How we ate great in 2019

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August of 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Consider The Sauce.

There will be a party.

The outlines of what I have planned are, at this stage, very hazy.

I am open to suggestions about a venue or any other ideas.

Likewise, I remain open to suggestions for employment – paid or not.

For the time being, Consider The Sauce IS my job – and that’s a pretty cool place to be.

As for 2019, for the Consider The Sauce family it has been a momentous year, one filled with loss and several varieties of pain, but also one full of wonderful life, love and surprises.

Thanks as always to our readers, the many friends who lent us their eating and the small business people of the western suburbs, without whom etc etc!

The following wrap-up by no means covers all the fine food we enjoyed this year – if I were to bash this out tomorrow, the outcome would quite likely be different!

 

 

Cannoli Bar

This Avondale Heights treasure has become a firm favourite – not just for sweets, but also for pasta and other lunchy delights.

 

 

On The Bone

Nat and I finally made it to One The Bone in Maidstone and had an incredibly super time of it.

We lucked into the very first of their Sunday lunch deals.

The advice is simple and adamant – once the Sunday lunches resume in the new year, just go.

 

 

Kites

Away from the western suburbs, we loved our visits to Kites in Clayton South for top-notch Sri Lankan tucker.

 

 

Fusion Ceylon

Just before Christmas, Bennie and I struck out in search of Lebanese food in Hopper Crossing.

The place, our destination, was boarded up.

And definitely not serving lunch.

So we headed for an old fave – Fusion Ceylon in Werribee.

He had one of their fabulous fried rice dishes.

I opted for the $9 “curry in a hurry” bain marie deal – and it was a lot more glamourous and sexy than that sounds.

“I’d forgotten how good this place is,” Bennie enthused.

Yes indeed – absolutely a star of the west.

 

 

Chi Bao

We welcomed Chi Bao to Yarraville – and loved its dumplings and more.

 

 

Balkan Grill

We first made the acquaintance of Danilo Majmunovic at Balkan Grill when it was set up in an Ardeer soccer club.

After he moved to a more orthodox eatery premises in St Albans, we adored his brilliant take on burgers.

 

 

Biryani King/Barwachi

Welcome, too, to two new additions to the West Footscray Indian scene.

We had happy times at both Biryani King and Bawarchi.

 

 

Panjali/Annapoorna

For a different take on curry, we very much enjoy having the banana leaf meals and more from Panjali in Sunshine and Shri Annapoorna in Braybrook as part of our regular fare.

 

Doug The Barber

In the course of food-related research, I discovered Doug, formerly of Williamstown Road and Francis Street, had set up shop in Brooklyn.

Getting a haircut from Doug is always a pleasure.

 

 

Tanoor

No story about Tanoor this year, yet this Hopper Crossing purveyor of Lebanese tucker remains one of our leading regulars – both for eat-in dips and accessories AND for takeaway pies and pizzas.

 

 

Mama Lor

Our troubled relationship with Filipino food was given an affirming filip thanks to the arrival of Mama Lor in Werribee.

Love that crackling and roast pork!

 

 

Kingyo Izayaka

The best Japanese food we had this year was provided by Kingyo Izayaka in Moonee Ponds.

And it was very, very good.

 

 

Mun Kitchen/Mumchan

Korean food?

Oh, yes, we were right amongst that, too.

Mun Kitchen at Williams Landing and Mumchan in Laverton both served us great fried chicken and more.

 

 

Cafe d’Afrique

We were excited and delighted to welcome Faisel Pkesy and his Cafe a’Afrique back – here be the heart of Footscray.

And excellent food, too.

 

 

Cheezy Pizza

“Making Aussie pizzas better” is the motto of Cheezy Pizza in Yarraville.

And that’s precisely what they do.

Make ours a large American plus whatever.

 

 

Laksa King Kitchen

For several reasons, we do not favour the main Laksa King on Pin Oak Crescent in Flemington.

Yet we are returning regularly to the new branch office on Racecourse Road – particularly for the various chicken rice options.

 

 

Olive Oil & Butter

We are looking forward to the forthcoming provision of evening meals at Olive Oil & Butter in Yarraville.

In the meantime, it has become another much-loved CTS regular.

 

 

Karlaylisi

Hand-made noodles, cumin lamb and many other spicy delights – there is nothing not to love about Karlaylisi on Gordon Street in Footscray.

