Corner Store Cafe – Toowong, Brisbane

Open the gate, come on in. Welcome to the Corner Store Cafe!

Always enjoy seeing the fresh garden produce available to chefs. Not all venues have the room, however as our city rapidly expands. Refreshing plots of fresh produce at your choice of cafe or restaurant, gives you that relaxing vibe. It really does just wash over you in one of those aaah moments!

Sharp eyes will have noted this venue is cycle friendly. There’s rack room out the front of the gates under the beautiful umbrella shaped tree, and, on a Sunday, plenty of parking in the streets around. Or, a private little table where you and your bike can enjoy an awesome coffee or top up your energy levels with food.

Note the subtle green blanket on the chair back. not something you see often in Brisbane, however a nice touch for those chilly, pre stunning day, winter mornings.

Somewhat out of the box, but today my choice was this superbly creamy apple & cinnamon porridge, topped with tasty berries, strawberry compote and a most delicious, macadamia crumble. Presentation was superb, I mean, end of the day, this is porridge right?? But, to make a porridge look and taste this appetising, takes some talent.

Should you have a preference for greens, why not try the green bowl. Add a side of salmon if that is to your taste. Again, presentation superb!

I must mention the staff. Not only were they were smartly dressed, all were friendly and happy to oblige. Finished dishes were cleared in reasonable speed and no request was a problem.Perhaps your preference is chorizo. This chorizo and potato hash was a delightful dance on the tastebuds. If you are a chorizo fan, give it a try. Most likely something you will not only enjoy, but savour.

Last, but not least, sweet potato waffles paired with a curried savoury mince, and an added side of delicious bacon. Superb pop of added colour with the beetroot!

Coffee, I’m told was superb. I can definitely confirm the Sri Lankan, honeydew green was a very nice tea choice.

Drop by here, they are well worth the visit. Should you feel the need the need to dispose of the breakfast calories, there are tennis courts across the road! Or just bring your bike.

Snapshot on Nelson – NZ South Island

In Queensland, you do not have the pleasure of going out for breakfast with a view of snow capped mountains peaking over the shopping centre roof. With beautiful days, I enjoyed this short break to the Tasman area, top of the South Island.

A short 1.5 hour flight from Auckland, the area has so much to offer and well worth the visit. Nelson sprawls across a huge area at the top of the Island, hugged closely by mountains and sea. From here you can easily access New Zealand’s rugged West Coast or the inviting Marlborough region.

My first night arriving, was a quick pickup at the airport, before being whisked off for dinner at Harbour Light Bistro. Overlooking the sea, this beautiful old home has been transformed into a restaurant on Wakefield Quay. Here you can sit near the enveloping picture framing windows and watch the harbour activity.

Staff were friendly and we were seated upstairs, not near the windows on this occasion, however you could still see the scenery framed beautifully through the expansive windows.

This homemade bread entree was a great way to start the meal, whilst nibbling away and catching up. I chose the incredibly soft, flavoursome beef fillet with roasted carrots as my main. For this weary traveller, the meal was a massive hit. Also pictured is the lamb rack, which I did consider, and Im told was most enjoyable. You need to follow a meal like this with a delectable dessert. Plus one for a special occasion, hence the choice of an enticing Creme Brûlée with turmeric and citrus salad.

Quite happy with the dessert choice. It was devine!

Be warned, food in New Zealand is an experience in itself. Fresh, with tastes most likely stronger than what you are used to, this omelette at Columbus Coffee, Richmond, provided an awesome kickstart to the day. Packed full of fresh produce, the colours lit up the table. This is also the venue providing the snow capped backdrop from earlier.

After brekky, it was off to check out the markets. Nelson city has markets which have operated for years. There’s a lot to choose from, even clothing made from possum fur.

How beautifully warm and snuggly this looked, now if I didnt come from Queensland…

When you’re on a short break, why cook? Well, on this particular trip, we were booked into one of Nelsons best restaurants, The Tides, located at the Trailways. For some this was a surprise, me, I was along for the ride, and to enjoy the look of surprise!

