Salad oooh! on Barkly Street

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Pod @ Post Industrial Design, 638 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 0400 193 038

It’s taken Consider The Sauce a while to get around to writing about Pod, a preview story aside and a newsy item on the kitchen’s gallery of vintage Melbourne menus.

Truth is, since it opened, Pod has become one of our regular stops.

Most often for always excellent coffee.

Sometimes for a sweet treat, as well – including a preposterously orgasmic choc cake Bennie and I shared a few months back.

More substantial Pod fare has been had less often, but today is definitely the right time for lunch.

Saturday, early spring gloriousness, the staff not run off their feet and a jazz combo doing their best Sonny Rollins in the window.

 

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I don’t have to make myself right at home because it already has that sort of feel about it.

I know not about the breakfast line-up here, but when it comes to lunches – and this has been noted elsewhere – the lovely food Jess is sending out from the kitchen is beautiful and delicious but decidedly not of the cafe heartiness variety.

But while the serves seem far from gargantuan, the quality is unmistakable – besides, it’s a light lunch I’m after.

 

 

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My warm salad of roasted seasonal vegetables is perfect in every way.

The superb potato, red onion, carrot, fennel and beetroot speak in magic tongues with the parsley, plentiful pine nuts and goats cheese.

Wow!

Worth every cent of the $16.50 I have paid for it.

There’s some very cool symbiosis going on between Pod and P.I.D.

The latter’s Mary tells me that in terms of buzz and customers, the results are most definitely greater than the sum of two parts.

I have reproduced below the current breakfast and lunch menus, but Fiona tells me they’ll be changing in a few weeks.

My $3.50 cafe latte, too, is perfect.

 

Pod @ Post Industrial Design on Urbanspoon

 

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Tong – opening Friday

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Tong Food & Wine, 13a Ballarat Street, Yarraville

As a follow-up to our recent Yarraville eats goss story, Consider The Sauce is happy to report the following …

Tong Food & Wine, inhabiting the Ballarat Street premises the formerly housed The Bank, will be open for business from tomorrow night (Friday, August 29).

Co-proprietor Ben gave CTS the scoop on the classy fit-out (above) and the compact and very interesting – and affordably  priced – menu (below).

 

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Tong – as it will most certainly become known – will be open for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays through to Sundays.

From 3pm to 6pm food offerings will be of the bar snack variety.

 

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The old bank vault is the office!

Very Well Bread

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Well Bread Festival, Barry Road Community Centre, Lalor; Sunday, August 24

“Go north, young man, go north …”

These were the words of wisdom proffered by my Star Weekly colleague Helen a few weeks back.

Her point being that while Consider The Sauce is up to its neck in western suburbs food, it may as well occasionally turn its attention, enjoyably and profitably, to what is happening in Melbourne’s north and north-west.

She’s right … indeed, that process and mind-shift has already started, as detailed in this celebration of the ring road, my current employ in Airport West and a marvellous visit to Meadow Heights.

Whole new vistas of of people and their food – easily accessed.

Wonderful!

Thus it is that I find myself exiting on Elgars Road, turning left on to Barry Road and parking at the Barry Road Community Centre for the City of Whittlesea’s Well Bread Festival.

While I’m busy getting a handle on the slightly different dynamics and demographics of Melbourne’s north, there is no mistaking the vibe, the people, the whole deal of the festival as I enter the hall – it’s all very, very familiar in the best possible way.

Having been unsure of just how the festival will unfold, I am thrilled to discover – via the day’s running sheet – just how full-on and intensely bready it will be:

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And so begins a thoroughly enjoyable, enlightening and delicious day.

To take in the colourful bread wisdom and lore of so many diverse part of the world in a single sitting is a superb experience.

 

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First up is Luba, who makes a Macedonian bread called lep.

 

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Grace cooks Ghanaian meat pies, here being handed around by her pal Esther.

They’re buttery rich, a bit like a meat pastie and, according to Grace, a legacy of colonisation.

 

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Then it’s Esther’s turn … to prepare beignets de mais (corn doughnuts) from Cameroon.

She’s an entertaining hoot!

Also including banana, the beignets are starkly different to the beignets of New Orleans with which I am familiar.

