Salute to a foodie




The above photograph was published in Consider The Sauce on September 23, 2010.

That review of Laksa King was our blog’s eighth story and the first in which a photo of Bennie appeared.

IIRC, the laksa into which he is somewhat less than zealously tucking was a little on the spicy side for him.

That bowl would present no such problems for him these days!

Back then, he was bemused about this blogging business.

As, it can be said, was I myself.

Sometimes, back then, as we were nutting out where to go to eat, ponder and take notes and photographs, he would whine: “Dad, can’t we just go out for dinner!?!”

Gosh, how things have changed!

Nowadays, Bennie automatically scans menus seeking out the unusual, the weird and the challenging.

Nowadays, he will ring me to eagerly pronounce: “Dad, dad – I’ve found a new bakery!!!”

As many CTS Feast attendees and others of our foodie pals with whom we regularly meet to eat now know, Bennie is a wonderful table companion.

He revels not just in the many, varied eating places we discover and visit but also in the festivals and markets and all the wonderful people we meet along the way.

And these days, my incredible, beautiful young man is quite grown-up enough to spend a school holiday day at home while his dad is at work.

He did so yesterday.

And what did he do?

He took the $20 I had left him, got on the train to Footscray and headed straight to a well-known pho joint … where he happily supped on a medium-size sliced beef bowl of wonderfulness.

He did this instead of splurging on an Olympic doughnut or a burger or a kebab or whatever else.

He did so not to suck up to his dad.

He went pho for the simple reason he really, really likes pho. And he really, really likes the idea of dining solo in a pho shop.

And why wouldn’t he? It’s a Very Cool Thing To Do.

Bennie Minter Weir – the World’s Coolest Son.



Pay parking for Yarraville, Seddon, Footscray South




Maribyrnong council is seriously looking at introducing paid car-parking for parts of the municipality that have thus far gone without having it imposed.

There’s obviously a lot of huffing and puffing and “public consultation” to go on before this becomes a done deal.

But the tenor of the council’s community and services special committee report on Pay Parking In Maribyrnong – which you can read here – leaves little doubt that this will eventually happen.

The pay parking areas being proposed are:


1. Anderson Street Between Buninyong Street and Willis Street.

2. Ballarat Street between Simpson Street and Canterbury Street.

3. Canterbury Street between Railway station and Willis Street.

4. Canterbury Street car park.

5. Simpson Street off-street car park.


1. Charles Street between Gamon Street and Bourke Street.

2. Gamon Street between Charles Street and Station Road.

3. Victoria Street between Charles Street and Buckley Street.

Footscray South:

1. McNabb Avenue.

2. Nicholson Street between Buckley Street and Irving Street.

3. Albert Street between Buckley Street and Hopkins Street.

4. Albert Street car park.

Joseph Road Precinct:

1. Maribyrnong Street between Hopkins Street and Joseph Road.

2. Joseph Road.

3. Neilson Place.

4. Moreland Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

5. Warde Street.

6. Wightman Street and Selina Street.

7. Whitehall Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

I have an open mind about this.

The report is honest in stating that whatever other issues are at stake, revenue-raising is a significant part of these proposals: “The generation of non-rates revenue such as paid parking, is an important element towards achieving a long-term financially sustainable City.”

I can’t help feel a certain sadness that the sleepy village feel of Seddon and Yarraville is to give way to a more regimented form of commerce.

Pay parking for the Jospeh Road area is seen as a forward strike with the push for full-on development there growing: “Whilst Joseph Road precinct is not currently a saturated location, imminent multi-level development up to 32 storeys will create a substantial increase in parking demand.”

“Information and feedback sessions” to discuss these proposals will be held as follows:


Tuesday, September 2, 4.30-6.30pm,

Sun Theatre, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville.

Footscray and Seddon:

Wednesday, September 3, 4.30-6.30pm,

Footscray Town Hall, corner Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray.



The beauty of western vistas




The western suburbs have certainly got their hooks into me.

When I am visiting other parts of the city, even those generally deemed as being more aesthetically pleasing than the west, I am frequently beset by an urgency to get home to our “industrial landscapes”.

And in those landscapes, I find beauty and allure.

I revel in the weirdness and the sometimes startling juxtapositions.

I love tooling around western residential areas only to be blindsided by paddocks and old farm houses.

That’s why the work of Tarneit artist Rachel Hanna reverberated with me when I learned of it.

Rachel has been painting for 10 years and has lived with her family in Tarneit for two, and she too reverberates with the west.

“You can breathe over here,” she tells me while installing her exhibition, On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre.

Rachel tells me that, among other things, she adores shipping containers as subjects – although she confesses she finds them difficult to paint.

Looking at the paintings in her exhibition, I find some that I recognise immediately, others that are less obvious – but they all have a genuine western vibe about them.

