It had been nearly two years since my last excursion down to Melbourne and I thought I was long overdue for a visit. I rounded up my mate Malcolm and we took a Friday off work to make it a long weekend. The main purpose of our visit:
The fabulous Margaret Cho! She was playing a full week of shows as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. As always, she was on fire (but not literally). Now, we didn’t travel all the way down to Melbourne just to see Margaret Cho… Ok, so we sort of did, but we decided that three days was long enough to fit in a bunch of other things too. Looking at the guide book, I realized I missed a few things on my first two trips. One of them was our first stop: the Queen Victoria Market!
It was massive and it had everything you can imagine: clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, pastries, nuts, produce, meats, all sorts of food stalls, and even live birds:
Wowzers! Now, if you read that above list correctly, you’ll notice that foot items made up a big part of the list. And that’s when the ultimate foodie weekend really began. Fuck everything else: I want food! Pretty much everything we did revolved around food, and Melbourne’s food scene really is leaps and bounds ahead of Sydney’s. For starters, I got these abnormally large macarons at the Queen Victoria Market:
I could barely bite into them they were so big, and the flavours – oh my! Lemon Tart (hence why I’m wearing powdered sugar), Tiramisu, and Blueberry Cheesecake were just some of the macaron flavours that I sampled. Speaking of desserts, no trip to Melbourne is complete without a jaunt down Acland Street in St Kilda to sample the row of delicious bakeries.
Of course, you can’t have dessert without having a proper meal first. For brunch, we visited St Ali in South Melbourne. Aside from having probably the best coffee I’ve tasted in Australia, they also had corn fritters. Corn fritters are a usual staple for Aussie brunch places, but normally the corn fritters come covered in bacon. That’s a no no in my Jew book. But at St Ali, the corn fritters come with haloumi instead of bacon – HALOUMI! I do love cheese and I do love corn fritters and it even came with eggs and tomato relish and some rocket (arugula in Aussie speak) to make it completely healthy. I don’t know what they put in those fritters, but they were fanfrittertastic.
For dinner, we ended up one night at Chocolate Buddha – which to my disappointment did not involve any sort of chocolate. It was Asian fusion, and it was fantastic. But the kicker was Mamasita. One of Melbourne’s most popular Mexican restaurants, I had previously tried to eat there on both of my first two trips to Melbourne, and both times the line was just too long to wait in. This time, I made sure the third time was the charm. They had delicious margaritas:
And the most delicious corn on the cob for a starter. I don’t know what they put on that corn – some sort of sauce and maybe a bit of cheese – but it was totally worth the vigorous flossing that was required later that evening. Of course, there were tacos:
And for our main we shared the pollo en mole. It was delicioso! The dessert is where they really threw me off guard. Behold, sweet corn ice cream with caramel and popcorn.
There were bits of corn actually in the ice cream. You’d think that’d be strange, but no. It wasn’t strange. It was deliriously amazing.
Aside from our time in Melbourne, we also took a day trip up to the Yarra Valley wine region.
Special thanks to Malcolm’s friend Amanda for driving us around like we were Miss Daisy. We started out at Innocent Bystander – a cute winery with a delicious restaurant inside:
The advertisement for their cans of pink moscato was genius and was definitely targeted at me:
And then I bought some! (Of course!) There seemed to be a theme in Melbourne with the Obama references:
I don’t know why there’s so much Obama inspired advertising, but I like it. There are two things, however, that I don’t like in Melbourne.
The first: being made to snort and start giggling in a massive chocolate shop full of children. But seriously, what sort of chocolate factory would create a chocolate starfish?
Either they’ve never seen Urban Dictionary or they’re just fucking with us.
The second thing I don’t like in Melbourne: driving.
For real? Fuck this. We’re taking the tram!