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.

Disc Golf in New Zealand

There once was a very underrated sport called Disc Golf.

I’ve only played twice, both in New Zealand, a day apart from each other. I’ve been looking for courses to play on since that day, but no one seems to take Disc Golf as seriously as the Kiwis.

I think this is wrong. If there is a social sport better than this one I’ve never heard of it. Disc Golf doesn’t take as long as golf, isn’t as tiring as basketball and is more beautifully set than any other sport.

I would vouch for it being the perfect activity for a date, after lunch or before dinner with friends! Where have all the Disc Golf courses gone?

I Blame The Professionals

Sometimes you just have to face the facts of life. I come from a long line of confident, fantastic, self-taught cooks. If I had the choice I would hire my mom as my in-house chef. My grandmother refused to eat out more than once a week. My great-grandmother used make everything from scratch, she’d start working on the next meal immediately after the present meal was finished. Then, there’s me. It’s quite sad really. There are few dishes I know how to make well (by few I mean exactly three), but I would never call myself a cook. Well, I guess I would call myself a cook, I just wouldn’t put good in front of it. Want-to-be-one-day-please-help-me would be a better fit.

No matter what the actual reason is for why I can’t perfectly recreate a recipe from a cookbook, bottom line is I can’t. Even though I spend so much of my valuable time in the supermarket finding cremini and shiitake mushrooms, I can’t prepare the recipe to taste, or even look like, a fraction of the perfectly styled, carefully edited picture in the cookbook.

Like all things that are tough in life though, finding something to place the blame on makes it easier to accept. I’ve done precisely that. I blame my terrible cooking skills on the lack of tools in my kitchen. I blame writers of cookbooks, and even alleged ghost writers*, for sharing recipes needing tools and ingredients which only a professional chef would keep in their home.

Almost all cookbooks have tools/ingredients/supplies outlined before the recipes start, everything you’ll be using throughout the book is detailed. Most of the time I have somewhere close to 10 out of 50 of them. Take ‘Jamie’s 30 Minute Meal’s’ for example, out of the 56 tools Jamie Oliver outlines on page 21 of his book, I have 11 of them (and that’s not counting when there is a multiple of one thing, e.g. two large wooden chopping boards. Instead of one? WHY!).

Yikes, you say? I know. I wouldn’t exaggerate the number to add drama or suspense, I promise. This is not a film or television show, this is my life! And that’s just one example – I’ve fact checked this myself with multiple cookbooks!  The sad truth is I am just not an all around package yet. I’m missing the tools, the wild flavors I’ll only ever need for one recipe a month, the gourmet kitchen. All I have now is the mental capabilities, the right attitude and the cookbooks. (A large sigh seems appropriate here.)

I know one of these days, more specifically: the day I get the chance to have my state-of-the-art kitchen, I will go overboard. I will relish in it. I will make my kitchen look like the ‘Toys R Us’ of kitchen utensils. I’m hopeful it will end up looking something like the one pictured. Plus more. Lets all keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. But hear me when I type, I will never admit that I simply just can’t make the green curry sauce actually come out the color green when attempting to make the Green Curry Chicken with Kimchee Slaw and Rice Noodles recipe. I will never admit that maybe I’m just a food lover, not a food maker.  I must never admit defeat!

* Rachael Ray and Gwyneth Paltrow may or may not have used ghost writers. (Despair! Outrage! Betrayal!)

Tech Takeover

This week I ordered dinner with an iPad, instead of a waiter for the first time. There was no waiter necessary, I just punched in the items I wanted, pressed ‘submit’ and my food magically appeared before me a few minutes late. I’m not going to lie, I was initially amused, even a little impressed. I mean, what is more fun than playing with an iPad until your food comes? That’s a trick question. The correct answer is: having a wonderful conversation with your boyfriend sitting across the table.

I started thinking more about the loneliness of using an iPad to place my order and realized this could be the start to a huge trend (if it hasn’t already started). This is more of a rant post than informational post so bare with me!

iPad in question:

Pros of ordering food through an iPad: 

  • You don’t go through that awkward thing of when the waitress takes too long to come to your table and you stare her down until she arrives.
  •  There is no way they will get your order wrong.Well…
  • You get to take silly Photobooth pictures or play Spider Solitaire while you wait. (Remember to delete them after you’re done!)
  • You’re in and out much quicker. (That’s what she said.) (Had to!)

Cons of ordering food through an iPad:

  • We are losing jobs to technology. The tech-take-over will not cease!
  •  The one waiter who is there isn’t as attentive to your table.
  • You don’t really get to ask for opinions and recommendations. That really sucks for someone like me.
  • Your friends may get offended that you want to play with the iPad
  • There is no button to request a refill on water.
  • You spend half your meal trying to come up with ways to steal the iPad. (Not me. Other people.)

As cool as ordering with an iPad was I can’t get on board with the whole idea. For me, one of the best parts of going to dinner is interacting with the waiter. I love dinner conversation and not to mention and being able to get the waiter’s attention when you need something like, garlic bread, another beerr, a side of melted chocolate, or a bib.