Melbourne life

Costco Ringwood Opened On The Same Day My Mum Arrived In Melbourne

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Remember this crazy woman aka my Mum?  Yeah well, she’s back in Melbourne!  Let the #mommainoz adventures begin!

With around 4 weeks to go for the impending arrival of bubs, my Mum flew into Melbourne from Glasgow (city in Scotland) to take care of me before, during and after birth.  (Okay, after birth, all the attention will be taken away from me so I better enjoy it while I can :P)  The night before she flew, I specifically reminded her to bring TWO important items to Melbourne :-

1.  “Bring your Driver’s Licence so you can drive me to my weekly hospital appointments and in case my waters break and the Husband is at work.”

  • Guess what?  She did NOT bring it!  Initially, her lame excuse was, “I’m too scared to drive in Australia!”  Everyone who knows my Mum knows that is TOTAL BS because she has basically chauffeured me and my 6 siblings around Scotland for years…in a 9 seater van – and she is FEARLESS!!  The REAL TRUTH is that she didn’t know where she put her licence!!!  *ahem* And that explains why I NEVER know where my passport / important documents are and go into panic mode – I INHERITED IT FROM HER!!!

2.  “Bring your Costco card because Costco is opening up in Ringwood, a suburb near me.  We can save 3 months membership by using your card as Costco cards are international.”

  • Guess what?  We spent half an hour looking through her TEN TONS OF LUGGAGE for her Costco card.  “Nope.  Can’t find it.  I totally blame Mrs Chow.  I TOLD HER to pack my Costco card but she forgot.  Don’t worry, I will yell at her FOR YOU!”  “Mum, I TOLD YOU to pack it.  You should not get your friends to pack your bags!!”  “I told Mrs Chow!  Don’t worry, I’m going to KILL HER for you!’ – she joked.  Five seconds later, “FOUND OUT!  See, I knew Mrs Chow would do the right thing!”  *rolls eyes*

And with that, we went off to the Costco Ringwood opening day…

We got there before 10am, but the car park was already busy.  Finding a place to park was slightly more difficult without those red / green light aids.  I also didn’t spot any Parent Priority Parking spots so it may prove difficult when bubs arrives…

Costco is relatively new to Melbourne (even though there is another one in Docklands) but back in Scotland, we’ve had Costco for 10 years (I think) and coming from a big family, the bulk buying was totally worth it and we went there almost every week to shop and eat at the cafe.  Mum and I both thought the layout was quite similar to the one we have in Glasgow and for a moment, I was hit with nostalgia as it brought me back to my younger years…

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For all those unfamiliar with Costco, you can only enter Costco with :-

1.  A Costco membership card.  You cannot just go in and browse.  There is an annual fee for the card and in Australia, it is $60.  Two people in the same household can use that card and they will take a photo of you so you can’t even pass it to a friend to use.

2.  Or alternatively, you can go in with a friend who has a Costco card.  With a Costco card, you can bring along two friends.  BUT ONLY THE COSTCO MEMBER CAN BUY THINGS!

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Costco Ringwood were VERY STRICT because when we went to pay for our Costco shopping haul, the cashier said that they couldn’t accept my Husband’s credit card and that MY MUM had to pay since she was the Costco member.  “Only the Costco member can purchase things in here.  No-one else can pay for this!”

I was like – “WTF?  That’s dumb!  She just arrived today from Scotland and does not have any Australian money on her!  I am her daughter and he is my husband.  That is RIDICULOUS!”  (I don’t usually have outbursts like that but it must be my pregnancy hormones or something which made me get angry…!  Oops!)

Not knowing what to say, the cashier called over some floor manager dude.  And he was like – “OH!  Let me just check with HQ.”

Meanwhile, I was still ranting and raving at the checkout to my Mum (but secretly yelling at the checkout girl even though it’s not her who makes up the rules).  “So if we have cash, does it mean that you would have to PERSONALLY hand it over to pay.  Or can I touch the cash?  That’s just DUMB DUMB DUMB!  Why is Australia so stupid and strict??  It doesn’t even make sense!!  As long as someone is willing to pay, right?”

Floor manager dude returns and says it is okay this time under special circumstances.

So yeah, if you saw a Chinese preggo chick causing a scene at Costco Ringwood at the checkout on the opening day, it was ME!  But I blame my preggo hormones.  I am usually a shy, sweet-smiling kinda gal!

Apart from that unfortunate incident, I am still a big advocate of Costco.  Coming from America, Costco obviously features a lot of US brands and Costco’s own brand, Kirkland Signature…but I think it’s great that they have locally sourced Australian goods too.  I have been encouraging all my friends and colleagues to become a Costco member and that the $60 annual membership is totally worth it!  But seeing as some people have never been inside Costco, I decided to take some photos to show whoever is interested in what you can buy in Costco.

