Back-Tracking: BrisVegas & The Tablelands

OMG, it has been ages again since I’ve made a blogpost, but in my defence, I’ve actually been legit kinda busy with driving lessons, community gardening, volunteering, assignments, and reading.

Yes, I have been “busy” with reading – I’ve recently discovered a rad sci-fi book series, which has 500+ pages a book, and at least 9 books in the series, so I’m totally engrossed in the process of reading, in a way I haven’t been since The Dark Tower (so much so, I’m realising that it might be worth a book review).

That aside, recently-ish (more than a week ago TBH) Bae and I went down to Brisvegas for a couple of days to see the fam and shit – nothing swish, so if you’re reading this fam, this post will be exclusively about Brisbane, so feel free to skip at your own risk.

The highlights are as follow:

Seeing the Family and Friends (I guess =P)

This includes my stinky niece and nephews. Luckily I got some photos that have conveniently been obscured and made anonymous by dumb phone filters.

Seeing My Mum’s Dumb Pets

This array of dumb animals includes a guinea-pig named Oreo, with whom I am completely obsessed and in love with, and for whom I would either die and/or maybe kill for (please let me kill for you Oreo).

I have no real reason to love this dumb guinea as much as I do, but I assume that because she’s so small and plump and round and herbivorous and easily startled and ultimately pathetically vulnerable and defenceless, she just inspires an extreme form of maternal-instinct mixed with cute-aggression in my brain.

I honestly believe that if you were to scan my brain while I was looking at her, it would show some kind of serious chemical in-balance.

My mum also has two cats, Piggerly-Wiggerly and Sheldon (left to right, respectively).

Now, you may have noticed that not only is Piggerly-Wiggerly a ridiculous name for a cat, but Oreo also looks NOTHING like the delicious (though appropriately vegan) biscuit for which she was named.

This is because both animals were bought for and named by the niece and nephew above, who then stiffed them with their grandma when they realised that animals take actual work to look after 😂

Oh well, I’m pretty sure my mum likes the company.

Now, the cats might also look cute and adorable, but looks can be deceiving, and Piggerly-Wiggerly is a fucking savage. While I was kissing her goodbye, she boxed my ears and left a massive scratch on my face.

I am honestly surprised that the Coles self-check-out chumps haven’t mistaken me for a crack-head (which is quite common in Innisfail), and insisted on searching my bags (which has also happened when we first got here and I was routinely mauled by mosquitos).

OH WELL.

THE FOOD

As explored in previous posts, I am a complete and unabashed food wanker. I make no apologies for this, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job adjusting to country-eating.  

As such, I did enjoy my foray into Brisbane food again. In no particular order:

Taro’s Ramen

I didn’t get any photos unfortunately, but I got a delicious spicy, vegan ramen from this place in West End. It had pretty good serving sizes that were more filling than they appeared, and Japanese beer. The seating was a little cramped, so I give it 3.5 *Italian Chef Kisses*

Harmony on Carmody

What’s the only thing I love more than eating wanky food? Feeling self-righteous while I do, HAHA!

Seriously though, this place is run by a not-for-profit organisation called ‘Access’ that does all kinds of cool community-services work and shit. On this theme, they opened a social-enterprise café that gives immigrants, refugees, and other disadvantaged peeps in Logan the opportunity to work and get hospitality experience, improve their English skills, and get a foothold into the employment industry.

Feel-goodery aside, it was actually real’ tasty – the avocado on toast was the cheapest I’ve had in ages, while still having a generous portion size, and delicious little extras like spring-onion, spinach leaves, diced tomato, and feta. Bae had a plain but hearty big-veggie-breakfast, which he said was on-point and very satisfying.  

I give these guys 4 out of 5!

The Green Edge

This place is fucking amazing because not only is it a vegan restaurant, but it’s also a 100% VEGAN GROCERY STORE with a crazy extensive range.

Pre-made take-home ravioli? Vegan.

Ice-cream including ice-cream sandwiches? Vegan.

Gummy-bears, and wine-gums, and other jube-type sweets? Vegan.

Honeycomb? Vegan.

Cakes and pastries? Vegan.

E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G I-S V-E-G-A-N.

