We haven’t really done the usual tourist things in Melbourne, like visiting the zoo/aquarium, or exploring the lanes with street art around Collins Street, or whatever else it is that tourists do here. Shopping, maybe? Anyway, we’ve been here before (Risa lived here for 6-months as an exchange student) and we’ve done a lot of that in the past. We’re more interested in spending time with friends, or more truthfully, spending time eating with friends.
The girls wanted to come back to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy to do some shopping/lunching, so that is what we did. We fed the two-hour parking meter with as much spare change as we had and went walking up Brunswick Street, with them looking at all of the cute homewares and clothing shops along the way.
Melbourne being Melbourne (at least the way it does for us), we switched between blowing rain, and warm sunshine. The rain helped us decided where to have lunch, as we were standing in front of this bar/restaurant when the rain started, so seemed a logical place to go to escape it. Naked For Satan, such a strange name for a bar/restaurant, especially a bar focusing on custom vodkas and serving (some very non-Spanish) pintxos. The vodka part made more sense when I read about the history of the building. I’ll paraphrase – A Russian immigrant, Leon Satanovich, was working in this building (Moran and Cato) as a cleaner in the 1930s. He was from a vodka distilling family, and eventually started making his own moonshine vodka in a spare room in this building. He would share his vodka (which was difficult/expensive to come by at that time) with friends, who would help him in the creation. Apparently it was quite hot work during the summer months, and just like Walter White, he’d work in just his underwear. As it was illegal, people involved in the project would use the phrase, ‘Getting naked for Satan’ when discussing it. Of course, the story came with a massive disclaimer, ‘Urban Myth or Fitzroy Legend’, so who can say if there is any truth in the story. But really, who cares if it’s just a fantastic story (not I). The interior played on that whole ‘getting naked for satan’ theme, with photos of old pinups covering the walls like wallpaper.
This is the first time I’ve had pintxos, and it’s an interesting concept – lots of bite-sized dishes, mostly on a small slice of bread. Each bite-sized snack is $1 (at lunch time), and when you’re finished, you just take all the toothpicks to the counter to pay. And, it wasn’t just limited to the food at the counter, almost like yumcha, the waiters would walk around with fresh pintxos to tempt you to eat just one more (I was fell in to that trap several times, I mean, how could I not, it was only one more dollar). Risa and I shared eleven bite sized snacks and we were surprisingly full (but Risa was saving space for a vegetarian restaurant, Madame K, that served fake (fake as in vegetarian) prawns, but sadly it was shut).
Risa kept exploring town, I went out to Chadstone Mitsubishi to finally pick up the correct t-piece to replace the Bunnings-built temporary fix in the heater piping.
We met back up in town for dinner, with what I thought was going to be a few friends. It ended up being a group of eleven, which proved to be somewhat of a challenge to find a place to eat. It took a (long) while of waiting in the cold, but we eventually were seated at Shanghai Village in Chinatown. It felt like endless plates of dumplings (and the odd plate of steamed vegetables) were coming out, but all that waiting had given us all quite an appetite, and the food was disappearing as fast at it was coming out. It was another great night catching up with friends, most of whom we know from Niseko (a ski resort in Hokkaido).
I was a little worried about M.S.G fever dreams and heart palpitations, but apart from a slight thirst this morning, I slept quite well.