This hebe shrub (from…

This hebe shrub (from New Zealand, originally) grows lushly in Karina's front yard, and the bees love it (see center left for native bee). Gorgeous.

Karina's front yard. That style of picket fence is endemic around Melbourne, and very pretty in its shape. Her lavender is HUGE. I want my lavender to do that, instead of creeping around my ankles. Need more sun. More sun, dammit!

We were taking the train to West Richmond for lunch, because I'd asked her to find me a place which used a lot of indigenous ingredients. A bit harder that you'd expect, but she came through.

A lot of the houses in Melbourne remind me of New Orleans. LOTS of ornate metal fretwork (is that what it's called?), on what are mostly single-story Victorian cottages. (Image in pic, of a two-story terrace, is something of an exception, although the style is consistent.) Why are there so many more single-story Victorians here than there seem to be in the U.S.? Karina and I theorized for a while, but I don't think we came up with anything convincing.

Walking to lunch, I was briefly stabbed with envy by someone's climbing bougainvillea. Damn.

All along the main drag in West Richmond (long and full of shops), they had little plaques at each address, telling you who lived there two hundred years before. Lovely. Ironmongers, tinsmiths, etc. A laborer lived here. Oops, sorry, "labourer." :-)

Well, this was just funny. "Try our American Louisiana food menu"!

After a longish walk, we made it to Gypsey and Musquito (http://gypseyandmusquito.com.au/), idiosyncratic spelling because those are actually the names of two bush explorers. "Gypsey and Musquito were Australian bushrangers in Van Diemen's Land. Musquito was Aboriginal, Gypsey was British, and their story � the fight for indigenous rights � sounds like a mini-series waiting to happen." -- from a review in The Age

I'm not going to take photos of every cup of tea, I swear. But look how pretty, with the little suspended sugar server. I wonder what those are called; I may need one for my next tea party.

The cafe had great atmosphere.

I think that tabletop is what we want for our future dining table. :-) Charming shelves behind.

I ordered am omelette they described thusly, "Warrigal greens, Pyengana cheddar (24mnth aged cloth cheddar), native forest berry dust in folded organic eggs. Bunya nut crumb, ashbolt olive oil." They kindly subbed out the Tasmanian farmed wallaby sausage it normally comes with (Karina is an ethical vegetarian, and I tend to eat vegetarian when I'm with her) for half an avocado and a pile of grilled mushrooms. All delicious -- I particularly liked the combination of cheese and Warrigal greens in the omelette.

When they saw how interested we were in all the native ingredients, they very kindly brought us some sample bits of sea blight and finger lime to taste. Both very intense! Sea blight is sort of a cross between green beans and seaweed in texture and taste. Finger lime is sour and bitter; Karina thought it went well with her yogurt.

She ordered their granola, made with wattleseed, macadamias, bush berries and oat clusters; yummy, though the differences to regular granola were a bit too subtle for me to taste. Look at how gorgeous that rhubarb is!

We both had tea -- the Billy Tea was delicious with milk and sugar: "black tea with a hint of smoky eucalyptus leaves." I didn't try Karina's Myrtle Magic, "a dreamy rooibos blend with overtones of lemon myrtle," but I did smell it -- intensely, intoxicatingly lemon myrtle-ish. Awesome.

So if you're in Melbourne, I strongly recommend swinging by 382 Bridge Road in Richmond, for "local, native, & iconic produce". :-) The staff were sweet, informative, and very helpful, and the food was great and unique. Worth a side trip to find it!

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