Now, as a big ol’ atheist, I’m not a particularly spiritual person. As a vegetarian/lazy-vegan though? This place is sacred, and I was all too happy to make the pilgrimage from mum’s house in Logan to the North-side for my obligatory vegan fix.

For my meal I got my ALL TIME FAVOURITE, the “meatball” sub with hand-cut chips on the side. I’ve eaten this thing like, 20 times, and never get sick of it.

Did I take a photo though? No, ’cause I was too busy LIVING IN THE MOMENT LIKE A LOSER.

For dessert I got a vanilla ice-cream sundae with chocolate fudge sauce, honeycomb, and bits of choc-chip biscuit and brownie.

Luckily I was so full by this point I had to take a moment to get my bearings, and took this opportunity to get photographic evidence of this vegan deliciousness.

*DROOL*                                                                                                                                            

As always, The Green Edge gets the ever elusive 5 out of 5

Carl’s Jr

Now, as well having a penchant for wanky food, I also LOVE Americano-style junk-food.

Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, bagels, onion rings, milkshakes, all of it, just in-and-around my mouth.

This is, of course, complicated by the vegetarian-ness etc.

DAMN MY SUPERIOR MORALS.

As such, whenever I do find-out that a filthy multi-national corporation is trying to shamelessly grab my hard-earned dollar by flogging their singular token veggie item… you bet your ass I am making a fucking bee-line for that greasy-ass shit.

GIMME GIMME GIMME.

Now, Carl’s Jr hasn’t even been in Australia that long. However, I’m assuming that with the relative and recent success of Taco Bell in Brisbane (~World City anyone~), the US were like, “Oh yeah, these Yankophiles are sick of being the little tubbers on the block, and are ready to join the big boys’ obesity club”, and thus decided to gift us with a Carl’s Jrs (or vice versa, whatever).

I was at first, quite sceptical, but the burger was serviceable, the re-fills free and unlimited (rare in Australia), and the logo appropriately and adorably anthropomorphisized to appeal to my brain, which is always one cell away from losing its fucking shit over anything vaguely cute.

For sheer novelty, and the fact that I was super tired and really just wanted to stuff my face in an airport, I give Carl’s Jrs a 3.5 out of 5.

Well Brisbane, it was fun, but aside from the fam and shit, I could probs leave you alone for quite a while.

Au revoir!

P.S. I’ve belatedly realised that I never finished Part 3 of my previous long-weekend posts, due to the same laziness extremely busy reasons listed above.

And yes, I know, you’re simply ~devastated~ that it’s taken me this long to get ’round to it.

But in all seriousness, while it has been quite a while, and it seems almost disjointed to mention here, there was one particular part of the long-weekend that was too good NOT to post about.

So without further adieu:

The Historical Village Herberton

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“Michelle, didn’t you already visit a historical museum on the first day of your long-weekend? What are you? Some kind of nerd?!”

Yes, it is true unfortunately, Bae and I are massive nerds, and our future children are already condemned to this fate, but this place was well-worth the visit.

It has just over 50 original and restored Australian pioneer buildings sprawling across SIXTEEN acres of land, including an old-timey suspension bridge that spans across a gorgeous river that splits the property in two.

Amazing.

That aside, there was honestly too much to cover, so I’ll only include my absolute favourite exhibition, the hospital.

Anyone that knows me probably knows that I am pretty fascinated with all things medicine – from ob/gyn maternal health and pimple-popping dermatology, to mental-health and furiously googling any gnarly disease or syndrome I come across, to ancient-Greek contraception and abortificients to social inquality in medical practice.

I really dig it, and this place really delivered.

Exhibit A: Old-Timey Pharmaceuticals That Are Disturbingly Similar To Modern-Day Equivalents. And Yes, There Was A Tonne Of Opium-Based Shit, But Hemorrhoids Are Funnier.

Exhibit B: Things That Made Me Want To Barf Because They Were Honestly Just Too Much.

Exhibit C: Holy Shit, A Reminder That Women Really Used To Have To Do This Shit Without The Aid Of Modern-Medicine.

Exhibit D: Oh Wow, I Never Realised What We Did Before Plastic Syringes. There’s Hope For The Zero-Waste Movement Yet, I Guess.

