Friday, February 5, 2010

I heart Melbourne

I have a love/hate relationship with my home town. I hate Melbourne's summer weather, I hate that it is so far away from San Francisco, I hate that it is a long way from my family and friends in South Africa. But if you're going to live in one city in Australia, I reckon Melbourne is it.

This week I've been doing an intensive industry overview for a writing and editing course I have started. So every day I've been catching the train into the city to the class room in Flinders Lane on the corner of Degraves St, at the heart of everything that I love about Melbourne. After a couple of stinking hot days, this morning as I came in on the train, the tops of the skyscrapers were lost in the mist and a gentle drizzle was falling (LOVE a cool change). A couple of baristas had set up in a hole-in-the-wall kiosk in the historic Campbell Arcade subway (LOVE Campbell Arcade, Melbourne's laneways and good coffee). As I walked the 100 metres to the CAE I passed two lots of buskers - including a couple of funky young things on uke and guitar, in obligatory Melbourne black and vintage fedoras (LOVE that there are pepole brave enough to do this and good enough to listen to).

Yesterday at lunch-time I happened upon a small restaurant tucked away on a mezzanine of the historic building which houses the City Library - concrete floors, basic furniture, a long bar and kitchen stools running beneath windows overlooking Flinders Lane. The restaurant is called Journal Canteen, but better known as Rosa's Kitchen and the owner/chef is Rosa Mitchell, whose cookbook My Cousin Rosa has been very well-reviewed (and was on sale at the front desk).The food was simple Sicilian. I had the small antipasto platter with some salami, lovely ricotta fritters, a small mound of bread salad brightened by the addition of fresh mint, and several other small samplings. An unexpectedly civilised lunch, with a nice glass of Sicilian wine and a bit of people-watching over the lane. (Really LOVE that Melbourne is the kind of place you can make such serendipitous food discoveries and a place where small restaurants like these can not only survive but thrive!)

3 comments:

Kate said...

I am so enjoying your blog - loved the chooks and the naming of !!! Have had chooks in suburbia before but dogs and chooks are a mismatch I assure you. The dogs paced and stared and the chooks refused to lay !! Kate

Margaret said...

Such a lovely reflection on arriving in Melbourne - today as I entered the city on the 96 from Albert Park, I remembered reading your description of mist covering the tops of the tallest buildings - this morning it was the same, the lovely gloomy, damp atmospheric Melbourne we haven't seen very often lately!

Barbara said...

Thanks for your comments Kate and Margaret, nice to know there's someone out there reading! Kate I can imagine dogs would have fun chasing chooks, although a friend has a beagle that apparently does a good job of rounding them up when danger is around! Our very old cat Fred is bemused by the chooks, doesn't chase them but follows them around and tends to pee where they have been scratching! Margaret, I must admit I do miss the Melbourne weather of old - long misty drizzly days, when an umbrella was a compulsory accessory.