Super fun Melbourne week

26 November 2019

Hello! We are freshly back from nine days in Melbourne, where we ate plenty of delicious food and met some very good people. But most of all, I'm just glad I went! I almost didn't go because I was a bit worried about money and am a homebody but thankfully a good friend gave me just the shove I needed. Turns out that 'choosing the bigger life' is very good life advice.

Here are some highlights and places we liked to eat. I'm definitely into low-key and chill places these days :)

Tony was the main reason I was in Melbourne. He had a week-long print making residency at VCA and a place to stay in the city. Luckily, I was able to work out of the Melbourne office for the week, which was right around the corner from him. Every morning we walked to Patricia's for coffee before catching the tram to work. It's a stand up coffee bar with fun vibes, sparkling water on tap and a cute neon ceiling sign.

For dinner, one of our favourite spots was City Wine Shop in the CBD, especially on a night when we didn't feel like venturing far. I was extremely proud of my order - grilled saganaki with wild figs, house smoked salmon with sour cream, lemony meatballs in tomato sauce, and later a spring vegetable gnocchi - all to share. It was also near two good bookshops, the Hill of Content and The Paperback Bookshop, plus Spring Street Grocer for post-dinner gelato :)

Tony was working on a lithographic print and it was so great to visit him after to work to get my head around what he was up to. The process is so intricate and complicated, involving plate work, paint work and the printing itself. Sometimes multiple people are working on the print at the same time. Tony was paired with a master printer for the week to realise his image before the edition was finalised - it's being printed this week!

Visiting the studio gave me a new appreciation of how handmade prints like these can be. Tony's shared more of the process on Instagram including videos if you're curious. Seeing his work made me think of all of the times I've visited his studios, in Sydney, Wagga, Canberra and this time round Melbourne. It is always a nice surprise to see what direction the work is taking.

We both really enjoyed the change of scenery when it came to work, more than we'd anticipated. I found it easier to write and get things done, which surprised me because I love nothing more than routine during the work week.

Another highlight for me was catching up food writers that I work with but had never met. They were the best kinds of meetings too, at pasta bars and cake shops. I met Julia at Beatrix, which had a small crowd waiting for it to open at 9am. It was so hard just to pick one thing but I went with the sponge cake with whipped cream, lemon curd and passionfruit icing. And it was so lovely meeting Heidi for an afternoon picnic in the sun. 

Along with the week of work, we had two weekends either side of our stay which meant we could make it to the KAWS exhibition and cross town for doughnuts. We always find our way to Carlton for pizza, bookstore browsing, drinks, snacks and gelato. This visit I was introduced to the D.O.C deli and pasta bar, where I bought a panettone from Italy to lug home for Christmas.

Not pictured, a trip to Babajan for a Turkish lunch (it's as good as it's hyped up to be - especially the baked eggs with 12 hour lamb shoulder), a blustery 38 degree day, getting lost in Queen Victoria Markets, feeling awkward in a brand new office, and freshly baked Nutella filled madeleines.

I'll leave you with two last things - a post-work park hang out and our first dinner in town - honey and jalapeno pizza at Lazerpig which was noisy and fun. Travelling with Tony was so nice - he took care of all of the navigation, which was one less thing to worry about (I am terrible with directions) and it was nice among all of the busyness to be together for meals and just to chat and be ourselves. Sometimes when I'm on a work trip I feel like I have to be on all of the time or am just hyper-aware so I really noticed the difference doing it together.

P.S Here are some notes from our 2018 Melbourne trip, plus earlier visits in 2017, early 2016 and late  2016!

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