We’ve settled back home. It’s been 6 weeks since we’ve travelled. Dan had a conference in Melbourne for the weekend so I’ve flown across, to claim the rare occurrence of me being conference wife. Except I’ve spent the weekend catching up with friends.
It was only a 3 hour flight from Perth to Melbourne. I downloaded about 10 journal articles from Radiographics and Radiology to read but ended up watching episodes of Modern Family, a B-grade horror film (Pyramid) and fast-forwarding through Sapphires, to make sure I could finish before landing.
We’re staying with Albert & Andrew in East Melbourne, across the railway from the MCG. Albert booked us a table at one of his favourite restaurants, for a tasting menu. When Gareth, the maître d’, brought out the matching wines for the first course I was surprised and most delighted, with my jaw on the floor, to hear him describe what qualities of the wine matched what qualities of the course. We’ve have wine-matched degustations in Chicago, New York, Sydney… he was the first to bother to explain the choice! I was so overjoyed I interrupted his professional peel away from the table to exclaim my delight and the rest of my table laughed at me. I don’t know why. For the first time in forever I was actually interested to listen to the information being spoken to us, instead of reaching for my glass and sighing at the long night ahead of pretending to care about some wine barrel on a hill in France and wondering whether the next course would be served on a bit of driftwood with flowers and weeds.
I enjoyed several of the courses and several of the wines, including:
- The ambitious radishes that accompanied the steamed red emperor.
- A spanner crab mornay, lobster emulsion.
- King George whiting, steamed prawn and silken tofu.
- Pork cheek, swede and wattle seed, Sancho berry.
After we’d finished (we were the last table downstairs to leave) one of the chefs came out to chat. Will definitely return.
I’d booked yum cha at 11 am and invited as many people I could remember that lived in Melbourne that we’ve not seen lately, which meant halfway through eating I remembered people I hadn’t invited. We’ll have to return. It was a motley table, from completely different social circles:
- PRK & Tori, ex Perthites whom I used to play World of Warcraft with. At their wedding I discovered that I’d gone to Med School or had worked with both Paul’s brother and sister, all 3 incredulous that I’d not realised this sooner, given their uncommon shared surname.
- Albert & Andrew, who had been met as friends-of-friends.
- Jo, Silas and Juniper, who we’d seen only a few weeks ago in Perth but knew from clubbing days in my early twenties. She’s now a Mum who runs an online retail store. Juniper is already 4 months old, and Silas can walk and talk! He had Frozen themed shoes.
- Vaughan, who did fellowship with me in Canada and is now back in Melbourne.
Albert, Vaughan and I happily wandered into the malls to scope out whether any business shirts were on sale in the department stores; I’ve worn the same 5 shirts for the past 2 years in Canada and have since donated all but one to either my Mum, for textile artworks, or the bin. Since buying a Uniqlo ultralight down light blue jacket in New York a few months ago and regretting not getting the green jacket with a hood ever since we headed first to Uniqlo where I redeemed my poor choice and got the colour and style I should’ve bought. Somehow I also found not 1 or 2 but 11 new work shirts; enough for 3 months of a different work shirt for my Friday morning session in private practice. As Dan and I share some of our wardrobe (i.e. Dan takes what he wants to wear of mine and I forget that the Mickey Mouse tank top is actually his and wear it while painting the lattice causing Dan to race of the house and furiously check for green fence paint on his singlet) I bought a mix of checks and stripes and greens and pinks, as well as the grey and blue shirts. I felt accomplished.
Belles Hot Chicken
Given it’s a weekend visiting friends on Saturday we planned a night in playing Dominion and eating fried chicken, from Belles Hot Chicken. An opposite experience to our fine dining from the night before.
We ate a late breakfast at Persillade, a small cafe that serves everything on blocks of wood. I had crumpets with butter and honey and a couple of coffees.
Sunday afternoon I caught up with Shannon. We had coffee and some food (I had the most generous serve of ceviche I’ve ever seen, far too much food) at Hard Pressed, on Wellington Parade. We then caught a tram West to Federation Square and spent an hour wandering down the river bank, toward the MCG, across a bridge and back up the river, watching people try out rowing. It was a lazy Sunday in the slight warmth of the afternoon sun.
Goal of spending 48 hours relaxing in Melbourne and catching up with old friends, eating some food on the way: tick.