Westie barbers No.2: Aurelio

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Buzz Barbers, 547b Barkly Street, West Footscray.

The CTS story on Chris the barber at the Circle in Altona was well received, giving me the confidence and desire to occasionally profile these fascinating characters scattered across the west.

Next up – Aurelio at Buzz Barbers in West Footscray.

Aurelio gives me a superb buzz cut, a real professional job including eyebrows, for $10.

He’s been in the house for about seven years but tells me his corner shop has been home to one barbering operation or another for about 40 years.

He inherited the chairs.

He’s my kind of barber, preferring to keep his prices as low as possible with a view to encouraging return and regular customers.

 

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His place is done out in classic old-school barber style.

As he works, we have a great old chat about the western suburbs, his Italian background, Italian food and the ebbs and flows of the barbering business.

Aurelio was born in Sicily but came with his family to Australia aged two, and was raised in the Moonee Ponds/Ascot Vale area.

He comes from a family of boilermakers.

We both chuckle ruefully when I suggest there has been a long-declining demand for boilermakers in the western suburbs.

He tells me I have a nice, round head that is well suited to the clean-shaven, shiny, bald look.

“If I did that, I’d look like a crim!” he says.

“You already do!” quip I.

“I know,” comes the quick retort. “But imagine how much worse it’d look without hair!”

 

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Guest post contest; fabulous prize!

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wov8

 

Consider The Sauce has run about a handful of guest posts but quite frankly I’d like to see more.

Having said that, I fully understand that regularly reading and enjoying a food blog is something quite different from getting sufficiently organised to eat, enjoy, record and write-up a meal for blogging purposes!

As well, I suspect that what is a near daily routine for me may actually be a little daunting for some.

Nevertheless, I really hope at least a handful of CTS regulars – or even lurkers – might rise to the a bait an enter our Guest Post Competition.

To sweeten the pot, I have a fabulous prize to offer …

The winner of our Guest Post Competition will receive a super prize – lunch for four courtesy of our friends at Woven in Stephen Street, Yarraville.

The prize will consist of lunch for four in the form of one juice or cold drink, one hot drink and one main course lunch dish per person. Value: $100 (approximately).

Here are the competition guidelines:

Entries close on March 31.

Send entries to kennyctsblog@gmail.com

The winner will be announced – and published on CTS – soon thereafter.

There are no length requirements – anything from 100 words up to, say, 1000 will be fine.

Posts/stories can be about anything to do with food in the greater western suburbs of Melbourne – not just restaurants and cafes but also markets, shops, whatever. Even a picnic down by the river!

Entries do not have to be a straight review of a business but can take all sorts of forms – a story about getting your kids to love multicultural food, for instance. Or maybe an essay about how your neighbourhood’s foodie face has changed and evolved over the years.

Photographs are not a requirement but will surely help your chances.

In keeping with the CTS ethos, entries that go for the unusual or obscure – or that come at a familiar subject from a fresh angle – will be given more weight than stories about, for instance, the likes of Laksa King or the Station Hotel.

Good luck!

No more pickled dork

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butcher1

 

Bennie and I have used Buckingham Street as a back-street route home from the West Footscray, Sunshine and the likes for years and probably thousands of times.

One time, as we were stopped and waiting to turn right into Victoria Street, Bennie gazed up at the faded lettering of the windows of what used to be a butcher shop.

He struggled to make out the words …

“Pickled … pickled … dork!”

As we turned right and started heading for the underpass, I started laughing.

Then Bennie started laughing, too.

And I started laughing even more – so much so I almost had to pull the car over to let it all out.

That incident has been a running gag at CTS even since.

Somewhat sadly, the “pickled dork” is no more.

The two windows have been superbly brought back to their original glory.

It’s all part of a revamp of the two-storey brick building at 70A Victoria that will see it be auctioned on March 28.

 

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Vendor Dave gives me a rundown on the joint’s history …

He tells me the building went up in 1889.

Butcher John Cashmore signed the property over to his wife before departing to do his bit in World War I.

Upon his return, the property ownership reverted back to his name and stayed in the family until Dave bought it in 1989.

Locals who have passed by many times in the past decade or so will be aware that the corner house has had many, um, colourful tenants.

Dave’s had enough of the landlord lark so under the auctioneer’s hammer it must go!

The real estate listing for the property is here.

 

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Old-school WeFo

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Con’s Fish And Chips, 577 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 9689 280

Bennie and I had good fish and chips from Con’s many moons ago but haven’t explored the place further since then.

