Saturday, October 11, 2008
At the tail end of my Perth trip in June, only hours before I was due to fly home, we talked about going to Melbourne. I checked when my next holidays were and we found that they coincided with the Phillip Island MotoGP. And just like that, it was set. If Melbourne’s weather was as good as Sydney’s, I think I’d move there in a heartbeat. I fell a little bit in love with the bustling city barely a 90-minute flight south that loves food just as much as it loves art and shopping. There’s so much exploring to do, and even more eating. Here are the highlights, with some photos taken on Steve’s iPhone since my camera wigged out on Day One.
I’ve talked before about Little Creatures, the brewery in Fremantle but now they have opened up a Dining Hall in Fitzroy with a slightly adapted menu from their west coast operation. I had the potato and rosemary pizza, which was even more delicious than I expected, and I look forward to trying to recreate it in my own kitchen. We wandered down to Books For Cooks, the little shop on Gertrude St that sells cookbooks exclusively. I remarked that I could spend all day there; luckily there was a comfy sofa on which to sit while poring through the books.
We had a little time to kill while waiting for a friend to join us for dinner, so we wandered up the road and stumbled across Radio Bar & Café where I had a really great coffee. We played on the swings and the see-saw before going all the way back to Gertrude St Enoteca. I’d heard about this place on Bea’s blog when she visited Melbourne and I loved the sound of it. The atmosphere was great, the clientele were about as diverse as you can imagine, and we got to eat cheese for dinner, which I think is a pretty great thing.
The next day we went to Queen Victoria Market to buy ingredients for the dinner I had planned for that evening. I loved the fact that so much fresh food was available right in the middle of the city, and we spent an inordinate amount of time in the Deli Hall drooling over cheeses. When the shopping was done and put away in M’s kitchen, she took us to Poyntons Nursery for what she described as “the best lemon tart in Melbourne”. The setting was absolutely beautiful, and so was the tart, but I think Dorie still wins. As a little thank you to our friend who was hosting us for the first few days of our trip, I made my favourite eggplant pasta that night, which luckily even her Italian man approved of. Dessert was a warm strawberry and rhubarb compote served over vanilla ice cream, and a couple of cannoli.
I was also lucky enough to catch up with my cousin who moved to Melbourne two years ago. She is also obsessed with cooking, and her cookbook collection almost puts mine to shame. Together we made banana bread for an afternoon snack, and an amazing pizza for dinner, with bocconcini and marscarpone, proscuitto, olives, basil and rocket. Her daughter is growing up so fast, she will be four years old before we know it. We watched The Wiggles, she hid in a Coles enviro-bag, and apparently she was sad when I left, and asked when I was coming back. I think it will have to be soon. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Melbourne adventures, coming up soon!