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Mörk Chocolate Brew House

When I was at University, I used to indulge in some hot chocolates whenever I could. I was a poor student though, so I was not able to go too often.

When a place proudly sells chocolates, and chocolates only, you would assume they know about their chocolates. And they do. As I started to slow migrate away from being a poor student, you sometimes wish to visit those places you have fond memories of. It was a sad day when I found the shop I used to go to had closed, was a pleasant surprise when I was driving down North Melbourne for a coffee, to find this guilty pleasure.

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Entrance sign to Mork

The shop doesn’t have flashy lights, or anything else that suggests the greatness that is within. However, I have since learnt that this is Melbourne style. The subtle signs that only those who know will find.

As delighted as we were, we had come straight from a brunch meeting so both my friend and I were quite full and only wanted a place to have a drink and spend some quiet time. However, both of us forgot about the coffee we were craving, but just the pure indulgence of hot chocolate we could remember from this place.

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Once inside, we were greeted with a fresh interior decor and the scent of chocolate wafting about. There is a little corner set up for people to buy the hot chocolate to make at home, as well as a section with cakes and cookies.

 

 

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Eat in menu

There are different menus for take away and eat in. I guess some of the chocolate indulgences are too difficult to pack into a box or cup for take away. Since we had the time, we decided to try their ‘signature’ dishes.

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The layered chocolate was a fine mix between cake and drink. I was advised to drink it first and then use the spoon. It was a fine experience of hot and cold mixed together. A chilled chocolate oozing through the warm creme custard was definitely an experience.

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The campfire chocolate was another popular drink, with many people around us having at least one of these on their tables. As my friend describes it, the subtle scent of smoke intensifies the experience of the hot chocolate. Also, the marshmallow is apparently the best she’s tasted.

 

So, all in all, a great find, and a pleasure for chocoholics like me.

Mörk Chocolate Brew House

 

Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00

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King of the Castle

Although coffee, food or anything shouldn’t really be the reason for your life, I consider coffee to be one of the guilty pleasures that I enjoy. And living close to good coffee is definitely a delight and when you find one so close to you that you didn’t expect, that’s a bonus. Enter: King of the Castle.

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Entrance to King of the Castle cafe

Walking by, driving by, and even lingering and contemplating what this place was, it was only until recently that I found this place was actually a cafe. There is no obvious sign, and you may well be tricked by the crafty barber at the front that this place is for something else. Maybe this displays the pride (or arrogance?) of the owner that the people who will come, will find it. This seems like the theme for modern coffee places, where I’ve even heard slogans such as ‘Great things are often hard to find’. Well, I guess it is partially true, because if the coffee is good, Melbournians, and even Geelongians (?) DO go out of their way to visit. As you step in past the entry, you are welcomed in by the empty yet bright warehouse with a waft of coffee scent.

There aren’t many tables and seats available considering the size of the place, but enough for couples, families and friends to sit down for a coffee and a meal. When I discovered this place, I had tried their coffee already, which was marvelous, and hence this time, I came along with guests.

They do serve all day breakfasts, but it’s the coffee that is worth coming here. We sat down, studying the menu, and made our selections. I think there is a distinct Vegan theme going on in the menu, which makes many ‘healthy-eating’ people happy I guess.

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They use Padre Coffee, roasted locally (Melbourne). Not only is the coffee sourced locally, but the ingredients for the food as well as the dessert (Pana Chocolate) and ice cream (Dolce House) is sourced from local traders.

Feeling a bit boring, I just wanted some eggs. My guests on the other hand ordered the Kings Breakfast and the Quinoa Salad.

The food could be described closer to a ‘Paleo‘ dish, where the raw ingredients seem to burst out in their original flavour. Some may taste a little ‘raw‘ because of this, but I thoroughly enjoyed my dish as I do like my food a bit on the bland side.

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They also have small stalls for some local arts and crafts, which I saw from their website that they were using the profits for a charity called ‘Feed Geelong’.

All in all a delightful place to visit, or stop by just for the coffee.

 

 

 

King of the Castle

24 Pakington Street, West Geelong

Mon-Sat: 6:30-15:30

Sun: 07:30-14:30

 

 

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Moomba Festival

Melbourne is home of many festivals, but Moomba has been a crowd favourite due to the labour day public holiday and the parades that happen on that day. It is also a celebration of arts and sports, where watersports attract another crowd on the yarra river. I guess it is the convenience of the location (right next to Flinders Street Station) that it attracts such a crowd.