These are chewy nuggets that Esther serves with a red bean stew.

 

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The stew looks dodgy to me – positively ugly, in fact.

But, oh boy, it tastes marvellous.

Just another example of ugly food tasting great, I tell Esther and her friends afterwards amid much laughter.

 

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Salma, with help from son Ahmad, prepares chewy Iraqi flatbread.

 

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The big star here is the family’s wonderful home-made tandoor oven that blazes away right there in the hall!

 

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Then it’s time for lunch …

 

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… which consists of Turkish bread with yogurt/cucumber dip, cheese and spinach gozleme and a tangy vegetable soup.

It’s all excellent.

 

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Zahra prepares noon shirmal, a plain sweetbread from Iran.

 

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Then it’s the turn of Whittlesea councillor Kris Pavlidis and daughter Zoe and their spanikopita.

 

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Ali Fael’s contribution is nan barbari (Turkish flatbread), which …

 

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… is served with fresh mint and salty fetta cheese.

 

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Finally, it’s the turn of Deepali and her tawa parathas.

Despite having eaten countless parathas and chapatis in my life, I’ve never really understood the difference between the two.

Now I do!

The former are folded many times – sometimes with the inclusion of, say, potato or cauliflower. The latter are simply rolled and pan-fried.

 

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What a great day it’s been.

Much kudos to MC James Liotta and council staff Caitlin, Helen and Julie.

Despite the packed schedule and numerous unpredictable variables, it’s all run like clockwork – and on schedule!

 

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Guest post by Sumeyya

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Sumeyya is my friend and fellow bloger and journalist.

I love it that she has written a guest post for Consider The Sauce!

Check out her blog here.

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We’re ravenous on the morning of Eid – no surprises there – and I’d like to attribute it to the sizzling meat, the baklava syrup simmering on the stove, the moist borek in the oven and the stuffed vine leaves patiently waiting on a plate to be devoured.

It hasn’t been too long since Eid Al-Fitr came knocking, but Eid Al-Adha (the celebration of sacrifice) is around the corner.

More food, more meat, more sweets and more celebrations await Muslims.

At 6am on Saturday, October 4, a smell (one I long for throughout the year) will linger throughout my room and the house.

A few moans and a few groans later, I will make my way to the kitchen to watch my mum stirring a pot of yayla corbasi while juggling all the other conventions of a Turkish breakfast – tomatoes, eggs, jams, cucumbers, cheese, olives, simit, which will adorn our breakfast table that will host my immediate and extended family.

When Kenny asked me to do a guest post, I thought: “I’m Muslim; Eid is the most important celebration in our calendar; and it includes food.”

However, inadvertently, I went on a cathartic journey and realised Eid is much more than food and celebrating – it is a spiritual journey we take to strengthen ties and assist the poor.

And then it hits me – food is the glue that binds people.

Whether it be a religious, celebratory or personal reason, food is what brings us together – Eid (and the food) brings my extended family (who practically live at my house anyway) onto our breakfast table; it brings friends we haven’t seen in months to share the food we’ve prepared; and it brings millions of people across the world, who otherwise don’t have access to sufficient food, onto a sofra with meat.

Food is much more than sustenance and Eid Al-Adha is much more than a reason to indulge in carnivorous behaviour – it’s a reason we help and a reason poverty-stricken villages can indulge in the bounties of Eid.

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yayla corbasi = yogurt soup

simit = circular bread

sofra = dinner table

Food truck weather

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Big Cook Litle Cook. Phone: 0450 395 344

Food truck.

I reckon there’s ground for considering that phrase as a food style.

You know … Vietnamese, Ethiopian, fish ‘n’ chips, burgers, Indo-Chinese, pizza, food truck.

Like that.

Take, for instance, my rather nice Saturday lunch from a new arrival in the ranks of  Yarraville Gardens truck squadron … Big Cook Little Cook.

 

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Big Cook’s Classic has tandoori chicken pieces, rice, hummus, Big Cook’s salad and roti.

It’s a good feed and I’ve been more than happy to pay $12 for it.

The chicken has good tandoori flavour, the hummus is fresh-as, the roti hot and flaky.

