King Arthur Cafe | Fortitude Valley

So, today, I finally made it back to King Arthur Cafe and this time I was even focused enough to tear myself away from the sparse interior and gorgeous baked goods to remember to take a photo or two! It’s a modern day miracle.

I love King Arthur Cafe. I love the beautiful, tubular upstairs interior; I love the tiny repurposed jars of sugar on every table; I love the delicious baked goods that they force you to walk past as you leave, and I love the food.

Well before you yell it at me from across the playground, yes I very well would marry it, seeing as I love it so much if it wasn’t for one, small tiny thing. King Arthur Cafe commit, what I consider to be, the cardinal breakfast sin: only one piece of toast with your two poached eggs. It has never made sense to me and it never well. Eggs and bread (for those of us still blessed by a healthy relationship with gluten) go hand in hand. One egg = one piece of toast. Two eggs = two pieces of toast. It’s just how the world has always been and without our diligent adherence to that basic breakfast equation, the very structures of our society begin to crumble around us.

Nevertheless, I can never tear myself away from King Arthur.

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This time I went with the cinnamon french toast and it did not disappoint. A whole, juicy poached pear jostled for space with fried pineapple, fresh strawberries and vanilla mascarpone.

And there were two pieces of toast! Hazar! Consider that cardinal sin banished from the breakfast kingdom… for now.

Conveniently, you’ll find these guys at 164c Arthur St, Fortitude Valley. They’re open 7 days a week from 7am 

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Currently Reading | October

Another month, another currently-reading list. This month I found myself slipping between contemporary fiction and leaning back on my classic fiction habits like a worn-out crutch.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

What a quietly extraordinary book this is. I have been wanting to read The Bell Jar for as long as I remember so when I found myself with a particularly long wait time between my order date and delivery date for Human Acts, it found its way off my shelf and onto my bedside table. It was superb; gentle but fierce and so agonisingly far ahead of its own time.

Human Acts by Han Kang

After being so struck by the quiet beauty and force of The Vegetarian I felt I had to try another of Han Kang’s books so I found myself Human Acts. This book was a difficult read. I won’t lie. Human Acts tells the stories of a group of survivors and victims, related through the  1980 Gwangju uprising in South Korea. It’s beautiful, violent and confronting. There were several points where I had to put the book down because I simply couldn’t stomach that much sadness and slaughter in a single sitting. While this is not, personally, how I prefer my books it is, undoubtedly, a testament to the raw power of Kang’s work.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Wow, what a book! And what a tonal shift away from Human Acts. In case you couldn’t tell, I needed to shelter myself a little and this was, in a way, the perfect book.  This book has a small history in my family and not a happy one. My mother purchased it for my sisters, back in 2013 when it was first published, in yet another attempt to encourage her to take up reading. Having read it now, I realise it would have been the perfect book for her but after unwrapping it she never touched it again and its sat sadly on a shelf in our library until a week ago. Family history aside, this is an exceptional book: intelligent – sometimes too much so, teetering on the edge of celebrating its own cleverness and occasionally falling in – charming, funny and sad.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Virginia Wolf

Much like The Bell Jar this book needs little introduction and little explanation and has been sitting on my to-read list for years. I don’t know how I would even begin to review a book like this but I am 40 pages in and so far so good.

Up on Constance | Fortitude Valley

On Thursday night my partner and I were lucky enough to score ourselves a ticket to Up on Constance and Tryp Hotel’s second birthday celebrations and boy are we glad we did. Up on Constance used the occasion to debut their latest functions package, including signature cocktails and miniature treats.

At this point, it’s important to note that I do this almost every single time I go out without fail: I will have a glass of wine, almost always red, and declare it to be the best glass of red I have ever had. After Googling the following week I will track down a bottle only to find that it’s not exactly the drop that my fuzzy, booze-addled brain thought it was. So, maybe, in this case, a bit of mystery is the best thing for both of us and that particular glass will have to be the one that got away.

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But let’s get on to the food! we’re talking piles of enormous fresh oysters dripping with vinaigrette, stacks of battered prawns with sweet chilli sauce, palm-sized bowls of fried chicken with slaw and spicy mayo, and some of the best crispy pork belly sliders I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

We were also treated to a taste test of some of Up on Constance’s latest signature cocktails. One particular concoction with absinthe, tequila, pineapple juice and maraschino cherry, should leave you hating yourself and your life choices but is sweet, kind and regret-free. But the Espresso Dreams was the real deal-sealer: your standard espresso martini garnished with freshly shaved white chocolate. It’s delicious, decadent and totally worth the elevator ride.

