Jul 24, 2008

A pleasant cafe story

Last week I took my delightful teenaged niece to a café I had never been to just off Sydney Rd on Albert St. after a strenuous afternoon's Oppshopping.
La Paloma: silver pot of tea for two, milk jug shaped like an owl and perfectly appropriate porcelain teacups and saucers {I thought for a moment as the tea things were passed across the counter to us that the cups might be shaped like Pandas or Pinecones}. The staff's slightly rowdy children were also underfoot, but one must expect these things during the school break; especially as this is the only time I get to spend a day with my niece. I was so delighted that I suppressed my fear of novel technology and took a picture of our afternoon tea with her digital camera. When I tried to take her picture, the batteries failed.
We spent the rest of the day in the Coburg Cemetery discussing monotheism and drawing stone Angels.

Jul 7, 2008

Café 3A

A cold and low-clouded day in Melbourne; a perfect day to stay in the house and do bugger-all. In the streets and trams and busses, all you will meet is drunks, freaks and children; it is school holidays.
On Sunday, after drawing for a while I suddenly started to feel very, very sleepy. Then I decided to throw up my breakfast {$5.00 organic sourdough bread, 6 slices, toasted, buttered with $2.20 butter from the local milkbar, and Vegemited with Vegemite I smuggled back from a recent trip to Tasmania. Also, an egg that wasn’t completely soft-boiled. Perhaps that is what made me feel queasy; the transparent yolk on my toast soldiers. Oh, and about 2 litres of weak Earl Grey tea.}. Then I lay about, watched Sci Fi and moaned for what remained of the weekend.
I ate nothing until I walked to Café 3A in Edward St. Brunswick on Monday afternoon and ordered a pumpkin and fetta pide and a Darjeeling tea. The pide need not concern us here, it was merely 20 minutes in coming and is in danger of exiting my body as I write. The tea however was another matter entirely.
Café 3A used to have cute little pots of tea, but in the pots was a kind of mini pomade on a chain that leaked brown water like incense out of a censer. Now they have removed the pots altogether and have a huge bowl of water with a hand stitched bag swimming in it.
If I am going to be treated like a pariah, I would prefer it to be by a pretty 20something woman - waitressing while she completes her Marketing, or Sociology, or Balinese Dancing-Girl degree. Not by a balding, portly middle-aged man, even if he is the proprietor.
"It's still leaf tea," says the gnome, when I raise an objection. No its not; it is a teabag, even if I have to fish it out with a runcible spoon.
On the bright side, the tea was only $2.50, even if I couldn’t drink it.
Oh, well. One more café off the list.

Jul 6, 2008

More bad tea tales

Café la terra, at the corner of Campbell st and Johnston st Collingwood. The décor is slovenly and disorganized, but the staff are not correspondingly friendly and easygoing.
I wandered in on a cold Melbourne night and saw 'English Tea' on a handwritten menu by the front counter. (A bunch of people were eating at a table further back in what seemed like a family atmosphere; encouraging.) The chairs looked comfortable and I had been walking around the worser parts of Collingwood in the dark for some time, so I asked a girl who came purposefully up to me for a cup of tea.
'Tea?' She looked baffled. 'I will have to ask,' she lisped. So she asks and yes, it appears I can have tea.
Well, we shall see.
From the pile of lemons and knick-knacks on the counter the woman in charge asks if I want milk. I do. When my tea comes it is of course a pot of hot water, and a bag of some no-name brand in the cup.
I anticipate a quick getaway so I say; I will pay now. $3.00 is the advertised price. But no, the girl with too many teeth in her lower jaw says $3.50.
It says $3.00 on the menu I say. Mum behind the lemon piles says 50 cents is for the milk.
Fifty cents for milk is simply outrageous, I say, having as recently as last summer bought a small carton of milk for $1.00.
In any case, the tea was undrinkable, and I lay a spinster's curse on Café la terra.