Sunday, June 29, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: That Time Warren Ellis Came Into The Cafe

So there was this time I was having a chat with Warren Ellis in Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome and...well that's all, really.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Game Of Thrones With Fluffiness and Cameron Diaz.

"The pizza appears to be late."

Okay. So I really quite like Game Of Thrones. I like the adventure. I like the rousing stories and the larger than life characters. I reeeeally like the costumes. I like how they make you get attached to really good and noble characters who eventually get it in the neck because another less noble character wants to put sharp things in someone's neck because it advances their cause. This is, after all, the nature of life, no?

But really. Enough. Last night's episode was just too much. So much stabbing and throat slitting and being shot by arrows... I was quite traumatised by it all. I really liked those people, and seeing their hearts being broken and ripped out of their chests and the resulting mess of all of those sensational costumes... it was horrible.

So tomorrow night, no Game Of Thrones. It's gonna be romcom city, in the abode of Grumpy & The Dreaded One. Something with Cameron Diaz, perhaps. I still have fantasies about that dance Cameron Diaz did in those fluffy slippers in one of the Charlie's Angel's movies. Soooo yum.

There will definitely be tracky pants and snuggly blankets.

There will be a warm heater and snuggles on the couch.

And giggles.

Fluffiness and cuddles. I might even wear fluffy slippers and dance along to that scene in Charlie's Angels.

But if the pizza guy is late with his delivery and interrupts my Cameron Diaz movie, he will get it in the throat with an arrow fired from my crossbow with the cavalier precision you would expect from a battlefield warrior such as myself.

The insolent fucker.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Feeling The Love. Cafe, Work and Friends.

I bitched and moaned about having to do cafe stuff this weekend (our third weekend of not doing six day weeks for the past eight months), but bloody hell, what a lovely weekend it turned out to be.

The Dreaded One and I had to stay back on Friday after a busy day to move all the furniture and paint the floor with primer for our handyman guy to paint over the next day. Handyman didn't show on Saturday, so we painted the floor ourselves. We also bought this cool old chopping block to put the cash register on because the thing the cash registster had been on, courtesy of the previous cafe owners, was the most imbecilic piece of junk I have ever seen. Words fail me. I don't know what they were thinking. I'd post a photo of this hateful piece of shit except that I destroyed it Thor-like with a hammer after it fell over for the thousandth time on Saturday. The only thing fucktardier than making this shitful, poorly designed piece of demon poo was the fact that we put up with it for so long. What were we thinking?

Anyway. Now we have a neat, retro looking chopping block/cabinet thing THAT DOESN'T KEEP FALLING THE FUCK OVER, some very cool new art on the walls courtesy of photographer friend Steve Willis, some wonderfully whimsical little terrariums on the tables courtesy of writer friend Laura Brinson, and some nice looking outdoor furniture. I think we've gotten through the settling in period and can now start putting a bit more love into the cafe.

After painting the floor on Saturday we also managed to have friends over for dinner on Saturday night for the first time in ages. Cheese fondue and lamb shank tagine, LOTS of wine and fun conversation and laughs.

When I have such quality people over in my home - a place I usually need to spend time in in solitude - I'm content to sit back and soak in these people enjoying each other's company. They were noisy in the most wonderful way, and I loved it.

Today, Sunday, we installed the retro chopping block thing and got the cafe ready for tomorrow, then had lunch at The Fox.

Grumpy is happy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: The Soup, It's Good.

Sweeping through the cafe, I saw a table that needed to be cleared. The couple had finished eating and were talking, I told them I'd clear the plate and soup bowl away. I picked up the lady's plate and started to slide the guy's soup bowl on its wooden board to the edge of the table so that I could pick it up. But it seemed to be stuck to the table. It wasn't budging.

