Last Day in Melbourne

We rented a car with thoughts of driving down to see the Twelve Apostles not realizing how far it was.  Once we did, we bagged that idea and just drove around the city from location to location which is a great way to see the rest of the town.  Also, got to have the kids DJ the Ipod through the day and listen to them sing which is always great entertainment. 

We started with breakfast at Marios Cafe which is in the Fitzroy area.  Marios is like a local diner.  Excellent breakfast, great wait staff and they only serve caffeinated coffee.  Kind of funny.  People take their coffee very seriously here.  I have yet to have a bad cup anywhere.  The coffee here is delicious.  Large black is a large cup of expresso, a short black is basically two shots of expresso.  The afternoon favorite (for us) is the flat white.  Something in between a cappuccino and a latte.  To me, it is perfect.  Not too milky and not too steamed.  We are all black coffee drinkers but nothing like a flat white in the afternoon for a pick me up.

We walked around Fitzroy which is a very cool area.  Lots of funky stores where Josh was treated to a fewMelbourne_museum
new items.  Next stop was the Melbourne Museum which is best for young kids so we didn’t check out the exhibits but wanted to check out the building.  Architecturally it is fantastic and sits next to an old building so the setting is quite unique. 

Next stop, Queen Victoria Market.  The market is a place to buy fish, meat, vegetables, candies, etc.  The food hall area is fast food (miss that) Queen_victoria_markets
but the rest of the place is worth seeing.  Across the way from the market is another market full of clothes which we bagged but as always, loved the food stalls.  The are is pretty large. We were there  towards the end of the afternoon so people were standing outside their individual stalls (mostly the meat and fish stalls) with 20-50% off everything signs which created another market on to itself.

We were craving something sweet so we drove back down to St. Kilda and returned to the pastry shops.  Grabbed one pastry from each shop to try.  Lots is written about the hot jelly donuts which is just as good as any jelly donut I have ever had but it is a local favorite so taste we did.  The area had began to develop after the war when Jewish immigrants settledJelly_donut
in the area opening bakeries and small restaurants.  Now there are a few bakeries left.  Monarch is one of the remaining old bakeries where we got the jelly donut.

We had dinner Federation Square in the Transport Hotel where there is a restaurant called Taxi that overlooks the city.  The food was really great. 

Fred and I split split two things to start.  We had oysters which had a mixture of crab and scallions chopped up on top with a ponzu sauce.  We also had hickory smoked pieces of salmon that were cut fairly thick and topped with caviar and served over a bed of chopped tomatoes with chopped spicy macadamian nuts on the side.  All the the flavors together were really interesting and delicious.  The salmon tasted like a smoked oyster.  Really good.  The kids opted for a starter of 3 pieces of sushi and they had 6 to choose from. 

The main courses were just as good.  Josh had the salt and pepper duck.  They love the salt and pepper thing here.  Crispy pieces of a boned duck thighs and two small legs that were salt and peppered heavily served over a deep dark asian flavored eggplant. The girls went with the snapper that was perfectly cooked with a crispy skin and scallop stuffed zucchini blossoms that was really creative.  It was served with a spicy peanut chutney.  Fred went with the pork.  Large thick slices of pork served with a hoisin reduction.  I had a pan fried barramundi served alongside deep fried soft shell crabs and a spicy chili sauce.  All good.

All so good that we opted for dessert for the first time.  Chocolate covered raspberry gelato and a bunch of others but I can’t remember what we had.  At that point, a few drinks and my memory fades. 

It was the perfect last meal.  A band was playing on the floor below, lots was happening on the street around Federation Square, the views through the large big glass windows were beautiful and we got a good feeling for what living in Melbourne would be like. 

People here refer to Melbourne as a mini New York City.  Not sure I’d completely agree but it is definitely an urban city.  Lots of different neighborhoods each with their own flavor.  Good public transportation too.  The city is more spread out than NYC so I’d put it somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco in feel.  You can be at a vineyard in an hour and really big beaches (not St. Kilda whichis more of a bay) are a short drive away.  The city is growing.  Lots of buildings going up or recently built.  But in the end, no matter where we travel, I have yet to discover anything else like New York City.  London in some ways but London closes down and New York never sleeps.  Maybe Singapore but I haven’t been.  The growth and constant change that goes on in New York City is like no other.  Always good to step out side your own backyard and see the different pace of the world. 

Next stop, the Great Barrier reef.