Market Day In Brisbane

Most Wednesdays, Lila and I make the trek into town to visit a museum, shop the weekly downtown farmer’s market, and have a nice lunch out.   I feel it is important to teach her how to behave in a variety of surroundings, she does very well as a rule.

That’s the Modern Art Gallery, now hosting a wildly popular Valentino exhibit.  I have had a chance to visit and make notes and sketches; I’m working on that post.  This was Lila’s fourth visit.  She calmed down enough this time to ask questions about the dresses and tell me the colors.  We headed down to the children’s art center.

It is made to resemble a pint-sized “ghost town” of the sort that have been emptied to fill bustling Australian cities like Brisbane.  Kids create little pieces of art to live in each of the different shops; this is the super market.  I thought some of the creations were thought-provoking, rather telling of the world these children live in:

“Blue Goo, now with more Chemicals!”  “Canned Environment”

We headed over the Brisbane river, across a little bridge.  I took some pictures from the bridge to illustrate the vigorous growth happening right before my eyes.  I feel like I’m watching a city burst into life.

The Performing Arts Center, across from the museums, next to the river.  What’s with the adorable giant lego-man invasion?  Are they armed?   Are they seeking human slaves to build a Brave New (lego) World?  Is it the apocolypse?   I kept my distance just in case.  Note the crane.

From the bridge.  You can see the Queesland Performing Arts Centre and the tiny copy of the London Eye.  I don’t want to talk about that, but Lila insists we’ll ride it some day.  How many cranes can you spot?

The Other side of the bridge, Brisbane’s Central Business District.  That blue building is the library, the markets take place in the square in front of it.  How many cranes in this photo?  They’re everywhere as I walk through the city.  I think the words “development explosion” don’t begin to cover it.

Ah, the end of the bridge, the beginning of the markets.  I adore a good food market, second only to a good artisan market.  This one packs dizzying variety into a tiny little space and the quality of the produce, meats, cheese, bread and pasta I buy here unsurpassed.  If you live in or near Brisbane, you’ll do well to check this out.  It happens every Wednesday.

I do the bulk of our grocery shopping here- I refuse to support the Coles/Woolworth dualocracy stranglehold.  Coles and Woolworths control almost 100% of the grocery shopping in Australia- they do so using the same shady tactics made notorious by Wal-mart: price cutting, abusive employee relations (I know a few people…), buying the land around their stores so others can’t build, predatory business practices, etc etc.  As much as possible, our money goes elsewhere.  Thanks to this market and the ethnic markets, we find it surprisingly easy if a trifle cumbersome.  The fact that the farmer’s market has better quality at almost the same price as a regular grocery is the icing drizzled over an already fabulous cake.

First Stop (and my favorite): Village Meats Rosalie

Hormone and cruelty free, organic meats based out of Nerang.  Check out the sausage selection:

  • Pork, Fresh Rhubarb and Ginger
  • Beef, Basil and Sundried Tomato
  • Duck and Fresh Orange
  • Lamb with Fig and Lime
  • Pork and Honey (delicious, a favorite)
  • Beef, Bacon and Maple
  • Rabbit with White Wine, Sage and Garlic
  • Pork with Fennel and Ginger

They were out of my absolute favorite, Pork with Leek.  Meat rarely features as a main dish in my cooking; I use it for flavor and to appease my more omnivorous husband.  I usually get two meals from a package of these sausages.  The simplest involves making a nice big pot of lentils and veggies, with balls of browned sausage added towards the end.  Delicious.  I use the sausage to flavor quiche, pasta dishes, stuffed vegetables, etc.

Plus, the ladies of Rosalie always stop to chat with me- swapping recipes and crafty ideas, discussing “greenie” philosophies.  Drop by and see them, they’re lovely and liberal with their free samples.

Another example of ethical meats.  I also usually see a lamb man, seafood trawlers, a pork man and the purveyor of quail eggs.  I buy a few sausages, that’s about it for us for meat.

The inside of a French bakery, run by a real Frenchwoman.  It’s hard to get in, it is always packed.  I can’t describe the smell- sugar, warm, runny, creamy, frothy, hot, crispy, chocolate.  It smells exactly like a real pâtisserie.  I felt I gained ten pounds just sniffing.  They bake at the market site, create that entire shop interior and take it down every week.  Amazing.  God bless the French.

I like to buy our bread from the Germans a few stalls down.  It’s easy for me to pretend I’m in Europe, most of the market stalls seem to be manned by recent European immigrants: Greek cheese, olives and pastries, Turkish bread, Italians making fresh pasta (they taught me to make cannelloni and carbonara sauce), Israeli hummous (which is just the same as the hummous I ate in Israel), Palestinian Lebnah (called “Yogurt Cheese” for the sake of the Aussies), and good-old fruitcakey hippie vegetables- brought to you by Byron Bay:

To me, they taste like fresh picked vegetables grown in proper soil which is to say they’re divine.  Whether the music and native bees have anything to do with it…

The Germans and their frankfurters- $5 each.  As a rule I don’t enjoy hotdogs; the line for this stall snakes around the outer perimeter of the market during lunch-time, hundreds of people line up for one of these.  I had to see what all the fuss was about.  Dear me!  I never knew what a hotdog could be before I had one of theirs.  Made with real meat, stuffed by true artisans, topped with home made mustard in a chewy European-style roll.  Wow.  Food of the gods, I am absolutely not kidding.  Husband often requests I bring him home one of these.

The markets always make me smile.  I learn new ways to prepare food, and I discovered how delicious something as simple as a hotdog or a fresh potato can be.  Have you ever had a fresh potato? It is a revelation. 

I crossed the street to catch the bus home, I stood transfixed by the way the light hit the edges of the peculiarly cube-shaped Bank of New South Wales building.  Never mind that it is in Queensland, and houses Westpac bank.  Brisbane has so little colonial architecture, but I do like what it has.

Now I’m off to finish my new marketing bag, complete with an insulated pocket designed for carrying around my sausages.


  1. I was very lucky to be able to visit Brisbane last summer and I really love it! It's a fantastic city–and definitely experiencing a lot of growth! Thanks for the pictures!

  2. I love Brisbane! I'm probably the only person here old enough to remember, but sometime in the early 80's or perhaps even late 70's, Westpac bank was born out of a merger of the Bank of New South Wales and the Commercial Bank of Australia. Here in Mullumbimby the old Bank of New South Wales building still has it's old logos (and original walk in safe) but is now a health food store. The National Bank building in Mullum is a similar style to this one, only much much smaller.

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