Stock up on Portuguese custard tarts in the city; scoop up caviar with Pringles at a new Fitzroy bar (or a big bowl of $10 spaghetti); get a free awkward Christmas portrait taken; and check out works by New York’s street art superstars of the 1980s. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Ellen Fraser is checking out this month.
In the lead up to Meredith Music Festival, tickets are usually pretty thin on the ground – not this year. Tickets only sold out a few days ago, and plenty of punters are putting theirs up for sale (be sure to use Aunty’s Ticket Re-Sale Service if you're buying). Whether that's due to a more polarising line-up than usual (I’m looking at you, Liam Gallagher), or the fact that many early-adopting Meredithians are now responsible for little music fans of their own, it’ll still be a ripper of a weekend.
On your way home, pop into Meredith Dairy – its Bucket Bonanza Sale is happening on Sunday 15 December. The big-ticket item at the independent producer is its famed goat’s cheese, which you’ll be able to buy in a two-kilo bucket for $50. There’ll be other cheese specials, too, and baby goats to pat.
Milney’s is a new diner in a Fitzroy courtyard that’s plating up big bowls of pasta on the cheap. And almost everything on the snack menu – from the mortadella with currywurst sauce to the jar of Ossetra caviar – comes with potato chips on the side.
On the 12th, head to Preston Market to immortalise your delightfully daggy self at Awkward Portraits, a free Christmas-themed pop-up photo studio. No bookings are needed; just show up and you’ll be provided with ugly festive sweaters and theme-appropriate props to create the perfect uncomfortable image.
Two other notable pop-ups on at the moment: Casa Nata, a dedicated Portuguese tart shop in the city, and cult Sydney patisserie Black Star Pastry, which is serving its famous strawberry watermelon cake in St Kilda.
The team that gave us natural wine party Pet Nat Sats is back, this time with significantly bigger bottles of the responsibly produced fizz. Pet Nat Mags is a high-energy, two-hour shindig in the leafy courtyard of a yet-to-open Fitzroy bar. Entry is $59 and includes all your booze.
Here are three categories that won’t let you down when it comes to gift giving: plants, cheese and gin. And this month three of our fave producers are each dedicating a day to your shopping needs. Maker & Monger's acclaimed cheesemonger Anthony Femia will help you choose your cheese, Brunswick Street florist Flowers Vasette’s got good-looking plants covered, and The Craft & Co is putting on its annual gin market. All you have to do is wrap ’em (maybe keep the cheese in the fridge).
On the 3rd, a lucky dip for fancy dinners is happening at four Victorian diners, plus dozens of others around the world. You might find yourself eating a Noma dish at Brae, a Massimo Bottura meal at Oakridge or a David Thompson dinner at Ides – but you won’t know it until the meal is over.
We were pretty stoked when ice-cream and hot-chip shop Kenny Lover opened in Thornbury. Now you can get its adventurous scoops in Carlton North at this dessert degustation. Expect soy sauce ice-cream served with nori and miso caramel, and a yuzu-sake flavour with almond custard, confit yuzu and thyme.
More than 300 works by late American art icons Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat are now on show at the NGV’s blockbuster summer show. The works span street art, sculpture and photography, taking us back to the glory days of graffiti and hip-hop culture in 1980s New York. If you don’t have time to see the show, check out the resurrection of an iconic Haring mural on the NGV Waterwall.
Every Friday until the end of the year you can get as much Keanu Reeves as any reasonable person can handle at Lido Cinemas’ Reeves-a-Thon. Ogle Reevesy as a lonely doctor in 2006’s the Lake House; avenging his dead puppy in John Wick; or as a computer hacker in a dystopian future in the Matrix.
And if you’re in town for New Year’s Eve, ring in 2020 with Parisian flair at Bar Margaux. The basement bistro is hosting a swanky champagne dinner followed by a cocktail party, and it’s open until 5am so you’ll have plenty of time to dance off all that French fare.