Little, with Big Love

Little Larder
48 Macrossan Street Port Douglas

We had planned to take a reef tour the morning of Day 4 of our Port Douglas trip, however a spanner was thrown in the works, and it turned out we were to go in the afternoon instead.

So what to do in the meantime? Well beach it of course. We had only driven past 4 Mile Beach, and hadn’t even stopped to survey it’s yet-unknown-as UNBELIEVABLE breathtaking beauty.

As with all things though… ‘But first, coffee.’

Ahhh.

We were going to takeaway initially. But my Hubbie being the coffee snob that he is, despises the takeaway cup. He wants to sit down and drink his caffeine hit from a mug, and see it, too. I had been hanging to try out Little Larder, what with its great reviews, funky street locale, and the fact that half its name is shared with the café we went to in Daylesford and loved. My reasons and his combined, led to us sitting underneath the umbrella there on a Tuesday morning, baking underneath the part-uncovered shade of the Port Douglas sun.

We got coffees for all, plus a little something to keep us going – a Banana and Caramel Muffin.

2016-01-05 09.19.16

2016-01-05 09.23.28

2016-01-05 09.23.53

The muffin was really lovely and warm, sweeter by the, what I believed to be demerara sugar sprinkled on top. We had some there and kept nibbling on it at the beach later, it was that big (and moorish). Loved it. Hubbie enjoyed his latte as I did my cappuccino, and baby girl loved the abundance of froth in her babycino, not to mention the not one but two marshmallows she got.

Our waitress was great, and busy, interestingly so since they had just opened at 8am and already people were flocking in. She was friendly but not try-hard, quite genuine despite all her running around.

As I went to pay inside, it was already bustling… definitely the place to be on a Tuesday morning, and it wasn’t even 9am yet. And inside, yep it was little alright. Added to the happening vibe. Outside there were umbrella’d tables, so if you want to go you have to book, or get in quick.

2016-01-05 09.31.46

In between the above morning, and the following one, so followed the best beach experience ever.

2016-01-05 11.18.58

(Details in an upcoming post).

But yes, we did go there the next morning. Unsatisfied with just trying the coffees there, we wanted to brekkie it before finishing our packing and jetting on back to Melbourne.

So again we went, just post 8am, without a booking, and got a table. Part sun, part shade again. You can’t escape the striking sun in these parts.

Baby girl got the Rye Toast with Strawberry Jam

2016-01-06 09.37.42

Hubbie got the Nutella French Toast

2016-01-06 09.43.55

And I had the Harissa Beans with Poached Egg

2016-01-06 09.42.59

The presentation was great, however baby girl’s plate did look fairly bland, as all restaurant toddler food generally appears. She did eat it though and I was happy the bread wasn’t hard as rock like it is in other places.

I loved mine. It was most definitely spicy! The sauciness of the dish, texture from the beans and spice of the harissa was complemented beautifully by the fetta, poached egg and buttered bread. It was a welcome “ahhh!” because like I said, it was spicy! My bread was also soft which made it a joy to eat. It was a generous breakfast dish, but not one that left me feeling overfull, as some breakfast dishes have in the past.

As for Hubbie’s meal? What can I say. I mean, Nutella French Toast. You aren’t sold yet? What, you don’t like hazelnuts? You poor fool. You are missing out. Don’t think you’ll come back in another lifetime and try it, try it now! I had actually eyed his meal on the menu the day before, and had considered getting it, if only I didn’t have a huge propensity for savoury breakfasts. They just agree with me; when I go sweet, it’s usually a tad much. (I know, soft). Anyway, him being my Hubbie and all and the fact that he has to share, like it or not, I did try his dish… and it was good. Nom nom nom. It looked really, very pretty too. Nutella does that though. I think if you smeared Nutella on your walls, it would look quite attractive, and not dirty at all (think Willy Wonka).

We also got our round of coffees again and this time my cap was stronger. Despite drinking it much later than when it arrived, it was kept hot hot hot by the assisting Port Douglas sun, so winning!

2016-01-06 09.43.42

Our waiter that day was once again friendly, and I can swear we were sitting next to the owner of the joint, with his missus, outside… he was overly confident, ordering without looking at the menu, asking the waiter details of his personal life (stuff like “Did you organise your trip?”) and you know, I just got that slightly-on-edge nervous vibe from the waiter, that of to not stuff up. He also eavesdropped (I know because I do it so well) on my loud remarks about how great our meals looked. For sure, he was the boss. He was ‘invested.’ And I totally understood the European language he peppered his normal conversation with to his lady. Native tongue, let’s call it. Good job boss, you’ve got yourself a winner here, cestitamo. 😉

Food: 8.5/10.

