>> Friday, June 5, 2015
Over the last month I’ve noticed that we’ve begun to watch more shows on the new Gusto channel. Gusto is a channel that’s dedicated to food related shows similar to the Food Network. It’s a Canadian channel that feature lots of great local content, but it also airs quite a few shows from Australia and Europe, which I don’t mind what so ever! It’s actually a nice change to watch programs from a country other than the US.
I find that watching these shows about Australia has gotten me nostalgic about the country and all the sights, sounds and of course, the amazing food. Australia is similar to North America in many ways - they speak English, their classic dinner is meat and three veg, not unlike Calgary’s steak and potatoes – but there are many differences as well. Great beaches anyone? There are a ton of great products that we don’t often see here in Canada, Moreton Bay Bugs? They’re actually lobster like crustaceans with a quirky name.
When thinking of food and Australia, Melbourne always comes to mind since it is known as the food capital in Australia. You never know what you’re going to find when roaming Melbourne’s famous laneways. Hidden between the grand art deco buildings and new age skyscrapers of the CBD (Central Business District) are wonderful restaurants, bars and pubs, all surrounded by amazing urban art. These arcades were a result of the laneways used during the Victorian era. Be sure to stop in to some of these great restaurants for a bite and enjoy the atmosphere. I recommend checking out Coda, Silo by Joost, Hardware Society.
Just south of the CBD on Finders Street you’ll see the famous Railway Station and Federation Square. This is a great area for a stroll and you can continue south past the Yarra River to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Shrine of Remembrance. From the top of the shrine, built to commemorate WWI soldiers, you can see Melbourne’s skyline. If you keep going south, you’ll eventually reach St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne famous for its St Kilda Beach. There are many great places to grab a bite here and I suggest the Stokehouse, situated in a restored 1920s building. You’re bound to find something to your liking in one of their two restuarants – Stokehouse City and Stoke Bar & Kitchen. It’s also a great place to take in the spectacular views of the coastline.
North of the CBD and worth checking out is the Queen Victoria Market, this is a perfect place for those who have a vacation rental and can source out some local ingredients for some delicious home cooking. All the fruits and veg looked amazing and fresh. Another great area is Little Italy on Lygon Street. Here you’ll find amazing restaurants serving pasta and pizza. We tried Mercandante, a family owned Italian eatery that had some pretty amazing pizza offerings. The dough is definitely the star! If you’re up for something sweet, there’s also Brunetti famous for its delicious cakes.
If you’ve got a couple days in Melbourne, I highly suggest traveling on the Great Ocean Road, it’s roughly a 4-5 hour drive from Melbourne starting in Torquay and goes to Allansford. It was built as a memorial for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during WWI by the soldiers who returned home. We decided to drive directly to the end of the road and work our way backwards towards Melbourne. Because we only had one day to complete the trip and wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the Twelve Apostles, which are 50 meter high limestone formations created through years of water erosion. There are currently only eight stacks left and they continue to be eroded by the ocean waves. I’m glad we did it that way because we got to check out quite a few sites without having to worry that we were going to run out of time (unlike another drive we did in Hawaii). This would definitely be my top must see when in Melbourne. It’s hard to compete with the beauty of Mother Nature.
Just thinking back to our experience in Oz has made me quite sentimental. There were many great memories from our trip around the eastern side of Australia and it’s definitely a place I would love to go back to but I guess for now I’ll just have to suffice with the shows on television that bring the world to me!