Tag Archives: restaurants

RAW ENERGY

So Ben and I have been to Raw Energy since forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but certainly ever since there has been a branch at Cotton Tree. There are also branches at Mooloolaba, Peregian Beach and Noosaville. We like Cotton Tree on a Sunday morning. This time, I went with my mum on a Monday morning.

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Despite the name, Raw Energy doesn’t have a lot of raw products outside of its juices. Until recently, they had almost no vegan food either, but this is starting to change. There was a vege stack that was vegan on the day we went there and they sell some energy balls that are vegan. I’ve had the avo and tomato toast when I was vegan which is really yummy.

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal :)

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal 🙂

I opted for my “usual” juice: Green With Envy. It’s apple, pear, celery, broccoli, spinach and something else (I’ve forgotten) but the best part is you can’t taste the veggies! Mum had a Tropical Twist, which is orange, pineapple and ginger. I also ordered the lentil and three cheese triangle and two chialicious balls to take away for later.

These are my new favourite thing. I'm so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

These are my new favourite thing. I’m so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

This place can get hectic on the weekend and service can become slow, but today was a Monday and things were speedy. We sat at the communal table and read “Vogue” while we waited.

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My triangle was delicious. The lentils had a tasty tomatoey sauce they were cooked in and although I couldn’t name the “three cheeses”, I really enjoyed the meal and the wee bit of salad on the side. Our juices were great- they always are. There’s a huge juice and smoothie list to stare at while you order or wait.

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Overall, this meal was delicious and boosted our spirits. We went and browsed the shops and then sat in the shade behind the public pool overlooking the Maroochy River mouth. Very relaxing.

Be patient on weekends and you’ll be rewarded!

Raw Energy on Urbanspoon

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ORAWGI

So I’m in love. I love raw food places because you can feel the care in the food. I’m serious! Nothing can be “slapped together” in a raw food cafe because everything is a process- blending, chilling, dehydrating, marinating, etc.

Orawgi (meaning Organic, Raw and low GI) is run by the supremely talented Jamie Louise Stevenson. I like to think her parents read her Treasure Island as a child. It’s actually located inside another building- BioSolar- on Ipswich Road in Wooloongabba. Their Facebook page is here and the owner also runs the yoga studio next door.

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The decor is white and bright but a lot of fun. I forgot to take a picture of the wall that was just black and white photo frame wallpaper with the staff’s colour photos stuck on it, but it was very cute. There were quite a few people there and the three staff were bustling and busy.

Ethics is the name of the game here. Everything is vegan (except for honey in smoothies) and organic and made in the store. It’s not cheap, but when you consider the labour that goes into making an organic dehydrated pizza base or quiche or bagel, it’s worth it! Take away containers are biodegradable and non-plastic wherever possible.

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I oggled the display cabinet but decided upon the pizza straight away. I think most of the meals were $15 but a lunch deal is $20 and includes either a drink or something sweet. I ordered The Jefferson Special smoothie (walnuts, protein powder berries and honey) with my lunch and it also came with salad. I had the garden salad and the kale salad (although you can just have one or the other if you want). This might not look like a huge serve, but I was FULL by the time I’d finished.

That is not a real orange. It is my "magical orange" which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

That is not a real orange. It is my “magical orange” which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

The salads were tasty- the kale one had purple carrots and a Asian soy-ish flavoured dressing with lots of sprouts and seeds. Fresh.

How do I describe raw pizza? Hmmm… well the veggies included tomato, capsicum and florets of broccoli (trust me when I say that broc on a pizza can work!) on a crispy base. The base is made from nuts that are made into a “dough”, rolled thin and then dehydrated (dried without cooking) until crispy. The sauce was amazing- it tasted like sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps capsicum buzzed up in a Vitamix blender until super-fine and smooth. There was also a drizzle of cashew sauce- cashews, garlics and I’d have to guess perhaps some nutritional yeast- which serves as the “cheese”. This is not Dominos people, this is nutrient dense food that tastes great.

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I also ordered a brownie to take away but they were all out so I had the chocolate and salted caramel tart. It’s a hard life. Even though it has coconut oil/butter in it, it lasted all the way home via the fruit and veg shop without turning into a gloopy mess. I don’t know what I liked more: the base or the toppings.

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The verdict?

Can you marry a shop?
Orawgi on Urbanspoon

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HOO HA BAR

So there’s something about the name of the Hoo Ha Bar that is just funny. Or I’m just really immature.