Coffee: 8/10. Strong on our second visit.

Ambience: Amazing. I loved it. Cheeky sign out front advising us to talk to each other and not ask for wifi; the location on Macrossan Street; and the bustling inside vibe, combined with the chilled out outside feel, make it a cool place to be.

People: Tourists, locals. Lots of accents. Hipsters go there too, they were inside, so beware. (!) No really, couples and families, but generally I saw more bearded types there than any others 😉

Staff: Very friendly and accommodating, and nice to see but also importantly genuine.

Price: About $15 on our first visit, under $50 for our second. Standard for a café, yet somewhat inexpensive for the food and place and what you’re getting and experiencing. Bargain.

Advice: Book if you’re dead-set on a certain time. Get there early in the morning for brekkie. Have a muffin. Sit inside if you can’t handle sun (why are you in Port Douglas?) If you like me, feed the littlies and can’t have your coffee straight away, place it in the sun – it will keep it warm for you.

In a nutshell: I think I am favourably skewed from now on out to any eatery with the word ‘Larder’ in its name. A funky place, with delicious, generous food portions, moorish muffins, a quirky cool vibe, and all in a great locale served by lovely waiters? Its inside ‘cupboard’ may be little, but this place has a lot of Ljubav 😉

We’ll be coming back, here, and to Port Douglas again. Thanks guys.

(More info on our Port Douglas holiday will be coming up in a later post).

Little Larder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Blind Love/Hate

Isn’t it funny how

We’re aware of our partners weaknesses

yet we continue to excuse them

Explain them away

Justify them

to ourselves

to others

to the World

Their characters

Their behaviours

The words they speak

It all has a reason, doesn’t it?

 

Aloof – “He only has time for his circle of friends.”

Moody – “He works too much, doesn’t get enough sleep.”

Loose with words – “He likes to speak his mind.”

Uptight – “It’s only because she values tradition.”

Judgmental – “She’s hard on others because she’s hard on herself.”

 

Is love that blind?

Or are we too critical with indifference?

 

(Actually he’s egocentric;

Actually he’s insulting;

Actually he’s heartless;

Actually she’s choleric;

Actually she’s sanctimonious).

 

Should we be harder on our partners

and kinder to strangers?

Should we expect more of those dearest to us

and let the others look after their own, withholding all judgment?

Should hate be blind?

… now that’s a thought.

 

 

Geisha’s Gate

Watergate
31 Macrossan Street Port Douglas

When thinking of our dining experience here, I envision Sigourney Weaver from Gorillas in the Mist. No, no jungle animals here. But it was very breezy due to the high volume of fans blowing; it was still extremely humid despite this; it was dimly lit; and the large green leafy palms all around the restaurant just made me think Ms Weaver may in fact pop out at any second.

When we walked on over to Watergate on our second last night in Port Douglas, I realised the woman standing at the front of Macrossan Street was not in fact, promoting residential properties, as she was positioned in front of the nearby real estate agency. She was standing at the walkway to the poshy restaurant, and it was only pure chance that we got a table. She asked if we had a booking and when we said no, she said she had to go and check. Lo and behold, the man walking out of the restaurant had just gone in to cancel his reservation. Boy had we struck gold. In one regard.

We waited for 1 minute on the couches in the bar area while our table got ready. The water we were brought for the whole of that one minute was sweating profusely in our glasses by the time we got up to be seated, and I was starting to fear the dress I had chosen, worried I would be leaving sweat patches when I got up.

Yep. We were getting used to the all-encompassing heat that was so prevalent up in that part of the hemisphere.

This place had more of an exclusive feel than the prior night’s Bel Cibo. Though both were of a fine dining experience, Bel Cibo was more visible sitting high up on Macrossan Street, and seemed more open and accessible… the fact that Watergate was down a walkway off the main strip, with most of its dining areas hidden from view, and the mysterious fire lanterns glowing through the night, gave it an air of intrigue and mystery. Like I said, gorillas, mist.

2016-01-04 20.16.31

The restaurant was split levelled, and as you walked down into its shallow depths you went down a few steps at this section, and down a few steps at that section. We were seated in ‘that’ section, the base, with fans on the ceiling and electric ones nearby blowing full-on straight into our faces.

