Gelato Messina – Fitzroy

Check me out. I’m expanding beyond the world of avocado smash and cold-filter coffee, to something even cooler; Ice cream. Or as Eddie Murphy so very aptly puts it:

ICE CREEEEEEEAM

Don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about? Educate yo’ self, fool.

I’m also talking about Gelato Messina in Fitzroy, which is by all north side standards, the only place to get your sub-zero dairy intake. Messina has taken what I grew up eating in traditional Italian restaurants, injected some modern flavours (usually in the form of peanut butter and a pop-culture reference), and is now serving it to half of Melbourne along side a deep house soundtrack. Who the fuck wants dessert at Trampoline these days? Messina has done some things well.

Messina is also pretty hip. They achieve this by featuring an interior red-brick wall (probably spending a lot of money to make it look unkempt), and some 1950s-Diner style signage. They feature some 30 odd flavours, and will probably give you free tastings. The rest of the store is lined with some funky mod style seating, and obnoxious customers all Instagramming their frozen $6 purchase and their face. Myself included.

Red brick walls.

But what really distinguishes Messina from, well, every other gelato dispensary, is their blend (and title) of flavours. A featured flavour for this month is called the ‘Steve Jobs’. There’s another called ‘A Gay Old Time’. They all involve biscuits or marmalade or something a bit unusual, and I’m sure many people have ended up asking for A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs, and had a little giggle (good one, Messina). My personal favourite is the Banana Split, for no particular reason other than it’s the fucking bomb.

photo 2 (2) copy

Also upon throwing myself into the fiery depths of UrbanSpoon reviews (an important part of the #OccupieFitzroy process), I did begin to struggle with some of the moronic statements being offered, and so I feel it’s my duty to offer some clarity around these words (this is the internet, after all). UrbanSpoon user Madbitchdrags (yes, really), said that “It’s just like being in Italy!!!!!!”. Despite never having been to Italy, there is a seed of doubt lodged firmly in my mind that Gelato Messina is not, at all like being in Italy. Correct me if I’m wrong dear followers, but amidst the cobblestone pavements and 16th century cathedrals , I don’t think there is a line of 50 outside a Gelato store, iPhone in hand, ready to order A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs for $6. I just don’t.

Perhaps this calls for a new Occupie Fitzroy section: The Spoons of UrbanSpoon.

photo 1 (2) copy

 

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  When the population of a small town has decided to buy gelato at a Fitzroy venue, statistics say that there should be a beard in there, somewhere. Despite the decor, the hipster index is diluted.

Coffee: They have it. I haven’t tried it.

Noms: Their flavours are entirely phenomenal. Who wouldn’t love A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs? Or is that getting weird now?

How poor will it make me? The best part. 6 buckaroos for two flavours. It’s a good life.

Is it instagram worthy? I think most Messina-related Instagrams are of the queue that extends half way down Smith Street, and their soon-to-follow empty gelato cups. I’d argue that it’s still worthy of your Instagram time.

Final thoughts: They get through their hideously long queues very efficiently. They only take cash which is annoying as fuck. Their website looks like it was designed by a 16 year old who just discovered WordPress. Their ice cream will change your life.

Also, watch Eddie Murphy.

-M

 

 

Advertisements

Stagger Lees – Fitzroy

From the folks that brought you Proud Mary (the highest concentration of beards east of Smith Street), is your latest stimulant-serving venue that doesn’t take bookings on a weekend.

Stagger Lee’s might at first seem like your run of the mill, over-priced, hipster-filled, brunch-serving northside cafe, but don’t let the exposed brick work and finger tattoos fool you – they’re doing something different.  They’re serving their coffee single origin. No blends. They explain on their website that they’re grinding it with a EK 43 Grinder, which I’m sure means something to someone, somewhere, but those words in that sentence just sound like caffeinated wank to me. Regardless, their coffee is good. In fact, it’s fucking good. I went back for more a week later, and now my life is plagued with some seriously meta questions, like whether my other coffee providers also grind their single origin beans through an EK 43 Grinder, and whether I should get a finger tattoo.

photo 1 (2)

The place looks alright.

photo 4

You can’t see the beards from here.

Some further context: I visited Stagger Lees on my birthday, with my parents and partner. My mum was excited by my existence, and my dad was confused by the coffee (my dad’s a big coffee drinker but likes to keep things simple). And it was my birthday, so everything was amazing because I had spent 25 sweet years on this earth and I had 3 people sitting next to me telling me I’m fabulous.

photo 2 (2)

My father, post-coffee confusion.

Stagger Lee’s describe their food as simple and sexy.  I would also describe it as sexy, and fucking delicious, but certainly not simple. Their asparagus comes with cashew cheese, and their buttermilk fried chicken comes with jalapeños. In my humble world of avocado smash and poached eggs, this isn’t simple. Simplicity is more like baked potatoes with gravy and the word of Jesus. Fitzroy just isn’t simple and neither is their brunch menu.

Their menu is however, original. They’re inventive and a little bit adventurous, which I’ve come to appreciate in our north side world of french toast and flat whites. Buttermilk fried chicken with jalapeños is absolutely not my bag, but they have an ok-ish selection of vego options and their Fitz-Royale was pretty spectacular. You don’t see much asparagus on the menus around here, and it was a very welcome addition to my birthday morning.

photo 3 (2)

Love a bit of greenery.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Monstrously high. And they’re spectacular. If you end up with part of one in your spectacular meal, savour it. It is precious.

Coffee: Despite the wank, it was great. A difficult feat in a place that generally serves very kick-ass coffee.  They’re also licensed, so getting wasted here one day is a distinct possibility.

Noms: Not as simple as their website makes it out to be, but really, really decent. They do paleo, and I don’t even know what paleo is.

How poor will it make me? Double dollar signs baby. It was my birthday so my parents paid. Ain’t no Chin Chin but I’d argue you get what you pay for.

Is it instagram worthy? It really is. Instagram away, but if you capture the beards as much as you capture the food, their Stagger Lees hashtag could be a bit more interesting.

Final thoughts: I will return. They receive a measly 73% UrbanSpoon rating, which just tells me they haven’t engaged in any north side Spoon wars as of yet.

-M
Stagger Lee's on Urbanspoon