The paintings are for sale, ranging in price from $150 to $650.

When I venture that such prices seem rather low for exhibition works, Rachel quips: “They’re priced to sell – I need more canvases!”

On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre, 1–21 Cheethamis  Street, Point Cook, until September 19.

For more details, go here.

























Sardines in Seddon?




Amid all the usual spam and SEO offers this week, Consider The Sauce received an intriguing communication from reader Tenille.

Here’s what she wrote:

“Hi Kenny

This might be a bit of a strange request, but I’m writing an article for a course I am doing and thought you might know someone who I could interview.

I’m planning to write an article on the impact of planning policy on the inner suburbs, with a focus on how new development is threatening neighbourhood character in the inner west, particularly Seddon. It’s nothing political and the angle will probably change depending on who I interview.

I want to steer clear of the whole gentrification discussion and look at whether planning policy is providing sufficient protection to neighbourhood character. In Seddon, the issue is not so much about huge apartment blocks going in, but more about rendered townhouses popping up on every second corner and the impact this is having on property prices, accessibilty and the local culture.

I’m hoping to chat to someone who has lived or worked in Seddon/Yarraville/Kingsville over the past 5-10 years and has seen it change. I’ve been in the area for five years, but I think it might be a bit of a one-sided argument to interview myself!”

After lunch – of course! – and a wide-ranging conversation involving a couple of fave Sunshine food spots, she and I decided the best way to handle this was to put it out there as a blog post.

For myself, I’d have to say that as a food blogger/journalist, I am usually focused on the business activity in any given neighbourhood, including Seddon.

Having said that, on the way back from Sunshine, Tenille and I spent some time cruising the narrow streets and laneways behind both sides of Victoria Street.

And I confess to being quite surprised by the amount of change of the kind she refers to that has taken place in the handful years that have passed since Bennie and I lived in Windsor Street.

In any case, we’re both interested to know what folks think …

Wanted a new beret, got a pork pie



Smart, Alec Hattery, 235 Gertrude St, Fitzroy. Phone: 9416 4664

We’re a frugal household here at CTS HQ.

We wear towels of both sorts to threadbare so they can no longer be used.

We get the lowest electricity bills of anyone I know – the one in the mail today, which covered multiple 40+ days – clocked in at $246.

Essentials such as books and music – and even non-essentials such as clothing and shoes – tend to be acquired on a drip-feed when-needed basis.

So we don’t have much truck with retail therapy.

But every now and then …

Some good news on the job front and some other comforting news on the broader financial front warrant a visit to Gertrude Street in Fitzroy.

We’re not all-of-a-sudden rich or anything, but …

First up CDs by Guitar Slim, Allen Toussaint, Ike Turner, Chuck Willis and Thurston Harris.

Then a brief stroll takes me to CTS’s favourite bricks-and-mortar book store.

I enter seeking a particular book on the history of curries and another on the history of eating.

They have neither in stock … so I depart happily with four beaut books, mostly of the memoir/road trip variety and all concerned with American food.


That lot should keep me engrossed for at least, oh, a month. Great writing about food – love it!

Then it’s right next door for me and into the headgear emporium known as Smart Alec.

When Bennie and I last entered these premises a few months back – on the same mission I find myself on today – the place was chockers with customers.

Today – for a while at least – I am the only customer, and I revel in it.

You see, my beret is looking tatty – I’ve had it for years.

Worse, it’s actually too small. So if I pull it firmly on my head, as in the case of strong winds, it leaves an unsightly band across my forehead.

(The one before it was too big, so regularly went flying down in the street in those same winds …)

I dig Smart Alex owner Michael immediately.

Here’s a man fully in thrall to his hattery passion, bubbling with chat and enthusiasm.

He fixes me up in short order.

Firstly, he spruces up my existing beret up with a steam clean. And then he stretches it so it actually fits, using one of three machines he has for precisely that purpose.


This one is French and a collector’s item. We both “ooohh” and “aahhh” over it like some people I know do over trains and 78s records, among other things.

So it turns out the floppy, lightweight cotton beret I quite like is not a necessary purchase today. Maybe for summer …

In the meantime, while Michael is serving another customer – the one who has rather rudely interrupted my, ahem, “private” consultation – I luck upon the perfect hat.


Finding a hat that fits, perfectly, first time is such a rarity for me that I sigh with the pleasure of it.

It’s a gorgeous diamond-top pork pie.

The price is right.

I don’t hesitate.

Maybe there will fewer gags thrown my way this winter about Mythbusters?













Thanks for having me …



Like, I’m guessing, neophyte bloggers the world over, when starting Consider The Sauce I simply bumbled along, learning as I went and – or so I thought – making things up as I went along.

As it turns out, almost all the bright ideas I came up with are simply routine fare for bloggers and entrepreneurial types everywhere.

