Out every night this past week and every night I had a great time: Dinner at Pizza e Birra on Tuesday night with the wonderful Molly Holzschlag; Sleepers Almanac launch and a WSG evening on Wednesday; and then dinner at a little Japanese place I've wanted to try with Mr Richards (who often doesn't see the same beauty I do).
Tuesday night was wonderful, not just because of the exceptional food at Pizza e Birra but having an overseas guest in town and subsequently the opportunity to talk about my wonderful city always works to reinvigorate my love for Melbourne. When we weren't talking about web standards, I had to explain the whole St Kilda triangle debacle and talk about Melbourne's history and it's connection to Nick Cave. It forced me to think of all the wonderful times I've had seeing bands, hanging out at the triangle and how wonderful our pub culture used to be.
The conversation was mostly a lament and a cry against the property developers ruining our recent heritage but it did bring up a feeling that I sometimes take things for granted.
With this fresh in my mind, Wednesday night I ended up having the always delicious lasagne at Pellegrini's. If you're not from here, maybe you won't understand, but Pellegrini's is to Melbourne what the 2nd Avenue Deli was to New York. It's a place you can go and have food the same way they've made it for 40 years. The people who make the coffee love to make coffee. They serve traditional granita. The menu hasn't changed and neither have the people. Everyone comes to Pellegrini's and to get a great sense of Melbourne it's worth going in there at around 9pm, ordering your food and just listening to the conversations around you.
I was envigorated and Thursday night, when Ben and I came out of a very satisfying meal at Yamato we walked around the laneways and arcades witnessing all the Chinese New Year celebrations. We stood for a while in Lt Bourke St watching a display by two dancing lions who finished by throwing fruit into the crowd. I discovered a couple more restaurants to try and a museum or two hidden away somewhere that I need to get back to.
What I discovered, though, is that every time I think my home is being ruined by the greed of urban and suburban developers, I manage to find something new and wonderful to reinvigorate the joy and comfort I feel when just hanging out in my city.