Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Footscray needs you!

My babysitter is smiling.  Why?  She is about to cash in the next fortnight, when the Food and Wine Festival comes to town!  For the last three years, Footscray has started to have a real presence in the Festival.  Our signature event is the Rickshaw Run, a madcap dash around five or so of Footscray's best Vietnamese restaurants to sample their house specialties, with music and street food along the way.


I love this event because it was created by the community.  The Footscray Traders Association run the event, and it's powered wholly by volunteers.  And that's where you come in!


There are three ways you can get involved.  Whatever the role, each volunteer gets a free meal and a warm fuzzy feeling about being the face of Footscray, one of Melbourne's most misunderstood yet actually marvellous suburbs (yep, I know I'm preaching to the choir).  The event is fully sold out, so people are super keen to learn more about the much-maligned west.  Let's show them how awesome we are!  Do three sessions and get a free T-shirt, and I promise I'll high-five anyone I see wearing one if I see you round the markets!

The jobs up for grabs are:

  • Stand in key locations around the course
  • Direct rickshaws
  • Alert pedestrians of approach
  • Possible use of walkie talkie and chance to say "copy that", "over" and other awesome lingo.
  • Stationed at entrance of venue
  • Seat patrons
  • Liaise with restaurant owners and staff
  • Liaise with marshals as to whether guests need to speed up or slow down.  When they need to speed up, offering to eat the rest of their spring roll is not encouraged.
  • Pulling the rickshaw!  I'm assured it's not as hard as it seems and women are more than capable of doing so. 
  • Brief training will be given before your first session.
  • You'll need to wait outside venues while guests are eating inside - plenty of time to let passers-by have a squeeze of those muscles.

The sessions go for around four hours (roughly 11.45am-3.30pm for lunch, 5.45pm-9pm for dinner).  The sessions are:  Dinner each night from Friday 1 March to Sunday 10 March; lunch on Sat and Sun 2-3 March and Sat, Sun and Mon 9-11 March.


I am volunteering as a restaurant host and Kenny and Bennie of Consider the Sauce are volunteering as rickshaw pullers.  This is such a fantastic grass roots event and a chance to be an ambassador for your area.  Plus, there's free food.

Come join us!

You will??  Email Ben Coyle, President of Footscray Traders and also owner of the Dancing Dog, on  president@footscraytraders.com.au.  For any questions, you can also call Ben Coyle on 0434 100 567 or Grant Miles on 0418 326 618.  PS:  You are awesome!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tacos and live music at Footscray's The Rev!


If it wasn't already so awesome to have a new local, Footscray's The Reverence now serves a Mexican menu!  We're talking pulled pork tacos, black bean burritos, chimichangas and more.  HOT DIGGITY!


The fam behind venerable North Melbourne punk institution The Arthouse have taken up residence at the old Exchange in Napier Street, christening it The Rev.  There's live music right throughout the week but since I saw this vid last year - 

- I've been hanging for some nearby Mexy goodness.  When I saw this video for the first time with a few friends, when the dog thinks of the taco, I swear we all jumped up at once and screamed!


There was more swooning than screaming when this wicked pulled pork number landed on our table, though.  Gorgeous silky pork with crunchy cabbage in a proper, fragrant soft corn taco - why didn't we just order 10 of these?!  PS:  The Rev are seriously vegan friendly, offering a vegan pulled "pork" taco, smoky "chicken" torta, tofu and black bean burrito and loads more. 


More street-style goodness, with really smoky corn cobs dressed with mayo, chilli and lime.  Delish.


Loved these shoestring fries, really crunchy with seasoned salt and vegan mayo for dipping.


I wasn't totally sold on the corn crust Calabrese pizza - each salami slice had the anchovies and olives surfing on top, making an umami flavour bomb, but I think they'd be better spread out.  Mr Baklover thought the crust was really good though, robust and crisp.  Really, I think I was just lusting after more tacos.  There are vegan and vego pizza options, with gluten-free bases available as well ($2 extra).


Mr B wants to point out that they pour a really good Guinness and have a Roberto Sport foosball table.  I love the Coopers and Fat Yak on tap and reading all the graffiti in the toilets.


And evidently everyone loves the courtyard, bliss on a hot summer's eve.  The hot tip is Tuesdays, for $3 tacos and $3 Tecates.  Now - that noise would be YOU screaming!