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There are many activities for both children and adults. There are specific children’s programs which you should check out before heading out. Each year, there are different types of rides, attractions and entertainment as well as food stalls. As we had no children in our group, we went straight for the food and snacks to fill our bellies before exploring.

 

I don’t generally visit a festival more than once, but I have been to Moomba on more than one occasion, and it’s always a surprise to see how much the food quality has increased. Instead of greasy chips or a standard wet and soggy hotdog, you get an abundance of choice nowadays. I guess it might be a Melbourne thing, but even the coffee from the donut truck was quite amazing.

Other than the food, there is ample entertainment, on the main stages as well as other small stages across the grounds. There are water sports and skateboard competitions as well as on-stage music that you can bob your head along to. And if you want to try your luck there are plenty of games stalls that lure you in with the giant plush toys. Beware though! They are not easy to win!

If you want to get more thrill for you money, you can always try some rides as well. Even though they are portable units that travel to many places, these machines are a lot stronger and sturdier than you think, and give you more than ample exhilaration.

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To end it all, make sure you secure a spot on the yarra to see the fireworks on around 21:30 each night. Although my post is late for this year’s moomba, make your plans and keep the labour day long weekend free for a visit to the Moomba festival in 2017.

 

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The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

It was a rainy morning and as I was in Carlton anyway, I thought of making my time worthwhile by visiting another hidden coffee spot. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is a seemingly hidden place, where you wouldn’t even imagine a cafe would be.

You have to go down a street next to a fuel station, which doesn’t even look like a street in a normal person’s eye. As I was doubting my google maps gps in finding the correct location, I came to the street sign and had to salute google maps again.

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The street at which Raffa place is connected to

Even though I could see the street sign, walking down the alleyway was still a little bit of a mystery for me. Feeling uneasy, I turned the corner, and there it was, welcoming me with the ‘now open’ sign. Maybe if it wasn’t raining, the self-doubt could’ve been less, as I would just follow the wafting scent of coffee. As I came closer to the door, I could feel my inner caffeine sensor kick in. All in all, at least I knew I was welcome here.

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Entry into the cafe

As soon as you walked in through the doors, you’re welcomed by the wait staff, and a nice cozy looking area filled with the scent of coffee. It’s not just the scent of the coffee, but a gloriously positioned coffee roaster and a display counter filled with coffee beans for those who are brave and skilled enough to make their own at home.

After taking in the fullness of the coffee scent, and also since I was holding up the wait staff in taking me to my table, I finally stepped into a whole new environment. If the entrance and coffee drinking area was a dark but cozy and comfy feeling, the dining area was bright and sunny, with plenty of sunlight pouring in through the skylights even on a gloomy rainy day. The addition of real greenery inside the room surely helped liven up the place too.

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Once I was seated, it didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted some COFFEE! and also some food. The menu is a seasonal menu, and hence not the usual favourites are on the menu, but more little twists of this and that which trickled my curiosity.

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Summer menu, courtesy of vertuecoffee.com.au

The coffee and food was served in a timely manner, and although the food was a little too much in quantity for me (I always make the mistake of trying to eat everything on my plate even when I’m too full), the flavours were delicious, and the coffee definitely worth coming. And all through our meal and our extended conversation after the meal, we didn’t feel rushed or ignored, which I would have to give a lot of cudos to the wait staff for having that fine balance. It is a little on the far side for me, but I wouldn’t say no to venturing up here once in a while.

 

If there was a hiccup in the whole experience, it would maybe be the fact we ordered one flat white and one latte, and got delivered two flat whites. Although my friend didn’t mind the flat white, the wait staff were so worried they wanted to give the latte too. They’re still humans and make mistakes, but they acknowledge it and make you feel valued and cared for.

 

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

8 Raffa Place Carlton,

Mon-Fri: 7:00-16:00

Sat-Sun: 7:30-16:00

Entrace to James Street Bakery

James Street Bakery

So It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and it is definitely not because I haven’t been gallivanting around eating and experiencing, but because I was too lazy to post.

I have taken a step back on the exercises though, as my body wasn’t feeling well, but that doesn’t stop me from eating, does it?

There are a few places in Geelong that seem to be famous. (Check out goodfood or 30 best cafes). So when a place appears in both lists, plus your foodie friend who doesn’t even live in Geelong, as well as your friends living in Geelong recommend a place to try, I have no doubt but a desire to try as soon as I can.

The choice was James Street Bakery.

The first trial was a failure as I for some reason automatically assumed cafes are open on Sundays. I did go after church, so it was around lunch time but found the place to be closed. I found this cafe is a little special, where they close on Sundays and only open on the last Sunday for high tea, and high tea only.

