The Sweet Cycle cycling food tour with The Squeaky Wheel

The Sweet Cycle (9)

Maribyrnong City Council regularly run ‘Westside Discovery Tours’, a series of FREE tours for locals and visitors to introduce them to the secrets of Melbourne’s west side. (Read about some of their previous tours here and here).

Combining my passion for cycling and food I led a delicious tour with The Squeaky Wheel to discover some of the Westside’s best pastries, cakes, desserts and sweets. Here are some of our pics!

The Sweet Cycle (8)

First stop – Footscay’s iconic Olympic Doughnuts for fresh jam doughnuts. Only 80c each!

The Sweet Cycle (16)

The Sweet Cycle (17)

Second stop – Sourdough Kitchen Seddon, the only bakery in Melbourne that make sourdough pastries. Needless to say we packed doggie bags for takeaway.

The Sweet Cycle (11)

The Sweet Cycle (18)

Love the street art just around the corner too.

The Sweet Cycle (2)

The Sweet Cycle (1)

Cycling through the backstreets of Seddon to Yarraville.

The Sweet Cycle (3)

The Sweet Cycle (6)

Third stop – Amazing cakes from Cobb Lane, an artisan bakery and patisserie in Yarraville Village. The tiramisu gets my vote!

The Sweet Cycle (12)

Busy bakers making their famous doughnuts.

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Fourth stop – right next door is Hello Gelo, one of the few ice cream stores in the west that make their product on site. Their most popular flavour? Salted caramel.

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Final stop – T Cavallaro & Sons for best cannoli in Melbourne. Here’s proprietor Tony Cavallaro presenting a cannoli cake! Lucky Joel.

The Sweet Cycle (10)

The Sweet Cycle (14)

Also try the amaretti – they grind the almonds themselves and it creates a gorgeous chewy texture without the fake almond essence taste.

The Sweet Cycle (7)

 Keep an eye out on CycleStyle and The Squeaky Wheel‘s website for information about more cycling food tours in Melbourne’s west!

HOT: Est. 1906, 81 Charles St, Seddon

est 1906

Seddon Village is ever-changing from sleepy suburban strip to hip hangout. This week we said goodbye Seddon video store, hello industrial chic cafe Est. 1906.

The large space has been transformed into a funky daytime venue (liquor licence and night trading coming later) which also happens to be one of the most family-friendly spaces I’ve visited in a while.

est 1906

The front dining room is huge, with white exposed brick, a black pressed metal ceiling and pops of yellow in the furniture and the crockery. For those who want some privacy there’s a glass-in room facing Charles Street which is separated by a sliding door. If you don’t have kids this is a great place to hide away!

Around the right where there’s another room with more tables and one side that looks out onto the courtyard. This is the least appealing of all the dining areas but it does ok with an awkward space.

est 1906

The courtyard is where Est.1906 really comes into its own. It’s spacious and sunny, with sea blue beanbags upon lush fake grass plus child-friendly elements such as a sandpit and toys.

On Monday to Friday the breakfast menu starts at 7am-11:30am, with a rather inconvenient 30 minute gap before the lunch menu starts at 12pm. On weekends the breakfast menu is available all day until 4pm.

The breakfast menu is a fairly run-of-the-mill list of cafe standards and in fact the lunch menu looks much more exciting with items such as barramundi and confit duck featuring.

est 1906

As far as smashed avo goes ‘The Avo’ is pretty good, with generous lashings of avocado with cherry tomatoes, marinated feta, slices of cold smoked salmon and two perfectly poached eggs. It’s comforting and pretty without being thrilling – and probably a few dollars more than I’d expect to pay at $20.

est 1906

The banana bread is a hunk of gently spiced cake with segments of poached pear, a passionfruit half and a dousing of overly sweet honey cinnamon yoghurt. The banana bread is delicious without all the accoutrements and I think solid value at $12.