Bar staff were above and beyond, in fact I had a couple of wonderful conversations with the bar staff here, which was much appreciated.

Food, yes that was definitely good. Our set menu gave many choices, quite impressive given most venues with a set menu have only 2-3 mains. This one, 6 mains to choose from. Well done. I for one am tiring of the alternate drops and limited menus when you have a large group and loved this venue for many reasons, but this one was a definite plus.

Colourful bread selection started the meal, followed by mains and dessert. My choice for mains, was the salmon.

Fabulously soft, the salmon was one of the most flavoursome dishes I have enjoyed recently. Now for dessert! Again, an impressive four choices. Where are these menus when we have functions? Moving on, I chose the Salted Carmel Cheesecake. This would be the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. Soft, more akin to a mousse than a cheesecake, this was a delightful dessert to finish the meal.

Highly recommend a visit to The Tides if you are in Nelson. Their expansive restaurant caters for everything. Even impressed by the bathrooms with separate clean washrooms.

For this visit, I was lucky to be staying on a local farm. Relaxing scenery all round. Even the night sky was mesmerising, with a moon clearer and enticing, peeking through the cloud.Consider Nelson when travelling to NZ, this area has a lot to offer. There are many areas to choose from within the Tasman region, and the next blog, will cover Mapua. In the meantime, Ill leave you with another delectable meal from Columbus Coffee. Enjoy your visit to Nelson!

The Square Restaurant- Novotel Auckland Airport

Sometimes transit times can be dull. But, should you be on flights which transit through Auckland, then take some time to dine or stay, at Novotel Auckland Airport. The Square Restaurant will not disappoint. Here there are comfy booths or stand alone dining settings, all situated under the massively high ceiling with a living wall sprouting from the bar..Delightful melt in the mouth fish made for a fantastically filling, yet light on the stomach meal, for this late evening traveller.

Room service is 24 hours, if you are looking for some peace and quiet. Or stop on in the restaurant, the friendly, professional staff will do all they can to make your meal enjoyable.Mind you the view from your room at night might be quite enticing!

Lunch was also an enjoyable meal, again with fantastic staff.

I really enjoyed this Calamari. Tender enough to chew, with a crispy exterior.

However, check out the brilliant colour on this NZ salmon bagel! The eye catching pop of colour gave a hint of how tasty this fish was.

Or, continuing on the fish theme, how about a hearty fish and chop meal? Impressively large this lunch was another tasty dish.Even the children’s meals are enticing..On a couple of occasions now we have stopped by this restaurant. Never yet have been disappointed. Stop by, the staff will look after you!

Blockhouse Coffee & Eats

Tucked away in the Northside suburb of Nundah is a really cool collection of specialty shops, which include the sleek, clean, Blockhouse Bar.Seating is a mix of tables, bar stools, indoor & outdoor settings, there’s plenty to choose from here. We dropped by early in the week for a brunch and were not disappointed.

If you’re seated inside, the big floor to ceilings windows add a feeling of spaciousness, beautifully blending the line between indoors and out.

The menu choice on this particular day was the Mothers Day brunch menu, which boasted some very interesting, mouthwatering meals.

We took our time to choose, after all, it’s not easy when the selection is so inviting, and different to the normal brekky / brunch choices.

Eventually though, after careful consideration, whilst sipping on refreshing wine and mimosa, the choice was made. I chose the gnocchi.

Certainly not disappointing, in any way, shape or form. This dish was simply delicious. Soft, melt in the mouth gnocchi, blended fabulously with the goat cheese, pumpkin and all ingredients. Not only a filling dish, this one was very tasty. Overall, very happy with my choice!

The other dish chosen today was an interesting chilli scrambled egg. The chilli was not overpowering, and the maple bacon, simply delicious! Oh yes I did have just a little taste, luckily!

As I mentioned there’s plenty of seating choices and we enjoyed the outdoor view, wiling away some time, watching the world pass by.

