We're Going To Australia Next Week

I've wanted to travel to Australia in January for basically my entire life to attend the Australian Open. As most friends of mine will tell you, I'm a tennis fanboy. A freak, really. I subscribe to the Tennis Channel and once joined a tennis fantasy league, which was almost as weird as the NASCAR fantasy league I joined while drunk one night in college.

So I've been scheming ways to get down under (promise, last time I will ever write that) for the past couple years — to check out Nadal in his prime and get a kickstart on summer. It's summer there in January.

Enter Tourism Australia and Qantas Airlines. G'day! (last time, promise). They answered a man's prayers and decided that it would be a good idea to send me to Melbourne, Tasmania and Sydney over the next two weeks. I leave on Sunday night from Los Angeles. The night before I'll be covering a black tie gala honoring Guy Pearce, Luc Longley(!) and Air Supply(!!).

Once I land in Melbourne, the agenda is packed: Neil Perry's Spice Temple, Lebanese food in Sydney, Queen Victoria Market, fishing off Tasmania, coffee in Melbourne, lunch at Golden Fields in St. Kilda, roasted pumpkin, David Chang's Southern Hemisphere debut Seiobo, Australia Day, Yarra Valley wine and summer. It's summer now. Did I mention that?

I'm cracking out the jorts.

And I'm getting to the Open, but only for an evening session.

Because, when it comes down to it, the eating and drinking has to come first. This is Food Republic, after all. Stay tuned for dispatches throughout the two weeks. You can also follow along via our Twitter account (@foodrepublic).