It’s been a long week and so many things have happened in the space of seven days including our state moving from a COVID- zero target mentality to living with COVID now that it’s endemic in the community and numbers will rise. As hard as it’s been, and as it continues to be on a daily basis, Victorians and more specifically Melburnians, should not give up hope. Our efforts to suppress numbers have not been in vain and I hope you take heart from that and keep fighting the good fight as all is not lost.
It was officially spring last Wednesday, which was also National Wattle Day celebrating our national floral emblem – the golden wattle – symbolising the unifying of Australia and Australians. It’s perhaps something to remember during this time where it has seemed more like state versus state rather than us as a federation and as one people united against our war with COVID-19.
While I’ve not read Man’s search for meaning or The Happiest Man on Earth (and I’m sure there are female writers who’ve written similar books) – I think there are parallels between war and this current pandemic experience of ours – a war of attrition if you like – and through the darkest of times not only finding meaning, but hope and faith that brighter days will come. Perhaps something to remember in the coming weeks and months as we get closer to hitting our vaccination targets. There will be a time soon where living in lockdown will end.
While they are COVID guideline-dependent, the Spring Outdoors Festival has started in Banyule, Manningham and Nillumbik and I also love Angus and Celeste’s botanic-inspired ceramics including their wattle designs (pictured above). I was also reading during the week about artist Dylan Martorell who has created sound maps for a variety of green spaces around Melbourne, which is a beautiful idea if you have been walking outside and needing to listen to something different. It’s also great that kids under 12 have been able to return to playgrounds but I noticed families pivoted to bikes, skateboards, roller skates and scooters while they were closed. Interesting too to read about people walking through less crowded places like public cemeteries to find peace (for the living) at this time.
Mr Rosanna and I are lucky that our family is creative with writing, cooking, drawing and music giving us opportunities to immerse ourselves while at home but we have decided to start taking turns selecting individual cuisine choices for our weekly takeaway meal starting with Korean Japanese food from Kimu last week and Greek and Middle Eastern now on the agenda. Other people I know who have deeper pockets than mine got on the bandwagon last year with the Atlas Masterclass food box delivery with each week being a different country.
Friends and family have also been taking solace with ice cream! Augustus Gelatery has Templestowe outlet within 5km of Rosanna and there is also Fairy Hills Ice Cream, and Boca Gelato in Ivanhoe. I was sad to hear about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2021 Winter Edition Program being cancelled due to COVID-19 but glad that MWF Digital – Melbourne Writers Festival has gone ahead.
Finally, I regret not buying that set of old school Star Fire roller skates I saw at The Mill Markets at Daylesford when we visited in July – my best friend Jules has resurrected her original pair which her daughter has been wearing skating outside in church carparks! I’m also loving Bruno Mars in this music video for his song Skate. And for those of you who haven’t yet had or booked in for your vaccination – it is skates on.
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.
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