Getting Buzzed in Melbourne

I studied abroad in Florence for one semester with 9 other girls from Duke.  One day, one of my roommates decided she needed a hair cut badly enough to brave an Italian hair salon.

She came back from the salon with a full on Italian mullet.  She didn’t stress (she is gorgeous and could wear her hair any way) but a few days later, realizing she couldn’t style around the mullet,  she decided to let another roommate trim her hair until things were a little, well, less mullet-like.

This memory immediately sprung to mind when I was approached on the street by someone from the Melbourne College of Hair & Beauty (the humidity must not have been doing me any favors.)  She offered me a haircut and blowout for $11.  I was in desperate need of a trim, love a deal, had an hour to kill and with my wedding still months away, I figured what could go wrong?

The first person I saw at the beauty school was this guy which made me much more apprehensive.  This was not my idea of  getting buzzed in Melbourne…

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But my stylist assured me she would only take a couple inches off, keeping my long layered style and never picking up the shaver.  Whew.

There were a few more moments of “what have I done landing myself in an Australia beauty school?”

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But all in all, it was great and my stylist, Rebecca, couldn’t have been nicer.  She took before and after pictures so you can see there isn’t a huge change but at least she fixed my split ends and I could arrive at Joe’s work dinner looking freshened up.  I go way too long in between hair cuts and need to be better about taking the time.

The next day, Joe and I explored the Queen Victoria Market, a Melbourne institution since 1878.  032_100_quuenvic01The Market is best known for its huge variety of  produce, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood and delicatessen products.  Sadly, I was without a kitchen to make use of any of this bounty.

The area around the Market has quite the hipster vibe dominated by food trucks and Market Lane coffee, where they take their coffee very seriously.  From their website: “We only serve coffee that is in season, and we love to share the stories of where our beans come from, and how their journeys have influenced their taste.”

We stopped in for a cup and spent the next fifteen minutes (no exaggeration) watching them make our pour-over coffees.  If you want your coffee to-go more quickly, order an espresso drink…..

Despite the wait and their looks of disdain when I added milk, it was delicious and buzzing from the beans, we set off for our next stop,  James Squire Brewhouse.  IMG_7201

James Squire (1754 – 1822) was convicted of stealing in 1785 and was transported to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of hops in Australia around the start of the 19th century and he founded Australia’s first commercial brewery in 1798.  IMG_7119

Squire ran a number of successful ventures during his life, including a farm, a popular tavern called The Malting Shovel, a bakery, a butcher shop and a credit union. He also became a town constable in the Eastern Farms district of Sydney.

The James Squire Hotel and Brewery is a great place to watch a Footy game and have a beer.  They offer several varieties of their proprietary brews such as the James Squire Jack of Spades and the James Squire Fifty Lashes (Joe’s favorite, an IPA.)  I’m not embarrassed to admit that my favorite was the Orchard Crush, a lemon-colored cider that was a refreshingly crisp with just a hint of apple.

We toured the small brewery, tasted the hops and were schooled on the wonders of yeast and fermentation.  I was an A student after my recent schooling at The Church of Heineken.

We topped off the visit with more beer and burgers – so good – definitely check it out if you’re in Melbourne!  Update: A few have asked where you can find James Squire in the states.  Unfortunately they’re not exporting to the US at this point so you’ll have to go down under for a taste…

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