Tag Archives: Café

Balé – Harrington Park, NSW

This place is a rather large café in a garden centre and my parents suggested it for a late-ish lunch. We started with some garlic and olive bread which were pretty good, while we perused the menu. There were not a lot of vegetarian options on the menu. Martin opted for the veggie sambo, however I didn’t really feel like that, or the penne napolitana (since we were going out for dinner as well), so I decided on nachos. The menu stated that they came with kidney beans, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole and eshallots. As an afterthought when ordering, I asked if they were vegetarian and the response was no, they are not, but they can make them without the meat. I would have thought that meat would have been listed on the menu, since they went to all that trouble to list the ingredients all the way down to eshallots (of which there were about half a dozen bits on top when they arrived!). My parents both went for meat dishes. Martin said his sandwich was nice, however I have to say that the nachos were rather ordinary, and I can make better guacamole any day! Probably not a bad place for the meat eaters!

Connect Café

A friend mentioned that a new café was opening at Campbell shops and since we were both being very indecisive about what we wanted to eat for lunch we decided to head there to see if it was open yet. It was, so we ate there. We later discovered that this was their first week of opening. In general the menu was a little limited, but there were 3 or 4 vegetarian choices and some others that were adaptable. My friend had the soup of the day (pumpkin) and was assured that it was not made with chicken stock. I opted for the mixed lunch salad without the chicken because it sounded pretty interesting – coming with grilled potato, walnuts, avocado and egg. And it was pretty interesting, it was also pretty big – there was a lot of lettuce, but also a reasonable amount of the other things as well. My friend said the soup was a little salty, and I then realised that the grilled potatoes in my salad were also a little on the salty side – but neither dish was so salty that we could not eat them. Given that it was their first week, there were a few little things that happened that will probably be improved in the future – such as my friend being given a knife and fork after ordering soup and then once the soup arrived being given the option of a soup spoon or a dessert spoon with which to eat it. Then, when she chose the soup spoon, the dessert spoon was placed on the table in case she changed her mind! The service was a little strange, but nothing else stood out. The food was nice and appeared fairly quickly. As my friend put it – it is a good place to come to for a quick lunch away from work…

Rainforest Café – Downtown Disney, California, USA

Having checked out all the other places in Downtown Disney, and getting poisoned by the place we ate at last night, we were pretty sure that this was the only other place with any sort of decent veggie options. I thought there were 3 or 4 options on the menu outside, however when we finally got our table, there was really only a cheese pizza or a veggie burger… Martin and I both had the veggie burger, while our friend opted for the cheese pizza. The burgers were pretty good. They appeared to come with potato chips (from a packet) but you could substitute fries for an extra charge – which we both did. We also both got the salad. We also both ordered a strawberry and banana smoothie which was pretty good, but very sweet. Jumba Juice it was not. Anyway, overall, the meal was pretty good – one of the better options in Downtown Disney!

The Drip Drop – Mission Beach, California, USA

Yet again, we were desperate for breakfast that wasn’t room service… it is hard to find any info about breakfast places in San Diego and when your hotel is a bit of a hike from downtown then you don’t feel like just heading out and seeing what there is. The Lonely Planet guide said there was plenty of cafés around Mission Beach, so we decided to head there. We drove past this place and it looked like they were still doing breakfast, so we stopped and went in. We both ordered omelettes with breakfast potatoes (not really hash browns, but potatoes none the less) and toast. The potatoes were ok, and the omelettes were pretty good. If I was staying at Mission Beach, then I would probably eat here again, however, if not, it isn’t really worth going out of your way!

Broken Yolk – San Diego, California, USA

Well, we were kind of desperate not to eat room service for breakfast again, and this place seemed to be one of the only places that we could find any information about that would still be serving breakfast at about 11:00 in the morning. It was a bit out of our way, but we went there anyway. Let me say this right now – it wasn’t worth it! When we got there, the place was packed – which I mistakenly thought was a good sign. We ordered a couple of orange juices to start instead of coffee, however, only I got one. The waitress tried to spill ice water all over me as she was trying to take our order, and didn’t even realise that she was spilling it (despite the fact that I was looking at the water pouring out of the jug and moving my bag). I ordered eggs florentine with hash browns and a side of toast, while Martin went for a Mom omelette and tried again for that orange juice! My eggs florentine came slopped all over the plate, and the hollandaise sauce was disgusting! I managed to scrape some of it off, however I decided just to leave half of it because it was so smothered in it. The hash browns were ok – a bit too salty for my tastes. Martin said his omelette filling was not hot at all, and by the time he was three quarters of the way through it, he was sick of the sprouts (yuck – sprouts!). As we were leaving, the waitress apologised again for almost spilling water on me, and promised that next time we came it would be a better experience! Needless to say – there won’t be a next time. Even if we do return to San Diego at some point in the future, I certainly won’t be going there!