(Aside: I can’t tell you how impressed I am that I was able to spell “entrepreneurial” first time and correctly!)

I came to know this from periodically checking out such sites as Problogger and the more foodie-specific Diane Jacob, Will Write For Food – and even taking in a few likeminded books along the way.

Mind you, I have also learnt there are definite limits to how much of this sort of pep-talking I can take in or even respect.

There comes a time when blogging becomes an end rather than a means, or even (it often seems) something of a self-help cult.

At that point, I yawn and switch off or on to something else.

After getting CTS established, one thing I instinctively pursued were collaborations – and collaborators to join hands with.

I’ve had a few misses along the way, but far more hits – and I’m continuing to find it exhilarating!

It’s simply something that dynamic, creative people – and creative, dynamic bloggers – do.

And now another such “something” – public speaking – has come to be.

Although, in this case, it seems so far that this has sought me out rather than the other way around.

I have been hosting the CTS Feasts – but in all cases to date the verbal aspect has been restricted to a few comments before eating.

The Westies reveal and FFB/CTS picnic was more of a public speaking gig, but even then of brief duration.

But it was at that celebration that CTS pal Pastor Cecil asked me: “Would you come and speak to my Rotary Club?”

My answer was immediate and emphatic: “Yes!”

In the meantime, thanks to the wonderful meet-and-greet oyster bar role assigned me during this year’s Rickshaw Run, I had ample opportunity to see how I felt about this sort of activity.

Chatting up a new group of eight people every 20 minutes for an entire weekend?

I loved every minute of it!

And so Bennie and I front Medway Golf Club in Maidstone to be guests (and, in my case, guest speaker) at a regular meeting of the West Footscray Rotary Club.

The golf club and its course is a revelation for Team CTS – so gorgeous! And yet more proof the west will never cease surprising – often with something, some place or somebody that has been right under our very noses all along.

We enjoy meeting the Rotary members, who I’m guessing number about 30.

There are some ceremonial aspects to the gathering – grace, the national anthem and so on.

And then lunch, as provided by the golf club kitchen staff.


It’s rather good, too. The delicately-crumbed and tender fish is outstanding. I later ask the kitchen staff about it – they tell me they don’t know the English name of the fish concerned but that our lunch specimens had been purchased this very day at Little Saigon Market.

And then it’s my turn, after being introduced by Pastor Cecil with words along the lines of “Kenny is someone different who really likes different things”!

Off I go, covering the whole CTS story – the death knell of newspapers, the need for a whole new world to be created, the multiple joys of food blogging and much more

Referring only a couple of times to the rough notes I had scribbled before leaving home, I easily fill my allocated 20 minutes – so much so that Pastor Cecil is forced to gently intervene and bring my spiel to a halt.

As far as I have been able to tell, no eyes glazed over and no guest or member has slumped to sleep.

I field several great questions as part of the formal gathering, and several more informally as the meeting winds down. Many CTS business cards are distributed.

Bennie and I are the last to leave.

Thanks for having me!

So there you go – Kenny Weir, public speaker, open for business …



All change at Werribee South



If change is a given, then change and its ramifications are a way of life in the western suburbs.

For years now, or so it seem, one or more of the streets surrounding our Yarraville home have been in the process of being worked upon.

In the greater west and in a broader sense, the issues of change are the very substance of much of my weekly, regular newspapering gig, be they concerned with politics and culture or economics and infrastructure.

Transport, be it rail or road, is a particularly knotty and sensitive subject.

But for all the growth and upheaval in the west, there is no change going on quite like what is in the process of happening in hitherto sleepy Werribee South.

There, a project involving more than 100 apartments and an “integrated retail precinct” is rapidly taking shape.

You can see the developer’s website here.


From all that I’ve read, no one seems at all sure what sort of impact this is going to have on Werribee South.

Added to the mix is the surprising news – well, surprising to me anyway – that plans for a Werribee South-to-Melbourne ferry service seem to be gaining very real traction.

The traffic generated by 100 apartments, their residents and service vehicles is one thing.

Throwing in the daily comings and goings of 3000 ferry commuters is quite another.


The main routes into Werribee South – Duncans and Diggers roads – are fine two-lane thoroughfares for much of their lengths, even if they are invariably stained dirt brown by market-gardening activity.

But in places, both roads take on a distinctly backwoods feel, with potholes, bumps and dodgy edging to the fore.

As for the food portion of the development’s retail precinct, my expectations are at zero.

“Franchise” and “generic” are terms that spring readily to mind.

Degani, anyone?

Not that we’ve got anything against that particular coffee shop chain.

Indeed, I’ve been told that company behind it is also behind this place, which we like just fine.

But I’ll not be holding my breath hoping that Wyndham Harbour bucks the trend of greater Melbourne generally doing a lousy job of seaside eats.