It is super handy to live across the road from Madeleine's daycare. No busy drop-offs or battles to find parking; we walk there hand in hand of a morning, Madeleine proudly dragging her green bag (emblazoned with "SMILE" in multi-coloured sequins) along the foot path behind her. But one of the down-sides of living (and working) so close to your child's daycare is that every time a little one cries, you hear it and think, "Is my child in distress?" It can be quite distracting and upsetting, especially when you're on a deadline.
Last Friday when I thought my nerves just couldn't take it any longer, I packed the computer into a shoulder bag and took a walk down Johnston Street in Fitzroy for a spot of "business lunch," freelance-writer-style.
I'm so glad I did, because I stumbled upon this urban garden oasis that had only been open a couple of weeks: La Condesa, a taqueria serving tacos and aguas frescas from a window to a tiny little garden courtyard in a graffiti-covered side street.
Three tacos for ten bucks? You can't beat that. Let's face it, you can barely cook at home for that! I chose the arrachera (steak), pescado (fish) and hongo (mushroom) tacos. They were all delicious, especially with the range of mild-to-spicy salsas and toppings on offer at the window, but I seriously could have eaten a dozen of those mushroom babies. The flavour was unbelievably good.
I washed them down with a refreshing basil-infused pineapple juice and, later, a hibiscus and something-else-I-can't-remember drink for good measure.
In the end I stayed for more than an hour, it was just so restful. The weather was Mary Poppins: sunny, warm but not hot, lightly breezy.
They were pretty busy when I arrived but later when things got quiet, I had a lovely chat with the owner. She has a little girl just a few months older than Madeleine, and we bonded over stories of their funny antics as well as the trials and tribulations of finding good childcare. She was so warm and smart and lovely, I was all "BE MY BEST FRIEND," although thankfully for my dignity, only in my head.
La Condesa is open from 11.30 in the morning until late at night and they're about to open a 70-seat indoor dining area, so if you're around Fitzroy I recommend getting down there for a relaxing bite before word gets out and the inevitable lines start to form.