Stop by, spend some time and browse the interesting specialty shops, before you indulge in a bite to eat or refreshing beverage.

Keep this one in mind, it’s certainly worth a visit!

FV By Peppers – Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Thank you to Travel Massive and FV By Peppers for an interesting, informative evening last week. To attend a meeting at this newly opened complex was a privilege to say the least.The view from the restaurant and bar located on level 6, was certainly stunning as the sun set. Huge, inviting lounges, invite you to rest your feet and enjoy the location. The bar and restaurant area has massive doors opening to this secluded location.

To give some background FV by Peppers is still under construction. In saying that, its only the third accomodation tower which is yet to be finished. Tower One & Two are open for business. Offering both hotel and apartment accommodation, FV by Peppers gives you plenty of choice. Oh yes and you can live here too! Short stay, long stay, corporate, everything is on offer.

Based on skyscraper architecture, New York style, the building is impressive, including the u shaped swimming pool which offers a breathtaking area to both swim and chill- and includes a swim up bar, looking towards Brisbane city.

We were incredibly lucky to be treated to a private tour. So many hidden surprises here, and I would have to say, we were impressed. In fact so much so, that already we have a few groups of people we know making plans to stay. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.

Hotel rooms, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, there’s plenty of choice. And when I say apartments, I’m talking full kitchens. These apartments are built to live in, not just stay.

The two bedroomed apartment we viewed, had a gorgeous view of the story bridge at night, as you entered the second bedroom. Muted colours throughout enhanced the beautiful lights outside.

Comfortable lounge setting, leads onto the enclosed glass balcony. Everything you need for a chilled out stay has been included.

There are some impressive extras here you can enjoy with a group of friends or family. For a mere $30, hire one of the four large, beautifully appointed spa rooms and enjoy 4 hours of fun and relaxation.

Relax in the bubbling spa, letting your stress disappear and muscles relax, whilst you either enjoy the city view or watch the TV. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and even your own private bar where staff will provide you with food and drinks (not included in the hire fee), during the course of your four hours.

Should you maybe wish to continue your fun, there is also the moonlight theatre for hire. Again you and your friends relax, enjoy, whilst staff tend to your tends using the private bar (not included in hire fee), contained within the theatre. Bean bags or comfortable lounges make for a sprawling good time!

Even the gym is impressive, roomy plenty of new equipment to keep everyone happy, a wonderful city view, and the cherry on top, will be a new yoga area due to open soon.

Mantra Group have done well to ensure not only do you have the comforts of home, but that extra added luxury at a very reasonable price. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, be sure to keep on checking on how the Mantra Group bid is progressing. To have the Peppers and Mantra complex’s added to Accor portfolio options will be quite the feather in their cap!

And, should you be looking for something special, keep these hire rooms in mind. They aren’t available unless you are staying on site, but what a wonderful treat this could be!

Finally, as with most venues, weekends are busier and it might be that bit harder to secure a private spa or the theatre, so if you are able to stay during the week, chances are you will have most opportunities open to you. Enjoy, we are looking forward to visiting again, perhaps we will even see you there!

Site Cafe – Banyo

A relaxing start to Sunday morning with SereniTea at Site Cafe Banyo. Located next to the Banyo Train Station, this cafe makes up for size with what it has to offer. Enjoy a meal, partake of cake and coffee, or if you cannot spare the time to visit yourself, Uber Eats will deliver to you.

With an interesting choice of meals, the dilemma of what to choose, was no easy task. Site’s menu descriptions have you starting to salivate whilst deciding on the choice. Eventually, after narrowing it down to 4, I chose the Site Fritters, adding salmon instead of bacon.

Now the photo is somewhat deceiving as these fritters were huge, and try as I might, the last one, just could not fit it in my packed belly. A mix of pumpkin, zucchini and corn, the fritters are a solid filler to start your day. My favourite part, was the labna on top. This really is a delightful velvety sauce, originating from Middle Eastern culture which paired extremely well with the fritters. Best part, there was plenty of it!

