We've just got back from Goulburn, where we saw some amazing acts at the annual Australian Blues Festival. Pugsley Buzzard is a fabulous pianist, with a voice of gravel. Sorta kinda like a cross between Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits, Fats Waller and Nick Cave; always worth seeing. And we saw the Lemon Squeezing Daddies with new front woman, Perle Noire, who looks and sounds like she's out of Chicago but is actually a Londoner. In the one paid show we went to, Doc Neeson (of the Angels) walked on stage looking oddly like Matt Preston, and delivered a solid blues-rock set, with guitarist Mal Eastwick. New finds from this time are the young Shaun Kirk, from Melbourne and Luna, who it turns out are from Canberra, even though I haven't seen them around here yet.
In food news, we ate at the Tatts one night, which is pretty standard pub grub. They do a decent burger and a cook your own steak; the scotch fillet I had was great, very tender. The salad bar was decent, with good fresh greens but I'd steer clear of the curry coleslaw if I were you. The other night we ate at the Goulburn Workers Club, which is pretty standard club grub. A decent salt and pepper squid, a slightly odd caesar salad with whole lettuce leaves and no egg, and a big slice of garlic bread instead of croutons. Also no anchovies, but I don't even expect anchovies in a Caesar these days.
Cafe Book is our first choice option for breakfast, with a fairly standard bacon and egg breakfast. The menu is nothing remarkable, but the food is all fresh and hot and well cooked. You get service with a smile, and a huge wall of second hand books for sale. And enormous smoothies. The bakery up the road near the Big Merino is not bad, either, and do a nice sourdough and a good cornbread. In both cases, it helps to order the coffee extra strong. What is it with country towns and weak coffee?
Meanwhile, back in Canberra, the Handmade Upmarket is back next weekend. This thing just keeps growing and growing. It's a market for regional craftspeople, and the goods for sale include a decent selection of food, as well as all the jewelery, clothes, bags and so on. It outgrew the Albert Hall, then the Yarralumla Woolshed and the Kamberra Wine centre, and have now moved to the National Convention Centre. Saturday 19th February, from 11am. They're also running a shop, on the Boulevard near the former Electric Shadows, but the range there is naturally much smaller. As well as the crafty stuff, they stock some good chockies from Lindsay & Edmunds and the Curious Chocolatier.
By the way, pARTy cakes will be there, and donating 25% of their profits to ovarian cancer research. So get in there and eat cake. I've bought cupcakes from them before; they are very good.