Grumpy [internal monologue]: What the hell is going on here? It's like this board is stuck to the table or something. It's almost like the guy is holding onto it from the other end or something. It's really confusing and the longer it goes on the more embarrassing it's getting. It feels like I've been trying to pick the thing up for ages. I must look like such a useless twat.

Customer: It's very good lamb, vegetable and lentil soup. Do you mind if I finish it?

I then see that the customer has indeed been holding on to the other end of the board. There are still a couple of spoonfuls of soup left.

Grumpy: Oh my God I'm so sorry. How embarrassing. Of course. Take your time. No rush. What a twat. Not you - me. Me twat.

Customer, smirking: It's okay. Tell the chef it really is very good soup.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Your Dream Menage A Trois

Dead chicks I'd have a threesome with: Dora Maar, Gertrude Bell, and Amelia Earhart. (I booked in an extra in case one of the others couldn't make it).

These people are amazing women.

If two of them got jealous, I'd probably stay faithful to Dora Maar. Picasso wasn't worthy.

But then,she was soooo blindly in love with him that she probably wouldn't see that he was unworthy because he was so great and so famous with his paint and art and yadyada, and I'm just me with my nothing and more nothing and my Australian accent which totally sucks compared to even the worst European accent, let alone the Spanish and Italian ones which are just crazy hot. So Dora probably wouldn't even glance at me. Probably wouldn't know I existed, if we existed at the same time.

Good thing I made arrangements with Gertrude and Amelia.

Have you ever thought about your dream menage a trois with dead people?

Why In The Hell Has There Never Been A Movie Made About Gertrude Bell?

Everyone knows about Lawrence Of Arabia, but who knows about Gertrude Bell? I didn't, until now. What an extraordinary woman. Why the hell has no one ever made a movie about her?

Although in just trying to answer this question, it seems Ridley Scott might be on the case. 'Bout bloody time.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: The Dropped Spoon

The customer was an imposing figure to say the least. One of those very large but shapely bodies, low cut top oozing the purest essence of buxom. Dark clothes. Bare skin a gallery of expensive tattoos. Her face? Strong and pretty at the same time. She ordered a large, strong latte, but with a spoonful of honey.

She sat outside. I made her coffee and took it out to her. Placing the cup on the table, I somehow managed to knock the spoon from the saucer onto the footpath. We both reached for it at the same time. She got to it first.

"Sorry. I'll get you another one.

"No it's okay. That's fine. This one is fine."

"That's silly. I'll get you a clean one."

"Really, don't bother - I like it like that."

"Like what? Like it's been on the footpath?"

"That's right... I like it dirty."

Grumpy's internal voice goes erm doo doo doo erm for about three hours.

"Seriously, I'll get you a clean one."

"Seriously, if you do that... I'll get angry."

"Angry? And what happens when you get angry. You gonna spank me or somethi..."

Her reply? A single, slowly arched eyebrow.

I got the hell out of Dodge before I got in over my head.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: The Mess, The Sequel

Conversations With Our Customers: The Mess, The Sequel.
Little Old Lady (as Grumpy clears her table): Sorry about the mess.
Grumpy: That's okay. Don't worry about it.
Little Old Lady: Yes, I've been here before and I made mess that time and you said don't worry about it, so I've come back again to make another mess.
Chapeau, Little Old Lady, you wrinkly cheeky you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Not So Common

A few weeks ago at one of our favourite Sunday lunch destinations, The Dreaded One and I found ourselves talking to the owner, a lovely person by the name of Jo. We first encountered Jo a couple of years ago, soon after we moved into the area and wandered by the restaurant and peered through the window. The restaurant appeared to be closed, so we kept walking. Jo had seen us peering inside and came running out onto the street.

"Come back! We're open!"

We went back. Have been going back ever since. We love this place.

Since then, we've opened our cafe, Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome. Steep learning curve, lots of hard work. Just the way we like it.

On this day, we told Jo about our previous Saturday, when our Saturday helper phoned in unwell and it was just down to The Dreaded One and me to go it alone again. Naturally, we got slammed.

