Little Evie 

Sometimes my reason for taking myself out for a meal is sheer laziness. I want some extravagant concoction but I’m too bone tired to construct it myself. So, what do I do? I do what everyone else in my generation does – outsource it. while I am capable of creating the gourmet (when things go to plan), I’m also capable of extreme lethargy!

Towards the end of last year I achieved an extreme physical feat. I and a team of my friends completed tough mudder. An 18km obstacle course filled with – you guessed it – mud! Although I was proud, by Sunday morning I was also exhausted and incapable of the feat of feeding myself. As a girl has gotta eat, that morning I took myself off to a cafe that I’ve walked passed many times but never ventured in – little Evie.


Located on Bourke street a block back from Cleveland street, Little Evie is an open, minimalist style cafe which has taken up residence in a location previously occupied by a cafe that can only be described as average. The teal, grey and golden timber tones give off a feeling of calm – a total contrast to the lightening fast speed of service. I’ve been here three times now and on each occasion the time between ordering and food arrival has been around 10 minutes. 

And the dishes….. delicious! Tasty and fresh ingredients, well cooked and piled generously on to large plates. On my first visit, I created my own one of a kind meal, using the optional sides to turn poached eggs on toast into a protein feast – adding roast chicken and mushrooms. And the roast chook isn’t the only unusual breakfast side available – they offer lamb too for those who like a meaty start to their morning. 


The next two occasions I ordered the same thing- the breakfast salad with a side of the chicken (#chickenforbreakfastisntwierd). This vege salad is exactly the kind of dish you want on a morning that promises a hot summer day ahead. Cool, refreshing and wholesome. It’s a massive plate but chock full of greens- you know it must be good for you!

I’ve spoken to the owxzner a few times now – he’s generally behind the cash register – in he always cares if I have enjoyed my meal. This place has become a staple in my cafe collection and I can’t wait for it to become a favourite of all my friends too! 

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Pablo & Rusty’s, Sydney CBD

I have often worried that as I have gotten older, I have become less social. I have no scheduled dinner parties, no nights out clubbing – in fact very few evening activities at all. As someone who thrives off social activity, it makes me wonder – am I spending too much time alone? Then I realised, no – I’m still a social butterfly, it’s just that the time that I like to socialise has changed. The new prime real estate in my calendar is now the week day breakfast and working in the city as I have for the pass year gives me easy access to some great week day only breakfast spots.

One such place is Pablo & Rusty’s. Located on Castlereagh Street, this place is a little oasis of strong coffee, delicious pastries and friendly service. When the rest of the world appears to still be asleep, this place is buzzing.

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I’ve hit up Pablo’s twice in the last six weeks and both times have been wonderful. Although I was in the door before 7.30am on both occasions, I found myself still having to wait for a table.  It wasn’t terrible though. The staff are on the ball and with the quick breakfast service, within five minutes I was seated and ready to order. While you are at a table, they don’t rush you which is so nice. They seem to have hit that perfect balance between efficiency and courtesy – something that is really hard to do.

And the food is beautiful, pretty as a picture – and I did take a picture. If you can tear yourself away from the drool worth display case of muffins, tarts, croissants and danishes, the menu items are so worth it. From toast piled high with eggs, greens, mushrooms and other goodies to creamy porridge and muesli chock full of nuts and fruit, there is not a disappointing item on the menu.  You won’t experience FOMO no matter what you order – something I often suffer from.

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If you’re in a rush, or feeling greedy, most items are available take away. That way you can have your eggs, and your cake… and eat it too. I’ve never been for lunch but I’ve heard it’s pretty spectacular. If the breakfasts are anything to go by, I can well believe it.

After several happy catch ups here, my friend and I have decided the Pablo’s is now our special place and there is nothing better than basking in the glow of an awesome friendship while filling your tummy with awesome food.

The Wolf Wine Bar, Sydney

As I’m sure I have mentioned before, I love a bargain. I have registered to all the local deal sites and I happen to own a copy of the Entertainment Book. Some people might assume that the restaurants, cafes and experiences featured in these sorts of things must be terrible– why otherwise would they have to promote themselves like this? I’m here to tell you that this is not so! Some of them are gems.

