The inaugural Westies: Dishes of Distinction reveal
The Footscray Food Blog/Consider The Sauce Spring Picnic
As with all outdoor events, we were hostage to the Weather Gods – and they smiled upon us.
Bennie and I got antsy at home so drove to Yarraville Gardens quite early.
After our best ever father-and-son frisbee session, in still breezy conditions, the sun came out when people started arriving in numbers and the Westies action got underway.
It was thrilling for us to enjoy the company of so many friends, followers, extended family and more – and to have a nice crowd on hand to generate some well-deserved applause when the Westies recipients were finally announced.
Maribyrnong mayor Grant Miles offered some introductory words before Lauren and I took over.
I reckon we did a pretty good job, even though I’m guessing she was as nervous as me and our words were very much off the cuff.
And the winners are (in no particular order) …
* Pork and prawn banh cuon from Xuan Banh Cuon in Sunshine.
* Macedonian cheese burek from Nada’s Take Away in the food court of Footscray Market.
* Chicken and rice “Regular” from Safari in Ascot Vale.
We were additionally thrilled to have almost the entire extended family from Xuan Banh Cuon on hand, as well as Mohamed and Fatima from Safari.
The Xuan Banh Cuon crew brought along a family meal that doesn’t even feature on their restaurant’s menu – yet!
There was enough of the papaya salad with Viet-style beef jerky for just about everyone to enjoy a sublime, delicious taste.
Not that there was a shortage of food options …
Thanks to Mr Burger, Bennie enjoyed what looked like a real beauty – and certainly a burger more toothsome than I one I wrote about here.
Remi and his team from Happy Camper Pizza were busy, too.
I managed to grab a couple of courtesy slices of a very fine cheesy number adorned with figs, while Bennie and his mum Deb also enjoyed their selections.
Gloriously, Lauren’s splendid campaign to find us a coffee truck bore terrific fruit on the day before the picnic.
Christine and Kat from Wild Horse Cafe ensured us a duo of vintage caravans, and the ladies’ smiles were wide and their natures gregarious.
Kat’s a Tullamarine lass so we laughed together in mutual appreciation of the lovely neighbourhood Sri Lanakan tucker of Spicy Corner and the industrial estate wonders of Pasta Al Dente and Eiffel Tower.
Their coffee was fantastic and much appreciated.
After the ceremonial aspects of our happy jamboree were dispensed with, the Xuan Banh Cuon family in turn presented Lauren and I with gorgeous, hand-made “diplomas of appreciation”.
This was quite overwhelming and we both teared up in the sheer happiness of the moment.
I plan on being buried with mine!
Some time in the coming week, I’ll do a story about the three dishes and what I know of their back stories.
In the meantime, read Lauren’s lovely wrap in The Age.
A big “thank you” to Footscray Life for covering our costs in getting the awards produced and to Lauren’s sister, Liz, for the beautiful artwork.
And a special thanks to Nat Stockley for taking over the photographic duties with aplomb when I was otherwise occupied!