Melb’s food blog rankings

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Random pic that has nothing to do with the story …

Thanks to Ed Charles of Melbourne food blog Tomato and Thang No at Sydney blog Noodlies, and a lot of work, those interested can have a look at a rankings list of “Australia’s top food blogs”.

As ever, I grumble the use of the word “top” when the listings are based solely on traffic as ranked by Alexa.

Such a strategy doesn’t take into account all sorts of factors, including a blog’s engagement with its readers – and CTS, through the burgeoning Feasts, could hardly be more engaged.

And “top” is meaningless in terms of how successful individual bloggers feel their blogs are – it’s easy to forget that bloggers of all sorts have a variety of vastly different motivations and notions of what constitutes a successful blog.

But everyone loves lists and I’m no different.

I actually found the Noodlies combined Melbourne/Sydney too confusing and thus of little interest.

Ed’s Melbourne-specific list I found a lot more interesting.

Consider The Sauce comes in No.54 on a list that numbers 152, with almost 100 more not ranked because they are too new or have too little traffic.

I’ll take that – for a blog that is so obsessed with a particular part of Melbourne and devoutly avoids the trendier foodie happenings and menus across our city.

Footscray Food Blog comes in at No.28.

But I am interested in learning what other Melbourne food blogs regular CTS readers follow or even check out occasionally.

 

 

 

 

CTS Feast No.7: La Morenita 2

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TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

Consider The Sauce Feast No.7: La Morenita

67 Berkshire Rd, Sunshine North. Phone: 9311 2911

From 6pm on Sunday, June 8.

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Wow – Maria and Marco of La Morenita and Consider The Sauce were knocked by the response to CTS Feast No.6!

So much so, we’re happy to mount an identical event a couple of weeks later.

Hey, we’re a little nervous – but enough people have let us know they are interested in a repeat or were disappointed in missing out on the first that we’re going ahead anyway!

The menu will exactly the same – see below.

As will the price ($20) and the number of tickets available (25).

See the original CTS Feast La Morenita post here.

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MENU

Cheese, spicy chicken and beef empanadas

Choripan (chorizo in a roll)

Cocktail hallullas (Chilean bread), pebre (spicy chilli sauce)

Traditional ham and cheese sandwiches de miga

Churrasco (burger with beef, tomato, avocado and mayonnaise)

Custard berlin (doughnut)

Milhoja (“1000 layers”) cake (which Marco will slice on the night)

A Jarrito (Mexican soft drink)

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

Macedonian magnificence

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Zegov Charcoal Grill, 16 Wood Street, Thomastown. Phone:  9078 6811

Nat “The Nose” Stockley has a super-sleuthing way of finding about new joints that fits right fine with the Consider The Sauce ethos.

So when he tips us to the existence of a new eating emporium – or, even better, asks us to join him in checking out – we invariably respond with alacrity.

In this case, the business in question is a newish Macedonian place way over there in Thomastown.

No problem – a sweet drive on the ring road, particularly with a slew of new music to listen to, is a breeze and seems no more “out there” or onerous than some of our more far-fetched westie exploits.

As I drive, I have visions of perfectly grilled meats and fabulous cabbage salad dancing in my head.

That’s precisely what we get – and we get more besides.

A WHOLE lot more.

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As we get comfortable in the typically Euro-appointed eatery, Nat and I are like a couple of giggling schoolboys.

Truth is, we both get an immense rush from finding such out-of-the-way places.

As well, I am delighted to find that Zegov ticks another CTS box – regular readers will know we get a particular kick from finding great food on industrial estates. This isn’t that precisely, but it’s real close.

I’ve had no lunch, so am hungry – my mouth really does water as we peruse our menus, which feature both the expected and the not so much.

We choose a couple of starters and a couple of mains – in the latter case, choosing different platters from the three mixed grills available.

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Piroshka ($4 each) look like Chiko Rolls and are filled with a mix of cheese, pickled gherkin, ham and mayo. They’re delicate but, for mine, a little on the bland side given the potential pungency of the fillings.

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Makallo ($7) is chargrilled green chillies in oil “for dipping”. This is nice enough, though I could wish for more pronounced spice and flavour.

