Day 146 – Mrs Parmas (and The Spirit of Tasmania)
Due to the start of daylight savings time in Victoria (and most of the other non-backward states – I’m looking at you, WA and QLD) we effectively ‘lost’ an hour today. We didn’t make it to bed until just before 2AM last night, which essentially was 3AM as there is no 2AM today… Again, as I’ve said before, time of day is an concept, but out of habit it feels lazy to not get out of bed by 8AM (even on a Sunday). I had no real need to be awake and a sleep in would have probably been beneficial as I was pretty tired/sore from mountain biking yesterday.
The plan for today was to have what could be Australia’s Best Parmigiana, Mrs Parmas.
But first, we caught up with one of Risa’s friends over a coffee (I even had a caffeinated coffee!). We could only squeeze a quick catch up with him as he was working and on a coffee break. We tried to catch up earlier, but he’s in a band (World’s End Press – very funky/dancey music) that just released their debut album and has been quite busy.
Conveniently, the café and Mrs Parmas were both on the same street, Little Bourke St, which is also the main street of Chinatown. It’s been said many times before, but it never fails to amaze me how many restaurants are in Melbourne. It really puts the Brisbane Chinatown to shame…
Mrs Parmas specialises in parmigianas (chicken, veal, eggplant) and craft beers. I couldn’t decide which parma to get, and ended up opting for the original (Napoli sauce, double smoked ham and mozzarella cheese). It was good, but I don’t think it was as good as the one I had last week in the Earl of Leicester. I’ve already forgotten which one Risa ordered, but it had bocconcini and olive tapenade. Hers was delicious, as was the Parmageddon (chilli, but actually not that hot) and the Prosciutto and the Mexican ones. I’d picked the dud, but it’s a relative term here, as it was still an absolute enjoyment to devour.
If I thought that their parma menu was extensive, then trying to pick a beer was even harder – it was a small book, with more beers than the wines in most high-end restaurants wine list. I don’t know why, but on impulse I decided to try a five-beer sampler paddle. I really enjoyed the first beer (actually, we all did), 2 Brother’s Kung Foo Rice Lager, which was very light/aromatic. There were two pale ales (Mornington Pale Ale and Bridge Road Beechworth Pale Ale), but they were far too bitter/hoppy for our tastes. There were also two dark ales (Cavalier Brown and Holgate Temptress), but they weren’t really my style of drink, though the Holgate was my pick of the two. I was full from lunch and this just made me uncomfortable…
We returned back to Hawthorne East, packed our bags and (eventually) made our way to the port to board the ferry to Tasmania. As usual, I thought that we were going to be late, but there were still plenty of cars behind us, and it took quite some time to board the ship. The dark clouds that had been hovering overhead all day finally came through with their threats. Luckily the winds and swell are still moderate, so we shouldn’t have too rough of a journey.
The ship is enormous, with 11 decks (though, most of them are inaccessible). We found our reclining seats, which weren’t quite as nice as the pictures made them look, but should be perfectly adequate. The area was nearly empty, though we later learned that a great deal of people were in the bars watching the NRL final. We wondered around the ship, read through the tourist information, considered the pokies (Risa was keen, until she found out it was 2c machines) and then watched the Melbourne city lights disappear into the rainy horizon. I made the most of the time to finally start planning/preparing our Tasmanian adventure – I think we will head anti-clockwise towards the North-West. Hopefully my earplugs do their job and I can’t hear the whistling/snoring of the other plebs in cattle class with us.