This time, I’ve been nudged through the door by Col and the very excellent Barkly Village Facebook page he runs – he’s raved about the Con’s burgers several times, arousing my interest.

Truth is, we’d looked elsewhere largely based on our preference to eat in and sit down whenever possible, no matter what kind of food is at hand.

So I’m delighted to find, in what is a basic take-away operation, a small table and chairs for my comfort and enjoyment.

Long tells me she and Hung have run the joint for about 11 years but that they still see the eponymous Con from time to time.

 

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Did I say old-school?

How can you tell?

 

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I’m super impressed that Long provides me a half serve of the minimum serve of chips for $2.

They, too, look old-school but are fine, hot and enjoyable.

Predictably, even a half serve is way too big.

 

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My “one with the lot minus egg” ($7) is a two-hands job that is demolished quickly – it’s a typically enjoyable, um, old-school burger.

In the way of such places, the patty has been smashed flat.

I don’t have any problem with that – tradition is tradition, after all.

But next time, I’ll request an extra patty.

These folks are so friendly and obliging, I’m sure that will not present any problem!

 

Con's Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

 

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Bowling up for a roast lunch

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Newport Bowls Club, 4 Market Street, Newport. Phone: 9391 1212

Lawn bowls – any kind of bowls, for that matter – do not ride highly in the CTS sports world.

But I do love hanging out for a while in a bowls club – they’re so prevalent in Melbourne, it’s hard not to spend some time in them, be it for a gig a feed or … maybe even for a game of bowls.

Newport Bowls Club is a classic of the old-school.

 

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And like many such institutions, it’s making good efforts at making itself part of the local community beyond bowls players.

It hosts the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club and holds other music events.

On the Sunday I visit, a large group of young families – including many bubs – is in the house to enjoy the $20 offer of barefoot bowls in conjunction with a special menu.

I’m in the house for the $10 Sunday roast (see menus below).

 

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What looks like a modest and even perhaps drab meal is very enjoyable.

The roast beef is well done without being dry and is pretty good.

But it’s the vegetables that star – the al dente cauliflower and superb roast spuds are particularly memorable.

 

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I’m easily persuaded to partake of the member-created sticky date pudding ($7).

It appears to be of modest dimensions but turns out to be quite filling.

Even better, it a has lightness of texture and flavour that is sublime – with a generous gob of ice cream doing the business, I can easily imagine I’m desserting at a fancy restaurant somewhere!

Check out the club’s website here.

 

Newport Bowls Club on Urbanspoon

 

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Meal of the week No.1

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dough21

 

CTS has become quite besotted with the fish and chips served up by Dough! in Blackshaws Road, Newport.

They’re quite different in vibe and personality from those created by our other fave F&C joint – but no less excellent.

The chips are tumbler-peeled, hand-cut and all-terrific.

The fish, in this case a nice piece of blue grenadier, is always beautifully cooked although it does usually fall apart in my hands.

I don’t care, so good is it!

The calamari, too, is always tender and tasty – and it’s the real thing.

See earlier story here.

Sweet sensations

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victoria2

 

Victoria Sweets, 216 Blackshaws Road, Altona North. Phone: 9391 2322

Early on in its history, Consider The Sauce dropped in on Victoria Sweets a couple of times … must have been on very slow days as on both occasions as we struggled to find anyone to serve us.

Since then we’ve been happily distracted by many hundreds of other stories but we’re game for another try.

Today we do better and we’re ever so glad!

The place has a humming smell of sugar and nectar and is crammed with Lebanese goodies that are sold at $20 a kilogram

We go out of our way to order items that are not baklava or in that style – we seem to have consumed plenty of them in recent months.

 

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Our tray of goodies, arrived at after much pointing, costs $12.

It’s only upon returning home that we discover just how fabulous, fresh and delicious the Victoria Sweets products are … we’re still working our way through them but we can report that the numbers that look like spring rolls are very sticky tubes supremely stuffed with a lush vanilla cream.

Victoria Sweets?

 It’s taken a while but I suspect we’re about to become very regular customers.

Heck, I may even try to wangle my way into kitchen visit to observe a baking session!

 

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We also note with interest the presence of good-looking gelati.

We’re told it’s made off-premises but within-business – this will be for another visit, hopefully before the weather turns nasty.

 

Victoria Sweets on Urbanspoon

 

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