Pork belly, belly BELLY!
I love pork belly. Wrapped in a lettuce leaf, pulled from a fully roasted pig, in thin little strips with my eggs...mmm. Pork belly for my pot-belly. I started my morning wandering around the city aimlessly - while Sydney was full of sites and happenings, Melbourne is a city of wandering and observing. Street art, monuments, off-beat cafes, budding artists performing on the streets, culture, culture, culture. That's Melbourne. Quite possibly the most satisfying city to just wander and discover.
Who goes into a library when on vacation? I do!
After a few rounds around Chinatown and Greektown, I found myself at their state library. I spotted it the day before, and it was immediately on my "must-explore" list from the interesting statues on the outside and the overall grandeur. Loved it!
It was full of wonderful books to explore - works from Leonardo Da Vinci (see right), a Torah from the mid 19th century (top left), and Qur'an from West Africa (top right) were just some of the few examples. I especially loved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the mid 1900s - it was the first "mechanical" book designed for adults. I really wanted to reach in and play with it...but I suppose the glass is there to keep grubby hands like mine out of historical artefacts.
Anyways, afterwards I made my way over to EARL with one goal in mind: Pork Belly Sammy.
Crisp skin Otway pork belly, apple, cabbage & fennel coleslaw, wilted silverbeet, baguette
The skin was crackling, the belly was moist, and the coleslaw was delish - if it wasn't for the stale bread I'd put this on my "must-eat-in-Australia" list. A salted caramel macaron was also tried - it was on the brittle-side. I did not have it with a cup of tea, which my friend claims is a precursor to a true macaron experience, but to be honest I don't think that I'm a fan of these little desserts. They're so pretty, but too sweet for my taste. Oddly, I've only tried them from Ohio and Melbourne - not Toronto.
I rather liked the openness of EARL - bright, airy with lots of business-types chowing down on sandwiches. The guy behind cash was quite friendly, but the gentleman (his manager? not sure?) was a little less so...the fact that I was wearing a backpack, shorts, and a tank probably didn't help. The clientèle were not pretentious at all. I was there in a tank and shorts, and chatting with a suited up local about Melbourne and what to try while wandering. From there, I set off for more roaming :-)