Things You Can Buy In Costco

1.  Electrical goods including TVs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, speakers

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  • Photo shows the Samsung 75″ LED Smart TV at $6999.99 – is it cheaper in shops such as JB Hi Fi?  I don’t know!  I know you can bargain at JB Hi Fi though…  However, I know refunds are SUPER EASY in Scotland (not too sure about anal Australian rules) and I have previously refunded an iPod Touch with no receipt and my Mum returned a TV she bought a few years ago (with no box / packaging / receipt) which suddenly stopped working and there were no questions asked as they have a fantastic refund / warranty policy.  Best to check Australian guidelines anyway.

2.  Supersized items from teddy bears to food and condiments

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  • Even if you don’t buy these supersized items, it makes a great photo prop 😛

3.  Freshly baked goodies including croissants, danish pastries, cakes, bagels, muffins

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  • I am ABSOLUTELY gutted though because I love Costco danish pastries in Scotland and I can eat SO MANY in one sitting…but the ones in Australia have custard in the pastry crusts and that’s a BIG no no for lactose-intolerant-dairy-hating me.  GAHHHH!!!  (Yes, I HATE custard and cheese and milk!)

4.  Big food platters including sandwiches, buffalo wings, prawns, salads

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  • Perfect for all occasions including barbecues, staff meetings, house parties – saves you doing all the hard work!!

5.  Fresh seafood

  • Now that’s something new we haven’t got in Scotland so it was interesting for us to see a Fresh Seafood section in the middle of the food department

6.  Rotisserie with roast chicken, chicken wings and ribs

  • I am not usually a big fan of rotisserie chickens because I think I can make a better roast…but Costco roast chickens are YUMMYBALLS!!  And only cost $7.99 (if memory serves me right)

7.  Fish and meat

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  • We bought the big salmon fillet and short rib beef for dinner that night and it was DELICIOUS – but it may be because I have missed my Mum’s homecooked food *hehe*

8.  Optical department sells contacts lenses, glasses, sunglasses, contact lens solution

  • Not tried the optical services in Australia but back in Scotland, we get our optical shizz in Costco and get our eyes tested there too (not sure if we can do that here as I forgot to look)

9.  Other stuff like bath tubs, garden sheds, clothes, household gadgets (KitchenAid – I want one!), beauty products, nappies, toilet rolls, books, DVDs, American snacks, etc, etc.

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  • I can spend hours browsing Costco but it gets a bit hectic when there’s a big crowd of people.

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There are also many pop-up stalls to let you sample food and drink which I think is a great idea.  That’s me about to eat some Poppycock – candied popcorn which is pretty yum.

Back in the Glasgow branch, Costco provides customers breakfast (before 11am, I think) when they are shopping with a cup of tea or coffee and half a muffin or croissant.  Ahhh, I miss that so much!

After a spot of shopping, you can head to the cafe where they sell a small selection of food – Pizza, Hot Dogs, Salads, Chicken Bakes.  Unfortunately, in Australia, they don’t sell my favourite Baked Potatoes!!!  Have to fly back to Scotland to get my Costco Baked Potato fix 😛

Anyway, I can’t believe I just wrote a post dedicated to my love for Costco!  That is NUTS!  OMG…is it a sign that I am turning into a Mummy Blogger or something??!!  Somebody stop meeeeee!!!!

LuxBite Love!

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Ever since my High Tea Baby Shower, the Husband has been curious about what high tea involves.  He had a day off work last week so I said we could go and have High Tea for 2 at LuxBite – he has been slightly obsessed with this place since we came here for dessert on my birthday a few months ago.  As for me, I am not a sweet tooth nor a huge desserts fan so I wasn’t particularly keen…  But I had browsed the menu beforehand online and I was planning to order some savoury bites whilst the fat boy ate all the cakes.  When we got there, the Husband read the menu and changed his mind about having High Tea.  Instead, he wanted a 2-course lunch – savoury followed by dessert.

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For LuxBite virgin-istas, there is a large marble communal table and a couple of small side bench tables.  I plonked myself on one of the stools at the edge of the large table whilst he went to order.  And then I slowly brought out my Canon DSLR from my bag.  I felt like a total gimp snapping pics.  I’m a faux food blogger yo!!!  To test the lighting, I took photos of the remnants of these two girls who had just finished High Tea.

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Out of the corner of my eye – to the far right at the end of the table – a girl spied Bernard Chu (owner / chef who has appeared on MasterChef Australia) working on his laptop and asked to take a photo with him.  I missed that MasterChef episode so I didn’t fangirl over him and instead, I took a photo of the flower arrangements on the table.

close up photo of Husband

The Husband sat down next to me and I decided to take an extreme close-up photo of him mid-yawn and unflattering up-the-nostrils pic because I am mean like that 🙂  Check out that double chin y’all!

