Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 207: Another Dinner Party

Yes, we attended yet another amazingly delicious dinner party! I didn't post food pictures because I was too busy eating. This time I just wanted to enjoy the food and the company. We rode the tram there and back and it's interesting to see how people's mood change from one ride to the next. The trams have a vibe of it's own. I'll see what other vibes I can capture during our tram rides. Stay tuned!

Day 206: Day after Hump Day

Today was a regular work day, with regular weather, seeing the regular people.
          Back on the hamster wheel I go.

Day 205: The Queen's 17th Visit

Such a choppy picture, I know. But this was my view from the meeting room I was in while the Queen visited Melbourne. The red carpet was rolled out for her and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted run downstairs and take pictures on the red carpet after she was gone lol.

Day 204: My Instax Wall

My Instax wall is growing! I was on an instax drought for months! But my LAdies saved me. They brought along six packs of instax film for me! I posted the mini instant pictures from the Great Ocean Rd. tour. The scenery from the tour looks amazing on these little pictures.

Glancing at my pictures as I walk out of the apartment makes me smile on the inside =)

Day 203: Lilies Remind Me of Wifey

Stargazer Lilies ... remind me of my best woman: Nikki.  She absolutely loves these flowers. I personally enjoy them in our home. They have a strong scent, bright colors, and last a very long time. Sorry I've been terrible at asking the florist the flower's names. but the little white ones started off green buds and turned into a ball of white little flowers. CUTE!! These also last a very long time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 202: Victoria's Beauty

Photo by Adonis L.

12 Apostles

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge

King Pin Bowling
Day 202 was filled with laughter, sightseeing, and enjoying each other's company. We took the ladies to a "must-do" when in Victoria (the Australian state that Melbourne is in): The Great Ocean Road Tour. It was a full day trip that included these stops:

So, as you can see there were plenty of things to see along Victoria's beautiful coast. As we rode the bus and stopped off at each location we marveled at the natural beauty that surrounded us.

We weren't tired after the day trip so we headed over to King Pin for some drinks and silly bowling (as usual!).

Day 201: Benny the Koala

Thats how I feel about most of the time spent with friends. But I'm glad we are able to enjoy every day with a smile on our faces. And maybe the occasional smile on a stranger's face as they catch a glimpse of our ruckus. Today the fun continued at the Healesville Sanctuary. We took a long drive out through Yarra Valley, for our girls to see Koalas and Kangaroo up close and personal. Emely was ultra excited to meet the koalas and got to spend special one on one time with Benny the Koala. In Victoria, Australia it is illegal to hold or pet koalas. However, at the sanctuary you can get into their enclosure and come face to face with them (no touching permitted). After the Koalas, we wandered over to the Kangaroo enclosure. They seemed docile as they hopped around us freely. But we weren't gonna get too close and end up on one of those funniest home video shows! 

There were plenty of other animals at the sanctuary, but honestly these were the only ones we were really excited to see. This wasn't a zoo by any means, but well worth the trip. There were Tasmanian Devils, Dingo's, Wallabies, Platypus, and wombats just to name a few others. Being that we were already in Yarra Valley we took the opportunity to stop by Punt Road for a wine tasting. We also stopped by Yarra Valley Dairy where we did another wine tasting, and purchased some tasty cheeses!  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 200: Lychees Have Landed

A couple hours off the plane, onto the fertile soil known as Melbourne, Victoria, and into the nightlife we stroll. The Lychees have landed and Diana is back in her element. A taste of home packaged into human form fresh from the U.S. and thru our threshold. This is the L.A. version of Mojo, and I feel like the antics will be on from sun up till jet lag catches up. 

We decided to bring the girls into the mix immediately, choosing The Toff as destination numero uno. We didn't leave the apt till after 12am and everyone was anxious to get out and have the night started. As with last weekend, the Toff did not disappoint. The DJ was different tonight, spinning a little Hip-Hop, dance, 80's and top 40's. Overall is was a great time out. We met up with one of Diana's coworkers, Vick, and proceeded to dance the night away! The Toff as per usually closes late. And might I say, the party was still going strong at 4am when we left. God save us!! I beggith your mecry-ith! We have to be up early for the animal sanctuary in Healsville. More on that tomorrow.  

Day 199: Cook Marathon

In preparation for our visitors I've been trying out new recipes. Our girl Tee is vegan, and while I don't want her to feel like the standout for her dietary choice, I also don't want to do a lot of double the work cooking. So I spent the past couple days creating an efficient menu to get us through the week. 