On our weekend visit Est. 1906 was full by 10am so I recommend an early trip. The space is large but there are not enough wait staff when the place is at capacity so the timing can be a bit off – our food came before our coffees and as the place got busier the wait got longer. Our dirty plates were not cleared for a long time. Hopefully these small blips will be ironed out once they settle into their new digs a bit more.

Est. 1906, 81 Charles St Seddon (03) 9689 1906

Monday to Friday 7am – 4pm

Saturday & Sunday 8am – 4pm

Est.1906 on Urbanspoon

FREE Food Tours of Melbourne’s West – with me!

Maribyrnong City Council regularly run ‘Westside Discovery Tours’, a series of FREE tours for locals and visitors to introduce them to the secrets of Melbourne’s west side. (Read about some of their previous tours here and here).

New tours are available for booking from today.

Westside Discovery Tours May 2015 (1)

I will be leading a cycling tour with The Squeaky Wheel to discover some of the Westside’s best pastries, cakes, desserts and sweets. Free tastings too!

The Sweet Cycle

When: Sat 9 May, 1.30 -3pm

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 10 places

Doughnuts

If you have kids I will also be leading a Culture Mamas tour of family-friendly Footscray. It’ll be a 1.5 hour walk covering some of my favourite places to take kids to eat, shop and play in my neighbourhood, with tastings en route.

Family Friendly Tour of Footscray

When: Mon 4 May, 10 – 11.30am

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 8 places

To book email susie.wickes@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au with your full name, street address, contact number and selected tour. Only one tour per person and not available for group bookings of 4+ people. For more information click here.

HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

maribyrnong makers market

Maribyrnong Makers Market is a sweet little arts and crafts market held several times a year in Seddon. The market is at Seddon Uniting Church, a small and charming venue which hosts stalls inside the church hall as well as the outside grounds.

maribyrnong makers market

The focus of the market is about showcasing the work of local craftspeople and artists. Every stall holder has made their products themselves and the community feel extends to the charity sausage sizzle set up on the pavement outside.

maribyrnong makers market

I bought some treats from Helen’s Kitchen Favourites, a local sweets and preserves business based in Williamstown.

maribyrnong makers market

I even got to meet Helen and her husband Simon and her sales patter convinced me to buy her handmade and preservative-free pate and shortbread. Both were delicious but particular mention must go to the buttery, crumbly biscuits – three of us devoured 8 large rounds of passionfruit topped ones in one afternoon!

maribyrnong makers market

I also loved Little Puddles’ DIY felt ball garland and wreath kit but wasn’t sure of my handicraft skills as to whether I’d be able to make one. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have worked up the nerve!

maribyrnong makers market

It’s not every day that you see someone like Raxor, a craftperson actually hand spinning yarn in order to make her woollen goods.

maribyrnong makers market

The Maribyrnong Makers Market is a great place to buy some lovely, unique and often handmade things and meet the makers who come from the local area. It’s also within walking distance to Seddon Village with cafes and more shops to explore.

Maribyrnong Makers Market’s next dates in 2014 are tomorrow Saturday 22 November where it will extend down to the nearby park Harris Reserve and Thursday 18 December, just in time for Christmas.

Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Saturday 22 November 9.30am – 3.30pm

Thursday 18 December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

HOT: The Little Man Café, 158 Victoria St, Seddon

Little Man Seddon
On a cold and windy morning the first thing that struck me as I entered
The Little Man Café Seddon was the bright airiness of the decor. Pushing over the door was like basking in a dose of Scandinavian sunshine – the kind that illuminates the sky for 22 hours in a day. It made me feel happy to be inside, away from the gloom of the grey day.

The Little Man Café is housed in the old Seddon post office and all of the drab red Auspost insignia has been replaced with whitewashed walls, creamy mellow turquoise tiles (with matching coffee cups and saucers stacked on the Synesso).

