Well friends, I made it to a new continent and a new country I’ve been wanting to visit for most of my life – Australia! I’m all settled in my apartment in Melbourne, and trying hard not to think about having to leave in four short months.
So I knew the coffee culture was big here, but no one informed me of the FOOD! I want to eat everything I see on the street, in the markets and at every cute café… and I probably would were it not so expensive. One of the best features of my apartment is that it is right next to the Queen Victoria Market, a huge (takes up 2 city blocks!) farmers & artisans market where I can score some great deals on the typically pricey produce. The indoor portion of the market is filled with artisan made yogurts, cheeses, breads, pestos, dips, cereals, pastries, chocolates… you name it. They seem very into quality and fresh foods here and I love it.
Some other things my food-obsessed self has noticed since being here…
- The overwhelming amount and variety of Asian food, especially Malaysian and Indonesian and Korean which I’ve never experienced much of.. but it looks and smells so so good….
- Australians (or maybe just Melbournians, not sure) are big on brekkie and brunch, in particular something including avo[cado], sourdough and poached eggs. I’m very ok with this.
- I’m still trying to get the coffee lingo straight (flat whites, long blacks, etc..) and being made fun of for carrying around my ‘huge’—but normal in the US—to-go mug, since no coffee you order here would fill that entire thing.
- Everything pumpkin. Pumpkin hummus, pumpkin pizza, pumpkin-ricotta-rocket salads… yuuuuumm
- Turkish cafes and my new favorite food: gözleme. Have you had it? It’s made of a dough rolled out super thin, topped with spinach + feta, folded over and cooked on a griddle to produce a warm, doughy melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. More on this later.
And then there’s Lentil As Anything, a restaurant that I wish could open in every city in the world, but unfortunately it probably wouldn’t work well everywhere. Lentil is a non-for-profit organization and vegetarian restaurant with a soup kitchen buffet style, “where guests contribute what they feel their meal and experience is worth, according to their own financial ability.” It’s set in the beautiful Abbotsford Convent with lots of tables outside and gardens where you can take your food and have a picnic in the sun. Local musicians play outside on the patio and the whole place is staffed by volunteers. The food tastes incredible and is healthy, hearty and plentiful, focusing on authentic veggie curries, salads, dahl, soups, and all things flavorful and unique. They serve house made chai masala and coffees, and you can bring a bottle of wine to share with friends at night….. and to add to the already awesomeness of this establishment, the price is however much you are able to donate for your meal. How they are able to keep such a fresh and healthy food restaurant running every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner solely based on donations is beyond me. But at least that probably means not too many people take advantage of this ‘pay as you feel’ model, which is great. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same in many other cities of the world, but that says something good about the great people of Melbourne :)
Such is my life so far here in Melbourne… eating, drooling over all the good food, wishing it wasn’t so expensive, and so on ;) I’ve also been getting out and exploring this extremely hip city, checking out the parks of which exist in every direction of my apartment — including the gorgeous botanical gardens, and getting out of the city to go hiking in the lush Dandenong Ranges. Just a few more days before I start my courses in graphic design, and then I will be one busy bee! So I’m trying to thoroughly enjoy my free time before that begins, while also trying not to go broke :)
No new recipes today (and probably for a while) as unfortunately our apartment kitchen and refrigerator are verrry small and not well equipped. But I’ll certainly be posting more on my yummy Melbourne eats. And if any of you readers have any recommendations in or around Melbourne/Victoria, I would love to hear of them!
Sending happy & healthy vibes to you all from Australia,