The land of OZ

Russ and I were extremely fortunate to visit Melbourne, Australia last week! What an amazing time!  Melbourne is situated around the Yarra River and adorned by many parks and walkways making it a great city to walk or bike throughout to enjoy all the city has to offer.  If I had to summarize what I liked best about our trip to Aussie, hands down, it would be the gracious and friendly people that live there. Despite only visiting for a week, we enjoyed so much of the surrounding area.

The people of Melbourne take food and coffee very seriously! That works for me!  Our first stop was a bustling coffee shop.  The staff at our hotel suggested we try coffee @ Brother Baba Budan saying, “You won’t miss it, it’s the one with chairs hanging from the ceiling!” So off we went.

We enjoy a wonderfully rich and artistically dressed cappuccino.  YUM! Yes, there really were chairs on the ceiling…

Melbourne is famous for it’s laneways and arcades, which weave throughout the city filled with unique cafes, boutiques, and bars- all off the beaten track.

So fun to poke around at the shops and enjoy some tasty treats!

The food in Aussie was wonderful!   A fellow dietitian and Melbourne native, Emma Stirling recommended Cumulus, a trendy new spot for small plate dining.  Russ and I bellied up to the bar and enjoyed this wonderful  cracked wheat, freekeh, preserved lemon with barberries salad.  Freekeh is a cereal made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in it’s production. Very nutty and delish!

This salad was somewhat reminiscent of tabouli BUT better.  We also enjoyed some amazing Sicilian salami and olives too! Great nosh for a late lunch on vacation.

Walking around the city ,we stumbled upon Smith Street, which hosts an eclectic array of shops and cafes.  One of the shop owners recommended we stop for lunch at Gluttony.  Great name, huh? Lunch specials offered at just 10 Australian dollars were a steal and included many appealing options.  Russ and I tried the Veggie Lasagna and a Pumpkin Feta phyllo dough roll with a carrot slaw and green salad side dish. Here’s my roll…


The carrot cake looked way too good to pass up, my personal favorite, so we treated ourselves to a slice to share.

Check this out:  Here it is…

Here it isn’t…

The Great Ocean Road located about 1 ½ hours outside of Melbourne is a must see.  Said to be one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world.

This coastal drive reminded me very much of the Big Sur in California.  Driving for hours, of course, made us hungry and the options we came across were few.  We did find a small café serving up meat pies to go, so we opted for 2 small warm pies: one peppered beef and another chicken mushroom. Very filling, delicious, but not the ideal food to enjoy in a rental car!  I almost took a picture of Russ’ crumb-filled shirt –too funny!

I love a farmer’s market any day and Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne has it all! This market sells just about everything from boomerangs, coats and leather goods, to fresh produce, cheese, and food to go.  Russ and I enjoyed this market place twice while visiting; it was such a fun place to walk around.

Great fruits!

And great veggies…

And more goodies…

Cold beer on the Yarra?  Okay! Let’s go! We opted to get a quick beverage while walking about town.  Ponyfish Island is a watering hole right on the river.  Even though it’s the beginning of springtime in Australia (with a cool briskness in the air) the sun poured down on this little cafe and sitting outside was perfect. A great place to kick back and enjoy a cold one!

We had heard about Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade prior to leaving for Melbourne and there was no way I would have missed a visit with the penguins.  Seriously…they are too cute for words.  The sanctuary was very strict about their photography policy—so no pictures here, but check out this site to see these cute little penguins!

But, my heart was won over by these little Koalas.  Phillip Island has a Koala Sanctuary too, which is home to several koalas.  Koalas sleep about 20 hours a day and can be found up high in the trees, you guessed it, sleeping. We were very lucky to find one awake!

Wallabies-small kangaroos also jumped around the sanctuary.  Check this guy out!

On one of our last nights in Melbourne, we attended a Footie Game.  Fellow twitter user and tweep, Emma Stirling and her husband Tony provided tix for this local favorite game.   Emma and I had never met before but had “conversed” via twitter.  Just one way technology has made the world even smaller.   We had such a great time at the game with Emma and her husband! This is Australia’s national game and is often a spirited match.  We sat amongst 85, 000 spectators in the huge stadium. Wasn’t sure I could bring in my big camera, so no pics, but trust me, very cool.

 On our last day, we toured the wine country of Yarra Valley, home to some award-winning wines.  We enjoyed visiting 4 wineries for tasting and a 5th one, GIANT STEPS: innocent bystander in Healesville for another heavenly lunch. Russ opted for the prosciutto, San Marzano tomatoes, Parmesan and parsley pizza.   YUM!

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention my educational seminar on FODMAPs! That will be another whole post!  I learned so much and enjoyed a tour of the laboratory where much of the research is done!  I met many of the great researchers who I have read about and all their novel research. I can’t wait to share all that I learned with many of my clients who suffer from digestive health issues!

But now we are back in the US!

As always, there’s no place like home.  We’re glad to be back!

6 replies on “The land of OZ

  • Christine

    There must be a food/travel magazine out there that needs you! You’re the writter, photographer and dietitian. Beautifully done.

  • sophie kamveris, MS, RD

    What a great post-fun to see all of the different foods you tried out. Anxious to see how FODMAP friendly they were!! Welcome back.

  • Trish

    I just came across this page about your visit to Australia. I’m so glad you enjoyed our wonderful country! I found the page because I had put ‘freekeh’ and FODMAPS’ in the search engine. As freekeh is a grain, I am wondering how it would go on the FODMAP diet? Maybe tis page is too old to reach you.

    • katescarlata

      Hi Trish, Yes…I enjoyed a wonderful visit to Australia! To answer you question, I have no idea if Freekeh has been tested. It is a derivative of wheat though so I suspect it might have some FODMAPs-but perhaps might be similar to spelt and have less fructans. But…I really don’t think we have good data yet on this grain, sorry!

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