Little Man Cafe Seddon

Little Man Seddon

The small space was set out with a soft white and blonde wood colour palette, somewhat reminiscent of an IKEA display – we have those white chairs in our house! I particularly liked the high communal table which afforded an expansive view of the Victoria Street landscape.

The breakfast menu was 50% eggs and 50% everything else, with most of the usual suspects. We ordered sweet corn fritters with smoked salmon, ricotta zucchini salsa and pine nuts ($16) with an added poached egg [$18.50] and the mocha brioche French toast ($15).

Little Man Seddon

The presentation of both dishes was very artistic. My plate contained two fluffy pancakes with sweet corn studded within, topped with a large heap of salsa sandwhiched by a thick slice of smoked salmon. It was a vibrant and well-balanced dish in terms of flavour though the temperature of the salsa was uncomfortably stone-cold. I suspect that it’d been pulled out straight of the refrigerator and thus created an unappetising cold blast to the tongue after the warm fitters. The salsa would have married better with the rest of the plate if it’d been served closer to room temperature.

Little Man Seddon

The mocha brioche with caramelised nectarines, a smattering of candied hazelnuts and marscapone was a better dish in terms of combination of flavours and textures. The brioche was soft without being soggy, with just a subtle hint of espresso in its dough. A generous serve too for the price.

The Little Man Café also serves coffee is by Five Senses, tea by Chamellia and bread and pastries are from Noisette.

The Little Man Café was a lovely space and I’m sure a welcome addition to Seddon’s café’s strip. The ambience was calming, the service friendly and the food was standard café fare done well – hopefully they will be bolder with more experience and expand their menu to include more adventurous dishes.

The Little Man Café 158 Victoria St, Seddon (03) 9687 8881

Mon, Wed-Fri 7am-4pm

Sat, Sun 8pm-4pm

The Little Man Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

Common Galaxia, Shop 3130 Victoria St, Seddon

Common Galaxia sounds like a solar system from outer space, but in fact this cafe’s name derives from something more prosaic – Common Galaxias are silvery little whitebait which are found in the nearby Maribyrnong river (and in many rivers around the world).

I really like the poetic tale about them on the website ‘The Common Galaxias is a tiny reminder that nature will survive everything we build, and you can only ever borrow a spot on the bends of a river. A spot like this one…’ – being increasingly gentrified Victoria Street, Seddon.

In this still evolving strip of neighbourhood cafes and shops Common Galaxia stands out for its consistently excellent Seven Seeds coffee, the famous ‘Morkchocolate’ and the award-nominated interior design by previous owner Luke Mutton (who also owns Dead Man Espresso) in collaboration with the builder Fido Projects and with custom fittings by Justin Lamont of Life Space Journey.

The result is like being inside a beautiful wooden ship, with a mixture of American oak veneer, raw steel, copper, powder-coated fixtures and the whoosh of the coffee machine like the tooting of a steamer’s horn (for more interiors photos, click here).

Common Galaxia, Shop 3130 Victoria St, Seddon

I’m also particularly enamoured by the beautifully crafted adjustable wooden stools by Illogical Study that line the window bench.

Common Galaxia, Shop 3130 Victoria St, Seddon

Now for the food. The cafe is open daytime only so the menu is split into bakery, fruit and cereal, eggs and brunch and then sandwiches and larger lunch dishes from 11:30am. I try the fried egg with pancetta, potato and leek which is filling and loaded with hearty, rib-sticking savoury flavours.

Common Galaxia, Shop 3130 Victoria St, Seddon

RM has a grilled ham and cheese sandwich which is fairly unexciting on its own but is saved with some spicy tomato relish that we also took home.

Common Galaxia, Shop 3130 Victoria St, Seddon

And while it was still technically breakfast time we couldn’t go past the iced chocolate made with Jock’s Ice Cream and Mork chocolate ($6). It’s a delicious, icy, sweet concoction which is really just an excuse to drink dessert – go on and indulge!

