Thursday, December 01, 2005
campos coffee & manta
last night i must say i had one of the best dinners in my life at manta, an oz-ital place on cowper wharf, which is a beautiful spot spoiled only by proximity to the w hotel. lawd drunken fashionisti are horrid.
however, i highly recommend the simple but stunning food at manta. the delicate pappardelle with organic aussie duck ragu stewed with wild oz mushrooms was ultra yummy, as was the taglarini with yabbies (australian crawfish) coated in the lightest, sweetest cream sauce ever and decorated with an interesting twist: lightly roasted sesame seeds.
the pinkish murray river salt, with its rice-like crystals, is as amazing as any fancy french salt ever. the antipasto tasting plate's ineffable, frankly.
so i went running around town today talking about this only to discover that manta is regarded as a pretty average upscale sydney restaurant.
that should tell you something about the quality of the dining experience here, and explain why the ny times not so long ago declared sydney the new global food capital.
this morning i wanted to deal with that indulgence, so i decided to try another yoga studio. thus i walked from my downtown hotel to the surry hills district, only to find the noon class cancelled.
tried another not far away -- same thing. i'm standing in front of the door wondering what's up when someone wanders by and explains that most of sydney tends to bag it early on fridays and just head for the beach.
this is the santa barbara element of sydney. thus i ended back up at samadhi bliss in newtown.
naturally the teacher announced that the level 2 class would be only 45 mins. today! sigh. i guess on fridays you should just try a studio at bondi. . .
but since i was in newtown, i went ahead and dropped by campos coffee, often said to be the best in sydney. campos is a lovely, sunny wooden space decorated with antique coffee pots along a high shelf.
the baristi are in their best east-village black; in fact it reminded me of long-time bccy pal kenny nye's 9th st. espresso, if it had been spruced up and given a relaxing light be-bebop soundtrack.
since today in sydney is a nice 80-85 degrees, i asked for a classic italian shakerato. the chick barista gave me a blank look.
their posted iced coffee offerings all seemed to contain ice cream and whipped cream. i wondered for a moment if i was in the wrong place.
but i tried again, asking for an iced americano. again the tomato gave me a blank look.
finally a cadaverous-looking giant wandered over and said with real new york attitude-type sigh, "she wants a long black." ah! comprehension dawned!
or as the fabulous paul haddon had reminded me earlier in the day, "we don't speak english here, we talk australian." ok, paul; i get it.
the espresso was fantastic, actually, but the 'tude was a bit unnecessary. still, i like campos a lot!
my final discovery of the day -- modern hip cupcakes better than even nyc's famed magnolia. sydney, how i love you...
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
so i'm sitting here at the cyber cafe in the haymarket district after chowing down on some truly cheap (A$8,or about US$6) vietnamese food. sydney is the most awesome conglomeration of san diego, sonoma, berkeley & la brea, santa barbara, and san francisco.
just imagine all the best parts of those california places melded together with great public transport and wa-llah! that's sydney.
i have to thank sydneysider barista judge and australasian specialty coffee association member paul haddon -- who i met at my zen coffee meditation at scaa's seattle conference earlier this year -- for an amazing care basket at my hotel. he sweetly delivered a cunill tranquilo grinder, french press, and fresh whole bean coffee so i wouldn't have to endure hotel coffee for an instant!
that's just how friendly all aussies are! wow!
plus sydney has the most gorgeous fluffy clouds that drift over the opera house! they are hypnotic.
i spent the morning dropping by luxe espresso in the strand mall downtown for a nice cappuccino with impressive latte art, and then hopped a cab to sugarcube for breakfast -- poached organic eggs over a perfect avocado on freshly made english-muffin bread. yummy.
then i purchased a train ticket and took the clean, comfy (upholstered seats!!!) train to the newtown district where samadhi bliss teaches jivamukti-style yoga. since i was still a bit tired from jet lag, i took a level 1 beginner class at noon.
newtown is like the old east village, or maybe the really scrungy part of hollywood -- pierced goth girls, dirty streets, cheap futon stores for students, dubious sushi restaurants and tattoo parlors...
samadhi bliss is a large open shed with a concrete floor and a large picture of yoga teacher alanna with sharon gannon and david life of new york's jivamukti. the concrete floor keeps the studio cool, but isn't really comfy for yoga, imvho, even if you use 2 mats to try to cushion your sun salutation jumps.
still, the vibe was ultra-funky, everyone there had pierced navels just like me, and we all blissed out together. for A$5 (that's just US$3.50!!!! and the mats are free) per afternoon class, it's hard to beat.
tomorrow i'll go to a more upscale studio.
last night we had dinner at the popular longgrain thai restaurant, which is hip, stylish and waaay expensive. it's truly superior thai food, i will admit, however.
altho' residents of sydney are wandering around in their beach clothes "whingeing" that it's only 70 degrees, i think the weather's perfect. just 24 hours on the ground in sydney and i'm wondering why the heck i haven't cashed in that return-trip plane ticket...
Sunday, November 27, 2005
what i liked about molly was that she admitted from the start that as a foodie, she knew little about coffee. she was honest, sweet, and open to new ideas; as result she wrote a very nice coffee article mentioning several long-time bccy friends and all the batdorf "latitudes" coffees i've recently been talking about here.
welcome to all first-time readers coming over from molly at the olympian! glad to meet ya!
speaking of which, let me just say as a final word that the kello yrg makes a fantastic turkish coffee! i'm drinking one now, after coming back from the gazillion errands that have to happen before one travels.
betcha scott and jessica haven't tried it that way yet. . .!!
it's a chill, gray day in bklyn and almost everyone is surly, surly, surly. not i i'm packing for oz.
however, since i will be a guest in quite a few crowded yoga studios, i had to take the time for a primo pedicure -- i really don't need to make enemies among the sweet aussie yoginis by sticking filthy american feet in their faces! (long time readers know this is one of my pet peeves about thoughtless yogis, those horrible unwashed, unkempt feet flying back at me in the sun salutations!)
i know that in a hot sydney summer we're all going to get pretty sweaty in classes together, but that doesn't mean i have to gross everyone out before we even start the standing poses. . .
in general, sydney pretty much seems like the current global haven for the overall bccy "lifestyle" if there is such a thing: the food and coffee revolution is completely there; nearly everyone it seems does yoga all the time; and there's an artistic and literary resurgence as well.
all in a liberal, tolerant, hip and multicultural milieu! it might be better than the u.s.a. right now when considered in this light.
or as a colleague said to me, "australia is the country of the 21st century." well, i'm about to find out.
due to travel and all that, i may not be able to blog again until the 31st. but i hope to catch up with you all around then!