Fabulous crepes, waffles, people

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Le Jolie Cafe, 438 Gaffney Street, Pascoe Vale. Phone: 9379 9886

When I get down, disheartened or impatient about where Consider The Sauce is in relation to where I’d like it to be, it serves me well to be reminded that the business side of my blog and what seems like its slow progress in no way diminish the very many glorious riches it has created.

I remind myself of this sometimes.

Sometimes, other people do the reminding.

The riches start with something as obvious and basic as the incredible food we get to try from all over the west and beyond.

But that’s just the beginning.

Because there’s many people involved.

That human side to CTS starts with comments, tips and even just “likes” here on the blog itself and elsewhere on various social media.

Beyond that, there are wonderfully random encounters with grateful readers when we’re out and about and even in places such as Sim’s.

Going a bit deeper, there’s the readers we meet at CTS Feasts and the like – and, yes, it’s been a while since we ran one of those.

Going deeper again, there are people who have come into our lives, going – in the process – from being readers to really adored friends.

Such is the case with Julian and Christine, readers who I met at a certain Sunshine North Latin American eatery a few years back.

Since then, we’ve become as thick as thieves and the meals we’ve shared with them can now be fairly be counted in the countless category.

Well, metaphorically anyway …

 

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Then there are the people who make the food we eat.

In some, many cases, they are not really relevant to our meals or the ensuing stories.

And, as well, there is a certain in-built tension inherent between food producer and food writer – just as there always was between writer and musicians when music was all I wrote about.

But our relationships with some of the food people of the west and beyond have indeed ripened into friendship and something more than professional mutual respect.

That means, of course, that visiting such places and people is about way more fun and laughter and pleasure than what is merely on our plates.

 

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In just that way I take an immediate shine to Kathleen and Guy when I visit, alone, their great joint Le Jolie cafe in Pascoe Vale.

I love their sparkle, humour and willingness to engage.

I love the pride they take in the food they produce and the high-quality ingredients they use to make it.

I love the comfy vibe of their cafe.

And I love the music – the mix of straight-to-my-heart vintage jazz is perfect and at just the right volume.

It’s the heritage of French-born Guy that overwhelmingly colours the food – crepes sweet and savoury, waffles and more – of Le Jolie Cafe. 

That long-winded introduction is my way of saying that I was a very happy chappy in taking two of our very good food pals, Christine and Julian, to this Pascoe Vale creperie to try the food of two new pals, Guy and Kathleen.

And, oh my goodness, what a time we have!

 

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From the “cafe classics” part of the menu, Christine goes for the croque monsieur ($14.50).

Described as a “grilled French sandwich layered with ham, seeded mustard and herbed béchamel, topped with melted emmental cheese”, it comes with an egg on top to make it a croque madame for $2.50 extra.

She enjoys it and like so many dishes, it eats bigger than it visually appears.

The rest of us order savoury crepes …

 

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Julian describes his Edmond ($18) – “sauteed potato, caramelised onions, bacon, French brie” – as very, very fine.

 

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Bennie and I reckon the same can be said of our Rosies ($14) of “chevre, bacon, sauteed onions, egg”.

So goes the savory part of our meal – but desserts were always going to be mandatory at such an establishment.

Normally, we four would order two to share – but here, humming with cold Sunday eating vibes – we order three, with no regrets.

 

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Crepe suzette ($11) – “Grand Marnier, orange and lemon butter sauce” with ice-cream ($2.50) on the side – has a lovely tartness.

 

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Our waffles take an already excellent meal into even more superb territory.

Montparnasse ($10, “salted caramel, chocolate sauce, ice-cream, top photograph) and St Michel ($10, “strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, above photograph) are veritable sweet dreams.

The toppings and accessories are first-rate and the waffles themselves are both a little bit crunchy and a little bit doughy.

Christine, who knows about such things, proclaims them the best Belgian-style waffles she’s had in Australia.

 

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It’s at this point in our meal – post-sweet crepes – that our gameplan starts to unravel.

First, Guy presents us with a complementary creme brulee.

OMG.

It’s wetter than I’m used to seeing with this dish – it’s almost like a very thick soup.

But there’s no doubting the quality and the flavours.

We’re all grinning the grins of those who know they’re doing something awfully sinful.

Then things get even more nutty when Christine and I approach the bar to pay for what has been a great Sunday lunch.

Guy digs his Gallic-souled heels in and refuses to accept our money.

We give it our best shot, but the glint in his eyes bespeaks a determination that will not be countered.

Short of creating a scene or simply flinging banknotes on our table and rushing for the door, we are at a bit of a loss – so somewhat reluctantly head back to our table.

There, a conversation ensues – should I include what has transpired, money-wise, in my CTS story?

“No way you should put this in your story,” opines one of our group.

“You MUST put it in your story,” firmly says another.

The second friend perhaps knows me better in this regard – there’s no way I cannot, will not mention what has happened.

I’m simply not that sort of blogger.

So there it is …

We’d like to think, we hope, that Kathleen and Guy have been responding to more than the mere knowledge that we’re a food blogger group – that they have appreciated our interest in and enthusiasm for their food.

