art and food…yes please


I don’t think I had any expectations of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art- Hobart). I had heard it was good. Had also been told of a couple of particular pieces on display, but other than that I didn’t really know what to expect, besides knowing that I did want to go there.

Driving in, vineyards line the drive way up. Guinea fowl, chooks and ducks roam the carpark. I think anywhere that has that as a welcome, along with striking architecture and a tennis court in front of the subtle entrance, immediately has my attention and I wanted in.

Little Monkey had timed a nap in his pram perfectly and the iphone used for orientating yourself with the artworks suited the tech savvy Monkey Boy. The gadget distracted him enough away from any adults only pieces and it was quicker to ask him to find the information I needed, than from Mr Chocolate.

This place is awesome. No other word for it. If you go to Hobart, make sure you head over for a couple  of hours. It ooozes with funk, intrigue, thought and a bucket load of awesomeness….and it’s free. I loved our afternoon here.

falling water drops forming words

30 people singing Madonna songs in unison...brilliant!

 Now food in Tasmania is a big factor. If you like being out doors, being active and like your tucker a whole lot- it really is heaven. This time around we weren’t dining out in fancy places that had two types of wine glasses set up. Not all. If they had kid sized milkshakes excellent. Drawing paper and colourful pens…even better. Fast and tasty, yes please.

A few of the stand outs for me were, (and you don’t have to have kiddo’s to enjoy them).

The Red Velvet Lounge, Cygnet. This place is really appealing as soon as you walk in. My eyes moving straight to the stacked (still warm) sourdoughs and brimming cake counter, (why fight it?) Steve the owner also blogs from The view from my Porch. This is where I got to have lunch with the lovely Kate from Vegetable Vagabond.

Global Kitchen, Moonah. Three cooks from India, South Korea and Ethiopia, all offering different dishes. A tasting plate that left me gasping for air and The Monkeys skipping out with a chocolate chip biscuit gripped in their little monkey hands.

Machine Laundry Cafe, Hobart. This place was recommended to us 7 years ago. We dutifully seek it out and the Fat Boy Roti was remembered for ever more by Mr Chocolate. Back again, and it was a given that we would see if it was all still there. It was, and definitely worth the wait to get in. Part laundry, part cafe. It’s got retro seating, a line up of people outside and a menu that doesn’t disappoint. It was certainly worth the seven year wait to come back.

roti filled with scrambled eggs

bacon and parmesan pancakes

he got really slow at the end of that one...

So, with my muddy shoes stacked up, my scarf draped over the back of the chair. I lean back contentedly, give my belly a happy pat and  say very enthusiastically…that, was a lovely holiday.

See you again Tasmania.

* Apologies to any subscribers who got the delightfully titled 4252 post- sometimes my brain pauses…pressing publish without a title was one of those moments. 

The importance of cafes in local community city living.

Walking down to our local cafe the other day, I was a bit shocked when two strangers were standing behind the counter manning the coffee machine and working the grill. So shocked, that I stood there, mouth gaping a little, eyebrows frowning while I contemplated the scene in front of me. Hang on a second, this wasn’t right…who are you? Where’s Anthony? Which is what I blurted out. (Not the who are you, but where’s Anthony?) He sold up and we have taken over…*gasp!*…oh, I meekily said and muttered something about a latte and I would sit in the back. Sitting there mulling over what I had just been told, I phoned Mr Chocolate straight away and told him…*gasp!* He did what?!

Our favourite local cafe owner had sold and up and buggered off. Not a word, not a whisper and as I sat there trying to gather some thoughts, I was gutted. Mr Chocolate was gutted…The Monkeys would be gutted. Why? Not because I was a daily cafe frequenter and should have put up a little plaque in my honour on a chair, but because we genuinely loved the guy. He made the cafe.

Simple, tasty food, small setting. People came back because Anthony made you smile, he remembered your name. He knew what you drank. He was my foodie sounding board. The Monkeys adored him and would always run over and say hello regardless of whether we were buying anything. For 3 years this was our local. This was a place where I could study undisturbed for an hour sitting on one coffee, a place where my grandparents were introduced, Mr Chocolate and I had discussed any home issues at a back table, (when The Monkeys were being entertained elsewhere) milkshakes had been slopped by inexperienced child hands, biscuits handed out generously. It was OUR cafe and Anthony an important part of that sweet blend. THE important part of it.

But not any more. Two strangers stood before me, dishing out coffees and explaining the changes they had made to people coming and asking where Anthony was.

This got me thinking….How important are cafes within our community. For inner city living, the cafe culture is alive and strong. Weekends are full of streetside cafes, takeaway coffees a must and many a meal taken up in cafe. These cafes serve as meeting places, appealing to the family for a special treat out, friends meeting up, and singles seeking some alone time. With the absence of backyards for many inner city living people, this is a way of life. For many, if you are living in a small household like a flat in the city, you can be quite restricted with space. As our urban population increases, so will that high density living and lack of space.

If you want to go some where else, the options aren’t huge. The park, a bar, the beach or a cafe. I do my fair share of parks and beach, bars don’t appeal, so for a little me time now and again that hour in a cafe is gold. Pure gold.

There is something really inviting about going somewhere, where you are greeted warmly by name. Your coffee is being made without having said a word, and the conversation is easy. It’s hard to find that. It’s almost like an extension of your home. For many of my friends who live in the area and all living in 2 bedroom apartments with kids, these cafes are utilised frequently. Whether it be a place to take small children to on a rainy day for a babycino, a meeting spot with friend or a place for some quiet contemplation without kids. Cafes in inner city living are used, utilised and loved. Having a warm friendly face to greet you as you come in makes the experience. That cafe space for me has been on many an occasion, a life saver.

So now as we go past our old cafe I have to deal with from Monkey Boy, Mama it makes me feel so sad that Anthony is gone. I want to talk about him all the time, it makes me feel so sad…

From Little Monkey, ANThatttiii…ANThatttiii!! With small arms outstretched towards his cafe.

I know what you mean boys, I feel the same way.

My hero, my coffee

Sitting in a cafe trying to concentrate on the papers in front of me, my brain was idle. Thoughts were wondering and I couldn’t keep track of what was in front of me.

Damn it. The barrister gave me decaf… It’s not working.

Psychologically my brain started to give up. What was the point in studying if it was going to be half hearted attempt. I needed the vip and vim to keep going. To register what I was reading properly. My shoulders slumping, my eyes half closed, my mind was already on a beach in the Pacific some where. Lazy waves, sliding up to the shore, the warm sun beating down on me, the distant cry of a …

Just then, out of the blue. Like a super hero charging through the crowds, with arms out stretched calling to me. Calling my name.

Ta dahh!!


It hit. With arms outstretched, my head slightly tilted back. I relished its embrace. The world had realigned, my soul uplifted once more. My pen speeds up, my thoughts sharpen, the words on the papers no longer blur. My papers once again my friend rather than foe.

My hero, my coffee.