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”