Sunday, 13 May 2012

Favourite Sydney Coffee and Foodie Blogs

Extra reading makes you look smart and sound clever. This is why I’d like to recommend some of the latest and bestest foodie/coffee blogs out there at the moment. All of the below are fun to read, pretty to look at and very informative. Not one of these writers will use the word ‘bestest’ but all of them are guaranteed to make you more knowledgeable and therefore desirable.... just sayin’.

The Bean Stalker: Brisbane based coffee worshipping blog written by a professional roaster. Love the in-depth, passionate discussions about coffee brewing methods and all the interesting vidoes too. This guy knows what he's talking about. An inspiring and hugely informative read.

Fork It: Fork It food blog is a mix of detailed flowing reviews and mouth watering recipes all created by aspiring chef and writer Oni. Her posts are passionate and have a hint of Nigella Lawson about them “i get intimate with the produce”. Totally into the feel of this blog and always left inspired to cook. Big plus for vegetarians as reviews will usually comment on what veggie options were available at the time.

Corridor Kitchen: Really like this blog which reviews cafes, products, recipes, events in the inner Sydney area. The posts are honest and hearty with the writer always mentioning the coffee. I like how any criticism is constructive and always fair. I get the feeling she genuinely would like all the places on her radar to be good but is willing to give reasons as to why something may not have been working that day. The aesthetics and layout of this blog make it a pleasure to peruse around and I often find myself enticed into other articles from interesting photos and post titles.

Sydney Coffee Nerd: Sold purely by the scoring system on this blog. Max 10 point score in 4 categories of coffee style, coffee experience, cafe cool, cafe service. Looooove it, detailed and mildly neurotic, what a joy. The writer is super honest and quietly amusing. I find this blog is best appreciated smirking whilst stroking a white fluffy cat with ones hook. Definitely one of my favourites.

The Adventures Of Miss Piggy: I enjoy the way Miss Piggy writes, each blog post feels like a mate is talking to you. Complete with humour and Dad joke puns to match. Posts are always accompanied by large good quality photos, which is awesome for folks like me that get put off by too many words. My favourite thing however, about Miss Piggy’s blog are the pages ‘Sydney Eating Wishlist’ and ‘Global Eating Domination’. I generally like people who aspire to be dictators and Miss Piggy is no exception. She ticks off the list once each said establishment has been visited - rule that list!

Secret Foodies: This is a must read for food enthusiasts in the Sydney area. Plenty of beautifully crafted, flowing reviews to be had on this site. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and read about the fun other people have had at various lovely restaurants. Orrr are we feeling a bit crazy tonight? Well if so, sign yourself up for a food adventure into the unknown! Secret Foodies run surprise themed dinners. You buy a ticket and then couple of hours before the event you find out where you're off to! Go and meet up with other like minded culinary explorers!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Cute little unassuming blog thats been going for an age in terms of blogging time (since 2007). I like how the writer is clearing just doing this for love of food. Simple but beautiful pictures and posts keep me coming back, keep it up!

The Coffee Guide: Fun and interactive Australian cafe review website. Download the app and rate cafes that you visit, even score your barista! Each week a new cafe/barista will be awarded top dog and get an interview on the front page of the website for the whole next week.

A Table For Two: Ex-masterchef contestant Billy Law has set up a pretty dandy website featuring the best eats in Sydney and around the world. The reviews are largely for Asian style restaurants and dishes with food photography that will leave you salivating.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one. Australia is especially passionate about food and coffee so there are lots of awesome foodie blogs out there. If you know of an especially good one that I've left off this list let me know in the comments and i'll be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Making personal sacrifices to set up a business

I tumbled out of bed this morning to find my feet caught up in the piles of clothes currently layering my floor. Right now, you wouldn’t even know that my bedroom does in fact have beautiful wooden floorboards. I fumble around the drawers to find there’s not an awful lot about in terms of clothes. Clean knickers anybody? Oh the personal sacrifices made in the run-up to opening this cafe.

Many people don’t realise the full extent of how much time you have to give to setting up a new business. Or, if you’re like me you had an idea but when it comes down to it, that doesn’t make the workload any easier! I honestly cannot remember the last time I cooked and ate at home, maybe it was the previous Thursday when I had a pot noodle. Recently every meal has either been scoffed amongst the rubble of the shop or eased down with a scooner at the pub. Vegetables - a treat of the past, a dream of the future. I can only sigh and watch my waist-line expand. What’s that place the gym? Uh, I feel tired just thinking about it. Think i’ll have to have a lie down.

Other luxuries that quickly slip down the list of priorities:

Personal Hygiene: No one notices how greasy your hair is when you're covered in dust and paint 24/7. Brush teeth or go straight to bed, what a conundrum! ohhh bed your looking rather lovely this evening.

Friends: I’m not sure mine exist anymore. One day i’ll get to see them again.... at the end of that rainbow.

Relationships: Persuade other half that trip to Ikea is actually romantic date. Stop half way round at Ikea cafe and buy her $4.95 dinner, kerrr-ching!

