Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eat. @ The Resident

246 High St, Ashburton 3147 ph (03) 9885 8777

The Resident is wonderful cafe nestled in the strip of shops on High Street in leafy Ashburton.   It's a lovely place for  breakfast/brunch/lunch and the staff are friendly.  I visited for the first time when The Age Good Cafe Guide names it as one of its "local heroes", and have been back twice since and the quality of the coffee and the service has always been top notch.

My mocha is always beautifully presented and of a perfect temperature.  

I love the Cured Salmon, served with beetroot relish, snow peas, citrus aioli and soft poached egg on Glick's bagel ($18).   On each of the 3 occasions we've brunched there, we have ordered variations of this dish.  Not that the other items on the menu don't look interesting, but I just really like the flavour and textural combinations!  Plus Bubs is going through a massive poached egg phase and this is a perfect dish for us to share.  

It's such a lovely combination of flavours.  The eggs are always perfectly poached, so here's a picture of some #yolkporn!

The interior of the cafe is modern and invites one to stay for another coffee.  There's a courtyard out the back which is popular for Mums and groups.  The staff are friendly and is always accommodating with Bubs.  Everybody needs a lovely cafe like this as the "local hero" in their neighbourhood! 

The Resident Cafe on Urbanspoon

Toilets - yes
Highchairs - yes

Friday, February 14, 2014

Eat. @ Caffe Romeo

319 Doncaster Rd, Balwyn North ph (03) 9857 6625

So my Littlest starts kinder this year, but instead of having some more "child-free" days I'll be kicking up my work hours.  Last Thursday morning was my last "morning off" to run errands and I had 30 minutes before kinder pick up so I stopped by Caffe Romeo for a quick coffee and snack.  Caffe Romeo is almost a Balwyn institution and it's well loved by the locals.  Most mornings the cafe serves as a meeting place for young and old and it's rare to see it not packed out.

I have been here often and always get the mocha. Smooth smooth smooth with just a hint of chocolate.   

I couldn't go past a lovely custard croissant for morning tea.  

The staff is friendly and although space is limited, tables outside accommodate prams and pets.   A beautiful local secret.

Caffe Romeo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Eat. and Shop. @ Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice-Creamery

35 Old Healsville Rd, Yarra Glen 3775 ph (03) 9730 2777

Who doesn't like chocolate right?  My high school friends and I have an ongoing "date" to get together for an outing with all our children (there are now 7 between the 3 couples!) every Australia Day, and this year we headed to the Yarra Valley for a chocolatey experience.

As we walked through the front door we were greeted by not one, not two, but THREE massive bowls of dark, milk and white chocolate for FREE TASTING.  Oh wow, combined that with the kick-ass air conditioning with an outside temperature of 35 degrees, you know where you can find me for the rest of the day!

There is much to see within the chocolaterie.  The kids were fascinated with watching the chocolate production behind the giant glass window on one side of the building.  You'd be surprised at how long our children were entertained by strawberries being covered in chocolate, moving along a lengthy conveyor belt to cool and emerging on the other end as a choc-dipped strawberry!  Whilst that was happening I had a good wander around, looking at all the chocolate products, from chocolate sauce to chocolate tea, chocolate body products and some good old fashioned hand made chocolates which are all available for purchase and to take home.

We decided to have brunch here and were fortunate enough to find a table, as the cafe area rapidly filled up after we were seated.  The kids were entertained by pencils and coloring pages whilst the adults had the difficult task of deciding what to eat from the menu.

I kid you not I could not decide what to eat for ages, especially standing in front of this display of yummy desserts, including a massive macaron made to look like a hamburger!

For savouries we tried the BBQ chicken pizza ($18) which was surprisingly good.  Okay I was not expecting to eat anything but chocolate on this trip!

They also had a limited number of egg and bacon, and spinach and feta tarts ($9) served with relish.  We had one of each and again were surprised by the lovely pastry and the layers of egg and filling in the tarts.

For the kids there's a lunch box option ($11) which contained a ham and cheese roll, a fruit drink, a chocolate cookie and a fruit skewer.

Then of course it's on to the bit I was anticipating the most, which was the dessert!  Surprisingly I opted for a non chocolate based dessert of Lemon Meringue Tart ($9) which was nonetheless served with a little shot of chocolate.  This was a beautiful sweet which we had with a lovely little pot of tea for one ($4.5, pot for 2 is $6).  To be honest I'd probably had waaaaay too much chocolate for "tasting" as I wandered around the shop so this was a really refreshing choice of dessert!

My friend K couldn't go past the Waffles ($12.5) which look (and apparently tasted) absolutely amazing.

Her Hubby couldn't not try the Chocolate Orange Creme Brulee ($9.5) which was lovely, zesty and smooth.

The kids were totally obsessed with having ice-cream (who could blame them on such a hot day!)  2 scoops of bubblegum and cookies & cream ice cream had them totally defeated and was not ludicrous at $6.5.

After this epic brunch the kids had a great run around outside on the lovely grounds of the chocolaterie, whilst we took in the gorgeous view of the Yarra Valley.  After that we took them around to the great adventure playground in the nearby McKenzie Reserve where they got to burn off all the excess energy from all the chocolate tasting, and we drove home with them all falling asleep in the backseat, happy after a wonderful day trip out.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

Toilet - yes, with change facilities
Highchair - yes