On the road to nowhere

I am very glad that I went to the effort (and cost) of bringing my bike with me to Melbourne. It has been the perfect way to get around town and has provided me with some much-needed exercise. While I have sussed out some nice locations for more serious road rides, which I might cover in a later post, I’ve also found some more casual rides to do when I don’t feel like trying too hard.

There are a few well established bike trails around the city. The most important of these is the Capital City Trail, which forms a loop around the inner city and, conveniently, goes right past my house. The directions on the path aren’t great and it took me a few goes to complete the loop with without getting lost. The ride is very easy, safe and scenic but is also very inefficient. Don’t use the trail if you need to get somewhere in a hurry!

After work today I decided to investigate another trail that goes past my house – The Merri Creek Trail. All I knew before I set off was that this path ran alongside the Merri Creek. You can always see the creek from the path, which is a nice thing. Unfortunately you can also see the high voltage transmission lines which run out of the city along the creek, which is not a nice thing. Along the path you pass through parks of various sizes and go past the Brunswick Velodrome, some market gardens, a drive-in cinema and a chicken coop.

In some ways the the Merri Trail is more interesting than the City Trail, as you get a great sense of the urban sprawl of Melbourne. On the City Trail the buildings are pretty much of a constant style but on the Merri Trail you see layers of development as you head out of the city. The only drawback to the Merri Trail is that you end up in the middle of nowhere (as far as I could work out). I decided to turn around once I had reached the Northern Ring Road.

It was fun riding the path just to see where it ended up but I won’t be going back in a hurry. I think I will stick to the City Loop for these casual peddle-abouts. It’s nice to end up where you started without having to turn around.

View my ride data (this includes a quick trip to Brunswick before heading to the trail).

The Crimean

A friend of mine recently celebrated her birthday at The Crimean, a newly-opened Eastern-European pub/restaurant in North Melbourne. This awesome little pub feels warm and cozy as soon as you walk in, thanks to the dark wood panelling used throughout. The service is as warm as the decor, with the staff being very accommodating to the largish group who were there to celebrate.

Their menu consists of a staggering array of Eastern-European inspired dishes. I’m not very familiar with this kind of cuisine, but the descriptions made everything sound delicious! I chose the Ocean Trout – mostly because, thanks to my poverty-stricken cook-enough-food-for-a-week-and-freeze-it lifestyle, I haven’t eaten any fish lately.

Before the meals came out we were given a small cup of rather salty soup/broth. This was a great starter on a cold winters night in Melbourne! They also served up some very average white and rye bread. The saving grace of the bread platter was the provided Black Sea salt which was both black and nicely salty.

Mains were then served and the fish was brilliant. Perfectly cooked with a lovely, crunchy skin. It was served on what looked and tasted like beetroot pasta. I’m sure it’s not actually beetroot pasta and I’d love to find out what it really was.

Their desserts list looked very promising, including dishes like rye iceream gingerbread sandwiches and plum doughnuts. I opted for the pear tart with chocolate ice-cream, as I fruit tarts and tiramisu are the two dessert benchmarks by which I judge all restaurants. To be honest the tart was a bit of a letdown. The pastry (puff) wasn’t particularly crunchy and the whole tart tasted quite buttery. While I do love butter this wasn’t a good thing. The pear flavours were nice and delicate and a rosemary sprig on top really set it all off perfectly, but then the chocolate ice-cream came along and overpowered at all. It really would have been better off without the ice-cream.

I can’t believe I’m actually complaining about getting chocolate ice-cream, so I’m going to stop right there and just say that, overall, the Crimean experience was fantastic. Friendly staff, great food and a very impressive wine list which sources exotic-sounding wines from all over Eastern-Europe. Definitely a place to check out on a freezing Melbourne night.

Markit

It was with some trepidation that I headed to Fed Square this morning. The Markit design and craft market was held in the atrium and the spiel promised that it would be a great collection of Melbourne’s best arty people. My general experience with such markets is that it’s very hard to find stuff you like amongst all the junk and baby clothes (I’m looking at you, Upmarket).

I’m happy to report that Markit delivered on their promise and I was very impressed by the range and quality on offer. I discovered some names that were new to me (Able & Game and Rabbit & The Duck), some I’d come across before (InSync and Emily Green) plus my good friends at Harvest had a nice little stall.

I bought a few little bits and pieces for some upcoming birthdays and also found out about the Rose Street Market, which happens to be right near my house. I’ll definitely be checking that out next weekend!

Perimeter Books

Today I visited a shop I’ve been meaning to check out for the past few weeks – Perimeter Books in Thornbury. I think if I was going to run my own book shop I’d want it to be just like this. They have a small but carefully selected range of design, architecture and art books displayed on some very snazzy plywood tables and shelves designed specially for the space. Nobrow is well represented, with many of their exquisite publications available to purchase.

As a big fan of obscure and unique books I was in heaven! There were many books in there that caught my eye and, after a lot of browsing, I walked out with two Nobrow books that I didn’t already have in my collection. I came very close to getting a book documenting the history of the identity/branding of the Dutch Government, which I thought was very interesting, and another that was a 300 page book of black and white photos of fireworks, which was just downright quirky.

I highly recommend a visit to Perimeter if you enjoy weird and wonderful books.

Hello

Hello there!

I have decided to set up a blog to document the year ahead. If I am able to keep it up to date it should serve as a good record for me, plus it will keep the world up to speed with what I have been doing.

So what does the year ahead entail? If everything falls into place then this is the plan:

  1. Survive living in Melbourne for a couple more months
  2. Go back to Perth for a month
  3. Move to England for a year to attend the School of Artisan Food

Simple!