Friday, August 04, 2006

10:30am: Sydney Road shopping

Our breakfast venue is just a short stroll (and even shorter cycle) to Sydney Road. This is the longest shopping strip in Melbourne but you won't find Gap, Gucci or Tiffany & Co here. Rather, it's a hodge-podge of Brunswick's immigrant history and contemporary gentrification.

Amid bridal dressmakers and traditional Italian furniture stores lies Mediterranean Wholesalers. It houses a staggering range of fresh and dried pasta, olive oil, canned goods, cheese, liquor and sweets. Though it's tempting to fill an entire trolley, you can also make a meal sing with just one or two purchases - try the porcini stock cubes, a bottle of black cherry syrup or, if you're feeling flush, some limoncello.

We could walk north to some factory outlets for clothing and the like, but I'd prefer...

... Savers! I am a chronic op-shopper and I've found some brilliant clothes (and party costumes) here. It's difficult not to, given the volume of stuff on offer.

If you like retro kitchenware, you're sure to find some funky dinner plates, cut-glass tumblers or twee tea sets too.

There are a couple more op shops and $2 stores to browse through as we walk south, but I'm wary of dawdling. We must leave time to visit the Radical Grocery!

The Radical Grocery store is an all-vegan spectacular run by Anikee, just tucked off the main drag on Wilson Ave. There's fresh organic produce up front, aisles and aisles of non-perishable goodies, faux-meat and dairy in the fridge, and toiletries and house-hold cleaners besides. If there's ever been an obscure vegan recipe ingredient or snack that you've wanted to try, there's nowhere better to seek it out than here. There's always a few ready-to-eat treats on display too - maybe some Funky Pies in the pie warmer, individually wrapped Tofutti Cuties in the freezer or Mister Nice Guy cupcakes by the counter.

If there's any time left, I'd use it to stop by Mix Oriental Supermarket (great for condiments like vegetarian oyster sauce) or RS Spice Mart (Indian groceries galore, plus a selection of Bollywood DVDs).

Sydney Road has its fair share of great cafes and restaurants too but we need to pace ourselves! It's time to head back east to Lygon St.

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