Living la vida local

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Me with a sneaky pic of the gorgeous Greek fruit seller at Halki

Greece is a hard act to follow and Melbourne in the winter time is far from inspiring.  It’s lucky I’ve been busy at work promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Smashed avo: is there a war on youth? continuing the conversation that demographer Bernard Salt started in terms of the intergenerational wars between millenials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and whether jobs and housing are harder opportunities for younger people to come by.  On the panel from La Trobe are cultural sociologist Dr Sara James (who reminds me of actress Katie Holmes!) and alumnus David de Garis who is a regular media commentator on all things economic for the NAB.  We’ve matched them up with GetUp’s Chief of Staff Natalie O’Brien and Fairfax finance columnist and entrepreneur Melissa Browne who has recently written the rather naughty sounding book called Unf*ck your finances.  We also tried to get Mr Barefoot Investor Scott Pape himself for this panel as he is a La Trobe alumnus but he was already engaged as many of the high-profile people I deal with in my job often are.  It is Open Day at La Trobe this Sunday and if you are considering studying in any kind of capacity, it’s well worth a visit to find out more in terms of short courses, languages, undergraduate and post-graduate courses as well as some of the other University assets like the library, Wildlife Sanctuary or Sports centre.  We’re lucky to have such a big campus so close to us in the north-east and there are exciting plans afoot for the University in the near future in terms of its development as a hub.

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I’ve been driving through the suburbs since coming back from overseas and there’s been a lot of interesting new businesses I’ve noticed like Pilates Republic Ivanhoe at the back of the Centre Ivanhoe near The Foreigner cafe and Vinyasa Studio Yoga in Burgundy Street, Heidelberg.  I’ve returned to Iyengar classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga underneath Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.  I also noticed the cute sounding name of new organic cafe Mr Macleod while having my boots re-heeled at Chris the Cobbler who’s now also found at the Macleod Village group of shops in Aberdeen Road.  They needed a crane to lift in Chris’ very heavy shoe repair machinery equipment and Chris himself has been a busy man renovating houses as well as opening his fancy new digs.  My sponsor and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod has also been a busy person – she’s launched a new holistic health and fitness program called Find your fierce which I’ll be finding out more about given my fierce seems to have gone missing in action plus the studio is moving somewhere close by in October so I’ll be following her there.

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My former client Helen Webster is holding her once a year Raffal Wraps scarf sale tomorrow afternoon if you’re in Ivanhoe and I think it would be worth a visit to pick up a bargain before the end of winter.  I also wanted to mention the Rosanna Station Community Fun Day on Saturday 11 August from 10 am to 2 pm taking place right in front of my other sponsor Hunter Lane Cafe and you will see me there in the middle of the day if you’re coming along to celebrate the opening of the new Rosanna station and level crossing which seems to have taken forever to finally finish.  I’m reserving judgement about it until the big reveal happens but took a photo today (above) as I do love the new Rosanna station sign.  There are a number of other launches taking place locally next week which I will post about in the coming days.  Four weeks to go until Spring!

From El Salvador to Japan

Having not one but two birthdays in my family just before Christmas every year always kills me and this year was no exception.  I spent most of this weekend eating but the good thing was that it took our minds and attention off the miserable and wet weather conditions.

Poor Mr Rosanna’s birthday is always overshadowed now but we managed to salvage the day by taking him out for brunch at new Rosanna cafe The Pioneer, which is firmly on the map after a visit from our Premier Daniel Andrews MP last week.  The front tables were taken but we were given some seats in the back room (above) with the square communal table that seats 12, housing the Christmas tree, which small people came to look at while we were there.

The owner has a social enterprise background but this is his own first cafe and what I love even more is that he is a local and an El Salvadoran Australian so the menu is Spanish-influenced.  Despite the drizzle, the place was still rockin’ on Saturday morning with very much an inner-city vibe – I still find it hard to believe sleepy Rosanna is finally starting to wake up.  The coffee and the meals (above) were fantastic – as good as you’ll find in Fitzroy or Collingwood.  On a sunnier day, it would also be lovely to spend time in the back courtyard tables so it’s great to see this former newsagency transformed into something of the times.  Interesting too to know that besides a Woolworths supermarket, Chemist Warehouse is also coming to Rosanna Village in the near future on the corner of Lower Plenty Road and Bellevue Avenue where Meridian Travel used to be and going all the way up to where Chris the Cobbler (who’ll be moving to Macleod) has been for over 30 years!  They made him an offer too good to refuse…

Mr R’s day didn’t stop there as I’d booked dinner for us a while ago at Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, which was also a great experience given the conditions outside.  Brunswick Street is always pretty busy on a Saturday night but it was jumping (and dark!) inside the restaurant where we had a booth table after Dani from Hunter Lane Cafe had recommended me booking.  There was some pretty awesome 70s dance music on high rotation while we were there so I found it hard to sit still – it’s got a great atmosphere and reminded me a bit of Garden State Hotel in the city with all the different layers and parts to it upstairs and downstairs.  There was a private function going on upstairs but the Village People rooftop bar with hawker style dining would also make a great date night venue.  The mixed sushi and sashimi platter that we had (above) was beautifully presented and there was a team of Japanese chefs behind the counter doing their thing.  I’ve not been to the sister restaurant in St Kilda but I think it would be just as good.  It was interesting too to note that we weren’t the oldest people in the joint – I think there are a number of older people now downsizing and moving to the inner city.

We’d walked past a number of cool looking bars and restaurants on the way to Ichi Ni Nana including The Rooks Return, Smith & Daughters and Bon Ap but ended up at Uptown Jazz Cafe where we had a drink and stayed for a couple of songs by a jazz trio playing two sets that night.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday night in Melbourne.

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We also had dinner at local favourite Benjamin’s Kitchen in Alphington on Friday night followed by ice cream at Fairy Hills Ice Cream in Ivanhoe (in a great location on Lower Heidelberg Road opposite Ivanhoe Grammar) where we played a game of Uno.  We were at Leo’s Fine Food briefly over the weekend (where again I am loving all the Christmas packaging for imported European foodstuffs like Italian Panettone above) and I noticed that ice creamery Wally & Fletcher on Burgundy Street is just about to open so Fairy Hills will have a new local competitor.  I am hoping the weather picks up again for all of them as I think it would be great to share the ice cream love.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Hunter Lane Cafe