So I stop somewhere on the way to work, either in the central city or after I get to Camberwell, for a nice big breakfast and a cup of coffee or two. The hotel has a buffet breakfast (for an extra cost), but that's not very good at all. Although that breakfast did provide me the opportunity to try Vegemite, which was available in individual packets like jelly at a diner. Guess what? I kind of liked it. It wasn't so much a food as an odd flavoring, and it reminded me of nothing so much as miso paste. But I put some on a thick slab of buttered bread and I found it oddly compelling. It is so distinct that I could see why people who grew up eating it as children can have such strong associations with it. Apparently it can be comfort food, quickly and specifically evocative of childhood.
But no more hotel bad breakfasts, not when there are so many places around with wonderful food. This morning I stopped in at the Caffe Moravia on Burke Road in Camberwell, which is practically a coffee shop, or perhaps a coffee shop that went to college and maybe started work on a Masters. There's a decent breakfast menu you can order at the counter, so this morning I dared to try the Moravia Special Big Breakfast. Get this:
2 free range eggs, sausage, bacon, tomato, mushroom, hash browns and spinach and toast
I figured heck, lets try all those things. It's still cheaper than the hotel breakfast.
They brought my plate out to my table and said, "Are you hungry?" "Not really," I said, "but I couldn't decide so I thought I'd get everything." What they brought me was pretty much an entire breakfast buffet. A big pile of cooked spinach (it seemed to have been cooked in some sort of broth) and a hot-dog sized piece of sausage and a big mother of a hash brown and two tomato halfs (seasoned wonderfully with Italian herbs) and a huge pile of delicately cooked mushrooms and a couple of big greasy pieces of Australian bacon and a nice pile of tasty scrambled eggs. With toast, which is cut thickly here.
I did not finish it all -- the hash brown in particularly wasn't really worth the effort, and I don't think I could have eaten all that bacon even if there were nothing else on the plate -- but I did better than I thought I would.
Oh, and as a postscript, the work group today had a big group lunch for which they ordered assorted pasta from a local restaurant. They simply told the restaurant to provide food for 29. The restaurant provided enough food for about a hundred. Seriously. I said it was obscene. The manager here said it was tragic. I wasn't terribly hungry myself (gee, I wonder why), but my Aussie co-workers ate as much as they possibly could. And now we're looking for a hungry army to help out.
This is a land of abundance.