Thursday, May 5, 2011

Melbourne Part Two: Shopping, Show Seeing and Eating

Oh pretty Macaroons...
Getting lost was my speciality when shopping in Melbourne, so when I found this stunning little dress shop I had no idea where I was! I don't think I was meant to take photos, but how could I resist!!

 Melbourne Part One, including Accommodation and Sightseeing, was put up last week about my trip over the Easter Break. In today’s part two I shall take you through the shopping, show seeing and eating elements of the trip, and believe me, there were many!

As much as I try, I’m not a girl of unlimited budget and nor do I have wily ways to avoid luggage weight restrictions, so my shopping allowances in Melbourne were somewhat smallish. That said I was really very happy with my Melbourne purchases and the places I visited to find them.
my purchases

Bridge Road
Bridge Road has long been etched into my psyche as one of the places to shop in Melbourne. My sister and I visited as the last stop at the end of a long first day of sightseeing and let me tell you, Bridge Road looks awfully long and unappealing when you’ve already walked a thousand miles in uncomfortable shoes. 

I think, after everything else we’d seen in Melbourne, I was expecting something a little bit more glamorous than Bridge Road turned out to be, but with the knowledge that this was the place for outlet bargain hunting we soon got into the shopping spirit. 

With money and weight restrictions in mind, I was only planning to buy really stand out special items, and while the shops were mostly lovely and sometimes bargain filled (occasionally snob filled, but you tend to get that everywhere), there wasn’t much that tempted me. I was planning to avoid shopping at chain stores that I could visit in Brisbane, but my hunt for the perfect leather jacket led me into a Just Jeans where I found a remarkably well fitting specimen of soft black naked leather which, on sale, had me pulling out my wallet. In the end, a well done shopping trip, though Bridge Road might not be high on my list of places to return to desperately. 

Laneways and Alleys
After a suggestion from my mother, I visited The Melbourne Visitor’s Centre and picked up a free pamphlet containing a self guided walking tour of Melbourne’s Laneways and Alleys, something which now I also would highly recommend visitors to Melbourne do themselves.
The city is famous for its narrow little shopping and café strips, many remaining hidden unless you know where to look. Each corner I turned I was delighted by yet another alley with quirky shops and delicious smelling eateries. Again, I didn’t buy much, but spent a lovely afternoon wandering the alley ways, finishing off with a refreshing cocktail at the rooftop bar of Campari House and writing some postcards. 

 Brunswick and Johnston Streets
Our hotel was a short five minute walk to Brunswick St and another ten to Johnston Street, which both boast many smaller boutique shops. There is a mysterious little shop selling antique and new handmade puppets, Kleins Perfumery, an Allanah Hill warehouse, ‘Meet Me at Mikes’, my very favourite brand outlet ‘Friends of Couture’; I was in shopping heaven.
Sneaky, possibly illegal shot of the Alannah Hill warehouse


Eating is one of Melbourne's big things and trust me, I did a lot of it! Almost every street is packed with restaurants and cafes, and the whole place smells divine, it was hard to choose where to dine!
Chocolate Eclair and Hot Chocolate from Brunettis...deeelicious

Lygon St

I had two delicious dinners on Lygon St. The first my father insisted we go for a ‘proper, Italian made pizza’, the activity he partook in during my sister’s (obviously long enough for a pizza break) birth twenty-four years plus one day earlier. 

We ate at Papa Gino’s, where I had an absolutely delicious pizza of ham, cheese and pineapple (I know, I know, it’s not exactly traditional, but what better way to compare than with my favourite?). Honestly, the difference between fast food pizza and this heavenly creation was indescribable, you’ll just have to head on down and see for yourself, people.

The second night I ate at the lovely Carlton Espresso. I sat out on their back deck under the stars and I wish I could describe the night as balmy but really it was pretty cold. The food, however, was lovely and made up for the shivery weather. I had spirelli with mediterrean vegetables and hand torn mozzarella and my was it amazing. After playing it safe the night before I had decided to try something further from my circle of comfort and was very glad I did. Again the service was exceptional; personal, timely and friendly, and it was a joy to feel like our patronage was valued. 