2016-01-04 20.16.27

There were candles on the tables and some torches about, with absolutely no other lighting, which made taking food photos EXTREMELY difficult. I preface this before I present to you a photo of the Crown Hubbie had, and my Geisha Girl cocktail – crushed fresh strawberries & vanilla bean with vodka, wild strawberry liqueur and guava

2016-01-04 20.11.30

My drink was, divine.

At the beginning of our being seated baby girl was given a pencil case and the kids menu to drawn on, which listed the meals available to her as well as a little side puzzle. On top of that, once again we were at a paper-clothed covered table establishment, so she COULD draw on the table to keep her occupied and happy… but happy was not something available to her that night. No-siree. She had had very little sleep that day as we had been sight-seeing around extensively, and her grumpiness and unwillingness to stay seated was just the beginning of what was to be a very frustrating night.

2016-01-04 20.09.41

Her meal had fortunately arrived earlier than ours as requested:

Chicken pieces with chips, tomato sauce and broccolini

2016-01-04 20.29.30

She had had the option of vegies, or salad with her meal, but we opted for the broccolini. It’s mighty brave of these restaurants to be serving broccoli-like vegies to littlies – not that I contest, I think it’s great, and baby girl does eat it. It makes it great too in that she isn’t just eating chicken nuggets with chips every night, like what most restaurants offer up in their kids menu.

These were grilled chicken tenderloins, and both looked and tasted a lot better than the chicken we had had at Bel Cibo the previous night. Baby girl also seemed somewhat satisfied in the 0.5 seconds we managed to keep her in her chair and eating. At all other times she was standing up in her high chair, wanting to walk around the restaurant, sit on my lap, as well as stand on it too, and just do anything BUT sit quietly and nicely in her chair and eat. Of course. She’s 2. That’s her job, right? To never sit still.

She did occasionally give a shy smile at a nearby older American couple who were near us, who we had a brief conversation with over the whir of the fans whizzing. And even though the couple were really very sweet, I think the lady waving to baby girl eventually made her anxious and scared, for some reason I don’t know since she is always so friendly, but because it was only after they had left that she sat back in her high chair, and let me continue my meal.

This is what I got:

The Prawn Linguine – local tiger prawns tossed with olive oil, spanish onion, chilli, confit garlic, fresh herbs and shaved pecorino

2016-01-04 20.42.39

While Hubbie got the Pork cutlet: speck-crusted pork cutlet served with a jalapeno & smoked cheddar potato crush, seasonal greens and a port wine jus

2016-01-04 20.42.46 

Once again I got like, 5 prawns, only this time it was on a heartier meal base of lotsa-linguine. These prawns were much chunkier and juicier than Bel Cibo’s, but because of their size I felt that they needed perhaps a tad more cooking, for my taste anyway. For this reason, I probably preferred Bel Cibo’s ones, but cooking-time with anything, especially seafood, is pure chance anyway. They also had a seafood taste, complimented well with the strong chilli and garlic flavours in the pasta. This was no half-arsed chilli dish, like what I have been disappointed with so much in the past, and future as well, with the chilli-pasta meals I’ve had following this experience at the time of writing. This was hardcore, this had kick and power to it, made more so when I sipped my cocktail and got a massive spicy blast in my mouth. I liked it, it just made me sweat a bit more, something I needed that night (sarcasm).

Hubbie got his pork cutlet and enjoyed it immensely, he was very pleased.

As much as we had enjoyed the food, we unfortunately hadn’t enjoyed the experience with our cranky girl – it wasn’t her fault, she was tired. It just meant that we paid a lot of money for great food without really enjoying the night together. In fact it had slightly scarred us, as we vowed we would not go out to dinner the next night, our last night there. We would get takeaway noodles instead. And since we left right after scoffing our mains, it left me yearning for more, as I was almost positive that dessert there would have been simply magic. Oh well. Leaves room for growth and anticipation I guess.

Food: 9/10. The food was of high quality, and yet for the price you paid you actually got a decent amount, not an entrée size.

Coffee: N/A very unfortunately. That’s alright, more for next time…

Ambience: Breezy with the 1000 fans. Dim-lit, a little annoying if you’re like me and a) take food photos and b) like to dissect every bite of your food. Lucky for them, other than the prawn tails there was nothing else to check through a magnifying glass. It’s very romantic if you’re with your other half, and don’t mind the feel of wind in your face as if you’re Rose standing at the bow of the Titanic, Jack holding her so she doesn’t fall off, type thing.

