Was it the evening of youtubing old Savage Garden video clips and discovering a Songza channel dedicated to the music of Dawson’s Creek that led to my nostalgia-tinged rummaging through old photos from Australia, or did the yearning for friends and family back in Australia lead to the searching out of nostalgia-tinged music in the first place?
We may never know.
Shakahari Vegetarian Restaurant, Melbourne
(Think I’m being hyperbolic? I’m not. I wouldn’t be in Canada if I hadn’t met Lisa that day and realised, in a burst of sunlight, that this person had always been in my heart, always, even before I knew she existed.)
The thing is, I forgot to tell you about our second day in Melbourne. Lisa posted about it here, so all I really need to say is this: we went to Shakahari for vegan deliciousness, it was indeed delicious, and our waiter fell in love with Lisa from the moment we entered the restaurant and he noticed her ballet-dancer turn out.
I almost feared he’d try to slip a love potion into Lisa’s lunch of beans, brown rice, veggies, and peanut sauce, but thankfully such liquids only exist in Harry Potter-esque fiction.
I didn’t have to fear my papaya salad being tampered with, though, because the waiter was so enamoured with Lisa and her stories of dancing that he often seemed to forget I was there. But who could blame him? Lisa is magnificent. As was the papaya salad.
(Hey Lisa, guess what? When you wrote in your post, in January 2012, that you had “no doubt we’ve forged a long-lasting friendship that will flourish even across the world”? High five, my friend. High five.)
Gospel Choir Intermission
The Ginger Room, Canberra
On my final night in Canberra last year, eight hours before I needed to wake up and head to the airport for my flight to North America, my parents took me to The Ginger Room for a farewell dinner (I’ve previously blogged about The Ginger Room here).
My parents and I each had three courses that night but, as I was focused more on spending time with my parents than taking food photos, I’ll only post a few dishes. Such as, for example, my dad’s “five spice aubergine rolls, pumpkin, feta, beetroot yoghurt, red coconut sauce”, which tasted vibrant and lovely.
(Except for “lamb backstrap, shiitake mushroom, king brown mushroom, cavolo nero, garlic sage mash”.)
All very, very good.
However, my favourite, favourite, favourite course of all was (no prizes for guessing this) dessert. For two reasons.
The first reason was that the “vanilla marshmallow, lavender crumble, pistachio, rosewater, black cumin ice cream” included a squillion flavours that I adore. Pistachio and rosewater and heady cumin and lavender and yes yes. This came together marvelously.
The second reason was, of course, that my dessert came with a message of hope and encouragement for my trip that the waiter himself organised after overhearing my parents and I talking about my imminent departure.
Sometimes it’s the little touches that make a dinner memorable.
And sometimes it’s just the simple fact that you shared it with people you love.