Why reading and writing is the road to happiness...

This blog started years ago as a place to muse on the life projects keeping me entertained. It is no surprise then that it has morphed into a blog about my reading as that has been my lifelong project. Here I review lots of different types of books, with an added focus on Australian women writers. Hope you enjoy - feel free to contribute to the conversation!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Sydney - Lift Your Game!

We've just come back from a week on the north coast of NSW and the experience has compounded a suspicion that I had started to form earlier in the year on our road trip to South Australia. Like most people, we eat our way through a holiday, and this one was no exception. And I have come to the conclusion that regional areas have overtaken Sydney on the culinary front, and they are kicking ass. I'll concede that Sydney and Melbourne no doubt will always own the high end restaurant market, but we've found the casual dining in the north coast region, and along the route from Sydney, through Victoria to South Australia was so sophisticated and innovative in using seasonal produce, that we have felt a bit bored with the cafe dining here in Sydney. The food in Mildura - granted it is actually known as a foodie's heaven - was so amazing that we'll be going back just to stay there rather than spend one night on route. And the South Australian towns used regional produce like nothing we've seen here - we went to a cafe in Hahndorf that served us piping hot raspberry muffins straight out of the oven and garnished with huge dried apricots, crisp oats and drizzled with local honey, accompanied by boutique beer brewed on site. And the owner sat down with us to discuss his choice of vineyards to visit in McLaren Vale. These Sydneysiders nearly fell over from the sheer friendliness...
We've eaten out in most hot spots in Sydney and done the restaurants, fawned over the celebrity chefs, eaten the Zumbo cakes - but do you know, I think Sydney is getting a bit lazy and resting on its 'big city laurels'. And I really think we are lacking those little cafes that are visually inviting, have staff that care about seasonal produce, present the food beautifully, and keep the price as reasonable as possible - and gasp, yes as a parent I now realise that making you feel welcome with kids is a bonus as well!
Here's our breakfast from a fabulous cafe called Split in the little town of Sawtell, 10km or so near Coffs Harbour - it was a cafe that doubled as a bike shop cum meeting point for the Sawtell cycling club, and the food was delicious. I ordered muesli, and it had pistachios, chestnuts, the toastiest oats, and shredded crisp Granny Smith apple. J had a full breakfast with chorizo and a hash ball that was so light and crunchy, homemade relish on the side. The coffee was supreme. And for this city slicker, the price was ridiculous. Remind me again why I live in this city? Okay, okay the work opportunities, the easy access to culture blah blah blah...I guess we'll just have to keep going on holidays.

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