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.

Cookie Time!

You know when you’re on holiday and you come across a place you wish was in your neighborhood? Then you think about it a little more and you become thankful that you don’t have it at home because it may or may not become the reason for your obesity.

Well maybe you don’t, but that’s what Cookie Time is for me. If Cookie Time was in my neighborhood I would absolutely, without a doubt go in everyday and order a Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie. As Charlie Brown said, “You’ll never convince me there is more to life than Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

These cookies come out of the oven and straight into my mouth. The staff seemed to be making them every 10 minutes. It never bothered them if we decided to wait for the next batch either.

One cookie is $2.50 New Zealand dollars which isn’t bad at all. But they have an amazing thing called Happy Hour. Yes, Happy Hour for cookies! Buy one get one free! What! (I’m sorry The exclamation marks are out of my control!)

I’m not saying you should fly half way around the world to New Zealand for a cookie, but if you happen to stumble upon Queenstown, New Zealand, as many of us do, go to Cookie Time. Sit at the beautiful park on Camp Street and enjoy the Cookie Happy Hour with a friend. Or enemy. I’m positive anyone will enjoy.

Fun fact: Cookie Time held the record of World’s Biggest Cookie for 12 years! The cookie covered an area 487.15 square metres, and contained 24,000 eggs. Impressive! Oh, no the exclamation marks are coming back.

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?