I must be the last foodie/alcoholic in Brisbane to discover this place and was truly disgusted in myself when the bar staff told me Hoo Ha had been open since March. It’s less than six blocks from my house (on Tribune Street near the bus and train stations) and I didn’t know it was there. Food blog fail.

I found out about it yesterday and was there last night. There’s not much room in Southbank for bars that aren’t “in” Southbank and therefore expensive and potentially revolting so I was excited.

I told Ben we were celebrating his new job. But he knows.

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We moseyed down about 6.30 and although it was after happy hour, we had a happy time. We perused the beer and cocktails menu and Ben got a Coopers something (beer, pffft) and I was torn between a Bison Shake and a Cuban Espresso. As much as I wanted a Cuban Espresso and my general judgement of a bar’s cocktails rests on the mixing of coffee and alcohol, I didn’t want to be up at 11 pm with foil on my head paranoid about alien invasions. I likes me sleep.

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So I went with the Bison Shake (Vodka, Peach schnapps, cloudy apple juice, passionfruit and grapefruit bitters) and was not disappointed. I could have drunk these all night, but at $16 (standard full priced cocktails in Brisbane), I couldn’t afford to last night on our budget. I am happy with the knowledge that many of these drinks are in my future.

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We also wanted a nibble and Hoo Ha serves sharing plates in the evening. I think this is a great idea, not just because I don’t like drinking on an empty stomach, but because it’s a great way to offer food without worrying about chefs and the full dining experience for now. They do however offer a breakfast and lunch that looks divine (check out their Facebook page on the link at the top), but that can be a post for another day.

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There was a meats board (errr, not for us thanks), a cheese board (3 cheeses for $20!!!) and a bread and dips board for $10. We decided on the dips, which were hummus and babaganouj with warm olives, pickles and Turkish bread. It was a great appetiser for two people (we were going on to eat dinner elsewhere) and we both enjoyed it. I don’t normally like babaganouj but this was nice and simple.

We sat in seats from an old church- upright individual seats with room to kneel facing them. They were surprisingly comfy and made for lots of good elbow leaning. All I needed was a glass or port to swirl.

The rest of the decor is like a great living room (perhaps from a Teneriffe warehouse apartment?): brown leather couches and big wooden tables with dining chairs. I liked the set up because rather than uncomfortable places to perch, the feeling was “Come in and SIT and FACE your friends and RELAX”. A mix of REM and Radiohead was on the speaker system but you could hear your neighbour with ease. The two guys behind the bar were relaxed and friendly and didn’t seem intimidated by my intense cocktail-making watching, which I do without realising it and am sorry. It was a quiet night, but the photo makes it look quieter. More people were sitting around the edges of the room.

Ben’s comment really sums up the vibe: “I feel like this is a place where people come to enjoy themselves and have a chat and laugh without being obnoxious dicks”. I hope so!

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Now that Pear Cafe and Bar is not open as much in the evenings, I see Ben and I having many a sit, sip and sup here over summer.
Hoo Ha Bar on Urbanspoon

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It’s a hard knock life.

Lots of people have to work holidays, but they don’t get to have GF raspberry brownie and cold pressed soy coffee from Lift while they do it. So I feel smug.

The coffee is pressed locally by Rouge and is very sweet and strong, so be warned! (The soy option is called the Dalai Lama- gotta love it!). The house-made brownie is not to be shared. Seriously, get your own brownie. This one is mine (saving the last bite in the picture).

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Thank you for the chats and coffee recommendation, Johnathan. Now to take advantage of this coffee buzz and finish my work.

 

PS- 100th POST! Thank you to my supporters for the encouragement that makes blogging fun and rewarding!

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KOBBLER CAFE

So I first went to Kobblers last year before it was named and sometimes simply referred to as Scotty’s (the owner).

Kobblers is nestled on the corner of Simpsons Road and Morgan Terrace in Bardon. Unless you live right near there, you probably wouldn’t know it existed. I would never have known if it wasn’t for my sister. I love Bardon for its tall trees and surprisingly old pockets and that’s why there’s curb appeal for Kobblers- the building and adjacent shops (a thift shop and an architecture firm) are old charming buildings.

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Sitting on granny pillows in an old shop window, we watched tiny red-chested birds wheel about and perch in the verandah rafters and a lady and her four kids came in to buy ice cream. There’s also a drinks fridge with a curious combination of energy drinks and old-fashioned soft drink. But that’s Kobblers all over. Nothing matches and that’s why it’s interesting.