 

 

 

Second Ave Grocer

It’s gone from Altona Fresh to Second Ave Grocer – but we continue to love this place, which has become a big part of our weekly routines.

 

 

Ragusa

We enjoyed a number of swish meals this year – none better than that served to us at Ragusa in Williamstown.

Croatian joy on many plates!

 

Much more than cannoli

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Cannoli Bar, 23 Riviera Road, Avondale Heights. Phone: 93377049

In the months since CTS first wrote about Cannoli Bar, the place has become wildly famous.

A great big bunch of media coverage has ensued, but I’d like to think it’s the sheer outstanding quality of what is on offer that is the main driver of all this feverish fandom.

Since then, too, Cannoli Bar has expanded its fare.

There’s a much longer range of cannoli available, many of them of a colourful and creative bent.

And that expansion means lunch.

 

 

Lunch options include really good-looking pizza slices.

And a couple of daily pasta selections.

I decide against the cannelloni with beef, opting instead for the eggplant parmigiana ($18, top photo).

Oh my, my, my – this is heaven.

It arrives in a very hot bowl, its contents still bubbling.

It’s a glorious mix of eggplant, the top bits nicely crunchy, tomato and cheese.

Perfect.

My lunch is wonderfully enhanced by a parade of hardcore blues classics – Albert King’s Born Under A Bad Sign, Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City, Sonny Boy William’s Help Me and more.

Thank you very, very much.

 

 

My wonderful lunch is completed by biscotto cherry ($2) and cafe latte – both equally fine.

I had originally intended this outing to be the basis of a story about panettone – more precisely the merits of the cheap, mass-produced ones we get from the supermarket compared to more rustic renditions.

 

 

But all that seems a bit redundant in light of the fact that I grab the very last of Cannoili Bar’s pistachio amaretto panettone ($25) and that the eight remaining choc chip versions will likely be gone by the time you read this.

 

 

Back home, Bennie and I soon discover that all panettones are most definitely not the same.

Yes, the pistachio crust is super.

But it’s the “cake” itself that truly wows us.

It’s chewy, much more fibrous than the cheapo versions we’re familiar with, delicious.

We won’t be casual about this one.

No hacking off a slice at a mere whim.

This is something to be savoured.

Cannoli Bar is open Wednesdays through Saturdays.

If you can make it, I suggest week-day visits, as I suspect this place gets crazy busy at the weekends.

There is something ridiculously fine about tootling down a rather ordinary suburban street, headed for this very cool Italian establishment.

 

Snag mission

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A&L Gugliotta and Sons Butchers, 314 Blackshaws Road, Altona North. Phone: 9391 1606

After noting the front-of-house upgrade at Gugliotta and Sons in the most recent edition of Westie eats goss, I have been invited back to observe the making of sausages.

The old joke goes that after watching sausages being made, you’ll never want to eat one again.

In this instance, that is definitely not the case.

I am impressed by the simplicity of the process and the freshness of the ingredients.

The odours are likewise fresh and clean – if odours can be clean!

I love watching Nick and his offsider, Anthony, at work as their colleagues hussle about us taking care of other meaty chores.

 

 

The business makes quite a big range of sausages, but the main task today is a big batch of your basic Italian-style pork snags.

They start with two tubs of cut-up pork, one leaner and …

 

 

… one that includes a good deal more back fat.

As Nick says, a sausage without fat is a tasteless sausage.

 

 

The two tubs of meat are put through the mincer.

This is one of three machines used in the sausage-making process.

The machines are all simple affairs and, really, provide quite close facsimiles for what would take place if the whole process was done by hand.

 

 

To blend and bind, the meat is then put in the mixer.

At this stage, salt, pepper, some wine and a little water are added.

That’s it – that’s your basic pork sausage!

 

 

Given the homespun approach taken here, you’ll be unsurprised to learn Gugliotta and Sons use natural casings.

 

 

They are delivered to the Blackshaws Road shop packed in salt.

So while the meat is being prepared, the casings are being rinsed in lemon-infused water to remove the saltiness.

 

 

The minced-and-mixed meat is placed in an air pump and the meat forced into the casings.

The comes the most magic part – and the most manual!

With flashing dexterity, Nick ties off the long tube of sausage into near-equal lengths.

Here it is the thinner pork sausages that are being created.

Nick looks for all the world like a grandad making balloon animals for the grandkids.

 

 

Also being made today is a smaller batch of Sicilian sausages.

