Fridays are for Family and Soccer

Friday nights are usually family dinner night with my significant other’s family. We all gather at his aunt’s house at 6 pm sharp and feast on a large spread of meats, fish and vegetables. (Well, they do. I stick to the veggies). This is followed by fruit, which is then followed by coffee and cake — homemade, of course. It’s essentially Christmas dinner every Friday. No wonder I can’t seem to shed that little bit of extra weight I’ve gained since moving here.

This week his aunt, along with his dad and one of his cousins, went to Sydney to visit relatives so we were left to our own devices. Keeping the family dinner tradition alive, we made plans to meet up with his other cousin and his wife (who I’m going to refer to as D and Y from now on) for dinner in the city. We decided we’d meet up at Flinders Station and figure out where to go from there.

When my significant other and I arrived at Flinders, we found a large crowd gathered across the street at Federation Square. Turns out it was an event to celebrate the Argentina v Brazil soccer match that was taking place at the MCG that night. There was food trucks offering South American fare, dancers and Latin music being performed. My significant other and I had just settled into the chairs provided to watch some of the entertainment when his cousin called to say they were waiting for us at Flinders. Though we only got a small taste of the festivities, it seemed like it would have been a fun way to spend the evening if we hadn’t already made plans.

I had been hoping to check out Mama’s Buoi for dinner, a colourful Vietnamese spot with some appealing vegetarian options, but D and Y weren’t as keen as they live in Footscray — an area saturated with more authentic (though questionable sanitation) Vietnamese restaurants. Side note: I’ve yet to discover a resource like Dine Safe, which allows me to check the health inspection history of a place before visiting it, for Melbourne. Please let me know if you’re reading this and know what the Melbourne-equivalent is!

We ending up settling on Red Spice, which offers upscale, modern Asian cuisine. Located in QV — a cool inside/outside restaurant and shopping complex — Red Spice was an old favourite of D and Y when they were still dating.

As is tradition with Friday night dinners, my significant other and his cousin talked almost exclusively about soccer the entire meal. Australia had played Saudi Arabia in a world cup qualifying match the night before so there was much to discuss. Y and I contributed when we could, but neither of us have nearly as much interest in the fate of the Socceroos as the boys do, so our contributions were minimal.

Following dinner, we headed back to D and Y’s place to catch what was left of the Brazil v Argentina soccer match. There had been a lot of discussion at Friday dinners leading up to the match about the likelihood of the star players from either team actually making the trip to Australia. It seems most of them did in fact make the trip, however, noticeably absent was Neymar. He had been spotted hanging out with Lewis Hamilton at Oracle Arena to watch the Cavs v Warriors game earlier in the week so I wasn’t surprised. It was still amusing though, when my signifiant other and I arrived home, decided to catch up on the previous night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel, and saw Neymar as the guest.

The Brazilian team is actually still in town as they’re playing Australia in another friendly soccer match tomorrow night. My significant other and I have tickets to the game, but I think my hopes of seeing Neymar went down the drain when the Warriors couldn’t finished off Cleveland this weekend. Looks like Neymar will have to stick around California just a little longer.


Photo: Federation Square festivities before the Argentina v Brazil soccer match.