Head down the laneway at 20 Constance Sreet, Fortitude Valley and ride the elevator to Up on Constance. They’re open Thursday – Sunday ’till late. 

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Currently reading | September

Well, I did it. I said I was going to keep track of the books I read month-to-month and then promptly forgot about the whole thing for the entirety of August.

So, here we are: here are the books I have read, and am reading, for August and also, now, for September.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

I had no idea what to expect from Han Kang’s Man Booker prize winner and now, as I’m halfway through it, I still can’t describe it. It’s lyrical and beautiful and sparse and violent and surprising and, so far, completely gripping.

Someone Else’s Wedding Vows by Bianca Stone and You Are the Map by Michelle Tudor

It’s been at least two years since I last read any large body of poetry but a late-night stalking of Goodreads saw me snatch up Bianca Stone and Michelle Tudor’s collections in a spontaneous attempt to kickstart my love again. While Tudor’s collection fell somewhat flat with me (there’s nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to), Stone’s was quietly touching.

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Valenti’s memoir is, hands down, the most moving and poignant account of femininity I have ever read. This book is incredible. I came out horrified, saddened but ultimately feeling powerful. Don’t get me wrong, Valenti’s writing is so inviting and her humour so slight and perfectly timed but Sex Object is often a difficult and confronting read; however, it’s also the kind of book that might just make you a better person.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

As I said in my last book post, I read a lot of memoirs and by memoirs I mean specifically memoirs of women involved in the New York comedy scene. I don’t know why but I do and we should both come to steady terms with it. Schumer’s work fits nicely into the expectations of this category, it’s biting, witty and, especially in the case of her chapter dedicated to the victims of gun violence, touching.

Fever of Animals by Miles Allinson

I chose Allinson’s debut novel from a small selection offered for a university assignment and, honestly, I expected to diligently complete my duty of reading and toss it aside. But there is something gripping about Allinson’s gently personal prose that brushes away the soul-searching middle-class cliche that constantly threatens to dominate his narrative. His prose is intimate but insistent, funny but heart-broken, and I loved every page.

Purity by Johnathan Franzen

The joke is on me now because I am beginning to strongly suspect I will never finish this book.

 

Abode Cafe | Taringa

Winter is well and truly here, and along with it comes that deep-down, pit-of-your-stomach, core-of-your-very-self type of craving for a breakfast that warms you from your head to your toes.

Small in stature but big in homemade might, Taringa’s Abode Cafe has you covered.

Framed by rows of delicious homemade chutneys and sweet jams, Abode’s hearty brekkies are the things of your deepest, darkest winter cravings and your childhood, farmhouse daydreams combined,

Serving up a rotating seasonal menu, Abode has a focus on fresh, ethical produce and homemade goodies. With dishes like “Nanna’s Eggs” (scrambled eggs with bacon, onion and roasted tomatoes) and the classic mince on toast, accompanied by their homemade chilli jam, breakfast at Abode is like starting the day in the warmth of the romantic farmhouse kitchen I wish I grew up in.

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A cold pressed juice and a smoothie went down a treat with my feelings of green-eyed childhood envy; plus Abode is serving Brisbane’s own boutique roast, Black Sheep Coffee, every day of the week, for a dash of local pride to bring us all back down to earth.

Find a spot in the sun on their patio and feel your fingers defrost from the 20-degree Brisbane winter or cosy up inside on a table for two. Either way, if it’s a warm and hearty winter breakfast you’re after Abode, has your heart and your tummy well and truly covered.

And because floral offerings are always of the utmost importance, here’s some of Abode’s “flowery goodness” to really bring out that farmhouse vibe:

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If you’re ready to warm up with a hunt through the suburbs, you’ll find Abode Cafe at 30 Hillsdon Road, Taringa. They’re open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch, with the kitchen closing at 2pm each day.

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Food, craft and more food!

As the university holiday comes to an end, I’m feeling the usual weight of regret after I failed to complete the lengthy list of activities I’d planned for myself.

Among these activities was a library of books to read, a lengthy list of cafes to visit and a spattering of good, old-fashioned crafty things.

So, just for fun, I’ve narraowed that list down here to some adorable (and some a little outrageous) food-themed DIYs that never made it off my holiday to do list.

