Sunday, 19 February 2017

Beers, wine and cheese

Last Saturday ended up being an unintentionally jam-packed day for us. After a family breakfast, we rode our bikes to Brunswick Baths for Ella's swimming lessons. Lately we have been arriving half an hour early for the lesson, so that Andy can get in some laps in the outdoor 50m pool while I get Ella changed into her swimsuit and then play with her in the shallow kiddy pool, or if is is warm enough, the outdoor splash pad. Then Andy takes Ella for her lesson while I swim laps. It's the perfect way for both of us to get in some exercise, while also spending time with Ella in the pool.

Splash pad at Brunswick Baths
Enjoying the splash pad with daddy


On the way home we stopped at what I thought looked like a cute café called Ray's on Victoria Street in Brunswick. I don't think I could have picked a less child-friendly place! No high chairs, children's menu, or room for a pram. On top of that, their glass display case at the front was full of delicious looking desserts and sandwiches, along with some fresh green apples. As soon as Ella spotted them she kept pointing at them saying "ap-ple! ap-ple! ap-ple!" I asked our waitress if we could buy one but she said no. Harsh! So we took turns taking Ella for a walk outside to distract her while we waited for our food, then ate quickly and headed back home. If we didn't have a child I am sure we would have found the Ray's absolutely fine, but we do, so I don't think we will be back there any time soon!

When we got home we thought Ella would be tired and ready for her nap. However Ella had other plans, and we spent the next two hours trying to get her to sleep with no luck. Defeated, we decided to take her for a walk in the pram, and headed out to my friend Kristin's brother's new brewery, Tallboy and Moose, in Preston. It was a 50 minute walk from our house, so we thought Ella would fall asleep for sure. We were right, about five minutes into the walk she was out like a light. It's strange, she normally goes to sleep very easily, both at nap time and at night, but every once in a while she just decides she doesn't want to. She resists putting on her sleeping bag, she cries as soon as you walk towards her bedroom, and if you actually make it to the rocking chair in her room she just cries and points at the door. And of course the harder and longer you try, the worse it gets. In hindsight, we probably should have given up fighting her and gone on the walk much sooner than we did. Live and learn, I guess.

Ella was obviously very tired by the time she fell asleep, as she was out for the entire walk to the brewery and stayed asleep for another hour after that. That was very nice of her, as we were able to relax with some beers and catch up with Kristin's brother, Steven, without having to run around after her. You might be wondering why we thought a brewery would be a good place to bring a toddler. Tallboy and Moose (Steven, as a Canadian, is the "Moose" in the partnership) is in a long, converted warehouse with a super relaxed and family friendly vibe, complete with table tennis and play area at the back. In the afternoons there are quite a few families in the back area, although the place is big enough that if you want to avoid children (which, if you haven't brought any with you, is fair enough) you can sit near the front or even at the tables and bean bags outside. They don't make food there (yet) but there are Food Trucks outside with snacks and small meals. 

Tasting beers at Tallboy and Moose

Enjoying some beers with a sleeping baby in the pram
Ella slept most of the time we were there so she didn't have much of an opportunity to explore the play area, but I'm sure we will be back another time with her. 



We had to rush home after that as we had dinner plans with our friends Chris and Ness. They have a 10-month-old son, so it is rare that we can both get baby-sitters at the same time (Chris's parents are visiting from England, and we used one of our Nannies that watches Ella during the week). We headed to Milk the Cow in Carlton for a dinner of cheese, cheese, and more cheese. We started out with a cheese flight: four different cheeses matched to four different wines for Ness and I, and four beers for Chris and Andy. We were advised that the proper way to taste was to take a sip of the wine (or beer), then take a bite of the matched cheese, and then sip more wine with the cheese still in your mouth. I was sceptical about this method, but having the two in your mouth at the same time really did make both the cheese and wine taste amazing. After our flights we had some extra cheesy dishes - Saganaki (a salty Greek fried cheese), fondue, and truffled mac and cheese. This is definitely a place that I will be taking my mom when she comes to visit - she is a big fan of cheese and wine (mostly wine). We had a great evening, the four of us very appreciative of the fact that we could have a few hours of conversation together without any small children demanding our attention.

Cheese Flight menu at Milk the Cow

Wine and cheese flight
Chris and Andy with their beer and cheese

Mmmmmm look at all that cheese!
All in all it was a great Saturday, though between the beers in the afternoon and the wine at night, it was more alcohol than I am used to having, and I did feel it the next morning! Luckily we didn't have much planned for Sunday, and Andy's soccer game was cancelled, so we were able to have a pretty low-key end to the weekend.

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