Is it just me or does it feel as though things in Sydney are really picking up again? We’ve had a raft of exciting openings, the sun is out and we’ve got a long weekend coming up (hello, daylight saving). Plus, we can finally buy sausage sizzles on our weekend trips to Bunnings. Things are looking up. Here’s what else I’ll be doing this month.

Get behind the arts
In a nice sign that life is starting to return to regular programming, the Archibald Prize is back this year (albeit a little later than usual). The finalists are on display at the Art Gallery of NSW right now until January 10. Make sure you check out Indulkana artist Vincent Namatjira’s moving portrait of ex-AFL player and community leader Adam Goodes, Stand strong for who you are. Namatjira is the first Indigenous winner of the Archibald Prize, and joins fellow Indulkana artist Hubert Pareroultja, who this year became the first Indigenous recipient of the Wynne Prize. There’s a slew of other amazing finalists hanging in the AGNSW this year – just remember to book in advance due to social distancing restrictions.

Exciting new eating opportunities
It feels as though we’re experiencing a wave of venue openings after a coronavirus-induced lull. I’m eager to visit Sunshine Inn and DD’s, a sexy two-in-one venue from the team that brought us Leichhardt’s stellar vegetarian bar Golden Gully. Out the front of the new venue – which took over popular neighbourhood joint Redfern Continental – is a bright bar, where you’ll find the team using as much Aussie booze as they can in their concoctions (I’ve heard the Aussie Negroni is a real winner). Out back, beneath a dazzling chandelier in a sultry red-upholstered room is the restaurant portion of the venue, where you can snap up a three-course meal for $39.

Also in Redfern, not too far away, is Atomic Beer Project, a new brewery from WA’s Gage Roads. And it’s not any old brewery. There’s a pan-Asian restaurant (it’s manned by a former Longrain Tokyo chef and features menu items such as banh-mi-style croissants), a breakfast menu and even power sockets so you can get some work done. Plus, all the tap beers are made in-house and tapped straight from the tanks, meaning they’re fresh as.

It was exciting news when Messina announced that The George Hotel’s former Taco King, Toby Wilson, would be parking a food truck in front of its Rosebery HQ and doling out his excellent tacos. Ricos Tacos specialises in the sort of handheld snacks you’d find by the side of the road in Mexico – we’re talking chorizo al pastor tacos topped with fresh pineapple, and a vegan cauliflower version that’s been a staple of Wilson’s menus since his Ghostboy Cantina days at Dixon House Food Court.

And I would recommend hauling arse down to Chippendale’s A1 Canteen before it closes on October 9. Not only did it reignite our love for the striated beauty that is the muffuletta, but it really does do some other amazing dishes – the fried-prawn sandwich, the curried scrambled eggs with LP’s sausages, and blue swimmer crab and XO chilli omelette. Book now.

Nourish your green thumb
I am a notorious plant killer, so thankfully we live in a city with nurseries keen to recommend which plants will thrive in your space and (importantly) how to keep them alive.

Harvest Seeds & Native Plants on the northern beaches is all about promoting and propagating indigenous species. Its vegetation map will show you what was grown in your area way before colonisation, and it can then sell you what you need to repopulate your backyard (or even balcony) with those natives.

There’s extra incentive to visit new Rosebery nursery Plant Base – you can pick up Will & Co coffee and Tuga pastries to down as you browse hundreds of plants. There are loads of popular varieties such as fiddle-leaf figs, peace lilies and golden cane palms.

And over at Noraville Green in Darlinghurst, a terrace’s garage and backyard have been transformed into a tranquil nursery. It specialises in plants that do well inside and in the shade, and its team will give you all the tips you need to keep your purchases from wilting.

(Plus, here’s a bunch of other great Sydney nurseries and plant stores to check out.)

Visit the cosmos
Haymarket bar Bancho is going interstellar this month with its belated Tanabata celebrations. Tanabata (Star Festival) is a Japanese festival, usually celebrated in July (it was delayed by lockdown), that stemmed from China’s Qixi Festival. It celebrates the star-crossed love of deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, who were separated by the Milky Way and only allowed to meet once a year – on the seventh day of the seventh month. A series of new cocktails have been created for the event using Japanese vodka Haku (my pick is the Heavenly River, with vodka, nigori sake, vermouth and orange bitters), and guests are encouraged to write wishes and tie them to a bamboo wall installation. Bancho’s celebrations will run until the end of the month.

In similar heavenly-body-related news, October 1 marks the beginning of the Moon (or Mid-Autumn) Festival – a celebration in Asian communities of the harvest, full moon and changing of the seasons. Haymarket’s Darling Square has put together a celebration that includes stacks of food deals, hundreds of illuminated lanterns and, of course, moon cakes. It runs until October 11.

From Broadsheet’s national editor Sarah Norris

To hell with white shoe anxiety
Surely there must be a German word that encapsulates the fear you get while trying to maintain that so-fresh-and-clean status of a brand new pair of white sneakers? The anxiety is palpable. That said, stepping out in squeaky clean sneaks is such a joyful experience, it’s worth the angst. I recently acquired a pair of perforated Spring Courts and they are everything I could have hoped for. If you too are looking for a new look for the season, check out our guide to the best sneakers to buy now. If money wasn’t an issue I’d add to cart a pair of Common Projects’ Original Achilles. Sigh.

Give your bedroom a makeover
Sydney fashion label Jac & Jack and Aussie manchester company Sheridan have teamed up to release a range of minimal “bedwear”. There are two colours – a dusty pink with terracotta undertones and an understated sky blue – and you can mix and match the quilt covers, fitted sheet sets and European pillowcases if you want. These are great for the warmer months as they’re made with natural fibres such as hemp and cotton.

What we’re making
It’s time to perfect Brendan Pang’s biang biang noodles with spicy cumin lamb. I mean, look at them – they look so damn good. According to this recipe, in 75 minutes a fragrant bowl of chewy, hand-pulled noodles with cumin lamb and a numbing Sichuan chilli oil will materialise. Easy.