Since January, Kobblers has expanded its seating area and now is a Food Connect pick up point. There is a bit of food sold here but I think people really come for the drinks. Like coffee.

I really, really like their coffee. I ordered an iced latte and Ben a hot. Both on soy. Considering Brisbane has started heating up for the summer, I think I ordered well. I love the fruitiness of their beans. They may have changed, but I believe they use Blackstar beans.

Ben was not as impressed because they added sugar to his latte. I was asked when ordering if I wanted sugar in the coffee (I thought he just meant my iced latte) and I said no. Ben got it anyway and was pretty ticked off about it (although he’s enjoyed coffee here in the past). Either that or Kobblers stocks the sweetest beans we’ve ever tried. We thought this was a bit odd as we were still given spoons and the table had sugar. Nonetheless, my ice latte was really good and I know Ben would go back because we’ve had great coffee here in the past.

The hours and days can change a bit because it’s a small operation. I recommend following their Facebook page (link above) for updates.

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I love the ramshackle wholesomeness of Kobbler and, despite sugar, think they serve a darn good coffee.

-BVV

Kobblers Cafe on Urbanspoon

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COMFORT AT MY TABLE

So for my first day of holidays, I went to lunch with two friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in ages. I’m really not familiar with Milton because I’ve always been scared off by the terrible parking situation.

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If I’d known Comfort at My Table had been waiting for me all this time, I would have been there years ago. It looks like quite a small café from the front but opens into a large airy space with big white tables and mismatched chairs. The décor is decidedly girly- pale pink walls, floral bunting and a shabby chic feel, but this didn’t stop heaps of local businessmen from popping in for a meal or a take-away coffee while we were there, a good sign considering there are lots of other coffee places nearby.

Comfort specialises in breakfast but also serves lunch and sweet things. One friend ordered a sandwich and the other scrambled eggs with mushrooms. I ordered the avo toast with Danish feta and tomato relish for $10.80 and a poached egg on the side ($1.50). My first thoughts were “That’s not a cheap avo toast”. I stood corrected when a huge and delicious pink plate came out with a slice of roasted lemon and plenty of rocket as well as a really tangy creamy danish feta (I always thought feta had to be one or the other). You pay for care and things made at the café itself. It was divine.

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I also ordered a pot of chai which is supposed to be a specialty. It came out properly brewed in a pot with honey on the side (even though I stayed strong and didn’t have the honey). It was a lovely tea. I thought it might be T2 Chai, but it lacked the liquorish hit T2 has. The waiter didn’t know either- it’s a secret! He also said that he once guessed it might be T2 but confirmed that it wasn’t. Whatever it was, it was lovely as were the waiters who were present, very pleasant and attentive but never intrusive.

They also serve Krazy Lemonade, a local product I’ve had at the West End markets many a Saturday. All the baking is done in house. Overall, it was a well done: service, dĂ©cor, food and pricing was all spot on. There really wasn’t any vegan options already on the menu, but the avo toast could easily be done without feta and there was toast and fruit toast available. If I wanted a hot vegan option, I’d be incline to order toast and then add some sides like thyme mushrooms, chat potatoes (yum), baked beans, avocado and roast tomato (providing everything was not cooked in butter of course). Soy milk and gluten free bread were available.

After one of my lovely ladies went back to work, the other and I wandered down Railway Terrace to Park Road. We discussed how the café would be lovely for a Kitchen Tea or Baby Shower- it was definitely feminine, but more Shabby Chic meets Happy Modern, and not over the top.

I know Comfort has been around for a while, but I really was delighted at how “correct” everything was and how much I enjoyed my breakfast for lunch.


Comfort at My Table on Urbanspoon

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Holidays and NUDE DELI CAFE

So I’m on two week holidays.

And I celebrated with:

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  • Many long walks (the view above is from my 8 km loop standing on the Storey Bridge)
  • Super vegan enchiladas with Maple quinoa hazelnet muffins with friends
  • Making long phone calls to people.

I also went to the Cotton Tree Sunday markets with Ben and a friend and had brekkie. The place was packed. It’s on King Street and even thought it’s a tiny market with lots of clothes, it’s worth a lap and near to lots of places to eat, the Maroochydore beach and the parks near the river. It’s increasingly busy, but with locals unless it’s the school holidays.

