Hipster-World Problems

You’ve no doubt experienced and likely complained of “first world problems”. I have them so often now I’ve almost forgotten what a non-FWP looks like. Can’t decide between sushi and rice paper rolls for lunch? Need to go to your friend’s wedding in Bali and your cousin’s birthday in Noosa on the same weekend? Have too many brands of organic milk to choose from? Feeling guilty about illegally downloading eps of Orange is the New Black? Yep, FWP.

But now there’s a new breed of problem out there, looming large in the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and even Adelaide, afflicting far too many. I’m even one of the afflicted on occasion. This plague is more specific, more brutal, and just more damn scary than the FWP. Scientists are unsure why, but rates of affliction are particularly high in certain suburbs, with the problem reaching epic proportions in the Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy, Brunswick, Kensington, North Melbourne and, increasingly, Footscray. Be alert and alarmed. But act like you don’t really care. We are now facing the growth of the hipster world problem, or “HWP”.

One of my attempts at hipsterness: Pimms in jars with paper straws!

One of my attempts at hipsterness: Pimms in jars with paper straws!

Don’t laugh, this is serious! There are hipsters (and a tiny bit hipster slash confused yuppies like myself…) suffering HWPs every hour of every single day. If you’re a hipster or know someone who might be, then no doubt they are suffering with HWPs. To help you, and them, out, here’s the top twenty HWPs I’ve seen (or possibly imagined) in North Melbourne. Be afraid hipsters, be very afraid:
1. Your favourite hole-in-the-wall cafe gets a write-up in The Age. People from Toorak now go there on weekends. Sigh.
2. Your mother gives you a jumper for your birthday that both fits snugly and lacks any holes whatsoever. Also, it is lolly pink or cream.
3. You sell your soul and get a corporate job, which means you can now afford to replace your milk crates with chairs.
4. You are discovered at a non hipster locale, such as at Coles buying non-organic non-soy toilet paper, eating Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream at Chadstone or sunbaking anywhere on a beach. So unoriginal.
5. You develop an allergy to beards.
6. You develop an allergy to coffee.
7. Someone gives you a non-hipster-friendly Christmas present of a Red Balloon speed sport voucher (can you spell mainstream?) and half way through the experience you realise how unsuitable yoga pants, oversized glasses and a natty beret are for jet boating on Sydney harbour.
8. You’re on Sydney Harbour. Like, ever.
9. Your beloved decides to send red roses/a teddy/chocolates/lingerie to your work on Valentine’s Day in an uncharacteristic display of mainstreamedness. Your boss, who wears crocs, thinks it’s cute.
10. Your Frankie magazine gets stolen by your housemate who uses it to line their hermit crabs’ tank. Yep, hermit crabs are back in. They’re so uncool they’re cool, right?
11. While reading Eat Pray Love in a completely ironic way you start to really like it.
12. Your preferred micro brewed beer becomes available on tap and all the College douche-bags from Melbourne Uni start drinking it.
13. You get a haircut that turns out looking like Jennifer Aniston’s circa 2000 (or 2013, ‘cause that woman’s hair seriously never changes).
14. The giant papier-mâché pirate ship you constructed with your housemates and put in your neighbour’s front lawn gets rained on. Now it just looks like a dog vomited up a phone book. Do people still use phone books? You are totally going to bring them back, anyway…
15. You run out of clean checked flannelette shirts. You run out of dirty checked flannelette shirts.
16. You forget to rinse your quinoa before cooking it and get that nasty bitter aftertaste which is most likely from non Fair Trade dirt particles.
17. You rock up too late for the independent Spanish film festival film you were planning to see and have to watch Last Vegas instead.
18. A nasty Chlamydia infection works its way through your Theatre sports team/ Zine store employees / ironic book club / apple pressing collective.
19. You have so much political election mail left over in your garage that you decide to build a small fort with it. For a short time the fort is so awesome that you eschew your bed and sleep inside it, until you realise Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey are staring at you from the left hand wall of the fort.

And yes, this is finishing on number 19, because 20 is a round and conformist number. And I’m not going to add yet another HWP (having your name forever attached to accidental-lame-numerical-conformity) to my increasingly long list.

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The Flour Market

At 7:30am this morning I was awake and out of bed. On a Saturday. There could only be one reason for this very uncharacteristic behaviour: the pursuit of pastry!