Now, I truly do mean goodbye and until next time!

Look at These Fucking Tourists: Long Weekend Edition – Part Two

The second day of our long-weekend get-away was a big one.

We did SO. MUCH. STUFF, so on we go!

Mareeba Coffee Works

To start the day, Bae and I desperately needed a coffee-hit, so we drove to the Mareeba Coffee Works. And yes, if you Google Maps the trip from our AirBnB in Tarzali to the Coffee Works in Mareeba, it was a 54 minute drive, and yes, we both had caffeine-withdrawal-induced headaches by the time we got there.

WHAT OF IT.

That aside, the Coffee Works is a slick example of tourism done well, in that you can just go to the café and get some good food – which obviously a bunch of the locals do, based-on how busy it was. To make a whole day of it though, you can spend a bit more doing the $19.00 Coffee Works tour, and then splash even more cash buying the cleverly marketed coffee mugs, plungers, and all other kinds of homeware knick-knacks from their gift-shop.

Fortunately for Bae’s wallet, neither of us were super interested in the tour, and we’ve both sworn-off buying unnecessary kitsch-items for quite a while, so we did just enjoy the food and coffee.

For his meal, Bae had sautéed mushrooms and zucchini, with poached eggs, pine-nuts, and feta, while I had a house-made roast-veggie and bean-patty, with beetroot hummus, pumpkin pesto, and avocado.

So fucking good. I just wanted to eat more and more and more.

For good vegetarian options, locally-grown coffee, and not-completely-ripping-off-tourist-prices, I give the Coffee Works Café 4 out of 5 *Italian Chef Kisses*

Meerba Heritage Museum

After Coffee Works, Bae and I trotted over to the Mareeba Visitor Centre just to get an idea about what we could do in the area. Little did we know, the Visitor Centre had a cool little historical museum attached to it, which was not only FREE, but surprisingly comprehensive.

Because I am such a fucking nerd, here are some of my highlights of the museum:

First there was this little school corner exhibit, complete with old-timey writing-desks and some sort of primitive iPad and stylus.

Bae hated this exhibit and couldn’t wait to leave it, as he informed me that growing-up in a country-town in the 90’s, he’d had a super mean music-teacher with this EXACT classroom furniture and outlay.

Yes, the 1990’s, not the 1890’s.

I on the other hand, was absolutely losing my shit over how quaint and kitsch-y it all was.

As you can see, the museum also had both a saloon and a jail, in which I re-enacted the shenanigans of my early twenties.

Finally, here I am trying to kiss a cutie moo-moo-cow.


Interestingly enough, this is about the same height disparity between Bae and I…

My absolute favourite exhibit though?

The Railway Ambulance.

What the fuck is that you say?

Well, back in the day in Australian, when country towns were even more in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere than they are today, rural areas had no proper roads or the Flying Doctors Service. As such, ambulances simply couldn’t reach people living in the outback, and people in the outback couldn’t get to hospitals in a hurry. And they died because of it.

However, there were plenty of railway tracks, so cue the ingenious invention of an ambulance on railway tracks.

This was apparently a particularly large and well-outfitted ambulance, with a stretcher for the patient, a microscope for examining blood and pathogens, a baby weight-machine and incubator for any deliveries that occurred en-route to the hospital, a suction thingy for fluids in the throat and lungs, and more.

It really was just fucking rad, and blew my mind. Unfortunately, that was the only photo I could get, as you weren’t actually allowed in the ambulance, but it still shows how cool and innovative people had to be back in the day.

Kuranda

After spending an hour in the (free) museum, we then kept driving north to Kuranda.

Now, I have been waiting to go to Kuranda ever since we moved to Far North Queensland, because it has not only a Koala/Marsupial Garden, but a bird-aviary, and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest butterfly dome and hatchery.  

Not gonna lie, the Koala Gardens were a little bit average, as aside from this little potaroo and her pouch-baby, there wasn’t much that I hadn’t already seen before.

I did however, love anf would die for this tiny cutie baby turtle, while Bae had an encounter with his arch-nemesis, the snek! Hiss hiss!

The Bird Aviary on the other-hand? Absolutely amazing.

