Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"I never want to work in an office"

It was the proclamation of a tween girl, working at her family's takeaway business next door to an office of a printing business in a formerly industrial area of inner Sydney. The air conditioning, the mundane trek to the same store every day for lunch, afternoon chocolate trips - I wasn't going to have it.

My Aunty Margaret was surprised, and I can't remember if she was skeptical. "What are you going to do then?" she asked, and I remember rambling on about something outdoors or something practical using my hands.

Cut to my graduation from a commerce degree - I was in and out of university in three years - which I'd chosen over psychology and food technology degrees for the greater career opportunities. With a marketing major, I looked for my first post-university job for about two months, without a very clear idea of what I wanted to do.

There were a handful of interviews: a junior role with a media buying firm, a sales and marketing role with a direct marketing agency, even a group interview with a conference company. For the latter I'd applied for a sales role, thinking it was selling physical exhibition booths. But in the group interview there were other jobs on offer, including one as a conference producer.

I think I was the only one from the group interview to land a job and it was a pretty good introduction to the corporate and events world, especially straight out of uni. It's probably also where I developed a drinking habit as a coping mechanism for stress, met one of my best friends, and became familiar with the Surry Hills area down near Central Station and Foveaux Street.

I moved onwards and upwards in the corporate "office" world from there, with three jobs over seven years within the same block of the Sydney CBD. This period included a 7-month GFC-induced break when I started blogging to kill time between job interviews and meeting up with friends.

When I quit corporate life for good last year, these words came back to me, reassuring me that this was the path that was meant to be. The 13.5 years I spent in "an office" had set me up, set us up for the what we have today and I don't regret any of it.

I'll be trying to see what else the young Tina, the inner child has been saying.

Recycled bricks - trying to match existing bricks for our venue #5

Friday, September 6, 2019


A new (old) space for real life stories I don't want to forget. Because none of us are getting any younger...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tokyo Bird, Surry Hills and an FB&S announcement

First, apologies for the prolonged quietness. It has been, and will no doubt continue to be, a very busy year for me and as such, this is the last blog post you'll see on Food, Booze & Shoes for a while. The reason?

Small bar Tokyo Bird opened in a quiet Surry Hills laneway in late December 2014 with my partner Jason at the helm and a small crew that includes, on some nights, me. That's right, Food, Booze & Shoes is transitioning to something more like Booze, Booze and some Food.

Tokyo Bird, Belmore Lane, Surry Hills
Tokyo Bird is the realisation of a long-held aspiration for us, especially Jason who's been shaking Boston tins for at least the last 12 years.

While we've been hit with all manner of delays over the past 12 months or so, we're proud to finally be open on the unbeaten, footpath-less Belmore Lane in Surry Hills, right behind Brooklyn Hide and around the corner from Bodega and the Keg & Brew pub.

The bar at Tokyo Bird
Photo by George Hong
Our concept brings together Tokyo's refined cocktail bars with the Japanese 'salaryman' favourite of a yakitori-ya, in a very Sydney incarnation of a laneway small bar.

With an intimate space licensed to hold 60 patrons, it really is a place that we would want to hang out in for chilled drinks – whether it's beer, our award-winning bartender Yoshi Onishi's house cocktails, sake or an introduction to Japanese whisky.

Snacks and yakitori at Tokyo Bird
Photo by George Hong
On the food side, particularly having determined that I'm most definitely an eater after a few drinks, we've got a selection of nibbles and yakitori grilled skewers for some pretty decent drinking food.

Check out what the lovely Lee Tran from The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry; Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella and Corinne from Gourmantic had to say about us, as well as articles in SMH's Good Food, Broadsheet, The Urban List, Concrete Playground and TimeOut Sydney.

Cocktails at Tokyo Bird
Photo by George Hong
It's been six great years of Food, Booze & Shoes with more than 700 posts published on Sydney restaurants, bars, events and festivals. But it it feels like the time is right to put the blog to rest for now as the food blogging community continues to evolve and change, and my own spare time and resources have all but disappeared.

Personally, it's been six wonderful years of eating, drinking, getting around town and connecting with very like-minded individuals. It's also been six long years of photo selection and editing, late nights writing and trying to remember what something I ate weeks ago tasted like - these parts I won't miss so much.

Heartfelt thanks go to my contributors - Hendy, Janice, Kath & Mark - for their efforts over the past year or so - it's been so great to share the blog with you and in return, experience your perspectives and passion for all things food and booze. Many hugs to the other bloggers (and no-longer bloggers) out there who I can happily call friends - I won't be seeing you at events and picnics any longer, but Tokyo Bird hopes to see you soon!

So while you won't find me here much any more, you will certainly be able to find me at Belmore Lane in Surry Hills, or on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and even on our own blog from time to time.

Signing off with love, food, booze & shoes,


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