28 Napier Street, Footscray
Phone:  9687 2111
Hours:  Tues-Thurs 3pm-1am, Fri-Sat noon-1am, Sun noon-11pm (closed Mon)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food trucks a go go - tacos and burgers in the West!

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

If you were burger deprived in childhood, weep no more - Mr Burger is here!


This is one spiffy food truck operation, with two trucks dotting Melbourne now.  You'll find one semi-permanently tucked off Therry Street near the Vic Market, and one regularly roving around Melbourne including the western suburbs!


I love their clean, zippy design.  Ordering's a toss up between the "classic"Mr Burger with mustard, mayo and more, the Mr Meat with bacon and BBQ sauce, or the Mr Veg with a falafel patty.


Fries are pretty standard but hot, salty and crisp - everything you could want!


I reckon these are damn fine burgers.  Both patties that day were a little pink, which I like - it's popular in the States to have your hamburger done medium.  Often Aussie burgers taste like the sum of their parts, with dry-ish meat patty and chunky lettuce and tomato.  Not so at Mr Burger - everything gooshes together to make a juicy, meaty party in your mouth.  Love!!!


But what's this?  Two food trucks for the price of one!  Dos Diablos have also starting spreading their brand of tasty hellfire across the West.


Loving the vintage-y truck, complete with crossed pitchforks at the front.  Everything here's gluten free...


...and we love a pulled pork or "carnitas" taco, well-seasoned meat loaded generously onto a proper corn tortilla and dressed up with tomatillo salsa and a little shredded cabbage.  Wickedly good fries, too, tossed with seasoned salt and squirted with spicy ketchup.

Best of all - tomorrow, Saturday 9th Feb, Mr Burger will be at Pilgrim Street Park and the Horsey Park!  (Bristow Reserve, Seddon and Shorten Reserve, West Footscray).  As for Dos Diablos, keep your eye on their Facebook page for today and tomorrow's tasty incarnations!

Monday, February 4, 2013

American and Euro bakery delights at Candied


OK, Spotswood - sharing is caring.  Welcome to Candied, Spotty's new secret sweet spot!


This is a divine little bakery/cafe by Toula and Orlando, formerly of East Brunswick's Sugardough.  Sidle up to the cool concrete counter and you'll see a hive of activity out the back as luscious pies, croissants and cookies come to life.


The angle is Aussie bakery with Euro flair and an American twist.  There's inspiration from New York's Momofuku Milk Bar with "crusty brownie pie", wodges of dangerously dark brownie goodness with a salted pretzel crust.  More pie madness ensues with the apple pie shake - a piece of Mom's finest blended with milk till sippable!


And continuing the western suburbs' love affair with donuts, Candied offer these pleasure bombs filled with smooth American-style jelly or zuppa Inglese, Italian-style custard.

Beef pie, $5.60

Try pies like egg and bacon, silverbeet and cheese or good ole beef.  With house-made pastry and Toula's homemade tomato sauce, it's a totally awesome reincarnation of a much maligned Aussie classic.


Like North Melbourne's Beatrix, Candied are really proud of their commitment to their suppliers.  I love this trend - it makes me feel part of a continuum linking producer, provider and patron.  (And yes, I've seen the Portlandia sketch and I LOVE IT - you should watch it too!)


But lest we all take ourselves too seriously, get stuck into Candied's ker-azee soft serve, like this gorgeous banofee flavour made with real bananas and house-made caramel sauce.  Oh yeah!!  Flavours change regularly - check back for condensed milk, Milo and even peanut butter and jelly!


Candied is a bakery so there aren't loads of tables and chairs.  Grab a spot at the communal table, or park yourself on this low bench along one wall.  Leaning against the cool bricks, great coffee in your lap, it's actually strangely relaxing.


...and don't forget bread to go.  Lastly, if you want a super hot tip, put an order in for blue cheese croissants.  They're taking a sojourn from the menu but Orlando's happy to make them for you if you call ahead.  I'm not into blue cheese on its own at all, but these croissants are absolute corkers - the light sprinkle of blue goes deliciously crusty against all that buttery, flaky goodness, making a savoury flavour bomb that's totally irresistible.

Candied Bakery on Urbanspoon

81A Hudsons Road, Spotswood
Phone:  9391 1335
Hours:  Wed-Sat 7.30am-4pm, Sun 8am-4pm
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