For us, we are very grateful – not so much for the appreciated gesture of not being allowed to pay, even though we started our visit to Le Jolie Cafe fully expecting to do so.

No, we are more grateful for the quality of what has been presented to us.

To paraphrase what a man said in a movie: “We’ll be back!”

Check out Le Jolie Cafe website – including menu – here.

 

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An Ethiopian welcome to Footscray

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Kokeb Restaurant & Cafe, 247 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 9689 0157
Snowtree, 119 Hopkins St, Footscray

 

Eliza was one of the many lovely and talented people with whom I worked at the Geelong Advertister.

IIRC, she left not too long after I did … to pursue a gig practising the black arts of PR on St Kilda Road.

As is so often the case these days, we both sort-of followed our respective journeys from Facebook, where – among other things – I monitor with interest the comings and goings of my extended family of media industry brothers and sisters.

That all changed a few weeks back when I received a wonderful tweet from Eliza:

“Hi Kenny, how are you? Am moving to Footscray tomorrow – will need to keep a closer eye on your blog!”

Cool!

My reply was immediate:

“Hi Eliza! Wow that’s great! Will you have dindins with me and Bennie?”

We took our chat into private channels and – bingo! – here we are just a few weeks later having a swell dinner with Eliza and her partner, Josh.

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Kokeb joined the ranks of Footscray’s Ethiopian eateries a few months ago.

It’s a charming space and we are equally charmed by the service offered us by Helen and the music – on a Tuesday night! – of Melaku.

The menu has all the Ethiopian regulars covered, with a few more interesting items.

But we do away with all that – in the interests of easing “catching up” conversation – by going for the $22 a head banquet.

Eliza has us all laughing with stories of how her PR gig came unstuck and we quickly and in some depth swap notes on how we’re both faring these days, she as online editor and social media honcho … back at the Addy.

It’s a great role for her, I reckon.

But Bennie and I are just as delighted to have she and Josh as new neighbours, and excited to introduce them – for the first time – to the delights of Ethiopian food and injera.

They take to them with gusto – and so they should, as the Kobeb banquet spread is top-notch.

All is fresh, hot and tasty.

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We get two kinds of lamb tibs – the regular “white” and the more spicy and red “Kokeb” tibs. Both very good.

There’s the chopped greens of gomen wot and the delicious and chunky carrot, cabbage and potato of cabbage wot.

And, of course, lentils a couple of ways.

Best of all, though, is the shiro, which is served separately from an earthenware pot.

It’s a hot, spicy split pea soup/stew flavoured with berbere.

There’s plenty of food for our admission fee, and we even take Helen up on her offer to top up our supplies of the vegetable dishes and injera.

Some of the cool, crisp contrast usually offered by the presence of tangily-dressed lettuce, cucumber and tomato would have been a bonus.

As our meal and the eating of it wind down, Bennie gets a case of the restless – so we send him off on the daunting challenge of finding us somewhere that is doing dessert relatively late at night and relatively early in the week in Footscray central.

Success!

So we all troop off to the Korean joint Snowtree.

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To my surprise, they’re still serving what look like pretty acceptable Korean dinners – so maybe this is somewhere to take note of as being (maybe) open when all else is closed hereabouts.

But we make to do with a couple of serves of their “Snowtree Belgium waffle” ($7.50).

The waffles are just OK and the cream, I’m almost certain, comes from a can; but all is wolfed down anyway – including all the fruit and the frozen yogurt.

Welcome to the ‘hood, Eliza and Josh, and – yes – we’ll be making the housewarming!

 

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Waffee Waffles + Coffee

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Waffee Waffle + Coffee, 25 Harrington Square, Altona. Phone: 9398 1689

We do breakfast out less than a handful of times a year, so are quite happy to really indulge when we do.

As in lashings of rashers or, as in this case, wonderfully sticky and chewy waffles.

There’s another reason to check out Waffee at breakfast time – out first effort to do so quickly resulted in us learning there’s no Saturday lunch to be had.

That’s fair enough, as there’s no savoury element to be found here at all.

Waffee is a small and seemingly often busy and much-cherished cafe in Altona’s Harrington Square.

There’s a communal table for about six people, a couple of tables for two and some stools at the window bench, where set up shop.

We go for the “half dozen assorted” for $15, including blueberry, cinnamon, chocolate glazed, raspberry white chocolate and hot cross.

Each waffle is served tucked neatly into its own “open” brown paper bag.

They’re semi-crispy on the outside, with a lot more substance than your usual waffle. In fact, they’re quite dense and chewy. And filling …

These waffles are made, I am told, in the style of Belgian city of Liege and are fully meant to be heavier and chewier.

Whatever the girth dynamics, they’re delicious … and, unsurprisingly, where dad prefers the more austere cinnamon, Bennie fully loves the likes of the chocolate glazed.

The waffles go super fine with our very good cafe latte and hot chocolate.

Quite apart from the cool waffles and coffee, the service here is a strong reason to return – it’s very much of the smiling, friendly and door-opening variety.

Much obliged!

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