From the Lower East Side to Los Angeles, and Tokyo to Varanasi with Leanne Clancey, writer of our guide to Melbourne.

Tell us your three favourite places where you live.
One of my favourite places to be in the city is on the geranium-lined rooftop terrace at French Saloon, drinking vermouth and soda or a nice Campari spritz. The food is delicious, the vibe is very ‘Melbourne’ and the staff always treat me well, which is important.

I love my weekly shop at Terra Madre in Northcote. It’s the most well-stocked and well-priced wholefoods place in Melbourne, with great fresh organic produce. It gets super busy, so it helps that there’s an incredible Sicilian gelateria right across the road (il Melograno). I like to reward myself with nocciola and chocolate gelato stuffed in a brioche bun.

I live on the north side of Melbourne, and it’s nigh on impossible to drag me out of my neighbourhood on days off. A perfect day would be a bike ride down the Merri Creek Trail, with a stop off at the Ceres market before continuing on to Fitzroy Swimming Pool for a splash. Then I’d head around the corner to Lune Croissanterie for a pain au chocolat and a filter coffee.

Tell us your three favourite places anywhere in the world.

Russ & Daughters Café (Lower East Side, New York) – On my first day in New York, I traipsed Manhattan on foot, then stopped here for lunch. Two years later, I’m still thinking about it. They do these incredible boards with lox, schmear and bagels plus gorgeous house made sodas with flavours like dill seed, fennel and jasmine.

Loft (Shibuya, Tokyo) – I’ve been to Tokyo a bunch of times and I can never go past Loft for kooky little gifts, well-designed stationery and wacky gadgets. I can spend hours in that place! Over the years, I’ve picked up so many things there that are now part of my everyday home life – I love that.

Aperitivo hour (any piazza in Italy) – Melburnians are gradually catching on, but the Italians really get the ritual and art of aperitivo hour. It’s a perfect way to fill the gap at the end of long day spent discovering a new city and before heading out for dinner. I always rank a place on its people-watching view and the quality of its complementary snacks.

Favourite city or place to visit.
People always give it a bad rap but I’ve got a soft spot for LA. I enjoy the energy of the neighbourhoods (especially K-town) and nothing beats an early morning hike up Runyon Canyon. I love the contrasts: glitz vs grime, wholefoods hippy vs gangster hustle. It’s a great city to drive in too. Just rent an SUV with blacked-out windows and tune in to Snoop Dogg radio to get a sense of being local! I stayed in a great little Airbnb in Santa Monica and just wandered down to the beach for a swim each morning and to the great neighbourhood bars every night – magic.

A travel tip or best travel item.

Find a beautiful place and meditate. My travels have taken me to some incredible parts of the world. Sometimes the beauty of a place can be overwhelming, you’ve just got to stop and take it all in. I was particularly moved by the resonant energy of the Mojave Desert, the green hills of Umbria and the ghats of Varanasi – three places of incomparable spiritual magic.




photo credits: chinnian (Loft Tokyo)

Published 8 June 2017

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