I went to one such gem for an early morning, pre-work breakky in the city with a friend who was up from Melbourne. Given that she comes from the land of awesome cafes, I wanted something special and The Wolf Wine Bar on Hunter Street fit the bill. She also happens to love a discount so was instantly sold on sighting my entertainment book voucher.

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It was a lovely experience! On a freezing cold morning, everything was warm – from the cafe atmosphere to the welcome we received. It was enough to thaw my fingers and toes, body parts I haven’t been able to feel since the middle of June.

To top it all off, when I asked for a giant long black, I got a giant long black – served by a lovely lady who sympathised with the state of my extremities and exclaimed that she was also ‘not a penguin’.

This place has everything I love – a feeling of cosiness and warmth, sweet and friendly staff and an extensive menu. It even features an avocado section where you can have your avo on toast in five different ways on a choice of six different types of bread.

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My friend, a smashed avo lover, immediately picked one of the avocado options – goats cheese, harrisa and avocado on Turkish toast which she proclaimed to be spicy and lovely.

My sister, who was suffering from a head cold, went for the quinoa porridge with coconut milk, banana and dates. She found it to be tasty, warming and comforting.

Since I have been craving corn fritters of late, I jumped at the chance to order them and my wait was worth it. They were crispy, sweet, chock full of corn kernels, and super tasty – even without the bacon that they were meant to come with (I wasn’t in the mood).  The side of roast tomatoes were also awesome – smoky and delicious.

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I always love breakfast but on a chilly, work filled Wednesday, it was the highlight of my day! I can’t wait to give The Wolf a go at lunchtime or dinner – and snag another awesome deal!

 

 

 

Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery

Like everyone I suppose I go through phases where I try and follow a specific type of diet. This makes eating out hard. I therefore find great joy when I discover a place serving a variety of dishes with a least one that fits my needs. Most recently, that place has been Foodcraft Espresso and Bakery in Erskineville.

Although much has been written about their tella balls – they have achieved widespread fame for these, not much has been said about their regular breakfast and lunch dishes which I personally feel are even more noteworthy.
When the tella balls first became famous, photos surfaced online of queues wrapping around the block. Though I think this craziness has now passed, these images have scarred me and I have since been convinced that the only way to get into try this place was to go midweek or super early.

That’s why one Sunday, when my sister and I were up at 6.30am and both shaking our heads at our stupid body clocks for getting us out of our nice warm beds ridiculously early, I suggested we hit up foodcraft for breakky. See everything has a silver lining!
The place was practically deserted and after snagging a prime parking spot, we settled ourselves at a lovely window-side table and took a gander at the menu.


As I was on a health kick, I was immediately drawn to the egg white scramble with poached chicken, mushroom, avocado, spinach and toast ($21). To my surprise, my sister who never orders muesli out (it’s her weekday staple) went for the granola with berry compote and coconut yoghurt ($12).
Sometimes when you choose the healthy option you feel like you’re missing out. Not in this case. All I can say is yum yum yum YUM!!!! This had to be one of the best breakfasts we’ve both had in ages. We were talking about if for days and we’ve been discussing going back ever since.


What made it so great? The scramble was light and fluffy and the juices from the mushrooms and chicken soaked into the bread making it the tastiest thing ever. The granola was well balanced in flavour, not too sweet and my sister was super impressed that it came with a small jug of milk and not just the yoghurt – she’s a big believer of milky muesli and hates it when she is forced into a yoghurt “mush” situation. Plus the staff were both efficient and friendly. It was all round an awesome experience.


Though neither of us are keen for another super early wake up, especially in the dead of winter, we can’t wait to return. Maybe next time we’ll do lunch. I hear a 12 hour, slow cooked lamb sandwich calling my name…

Bill’s, Bondi Beach

Sometimes we Aussies do it best. When it comes to brunch, this is definitely the case. 
Last Sunday my friends and I were down at Bondi Beach, an iconic Aussie location and we landed ourselves a table at one of the most iconic modern Australian cafes of all time – Bill’s.  

