The Richmond Market

Miss K and I went shopping at the Richmond Market in Gleadall St (home too of the Richmond Leisure Centre). When I was young, and was convinced by some subterfuge that pulling a market trolley for my father was an excitement to be looked forward to, there was a time when he gave up going to the Queen Victoria Market in favour of the closer Gleadall St Market. I was not impressed. Now I like it a lot. It is a plainer affair than the Queen Vic, but has everything one might need, including the pictured cafe: vegetables at real prices (spinach $1.90 instead of $3.80 at the supermarket, potatoes priced in cents not dollars per kilo), coffee, pastries, bread, fish, flowers, dried things, fruit. It’s open from 7 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. on Saturdays. Enquiries 9205 5555.

I went for a walk on Johnston St

And I liked this barber’s shop window.

Having never previously meandered along Johnston St by Shank’s pony, I had thought it to be one of the world’s most ugly thoroughfares. I found the details I spotted on foot charming. It has other things going for it once it arrives in the ‘wood too: Ilk Bar, which used to be a milk bar and the emblem of which is an elk, and Kooshi (formerly Good Morning Captain). Back in Abbotsford proper is this nameless place, which I think must be the one that the Abbotsford psychiatrist I met at a party the other day swore was a perfect but overlooked place to have weekend breakfasts. Some other photos from the walk are here.

Books for cooks; the history of pizza

A Neapolitan margherita

Books for Cooks is a beautiful double-fronted Gertrude St shop full of 15,000 cook books and books about food and wine more generally. Its proprietor Tim White spent a decade at what is generally regarded as Melbourne’s leading law firm, Mallesons, and is not the most ebullient shopkeeper in the world, but his and his wife Alison Schulze’s labour of love is undoubtedly our gain. They have a newsletter which you can sign up for at the website, and their bookmarks are useful for having metric-imperial conversions set out in a fashion helpful for consultation mid-recipe. They’re open 7 days, 10-6 p.m. (11-5 Sundays) and their number’s 8415 1415.

Here’s an interesting Age article about the Australian cookbook publishing market.

I bought a translation of Nikko Amandonico’s La Pizza; The True Story from Naples and learnt that the two truly authentic Neapolitan pizze are the marinara and the margherita, but marinara has no seafood at all. Elsewhere in Italy, the marinara is often called Napoletana. It owes its name to “the times when fishermen, after a night at sea, would stop off at the bakery and, extremely hungry but in a hurry to get home, would ask for a pizza that was light and quick” — tomato, garlic, oregano, and oil. Continue reading “Books for cooks; the history of pizza”

Dr Follicles barber shop, gertrude st

They just chopped me mop over at Doctor Follicles, opposite Dr Java, in Gertrude St near the corner of Smith St. The place rocks. You’ve got your barber chairs, your retro wallpaper, your slightly more tuneful than usual rap music going on, kitsch prints of paintings of naked chicas, 50s wardrobes converted cleverly into hairdressing consoles by the installation of tiny sinks into the woodwork, and dudes with scissors, and even one lady barber, snipping away at the rate of 20 cuts a day, each.

The fellow before me seated himself in front of Madame Snippe and told her that he had got really drunk the previous evening and had begun to cut his own hair. He needed it “evened up”.

But best was the laconic attitude of the nameless cutter who didn’t need to flatter me to earn a $55 fee (the fee was $24 and included a stubby of Coopers Pale Ale (or “Coopers Green”)) and spoke contemptuously of the professional flatterers with scissors who are his brethren in the salon industry. Second best were the piles of hair lying around on the floor like fleece in a shearing shed. Why, I wondered, do all the other barbers and salonistas sweep it up so frequently and obsessively? Continue reading “Dr Follicles barber shop, gertrude st”

Salta and the river

When I was a kid and Mary Delahunty was an ABC radio announcer, and firemen were not yet heroic soldiers caught in the cross fires of the war on terror my old man would drive past the Metropolitan Fire Brigade training facility (which is now best identified as being diagonally opposite Victoria Gardens, just near the Skipping Girl between Victoria St and the Yarra) and tell us to look out and see whether the concrete skyscraper shell was on fire. Very rarely, maybe even only once, it was, and firemen-to-be were scurrying about pretend maidens frantically sizing up whether to jump or choke and roast to death.

A particularly pleasant part of the main Yarra bike path goes past there on the way to Hawthorn and then, believe it or not, the city after coming across a bridge from the bushy wilderness of Yarra Bend Park past the Studley Park Vineyard. The bike path goes right beside a swimming pool full of water used as a supply for quelling the flames in these exercises.

A property developer called Salta now owns all four corners of the Burnley, Victoria and Walmer Sts corner, and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal was to have heard Yarra Council’s objections until the planning application was “called in” by the Minister, Mary Delahunty. They paid the Brigade $20M for the asbestos-riddled building and the surrounding land and have plans for a $300 million development. Stay tuned or contact us with news…

The Harold Boot Company, gipps st

According to a website called Valley Country:

The Harold Boot Company traces its history back to 15th Century Leicestershire where Ian Harold’s ancestors were bespoke shoe makers. In 1912, Frederick Harold came to Australia to source raw materials and establish local production facilities. The Australian business thrived, with strong sales in both local and overseas markets. Continue reading “The Harold Boot Company, gipps st”