Chilled, yet still of a decent volume what with the diners and fans fighting for volume dominance.

2016-01-04 20.16.15

People: Poshy. Here are the ones that come out to seriously ‘play’ in Port Douglas. They seemed much more affluent here than in any other restaurant we saw. However still friendly, as was evidenced by our friendly American neighbouring table. But the man who looked over at us and passed back the pencil that baby girl had flung in her tired and sweaty state, was not so. He was part of a big group for a birthday, and there were actually quite a few groups there that night.

Staff: Very, very nice. Our main waitress was quite understanding of baby girl’s demeanour, telling us of her own child, and was kind enough to just be cool throughout our sleep-deprived-baby issues. All staff were exceptional and very professional, though here they all seemed much friendlier than at Bel Cibo’s.

Price: At a total of $116 for the lot, which roughly consisted of the same as what we had had the night before – 3 alcoholic drinks, 2 mains and a kids meal, this place was in front. We didn’t need a side dish like we’d had at Cibo’s, but with the heartiness of the meals we didn’t need it. Definitely worth the coin.

Advice: Book ahead! We chanced it and got exceptionally lucky. Get the geisha (or two or three), and enjoy a night in the jungle.

In a nutshell: We really loved this place, and comparing it to the only other fine-dining place we experienced in Port Douglas, this had better food, better value for money, better service, and I guess the surroundings, well that’s personal. I liked these surroundings, and it was much bigger and had more seating than Cibo’s did. Both restaurants were great, don’t get me wrong. But on my return to Port Douglas, Watergate’s prawn linguine and dessert with a shot of coffee will be on my agenda, somewhere on par with jumping into the crystal clear waters of 4 Mile beach and taking an unauthorised dip in the swimming lagoon at Mossman Gorge.

Ensuring baby girl is well-slept, of course.

 

Watergate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When you are a writer…

and you’ve been sitting at your computer for a while, and inspiration is lacking in your head, and your fingers don’t hit at the keypad properly, words like remainding suddenly appear to be gramattically correct, until the red line appears under remainding, and you highlight it and you go ‘oh that’s right, it’s remaining.’ And then you question whether it’s two ts, or ms or ls in gramattically, and which is meant to go where, and you refuse to put the comma between the t and s even though the spellcheck is going bezerk, but you tell the spellcheck that it’s not a possessive its a plural so suck that, then you ask yourself ‘how does one spell bezerk?’ And begin a google chase over its origins and find out it is actually a word in the dictionary and is spelt berserk, and does not have a z making it all rap/hipster. Then you wonder why you even thought it was urban, the term berserk, and remember that urban dictionary website that you once checked out telling you about all the street lingo, and discover the term ‘procaffenating’ which pretty much means “But first, coffee” but less poshy. Then you realise the computer has gone all red line on you again, and instead of writing your novel you have been googling and procrastinating with terms like procaffenating and have just come upon the term ‘jeanjerking,’ and seriously now it is time to go.

Read and cafe-away

Whileaway Bookshop & Café
2/43 Macrossan Street Port Douglas

So by this stage you can tell we’re living on Macrossan Street, yeah?

I finally had a chance to get to this union of café and bookstore on day 3 of our Port Douglas getaway, on a Monday afternoon. It was stinking hot and humid (nothing unusual in those parts) and the interior provided a chance to sit and unwind for a bit while I got excited about all the book purchase possibilities around me.

I had seen this place on Zomato before we holidayed our way over, and boy was I in anticipation of it. My dream would be to open a café/bookstore, so this for me was a special type of paradise (following the one we had visited earlier that day – swimming lagoon in Mossman Gorge. OMG. Stay tuned for an upcoming Port Douglas attractions post).

We promptly ordered up the back of the shop. It was all connected, but Whileaway is set up as if there are two sides to the store, with the café towards the back on the left behind all the seating, and the primary load of books was in the right of the store. Of course there was also seating on the right, not as much, and there were books upon entry as well near the majority of tables and chairs. There were books EVERYWHERE. You couldn’t escape (tee hee hee).

We ordered coffees, and some food.

