Bucket of beers. Do three words ever sound as good as these do? Especially on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon on the Coast.
What if I throw in another few words? Words like tacos, and corn, and chicken wings. Dude food Mexican style. Yeah. Those words sound pretty good too.
At La Canteena on Ocean Street, Maroochydore’s foodie street, there’s all this – plus a mural wall that would not be at all out of place in a Melbourne laneway. In fact, if we want to take it further, La Canteena would not be at all out of place in a Melbourne laneway – although I suspect there wouldn’t be quite as much need for shade. Just saying…and by now you should know how much I do love Melbourne.
Of course, it’s not all about beer. With a name like La Canteena, you’d also suspect there would be sangria and tequila and other cool cocktails – and there is.
On the menu ipad you’re given you’ll find pizzas and lots of Mexican street food in share plate style – although I never knew that Brussels Sprouts were traditional Mexican street food…who’d have thunk it. Having said that, these are not like the Brussels your Mum used to force feed you. Oh no – these are very yummy. These ones are pan fried with crispy bacon and drizzled liberally with chipotle mayo.
For me, though, it’s all about the tacos. We’ve sampled the soft shelled crab, the fish, the pulled pork, and the pork belly, but still have a few more left to try.
And the devilled chicken wings. You have to try the chicken wings. And the street corn – buttery with parmesan, lime and herbs.
It’s a funny thing, but one of things I remember distinctly about holidays to the Sunshine Coast was the sugar cane. I remember that on the road to Nambour there was lots of sugar cane. I even remember that sometimes you had to stop for the train that took the cane up to the mill.
I don’t know when we stopped noticing the cane, or the little train and the mill. Apparently the train and the mill closed in 2003 – the cane probably making way for development. I hadn’t even really thought about it until I took the back road – down through Bli Bli – to the airport the other day.
Where am I going with this? I’m not really sure, except to say that I thought of it again as we drove through cane-fields in Rosemount to Guru Life.
Where’s Rosemount, I hear you ask? No, I had no idea either. Anyways, it’s sort of west of Maroochydore, but not quite as far as Nambour – and surprisingly not really very far from anywhere.
I’d heard a lot about this place – about how the coffee was fabulous, about the quirky furniture, and about how it’s a great weekend hang-out for the sort of restorative all-day breakfast after the night before. Perhaps the pineapple wallpaper on the counter expedites the healing process…
We visited at lunch time on a steamy Friday to find the carpark – and the courtyard – relatively full.
And the food? Hubby was concerned that with a name like Guru Life he was going to be confronted with a completely vegan menu full of acai bowls and quinoa and kombucha. A quick trip to the website and the phrase “extra bacon” soon put his mind at rest.
I chose the Indian spiced corn fritters with potato kofta, hummus, yoghurt dressing, avocado, a salsa, and bacon. Phew.
Miss 19 had the same, but with smoked salmon.
Hubby had the fish and chips – and exceptional fish and chips they were.
Guru Life is also a roastery and I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they’d been voted by something or other as having the best coffee on the coast, but don’t quote me on that. Given that it was a Friday and my head hurt from work and some other stuff that you don’t need to know about, I went straight for a glass of wine. Don’t look at me like that – it was medicinal.
Speaking of which, aside from being a great spot for breakfast or a mid-week lunch, this is the perfect place for a Sunday session. A spot outside, a cold ale or three, maybe some tunes, and the world is a very special place. With a duck pond. What more could you ask for?
Where: 522 Petrie Creek Road, Rosemount, QLD
Open: Like the sign says – 6am – 3pm…but later (for dinner) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out their website or Facebook for more info.
There’s something about Woombye. It feels a lot like Bangalow (in the Byron hinterland) did before it was Bangalow and got all quirky hipster fashionable. (As an aside, I still love Bangalow). Anyways, Woombye, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, feels a little like that – full of potential and possibility. As if it’s yet to be discovered.
As we’re sitting down eating our breakfast on a Saturday morning, a couple of horses (with riders) go clomping up the main street. It’s all part of the charm of this town.
Speaking of charm, Winnie has it in spades. Operating out of a simply white-washed shopfront, fabulous breakfasts are somehow produced from what looks to be the smallest kitchen in history. I’m exaggerating, of course, about the kitchen size, not the fabulousness of the breakfasts.
