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Highlights from a brief return to Melbourne

Last year, I had to travel from New York City to Australia to get my US working visa. I had my visa interview at the US Consulate in Perth, but while I waited for my passport to be returned to me I spent some time in Melbourne and Brisbane. This is a long overdue recap of my three or so weeks in Melbourne, in November 2019.

As I’m putting together this post, I realised I didn’t take any photos with my friends in Melbourne, which has made me a little bit sad.  I don’t tend to take photos with people, since I don’t like having my Photo taken very much, and it really did feel like I was just at a regular weekly dinner date, not on a special visit.  I make an effort to get in some photos when I’m travelling usually, because I know I’ll be glad to have captured the memories later. Because I was in a city I used to live in, I didn’t feel like I was in tourist mode, and so taking photos with friends didn’t cross my mind. I am going to try and take more photos with the people I love in every day life, not just when I’m overseas!

I split my time in Melbourne between my uncles’ house in Preston and my friend’s house in South Yarra, which was only a few blocks away from where I used to live. I am so grateful for the generosity of my hosts, and loved getting to spend some quality time with all the people I’ve been missing from Melbourne.

Exploring Preston & the northside

I’ve always lived on the south side of Melbourne, and didn’t spend very much time in the city’s artsy, edgier north before I moved. My uncles kindly hosted me for most of my time in Melbourne, in their beautiful home in Preston. They moved to Preston, from the southside, not long before I moved away, so I hadn’t spent too much time in the area. I really loved the Preston Market, which we visited several times during my stay for morning coffees, delicious spinach and feta boreks and classic, Melburnian hot jam donuts. Melbourne has such a great market culture, and I love that a fantastic food market never feels far away.

jam doughnuts and boreks at preston market in melbourne
Preston Market

I caught up with my good pal Marlo at Old Palm Liquor in Brunswick East, which is a warm wine bar in the front, and an airy, greenhouse-style dining room in the back. With my uncles, I checked out one of their favourite local haunts, Kitty Somerset, an excellent, tiny tapas restaurant called Chato and a new pizzeria called Takeaway Pizza.

old palm social wine bar in brunswick east, melbourne
Old Palm Liquor

roses

bar chato tapas in thornbury
Tapas at Chato, Thornbury

A Winery Day Trip to the Mornington Peninsula

My friend Liv and I took so many fun day trips and weekenders while I lived in Melbourne (The Grampians, King Valley, Bellarine Peninsula, Bendigo and Heathcote to name a few!), and it’s something I really miss now that we don’t live in the same country. We had planned to meet in Asheville, North Carolina, in April 2020 to kick off her trip to the states, after which she was going to come and stay with me in New York for a week or so. I’m so disappointed that her US trip was cancelled, but so glad we had the time to take a local day trip from Melbourne while I was in town.

Port Phillip Estate Winery Mornington Peninsula_3
Port Phillip Estate
Crittenden Estate
Main Ridge Estate Winery and Tasting Room Mornington Peninsula
Main Ridge Estate
Point Leo EstateWinery Mornington Peninsula
Point Leo Estate
Point Leo Estate Winery Mornington Peninsula
Point Leo Estate
Main Ridge Estate Winery Mornington Peninsula
Main Ridge Estate

Old Haunts

While I love checking out new places that have opened since I left, I was so excited to re-visit a few old favourites. I loved returning to Ned’s, a bakery & cafe in South Yarra that I used to visit every week, and my favourite brunch spot, Tall Timber. I caught  up with friends for drinks at Imperial twice, and my favourite dumpling spot in the city, Shandong Mama Mini. I caught up with friends at Arbory Afloat and Hopscotch, both on the river in Southbank, and enjoyed the beautiful views over St Kilda’s beach from Republica, with my uncles. Felt like I never left!

dumplings at shandong mama mini  in centre place, melbourne
Shandong Mama Mini // Centre Place, Melbourne
breakfast at tall timber in prahran
Tall Timber, Prahran
pizza at neds bake in melbourne
Pizza at Ned’s Bake in South Yarra

New spots

I went for cocktails with Liv at Byrdi, a new cocktail bar & restaurant inside the Emporium shopping centre. High end drinking and dining is common in Asian countries, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and restaurateurs and attempting to make it take off in New York (like at Hudson Yards) and now Melbourne too. The cocktails, service & interiors were perfect, but I hope they get some blinds to block out the view of the food court through the windows. Dining inside a mall isn’t for me, but I’d still return here for cocktails if I was in the city. I can’t remember the last time I was so impressed by a new cocktail bar.

cheese & cocktails at byrdie in melbournemural in melbourne central

I caught up with my former work wives in the city, starting with drinks at Dessous, an underground bar, followed by dinner upstairs at Hazel, a restaurant by the same owners. Dessous is moody and stylish, but fairly expensive, whereas Hazel is light, breezy and has nailed the price point. Really enjoyed both, and would definitely return to both.

food at hazel restaurant in melbourne
Hazel, Melbourne

hazel restaurant in melbourne

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