Spicy Chorizo surrounded the towering vegetable stack. Resting in a superb truffled hollandaise sauce, the stack was made up of crunchy croquette hash, bacon, egg and wilted spinach. I’m told the dish was delicious, maybe needing just a little more of the beautifully spicy chorizo, with the truffled sauce certainly helping the meal hit the right spot.

For those sporting a hearty appetite, the Breakfast Tapas might be the right choice for you. A full plate with cauliflower and Parmesan fritter, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, croquettes hash, the list goes on! There is a vegetable Tapas meal choice too, should you wish to go meatless.

Or perhaps you would like to try the Arabian Eggs? Cooked then presented in the same pan, this mix of baked eggs, bean and chorizo, haloumi , savoury mince with a side of Turkish bread, also makes for a belly full of food.

Whatever your choice to start the day, you will definitely find something on this menu to satisfy your hunger. Staff are friendly and helpful, willing to go just that little bit extra to enhance your overall experience.

Pull up one of those seats next to the large opening window, and wile away some time whilst you indulge in a meal or coffee. With the corner site, there is plenty to see. If you’re really wanting that sweet finish, choose from the cake cabinet, or, how about trying the sweet waffles. And on that light, sweet note, I shall leave you for now….

FourthChild Cafe Restaurant – Ipswich

Its been a while since we’ve enjoyed an early morning Sunday drive, culminating in an interesting new location. Our recent trip to FourthChild Cafe was certainly worth the visit to Ipswich.

With a small number of tables outside, the entry to the venue provides a feeling of room to spare, due to the massive roof void, plus a huge wall of wonderful graffiti to add some simply awesome splashes of colour.

Lovely wooden tables provided plenty of room for all. Staff here were friendly and professional, whilst willing to assist in anyway.

We perused the menu before coming to our choices. Hubbys choice today was to be the Savoury Mince

Interesting presentation, the mince resting under the two fried eggs. I’m told this dish was most enjoyable with the flavours throughout balancing the reasonably plain mince. In saying that, Hubby does harbour a preference for hot and spicy whilst I’m limited to mild. However this is only a personal preference and he still highly recommended this dish.

This awesome looking dish below was the truffled mushrooms with a side of chorizo. Now not only did this present well, there was nothing left on the plate after the delicious meal was consumed.

Opting for the Vege Stack, I was interested to see how the combination of flavours worked.

Zucchini, mushrooms and pumpkin topped with a superb haloumi cheese. All married together with chickpeas, sweet plato and a surprising pop of juicy warmth from the kasundi. One thing I enjoyed here, was the kasundi, a pickle or relish with Indian origins, was not overdone. To be honest, for me it was perfect. I was able to mix the relish through the breakfast and even out the spice. Overall, a most enjoyable meal.

Eggs Benedict is a popular breakfast menu choice and this one above certainly looked delicious!

Ok, so we now have a new sort of tradition when enjoying Sunday brekky, yes we finish with a dessert style breakfast. At Fourthchild, the menu presented to us, contained not only Red Velvet Pancakes, but also an interesting sounding mix of Peach Melba Creme Brûlée French toast. Now that makes the decision a little difficult so lets just go with both.

No explanation required here! Definitely able to taste the red velvet flavoured pancakes the crisp peppermint was a clever mix to the dish.

Now this, oh yes, most decadent of breakfasts, was quite simply outstanding. With a surprise crunch from the pieces of praline, piercing the softness of the brûlée and juicy peaches, we did declare this one the favourite.

We could see how this venue would be intriguing at any time of the day. The display of tempting cakes was enough to make you want to stop by, without the delights of the menu. Check them out, definitely worth a visit!

Novotel Surfers Paradise

Treated to a viewing of the refurbished rooms at Novotel Durfers Paradise this week was quite an unexpected bonus. Attending this Travel Massive meet was most definitely worth the return trip from Brisbane to the very heart of Surfers Paradise.

Now sporting a wonderful peaceful ambiance the rooms are quite inviting. Couple this with the balcony off each room giving you simply stunning views across the Gold Coast, and you have a winning combination.