This morning I went to the Flour Market, a pop up bakery market in Fitzroy. There was one held late last year which I missed, so I was determined to get in early and go into a cake-induced coma at this one. There were about 12-15 stalls at the indoor market, which was hosted by The Baron Said in Fitzroy, just near the corners of Johnston and Brunswick Streets. All the stallholders were artisan bakers of some description, plus there was a coffee stand and milkshake stand to help wash it all down.

I arrived about 8:40am to a line maybe 80 people deep. The crowd was mostly young locals, foodies, plus quite a few parents with (surprisingly well behaved) kids. Doors opened at 9am, except for people with early bird entry tickets. Given how crowded and crazy the place got, next time I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on an early entry ticket. I think one issue was that there was no crowd control, so when the doors opened at 9am, everyone poured in rather than say letting 50 people in at a time. The crowd was great though, everyone was polite and really happy to be there. We formed relatively orderly queues at our chosen stands, accidentally elbowed each other and greedily eyed each other’s choice of treats. Traffic flow and direction was a bit of an issue though, with half the crowd going left upon entry and half going right and everyone smooshing together at the central stands!

Anyway, enough about crowd control, on to the important stuff, like salted caramel donuts. So there were so beautiful looking goods at the stalls, I didn’t really know where to start. There were gorgeous solid looking savoury pies by Pure Pie, big stacks of waffles at Waffle Jolie, fresh artisanal breads, vegan cheesecake, homemade donuts of several shapes, sizes and flavours, glossy bagels, homemade oreos at Bakewell & Co, pecan pies and lemon tarts.

flour carry bags

crumpets

I started off by perusing all the stalls and buying a couple of bags of Dr Marty’s Crumpets, as I’d heard of them before but had never tried them. They are currently sitting in my fridge, ready to be toasted and covered in honey and butter, as they conveniently last a couple of days in the fridge. Then I joined the bagel line for 5 & Dime, which was epic! I think it must be the current obsession with American diner style food in Melbourne at the moment, but everyone wanted a bagel. I grabbed myself a plain and a sesame seed bagel. I was tempted by the more unusual sounding white chocolate raspberry bagel, but resisted as there were a lot of sweet options on offer at the Flour Market that I needed to get through. I’ve just had one of the bagels for lunch with a big smear of cream cheese and spinach dip from the Queen Vic markets. Oh baby. There was a reason for the line. Melbournians know their food. 5 & Dime don’t have a store sadly, but do sell at farmer’s markets. They also supply to some very cool cafes across Melbourne, include Pope Joan and Bowery to Williamsburg (which I recently visited, a CBD brunch gem!). The bagels are super soft and just a little yeasty on the inside and have a chewiness on the outside which comes from the traditional boil then bake method. My only criticism was an aesthetic one – the bagels are so generous and puffy that they basically have no hole in the middle, so when you cut them in half, they don’t really look like a bagel to me.

bagels 01

bagel stand

Then it was on to the sweet stuff, starting with a milkshake at MilkBar. I went with the ‘Choc Haze’ milkshake, essentially a nutella flavoured milkshake. The ingredients were delicious but the texture wasn’t brilliant, it lacked bubbles and volume because they were using dinky little blenders with hardly any power. But I do love a good milkshake and expect a lot from them, so perhaps I’m being too tough.

I think the highlight of the morning was the salted caramel donut from Cobb Lane Bakery. It was just unreasonably soft and delicious. So light and doughy and then the salted caramel filling was very salty, very sweet and very smooth. It wasn’t the easiest thing to eat out of a paper bag, but hey, it was worth getting powdered sugar on my nose for! Cobb Lane Bakery is based out in Yarraville, but Twenty & Six Espresso on Queensberry Street stock their donuts, so they could become a regular and extremely dangerous habit of mine.

We left around 10am and things were already starting to sell out, including Cobb Lane’s donuts. I noticed La Belle Miette’s macaroons weren’t selling as quickly though, suggesting to me that the Melbourne love affair with macaroons is well and truly over. They are still very beautiful though, and great if you’re wanting gluten free. If you haven’t been, their shop in Hardware Lane is super cute and their pastel coloured gift boxes elevate their macaroons into a very stylish little gift I think!

pecan pie from Bakewell & Co

pecan pie from Bakewell & Co

It was great to be reminded of what a wonderful foodie city Melbourne is with such passionate producers and purveyors. And the best part? I was back on my couch, bagel at the ready and air conditioning on by 12 o’clock today, the time when I’m normally just emerging from the doona covers!

Cobb Lane on Urbanspoon

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon