Saturday, April 25, 2015


We have been enjoying a holiday weekend here in Australia due to ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), which exists to celebrate and remember those who have served in the armed forces, similar to Memorial Day in America. This was a particularly noteworthy ANZAC Day, as it marked the 100th anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops on Gallipoli, which you can read more about if you click the link above. Here in Melbourne, there was a dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance as well as a parade to commemorate the holiday. Unfortunately, today was chilly and rainy and didn't make for a great day to be outdoors, so Peter and I enjoyed a lazy day in. Luckily, we had a few opportunities throughout the week to check out the various celebrations. 

In true Melbourne fashion, there have been ANZAC-themed images projected onto buildings at night this week. This city does more image-projecting onto its buildings than any other city in the world. I am willing to bet my life on it. 
I saw this projection on Southbank one night this week while walking home from dinner. 

Peter had come across an Instagram photo of some projections on the National Gallery of Victoria earlier in the week so we decided to see if it was still lit up last night. Sadly the building was dark, so I took a picture of the fountain instead. 
Earlier on Friday we went to check out the poppies on the steps of Federation Square. 
Apparently the goal was to crochet 5,000 poppies for the Centenary this year, but when word got out, poppies came pouring in from all over Australia and abroad. The poppy count is currently over 250,000. It was really a cool sight! 
In the spirit of the holiday, we headed to the war exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria. 
These vintage recruiting posters were my favorite!
One room had large peg boards lining the walls and a basket of poppies on the floor for those who wanted to add to the board in remembrance. 
We then moved on to another more modern exhibit that featured strobe lights and kaleidoscope-inspired pieces. I didn't totally "get" it, but in true awkward form I did walk into the below piece of art (ball of yarn?) on accident. I thought it was supposed to be an optical illusion so I decided to walk into it and then realized it was in fact made up of tiny red strings and was most definitely 3-D. I probably looked like an idiot. Oh well. 
After the museum we took a walk around the east end of the CBD, which is home to my absolute favorite macaroon shop in Melbourne. 
Pretty much the cutest place ever. 
I got chocolate and raspberry, and Peter ate his before I could get a picture.

As I mentioned, we have had a lazy Saturday primarily spent watching hockey, the Bruce Jenner interview (truly fascinating), and now a footy game. Peter has decided to cheer for Essendon, a suburb north of the city. He has wasted no time in becoming a full-fledged fan. Just what we need...another sport to follow :). Now that we know a bit more about the Australian Football League, it will be fun to attend a game or two this season. 
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grand Trailer Park Taverna

I've been hearing a lot about the Grand Trailer Park Taverna recently, so naturally, Sylvie, Jana and I had to check it out last night. The restaurant is a self-proclaimed "east coast trailer park inspired wonderland" that serves an array of burgers, drinks and desserts. So basically my kind of place. 
The lighting was nothing short of fluorescent, hence the especially low-quality iPhone pic. I wish I would have taken more pictures inside the restaurant, but of course I got too wrapped up in ordering my burger. 

Having seen a fabulous looking dessert delivered to the table next to us, we ordered the smallest, most basic burger on the menu to save some room. Not that it was that small:
The burger was really good, but the real star of the show was this epic dessert:
Yes, that's ice cream and brownie chunks topped with an obscene amount of whipped cream, and yes it was the best thing I've ever tasted. 
Sylvie and Jana, who was distracted by the masterpiece in front of her. 
Sylvie took this picture and said it was the happiest she had ever seen me. Priorities. We came sooooo close to finishing the whole thing, but in the end left a few bites. There is nothing more tragic than not finishing a dessert. 

And that was our night at the Grand Trailer Park Taverna! I have a feeling I'll be back. 
Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Weird Experience and the Best Avo Toast

One thing about living in the heart of a big city is you see a lot of strange things. For example, last week Peter and I walked to the Coles (grocery store) downtown on Sunday night at about 8 pm. Not broad daylight, but not exactly what I would consider prime time for sketchiness. Wrong. We picked out a few items and were just rounding the corner to the self check-out when we saw a confrontation escalating between the store's security guard and another man. This guy had some sort of black pleather apron wrapped around his waist that resembled a toga, so I've been calling him Toga Guy. Anyway, Toga Guy was attempting to shoplift and the security guard had noticed and obviously called him out on it. Instead of doing any number of somewhat rational things, Toga Guy pushed security guy a few times and then started throwing punches. Keep in mind this guy was approximately 110 pounds and not exactly a body builder, but the security guard didn't fight back. Toga Guy eventually ran out of the store with whatever it was he was stealing. The whole thing was bizarre and fascinating. No one seemed to be too concerned with apprehending Toga Guy, which I found a bit odd.

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday. Sylvie and I decided to go to brunch and IKEA in Richmond, a suburb just a few minutes away from the CBD. This story isn't about food, for once, other than to note that Three Bags Full in Richmond has THE BEST avo toast I've had thus far in Melbourne, and that's saying something:
Seriously go there now.

Anyway, on our way to IKEA, Sylvie and I were walking down a residential sidewalk when we noticed a guy about 20 feet ahead of us. He looked to by examining his arm, but as we got closer, it became clear that he was in fact injecting some sort of drug. As we decided to cross to the other side of the street in an effort to avoid him, I realized it was Toga Guy!!! What are the chances? Anyway, you realize you've been living in a city for awhile when you start to recognize its crazies. 

And now, random pictures from the weekend:
We had to stop and admire (and almost buy) these three adorable puppies at the pet store.
Sylvie went to IKEA intending to buy curtains, but mostly just admired/tried to buy the clothing props in the closet section.
On Saturday night Peter and I went to American-style Big Boys BBQ. It was pretty good, but not quite up to our standards as former Missouri residents. Plus they didn't serve sweet tea!
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Free Ben and Jerry's Night!

Yesterday Ben and Jerry's offered free ice cream from 2-9 pm. We of course had to go, because the only thing better than ice cream is free ice cream. Also, Ben and Jerry's is literally $15 per pint here, so this was a legitimately good deal.

The night started with dinner at a Thai place on Chapel Street:
We went pretty early and were the only ones in the restaurant for most of the meal, which was nice. I am a complete grandma and get annoyed when restaurants are too loud. 

We then walked down the street to join the long-like hundreds of people long- line at Ben and Jerry's. We were skeptical as to whether or not the wait was worth it, but the people behind us had already been through the line 3 times (genius) and assured us it moved quickly. 
There was a legitimate security guard controlling the crowd. He took his job a bit too seriously...

While in line we got free t-shirts and posed with ice cream props. Living the dream.
It was madness. People will do crazy things for free ice cream. 
I got a cookie variety which was really good. We considered getting back in line for seconds but decided against it as the promotion was almost over.

So in summary: it was basically the best day ever. 
Monday, April 13, 2015

Farm Animals and a Sad Looking Penguin

On Saturday, I made my fourth trip to Phillip Island, this time with Sylvie, Katie, and Katie's cousin Lara who is currently traveling around Australia and happened to be in Melbourne last weekend. We did all of the usual stuff, but because I've done quite a few posts about Phillip Island (here, here, here and here), I decided to highlight some places I hadn't been on previous trips. 

On the way there we saw a few signs for a petting zoo-type farm (aka a giant tourist trap). Because we are suckers for animals and cheesy tourist destinations, we obviously had to stop.  My goal in life is to own a farm, after all. 
I thought this sign was hilarious.
My farmer friends. 
Katie loved this little guy until she realized he was eating her scarf. He bit a really impressively large sized hole before she realized and pulled away, at which point he started eating my shoe laces. I love goats. 
Borrowing some of Sylvie's photos here...super cute! 
I don't understand people who are not obsessed with llamas.
Katie and Lara being tourists. 
Classic life-size plastic cow picture. 

We then continued on to a cheese shop, where we did some tasting and bought a snack before arriving at Phillip Island. We headed to the Nobbies first and found this little beach on the way where surfing lessons were underway. It looked like the perfect place to learn-small waves and calm water. I'm going to keep this beach in mind for when we decide to try surfing. 
On our way back up to the car, we found a penguin just sitting on the sand. Phillip Island is best known as home to thousands of little penguins and its primary tourist attraction is the Penguin Parade, when thousands of little penguins swim up to shore each night. Apparently the penguins are molting right now, which explains this little guy's rough appearance: 
Surprisingly, he wasn't scared of us at all and let us get within a few feet of him to take a picture. Adding penguin to the list of animals I will keep on my future farm. 

Sylvie took this picture on her legit camera at the Nobbies:
Our next stop was Cape Woolamai beach to catch the tail end of a surfing competition. I had never seen a surfing competition before and I can't say I understand them any better after this experience. I wasn't sure who was competing at any given time or how they were scored. Either way, it was cool to see!
There were some really cute surfer kids who somehow manage to stay tan year round and looked like they were plucked from the set of a movie. 
It started to get chilly as the sun set, but I enjoyed being able to walk on the beach without sweltering, which is unavoidable in the summer months. Before I moved to Australia, I assumed the whole country was hot year round, but that's only the case in the north. Here in Melbourne we enjoy variable weather and actual seasons, which I love. These 70 degree fall days are perfect for exploring!
Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Week in Food

This week has been an especially epic week for food. Last night I went to a new French restaurant in South Yarra called EntrecĂ´te. They serve one main course consisting of some of the best steak I've ever eaten, paired with french fries and a salad for the table to share. We topped it off with a bottle of Pinot Noir Rose, which was perfect for the steak. I literally cannot recommend this restaurant enough. At $39/person plus drinks it was a bit pricier than my usual weekday meal out with friends, but 100% worth it and I plan on taking Peter back there in the near future. For one thing, the ambiance is just so cute and French. Not that I've actually been to France, but Sylvie tells me it's very French! The only downside was the dim lighting, which wasn't ideal for iPhone photography, so keep in mind the photos don't do the meal justice.
The cute little menu! It liked that there was only one choice-made my life easy! 
The herb butter sauce on the steak was definitely the highlight of the meal. 
Even the salad was amazing.  

After we finished eating, Sylvie gave Katie and me some gifts she picked up on her trip home to Belgium and her weekend in Paris. 
A coin purse and Belgian Chocolate!
This little figurine magnet guy, a replica of the famous Manneken Pis statue in Brussels. Yep, it's a peeing boy and it's awesome.  
And Katie, right after she reminded us she is the former president of the Sustainability Club at Bentley University. We were honored to be in her presence. 

For lunch today I headed to Empress of China in Chinatown with Genevieve and Jasmine. 
The entrance to Chinatown obstructed by a beautiful white truck. 

I've only been to one other restaurant in the neighborhood, so it was fun to try out another today. We ordered chicken, beef, and pork dishes and split them. There was plenty of food and we all left full! 
My friends love when I make them pose for pictures "for the blog". Genevieve is actually a legit travel blogger, by the way. Check out her blog!

Tonight Peter and I went to Arbory, which is right across the bridge from us and next to Flinders Street Station. 
I had prosciutto on toast and Peter got the cheeseburger:
And of course after dinner we hit up Brunetti for their amazing flourless chocolate cake. And this is why I don't own a scale. 

Also, I found this hilarious article on Twitter today. It's about the types of annoying people on public transport in Melbourne, but I can imagine it applies to any city. 


Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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