Monday, November 21, 2011

Brunch at Trunk Diner with Lick and musings about other things such as chocolate tomatoes

I am currently going a little podcast crazy. I bought an ipod classic with 160GB. Since my entire itunes library only takes up 39GB I have a whole lot of room to swing a cat around in there. I am downloading several 'learn Spanish' podcasts this very second. I have realised that in order to get my (realistic) dream job, I should probably work a bit harder at becoming bilingual. Oh hi podcasts. Whether I will actually listen to an entire lesson from start to finish, when I have the power of the skip function, is waiting to be seen. At least in an actual class you are trapped into learning. I like learning, but sometimes I have to trap myself in it. It's amazingly easy to trick yourself into getting an education when its something you desire. I am talking total rubbish.

Today was a perfect food day! I met Lick at the State Library and we walked to Truck Diner which is on Exhibition Street. I'd been wanting to try brunch there for ages but as they're quite strict about brunch ending at 11.30 I'd missed out a couple of times. We were in there before 11am though, and it was rather quiet. We both had french toast with berries which was delicious, and at $10 pretty well priced.

After our second coffee we had a walk around the shops and lamented the excess of people in the CBD. Screw you, Christmas. After I had put poor Lick through the trauma of helping me find a strapless bra (functional shopping is never fun) we headed to Workshop for a snack. Since I went there with Flower I have wanted to go back during the day to try their $6 pizzas. We had the pumpkin, fetta, and pesto pizza - it was delicious. I also had an iced tea, which wasn't on the drinks menu but the bartender said she could whip it up. Homemade pizza and iced tea are winners. There were a couple of customers who came in on their own to have a drink and do some study. I love places where people feel comfortable just sitting by themselves and relaxing, it reminds me of being overseas and all the times I sat in European cafes writing frantically in my journal. **random European nostalgic interlude**

I should make myself some dinner. I have just been munching on some tomatoes I bought from the supermarket called choc cherry. They are cherry tomatoes which are streaked brown. A tiny part of me was hoping they'd be some kind of science experiment which gave cherry tomatoes a chocolate taste. Alas. They taste like good ole tomatoes, no willy wonka business.

 French Toast at Trunk Diner

Pizza at The Workshop Bar

Monday, November 14, 2011

I think I'll leave it til tomorrow to unpack, try to forget for one more night that i'm back

Ahhh. So compared to semester time I am socialising quite a bit lately, but it's not enough. I'm also working more than I did during honours, but that's not enough either. There is not enough life in my life. This is about the time I start dreaming about being culture shocked and roaming far-away places. Now I realise why I have been so content this past year - I haven't had time to get bored.

But now I have time. Lots of time. Maybe I'll just get drunk by myself at 10.30am and watch Ancient Aliens.

Photo: Fergus Padel

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An evening in some Melbourne bars and beer gardens with Flower.

Friday I met up with Flower, who has recently returned from some overseas adventures, to reacquaint ourselves with Melbourne's beer gardens. We went on a bit of a beer garden hop, crawl, skip, jump.

We started with The Workshop Bar which is next to a discounted book store (yay! discounted books) on the corner of Elizabeth Street and A'Beckett Street. The entrance is understated, which I have come to expect from the most interesting bars in this city. We were there rather early, just before five, and there were plenty of people enjoying an early drink before the nine til five crowd hit. We both opted for the cheapest cocktail - which at $9 is pretty damn good for Melbourne! I don't remember what it was called, but it was very sweet....not much alcohol, perhaps. The crowd there was quite mixed, all ages and types. Travellers, hipsters, a few business people,  a sweaty student who sat behind me and rubbed his soggy back all over mine. With the exception of sweaty back dude, I really liked this place. I'd love to go there again earlier in the day for one of their cheap pizzas and to watch people from the balcony.

The next place we went to was Match Bar and Grill. From down on Swanston Street, next to the state library, the Match balcony looked very appealing. We went in about half five and the business crowd were already there celebrating the end of the work week. Flower and I both had G&Ts which were $8.50 each. A little steep, we thought. We found a place to sit and chat and decided that we both felt a bit out of place in our summery dresses and flats. Match, after 5pm at least, is clearly a popular suit hang out, not a budgeting uni-student-on-holiday place. My first impression of the bar was that it could be a nice place to have a drink in the afternoon but isn't really one of those special Melbourne places which just exude character. Might go there again.