Sounds a little on the ho-hum side so far, doesn’t it?

Well, hold on – things are about to get very interesting!

Something spurs Tanya and her mum-in-law Lidija to get really serious about having us waddle out of the place.

Whether it be the fact we’re photographing everything that moves (and much that doesn’t) or that we look hungry (it certainly can’t be that we look skinny because we don’t) … out come three more starters we haven’t ordered just for us “to try”!

Wow!

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Nafora ($6) is lightly chargrilled bread with chilli flakes and cheese that we gaily use for dipping in the oil of the above makallo.

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Sarma ($16 for two) are right up there with the very best cabbage rolls I’ve had, regardless of derivation.

They’re smaller than is often the case, but so tender and packed with not rice but instead a gloriously hearty beef mince sauce.

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Grafce ($7) are baked beans – they’re smooth and hearty, but maybe get a little lost in the multitude of food around us.

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Finally we get to our mains – mix char grill 1 for him, mix char grill 2 for me.

Both cost an outrageously cheap $18.50, with the only difference being that Nat gets pork neck pieces and I get lamb chops.

Gosh, they’re fantastic! The only problem is, we’ve already eaten so much we struggle to do our platters justice – I eat only one of my chops, for instance.

But the meats are superb – plain, juicy, expertly cooked and including five “kebapi” and, for variation, a skinny pork snag of sneak-up-on-you spiciness.

And the cabbage salad?

It’s perfection in every way!

Such a simple thing and such a joy, the cabbage is both tender and crunchy, and a little vinegary to boot. As it should be.

It’s pretty much the only thing we both clean our plates of.

We think we’re done – but Tanya and Lidija have other ideas …

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Tulumba, a dessert special not listed on the menu and yet another treat offered us “on the house”, is like a cross between churros and eclair.

Coated in clear, sticky syrup, it’s a plain and not over-rich way to cap off a magnificent eating experience.

There’s some food in the west that is similar to that to be had at Zegov, but not THAT much.

So this wonderful place is well worth a drive the ring road makes easy.

And I just know that Bennie will love the $10 burgers that are “served with chips in burger”!

Thanks, Nat – you’re always on the money!

Zegov Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon

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The great western suburbs coffee debate

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Regular readers who get their CTS fix via this blog’s Facebook page will be aware that yesterday I posted a link to a list of “Melbourne’s best coffee” as published on Urban List.

As ever with such lists, my beef is with the use of the term “best”.

Look, I’m a journalist – I know how these things work.

And work they did, in this case, with that FB post/link garnering more than 1000 views – way, way more than ever is accorded CTS’s own posts.

Another familiar beef is that in this case, as in so many others, the western suburbs did not score even a solitary mention.

So I reckon it’s worthy of a blog post – let’s have some have some entertaining discussion about your fave western suburbs coffee spots.

As listed on the CTS FB page, I have three that I absolutely swear by for friendliness, service and outstanding coffee – Cup And Bean, Feedback Cafe and Sourdough Kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

Steppin’ Out In Sunshine

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MaDE in Brimbank is a dance and music bash being held in the car park adjacent to Classic Curry and in which we almost always park when making one of our frequent Sunshine visits.

Now, dance is not really my thing, but I end up being very glad I make the effort.

This is another wonderful westie community event.

I spend quite a few hours enjoying it all – from an hour so after proceedings commence, but departing way before the party winds down.

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While on hand I catch all sorts of dancing and other entertainment, ranging from junior hip-hoppers to traditional styles from Africa and Europe.

And there are food trucks.

Actually, there are a LOT of food trucks – they’re so thick on the ground, I wonder how anyone is going to make a buck. Maybe things pick up after I split.

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Given the plethora of food rucks on hand, it is no surprise I bump into erudite and much-travelled foodie Nat Stockley.

Nor is it any surprise, given her “thing” for dance, food and, more recently, food trucks themselves, that I likewise stumble across the Urban Ma and other members of the wonderful family with which only days earlier I had been utterly privileged to participate in an amazing Pinoy family feast.

Wonderful folks!

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From Amy at Trailer Made Food, I secure a serve of fried potatoes with tomato sauce and Turkish sausage ($10).