I was torn between the avo smash, the Japanese style cabbage pancake, and the black rice porridge with ginger syrup, grilled bananas and hung yoghurt. Waiting at the counter to order the avo smash I saw a plate of the black rice go out – and changed my mind on the spot.
Hubby stuck with the sourdough and home-made jam (which he declared was excellent), but we’ll be back to try more. Update January 2018 – yep, back again…this time had the avo with radish, feta, micro herbs on sourdough. Just how pretty does it look?
Oh, and the name? Winnie is named after the owner’s son, Winston. They also have Little Boat at Marcoola (on my list to try) – which is named after her other son, Otus, or Oatey Boatie. Too cute…as are the straw umbrellas – which I’m now coveting.
I’m a bit of a fan of the scrub turkey. They’re a clumsy looking bird that you either tend to love or hate – I’m in the love category. To me, they’re part of the coast. Anyone whose had their lunch stolen or their camp site ransacked by one would, however, probably wouldn’t agree with me.
There’s one scrub turkey, though, that I think everyone can love – the cafe on Nicklin Way at Wurtulla.
The coffee is seriously good and the menu is small, but based around organic and sustainable produce. There’s a good range of the usual breakfast suspects (I had the smashed avo with feta and a side of crispy back), a few good burgers – than can also be served naked i.e. without the bun – and some daily specials.
There are long benches that are perfect for working – as I was supposed to be doing – and the shelves are full of all sorts of sustainable products.
Sure, it’s located on Nicklin Way, but enough off the road to minimise the noise – and there’s plenty of parking.
I’m a big fan of the weekend breakfast, but let’s be honest – not all avo smashes are created equally. So where’s the best breakfast on the coast? I have no idea…yet, but here are 10 of my favourites.. so far…in no particular order… Watch this space for part 2!
The Shak, Buderim
Since moving to the Sunshine Coast, we find that we’ve been naturally eating in a way that is more aligned to the seasons than we ever did in Sydney. A very welcome aside to this is that much of our produce is grown or sourced locally – or relatively locally. The Shak Organic Cafe and Wine Bar prides itself on being Buderim’s only organic cafe – and one that is pretty much as local as you can get.
Located in the centre of Buderim Village, we couldn’t go past their version of eggs benedict – served on herbed potato rosti rather than bread. I’d go as far as to say it is one of the best eggs bennies I’ve had – and so so pretty. Next time, though, I’m trying the Balinese black rice pudding…
The Velo Project, Mooloolaba
A quirky interior and great food and coffee makes this cafe – located a few blocks back from the Esplanade – worth seeking out.
The avo smash is great and there’s a huge range of fresh juices and herbal teas available, but my fave (so far) is the pumpkin and goats curd “gnocchi” with chorizo, avocado, rosemary roasted chickpeas and sage butter.
The Velo Project is open 7am – 3pm 7 days a week. You’ll find it at 19 Careela Street, Mooloolaba.
One Block Back, Moffat Beach
If I were really pushed for a favourite from this group of cafes – and I mean really pushed – it would probably be a toss-up between here and The Velo Project…although I do love #Phresh… Seriously though, it would come down to the quirk factor, and OBB has it in spades.
Located in a quiet street back from the main Moffat Beach Village, One Block Back would be equally at home in Abbotsford as it is here on the Sunshine Coast.
The eggs benedict with pulled pork, beetroot relish and paprika emulsion is a winner, as is the beans with eggs and ham hock. The award for prettiest breakfast though has to go to the nutella panacotta with banana rolled in granola and a whole host of other gorgeous bits.
You’ll find more instaworthy pictures of food on their Facebook page. One Block Back is open from 7am.
Hashtag Phresh, Mooloolaba
A relatively new offering on The Esplanade, #Phresh also has one of the cheaper avo smashes on the strip. At $10.50, with tomato, feta and dukkah, it’s a very satisfying brekky.
The #BennieBagel is also very good – and highly instagrammable. If, however, you’re into acai bowls – I’ve told you before about my suspicion that there are more acai bowls per head of population sold here than anywhere else – and smoothies, you’ll be well chuffed by what’s on offer.
#Phresh is open from 6.30am 7 days a week. You’ll find it on the Esplanade at the base of the Landmark Resort.