 

 

The provlone, chopped fresh and canned tomatoes and endive are mixed into the same meat base.

 

 

Anthony tells me it took a while for him to fully get the knack of the tying off process, but that these days he could pretty much do it in his sleep.

 

 

Here’s Nick with a water pump/sausage filler of the kind used in an earlier era.

Thanks for inviting me, guys!

 

Westie eats goss 17/10/19

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A&L Gugliotta and Sons Butchers has been operating at 314 Blackshaws Road, Altona, for 50 years.

Nick Gigliotta (on the right) has been working there for as long.

These days he does his meaty magic there with brother Nick and six other staff.

This is a proudly old-school butcher shop where everything is done on the premises.

 

 

The place has just unveiled a whole new look and upgrade, better enabling the team to showcase such delights as the range of sausages, the quality of which is familiar to CTS.

 

 

There’s room, too, for a nice line in high-class pasta and sauces.

 

 

Just around the corner and a few blocks away is what used to be Altona Fresh.

The wonderful shop has a new name – Second Ave Grocer.

 

 

I figured the name change was probably down to trying to make the place’s renown part of the greater western suburbs, rather than just Altona.

But smiling Phil tells me that’s not the case.

He says with a laugh that the only people who called it Altona Fresh were those visiting from the other side of the river.

“All our other customers just say, when they’re on their phones in here, ‘We’re at Second Ave’,” he says. “So when we were upgrading our systems, we thought it was the obvious thing to do!”

Since first writing about this food emporium, it has become a weekly regular for the CTS household, including brunch last weekend for the regular Saturday kranski barbecue outside.

 

 

The Mid-East food presence in the western suburbs has received another lovely lift with the arrival of Oscar’s Teta in Spotswood.

Located at 143 Hudsons Road, just of Williamstown Road, Oscar’s Teta boasts a wonderfully welcoming dining room.

 

 

The menu is pretty much straightahead Lebanese – which is a fine thing, we reckon.

 

 

CTS is very much looking forward to taking the Oscar’s Teta food for a spin.

 

 

Opening this Sunday, October 20, is Le Petit Cafe Rose at 229 Somerville Road, Yarraville.

 

 

Taking over the premises formerly occupied by Happy Maree, the place will be doing a nice line in cakes, muffins, sandwiches, croissants and the like.

 

 

Now operating at 67 Berkshire Road in Sunshine North is burger joint Coal Workshop.

It’s in the shop once home to Latin Foods & Wines.

The burger, onion rings and fries CTS tried were good, solid efforts.

Kurt’s place

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Be Quick boss Kurt Schwier is enthusiastic about Dietz range of organic, Fairtrade teas.

Be Quick Bargains, 465 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 7244

There has been a discount grocery on the corner of Ballarat Road and Leonard Street in Sunshine for a long time.

In fact, it was suggested by a reader as a worthy of a story right back at the start of CTS – closing on 10 years ago.

I didn’t follow-up then.

But now I’m in the place – and happily confess that’s because it’s been run for the past year or so by long-time CTS pal and fellow hardcore music nut Kurt Schwier.

Kurt’s background in the biz shows – I am impressed by the foodie-friendly nature of his line-up and, of course, the prices.

 

 

Use-by dates?

Well, they’re part of this sort of set-up.

Kurt tells me he his straight-up and honest with his customers about individual products being offered here.

My understanding is that for some products, those dates are vital.

For others they are less so – and for many, they are effectively meaningless.

 

For years, CTS HQ has been going through a pack of these every week or so. I wish we’d been paying this price all that time!

 

Kurt tells me his customers come from a wide catchment.

Sunshine locally, of course, but also from the likes of Caroline Springs, Taylors Lakes and Deer Park.

And among them come a wide range of folks with various European backgrounds, as well as many with roots in the Philippines.

 

Kurt knows his booze.

 

One of the first things Kurt did when taking over the business was install a suitable sounds system.

Of course!

He confesses the music is mainly for the enjoyment of he and his staff – but customers are free to enjoy it fully, too.

The volume is far from obtrusive, though the strains of good, funky sounds are always thereabouts.

 

 

The most impressive thing in Be Quick for the CTS foodie sensibilities?

This array of pickles and the like – almost all of which are regularly stocked items.

 

 

Though I’m told these sloths are also good, steady sellers.

I leave Be Quick with quite some booty – mainly cookies and so on – for which I have paid $15.