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It’s a lovely thing!

The spuds are crisp and salty, the sauce is intense and the sausage just right.

But I’m still hungry.

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So I hit the Souvlaki Cart – and hit souvlaki heaven.

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My $10 souvlaki is wrapped in everyone’s fave Greek-style pita bread.

Internally, the lambs cubes are really, really top class and a cut way above the meat found your average takeaway souvlaki.

The only quibble I would have is that the yogurt/cucumber combo could’ve benefited from quite a bit more garlic.

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Coasting in Yarraville

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Friendly Neighbours Family Day, Beaton Reserve, Yarraville

We know some of our neighbours, one of them very well.

But, like everyone else, we could do better.

So we are happy to embrace the Friendly Neighbours Program, the leaflet of which arrived in our letterbox this week.

Even better, we are happy to check out the local festival being thrown in that spirit at our local park, which we mostly use for one of our favourite past-times.

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We can’t recall there ever being a public event in “our” park before, but we certainly hope this one becomes a regular.

Bennie remarks as we arrive that it’s the most laid-back fest we’ve ever attended – and we’ve been to heaps.

But laid-back has its charms, for sure.

We like the stalls – and we like even more that the stallholders have been charged no fee!

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I especially like talking to Karen, who makes all her hats and caps from recycled materials.

My search for a winter hat is on, but I don’t find quite the right one among her on-hand range.

But I have her details (karenfalting@gmail.com) should I decide a custom-made number is the answer.

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There’s ukeleles …

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… line-dancing …

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… and bluegrass with crowd-sourced percussion.

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We eye food trucks including Dos Diablos and Beatbox Kitchen somewhat warily – after all, our weekend eating-out budget is pretty much shot.

So we are profoundly grateful to the nice folks from the Ethiopian Youth & Parents Association who are offering, at no cost, snacks that do us just right.

They include injera rolled up like roti rolls and including dal, a sort-of bolognese and a spicy cheese-and-green number – all absolutely delicious!

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Lakehouse redux

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Lakehouse Restaurant, 55 Cumberland Drive, Maribyrnong. Phone: 9317 3649

Consider The Sauce has not been back Lakehouse since its visit in the Edgewater establishment’s very early days.

We have noted, though, the mixed bag of comments that have accompanied its opening, both here at CTS and elsewhere.

We note them, but figure also they are very much par for the course for such a place in such a place.

We certainly don’t let the less glowing remarks deter us from a Saturday visit for lunch.

In fact, exactly opposite is the case, so delighted are we to grab a spot on the balcony on a beautiful, sunny and virtually wind-free autumn day.

It’s a wonderful thing – and even the pelicans gracefully soaring past as we get comfortable seem to agree.

From the lunch menu (see below), we go for a couple of the sandwiches and split them 50/50.

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The open steak sandwich ($17.90) is fine, though as with all such arrangements we might quibble with the description “sandwich”.

Steak on toast or beef bruschetta might be more appropriate, as it’s impossible to eat ours in anything like the manner usually used for anything sandwich.

But the steak is nice, of just the right heft and goes well with the beetroot salsa, greenery and aoili.

The chips, served in a cute wire basket, are good and hot, though we find those near the bottom overly salted.

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We are surprised and delighted to find the same chip deal arrives with the Mediterranean vegetable sandwich ($13.90), as they are unannounced on the menu.

Surprisingly, Bennie likes this even better than the steak, um, sanger.

I would have preferred vegetables such as zucchini to have more bite – these all seem rather squishy.

But the whole is good – the Turkish loaf is very fresh and warm, and the vegetables are themselves sandwiched by pesto and mozzarella.

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Neither of our lunch selections are likely ever to win ecstatic “oohs” and/or “aahhs”.

But the prices have been right, the setting is simply unbeatable and the service has been just fine.

Next time, we’ll make a point of checking out some pizza or pasta – or maybe the $12 parma Thursday nights.

We’re happy to enjoy what Lakehouse has to offer without indulging in wishful thinking that it was, well, less “generic”.

In Melbourne, spectacular views and/or beach and river settings and REALLY good food just don’t seem to go together.

Or not in places we can regularly afford, anyway.

Lakehouse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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