We then went looking for The Emerald Peacock which is on Lonsdale Street, just after Swanston. Despite being packed, this was definitely my favourite for the evening. I had an $8.50 glass of Sangria, which took me back to my days in Spain. The first floor interior is dim and sexy, and just upstairs there is a stylin' balcony/rooftop area which was very crowded. We found ourselves a spot and settled in to enjoy our drinks. The crowd was mostly business slaves, but there were also a few traveller types and older European male model look-alikes. There looked to be nobody under twenty-one, which is something I am increasingly beginning to appreciate in bars. I will definitely go there again, perhaps not on a Friday evening though - way too cramped in the beer garden.

Looking for something to eat we went downstairs to E:fifty five on Elizabeth Street between Flinders and Collins. Not a beer garden, it's underground! This bar is also an internet cafe. The customers are a real mixed bag but it's definitely not popular with the business crowd. All the better for us (not that I don't appreciate a hot man in a suit). The last time I was there the place was full of stoned young men and travellers, this time there was a bunch of tradies drinking copious amounts of cider, dreadlocked men who are probably musicians or tattoo artists (way to generalise, T) and a few well-dressed young couples who looked a bit out of place. E55 has a funny smell. It's a mix of musty and sweaty. You get use to it though, and it's not enough to put me off going back there, in fact, it's part of the underground laid-back charm. The toilets are pretty horrid, but since I enjoy the tatty couches and the reasonably priced food and drink I can't really demand a fancy bathroom.

Our final stop for the night (after a short Myer drunken shoe shopping interlude) was somewhere I have been to a few times and always forget which street it is on - New Guernica. It's on Little Collins, by the way. You could walk into New Guernica on a sunny evening and suddenly forget about the bright weather outside. There is no natural light at all. It doesn't actually have an outside beer garden, but the entire place is themed somewhat like a garden. The interior of New Guernica is great, a log cabin, gazebos (I can't believe that's actually how you spell gazebos), fairy lights, and spinning wicker chairs. It's such a novelty and I love taking people there for the first time. They had a Friday evening drinks special on until 10.30pm - 2 for 1 spirits and $15 jugs of Sangria. We got both!

All and all it was a very fun evening and the company was pretty good too! I can't wait to discover/re-discover more places in my city this summer. Just have to keep putting money into my cocktail budget. I wish I could include some better photos, but my camera is a bit shit to be honest. Here are some blurry shots of New Guernica, which I suppose are accurate representations of how I felt after an entire jug of Sangria.

Mart 130.

Last Thursday I met A'strizzle at our favourite Brunch haunt, Mart 130. I have mentioned Mart before on this blog so I won't repeat myself. New things to add, perhaps, are that Mart has hilarious, friendly staff, and very attractive customers. In fact, I could hardly keep A'strizzle focused.

One of my main criteria for cafes and bars these days is that they are fun, but not pretentious. I can't stand it when hipsters act like they're doing me the biggest favour in the world by letting me order a coffee in their establishment. Movember makes it even harder to stomach. I just want to scream ' you look like a douchebag and you act like one too'. I realise Movember is for charity, but really, I'm sure half these boys just grow them for fun.

.....Okay, that was a little off track. What I was going to say is that Mart is refreshingly unpretentious despite being a very popular place.
Even their latte art is fun:

    My Photo

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Rooftop Bar and a sunny Melbourne afternoon

 Yesterday was everything a Spring day in Melbourne should be. Lovely company, sunshine, and cider at the Rooftop Bar at Curtin House. It could only have been improved by hay fever tablets which actually work. Eff you pollen, eff you.

My Photo

Sunday, November 06, 2011

We talked about the day ahead and shouldn't we just run away instead? We started to believe our dreams.

Where did my travel dreams go?

I have now been back in Australia (after my *I'm moving to Europe* phase lasted only 18 months) for over a year. Something kind of strange has happened to me. It used to be that dreaming of travel and planning for travel were pretty much my only passions, the only things that could really cheer me up after a bad day and the things I looked forward to in my future.

Recently I have realised that when I try to imagine possible future travel adventures I just feel tired. I think of staying in a hostel dorm and wistfully fantasising about an eight hour sleep, I think of dragging my suitcase/backpack up never-ending flights of stairs, I think of struggling to work out the public transport timetable in an unknown language. And it all makes me feel tired. I have lost my ability for escapism. My friends tell me that is all good: it means I am settled, content.

No. It is an identity crisis. I thought I knew who I was - the girl who was always dreaming of new places, of adventure, of the rush of culture shock. But now I'm the girl who is seemingly settled into a life with no career, no partner, and no big dream. How effing boring. When did I stop panicking about not knowing what to do with my life?

This Summer I will be away from uni for at least three and a half months. Maybe during that time I will figure out what it is that is making me content. Being content with no obvious improvements to my life is really confusing me.

My Photo of Paris