So as far as I know there are apparently two reasonably good cafes within Footscray. The Happy River Cafe in the Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Dancing Dog Cafe. WRONG. There might still be one, but the Dancing Dog Cafe was just awful. At first glance it could be a place in Fitzroy or Carlton - it certainly retains the attitude - but it lacks the good food, good drink and good music that would set those places apart. The best part of my visit was when this lovely African guy opened the door for me to push my pram through. That doesn't often happen, especially around here! Bad blueberry muffin; grainy, fluffy, overly sweet and very strangely pale in colour. Bad hot chocolate; made from cooking chocolate melted in a ramekin in the microwave accompanied by a mug of frothed milk and a dry marshmallow. The disgusting chocolate smelt burnt too. When you melt chocolate in the microwave, you need to stop and stir it every now again or it will burn. Obvious. Bad service; only one counterhand/waitress with no greeting, who took her time about serving me and who had serious trouble with eye contact. The other food in the display cabinet didn't look great either. A few pides with boring pides, pies from Bocastle in the pie warmer (does anyone make their own pies anymore or did Bocastle just totally corner the lazy cafe's owners market?). The seating isn't great either. A few tables outside, but then a bunch of armchairs crowded around a small coffee table, a few bar seats, a six seater table and a four seater table. Not much of a choice. The building is certainly cute compared to the rest of the places you find in Footscray. That's the nicest thing I can say about it.
It was listed as a 'mother friendly' cafe in the folder the crazy playgroup lady gave me. I don't know why. I only got my tiny stroller in a couple of metres from the door. I hope the Happy River Cafe isn't like that, because that's where we're meeting on Tuesday for our first playgroup session.
I do hear that the Dancing Dog Theatre is excellent and hosts many interesting small shows, much in the way La Mama does in Carlton, and maybe that's where all the swaggering comes from. It's a symptom of arty people 'in the know'. But the Dancing Dog was definitely not worth the half-hour walk with stroller from our apartment. I think I stayed in there for about 10 minutes it was that comfortable.
When I was leaving the lone counterhand ducked out the front with a friend for a cigarette. Who was manning the cash register then? Ugh. It was just painful. I walked Wolf home and got one of those bloody Grand Angus burgers from McDonalds. Talk about piling up the bad decisions. I am eating nothing but apples for the rest of the day.