Jo listened to all of this. Bear in mind here that this is a good restaurant. It's whole other levels above our humble operation. But when we finished talking about what a hard day it had been, Jo said wait here, hang on a second. She disappeared and returned with her business card. She scribbled her name and personal phone number on it and said that on Saturday mornings, she's available to work and to just call her if we need help doing whatever.

I could tell, she meant it. What a gorgeous, wonderful offer. We would never take her up, of course, but that she made the offer and meant it... wow.

Then today, Jo pops into the cafe. As well as running her wonderful restaurant, she supplies other restaurants with wild mushrooms. She was delivering some to the nearby legendary Cutler & Co and dropped a few off to us as a gift.

And again said that the offer to help out still stood.

Some humans are just so amazing. They make you take a good look at yourself and make you want to be a better person.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Our First Critic Didn't Hate Us... Hoorah!

Here is a link to our first, anonymous serious review, from Brian Ward at Fitzroyalty. We haven't invited reviewers in, and quite frankly I don't want to know when they are in the cafe because it would make me nervous. I can happily crank out the coffee all day long but if friends come in, I suddenly sweat it about whether the coffee is going to be good enough or not. So reviewers? They are welcome, of course, and with the internet everyone is a potential reviewer anyway, but I don't really want to know when they are in.

I think we got off okay with this review. It's not exactly a glowing endorsement, but I think it's fair. This guy can be pretty harsh. We're just us, doing our thing. The Dreaded One is doing an amazing job, so much more than just cooking. And although the reviewer said he enjoyed his "Corn Critters", The Dreaded One has taken note and aims to add a little something to lift them a little. Constructive criticism, it's a good thing. Decent is okay but we can aim a little higher. We're a work in progress in so many ways.

The reviewer mentioned us again here. Again, this is good, we just have to work on how to make the coffee better than just good. Probably by getting an actual barista in. For now, though, I just need to lift my game.

New outdoor furniture is happening very shortly. Plans are underway for a new fit-out for the service area, website is being built as we speak... it's all very exciting.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Speechmaker by Working Dog, Review

Here is a link to my review of Working Dog's first venture into theatre, The Speechmaker. It was good without being brilliant and will no doubt do well.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Conversations With Our Customers: The Avocado

A couple of Asian girls walk into the cafe. They look at the menu board for a while and speak to each other in their native language before one steps forward to do the foreign communication thing.

"Er... please, can we have one latte, and... mmm an avocado."

"A latte and an avocado. Okay. How do you want the avocado?"


"Would you like us to do anything to it."

She just frowns at this, like I'm some kind of weirdo. I'm just trying to help this be easier for all of us because quite frankly, we don't get many people coming in and requesting vegetables... or fruit, if that's in fact what an avocado is. Then again, dietary requirements these days being what they are, little surprises me.

"Do you want some lemon juice or vinegar with it?" I soldier on. On the odd occasion I have avocado, that's how I have it, with a little bit of malt vinegar.

The girl pulls a face like she just swallowed a mouthful of lemon juice. "What?"

"Okay," I say, hands raised in acceptance, "fine - just a plain avocado. Do you at least want a spoon with it?"

"Yes please. Spoon."

I go and prepare the avocado. I cut it in half, take the stone out, put the two halves in a small bowl and put a spoon in the bowl. I make the other girl's latte and take this rather odd little order out to these rather odd customers and put them on the table.

"Scyoo me, but what in the hell is this?" Asked with that same lemon-face expression.

Deep breath. "You asked for an avocado, so I'm giving you an avocado."

"Not avocado, AVOCADO!"

I try out her lemon-face expression to see if that helps the situation as I wonder what in the name of Basil Fawlty is wrong with this woman.

Then I realise. "Oh. Ooooohhhh. You want a latte and an affogato."

"That's what I said - a latte and an avocado!"