And there’s nothing at all incongruous about various elements of my meal deriving from various parts of the planet.

But it does seem like a food truck meal!

 

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Same goes for my friend’s Smoky Chilli Jam Chicken, also costing $12, with its sticky Indo-Chinese vibe.

I get talking to Conan, the offspring part of the father-and-son duo of Big Cook Little Cook, the name of which was chosen to give them flexibility in terms of not being tied down to a single style of food.

Conan and Raymond are much-travelled and passionate about what they are doing.

Conan asks me what I think about the pricing of the food trucks in general.

The prices of the regular Yarraville truck gang actually seem remarkably consistent.

 

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I tell him I’m sure the trucks are setting their prices very scientifically and where they must – any cheaper and they’d not be in business.

Our $12 meals have been fairly priced.

But the truth is a fully satisfying truck meal of main, a little something extra for, say, $5 or so plus a drink can run to about $20.

Many people, I suspect, compare that with the plethora of nearby regular eatery options that are cheaper and also involve tables and table service.

Still, as the several hundred folks out and about and busily trucking on what feels like the first day of spring attest, the food trucks have certainly found a place in the collective heart of the inner west.

It’s a happy scene indeed!

 

Big Cook Little Cook on Urbanspoon

 

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Asian tucker without meat?

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Shakahari Too, 225 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne.Phone: 9682 2207

Consider The Sauce Thing 1 was happy to accept an invitation to a gathering at Shakahari Too in South Melbourne.

Consider The Sauce Thing 2 was rather less keen.

“Vegetarian?,” said he, skepticism plainly writ on his face.

“Think of it not as vegetarian but more as Asian food without meat,” father instructed son.

The occasion was a group dinner organised by Monique of Mon’s Adventure’s fame as part of her Vegetetarian Mission – and we fully enjoyed the whole night, eating different food and meeting new people.

The Carlton Shakahari has been around as long as I’ve been in Melbourne.

Despite vegetarian nightmares associated with previous lives in other countries, I was happy to give the South Melbourne branch a shot.

But in the end, and based entirely on the main courses Bennie and I selected, I confess his skepticism was warranted.

 

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Monique shouted the whole bunch of us an entree called Avocado Magic ($15.50).

This tempura dish was lovely, and its deep-fried vibe even impressed Bennie.

“Avocado wedges and red capsicum rolled in thin eggplant slices, tempura fried in a rice batter” and “served with a jade green coriander and sesame puree” was a terrific, the lusciousness of the avocado an unusual delight.

 

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I have cookbooks and recipes I revere that do without onions, garlic and chilli, so I know great food can be produced by doing so.

Or it is perhaps that we so very regularly eat such highly charged and spiced food?

 

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Shakahari Too on Urbanspoon

 

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CTS Feast No.9: Xiang Yang Cheng – the wrap

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CTS Feast No.9: Xiang Yang Cheng, 672 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 7128

Our CTS Feast at Xiang Yang Cheng was a truly memorable occasion.

I remain surprised that only just over the allocated seating was booked – this was and is, it seems to be, just the kind of food that is ideal for such an event.

No matter … no matter at all.

Because those of us who did indulge had a thoroughly grand time.

And with a smaller group, it was all very relaxed and rather intimate.

I really enjoyed getting around our four tables and having chats with everyone.

 

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And that was made easier by the very nature of the food an its preparation – what may have taken a half-hour so to consume if brought plated to our tables ended up taking more than two hours of rambling indulgence.

Many thanks to the XYC staff, including Larry, Zi and Alicia, for taking such good care of us.

Thanks, also, to Nat, Marc, Paul, Marketa, Jenni, Bronwyn, Adam, Philippa, Milena, Paul, Christine, Lisa and Julian for making it.

 

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But perhaps the most thanks should go to someone who was absent.

One of my first contacts at XYC was Peggy.

Peggy is off being a new mum but it was she who devised the broad and representative menu selections that graced each of our tables.

A lot of thought obviously went into it – and thus was vindicated my decision to leave our meal up to the staff and not bother cherry-picking it myself.

Wow!

What a spread we had.

 

Xiang Yang Cheng on Urbanspoon

 

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