When you walk in, straight away you’re on a viewing and feeding platform, where heaps of the birds gather around and above you to feed on fruit and seeds. This included heaps of native and non-native species, as well as some rescue animals, a bunch that had been surrendered by people who couldn’t look after them anymore, and some that just naturally bred within the aviary – though the keepers did admit to buying from breeders too =(

Among the birds there were plenty of clever parrot species, who kept perching on peoples’ hats and bags, and trying to steal jewellery, belt-buckles, buttons, and anything else shiny!

We also spotted lots of beautiful berb couples, preening and grooming each. So cute!

Any finally, it turns out that Booboo had somehow managed to escape the house, follow us to Kuranda, and trans-figure herself into this exact fucking cassowary.

The angry face? The ‘bitch-please’ pose? Big black butt and yellow eyes? I swear to god, Booboo and this cassowary are 100% spiritually embodied within one another.

We are not even done though, and this was an action-packed day, because we then went to the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Now anyone that knows me well knows that moths and butterflies scare the mother-fucking daylights out of me. I don’t even know why. Like, I think they’re beautiful and shit, and I like to look at them, but they have creepy little insect legs, but they’re so small and fragile, and they fly so erratically and are REALLY unpredictable, and I’m just scared that if they fly in my face or anywhere near me, I’ll freak-out and accidentally hurt one, OKAY?!

It’s too much stress, but I still went into the dome of fluttery doom anyways.

And it was everything I thought it would be.

Beautiful and terrifying, and I had a really bad stomach-ache afterwards, because I swear, I was so hyped that my parasympathetic-system like, shut down while I was freaking-out. I even had to do some deep yoga breathing in the car afterwards to chill out.

But I did get some cool photos for my Instagram and Facebook and blog though, and that’s really what life is all about.

To finish the day (I know – I was wondering when it would end too), we found a little Thai place, by the name of Thai Kai Cafe, which was miraculously still open, because apparently in the country everything is just fucking done by 3:00PM and my eating patterns haven’t adjusted yet.

On top of reasonable opening hours, the service was good, and the food was even yummer, including a delicious lemon-iced green-tea. Combined with having clear veggie options, I give this place a 3.5 out of 5 *Italian Chef Kisses*


Well, this was a long post, but it was a long day, and there is so much to do in Mareeba and Kuranda!

‘Til next time!

Swimming (and Other Adventures) in Nature Part 5: Lake Eacham & Yungaburra

Yungaburra

What can I say about Yungaburra?

This places gives off major Melany and Montville vibes, and I’m pretty sure it’s where all of the country yuppies/hipsters go when they’re sick of roughing it in swimming-holes and want a taste of the bourgeoisie – lots of middle-aged hippies, shops selling knick-knacks, crystals, statues, and cute clothes, a second-hand bookstore etc.

Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed. I did indulge in a new dress, and I think lots of people would enjoy Yungaburra, but I think I’m just getting sick of the knick-knack and shopping economy after living near Brisbane all my life ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yungaburra does have this adorable little creek running through it, which is famous for its platypuses, but we didn’t see any unfortunately =,(

Looking (futilely) for platypuses…

Lake Eacham

We then went to Lake Eacham for a cool down, which has this AMAZING sign.

This place for real has a freaking freshwater crocodile in it, but it’s also like, the most family-friendly place for swimming. Seriously, they’ve intentionally built man-made steps leading into the water, and installed gravel and a barrier on the bottom of the lake to distinguish between the shallow and deep water, but they kept the fucking crocodile???

Freshies are apparently less aggressive and more timid than salties, but still!

People up here just do not care. This is peak nihilism.

And the State Government’s attitude?

Your safety is our concern, BUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

My State Government, LOL.

Fucking love it. Absolutely savage. The Government might as well have just told people to fuck off and stop being dickheads.

This approach is honestly super refreshing though. The harken back to common-sense and personal responsibility really appeals to the libertarian inside of me. I can just imagine a ranger going, “You got nibbed by a freshwater croc? You had fair warning mate, you must’ve really pissed it off, and quite frankly, sounds like you had it coming…”

Of course, we still went swimming, though I was pretty apprehensive. At one point I put on goggles to peer into the water while I was swimming, but there are some things you’re just better off not knowing.

