Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Books and bumming

Like beer and a hot day; wasabi and soy sauce; Party Feet and stilettos - books and bumming around simply go hand in hand. I'm a big fan of buying books rather than going to the library. There's something about having and owning a great book that even buying average or crap books does not discount.

And to say that I'm absent-minded in my bumming days is something of an understatement. At a bookstore today I unknowingly purchased two books with the words "my year of x dangerously" in the titles, with 'x' denoting 'cooking' and 'eating' respectively. Seriously. Gee, wonder what's on my mind...?

Well, aside from food-related current affairs I do have bikinis on my mind for two reasons: 1) was supposed to go to the beach today, but got very windy and overcast by the time I got around to it; and 2) Hawaii. With Jetstar deducting hard-earned money (well, credit) from me yesterday morning, I am well in the throes of planning day and night activities in Waikiki and Honolulu, as well as the island Hawaii. Yay - I need this holiday, apparently.

And directly related to the topic of bikinis in Hawaii is my incessant eating out habit. A beach day would have meant some frolicking in water or sand; hence some usage of kilojoules. Instead, temperamental weather conditions blamed, I go for a late lunch with a fellow bum for the day. Followed by cupcakes, beer and chips but we'll try to ignore that in case my conscience gets clogged arteries.

Heading to Glebe I do walk from Central station, so there - that's my physical exertion for the day in humid, windy weather as well (like a sauna) in Nudie Long Johns (like Skins, ha ha). Wandered into Gleebooks with fellow bum and spent a little more than justified being a bum. Like I said, there's a magnetic attraction with books and bums. A momentary stroll down Glebe Point Rd finds us at Well Connected Cafe - sparse of customers but not empty, and welcoming like a share house lounge room.

We took the seat by the window in sort of swivel club chairs; comfy and linger-enticing. It feels very local, bohemian and laissez-faire; as if "be whoever, whatever, whenever, however, why-ever" - that's a bit vague, I know, or is it?

Table service sees us order iced mochas (that aren't served with cream - thank you!) and to my delight they come in huge glasses with a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream bobbing atop. Slight overexcitement on my behalf means that I made a mess of the drink and sipped and scooped away before remembering the all important pic - oops. My lame consolation is to imagine: chocolate staining the bottom of the glass, a few ice cubes submerged oddly mid-glass, a huge sccop of ice-cream topped with some chocolate powder, plus a long spoon and two pink straws. The first sip is a sweet coffee hit - my first for the day and indeed the week. I dig into my ice-cream and it's very satisfying at first, but then gets too sweet and lacking coffee for me. But this from a macchiato drinker.

On to food we've ordered light because, well, it's about 4.00pm - and our minds and stomachs aren't sure if this is lunch, a snack or dinner. Linner? Dunch? It just doesn't work as a word nor a concept really. Afternoon snack or pre-dinner appetisers work, but not so a meal in between. So with that implicit meal dilemma we have toasted turkish bread with dips - a favourite style of grazing food of mine as it is. A friend and I once vowed to do a grazing plate tour of Sydney - we're still working on it, what with all the distractions of proper meals.

Turkish bread with dips and a vague attempt at antipasti

Bread was fresh, warmly crisped outer though the two ends were toasted whereas the centre wasn't. Interesting approach for non-consistency. Dips were a touch hit and miss - starting from left the olive topped one was a mayonnaise-based something, that tasted like mayonnaise. Despite the orange hue, it tasted like mayonnaise. I will call this the orange mayonanaise - which was a miss. The centre one was hummus, which is difficult to get wrong - always a hit with me. It was topped with feta cheese which I skipped, as too the roasted capsicum atop the creamy capsicum dip - also a hit. I hate dip and antipasti plates that are stingy with their bread (or cheese plates with rations on their crackers), so getting a generous almost half-loaf of Turkish bread is very pleasing.

We also order a lavash wrap to share between us - the sometimes difficult decision of carnivorous versus herbivorous tending the vegie path this inter-meal meal.

Toasted lavash with Jap pumpkin, rocket, feta and olives
with side mixed leaf salad

The flatbread was toasted to an outer crisp perfection and was filled with chunks of sweet roasted pumpkin, a blanket of wild rocket, crumbly feta and a few sliced olives. My only complaint is that it needed a plumber - juices, probably from the heated rocket or pumpkin, were dripping steadily from both halves. Bonus soup? Fellow bum's complaint was that seated at the open window meant that her share was under attack from a passing bum, or homeless gent. I love a leafy salad so long as it's not iceberg lettuce, and the mixed leaves with cucumber slices and tomato slice are fresh and crisp with their balsamic and oil dressing. Another pet hate is mixed leaf salads with the odd wilted, stale leaf - may as well be a worm - but no problems here.

We cleaned up the plates and then retreated upstairs away from passing bums with a few bottled drinks. Upstairs has a rather different vibe from the downstairs. Obviously a converted residential, the narrow wooden staircase leads to, I guess, the upstairs of the share house. There's a fireplace area with a circle of mismatched dining chairs, bathroom with bathtub and shower (not sure if in working order), 'rooms' with lounges and more club chairs, and the irresistable balcony looking out on to Glebe Point Rd.

We headed straight to the afternoon sunshine on the balcony, which is pleasantly free of smokers. A bit of social planning and D&Ms were broken up with visits to the bathroom - which I describe only for it's hanging artwork above the bathtub. In fact, all of the upstairs walls are adorned with artworks which I believe are available for purchase - aha, I knew I could feel bohemian-ness. I looked out leisurely onto the street down below, which was active with the comings and goings of Glebe locals - this sure is one way to spend a bumming day.

Well Connected Cafe on Urbanspoon

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