Saturday, December 17, 2005

Foodie tour with Jen

Jen is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Her knowledge of food is extraordinary and her cooking prowess is faultless, hence the reason for her nomination in the SMH's Homecook Hero. When Jen says she is popping out to pick up some bits & pieces you know it's not to the local Coles. So, I accepted the invitation to tag along.

The Providores Market, Ralph Street, Alexandria
Saturday 17 December, 2005

The Providores Market houses four offerings: Simon Johnson, Matt Brown's greens, Joto Fresh Fish and Bite. It's a large open space with plenty of street parking. On entering we were greeted by Simon Johnson himself.

We had a specific task here to enjoy a coffee (Allpress - delicious) and purchase some vegetables. We ordered coffees and sat down in Bite. It has floor to ceiling glass windows and no air-conditioning. With the sun streaming in it was a little hot box. We drank our coffees and walked back into Matt Brown's greens.

The staff do not wear uniforms here, so it is near impossible to know who to ask for assistance. One gentleman struck up a conversation in the potato section and it took us a moment to realise that he was a staff member. He definitely knew what he was talking about but it was little disconcerting.

There's a decent cheese room and you can find some bargains here, so it's worth a visit. The signage out the front is tacky but if it is an overcast day I'll definitely go back and have a meal in Bite.

The Providores Market - 24a Ralph St, Alexandria - (02) 82448288

Toby's Estate Roastery, Cafe and Tea Emporium, City Road, Chippendale
Saturday 17 December, 2005

We arrived here with the specific intention of buying organic coffee. It didn't take long for us to get sidetracked. On entering you are drawn to the glass cabinet with beautiful quiches, tarts, baguettes etc. I immediately decided I wanted the pumpkin, feta and onion quiche - it was delicious.

This location houses the roasting premises of Toby's Estate with a large factory/ warehouse out the back. The open plan cafe is nestled amongst the large dark wooden bookshelves that display the tempting teas, coffee beans and equipment.

I was completely engaged in a conversation with a gorgeous staff member about which coffee I should purchase when Jen jumps in and commences her 324 questions assault on him. I decided to go with Peru which is grown in the Villa Rica area of the Eastern Andes Mountains at an altitude of up to 1800 metres. It is described as a smooth, rich and balanced coffee with a smokey caramel aftertaste. Simply divine.

Toby's Estate Roastery, Cafe & Tea Emporium - 32-36 City Road, Chippendale - (02) 92111459

Sonoma, Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Saturday 17 December, 2005

According to Jen this is the best bakery in Sydney. It's a shoebox with a small amount of tables but a great selection of breads, muffins and treats.

We arrived after 1pm and all the spelt breads were sold out. I ordered a wholewheat loaf that smelt delicious and Jen ordered a loaf of white sourdough.

It's not somewhere you go to hang out but it's a great place to stop at and pick up a loaf of woodfired bread - but you must get there early!

Sonoma, 215 Glebe Point Road, Glebe - (02) 96602116


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