Speaking of crocs, when we went to Cardwell a couple of weeks ago, we were informed by a local road-side pie-vendor that we’d just missed our opportunity to see the town’s famous saltwater crocodile, Bismarck (yes, these quaint country-folk had named their local crocodile after a WWII Nazi battleship) who had unfortunately been shot and killed by an unknown assailant ONLY THE DAY BEFORE.

(Now that I type this out, I realise this whole story reads either like a fever dream or the beginning of a quest from a fantasy RPG…)

That aside, I was legit bummed about the crocodile, a) because he’d apparently never hurt anyone, b) because he kept other crocs away from his territory, which is ultimately safer for all the humans involved, and c) what with me being vegetarian and all that.

Little did I know though, my grief was nothing compared to the local towns-folk.

A week later, they had a memorial for Bismarck. A MEMORIAL. With flowers. And an Elton John song. And a recording from the remnants of Steve Irwin’s family (and fame) thanking the people of Cardwell for their love of Bismarck.

That episode of Parks & Rec where they plan the ridiculous, over-the-top tribute for Lil’ Sebastian the pony? Yeah, suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Now, the memorial admittedly wasn’t all brand new information to me – I’d previously seen on the ABC that the people of Cardwell were planning… something for their beloved saltwater guardian. And when I told Bae this, he was legit annoyed that I hadn’t informed him beforehand, as he claims he would have jumped at the chance to attend Bismarck’s memorial….

Yeah, I don’t know what’s ironic and un-ironic anymore either.

Gallo Dairyland

Following Lake Eacham, we then went to the Gallo dairy, to indulge Bae’s #1 love in life: cheese.

Now be warned, when you pull-up to the Gallo Café, it is situated right next to the dairy, so everything just smells like the worst farts you have ever encountered.

Luckily, the owners had the good sense to essentially fart-proof the café, and it is tightly sealed, with a fairly good air-conditioning system.

As such, Bae was able to enjoy his cheese-platter in relative peace, and even bought some cheese for home.

Curtain Fig Tree

Lastly, we went for a drive around the country-side, and walked around this really beautiful ‘Curtain Fig Tree’ – it’s heritage listed for being one of the biggest trees in Far North Queensland, and it’s over 500 years old.

Bonus Fact: It’s also home to tree-kangaroos!

Bon vayage!

Look at these Fucking Tourists: Cairns Edition

Bae has been in Cairns for work-training for two weeks, and I went with him, as our furniture/worldly possessions didn’t arrive at our house until last Wednesday.

Yes, we didn’t have any furniture for a whole freakin’ month.

What did we do instead?

We slept on an inflatable camper-mattress, had an esky for a fridge, and spent a million dollars on the local laundromat.

GLAMOUROUS.

Additionally, Bae needed the car for Cairns (an hour or more drive away from home), and since we live 8kms outta town in a place that literally has two buses a day, had I stayed at home I would have been stranded without food (for me or the cats!), without ice for the esky, and without anyway of cleaning my clothes.

Thanks government-contracted removalist company!

Useless fucking pricks.

So we stayed on-and-off in a hotel for two weeks (the ‘off’ was because we had to drive back home every 2 and half days to check on the cats, because Boo-Boo is too young and Grace too neurotic for a cattery).

This is a statue of sting-ray on the main esplanade… But really I just wanted an excuse to post a cute photo of moi.

That aside, Cairns was cool. We didn’t do too much since Bae was at work 8 hours a day, but OMG THE FOOD.

Don’t get me wrong, Coconuts and Co. has some tasty food. With all of the Italian and Europeans who immigrated to the area through the 19th and 20th centuries, there’s paninis, focaccias, pasta, pizza, and it’s all really good stuff. You won’t hear me shit-talking it.

BUT, being vegan there is only about five different places I can eat at, and having already relaxed into a lazy-vegan at times (particularly with the no-fridge-no-microwave-no-kitchen-utensils situation that has only recently been remedied), I’ve already eaten my way through most of the town.

