I’ve been exploring Melville on my own lately.
Yesterday I walked two blocks to 7th Street — the main strip in Melville. I poked around used book stores and gift shops. I bought handmade earrings and bracelets for next-to-nothing at the bead store. I brushed off the local street hawker twice, once on either side of the street. He really wanted to sell me a souvenir giraffe.
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and the bars and cafes were getting busy.
I stopped at The Ant, the local pizza joint, to make a reservation for dinner. While I was there I fell into a long chat with an American sitting at a table by the window. He does nonprofit work, like me, and has been living in Melville for several years. It’s easy to meet people here.
Joe and I have a lovely dinner at The Ant later that evening. It has a cozy vibe — wood-paneled walls, rustic wooden tables, a wooden bar, and a matching smell of wood smoke from the brick oven. The lighting comes primarily from candles. The pizza crust is paper-thin and loaded with toppings. It needed more spice but the hot chili sauce served in a little jar made up for that.
There’s no wine list. You walk to the wine shelf on the wall, peruse, and tell the server which one you want. We ordered Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc, a good South African wine that you can also buy in the States (for a lot more money). The meal cost R300 (about $40) for two pizzas, wine, and tip. Not dirt-cheap but a lot less than DC. (Note: Credit cards not accepted.)
On the first and third Saturday of each month, there is a farmers market on the roof of the Bamboo shopping center, above Service Station. It’s a block away from us. I love farmers markets and was eager to check it out, although nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my standards. I went for the first time this morning.
It’s small, a tiny fraction the size of the Dupont Circle market in DC. But I was pleased. I bought eggs, celery, bell peppers, yogurt, and cheese (chili-spiced haloumi!), and chatted with the vendors. The honey vendor extolled the virtues of honey from various flowers and regions in South Africa. I was charmed. I bought a jar of the creamed variety even though we have about five jars of honey at home already.
On my way home I stopped to talk to an artist displaying her work on the street. She paints Madonna-like portraits of women’s faces on various mediums — cement slabs, boards, wooden mannequins. Her name is Ina and she invited me to visit her studio around the corner. I may take her up on it next week.
I’ve been in Melville for just over two weeks. You may have noticed that I love it here.
One of my favorite Melville quirks is the variety of funky house numbers. I’ve attached a few of my favorites here. Check back for more in future posts.