The brainchild of Australian chef Bill Granger, Bill’s is super popular, so much so that there are four of them, all serving delicious, shining, ginormous examples of the classic dishes we’ve come to expect from our cafe brunch. No where else in the world does it like we do it and personally I think they are missing out! 


Bill’s Bondi Beach is the newest cafe in the group and despite probably being the largest, it’s wise to get there prior to 9.30am on a weekend if you’d like to avoid the queues. It’s a light and airy open space filled with blond timber tables in several shapes and sizes including some intimate booths – one of which we were lucky to get. 

This visit had been a long time coming. I’d been to the one in Darlinghurst many years before and had been dreaming about their ricotta hotcakes ever since. It was safe to say that I was seriously excited. My expectations were high. Despite this I was still blown away! Though the menu hasn’t significantly changed, it doesn’t need to.


Like a Jackie Chan action comedy, what they do, they do so well that they are famous for it and with relatively simple dishes and classic ingredients, all the focus is on freshness and flavour – which are delivered in spades.

Now I don’t normally talk about a place’s toilets but I felt they were worth noting given that their large sliding doors were a conundrum to my pre-caffeinated brain and it took me about 5 minutes and a questioning of staff to figure out how to open the door to use one. But maybe that wasn’t their fault… Maybe that’s was just me…


Now I know I said I wanted the hotcakes but a girl is allowed to change her mind and when I saw corn fritters I just could resist. 

One of my friends got the hotcakes with banana and she was nice enough to share. The other got the scrambled eggs and they were creamy perfection. 

A classic is a classic for a reason and I hope to never live in a place that doesn’t not have easy access to a Bill’s. 

Eveleigh Markets

For someone who claims to love food as much as I do, it’s taken me years to hit up what is widely proclaimed as the king of all markets. 

  

Every since I moved across the bridge, I’ve been told that I have to check out the Eveleigh Markets and yet, somehow, it just hasn’t happened. First, I didn’t know where Eveleigh was. Then, I found Saturdays inconvenient. Then life just got too busy. But finally, on Saturday, all that changed. Despite a hectic week and late Friday night, I dragged myself out of bed and went to experience the wonder. And I wasn’t disappointed!!
  
Smaller than I imagined and far less crowded, it was heavenly meandering up and down the one centre aisle, staring at awe at the gorgeous wares on sale. 

  

Cheap it isn’t but fantastic quality it most certainly is! Cheeses and coffee and produce oh my! And the pastries, don’t get me started on the pastries. I purposely went without breakky this morning so I could indulge and so I did, splitting the largest, most decedent pistachio, pear and rhubarb croissant with my dad. It was the best bought pastry I’ve eaten in forever!! 

  
We spent the next hour sampling our way round in a manner dad has termed a ‘degustation’. It was such a great morning. The sun was shining, the bacon was sizzling and everyone was friendly. Cannot wait to repeat the experience! 

   

Something for Jess, Chippendale

Sometimes it’s nice to do something special for yourself. Whether it be getting your nails done, a massage or a new bag – we all need a little pampering every once in a while. 
One of my favorite treats is a decedent breakfast which is why last weekend, I took myself and my friends off to Something For Jess and boy it was something alright! 

  
Located in Chippendale a block up from Broadway, this place may be outside the stereotypical foodie districts but it is certainly known- the queue is evidence of that! 

From the moment we walked in and spied the pastry display case, I was excited. From beautiful looking three cheese cheesecakes and muffins to quiches and smoked meat sandwiches, everything was home made and very tempting! 
It took a while to get a table but once we did the service was great. There are no individual menus, just a blackboard on the back wall detailing the day’s dishes which are created to showcase the constantly changing fresh produce. 

  
For the first time in a long time I didn’t order eggs. While one friend couldn’t look past the red meat option and went for the slow cooked beef cheek panini (is meat in the morning a guy thing?), I couldn’t decide between sweet and savoury. In the end my other friend solved my dilemma and we went halvsies on the corn and beetroot fritter with candied walnuts, avocado and goats cheese as well as the coconut and buttermilk hot cakes with poached fruit, ice cream and peanut butter.  

