What's for lunch? / by Mario Mirabile

Melbourne's CBD has been the beating heart of Melbourne for for more than 170 years. Not only was it the retail and financial and entertainment hub of the city, but it was also home to significant manufacturing enterprises. Flinders lane, for example, was the center of Melbourne's garment industry. Of course, all the people involved in making Melbourne tick had to eat, but eating establishments, with the exception of a few rare fine dining restaurants, were almost an afterthought.

That has long since changed. I read three or four years ago the startling statistic that the number of food related businesses had grown to the point that they outnumbered every other business combined. From hip little coffee shops built in impossibly cramped nooks up back alleys, to the swankiest restaurants, they're everywhere. And, of course, they all have to have a menu. From the artfully chalked specials board to the oh-so-cute recycled Little Golden Books, the bill of fare is almost as endlessly varied as the dishes they describe.

I'll have the fried chicken donuts with a side of blue cheese macaroons, thanks.