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My lunch arrived!  I ordered the Slow Braised Beef (with caramelised bacon & spring onion mash, fried egg) $15 AUD and specifically asked for the fried egg to be well done so I could eat it.  However, the egg yolk was just slightly underdone and being a paranoid pregnant lady, I passed it to the Husband to eat.  The beef was melt-in-your-mouth chunky beef goodness!!  And the mash was creamy, buttery and smooth… (could not detect any bacon nor spring onions BTW)  As I am lactose intolerant, I shouldn’t have ate the creamy mash, but I couldn’t stop!  (Suffered a bit later with the milky-flavoured nauseating burps!)


As for Hubs, he ordered the Satay Marinated Roast Chicken (with creamy polenta, caramelised garlic, anchovies, peanuts) $15 AUD.  It was lovely as the chicken was delicately flavoured with satay and the meat was extremely moist (why do people not like that word?) and the crunchy anchovies and peanuts added a great textural component to the dish (gosh, not only do I think I am a food blogger but now I’m a MasterChef judge too??!!!).  The polenta didn’t do much for me though.

Onto the desserts…

luxbite macaroons, luxbite macaron flavours

At first, I wasn’t going to order dessert.  But then, I thought I would get a macaron as I liked the Kaya Toast flavour they had last time…  Sadly, it was a Limited Edition flavour and it has now been replaced with Champagne & Griottine Cherry (my response – grio-what??!) – and no flavours screamed EAT ME!

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I did more browsing and although they looked really pretty, it was either “I have lots of E numbers and sugar which will rot your teeth!” or “I contain dairy which will kill you even more after that creamy mash you had earlier!”.

“I’m not going to order anything.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t want to!”
“Come on!  We can share!”

And he did the “puppy dog eyes”…!!!  Clearly, the Husband wanted ME to order something so HE could polish it off!  So I did…

luxbite cakes, luxbite

Both of the desserts looked so pretty (let’s chant together – #foodporn #foodporn #foodporn).  In the front is Endless Love (lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee, fresh raspberries) $9 AUD.

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Behind is Epic Chocolate Cravings (rich belgian dark chocolate with hazelnut crust & salted caramel sphere) $7.50 AUD.

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Endless Love was just so pretty and pink and I couldn’t stop taking photos of it.

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The Husband was just gagging to eat it so he took the first bite.  I was surprised the whole thing didn’t squelch together and collapse.

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We LOVED it!  I didn’t think I would like the rose cream but it just goes so well with the juicy raspberries.  Here’s a photo of the lychee lurking in the middle.  OMG YUM!  I would love to eat this again and again…  No wonder it is aptly named Endless Love!!!

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I was under the impression that Epic Chocolate Cravings would be epically sweet, but it was well-balanced.  I really enjoyed it too.

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Our favourite bit was the salted caramel sphere.  We are big salted caramel fans!!

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I’m really glad we ended up ordering these two desserts because it was great to alternate between them – one bite here, one bite there.  We devoured it all in a matter of minutes!  The lactose-intolerance-induced-nausea I suffered later was really worth it!!!  The Husband and I are officially Luxbite lovers!!!

*tummy rumbles whilst blogging* Now if only I could lick my computer screen…  I mean, I could lick it but it won’t taste the same as these LuxBite delights 😛

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Currently Craving : Dduk-Gahng Jeong from Seoul Metro

Dduk-Gahng Jeong from Seoul Metro

Everyone keeps asking me if I have any weird pregnancy cravings and the simple answer is – NOPE!  I am eating more or less the same foods I ate pre-pregnancy EXCEPT for my favourite – SPICY FOODS!!!  I miss spicy food oh-so-much!  However, if I eat anything remotely spicy, I will have severe heartburn and acid reflux all night long resulting in less sleep than my current 4 hours broken sleep situation.  Le sigh.

Dduk-Gahng Jeong, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metro Melbourne, korean fried chicken, spicy korean fried chicken

Anyway, I am currently craving Dduk-Gahng Jeong – an amazing spicy and yummilicious dish from Seoul Metro, a wee hidden Korean gem we stumbled upon in Melbourne city a few months ago.  It is deep fried chicken – who doesn’t love some good old Korean fried chicken? – with Korean rice cakes which are chewy doughy pillows of yum, covered in this sweet chilli and sticky honey sauce – it has a great chilli kick and fantastic textures to chow down on.  *drools*


The last time we visited Seoul Metro, we just ordered the Large portion of Dduk-Gahng Jeong and two bowls of steamed rice and ate till the plate was licked clean and our bellies were full of happy food 🙂

Seoul Metro banchan I also took a picture of the Banchan that was offered at Seoul Metro.  (For the Korean food newbies, Banchan is the little Korean side dishes they serve you alongside the meal.)  I can’t remember whether I liked the kimchi or not – but right now, I would love to eat some of that spicy fermented Chinese leaf!!!

Oh…and did you know that pregnant women should not eat beansprouts because they carry a Salmonella risk?

Anyway, I really shouldn’t blog about food before going to bed.  It is making me very HUNGRY!!!

Seoul Metro on Urbanspoon