Sunday, November 18, 2007

Johnston Street Fiesta 2007

I had never heard of the Johnston Street Festival before, but a friend alerted me a week ago that it would be on. Being the professional foodie that I am, I had to go and sample everything and report back for fellow foodies. I was initially just going to go alone, since I like to wander around slowly and sometimes other people get a bit bored with this. However, when Kin rang me in the morning, I asked if he and Jo wanted to come along as well. They said yes so off we went.

By the time we got there, it was already about 1:30pm (we're all late starters on weekends, especially after a few too many drinks the previous night), so we were starving. There was a very healthy crowd along the street as it was a glorious day.

We started to work our way through the stalls and everything looked so good. The first thing we went past was Paella, seafood paella to be precise. How could I pass that up, so we got a box to share. It was delicious, with the rice being beautifully flavoured. The only way it could have been improved was if it contained some chorizo.

So missing our chorizo, we next got a Churrasco Plate. It had a mixture of pork wrapped in bacon, chorizo and beef. It was all yummy, served with rice and potato salad. The only problem was, we still didn't have enough of a chorizo fix.

So while we went and grabbed some refreshing home made lemonade, we eyed some chorizon cooking. We went and got chorizo in a roll with caramelised onion and a salsa (the salad that is, not the dance). The sausage was yummy yummy yummy. The salsa with it's slightly acidic flavour went great with it.

We were all getting full by this stage, and got a shaved ice dessert. I still spied all these pastries and bbq meats that I must try next year.

To finish off, I had wanted some churros. But I guess it wasn't meant to be. At one stall where I was lining up for ages and was finally second in line, the churros machine BROKE. There was outrage, people were waiting for their churros. The crowd was ready to revolt, but nothing could be done. The technician was trying to fix it but to no avail. Hence I had to drop my head and walk away from it. The meant everyone walked over to the other stall that sold the churros. The queue was so large and I was feeling the effect of the sun from lining up the first time so I decide churros would just have to wait till another time.

Instead, we settled for Dipping Dots. They're ice cream, but in tiny droplets. I think they're probably made by dropping ice cream into liquid nitrogen or something. They are ultra cold when they hit your mouth and start to melt instantly. It's pretty cool since each drop is a different flavour and you get different combinations of flavours depending on which drops you had together. After a while though, the novelty started to wear off and I decided that they weren't as nice and normal smooth ice cream.

Finally, with our bellies full, we made it to the end of the street where they were judging the winners of the dance competition. There was a massive roar from the crowd when Peru was announced as the winners. They then went on to perform their winning dance.

After soaking up some more sun, it was time to go home and digest all the sights and tastes of the day. A final stop in some shops along the street saw many interesting things like antique furniture to Christmas decorations. A very enjoyable and relaxing day.


  1. I went to this Fiesta last year! Sooo much goooood food... unfortunately the lineup for churros was just as long then. You were so unlucky to miss out like that. :-(

  2. This was a good day until we ran into that guy who drives Benneton around!

  3. Cindy, this was the first year I went and was pleasantly surprised how much food variety there was. The Greek Festival in Lonsdale street was so disappointing, nothing to eat at all. I ended up eating Japanese that time.

    I can't believe the machine broke, how can that happen. Couldn't it break after I got my churros.

    Anonymous, well the driver now has more imnportant friends than us. We're not good enough anymore.

  4. I love the Johnson Street Fiesta. We usually go but this year opted to watch the chefs and restauranteurs battle it out on the soccer fields in Thornbury for the Starlight Foundation.

    I think George Calombaris' kitchen Brigade form The Press Club took out the cup, with that many Greeks on the team it was inevitable. Guy Grossi got king hit playing Cecconi's Cantina (Hot headed Italians) and Paul Wilson was surprisingly nimble on his feet for The Botanical.

  5. Stickyfingers, I remember reading about that soccer game in The Age. It must have been hilarious to watch the chefs run around.

    You must have taken photos, I'll pop by your Flickr account soon to take a look.

    The festival was great, so much food to try. I wished that churros machine didn't break down though, really wanted to try some.

  6. Hi Thanh> We went to the fiesta this year too. Gorged on some tasty picarones (delicious peruvian corn doughnuts), corn fritters, paella (not so good and I spilt it on my shirt!), some beef and rice ensemble and we were getting full but had enough room for the churros. Strangely though, we opted for San Churros who were giving free vouchers away- what a tragedy to hear about the churros machine!!!

  7. BTW Paul from 'Eat This!' posted on the Alfajores he got at the Fiesta. Too bad you missed out on the Churros - apparently around the corner in Brunswick Street Chocolateria San Churro(?) do good ones. It's a chain of Spanish style chockie shops.

    I'll be uploading some snaps tonight from the soccer and will do a brief post. I also have a Vanilla Slice from Daylesford to post on the VSBlog too.

  8. Sticky is right, San Churro does its business on Brunswick St all year round. We sampled their churros for the first time on Friday! Our churros were only OK - it was crowded and our box of 'em wasn't exactly fresh outta the deep fryer. On the bright side, the chocolate dipping sauce was excellent! Full report to be blogged soon...

  9. Can't wait Cindy - chocolate is my ultimate weakness...especially dark...mmm churros, there was once a stall at Moomba that served them with dark chocolate or dulce de leche.

    BTW apologies to Paul, his blog is EAT ME!

    Paul on Alfajores from the Johnson Street Hispanic Fiesta

  10. Hey M, I was disappointed the whole FFF crew didn't turn up for the bloggers banquet. I was hoping to meet you all. You guys munched through a lot of food too.

    Free churros, what the? I couldn't even get my hands on paid churros. Oh well, there's also next year.

    Stickyfingers, thanks for the link to Paul's post. I just read it, those alfajores looked good. I saw a San Churros at Knox City shopping centre. But it was really late and they were closing so couldn't buy one. Next time I'll try one.

    Cindy, ah the power of the blogosphere. You find out about so many great places. Please do a full blog and next time I'm in Brunswick, I'll know some more places to stop at.