Monday, July 18, 2011

Cup vs Mug

"Would you like that in a cup or a mug?"

If you are asked this question when ordering a coffee, it can generally tell you the calibre of the cafe.  I can't recall being asked this once in Sydney, but it's quite common up here in Brisbane.  Something that needs to be phased out for sure.  Who really wants to drink a bucket of coffee, apart from a lot of Americans?  I feel that a good coffee is one of the small pleasures in life, to be enjoyed like a ritual, rather than a quantity-over-quality guzzle. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Native Fauna #2: The Pukeko

This true New Zealand native is referred to as a "swamphen".  Nice.  I had never seen one before my recent return to Brisbane.  Not that I can remember anyway.

First encountered them in North Lakes, where my parents live.  My Mum insisted they were "coots".  But having recently been to NZ, she had a decorative plate on her table that was actually a Pukeko and these birds were identical.  Even my NZ-brought-up sister-in-law confirmed they were Pukeko.  Not to be swayed though, my Mum still insists they are "coots".

The Pukeko though is distinct for its blue feathered chest, red legs and red crest/beak action.  I think they're cool.  Joel and I see them when we walk through the park.  One of the reasons I like them is possibly highlighted by this extract from Wiki... "When threatened they will often walk away from danger rather than fly. When they fly, take-offs and landings are clumsy, and short flight distances are preferred."
Conservation Status: like the Bush Turkey, they are also listed as a species of "Least Concern".  Phew.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bacon and Egg Roll : Worthy Mention

Ever since Clint made his "best bacon & egg roll" call on his blog back in May 2009, we've had a benchmark to compare all bacon & egg rolls to.  This effort above, created by Brewbakers in Albion, is definitely worth a mention. 

The key to success here is simplicity.  The roll is made on site and is light, crunchy on the outside, but soft inside.  The bacon and egg are tasty and just the right quantity for the size of the roll.  The main downside is that it doesn't have tomato sauce.  To counter this, there is some fresh tomato, which saves it from being too dry.  But it doesn't truly compensate for tomato sauce.  To be fair, I've never asked for tomato sauce, so it might be something they offer, but I feel it should come with sauce or have sauce bottles available.

Combine this bacon & egg roll with the good coffee they serve and perhaps a little pastry for afters and it's a hit.  They do decent bagels and sourdough breads as well.  Nice to find a little bakery gem close to home.

337 Sandgate Road

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011: The Year of Sporting Dominance?

Is it just me, or is Queensland looking to dominate nearly all major sporting codes this year?

1.  Queensland Roar: won A-League final against Central Coast Mariners after 27-game unbeaten streak. 

2.  Queensland Firebirds: won national netball championship against Auckland Northern Mystics after entire season undefeated.

3.  Queensland Reds: top of the table in Super 15 Rugby Union competition, with only 3 weeks before the finals.  Can they reach the finals (which they've never done) and take the title as well?

4.  Queensland State of Origin: won first of 3 game series, after winning the last five series.  Can they make it 6 in a row?

OK, what about other codes?

Rugby League: potential.  The North Queensland Cowboys are currently 4th on the ladder and the Broncos are 6th.  Still a few months to go in the season.

AFL: lost cause.  Both Queensland teams having dismal seasons.  The new Gold Coast Suns are full of rookies and are bottom of the ladder.  One of their two historic wins was against the other Queensland team, the Lions (who are third bottom on the table).  Enough said I think.

Not sure if there is any point to this story, but it's just something I realised this week.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Native Fauna #1: The Bush Turkey

I've been out walking with Joel nearly everyday in our local area and we have come across lots of examples of native fauna that I thought would be nice to share.

The Bush Turkey

Apparently the true name is Brush Turkey, as I discovered in Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge).  They are "mound-building" birds and you don't want one making it's nest in your backyard, as I've heard they can form an unwanted attachment that's hard to shake.   

I really like them.  I remember seeing loads as a kid on camping trips in National Parks.  It's almost comical seeing them in the urban environment now.  You see them scooting across the road to dodge traffic, jumping fences between houses and I've even seen them cruising around the Brisbane CBD. 

Wikipedia has a "conservation status" of animals and at least we don't have to worry about the ol' Bush Turkey.  They're listed as a species of "Least Concern". 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mango Tree

We started working in our garden recently, even though we've been here since September last year.  Just haven't found the time before now.  Pottering around...we discovered we have a mango tree in the backyard.  Feeling like a true Queenslander now. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Retro Espresso

I've been very slack of late and the blog has suffered.  My only excuse for my tardiness is that we moved house and I found out I was pregnant (why these have stopped me writing my blog who knows). 

Seeing this is my first blog post the move, what better way to honor this, then to write a blog about our newly found coffee shop.  Retro Espresso is conveniently located about 50 metres from our house, much to the delight of Clint, who was quite concerned about proximity to coffee in his "list of essentials" when buying a house.

It's a hole-in-the-wall kind of place on a busy road in Wavell Heights and attracts lots of drive-buys for take-away coffee.  On the weekends though, it broadens it's spectrum to mums, bubs, cyclists and dogs - all spreading out along the pavement.  And it does actually have a cute little courtyard behind it with more seating if you venture up the stairs at the back of the shop.

What more could we want - great coffee only a stone's throw from the house?  The only thing that Retro is missing is good food.   Probably due to lack of space, it doesn't have a full kitchen - so they really only do toast, muffins and cakes.  I've decided the key to a great local neighbourhood cafe isn't necessarily offering a menu 10 pages long, but serving a few menu items and doing them damn well (one of my benchmarks is a little cafe in Rozelle on the "Herbie's" side of Victoria Rd, can't even remember it's name now, but it did a delicious avocado & tomato on toast, which I used to love).

But, we're lucky to have a coffee shop so close to home and I'm sure Retro will do good business from us!

Retro Espresso
198 Edinburgh Castle Road
Wavell Heights