Update June 2018 – Hashtag Phresh is now closed
One on La Balsa Cafe, Buddina
We tried this place at the end of a walk around the Pt Cartwright headland and down the path to Kawana, but you don’t need to make any excuses. Located opposite La Balsa Park, there’s plenty of parking and always something happening in the park or on the water.
The avo smash with bacon was yummy, but my daughter – who fancies herself an expert on acai bowls – declared this one a winner.
One on La Balsa is open from 6.30am Tuesday – Sunday. You can find out more here.
Elliott’s Bistro, Alexandra Headland
From the minute we walked in I knew that Elliott’s would know how to do smashed avo the way it’s meant to be done. It wasn’t just the soundtrack – Bob Dylan and This Wheels On Fire – it was the service, the cute beach-side shopfront, the whole package.
We weren’t disappointed. Miss 19 was well impressed with her avo smash – which she declared up to Melbourne standards. It came with perfectly poached eggs and sharp, salty feta perched on top for the perfect avo. Hubby made his version even more perfect by adding bacon and tomato.
Elliott’s also know that anyone can do the basic bacon and eggs, but a great breakfast place should do that plus something a little more interesting. Something like, say, potato and gruyere croquettes. Served with fried eggs, bacon, a dollop of relish and a dab of blue cheese, this was bacon and eggs with hash browns taken to a much higher level.
You’ll find Elliott’s across the road from the beach at 102 Alexandra Parade. It’s open from 7am. Their Facebook page is here.
Kimnat Little Market and Cafe, Woombye
We found this place accidentally one morning when the ATM wasn’t working at Hinterland Harvest and we ran out of cash for breakfast. The closest ATM was in the IGA at Woombye, and just down the road was this little treasure trove.
The smashed avo was beyond good – so much eating, so many herbs and greens – and the tarot and guidance cards on the tables outside were just another fabulous little new agey touch.
Ok, the first thing you need to know about this place is that it’s huge. The next thing that you should take into account is just how popular it is. And why wouldn’t it be? Just off the Esplanade in Brisbane Rd, CK really is a healthy alternative.
Now, I’ve never been one to have my coffee other than as real coffee, but if you’re into turmeric lattes (which it seems half of the Coast is) or matcha or dandelion lattes, you’ll be in heaven. Of course there’s a great range of coffees and black as well as herbal teas also available. When it comes to food, CK has all your paleo and raw food options covered, plus more for the, shall we say, more dietary challenged.
I chose the Japanese pancakes – okonomiyake – with perfectly cooked salmon and a poached egg and was absolutely not disappointed.
Open from 6am for coffee and 7am for breakfast 7 days a week. Check out their full menu here.
Monica’s at Maleny
Maleny is a town with plenty to offer the hungry breakfast seeker, but it was Monica’s that we chose when arranging a real-life meet-up of social media friends. I had the baked eggs, and my friends had the eggs benedict. Gluten free requests were handled without fuss. My only regret? I was too busy chatting to take photos. Ooops.
Monica’s is open 7am – 3pm 7 days a week. Their website is here.
The premise of this place is fabulous – decisions. Your first decision is choosing between the superfood or super junk menu – and this is not a decision to take lightly.
Another place where we went for the avo smash and acai bowl, but for the life of me I can’t find the pics! You’ll have to take my word for it.
Decisions is open from 6am at 10 Capital Pl, Birtinya.
The other day on and anyways I wrote a bit about what I don’t like about Masterchef. If you’re interested, you can read the post here, but spoiler alert, it’s all about the unrealistic dessert challenges and fancy equipment.
I mentioned that what I loved about the show was how it’s still all about the food and not about the bitchiness we see in other so-called reality programs. What I didn’t say is that another reason that I keep watching – aside from the sheer joy of Gary’s appetite when confronted with something simply fabulous – is the strike rate Masterchef has of contestants that are working in the industry long after the cameras stop rolling. I think I read somewhere that it’s about 70something%…but don’t quote me on it.
One of the moments that epitomised everything I love about Masterchef was in last years grand final when the eventual winner, Elena, took the time to help her mate (and runner-up) Matt Sinclair finish his dish. No spoiler alerts – you’ve had a year to catch up on it…
Where am I going with this? Matt – and some of his mates – has recently opened a new restaurant on Sunshine Beach and, another spoiler alert, it’s an absolute winner.
The fit-out gives you a hint of what’s to come in the food and flavour stakes –street art-ish murals mixed with snippets of pure Asia.
