My husband's love affair

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I wake up late this morning so I tell The Boy to use up my free buffet breakfast. "Oh my god, it was SO good," he gushes, when I ask him if he enjoyed it. "I was there for over an hour!" Later this evening, he casually asks me if I'm having breakfast tomorrow. I tell him I'm not sure - it depends on what time I get up. Pause, then quietly he asks, "Can I have your breakfast?"

We have dinner with different people; the baby goes with me to Balzari. Lygon Street is not yet crowded but a stroller careening through the narrow walkways is treacherous to unprotected feet. I apologise many times, but not very sincerely. The restaurant is surprisingly warm and free of the oppressive boisterousness of maître d's clamouring for business. The waiter helps with the stroller - the baby is a guest, rather than an inconvenience. Actually, the baby is a star.

He is also a glutton. And so am I. Even though I immediately select the rissotto with duck confit and mushrooms, I take another glance at the menu and cannot resist the puff pastry tart with caramelised onion, roma tomato and pesto mascarpone. It's for the baby, of course. Sometimes you unexpectedly discover a dish that is just right on the palate and this is what happens to me. When it turns out the baby doesn't like it, I share a few slices before demolishing the rest. He likes the rissotto, however, and requires two glasses of water to balance the salt content. The baby is so full, he refuses dessert.

We walk to Brunetti and the baby is happy to partake of the affogato - he eats the ice cream, I sip the coffee. I manage less than ten bites of the creme caramel before surrendering it to one of my dinner companions. "I was just about to get another dessert," he grins, as his fork digs into the delectable custard.

Creme caramel and affogato @ Brunetti

Meanwhile, The Boy is in a group of five walking along Brunswick Street. They decide on a Thai restaurant and, upon entering, are asked to take their shoes off. The Boy's friends are very tall. They sit on the floor around a low table and must stoop to eat. Their legs brush against each other. "Stop playing footsies!" they accuse one another, feigning outrage. Talk turns to the tennis players staying at their hotel. "I'm getting together with Sharapova," boasts one. "I woke up and she was lying next to me," claims another. "She's cheating on me!" roars a third. The table explodes in mirth.

The baby is asleep and I'm surfing the Web when The Boy quietly slips into the room. As he goes through his night-time routine, he asks me what time I'm getting up tomorrow. I assume he's setting the alarm so I shrug, which in the condensed language of our marriage means I'm trusting him with the decision. He is distracted as he goes through the final motions of preparing for bed. Finally, he tells me, "I want to take the baby to daycare at eight o'clock in the morning." I'm puzzled for a moment, then laugh as he sheepishly admits, "I want to be back in time for breakfast!"

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. It seems my husband is having a love affair with this city. As he falls asleep, with eyes closed and a small, contented smile, he whispers, "I love it here. Let's move to Melbourne."

Café La
Sofitel Melbourne
25 Collins St, Melbourne
03 9653 7744

130 Lygon St, Carlton
03 9639 9383

194-204 Faraday St, Carlton
03 9347 2801

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