Prairie Ink – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This was just a cake and drink stop so that we could check out the 13 rolls of film I took in the Rockies that we had just picked up from the processing place. Martin went chocolate all the way and had a chocolate mousse brownie and a chocolate gelati shake. Not being in a very chocolatey mood myself, I went for the cheesecake and a chai latte – Indian chai tea with a bit of chocolate melted into it… The highlight of the whole thing (apart from the awesome photos! 🙂 was the chai latte… I am going to have to figure out how to make this drink! Prairie Ink is a cafe in an independent book shop – if you are a book and cake lover, it is well worth a browse through the bookshop on the way up to the cafe for a chai latte!

Coco’s Café – Jasper, Alberta, Canada

We read that this place was vegetarian and vegan friendly and were disappointed to discover that it is only open for breakfast and lunch, not dinner. So, we returned for breakfast… and it is vegetarian and vegan friendly! We both had scrambled eggs which came with breakfast potatoes and toast. Breakfast potatoes are a great invention – kind of like real hash browns only they can be done with more variety – sometimes there are onions or something else added… and they are yummy – I could eat them every day! martin also ordered granola and fruit – which looked ok – I am not much of a muesli person though. There is quite a variety of breakfast options to choose from and the most popular seemed to be the breakfast wrap to go. At least it seemed popular with the park rangers or emergency workers that congregated around the front of the cafe! If you can make your way through them, this place is definitely worth a try!

Tilley’s

I have said before that I love going to Tilley’s – the food is good, the atmosphere is good, the cheesecake is divine! It was a last minute decision to go here for lunch with a friend, but I am glad that we did! It is great to sit around and chat over some good food and some good cake! This time I had veggie nachos and my friend had soup (pumpkin I think). The nachos are huge – but I was determined to finish as much as I could because they are so nice! After this, my friend was keen on dessert and it didn’t matter how good the cheesecake was going to be, there was just no way I could fit it in, so I decided to just have a hot chocolate. That was of course until my friend returned with a flourless chocolate cake and 2 spoons! It was pretty good, but it was slightly too nutty for my taste… and I would definitely prefer their cheesecake (mmm in fact I want some right now just thinking about it!). The hot chocolates were great though! All in all, a good lunch with a great friend!

Musica é

Well, I didn’t really eat here, but I did have a hot chocolate and the people I was with ate (well some of them did!), so that is my justification… This review won’t focus so much on the food, rather I have a few comments about the whole experience! We ended up here for cake and coffee after an exciting night at the AIS Darters netball game. There were 10 of us so we rang ahead to check they had the aforementioned cake and coffee and to book a table. The point here is that they knew we were coming! After we ordered, the various coffees, teas and hot chocolates started to arrive. To everyone’s surprise, a peppermint tea arrived as a cup of boiling water with the teabag on the side. To be fair, I can see the point of this – the drinker may like their tea at a certain strength, however, it seemed more than a little odd that this basically presented beverage was charged at the same price as some of the more fancy coffees that were ordered. Between the 10 of us, 5 desserts were ordered, 4 serves of the chocolate hazelnut torte (which I am told was delicious, although more like a mousse than a torte) and a panna cotta pistachio (which I tried and found it to be too sweet with a weird aftertaste). The panna cotta and 2 of the tortes arrived fairly quickly after the drinks, however, those desserts had been finished for a while before one of the people still waiting for his dessert decided to get up and mention it to the waiter. Once he did this, we realised we were actually missing 2 serves and updated the waiter. Finally one more torte arrived, and after yet more waiting, it was decided to cancel the final dessert. While we were keen not to hang around for too long, our decision to leave was brought forward by the fact that one of the staff (the owner?) had donned a head set microphone, set up the dodgy karaoke background music and announced that he was going to sing because “that is what they did”. We finally managed to request the bill, and each put in the exact money due to the rather loud comment of “I don’t want them to have a tip” which I think really just voiced something the rest of us were all thinking. I don’t mind waiting for my food – however, to wait for that amount of time (and who knows how much longer had the final dessert not been cancelled) and to have to ‘remind’ them that food is missing is unacceptable. And on top of that, we did not receive any form of apology for having to wait for so long, and as I mentioned above, they knew we were coming, so I would have thought that they could have been more prepared – what would they have done if all 10 of us had ordered the torte? I think we might have still been sitting there waiting!

Extra comments, courtesy of Lucy:

“This place just went downhill from the beginning. I was unimpressed with the peppermint tea, which arrived as an unopened tea bag with a cup of hot water. The service was shocking, the wait staff had no clue and, after a progression of delayed dishes, the manager bursting into song seemed appropriate as it was the Italian version of “Time to Say Goodbye”. Which we were very pleased to do, and never return again.”

Valentino’s Café

I have eaten here once before, a long, long time ago, so when a friend and I were looking for somewhere to have lunch in Garema Place I suggested we try it. They have a pretty good menu, with quite a few veggie options. Since I was starving, I ordered an Olympus pizza and it was good! Although, it had to be eaten with a knife and fork as it was a little on the sloppy side. They also heavily promote these cute little Dutch donut-ty things for dessert which we didn’t have, but I think I would like to go back and try them in the future!