Wearing nice clothes: I’m pretty sure board shorts and flannel-shirts are in right now.

Weekends: I was never a fan anyway.

Oh and in case you were wondering I bought myself new underwear today. Forget laundry, I just don’t have the time!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Supplier shout out - part 1

We’re getting to the stage where the place is actually starting to look like a cafe you might want to go to. So I'm thinking now is probably a good time to mention some of the excellent suppliers we have used along the way and why they could be good for your business too. Just to note these are all suppliers to help actually build/set your hospitality business up. We will go through food and produce suppliers in a later blog.
IronWood -  IronWood are timber specialists and have a large selection of beautiful  recycled wood. Myself and my partner felt pretty stupid the first time we walked in here. We were like “we want some wood” (yes, yes, let the jokes fly). Anyway the boys and girls at IronWood are always ready to lend a hand. They have a certain way of doing business which basically involves speed walking around the timber yard, pulling out various hunks of wood whilst you decide what you like. All the wood in our shop is from this place; the counter, the tables, the back wall panelling. If you need any of the wood stained or shaped they can do this too and then deliver right to your door step.
Mitchell Road Auction Centre - Theres lots of cool second hand furniture and knick knack stores out there but we've found a couple that come up trumps time and time again. The Mitchell Road Auction Centre in Alexandria is a two storey treasure chest of antique and design furniture, kitchen ware and bitsa. We also think that this place also seems slightly cheaper than everywhere else, so if you hunt there are bargains to be had. Our other favourite second hand store is Doug Up On Bourke. This shop is so fun to walk around, they have everything - even a giant camel! Looking for lights, cool signs, random eceletica you'll find it all here.
Cafe Ideas - They've been in the industry for donkeys years and are the place to go for your large kitchen equipment e.g. display fridge, oven, sandwich press. Shop around for a good price and these guys will usually match it. You can either buy these products out-right or through silver chef which is like leasing the equipment till you pay it off. Silverchef leasing is a really good idea for startup businesses. It means you get brand new equipment without the initial hefty cost. 
Ebay - Great for picking up little gems and second hand equipment. Be uber careful about buying previously owned kitchen goods. You might feel like you're getting a bargain but when your fridge breaks down in the middle of service, you'll wish you spent those extra bucks. You can also pick up some decent catering equipment at Omaras auction house in Rozelle.
Bunnings - I practically feel like I own shares in Bunnings having spent so much money and time in this place of late. However, I have to say that owning shares wouldn’t be a bad idea as this place sells everything and their staff are super helpful. I am totally clueless about anything D.I.Y related but Bunnings seem to have an expert in each section that’ll run through the whole process and show you what you need. We found the store in Alexandria to be particularly accommodating.

Lastly my big thanks to the tradies:
Fred, not Bob the Builder

Fred the Builder

Barry the Electrician

Michael the Plumber

If you are looking for a trades person that comes with a recommendation then email me and I would happily suggest and pass on any of the above guys contact details.

As I said previously, this is just the start of the list and I look forward to revealing all the foody suppliers soon.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Official unveiling of our logo

Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

The other day we gave you a taster with the outline of coffee horse but tonight I would like to officially unveil our logo, by showing it off to you all. And so...... we proudly present:

I understand this may not be as exciting for you as it is for us but believe me this little logo has been a source of much frustration. Many a small discussion has blown out to full on war fare over minor details. In fact one of these squabbles involving the horse’s tail may, or may not have ended in tears. You see when you’re starting out that logo is so much more than a pretty picture. It represents everything that you are and want to be. So much passion and hope is symbolised in this little emblem of your fledgling business. 

I would advise others designing their logo to not rush the process. All in all i'd say we worked on ours for 2 months on and off and must’ve changed it fully at least 10 times. We showed our ideas to everyone and anyone to gauge opinions and tried to incorporate all the little pieces of advice. We were also very fortunate in obtaining a bit of professional help from some mates over at Pieces. If you are struggling this can provide the direction to get you on the right track but don't be afraid to adapt the designers ideas to fit those inside your head. 

Our eventual logo was an amalgamation of much time spent fiddling on Illustrator/Photoshop plus inspiration found from copious hours trawling web/books/magazines. We had an idea of what we wanted; clean, crisp, modern but rememberable. Then it was 2 months of searching, playing about with images and fonts and taking lots of advice from various corners. We showed our coffee suppliers, artist friends, designer friends, family. Although this meant the process was long, looking back I'm so pleased we did it this way as otherwise we would have stopped after a week 1with something not quite perfect. Anyways its set in stone now, so hope you guys like it? 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Have you seen my horse?

I was in the city on York Street last night having a drink with Gary (that's my horse). About 7pm I went to pay the bill and when I came back my horse was gone. Gary is approximately 7ft tall with chestnut fur and a white mane and tail. When I last saw him he was wearing Birkenstock sandals,  tartan cutoffs and a leather waist coat.  

If u see him anywhere let us know by liking our facebook page. 

Click here to 'like' our page.

Free coffee on opening day as a reward for all those with a like. Thank you

I'm sure Gary will come home when he feels loved enough.