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Fairfield Farmers market

Fairfield has it’s own farmers market, which is held at the Fairfield primary school on Wingrove street 3rd Saturday of each month, and fifth Saturday when the month permits!

Fairfield Farmers Market- Pine mushroomsEntry is by a gold coin donation. I picked up some delicious wild pine mushrooms last time i went, and they made a really delicious vegetarian pizza!

As dangerous and suspicious as they look, they are quite amazing in taste- one of the best mushrooms I have ever tried!

for more info, check out the farmers market website.



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Vapiano italian Restaurant- Melbourne Flinders lane

Vapiano is a very different sort of  Italian restaurant that has a number of very clever and innovative points of Vapiano italian melbourne CBD teppinyaki style restaurantdifference…. The best way to sum it up is to describe it as a Teppinyaki syle showmanship meets Italian cuisine!!

I was shown this place by a friend and her parents when they came to visit Melbourne for the weekend.

Initially, i was a bit suspicious of the place- after walking in, you kind of realise the place has been set up somewhat like a chain restaurant, ready for marketing and franchising all across Australia and the world at large.

First point of difference is the “techy’ aspect of the payment and ordering systems- there is NO waitress, – the guy at the front counter-  I guess you could call him the maître d, in a loose sense, first asks if you have been to vapiano before, then gives each person a plastic red prox card, not unlike a Myki card for the trains.

He then explains that each card is a post-paid wallet, that can go up to $75 in debt. You can spend it at the bar, the fresh pasta shop, or  just at the open, theatre-like kitchen to buy.. well.. an Italian meal. When you are finished, you take the card to the cashier, and pay off the debt- its like a tab card at a pub. If you lose it.. you have to pay the maximum balance on it. The system is pretty fantastic for large groups and birthday parties, because bill splitting is mandatory.The only catch is that the cards all look EXACTLY the same, so its easy to mix them up if you put them on the table with everyone else’s one.

You go up to the kitchen, which is like a bar full of cooks in white and red uniforms, and tell your chosen chef directly what you want from the menu, then you tap your card at his or her station. The meal is then cooked fresh, from scratch, right there in front of you!

The cooking process is a bit formulaic, where the chef mostly whips out little pre measured baggies and cups of this and that, sort of like the “sandwich artists” in subway do when they make up food in a production line manner there. That said, theres a lot more skill involved in this instance- and the chefs make it look EASY- good for your won cooking confidence.

I ordered a tagliatelle pesto, cheese prawn and pine nut pasta dish- took maybe 7-10 minutes for the chef to cook it up to perfection for me, with him asking along the way how i like it- more cheese, tomato on top, that sort of thing, which makes you feel like a bit of spesh customer.  The result was both visually pleasing, decent in size, and totally delicious. I brought some other friends to vapiano again a few weeks later, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Oh, and i did happen to notice that there was a happy hour special with cheap beer and wine around knock off time from work… with the big long tables they have, and and easy access bar, vapiano wouldnt be a bad place to


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Degraves Street Melbourne Best Baguettes

Most days when I’m in melbourne on a lunchbreak, and feeling hungry for a simple, tasty and Degraves Street Baguette Brie and Hamsatisfying lunch on a budget, i head down to the Degraves street alleyway, where all manner of small laneway cafes and lunch haunts are hollering for my business with some pretty tasty deals.

It’s just across from Flinders Street station, and even is accessible via it’s subway which crosses under Flinders Street.

The alleyway proffers all manner of lunchable treats and cramped, yet cozy cafe experiences, but I’m there for the budget lunch of choice for Melbournians- the classic, cheap baguette.
There are a few places that do good baguettes for a fiver or under;
1) The place at the end of the alley, to the right of the the grotty little grafitti covered stoop where musicians and buskers tend to loiter and serenade the lunchtime crowd. As far as i can tell, it has no disceDegraves Street baguette standrnible name, but you can regognise it from its big colourful sign that SCREAMS $5 Baguettes!!

The rolls are smaller than some of the other places but the quality is a bit of a notch above the rest. I like the brie, ham and caramelised onion with salad. $5. (see pic above)

2) Inarush Expresso- This one is halfway down, again on the left hand side. As well as quite good soups and salads, which are the prominent, and nicer offering at this place, They do a few different types of cheapie baguettes, and again, they are a bit smaller than some of the other places in the alley. The meatball one is ok, but the toasted chicken snitzel with cheese panini for $5 is the goods.
The salads they do are well prices, and the theres quite a variety of soups in large, tempting looking steaming tureens out the front. You can sit down at the table round the back too, which is nice. I think they donate some of their profits to charities for the homeless, which is nice.

3) Now the BEST place- BB cafe- they boast TWO shopfronts- one on either side of the alley. A teeny $4.50 for a so called “petite” baguette, and $6.50 for a “grande” baguette. Now, the petite is pretty massive, and the grande is just a plain MONSTER.
Favourite varieties are the chicken, mayo and sweetcorn, the eggplant snitzel, and the classic chicken snitzel. All come with salad, cheese and a tasty mayo in them. the buns are consistently nice and fresh and soft, with the right amount of crunch.
These are GOOD. and worth a fair bit more than the almost mid 1990’s prices of yesteryear they seem to be charging.
Good food, and good value.


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