It’s hard for me to remember that I liked a food when it becomes apparent that maybe I shouldn’t have. Yesterday was a day full of those kinds of meals.
We ate brunch at Groove Shack, or as breakfast/brunch is called in quite a few places here “brekkie.” Menu language in America is so weird that I’m having a hard time in Australia figuring out if something is a commonly used word, or just silly menu jargon. For example, I wouldn’t call a gussied up baked potato super-loaded in real life, but I would know what that meant if I saw it on a lunch menu. So I have no idea if Australians wake up slightly hungover and direly under caffeinated on a Saturday morning, roll over and say “Let’s get some brekkie.” I hope so.
Quandaries about menu vocabulary aside, the meal was delicious. We sat outside in the sunshine and sipped our second round of heart-racingly strong coffee drinks. Dan ate two thick slabs of toast smothered in cheese and avocado with soft-boiled eggs on top, drizzled with a rich, peppery olive oil. I had something called a Mediterranean BLT: a fried impossibly golden yoked egg, chewy lean Australian bacon (kind of like Canadian bacon with more oomph), and roasted veggies toasted between two piece of crunchy, oily sourdough.
We took a long walk into the CBD, which is full of tiny alleys brimming with cafes and stands that serve a portable sushi, like if you had a half roll and never sliced it into pieces. There were Taiwanese dessert cafes and counters serving Chinese pastries and dumplings. There were malls full of shops we’d never seen and one had a giant community garden on the top floor, where the typical gangs of mall teens sprawled out on coats and backpacks and made towers out of recycled Coke cans.
We stopped in a Schnitzel shop, a chain in Melbourne called Schnitzs, and split a warm Schnitzel sandwich, the Schnitzel flanked by roasted peppers and eggplants, housed in the kind of foccacia style roll that makes you sort of irritated by a lifetime of dry foccacia imposters. There were also “chips,” served tongue scaldingly hot and dusted with a sweet/salty seasoning.
Much later that night, we went out with locals who were a little unimpressed by Groove Shack and had never tried Schnitzs. I recognized their faces because I’ve made that face so many times before: Those places are kind of whatever.
I started to wonder—-were our starving jetlagged minds making us over-enjoy subpar food? Was this like if Australian friends visited and spent a day on their own, only to regale me with stories about the culinary wonders of TGIFridays?
It’s possible. But does it matter? I’ve been reading a lot of books by food types lately, and it seems like the universal theme is that if you think something is delicious, that’s what really matters. So this is my way of remembering what we ate on Day 2, and remembering that it was delicious, before I doubt my own taste and jetlag addled brain and forget.