As a part of my honours thesis and for the love of all things worth eating, drinking, and experiencing, this is Savour SA - a friendly place where appreciation for quality South Australian food and drink abounds. Feedback is welcomed - heck, it's even encouraged! Some of it will be bundled up as part of my research. So, let us eat, drink, and be heaps merry.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Little Van That Could

When one has had a few wines and a 3am bedtime after a joyous Saturday wedding, one can sometimes struggle on a Sunday, can’t one? Yes, one can. And one knows one needs something a little special when not even a fried breakfast with a hash brown on the side, a mug of coffee and a quick sniff of a texta seems to spark up one’s self. One is not living up to one’s full Sunday potential and something must be done.

Who better to understand wasted potential than The Little Van That Could? Don’t be fooled by the name; The Little Van wasn’t always so capable. Once a washed-up circus food server, stranded in a lot full of rusty and crusty abandoned vehicles, The Little Van was more ‘can’t’ than ‘could’. With love, and creativity, and hard work, probably a few little swear words and obviously a lot of cleverness from Monique Bowley, The Little Van That Could was created. 

It’s a sunny Sunday that brings both van and one together. In some April fools’ kind of joke, the sky is a rude shade of blue. An impromptu late afternoon visit to the van finds me one back at the place where this blog began: the VUWP. The yard is still scrappy, and full of misfits (furniture and folks), and as this Sunday is its final day as a pop-up winery, the place is comfortably buzzy. 

Perched in an oversized crate that’s sitting on one of its sides, creating a sunny yellow cave, manfriend and I/one/whatever focus our weary peepers on lady and mans moving the van from one side of the yard to the other, gearing up for the night ahead. And as eyes observe, nose is tickled by the wafts of some tasty animal product being grilled at the neighboring stall, and the inside of mouth has got that dehydrated sticky feeling, like a starfish plucked from the water and swelling on the sand in the heat. And in nod to some sort of cruel, delayed satisfaction, we wait, and wait for the The Little Van That Could.

The Little Van has all the charm of a retro housewife; immaculately groomed, holding carnations, adorned with cute printed patterns, showcasing homemade wares, and doing it all with a smile – because she bloody loves it. Guys want to date her. Dolls want to be her. Proudly donning that most delightful powder/baby/Tiffany blue, she looks as crisp as they come in the yard full of stuff.

Paying our pennies, we sat back in the crate with our legs poking out into the rays, and through that straw I sucked in some of the most perfectly icy, citrus tangy, refreshing, starfish-rehydrating liquid I’ve ever sampled. And in the sun, on that Sunday, it’s just what one needed. And hells bells, it was worth the wait. 

The Little Van specialises in homemade lemonade. There’s ginger beer, and peach, and other fruity beverages too, and they are all delicious. Sometimes there’s tea. And sometimes there are grown-up drinks as well. You see, the charming thing about this Little Van is that you don’t always know where to find her. She could be in a yard, or on a side street, or parked on some grass. I’m sure you will find that The Little Van is becoming an Adelaide icon, much like guy, but perhaps a little more restrained and mysterious. This gal keeps you guessing.

I met The Little Van on Sunday. I don’t know where I’ll find her next. That’s part of the thrill that one (me again) loves so much. In a town that is sometimes full of dirty and cheap eats, The Little Van offers innocent, clean, unadulterated taste. And I’m sure one will find, it’s heaps worth trying. 

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