First up I started with a tomato sauce to be used with pasta, Diana's famous meatballs, fried zucchini, and or eggplant etc... I moved onto a coconut brown rice, which turned out amazingly good. I figured we can have the rice with a shichimi spiced, mushroom, tofu, and kale soup. I then cooked up some red split lentils to which I added shallots and garlic (bottom left) which had been slightly browned in a scallion infused evoo (bottom right). This was going to be the vegan filling for the gyoza/dumplings (middle, left to right) I'd be making as another meal. While I was at it, I made a ginger-pork-scallion filling as well. Test batch of both turned out so well I surprised myself. A simple dipping sauce was made with a little sesame oil, cooking wine, and soy sauce. You can also do rice vinegar and soy sauce. Either one is a good choice. I also ended up making a singapore noodle soup since I was in my zone. It didn't take much time as the ingredients were simple, but effective. At the end on my cooking marathon, I sat back and looked at all the creations thinking, man, this vegan things ain't half bad. When you think outside the box, you can open yourself up to a measure of creativity that can make any bland idea seem out right tantalizing. 

If you haven't come to our house, its just a matter of time till you do. We like to have our guest feel like they're at home. I enjoy going the extra mile to make sure you're comfortable and you're needs, within reason, as attended too. I always wake up and make fresh coffee, omelets, cut up fruit. Whatever it takes. If you're in our house, you're family. So reap the benefits. 

Day 198: The Flavour Merchants

We were invited to join our friends and help out at the Beer Deluxe, taking place at Federation Square. We had known since introduction that our buddy Hamish started a micro brewery with his long time friends, but had yet to taste their brew or see them in operation. Today was our chance. We were given behind the scenes access, as we helped them pour for the crowd as well as unveil a new brew! I took to the task like a seasoned marketeer and Diana was the pretty face to draw "them" in. Or at least thats what I thought about it. We hawked the Pilsner, Premium Pale Ale, and NEW to the market, Witbier. It was a really fun experience. I especially liked walking around in my Hawthorn gear, and tasting beer from all the other micro brewery's. However, hands down, Hawthorn was our favorite. And its not because we're partial. So, thank you to the guys at Hawthorn. We really appreciate the opportunity and will offer a labor for beer sample swap anytime. Ciao!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 197: Hard To Kill

Why oh why did we agree to kickboxing class AND Body Combat class in the same day?!?!

            .... cuz we're BEASTS!

Adonis and I have made a commitment to our health. We aren't walking around with six pack abs and we don't have an organic-only diet but we are making conscious dietary and lifestyle decisions to make ourselves healthier. Longologist -- you know this, remember Health & Wellness Updates (yea, I know, we need another update like that).

Anyway, we are changing up our workout routines. Our bodies were in need of a shock. Last week we discovered two good classes at our gym:

  • The high intensity and cardio-heavy Body Combat class. 
  • The Kickboxing class taught by MMA fighters. 

Oh bodies definitely feel like they've been in a brawl. It hurts so good.

Day 196: Dinner Party Bonanza

Dinner Party Bonanza: Origin; Melbournian-Eng. An event consisting of yummy goodness of various origins; Competitors vie for the title of best dish and those that lose was the dishes and pack the spoils for the victorious. 

If you remember from the last dinner party, I walked away victorious. I still have my "certificate" on the wall lol. This time around I lost to a very noble competitor. I honestly thought I couldn't lose. I marinated my chicken in a homemade buttermilk and floured it in a bath a secret seasoning. The macaroni and cheese, was quite possibly the best I had ever made! I know a certain someone had four servings in a single sitting, and it wasn't me or Diana! Either way, I did lose. But I lost with a huge smile on my face. Jude, a friend of Gemma competed in this round. We had all met the weekend prior so it was good to get to know each other in a more intimate setting. She made a chocolate ganache tart served with a honeycomb butterscotch Ice cream. It was absolutely amazing!!! I'm talking gourmet bakery quality. I wish we had an extra room in our apt so we could move her in, and she could pay rent  in chocolate tart form! Needless to say, I had no problem coming in a close second. Diana made her famous Guacamole and Pico De Gallo. It was sooo good as usual! For this round we added a scoring category, The "it factor." She nailed her presentation and her entrees came out looking like something from the pages of a magazine. Adam also wowed us with his presentation of a homemade noodle and meatball soup. He made sure to include a short history of its origin and how he made it, great effort Adam! Gemma kept us in suspense all night as to her dish. She also gunned for the it factor points and didn't disappoint with her Tetris inspired cake. She hand carved the pieces and fit them together like a pro. The cake was peppermint and chocolate marble with vanilla icing, mm mm good! Yasmin's friend Rafael, (visiting from L.A.) also joined in the fun with a Brazilian orange chicken and rice. He was just happy to have completed a dish. We all spent the weekend partying together, so by sunday, it was all catching up. 

These lil competitions, get-togethers, what have you, are really pulling the best creations out of everyone. Not that a regular dinner party wouldn't. Its just fun to talk smack and challenge ourselves to raise bar above spaghetti and buttered bread. Diana was also able to get some great photos from around the house. The desert flowers look amazing. How about that clock shot? Gemma made that! I'm thinking it would be cool to blow it up onto canvass and making a clock out of the picture. What do you think?  

Day 195: Night at The Toff

The Canon's still got it! Cheers to our point-n-shoot. It can be a little cumbersome carrying around the Nikon or Olympus. Sooo, having a point and shoot is necessary and convenient to catch the memories from a night out. But I digress... 

