It’s been a while since our last post but we should be picking things up as the next couple months will bring holidays and summer and hopefully a little travel!
In the meantime, we’ve settled into a normal rhythm of daily life. Sometimes people forget that we are here to live and work [for Ben] – it’s not a study abroad or an extended vacation holiday. So while we are trying to take advantage of exploring Australia and doing as many amazing things here as possible, our daily and weekly lives are often still consumed with the normal “boring” things. With that said, we try to throw in a little fun during the week if there’s something going on in the city.
This past weekend kicked off the Night Noodle Market in Melbourne. It’s basically a giant Asian food festival downtown. There are over 60 stalls of food set up by different restaurants and it will be going on every night until the end of the month. The scene is pretty massive and since it’s centrally located, tons of pleople to flock over for food and drinks.
We went with a couple from Ben’s office and sampled a few different stalls. Towards the end of the night, the guys tasted “victory” at one pad thai stand where they stood in front defiantly for 30 minutes until the workers slashed the prices down (since they were about to close). As they happily chowed down on their noodles we asked if it was all worth it. Ben’s co-conspirator claimed he didn’t even like pad thai but that it tasted like success!
We were all happy we went to see the madness but decided a one off experience was sufficient to check it off the ‘to do’ list.
I promised that I would let you know how the Mexican Festival went and so I shall!…. Eh. It was pretty anti-climactic. Ben would tell you that I had let my cravings get the best of me and my hopes were unrealistic. Perhaps that is true but what can I say? I like to hope for the best, even if I don’t necessarily expect it.
Let me start with a little background info so you fully understand the situation. We’ve been in Melbourne for just over a month and a half now. So that is 6-7 weeks it’s been since my last helping of Mexican food or anything resembling it. You may think ‘that’s no big deal!’ … but in fact if you’ve ever lived in California for any extended period of time then you know it is a very big deal.
Please don’t misunderstand me. The food in Melbourne is EXCELLENT. And I’m well acquainted with studying and living abroad in countries where dietary restrictions and simple access to variety is very limited – try 2 months in India. However, when you have such food of such quality so easily available to you that you eat it on a weekly basis or more, then it’s hard not to miss. Melbourne has many choices in wonderful dining options but Mexican food is NOT one of them.
Not that they are to blame. It seems there is a slow and steady movement trending for Mexican cuisine but you can only imagine that with the geographic distance from Mexico and few Mexican immigrants, it’s more slow than steady. This is heartbreaking to me. Oh, I could make do and cook some of my favorite items myself but the ingredients are not so easy to find either!
We’ve finally located a vendor at South Melbourne Market that sells fresh jalapenos and one vendor in Queen Victoria Market that sells black beans. However, I’m still on the hunt for some decent corn tortillas and cilantro coriander that doesn’t taste more like parsley and don’t get me started on finding the right type of chili peppers.
So yes, my hopes for the festival were high. There was a very large turn out of people and food stands – all of the Mexican restaurants that give it a go in and around the city. Ben and I sampled a few different stand. The fish tacos at Mamacitas were bland. A carnitas burrito from Mad Mex left a lot to be desired, though Ben claims that it would do the job if he were badly in need of a fix. We did finally stumble on some authentic and flavorful fair at Los Amantes where we gobbled down the chilaquiles de pollo. We’ll have to find their restaurant location and do some further reviews.