Lord of the Fries
Lord of the Fries has gained a somewhat mystical hype about it in Brisbane; I had heard from many people tales of the amazing fries shop before I left and was determined to visit one.
I just happened to spot a Lord of the Fries as I passed by on a tram to Fed Square and though it took me two slightly confused walks to find it again, Lord of the Fries became my Tuesday lunchtime option. At Lord of the Fries the servings are big and the prices cheap, just the way I like things, and the potato delicious. I chose a small size with ‘traditional French mayonnaise’ (garlic aioli) and was happy with my purchase. 

Beans and Bagels
Suffering New York bagel withdrawals, my sister spotted and made a beeline for Beans and Bagels on Johnston St on our very first day. Not a huge bagel fan myself I am no judge, but she said that they compared nicely to the bagels of the states. What I do know, though, is hot chocolate, and with certainty I can tell you I received the best hot chocolate of my trip here. 

Atomica Café
Good Friday being the last day of our trip, we weren’t expecting there to be much going on entertainment wise. The cafés of Melbourne were still doing a roaring trade on the public holidays however, and we escaped the turned rather freezing weather in café café. Pancakes with richotta and berry compote, an amazing choice! 

Caboose Canteen
Between comedy shows at Melbourne Town Hall in the city’s centre I had an hour to get dinner. I found the nearby but nicely uncrowded Caboose Canteen and can now attest that their ‘famous steak sauce’ really is worthy of fame.

China Town

The absolutely best food I had in Melbourne was from China Town. I visted once for lunch and returned the next night for dinner.

My first stop was City BBQ, which drew me in with their busy lunchtime hustle and bustle; a full restaurant must be a good restaurant! My logic in this area paid off and I was treated to a wonderful feast of Sizzling Mongolian Beef, Fried Rice and never ending free cups of hot tea. It was packed inside, I was moved tables twice in fact, but the hectic atmosphere added to the dining experience, and the food was well worth the craziness!

I returned the following evening with my sister, who had been away on a tour for a few days, and we made tracks for the more upmarket looking Dragon Boat Restaurant, where we ordered an veritable feast! Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Vegetarian Fried was amazing! 



It’s hard to give worthy credit to the Sydney Theatre Company show without doing a full review, but Baal, performed at the Malthouse Theatre, was an amazing production and a highlight of my trip. The production of Brecht’s first play was technically superb and acted brilliantly, a fantastic translation of a brilliant play to the stage.

Australia Dot Com
Australia Dot Com was shown as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and played at the La Mama Courthouse. An intimate, funny and thought provoking work, it showcased a very talented cast, crew and creative team and gave a refreshing take on the workings of the modern family.
Stephen K Amos

Stephen K Amos is of course a big name in comedy, and once you’ve attended his show it’s easy to see why. His act was seamless, mixing prepared material with audience interaction with significant ease and charm. Describing comedy never does it justice, I would simply say you should definitely attend one of his shows.

Sam Simmons
Sam Simmons’ comedy show, The Precise History of Things, was hilarious. The perfect mix of clever, unusual, dirty and a little bit odd, Simmons had the audience engaged from the very beginning of the night. Not scared to use theatrical devices; narration, voice over, mime and plot, he mapped the show out through a series of marker on butcher’s paper drawings and short vignettes. I bought my ticket to the show in the knowledge the Sam Simmons was a very clever man, and the subtle intelligence of his act didn’t let me down. 

Salsa Dancing at The Night Cat
Not technically a ‘show’ as such, on the very first night of our Melbourne stay, my sister and I went to a salsa dancing class at The Night Cat on Johnston St for her birthday. At just $15 for two one hour classes, we twisted and twirled the night away. My sister, a rather seasoned ballroom dancer, performed much better than I did, but it was a tremendous amount of fun and when I wasn’t learning how to turn or avoid my partner’s toes, I was laughing the whole time.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Lauren you had a wonderful time away. I loved reading all about it. Thanks.


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