I had a great trip back home. Melbourne is a fantastic city, visually beautiful (except some of the fugly looking new developments) and lots going on. In lieu of a more lengthy post (I have so much work to catch up on, you know how it goes)...I will leave you with a few recommendations for places I visited on this last trip. Mostly food this time...no time or funds for shopping unfortunately.
Firstly, Melbourne is known for its foodies and coffee afficionados. If you're a fan of Anthony Bourdain, like I am, you will already know this, as he has referred to the fact that all Melbournians are food critics (or at least we think we are!) so the quality is good and competition fierce.
I had time in the CBD on my own for an afternoon and asked a friend to recommend a great coffee place and these were his recommendations - Patricia and Little Wish. I only made it to Patricia...and was not disappointed. In a city where Starbucks is failing miserably, good coffee is fairly abundant. There are obviously a few that stand out from the crowd and I dare say this is one of them. With an almost hidden entrance at the back, and probably always packed with uber cool young things, Patricia certainly serves up a mighty fine coffee. And the interior isn't too bad either ;)
I had breakfast at The St Kilda Dispensary one morning with friends and loved it. I am a bit of a sucker for nice decor and have been known to sacrifice quality of food and service for a nice interior...but you needn't do that with this place. Set in an historical building (actually the first medical dispendary in the British empire, hence the name) with a fun but not too kitsch interior, and a menu to die for. Great coffee and a selection of interesting and not-so-usual breakfast items. I would definitely go back.
Finally, I enjoyed a wonderful meal with a large group of friends at Otsumami, a Japanese resto on the ever changing and newly hip High Street in Northcote. It must have been good...it managed to get a bunch of strict south-of-the-river Melbournites north of the river for the night! I loved their slightly fusion version of Japanese, and the fact that they managed to please a vegetarian and a pescatarian. Pretty well priced too.
That's it for now. Thanks to all the lovely people who made the trip a memorable one. You know who you are...