A new rooftop area is now available for function hire. Very spacious, kitted out with comfortable, inviting furniture, this certainly is a rooftop space worth considering if you’re requiring a venue.

Views upwards are quite impressive too!

Staff were all friendly and more than happy to assist in any way possible. The lobby area can be quite busy at times with tour groups coming in and out but it doesn’t matter as there is such a huge amount of space, along with a bar/cafe, information & tour booking desk as well as reception. An onsite restaurant is up on level one plus laundry, games room, gym etc near the pool and rooftop areas.

Centrally located, from this hotel it is a mere short stroll to the beach as well as a multitude of attractions, leave the car and enjoy a walk.

Consider this hotel if you’re looking for accommodation, those newly refurbished rooms really do look very inviting!

Childers Oasis Motel

One thing I love, is looking down that alleyway, just to see what you can find. To stumble across the intriguing Childers Oasis Motel for a Sunday breakfast, was quite a find.

Nestled behind the well known Palace Hotel on Childers Main Street, a whole new world opens . I had hoped to visit the backpackers memorial as this is a monument to an extremely sad part of Queensland’s history. Something that remains in everyone’s minds. Unfortunately our timing was out and this visit we were unable to pay our respects to the young life’s lost. The work that has gone into the permanency of remembering that tragic time is a big part of Childers. And to those who have done so, hats off, not an easy thing to do.

This view, caught my eye. After convincing hubby we should check this out, it was off down to explore. Firstly, there is a chandelier in the garden on the left. Such an eclectic mix of culture and time exist at the end of this laneway.

Every setting is different. So, choose your mood! We chose outside outside, quiet and a pleasant morning. The menu is a basic motel menu, but, we had no issue with that as that was all we were seeking,

Hubby loved his Chai latte. Apparently one of the best he has ever had.

Now this to me is a basic yet filling breakfast, Nothing was wrong here it was perfect. Staff, who we assumed as being the establishment owners were very friendly, helpful and made sure everything was to our taste.

There is a motel here, but we were staying elsewhere, however, if you are travelling North, dont miss stopping in Childers. This town is large part of Queensland history. Who knows what you will find down that alleyway.

Childers – Queensland

With a history dating back to the 1850’s, Childers wears a shroud of mystery. Partly due to the origin of the name, was it after an English town or a particular gentleman of that era? No one is sure and the answer can be of your own decision.

As we travelled from Brisbane to Childers, the change from dark soil to red soil is noticeable over the landscape. Childers is reknown for its sugar cane and fruit trees. .

Take the time to have a stroll through Childers as you pass by or stop for awhile. This town is interesting,even the footpaths tell a tale.Clever artwork abounds in this town. Historic buildings and peaceful surrounds are captivating, but remember to look down. There’s a lot of history here. So much to see, packed into a small area with less than around 1500 residents. Ok maybe the elephant is a little random, but I’m told this is a special place here who can produce animals of all dimensions.

We missed a lot that Childers offers, only due to the very short time we had. However take the time and check it out, there’s some wineries, a reptile park and do not forget the memorial at the Palace Hotel. Again we missed the opening hours, but if you have time, check out the memorial mural. Or, walk the Main Street, there’s a lot to offer. We strolled down the Main Street, it’s interesting and well worth a look. Between the footpaths and historic buildings seeping in days gone by you cannot just past by. This town is really worth a look..When you’re hungry there’s a lot to choose from. Maybe the bakery, hubby loved his apple turnover, fresh delicious!

Take the time to stop. It is worth it and if you need to stay, we tried the Gateway Motor Inn just as you enter Childers from the South. Geoff and Nicole are wonderful hosts. Relaxed, easy going and willing. Here it’s clean comfortable as well as meals available should you meet the meal deadlines.Childers is worth a look. Take the time, you won’t regret it.

Remember to look at the gateway menus, keep them in mind 👍 Say hi to Geoff and Nicole, they will look after you.