey Butter. After my first bite, I couldn’t help but feel butterflies as I was putting together each bite. A little bit of hot cake, with a some warn Banana and then I’d drag it across the honey butter sauce left over on the plate. It’s too good of a way to start your day. My boyfriend got the Granola, Yogurt and Fruit a long with the Peanut Butter Pop Tart. I didn’t try the Granola but oh boy, did I get to enjoy the pop tart. Contrary to, what must be, popular belief it wasn’t a like toasted pop tart from your local grocery store. It was a tall tower of deliciousness. It came with a side of strawberry  jam which I poured on every bite. Who would have thought jam and peanut butter were such a winning combination.

I must admit prices are a little higher than I was hoping for but sometimes a girl has just got to treat herself.