…and indeed it will be. Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel. I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.
We celebrated our wedding anniversary this past weekend and while places like Attica and Brae are still on my fine dining wishlist, Mr Rosanna actually chose somewhere local for us to celebrate this time around.
He took me to Mercers Restaurant in Eltham, which has been there for what seems like forever, and a place we nearly collaborated with when I was the publicist for the Light Factory Gallery for a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival food/art event that unfortunately never got off the ground.
Mercers is housed in an old weatherboard cottage and has a timeless, if not trendy, feel about it. The food was excellent. There is a degustation menu and you can choose from a two course or three course set menu – with two courses being the minimum if you eat there.
Mr R opted for the smoked salmon while I had the pea soup with prawns. For mains, Mr R went the Middle Eastern-style slow cooked lamb shoulder while I had the barramundi fillet with scallops and mushrooms. Although we barely had room, we also shared a dessert plate for two which was probably the only hit and miss – the lemon meringue and chocolate souffle were the picks of the bunch. Having said that, the entrees and mains were something really special, beautifully presented and delicious and on par with anything I’ve eaten at fine dining establishments in the city. There were lots of what looked like well heeled Eltham locals eating and the service, warm and attentive. I can see why it’s so popular with nearby residents.
We stopped in briefly at the Brougham Street Bazaar right next to the former Light Factory Gallery (and now Second Home Eltham cafe) on Brougham Street, which is always delightful. I found a vintage bamboo tea caddy which is now holding my jasmine and oo long teas at home. I hope you too had a wonderful weekend.
There’s also a related La Trobe 50th Anniversary event The culinary journey of Greek Australians dinner taking place at Elryos in Camberwell on Monday 3 April, featuring Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Head of School of Allied Health and author of The Mediterranean Diet cookbook who will also be speaking at one of my Bold Thinking Series scheduled later this year. If I wasn’t going out this weekend I would have booked into this one!
The past 10 days seem to have gone by in a flash! Events season is well and truly upon us as well as this Indian summer that we seem to be having. La Trobe University turned 5o on Wednesday, which was also International Women’s Day, and I was lucky enough to spend my night at the Hyllus Maris Memorial Lecture which was largely an all-female event save for Isaiah Firebrace’s performance at the end. Indigenous writer Dr Anita Heiss gave the keynote address on Education being the key to a better life, and was also very funny – she could have been a comedian as well referring to VIPs in the audience as ‘very Indigenous people’! For me, the highlight was the Indigenous Academic procession into the Union Theatre heralded by a lone didgeridoo player, I had tears in my eyes both when the academics in full gowns entered and when they left – the significance of such an achievement as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in this country, was incredibly moving.
I spent last Monday night with my fellow Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member and Chair Valentina Maxwell-Tansley presenting to Darebin Council at Preston Town Hall in the hope that they may increase funding at the Homestead. Council has a difficult job in determining how monies get allocated across the community but Darebin itself is a very creative municipality which values the social, cultural and economic contribution a visual arts asset such as the Homestead makes so I was very grateful to have been given air time to state our case. Stay tuned for the result.
Valentina has also been run off her own feet organising A Weekend in the Gardens event at the Botanic Gardens which kicks off from 4 pm today with John Farnham, Boy & Bear and Icehouse playing at three different concerts. She’s been working with the same group of people who run the A Day on the Green winery concerts and there will be thousands attending each of the concerts for the first time at the Gardens this weekend.
The Melbourne Moomba Festival 2017 starts today and it’s a beautiful weekend to be in the city if you’re staying in Melbourne this Labour Day weekend. Closer to home, the Heide Makers Market is also on tomorrow and if I didn’t have other things to do, I’d be attending this one. Have a great long weekend and I’ll be back soon as there are stacks of events being held locally over the next couple of weeks as well as the launch of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.