SONY DSC

Common Galaxia is a firm favourite of westies and as of last week Common Galaxia has new owners – the Fox family – so it’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, will result from the new hands. 

Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon +61 3 9689 0309

Tue – Fri 7:30am – 4pm

Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm

Common Galaxia on Urbanspoon


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HOT Chat: Greg Ferrington of Westgate Community Initiatives Group Inc and LoveLuvo

Regular readers will know that I love finding out about social enterprise businesses in Melbourne (such as STREAT, Charcoal Lane and The Social Studio) and recently I was told about LoveLuvo, a retail store with environmentally friendly products for the home and body (as well as a manufacturing business) which provides employment for those with a mental disability. Today’s HOT Chat is with Greg Ferrington of Westgage Community Initatives Group Inc, which is the not-for-profit body behind LoveLuvo. Thanks Greg!

Greg, tell me a bit about your background and your involvement with Westgage Community Initatives Group Inc and LoveLuvo?

I have a background in the disability sector and have been working in this area for over 15 years.  During most of that time I managed disability employment services.  I have been with WCIG for over 5 years now and have been in various roles within the organization.  It is just recently that I have moved across to our social enterprises to work as their marketer.

My role is to build our social enterprises by marketing to private enterprise and not for profits.  With my role, “the sky is the limit” as there are many opportunities.

LoveLuvo is a social enterprise business. What is it that makes it unique?

Passion and enthusiasm.  As I said I moved from another part of WCIG and as soon as I arrived here it was noticeable. The culture is one of getting the job done but with a smile and a bit of fun along the way.  It is great to see the staff who have not been able to compete out in open employment come to a place of support and blossom.

I think there is one thing that stands out as testament to what we do.  We started in 2006 with 5 employees with a disability and today 4 of those remain with us.  That says that they have found their niche.  We have had other staff join us and move on but usually into open employment.


What kind of products will people find at LoveLuvo? Where do you source your products from?

We stock organic and environmentally friendly cleaning products for the bathroom and kitchen.  We also source organic and enviro- friendly beauty products for women and men.  All of our products are from Australia with nearly 90% of them coming from Victoria.  We like to keep a low carbon footprint as much as we can.

We are lucky to have some great suppliers who work closely with us to develop new products all the time.

Westgage Community Initatives Group Inc also has other social enterprise businesses including Cleanable and Onsite Catering – can you tell us a bit about them?

Cleanable is our commercial and domestic cleaning arm.  We have contracts with large organizations such as Western Region Health centre, Melbourne Health and Yarra Community Housing.  This has grown from a few contracts in 2006 to the size that it is now.  This has occurred because of the management’s determination to grow the business and allow opportunities for people with a mental illness to participate in the workforce.

Onsite Catering has only just opened this year and provides private and corporate catering services while providing training and employment opportunities for people with a disability.

What are some of the challenges you face opening a social enterprise business?

Changing people’s perceptions is the largest challenge that we face.  The image of social enterprises that most people have is of people working on very low rates of pay and doing monotonous work in a warehouse environment.  This needed to be changed and I believe it is.  There are very few types of social enterprises like that anymore and they are on their way out.

Building the brand was another challenge.  Many people in the inner west now know what we stand for and who we are but that was one of the struggles faced early on in the building of our social enterprises.  This was done by building strong relationships with both small and large organizations.  They were soon aware of the work that we did and word soon spread.

Finally, what are your tips for HOT places and things in Melbourne?

Go West!  There are some real secrets in the western suburbs.  Try the places below:

  • LoveLuvo – of course! (174 Victoria St, Seddon)
  • Los Latinos (128 Mitchell St, Maidstone +61 3 9318 5289) – the best south American food you will find
  • Sourdough Kitchen (172 Victoria St, Seddon +61 3 9687 5662) – unbelievable organic bread
  • Luca Haus (86a Charles Street, Seddon +61 3 9687 0039) – try the French vanilla slice