We met up with the usual suspects to check out a new (to us) spot. We went to the Toff on Swanston Street. The venue actually houses three places in one, including a roof-top lounge! To my surprise they played my type of music, old school house and a little modern funky disco. Diana was so corny about it too. I mean I could understand her excitement. As the last few times we purposely tried to find a house spot, either it was closed or the music was techno, not house. Sooo she clapped her hands in cheering fashion while saying, "babe they're playing your music" me, "ughh you're so embarrassing mom." I won't front though, I was happy about the find. DJ even spun a couple tracks from the 80's! Who listens to this stuff?? I do :)

There was a small stage at the front of the dance floor, where the DJ spun vinyl. He definitely didn't look the part, but its good not to judge a book by its cover. The kid did good, especially considering he was a 90's baby and was mixing in tracks a decade before his time. Halfway thru the night two performers appeared on stage, and seemed to  have a vogue-ing contest. While it was entertaining, I was interested to see how the crowd would react to the 6ft + man beast dressed like a woman with red glitter nipple tassels! Definitely a good laugh which kept our attention. 

On our way home we saw the statues for the Angels and Demons Parade, gloriously illuminated. No special effects here, it looked that cool in person. The shadows cast on the building behind them looked awesome. Check out the B&W pic, Diana has such a great eye.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 194: Gemmas Birthday @ New Guernica

New Guernica

Quirky ass Melbourne strikes again! If I haven't told ya before, we are really liking this city. Today is our girl Gemma's birthday so we all met up to get our party on! Gemma's main goal for friday was to find a place off the beaten path. Somewhere we had not been to before, and different from our usual haunts. We found it. Our directions there were the best though. Walk up here, make a right, then its the first place on the left. Actually its not really labeled so look for the big dude standing outside on his phone. Surprisingly enough, we found it without any drama and with it, one of the best deals in town. 2 for 1 on alcohol and beer, $15 pitchers of sangria, and $25 mixed drink pitcher. SAY WHAT!! Yea, in a city where the beer can be $15 and specialty drink $25, this was the place to start your Birthday celebrations. Oh, and did I mention the special went till 10:30pm?!?! We ended the night in chinatown, where we loaded up on dumplings and chinese broccoli mmmmmm....

On our way around, we noticed signs and loads (Aussie's would say heaps) of people setting up for Occupy Melbourne. This was really interesting to me. This movement has spread across the globe literally! I won't go into the whole political argument but a couple things stand out to me. The economy here is damn strong right now, and the healthcare is covered by the state up until you make something like over 70K (at which point you get your own private healthcare) One more thing that I laughed at, this started as a statement against Wall St. and big banks/Corps etc...the activists are receiving so much money and other donations that they need to use city space for storage and banks for the money. OH....another thing, did you know the CFO is a 21yr old art at student at Cooper Union, with 0 financial experience?

Maybe this whole topic needs a post of its own....who wants the OWS for dummies cliff notes version of whats going on in the world?

Happy Birthday Weekend GEMMA!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 193: More Beer

Belgium Beer Cafe

I promise we're not alcoholix! Our friends are and we're just being supportive by drinking with them. JOKING! Besides, as Adam (aka Antwan) says, you know you're not an alcoholic if you're worried about becoming one. Makes since to me, so lets move on.

Yesterday I was thinking it was a bad week for Diana so I'd make sure to be on my best behavior till the weekend. But then I remembered that her coworkers were at World yesterday, and today they would all be meeting up for drinks afterwork again. So, this afternoon we decided to decompress together at the Belgium Beer Cafe. Everyone has been working hard. Most days working till after dark, which is getting to around 8pm here. So the stress everyone must be feeling is well understood. Sometimes I feel like I work in Diana's office. Her coworkers are really friendly and accepting. To the point where, if I dressed the part, I could probably walk into the office, find an empty desk, and blend right in i.e. fraternizing all day. I like being a part of all the fun and involved in whats going on. I think I may be starting to miss work!? Whyyyy!!

Day 192: Decompress at World

It must be a really stress filled week for Diana. This week we decided to sign up for classes (Body Combat & kickboxing) at our gym. Its good to have the variety, plus the instructors would push us harder than we would ourselves. All that stress would be pouring out in the form of sweat. We have also been out for drinks more than usual. I guess the balance is good though. You don't want to see yourself or your friends go to an unhealthy outlet to vent stress. So the long days in the gym to relieve the stress and live music, and long sunsets with a Long Island Ice-T or beer to end the night are okay. 

World is definitely a staple when it comes to afterwork meet up spots. The place is designed nicely, the servers are friendly, and the music is to our preference. PLUS!! they have really good calamari. We made sure to bring the guys here when they came to visit. If you remember, that was the first time we ate there. We were pleasantly surprised. Anyway, we came here after Diana was sprung out from her IT dungeon. A couple drinks, good conversation, and small eats later and we were on our way back home. 

She called me her hero as we walked home a lot more relaxed.