We found a table at Nude Deli Cafe. My first impression was that it was expensive. Lots of brekkies were $13-$16 plus, including an avo and tomato toast! I ordered Eggs Your Way and got poached. Ben ordered a soy latte in a mug (he doesn’t do big breakfasts) and my friend wasn’t eating. It was $15.30 for the eggs and coffee.

I’m not quite sure what makes this a “Deli”. Possibly nothing? Although it was busy, the service was fine and although not speedy, not a big wait. Ben’s coffee came out first and he thought it was ok. My eggs came a little later. I thought they were well poached but very small eggs and served on two slices of buttered thick white toast.

It was all fine, but not good enough value to tempt me away from Raw Energy (same street but closer to bowls club) or Envy (around the corner). We finished with a stroll around the markets and I discovered the bestest Frida Kahlo bag ever.

After returning to BrisVegas, I tottered off on a walk around the river with a good friend (completely destroying my feet in the process) and found that there was new art down by the river at Kangaroo Point. A bunch of these:

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Covered in things like this:

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Which to me looked like they were out of a botany book (I didn’t photograph the bugs!)

We were rewarded with this on our way home:

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The sky is on fire.

Nude Deli Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Mum’s Birthday Weekend

So while I’m not going to post pictures from my mum’s birthday, I am going to post other nice moments from this weekend. Mum’s dinner went perfectly. Good food, wine and cake was had by all at Daisy’s Place on Steve Irwin Way on the Sunshine Coast. Although the clientele demographic seemed a bit older than places Ben and I frequent, it was superb service, great food and they were completely accommodating  of our arrangements for mum, like coming in early and decorating with roses, homemade Bunting and paper crowns and bringing out birthday cupcakes with candles (even though we ordered sweets off the menu as well).

In respect for mum, I didn’t take blog photos, but amazing vegetarian food was had, like mushroom risotto, Greek salad, warm cheesy breads, astoundingly good pesto and a fantastic cheese plate for two. My sister ordered “beetroot three ways” served with goats cheese and loved it. They also had a great looking vege curry that I would have ordered in a flash had it not palm sugar (ahhh sugar, you strike again).

it was expensive, but what you would expect for $25+ mains: excellent local produce, care, attention to detail, excellent vege options (in fact, a vege chef!), and a great international and local cheese and wine selection.

The next day was election day but we had all voted early because of mum’s birthday (four of us were outside of our electorate) so we went to Envy Cafe at Cottontree for breakfast. Envy says it’s healthy but to be honest, I don’t understand why, as although they do fresh juices and smoothies and have vegetarian options, they serve bacon, no vegan options beyond toast, and beer battered fries at lunch time. I really liked the food and the service had improved since I first went there early last year, but I just don’t get the “healthy” tag.

I had a Pride juice (celery, parsley, apple, spinach; can’t remember the price) with a spirulina boost ($1.50) and poached eggs on toast ($10). Ben had coffee and my sister had the corn fritters. My mum got sourdough toast with marmalade and dad got fruit toast.

The service was prompt and friendly. My eggs were cooked ok (whites still a bit too runny for my taste) served with plenty of toast. My sister thought the corn fritters were ok, but apparently lives near “The best corn fritters on earth” in Melbourne, so she might be spoiled for choice! The toast servings were generous for everyone’s meals.

Overall, we thought everything was nice, we didn’t have any mistakes or problems even though there were six of us. I was impressed by the speed and friendliness of service. Just don’t get the “healthy” tag! Don’t get it at all!

Ben and I finished off the weekend with a wander around Eden Gardens nursery at Carseldine, which is just amazing and reminded us why you can’t just go to Bunnings Warehouse for plants and pots! Such care and expertise was really lovely and, as old lady as I am about to sound, makes for a relaxing and sweet-smelling wander. Plus there was a cat in a box in the gift shop.

Then it was time to relax, reflect, smile at the pretty flowers and drink too much coffee at Pear.

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So many Zzzzzs needed.

Daisy's Place on Urbanspoon
Daisy’s Place

Envy Cafe on Urbanspoon
Envy Cafe

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SPAGHETTI HOUSE

So Ben treated me to Spaghetti House on Boundary Street in West End. Isn’t he the best? Even with a Sunday dinner booking, we had to wait a little while (less than 10 minutes) because this place had a tight turnover every night of the week.

We were right out on the street, which was fun but less nice when a guy started harassing us for money. His son found him and took him away but it was kind of awkward. You really don’t get much of that in Australia, so I was waiting for the waiter to do it (like in Europe) but dealt with it myself. All good. Not the restaurant’s fault.

