Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pies of Perth. I've just got back from the CSAA conference in Perth, which was quite exciting and provocative. I met some great people and hung out with other great people I'd already met. I tore Project Mel into tatters and threw them off the balcony of the Sail and Anchor pub in Fremantle, screaming "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!" But then in unwitting and humiliating compensation, I cycled around Rottnest Island - a distance that Gemma and I sagely agreed was about 20km. I'll blog about all this some other time.

But now to review what I felt was one of the key features of the conference: the exponential increase in my meat pie consumption.

Wednesday 8 December: Beef Stroganoff Pie from Jesters Fremantle

Some would argue that Jesters don't make "real" pies. They bill themselves as "the jaffle pie company", which leads me to conclude only that someone bought them one of those dinky pie makers for Christmas one year, and they went, "What the fuck am I supposed to do with this? Oh I know - I'll start a pie shop!" Anyway, it was really fucking hot in Perth and I was whingeing about being hungry and I just couldn't be arsed looking any further than Jesters. And it was a known quantity. The stroganoff pie had quite a creamy-textured filling, so it was a bit of a handful to negotiate in public. But it was very tasty. And the pastry had that pleasing crispiness on the outside while being velvety on the inside. Just what I needed! Verdict: 8/10.

Saturday 10 December: Party Pies at Conference Lunch

The conference food was generally pretty average, but they talked it up in the 'menu' printed in our conference booklets. The first day it was various curries. Thinking back, that was one of the highlights, but at the time I thought it would get better. The second day was various sandwiches, but the bread was stale and some of the fillings were better than others. The baguettes consisted of making a slit in the bread and stuffing it with filling, which would squeeze right back out again when you took a bite. But anyway. The third day was a variety of reheated-looking finger foods. I had been looking forward to the ricepaper rolls but words can't really do justice to how FUCKING FOUL! they tasted. But thank god, there were pies. Little party pies. They had a very slight spiciness to them, but I felt the filling/pastry ratio was a little skewed towards pastry. Verdict: 6/10.

Sunday 12 December: Beef Pie from Food Court at Fremantle Docks

The Indian dude who ran the place said, preemptively, "They're all beef."
"I would like a beef pie, please," I said with great dignity.
I should add that while I was getting my Aussie tradesmen's meal of pie and 600ml Coke, Will was getting his Sydney metrosexual meal of soy flat white and orange and poppyseed muffin. But anyway. It was just a normal pie: perhaps a little dry in consistency, and the pastry was a little flakier than I would have liked, resulting in me getting covered with pastry flakes and looking greedy and slovenly while eating the pie on the ferry to Rottnest. But taste-wise, it was fine. Verdict: 7/10.

Monday 13 December: Chunky Beef Pie from Old-Lady-Country-Town-Style Bakery, Fremantle

I had actually rejected this shop on Tuesday because it looked daggy and dank up the back, but yesterday I felt I couldn't go past it again. And I'm glad I didn't, because this pie was just great. The perfect pastry consistency, the perfect gravy viscosity. Sure, it had the promised chunks of beef, but it also had unexpected chunks of carrot and potato, making me feel that, even though I'd had pies for several previous main meals, this one was actually 'healthy'. Verdict: 10/10.

Tuesday 14 December: Meat Pie from Kiosk in Kings Park, Perth

The dude was so disappointed. His finger was hovering over the "sauce 30c" button on the cash register. What a scam. I ate this pie surveying Perth's skyline. It was pretty crap: it had that tell-tale floppy texture from having been microwaved, and the meat had that dry, gravelly texture from sitting in a bain-marie for too long. I was also suspicious that there were no pies in sight at the kiosk; instead, the dude fetched it for me. How suss is that? Not good pie! Verdict: 5/10.

Coming soon: Summary of My Perth Shopping Purchases, plus: My Impressions of the Conference.

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