  
Both dishes were phenomenal! The fritter, though predominately savoury, had gorgeous touches of sweetness and crunch with the candies nuts and beetroot while the hotcakes were saved from being toothachingly sweet by the peanut butter that was sandwiched between the two fluffy pillows of buttermilk goodness. Eating all of either one may have been too much but by having both, it was like eating a main and a dessert – a feeling enhanced by the fact that the hotcakes took twenty minutes longer to arrive. 

  
Despite the fact that all three meals were devoured in mere minutes and that there was a massive line of potential patrons, the staff made no attempt to hurry us out and we were allowed to indulge in a good long catch up and great coffee in peace. 

It was the perfect treat – Something For Jess enabled me to do something special for me and nothing is better than that … unless of course you can also do something special for the people you love too. 🙂 

A birthday breakky 

It was my big sissy’s birthday recently and I love my big sister. She looks out for me, problem solves away my seemingly insurmountable life challenges and tells people no for me when I unwittingly say yes. 

  
To me, nothing says ‘I love you’ better than food and the best food is that which has been made specially for you. With that in mind, say hello to her big birthday Breakky – toasted bagel with avocado, eggs over easy, mushrooms and spinach all topped off with some fresh parsley and accompanied by a large hot chocolate (which I bought because I can’t make one to save myself). Not bad for a Wednesday morning pre work fry up. I won’t tell you what time it was when I started but trust me, only real live could have motivated me to get started at that time.  

  

My food Diary

I’ve been lazy. Lazy, cold and tired. So even though I’ve been eating out quite a bit lately in an effort to warm myself from the stomach out, I haven’t managed to write anything about the delicious dishes I’ve been consuming. And there have been some goodies. In an effort to repent, I provide you with some Visual foodie inspiration of some of the great meals I’ve had both here and overseas. Bon appetite 🙂

The Haloumi and Spinach Fritter at Le Monde Cafe in Surry Hills


The Green Eggs at Bootleg Cafe in Darlinghurst


The amazing breakfast Buffet at the Mercure Hotel in Tel Aviv


Shakshuka on Tel Aviv Beach

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Scotch egg in Soho, London

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Baklava, Borough Markets, London

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Gelato in Neve Tzedek Tel Aviv

John Smith Cafe, Waterloo

I eat out a lot. And I mean A LOT! So much so that when people ask me for recommendations, I sometimes find it hard to give one – one meal seems to meld into another and they all become difficult to remember. Every once in a while though, you come across a gem that stands out from the crowd. I found that gem at John Smith Cafe.   
Thanks to Lizzie, a couple of weeks ago we got a ‘do over’ day and the weekend magically became two Saturdays and a Sunday with Monday never to be seen again. After checking via Facebook message that they were indeed open on this mystical of days, my friends and I arranged to meet at 10 am for brunch. 

We picked a good time as John Smith Cafe is anything but a John Doe. In addition to popping up on blogs everywhere at the moment, their Instagram and Facebook feeds have a ton of followers. 

  
And its’ popularity online ensured it was comparably busy in life. Thankfully the very nice waiter (who called me darling :)) assured us it was a two minute wait… And it was!!! In no time we were settled in one of their comfy booths, ordering coffee and left to stare at the display case of delicious cronuts and pastries while we waited for our friends. 

When it came time to order, we did this quick smart. It’s quite short and produce driven so it also changes constantly. No mushrooms I’m afraid (disaster) but what I did have was divine!! Two pieces of seeded sourdough, smothered in avocado salsa, crumbled goats cheese and a chilli jam that was a sauce from heaven – gorgeous and sweet with the mildest punch of heat. I got sides of seasonal greens and a poached egg. My friend who got hard poached eggs on toast admitted to serious food envy although she said hers was nice too. 

  
The other girls got the granola with coconut yoghurt and a nice big block of berry jam/jelly (potayto potarto). Rich but not overly sweet, it was nutty and very enjoyable. 

Two other major positives- they let us linger (which was crazy and very nice given the number of people waiting) and since it’s located just off Botany street, there was parking!

I think a return visit is on the cards. If you eat out a lot – you have to pick great places to make it worth it and John Smith definitely was!