For a city gal like me, this has probs been the hardest part of living in a regional area. I don’t give a fuck about shopping (I’m always trying to have less shit in my house), and despite my relative close proximity to the Brisbane CBD I never used to actually go out that much (because I was so exhausted from having to wear my human-face all day).  

No, food is where it is at for me.   

As such, I used Cairns as an opportunity to STUFF. MY. GODDAMN. FACE.

A kind of feast in preparation for the proverbial famine ahead.

So what did I eat?

In no particular order:  

Vegan waffles via Waffle On

Don’t ask me what kind of alchemy these people used to make such incredible vegan waffles, because I asked, and the guy said “Ratios”. I see you man, I know what you’re doing. You’re protecting that sweet sweet waffle secret-recipe. And I don’t blame you. We went on a Monday or Tuesday morning, which is typically the least busy café day, and the place was still half full. Apparently if you go on the weekend there is a line out the door. OUT THE FREAKING DOOR. You don’t want other bitches replicating that success and stepping on ya waffle business.  

Now I only got the most basic waffles, with (soy) ice-cream, bananas and strawberries (for your health), and maple syrup, but still so, so good. Don’t worry, you can get non-vegan waffles – Bae got chocolate ones, with Nutella, cream, ice-cream, and FRESH raspberries and blueberries. How are they getting fresh berries in this climate? I DON’T KNOW.

For the novelty, deliciousness, and attention to veganness-detail, I give this place 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses out of a potential 5.

My Very-Own Breakfast Abomination via Caffiend

Now these peeps are rad, because they didn’t blink an eye at me making my own monstrosity from scratch with the breakfast-sides. I’ve been to places that either charge you a ‘plating-fee’ (fuck off), or won’t let you do it at all (get fucked).

My abomination included: roast pumpkin, baked and-then fried potatoes, fresh avo, pan-fried mushrooms, house-made chilli-jam, and sourdough toast.

The portions sizes are very generous, and it took me a good 30-45 minutes to eat this, just mixing and matching and slowly giving each combination of food a go. I can’t even remember what Bae got ‘cause I was in my own little culinary world.  

It was a little pricey, and not super innovative, but still a solid 4 Italian Chef Kisses out of 5.

Vegan-Crepes and a Veggie Breakfast Burrito via Lillypad

This place has heaps of veggie and vegan options (as well as serving meat), and is pretty willing to try to veganise anything it can, without altering the price. We went here 2-3 times, and tried so many things, including ‘Parisian Eggs'(??), a mezze plate, a vegan breakfast burrito, and more.

My favourite was the vegan crepes – a good mix between healthy and indulgent to start the day, though I do wish that after Waffle On, the berries inside had been fresh instead of frozen.

I think some of their vegetarian stuff is a bit better than their vegan, as in they haven’t ~quite~ perfected the alternatives, but still good, hearty food, generous serving-sizes, lots of options, and a chill vibe. For this it gets 3.5 Italian Chef Kisses.

Trio of Dips, Chai Kombucha, Dragonfruit Kombucha, Pad-Thai Salad, and a Veggie Burger via Lafew Café & Kombucha House

It’s taken me many years, but I’ve finally done it: I’ve found a kombucha that Bae will drink without wincing involuntarily. In his now immortal words, “That’s the best kombucha I’ve ever had, probably because it doesn’t taste anything like kombucha”. LOL.

We were both super sceptical, but I desperately wanted to give this everything-is-plant-based-but-we’re-also-full-of-weird-new-age-hippy-shit-cafe ago. Glad we did, ‘cause it was goooood.

To start we got the trio of dips, which were basil pesto, hummus, and sundried-tomato with cashew cheese – all raw somehow. This was served with some kind of fresh-made dinkelbrot. So salty, so soft, so delicious, and it perfectly offset the subtle, clean taste of the dips.   

My main was a zoodle (zucchini noodle) pad-thai with a raw sauce of lemongrass, peanuts, and soy, topped with fried tofu, micro-greens and other fresh veggies. Sounds like it would be nasty at worst, or plain at best, but it was just really well balanced – fresh and delicate, but oddly satisfying.

You can tell a lot of work has gone into perfecting the recipe, and making sure each meal is made only with the freshest of vegetable, ‘cause even the slightest kind of soft or less-than-stellar ingredient would have made it a very bland or underwhelming dish, and instead we were both pleasantly surprised.