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We were served olives and bread sticks to start and I loved the serving ware- it was all quality stuff with nice touches like a bowl of salt crystals. Cute.

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We ordered a starter of buffalo mozzarella and pesto bruschetta which was very fresh and used very real ingredients.

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We also had this starter, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called and the menu is no longer online, so I can only guess that it’s pan-fried gnocchi in a creamy sauce. Take that, blogging professionalism. I do, however, remember it was great and we squabbled over the last piece.

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For our mains, the waiter advised us that their smaller plate size would be adequate and he was spot-on. We were stuffed and couldn’t imagine eating the large serve, especially with a starter. I ordered gnocchi (again!) with butter and sage sauce and parmesan and Ben ordered the Cacio E Pepe (Parmesan and pepper).

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We couldn’t believe Ben’s dish- served in a Parmesan lace bowl!

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They were really generous servings, but we managed it.

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Well, Ben almost managed it.

It was a good night with good service and ambiance and great food. I have read some other online reviews knocking the amounts of meat in dishes and sometimes the service, but we were looked after from start to finish. Perhaps a perk of the vegetarian choices. Next time, I would book a table for two inside and save the group booking for outside, as large groups on the street are less likely to be hassled by “interesting” locals.

There were tomato based sauces suitable for vegans (if asked for without the Parmesan garnishes) but the pasta was freshly made, meaning there was egg. You could always call ahead or, as I recently read one gluten free blogger do, bring your own approved pasta (although gluten free peeps would also need to carefully specify fresh cooking water). I find this idea fascinating and if anyone has done this, I’d be interested to know the restaurant’s response.

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Will I be back? Yes we will!

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Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

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LUCKY DUCK ESPRESSO

So we went to Lucky Duck on Gladstone Road today for some lunch. They open from 8-1 on weekends and even though we turned up at 12.30, they were happy to make food, which was really nice.

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Silly me. Turn the page and there are the snacks.

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I like it how they are happy to cater for vegos and remark about the substitution up front.

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We ordered a latte and an iced latte, both on soy and I ordered a Breakfast Puck, which is a muffin with bacon and egg, so of course I had the haloumi substitution. I wanted to order a Canadian Bomb milkshake but with my recommendation to reduce sugar (I’m not pre-diabetic or anything it will just help some health areas), this might not happen anytime soon. Any Brisbanites who want to go and document the experience in the comments section would be greatly appreciated!

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The guy at the counter was nice and we sat just inside the window, which opens right up with the door making the front of the cafe nice and open. There were about 3 tables outside that could cater for 15-20 on stools and about 5 tables inside that could cater for 2-3 people each.

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There were three groups ahead of us and two people working and there was a bit of a gap between the arrival of Ben’s coffee and mine. Unfortunately, mine came out hot but was happily replaced with an apology. They had also run out of English muffins for the Breakfast Puck and offered to put it in a tortilla wrap, which was just fine by me. I felt like it was getting too close to closing time but they were not rushing us and were still making food for another table so all was good and we waited for the food.

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There was a calm vibe about the cafe despite being on a busy road and things like the chess set were laid out for people to while away time. When my wrap came out, it was bacon, so it was again back to the counter and again, they were very nice and apologetic and said they’d fix it straight away.

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When the food came out, it was delicious and was served with a free cookie as further apology (Ben ate it). The wrap, which was basically upgraded to one of two Breakfast wraps, was haloumi, a fried egg, grated cheddar and relish. It was delicious and would normally be $8 had I ordered it off the menu (I also liked how I wasn’t charged for them running out of muffins, that is increasingly rare to find).

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It was a lazy Saturday arvo and the mistakes didn’t phase me. Had it been a quick mid-week lunch bite, I could understand someone getting upset. I’ve been to places where things like this have happened and you feel horrible for pointing out errors (I tend to feel that way anyway because, back in the day as a waitress, I was mortified if/when I mucked up so I know how it feels) but at Lucky Duck it was handled really well. Ben enjoyed the coffee and liked that there were affordable eats for under $10.

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Overall, I think Lucky Duck had an unlucky day but had good food and coffee and professional, friendly staff who dealt with the mistakes in a way that made me want to go back and give them another chance. I will definitely do a short follow up post over the next few months to see how they go next time. I want to be fair rather than nasty for the sake of it, and getting grumpy only increases my blood pressure, so we’ll see what happens next time and find out whether this was typical or not.

Who can be unreasonable to people who are nice to dogs?

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Lucky Duck Espresso on Urbanspoon

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