I love my new job. It challenges me in a positive way, offering accountabilities I am comfortable with and opportunity to extend my skills a little beyond what I thought I was capable of. The downside though, is that small, constant challenge means my brain is on the go all of the time. I come home and don’t want to talk because it would result in additional exercise for my mind. It is the type of job that makes you want to punch labourers in the face who come home and say “why are you tired, you just sit at a desk all day”. They clearly haven’t tried running to and from meetings in 4 inch heels on a half hourly basis!
Then we reach Friday. Chicken burgers on fresh baked rolls for dinner and one more sleep until the weekend. After 5 days of pitter patter, my brain must look more like a cup of mushy peas than an amazing marvel of interconnected electronic signals…but it is switched off, repaired with a thorough sleep and the holiday begins. I call it my “date-holiday-weekend” and it happens – you guessed it – every week. I’ve set my meals out for the week and Saturday morning begins with a trip to the Queen Victoria Markets sometime between 6am and 7:30. The produce is fresh, the atmosphere is bustling and the prices are cheap!
Our preferred fruit stall is conveniently beside our favourite vege stall (convenient possibly because we were too lazy to walk anywhere else). A quick trip to each is hastened by the friendly Asian stall owners in the vege patch who will grab whatever you desire while you’re browsing through other sections of their stock. Back out past the ‘flea markets’ section to grab some farm eggs for $3 before returning home for a baked egg basket and fresh homemade baked beans (cover bread in a little melted butter, fold into a muffin tin or ramekin and bake for 20 minutes on 180).
After relaxing for an hour or two, we made our way to North Melbourne so I could join the library, and what do you know – it was their opening day after a four month renovation. A pirate, a fairy, a bucket load of children and a librarian whose friendliness would rival any character in a Mary Poppins folk tale made for a delightful visit to a little community hub. We snuck a few treats from their lunch buffet and carried on to Darak Grill and Bar (51 A’Beckett St, Melbourne) – a Korean mixed with Japanese restaurant I’d been eyeing off after seeing some great reviews online.We entered in through the little timber door to an adorable, homely restaurant and bar. We were quickly escorted to a small table near the front and left to peruse our menu. We quickly turned to the back to identify the dessert menu (which unfortunately didn’t exist) but instead found $5 beers and $7 cocktails! After much reflection on the differing option, I thankfully chose the Drunken Frog! No, not a slimy meal at a french restaurant but a midori based beverage with a nice kick of ‘relax’ that helped me melt into my chair. If that doesn’t help repair the brain, I don’t know what does.
After leaving us just long enough to have a good look at the menu, a waiter came by and took our order. Cheesy Sausage Stew. How could we lose out? Cheese. Sausage. Stew. $29 for plate to share and within just a few minutes, it appeared in front of us on a camping stove, in all its sausage-filled glory.
Now chilli is not my best friend. You wouldn’t dunk your hand in a bowl of chilli and rub it on your partners genitals, would you? But you’ll put it in your mouth! Genius. My childhood was sheltered from chilli due to my Dad not liking it. I cannot handle spice which means asking “is it spicy” is a regular occurrence for me. I was delighted that while it was, they could put the sauce on the side and we could make it to the appropriate burn factor.
While we were amusing ourselves for 15 odd minutes exploring everything from the best places to visit in Finland (thank you Melbourne library & Lonely Planet!) to how to use metal flat chopsticks, the two friendly waitstaff would pop by to stir the stew to ensure it was cooking through.
Each time you would notice something else – the water level rising, the cheese melting, the noticeably orange tinge growing… then the waiter advised we could eat it – “just add the chilli to your liking” he tells us…
This was winter-warmer-belly-schwarmer scrumdidlyumptious! To my surprise (and after testing Steve’s first), I did add a little chilli to my bowl as it significantly altered the flavour without making it spicy.
This was will undoubtably be a regular spot of ours during the colder months and we can’t wait to go back and try some of their less stew-like mains.