Melbourne has a few things that it takes very seriously. These things are coffee, the footy (AFL), hip(ster)ness, being better than Sydney, and brunch. Brunch is a very important part of weekend culture for any true Melbournian, and I finally got to experience the tastiness.
Most of the things Melbourne cares about most are hard to avoid. Everyone always wants to go grab a coffee, which I usually end up doing even though I really don’t like coffee. If it tasted anywhere near as lovely as it smells, I would be a happy person. As it stands, coffee is still gross, but I suck it up in the interest of being moderately social. Fortunately, most places offer a decent Chai.
While Australian football is played all over Australia, two thirds of the teams are from Melbourne suburbs and the people here are obsessed. Guaranteed if you were to go out on a Friday or Saturday night you’d see a whole bunch of game-crazed weirdos crawling out of some pub somewhere. I’m finally starting to understand the rules, so it’s beginning to seem less like quidditch on steroids every time I watch it.
But, oh, hipsters. Hipsters everywhere! I really don’t like hipsters. They wear skinny pants and weird hats. They have strange hair and usually wind up looking like the color-blind lovechild of Where’s Waldo and (Captain!) Jack Sparrow. I just don’t get it.
Brunch, however, is fully within the realm of things I comprehend. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it is eat. I am an exceptional eater. I could actually do to become less of an exceptional eater, but that’s a completely different discussion.
This Sunday I headed off early to church, which was pretty exciting because Matt Chandler was in town for a conference and he guest preached at the morning services. The Housemate came along with me to check it out. As a non-practicing Muslim with experience attending Catholic school/mass, she found our evangelical service in the movie theater fascinating. I can’t say I blame her for that…the theater thing is still a bit new to me too.
As usual, I was extremely hungry after church, so since I had a buddy this week, we went out for brunch. The Housemate knows all the good places to go because, like me, she excels at eating things. We headed over to a really nice cafe/brunch place called Manchester Press, which I would highly recommend to anyone. It’s off of one of Melbourne’s many lane-ways in the city and is pretty great.
What we were really on a quest for was Bagel. Being from New Jersey, I have a unique philosophy about bagels: If your bagel isn’t from New Jersey, it’s crap. Period. Not sure if your bagel is any good? First, make sure you’re in NJ. Second, throw your bagel at someone’s head. If the sheer delicious density of said bagel kills them, it’s legit. If not, apologize to this friend/stranger for assaulting them in the head with sub-par baked goods and go to NJ and get a real bagel. Problem solved.
Anyway, the bagel sandwich I got (Hello, Reuben!) was not up to NJ bagel standards. However, on the scale of not-bagels, it ranked pretty high. Definitely left Pennsylvania “bagels” (read: sad, round bread object with a hole in it) way, way in the dust. It had a nice doughyness to it that I appreciated. All in all, brunch was quite satisfactory.
After brunch we headed out for a mosey. The weekend was particularly lovely, with temperatures making it into the low 70s and the sun was shining. By now that’s already finished and it is back to being cold and rainy and windy, but it was very nice while it lasted, so The Housemate and I went for a walk around the city.
We headed down to Southbank since I hadn’t been over there yet. There’s all sorts of neat stuff down by the the river, including parks and trees, which I love very much.
The national gallery is also down in that vicinity, as is the arts center, which has this hideous metal Eiffel Tower-esque monstrosity on it. The big stadium so only down a ways too. I was mostly happy with the trees and grass and the monuments, of which I saw a small fraction.
I thought this one was especially neat, since it was just hanging out on a corner near the sidewalk. It’s a little monument to those that served in the Boer War at the turn of the century.
After the park we met up with The Housemate’s Manager and His Wife for coffee for a bit. Then we headed back into the city central to meet The Housemate’s friend for dinner. We had a Groupon for Korean fried chicken, which is my other new favorite thing. Yum.
Once the weather starts being consistently nicer, I intend to head down to that part of the city some more and go exploring. There are quite a few parks scattered around Melbourne, but with the weather being what it’s been I haven’t much felt like going out and exploring them. Since yesterday was technically the first day of spring, I’m looking forward to many future outings!