Bae got a veggie burger made with a patty of chickpeas, pumpkin, and a pretty tasty spice-blend. The whole thing held together really well, and was better than most veggie-patties in that it wasn’t trying to imitate meat at all, but it wasn’t an after-thought either.

The best part (for me) though? The kombucha. Honestly, so, so good. It was like the perfect alternative to soda for an adult. They make it by-hand, on-site, and experiment with their own flavour combinations, such as vanilla, lime and ginger, lavender and mint, and more! The colour was incredible, with amazing flavour-profile – just a teeny-tiny bit of sourness, and not too sweet. I would gladly guzzle a bottle a day of the stuff if I could afford it, and as above, even Bae said he would be happy to drink that kind of kombucha every day.  

It was a little pricey (but I totes understand why). Still, on my budget I gotta bring it down to 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses outta 5.

Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng via Bagus Cafe

Bagus is Indonesian for ‘good’ and let me tell you, Bagus Cafe is bagus. There’s a reason this place has won awards for being Australia’s best but cheap eat.

Additionally, since our trip to Singapore (which occurred BB – Before Blog), I have had like, a near-constant craving for any and all Asian food. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesia, Korean… And as I said earlier, Coconuts is mainly just European food. Good, but European.

So Bagus was like all my dreams come true, particularly since Indonesian restaurants are an extra level of rare in Queensland.

The food was simple, hearty, tasty, flavourful, greasy, spicy, savoury, generous, and CHEAP. Like, $10.90-for-a-plate-cheap, which is fucking impossible to get anywhere else.

Extra bonus? The vegetarian options were cheaper than the meat options, which I always appreciate.

For this, Bagus attained the ever elusive 5 out of 5 Italian Chef Kisses

Bone Apple Tea.

Living It Up in the Motel California

We got a houuuuuuuse. Yesssssssssss.

It’s in a lovely place called Coconuts. I assume it’s called that because there are coconuts absolutely EVERYWHERE. I plan on learning how to crack and scull ’em as soon as we’re settled in, and I might even get into making ‘fresh young coconut’ – you know, the drink with the delicious, crazy amounts of sugar-syrup that you get in every Thai and Vietnamese restaurant. I’m sure the local cane-growers will appreciate my new found love of sugar (gib job plz, cane-farmers).

I’m really just super relieved though, because living out of a motel, even if only for a week, is… not great. Cannot stress that enough. Don’t get me wrong, the motel is completely serviceable, and would usually be more than enough, except I’m actually living in it ’round the clock, instead of just using it as a stop-gap between tourist outings.

That and the cats are driving me fucking nuts. Their truce was short-lived it seemed, and when the still-as-of-yet unnamed kitty isn’t constantly attempting to ‘play’ with Grace [i.e. jumping on her back and biting her on the neck], she’s either crying for her third serving of food, or pooping unfathomable amounts.

Thank god for free WiFi, a Netflix account, and a now mangled cat-toy.

I have however, perfected the art of cooking in a motel-room, without a stove-top, microwave, or even a kitchen-sink. All we’ve had access to is a kettle and fridge! Suspecting something like this might happen (and that it would take the government-contractor forever to move our stuff), we did pack a couple of kitchen things in the car. Cue a visit to the local Woolies – which has a surprisingly good Asian-food section – and I devised the following ~delicious~ recipe.

  1. Cook the vermicelli rice-noodles with water boiled from the kettle. I insulated the pot with tea-towels in a somewhat futile attempt to keep it warmer for longer.
  2. Warm-up the can of satay-sauce in a bowl full of hot water (again from the kettle).
  3. Warm the pre-cut veggies and cashews in… you guessed it! Warm water from the kettle!
  4. Drain the noo-noos and veggies in the bottom of your motel shower (don’t forget to stomp any left-over pieces of food down the drain!).
  5. Finally, mix the noo-noos, veggies, satay-sauce, and cashew nuts altogether in a bowl. Add some ABC hot-sauce (it’s better than sriracha), some salt, and it’s pretty alright.

Bone-app-the-teeth.