 

Sweetness!

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Theo’s Greek Cakes, 11 Fosters Road, Keilor Park. Phone: 0434 099 450

We are delighted to herald the arrival of new Greek baking emporium on the smallish shopping strip on Fosters Road in Keilor Park.

Theo’s has all your sweet Greek dreams covered at great prices.

Parking is no problem.

And it’s simply a cool place to be.

 

 

We suspect most customers treat it as a shop, taking their goodies home.

But for eating-in purposes, the place is set up in simple cafe style.

 

 

Theo’s is very much about the sweeter side of life, but there are limited savoury options available.

We love our slices of spanakopita ($6).

Rich and flavoursome in a home-style way, they eat bigger than they look.

And at a place in which we would’ve been unsurprised about being presented with plastic plates and implements, we are very happy to have our lunch accompanied by real-deal unplastic gear, along with water.

 

 

For dessert, Bennie opts for this profiterol creation ($5).

He enjoys it, but perhaps not as much as he’d been hoping – likely because the chocolate is not the dark, more bitter kind he likes these days.

He plainly envies my politiko ($5, top photo).

And in that he’s right on the money – as this is superb.

It’s bit like a heftier Greek version of tiramisu, the base of syrupy semolina cake topped by a layer of cream and plenty of powdered coffee.

It is wonderful – and so healthy, too!

Our $4 cafe lattes are a fine foil for all this sweet heaven.

As an added bonus, a delicious trek to Theo’s can become a one-stop outing that includes, a few doors away, Frank’s Supermarket, a happy business a bit like a scaled-down version of Altona Fresh or Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick.

Though, sadly, it is closed during our Sunday visit.

Theo’s joins the D’s Souvlaki is building a whole new food vibe at Keilor Park.

Long may they both prosper and the trend continue.

 

Expanded taverna

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Olive Oil & Butter, 196 Somerville Road, Kingsville. Phone: 9315 1060

Before there was Eleni’s, Meat The Greek or Brother Hood, there was Olive Oil & Butter.

Yes, the renaissance of Greek eateries in Yarraville and nearby suburbs was spearheaded by this Somerville Road institution.

We’ve done two stories on it, but they’re getting old now.

And in the meantime, Olive Oil & Butter has become a regular for us, but mostly for takeaway coffee and treats.

Eating in?

Not so much.

Time for another look?

Yes.

Because we feel like it for a post-kung fu Saturday hoot and lunch.

And because it’s worth recording that Olive Oil & Butter has expanded considerably, the dining area stretching down the back to an outdoor area.

These days it’s got a lovely feel of a real-deal Greek eatery with happy bustle all about.

Of course, this is Melbourne, so coffee and breakfast are front, centre and popular.

But the menu (see below) also features a nice round-up of rustic Greek dishes for lunch.

It’s for them we’re in the house.

 

 

Bennie opts for the open souvlaki ($23).

All present and accounted for as per the menu – two fine skewers of lamb, herbed pita bread, chips, tzatziki, tomato and onions.

He loves; he clean it all up.

I suspect he’s probably making unkind comparisons of the price-to-quantity ratio kind with his beloved Brother Hood in Seddon.

Buddy, that’s unfair – this is a sit-down restaurant situation and you’ve just had a lovely feed.

I get, as recommended by our wait person, the fasolakia lathera ($22, top photo).

Oh boy, this is so wonderful – green beans slow cooked in tomato, onion, garlic (and, I’m sure) a heap of olive oil.

Again, I can hear naysayers proclaiming: “What – $22 for a plate of overcooked beans?”

Ah, but there’s so much more here than that – this is rich and complex, the lemon potatoes and olives fit right in and it’s an ample serve for an all-veg dish.

So delighted am I, that I have another look at the menu and take note of the other home-style meal available here – spanakorizo, moussaka, yemista, fakes – for future consumption.

It’s these sorts of dishes that are the heart of Olive Oil & Butter.

We spy only one seafood dish on the menu, for instance, and the lavish mixed grills you’ll find at other Greek eateries are absent.

But, for me at least, that makes the place all the more appealing.

 

 

All of the above AND the outstanding sweet treats, many of them syrup-drenched, and …

 

 

… the equally terrific spanokopita, tiropita, kreatopita and bougatsa and …

 

 

… and a nice line in Greek groceries make this a Very Cool Place.

And the staff are always on-the-ball and smiling.

See earlier stories here and here.