A Cheddar Cheese and Onion Muffin

2016-01-04 17.14.23

Chocolate Macadamia Tart

2016-01-04 17.14.34

Mossman Pineapple and Banana Cake (considering Mossman Gorge had just blown my mind I had to indulge in a dessert of the same name)

2016-01-04 17.14.12

And a cappuccino, latte and babycino.

2016-01-04 17.14.47

The cheddar cheese and onion muffin was warmed up and quite tasty, a very big serve too to keep you satiated for a long time. Woe is me, I had to eat most of it since baby girl wanted none, deciding to overdose on the Pineapple and Banana Cake. That too was delicious and sweet, a mild flavour. The Tart was ok, and the coffees were strong. At first my cap had a different, unusual taste, and the caffeine hit me in my sweaty state… but then as I drank on I must have gotten used to the taste and it was ok. Probably not my preferred cup of coffee, even Hubbie agreed with his latte.

Where we were sitting was next to the children’s books and a children’s table play area, however despite the scene we still had to watch baby girl didn’t drop or damage anything. Yes, we were in the kids section, but it was that kind of shop – the look, don’t touch one. Which is difficult when you have a child and they can see trains and caterpillars and all the things they know and love, but is of a dearer and more exclusive value. There was a lady nearby sorting books who was onto baby girl, and when Hubbie said “baby girl don’t touch, the lady will get upset,” she was quite particular: “no I won’t there are just things that can break there.” Very choice with her words. I like it. Of course, she works in a book store right? (And I suspect she was a manager/owner).

I didn’t purchase anything of the reading variety during that visit, as baby girl was getting grumpy, and honestly I couldn’t even find something to buy as I was generally perusing. Not that there weren’t books aplenty, but I wanted to get something special, something different, something to remind me of our Port Douglas holiday.

We managed a quick stop over literally an hour before hitting the road for the airport days later. And after looking, and looking, and scratching my head, and sighing, to baby girl grabbing things and Hubbie following her around irritatedly, I finally settled on this:

2016-04-12 17.40.17

The blurb at the back of the book intrigued me:

“We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book.

It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:”

And then it continued with a brief description, which luckily further intrigued me. I won’t be reading it for a while but watch my book review space for when it does come up.

And the little plus with my purchase? My new Whileaway bookstore bookmark. Cute 🙂

Food: 7/10. Consisted of mostly savouries and sweet treats.

Coffee: 6/10. It didn’t really leave us yearning for another cuppa, but it did the trick. Strong.

Ambience: Think library! It was fairly quiet and chilled as you would expect a reading area to be.

People: There weren’t many that hot Monday arvo, but there was the solo wanderer and coffee enthusiast coming in, no rowdy groups here. There was another Mum who ventured in with her daughter, who was also trying somewhat successfully to keep her daughters hands from the pretty play things about.

Staff: Pleasant. Both women behind the coffee machine were friendly, and the studious book manager-type was… serious. About books.

Price: Reasonable, $20+ for what we had.

Advice: Come without your child. I know there is a children’s area there, but unless your child listens to every word you say and obeys every instruction given, or unless they are of an age to sit on the kids table there and just draw, perhaps best to leave them with Hubbie in the communal pool of your accommodation and come alone for an afternoon of exciting solitude and books.

In a nutshell: I would definitely love to come back on our hopefully one-day-not-too-far-away return to Port Douglas. The terrific book surrounds and cosy atmosphere is an ideal area to indulge in while having a coffee, however I do hope that the taste of the bean improves…

Coffee, and books? What a terrific way to Whileaway your afternoon.

2016-04-12 17.58.40

Whileaway BookShop & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sightings of People as Passionate about (Addicted to) Coffee as I am (SOPAPACAIA) #7

SOPAPACAIA Sighting #7

Highpoint Shopping Centre

Hubbie and I

Another self-sighting, I know, I know. But SOPAPACAIA was the first word that sprang to mind when we first had coffees and pastries at Cacao yesterday, only to walk down to Jasper’s a mere minute away and order some more.

What?

Hubbie’s latte at Cacao had too much texturised foamy milk, and not enough coffee! And after having an apricot Danish, I just felt my unsatisfied deep desire for a doughnut intensified…

First world problems, I know.

So at Jasper’s Hubbie got his proper latte in a clear glass (Cacao had put theirs in a cute mug – tsk tsk tsk), while I got this strawberry bomb-doughnut type thingy…

I sipped from his latte, he pecked from my doughnut, and baby girl got mouthfuls of more sweet stuff.

And we walked away in a high sugary-induced state.