Now, I prefer my DIY  to be more the cool-uses-for-things-I-already-have-at-home variety and less the buy-a-million-miles-of-leather-from-Spotlight kind. Some of these are those and some of them are so complex I will probably never try them and they’ll simply gather dust in my bookmarks tab for the remainder of both of our lives.

In the same vain some of these are pretty practical and I really do hope to make them one rainy Sunday but some of them are so outrageous I may have to invent a use for them (though, if I can’t ever find a use for a child’s egg costume scaled up for adult sizing I may after to re-address the sum of my life choices).

Ice Cream Cone Wall Planter | Aww Sam

I love this one! It’s exactly as described: a little min-planter for an indoor plant that’s shaped just like an ice cream cone! In fact, I love it so much I’ve actually already done it. It’s super fun and just the right balance of simple and fiddly to make you feel like you’ve done something truly crafty and clever. This one’s staying on my crafty wish list because I would love t try it again with some paint in an authentic ice cream cone shade.

Sweet Treat Doormat | Frankie

What better way to welcome all those dinner guests I never have than with a doormat decorated like a Nice biscuit! Like the ice cream cones, this one actually seems super do-able, just grab yourself a plain matt and some spray paint and everything else should be of the lying-around-the-house variety.

Knitted Hot Cross Bun | My Poppet

Now this one, to me, seems tough! But that’s mostly because knitting, in general, seems difficult to me. While I’m more than happy to cross-stitch rude phrases and hang them in ornate, flowery frames, that feels a world away from knitting when I look at these instructions. Who knows, maybe this is a good place to start knitting or maybe just something for the experienced among us but, either way, they’re cute as hell.

Tiny Taco Headphone Holder | Frankie

This I can do. Felt, scissors, glue and just enough sewing to make you feel like maybe you could do that housewife thing later in life. It’s super simple, super cute and, I think, would make a perfect simple gift for someone you care about just enough to put that personal bit of effort in but who also loves the stupid shit you love.

Egg-cellent Fried Egg Costume | My Poppet

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if in the remainder of my life I can’t find one single use for a fried egg costume that something has gone severely wrong. Surely, friends with milestone birthdays might throw dress-up parties where the theme is the letter ‘E’ or I’ll just find a way to express my passion for breakfast foods outside of the party space. Time will tell.

Best Biscuits Mobile | Frankie

This one, too, falls into the category of very, very cute things I will probably never get around to justifying. As much as I would love to have a mobile of pastel biscuits hanging above my study space, it’s a lot of effort for a little bit of creative return. I mean, who even really owns patterned scissors?

Image Credit: Frankie

Regional Flavours | South Bank

After falling in love with the event’s launch last Friday,  I decided to swallow my distaste for (see: deep-seeded hatred of) enormous crowds and tackle South Bank’s Regional Flavours festival!

My boyfriend played chaperone to make sure I made it out alive and didn’t eat myself stupid, and together we uncovered some pretty delicious local treats that almost made it worth braving the crush.

Next Door Kitchen and Bar

Next Door, the food truck baby sister of Little Stanely Street’s permanent resident of the same name, was the first food truck to take our eye. I went with the pulled beef brisket burger with slaw on a brioche bun and my boyfriend went with the hot wings with blue cheese sauce but both were incredible! Hindsight is a beautiful thing and, looking back, we shouldn’t have started with something so filling but it’s hard to regret it when the food is this good.

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Cucina by Toscani’s

With a little room left in our tummies (mostly just from sheer force of will) we descended upon Cucina, another food truck side product of a permanent Brisbane instalment. Cucina and Toscani’s cook up Italian fare and this time around we went with the mushroom arancini and the spiced lamb and halloumi skewers.

Neha’s Indian Inspired Ice Cream & Chutney

Full of savoury now but somehow with room to spare we were seeking out something sweet and watching Neha Sen’s beautiful toppings scattered over Sundaes of her Indan-inspired ice cream was more than enough to catch us. We went with a mix of Coconut Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia with Mango and Honey Lassi. The salty-sweet mix of ice cream and toppings (spiced granola, yum!) was exactly what we needed to finish our brave adventure .

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We finished off the day by taking home some fresh, homemade gnocchi to whip up for dinner and a Cabernet Merlo from Clovely Estate to match (I’d had my eye on the Clovely Estate range since tasting it at the launch of The Hunting Club and was thrilled to find they had  a stall).

The final verdict? Crowds are awful and I wish I’d planned better (and taken full advantage of the wine tasting!) but I saw some cute dogs and the great food might just have been worth it.