The spring fever is real. With the changing season came more reasons to get out of the house. On September 6, Anthony and I celebrated a milestone in our visa application as my temporary partner visa was granted! Even though this is the first stage of a very complicated process, we are both relieved and thrilled that our application seems to be moving quickly. We hope to hear a decision on our permanent partner visa in the coming months and hopefully (fingers crossed) permanent residency in a couple of years. For now, I am happy to have full travel rights back!
Smith & Deli
Tuesday, September 4
Today I accidentally ate a vegan sandwich. I heard great things about our neighborhood Smith & Deli and with the overabundance of glowing online reviews, I decided to give it a try. I had an idea of where it was, but when I turned the street corner, I only found a small sign outside that read “eat vegan.” When I walked inside, I instantly noticed a large vegan cookbook on display. The menu was full of deli staples like chicken salad, BLTs and club sandwiches. Small asterisks denoted that certain sandwiches could be made nut or gluten free, but nowhere on the menu did I find vegetarian or vegan specific items. My confusion and the lunch rush overwhelmed me. By the time it was my turn in line to order, I did my typical “Would you go with the Cuban or Reuben?” “I would recommend the Cuban because you get to try a couple different types of cheese.” That’s a weird thing to say. It’s not like mozzarella and cheddar are exotic. It wasn’t until after I paid $16 for my Cuban sandwich (yes, their prices really are that outrageous) that I read a sign at the register stating “Credit cards will incur a small fee. Your allergies are your responsibility. And yes, everything is vegan.” What the hell did I just order? Ok, don’t freak out. You live in a hipster part of town now, so when in Fitzroy, eat like a vegan. I could hear my mom quoting Green Eggs and Ham chanting “try it, you might like it!”
I desperately tried not to create a mental block before my first bite, but all I could think of is “what is this turkey made out of?” Nobody should ever have to ask that question. There should only be one ingredient and it should be turkey. I slowly started to mentally digest. I just found a place that thrives on everything that is wrong with processed foods today. I don’t understand why people opposed to consuming anything deriving from an animal would want to mimic it artificially. Wouldn’t the idea alone disgust a vegan? While I understand that not everybody was born vegan and they might miss certain foods, this imitation stuff is barely mouthwatering. Aside from the bland taste, everything about that sandwich was wrong on so many levels. I got through about half before I gave up on lunch. I considered donating my leftovers to the homeless person down the street, but I thought it might negate my act of humanity. If you’re looking for faux meats and cheeses with zero authentic fruit and vegetable options, this is the place for you. No thanks, Smith & Deli. I’ll stick to chicken made from 100% chicken.
Queens of the Stone Age
Friday, September 7
Anthony, Vinny, Eliza and I snagged tickets to Queens of the Stone Age before it sold out so quickly they booked a second night in Melbourne. As Dave Grohl’s side project, I knew this concert would rock- and rock it did. One thing that I continuously find odd about the stadium shows I’ve attended in Melbourne is the norm that everyone remains seated throughout the entire set. This is beyond unnatural to me, but I am slowly improving my seated boogie.
Organ Pipes National Park
Saturday, September 8
For our first field trip of the season, Anna, Toni and I ventured 45 minutes outside the city to stretch our legs and dust the winter webs off our walking shoes. Ancient volcanic activity formed unique rock formations found around the park which created a peaceful setting for us to get reacquainted with nature.
Vegan Day Out
Sunday, September 9
Today I ate a vegan meal on purpose. My friend Bree invited me to lunch as part of the Vegan Day out weekend. Oh, the irony. Transformer is this beautiful restaurant on our block with luscious green plants sprawling throughout the restaurant that I had been eyeing it off ever since we moved to Fitzroy, but Anthony didn’t have any interest in going. Bree and I came in for their feed me banquet and it was a vegan feast I could totally get on board with. I thoroughly enjoyed their selection of real fruits and vegetables. What a novelty! From smoked beetroot puree to steamed broccolini in a miso coconut milk sauce to cinnamon roasted pumpkin, we were very well fed and satisfied.
MoMA Friday Night
Friday, September 21
The National Gallery of Victoria rotates exhibits featuring artwork from all over the world and this season showcased pieces spanning over 130 years from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. On Fridays, NGV hosts a special way to enjoy the gallery with an evening of art and music. After admiring paintings by Salvador Dalí, Picasso and Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe silkscreen, Anthony and I relaxed with a glass of wine and live jazz band. Even though neither of us are art connoisseurs, we always eagerly await their ever-changing displays. Next season we look forward to work by M.C. Escher.
Rutherglen in the City
Saturday, September 22
We are spoiled for choice with wine regions that surround Melbourne and today, the winemakers came to us. 19 wineries traveled 3 hours for a two-day pop-up wine bar and tasting event in the CBD. If this free event wasn’t a treat enough, our tasting glasses only cost us $5. That’s $3.50 USD to indulge in wines like sparkling reds (I know, I’m still trying to fathom a cold, bubbly red) and durifs, a new flavor to me which is a full-bodied red varietal related to shiraz. Anthony’s sister Alysia joined us and educated me per usual on her extensive wine knowledge and refined taste. Since moving to Australia and drinking wine with the both of them, my palate now enjoys nicer wines much to my wallet’s detriment.
Saturday, September 29
I should probably mention that today teams played sports. But also, the first American played in the AFL Grand Finals which is the Australian equivalent of the Super Bowl. Mason Cox of the Collingwood Magpies stands 6’7” and how he wound up playing Australian football after his basketball career is beyond me. While I’m still not a footy fan, at least it made for amusing banter to cheer “America” every time Cox blocked a pass or scored a goal. The ‘Pies unfortunately lost to the West Coast Eagles in a close, yet surprisingly interesting game. Oh, and did I mention that this Saturday afternoon game is cause for a Friday public holiday in the state of Victoria? Once again, Australia wins!