Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Lygon Gauntlet

A while ago Sharon had to travel to Melbourne for a trade show, so I stayed the weekend as well so we could explore a bit (and actually spend some time together since I was working in Melbourne five days a week). This was her first time in Melbourne so I was excited to show her around; I knew she'd love the city.

She was staying Carlton, a neighborhood just north of the CBD (Central Business District for the uninitiated) that is home to Melbourne's Little Italy, which is centered around Lygon Street.

To walk up and down Lygon at dinner time is to run a gauntlet of Italian restaurants, each with its proprietor standing in front trying to herd people into his place. The more polite ones simply asked "Have you had dinner yet?" or "Would you like to have some dinner?" But some were pushier. One big guy literally blocked the sidewalk with his body and shoved his menu in the faces of his captives, all but intimidating them into choosing his restaurant. It reminded me of Little Italy in New York, except these people were actually Italian.

We decided to pick the busiest restaurant we passed, Teamo, on the logic that a full restaurant is a good restaurant. The waitress came to take our order and replied with a "No worries" remark after each dish we ordered. This entertained Sharon and me to no end and we began having hypothetical conversations.

"I'll have the spaghetti bolognese."
"No worries."
"Well, yeah, I'd hope not. It's your job to take my order."

"I'll have a glass of the pinot."
"No worries."
"I'm not worried. Are you worried?"

The restaurant turned out to be merely passable and as we walked back to the hotel we saw that all the restaurants had filled up. Clearly our "Full restaurant/Good restaurant" logic wouldn't suffice here. "I'll just have to try every one until I find the best," I told Sharon. 

Not a bad challenge to take...

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