I’ve only eaten one Philly cheesesteak before, and it was a terrible introduction. It was at a random Manhattan diner and it was unappetising and generally rubbish. I left feeling disappointed and slightly queasy and didn’t expect to eat one ever again.
Fortunately for Melbourne diners, as the Americana trend matures regional specialties are emerging from the generic burger and hotdog menus. Sparrow’s specialises in Philly cheesesteaks and is located in Catfish on Gertrude St (which was previously the shabby bar Gertrude’s Brown Couch). Now it has a minimalist interior with a menu of craft beers and warm heating to combat the cold of winter and the bare concrete floor.
I had the cheesesteak with jalapenos and American cheese. The steak is sliced thin and is tender, the onions have that perfect charred grill taste, the bun is soft yet chewy and the cheese is delicious yellow goo. The fries are good and the onion rings are fantastic. I chose a Tooborac American pale ale because I’ve enjoyed it previously at a tasting of the microbrewery’s beers at their home in the Tooborac hotel.
On a Monday night the basic cheesesteaks are only $8 or $10 with fries. This is an absolute bargain and I’ve never seen a bar so popular on a Monday night. Not much is open on a Monday so that may account for part of it, but the main appeal is the food. I will definitely be returning.
I’ve been thinking about signing up for a share car service, but I don’t know which one to join. Flexicar, Goget and Green Share Car all have cars located in Fitzroy. There’s also Car Next Door, where the business model is people provide their personal cars to the share pool so you can really be renting your neighbour’s car rather than one from a dedicated fleet. The City of Yarra supports car sharing services and you can read more information on their website.
I’m interested in issues like the comparative costs of the different companies, as their rates differ, and which is best for me. I’m not even sure what my usage might be as on the few times I need to use a car I can usually be flexible about my errand and borrow a friend’s. But that may not always be possible.
If you are a member of one of these services, please tell me why you chose the one you did. How convenient is it? Do you consider it good value for money? If anyone has been a member of more than one service, what differences were you aware of? What made you change? If like me you haven’t signed up yet, what makes you hesitate? For me, it’s the hassle of reading the fine print and working out which may suit me best. I haven’t been able to find any good comparative analysis.
The City of Yarra Libraries has just reprinted a few hundred copies of Fitzroy: Melbourne’s First Suburb, a history of Fitzroy that’s been out of print for years and impossible to find in secondhand bookshops. It’s on sale at any branch of Yarra Libraries for $55. You can also read a free online version in the website of the Fitzroy History Association.