After a while, I finally got there on a weekday, and sat down in anticipation of the greatness that was to come.

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Taking a seat at the end of a long table, I can take in the essence of the atmosphere in this place. It seems many locals visit here for a sit down and chat with friends over coffee and lunch. The ambience is bright, friendly and relaxed. It feels as you have escaped the rush of the buzz in a CBD. But then again, this is Geelong.:-)

I ordered a coffee while I waited for a friend.

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I’m not a coffee snob, but I have distinct likes and dislikes. Although the flat white was well presented, I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the coffee here. Especially when there is a coffee specialty shop just on the corner of this street called Cartel Coffee Roasters. However, it was the food that my friend had recommended here, so I’m still waiting my ‘awe’ moment.

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After a quick study of the menu, we decided on two sourdough sandwiches, the chicken and brie for my friend, and for myself the roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese. (Who can say NO to goat’s cheese?)

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Chicken and Brie sandwich
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Roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese sandwich

And the awe moment arrived with the sourdough sandwiches. The fillings were just right in flavour, and not too overwhelming creating a nice balance with the sourdough taste of the bread. I do love my sourdoughs though, so it might not be for everyone. The addition of the small salad on the side does ease away the slight cheesy taste afterwards.

As we were preparing to pay and leave, we found the sweets aligned so beautifully waiting to be picked and eaten. The sandwich did leave me a bit full so I think I’ll have to come again for the treats..

Overall, definitely a place to try in Geelong!

James Street Bakery

10 James St, Geelong VIC 3220

7:30-15:30 Mon – Sat

Workout set for 25th Feb 2016

I think I need to revise my technique on the rowing machine. I made a tentative goal for the 2km rowing challenge. To reach 8:30 by the end of the year. However, today I was very disappointed in myself, where I reached 1km and I just couldn’t row anymore. Or maybe I could’ve, but I just gave up.

I wonder what kind of effect giving up during your workout has. Probably more of a psychological disappointment in yourself than actual physical results. They say to push yourself! push yourself! but in reality, what does that achieve? Wouldn’t consistency in the realm of semi-comfortableness be better? Or do you always have to push yourself?

Maybe you need a bit of guilt in your life, like a chocolate cake, to motivate you (although it’s a negative motivation) for a hard workout? I’d been good these couple of days so I didn’t find the need to push myself at the gym today. I wonder what is better? Indulge and push yourself in the workout? Or not indulge and have a semi-gentle workout?

Enough of my blabbering, let’s write down what I actually did.

warm up: 1km row

12 x barbell squat (2 sets 20kg, 2 sets 25kg)

15 x barbell deadlift (2 sets of 20kg)

12 x barbell deadlift (2 sets of 22.5kg)

10 x barbell row (2 sets 20kg, 2 sets 22.5kg)

10 x lunge walk with twist (4 sets 8kg kettlebell)

10 x calf raise with dumbbell (4 sets 10kg each hand)

10 x sumo squat (4 sets 8kg kettlebell)

20 x russian twist (4 sets 7kg medicine ball)

10 x sit up (1 set 0kg, 3 sets 5kg)

12:00 treadmill elevation=1.0, (2:00 @6.0, 8:00 @ 11.0, 1:00 @ 14.0)

Workout set for 23rd Feb 2016

It was a very hot day today, but I haven’t been exercising for a few days so I thought I shouldn’t make the weather as an excuse. To be fair, it was still 38 degrees at 5:00PM. But the gym had an air conditioner left on thankfully by someone who’d been using it before. I guess these are the days you see those who are dedicated come to the gym, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who I met working out.

Spent a minute or two warming up on the rowing machine to enter the 2 km rowing competition that’s going on.

2km row in 9:15

10 x dumbbell shoulder press (1 set with 3.5kg each, 3 sets with 5 kg)

10 x dumbbell bench press (1 set with 3.5kg each, 3 sets with 5kg)

10 x dumbbell row (1 set with 3.5kg, 3 sets with 5kg)

10 x dumbbell fly (1 set with 3.5kg, 3 sets with 5kg)

10 x dumbbell side lateral raise (3 sets with 3.5kg)

10 x roman chair back extension (1 set no weight, 3 sets with 5 kg)

treadmill: 1 min walk, 2.5 min jog (speed 11), 45 sec run (speed 14) x 3

 

The best part today was I rolled out my quads, calves, back and shoulder on the foam roller. It’s torture, but oh, how I’ve missed the feeling. I only know to enjoy it because of what I know it’ll feel tomorrow.