The food is the same – Asian influenced but with a twist that’s so clever you wonder how it can even be a twist.
Designed to share, the menu is divided up into small plates, medium plates and large plates. The two of us argued and negotiated with each other before deciding on three small plates, one large plate and a som tum or green papaya salad. Although time consuming, that was the easy part – what to choose from a menu where we wanted to try everything was the difficult bit.
We spent way too long saying things like ‘I really want to try the snapper, so if I give in on the satay today, we can have that next time?’ and things like, ‘but I really want to give those Korean wings a go and Oh My God, how good does the beef cheeks smell?’ and things like, ‘who else can we bring next time so we can try more?’
Eventually we decided on:
Pork and prawn dumplings, black vinegar and crispy chilli- and good dumplings they were
Gangnam style beef tartare, fried egg mayo, crispy potato – easily the best dish of the day
Cured swordfish, nam jim, coconut and kaffir lime – my 2nd favourite dish
Satay ½ chicken, house made roasted peanut sauce – OMG that sauce!
Spicy green papaya salad Spicy Green Papaya Salad, dried shrimp, peanuts, tamarind – hunny’s 2nd favourite
There’s a good mix of gluten free and dairy free options and enough choices to keep the vegetarian in your life happy.
As for desserts? These are kept simple – just two choices:
Deep fried ice cream , miso caramel and coffee
Chocolate mousse, mandarin, black sesame crisps
We chose the latter and this dessert avoider asked for a spoon to share it.
The verdict? As if you have to ask! Outstanding. We’ve booked already to come again later in the month and also for when we have Kiwi guests at Christmas…so many more opportunities to try dishes – next time I’m definitely getting the snapper…just saying.
You’ll find Sum Yung Guys at Sunshine Beach, just before Noosa – and you’ll need to book. Want more info? You’ll find it here.
The Spirit House. It’s my favourite restaurant here on the Sunshine Coast – I’ve told you about it before here, here and here. I’ve even gone as far as saying that if I ever got married again (naturally to the same man) I’d do it here – especially now that they’ve got a really cool bar area that looks like it’s been transported from Bali…more on that another time.
Anyways, I have 4 of their cookbooks – 2 of which are almost falling apart from overuse – but have never been to one of their constantly booked out cooking classes. Not because I haven’t wanted to – but because I haven’t got my act sufficiently into gear to plan ahead.
Hubby solved that problem with a birthday gift of 2 vouchers to their Essential Thai class…so off we went.
On the menu was:
Pork and prawn dumpling soup with shredded omelette and golden garlic
Salad of caramelised pork belly with green papaya (green mango is out of season), and nahm jim dressing
Stir fry duck breast with roasted chilli paste, wild betel leaves and crispy shallots
Steamed Chinese broccoli with ginger, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame seeds
Fried mahi mahi (actually, it was Spanish mackerel) with green curry sauce, Thai basil, and lime juice
At a Spirit House Cooking Class, you’re not watching – you’re doing. So yes, we chopped and diced and pounded our way through all the ingredient preparation – and then we put it all together…and then we ate it.
Ok, that probably seems as though I’ve condensed a 4 hour cooking class into a couple of paragraphs, but seriously, that’s what this one is about. You prepare, you cook, you eat…
It’s probably easier to show you the day in photos…
And the finished product? All I can say is wear comfy pants or elastic waists. Plus, this is the only cooking school I’ve been to where they serve beer and wine (complimentary) with your food. Bonus.
Well worth the money and the pre-planning. If you’re doing this as part of a Sunshine Coast holiday, I’d recommend booking as soon as you book your trip to the coast. If you’re coming up from Brisbane or are local, the classes book out a few months in advance – especially during summer and July holidays. More info and booking forms can be found here.
Located in a quiet street back from the main Moffat Beach Village, One Block Back would be equally at home in Abbotsford as it is here on the Sunshine Coast.
The space is huge – with plenty of room inside for working, eating, coffee, whatever. Outside there’s a little garden area with resident cheeky butcher birds and magpies and the occasional kookaburra.
As for the food? We’ve been a couple of times now and sampled the wagyu burger with piccalilli mayo – make sure you ask for sweet potato fries with that – the chicken BLT, and the smashed avo due with avo and pumpkin hummus. Miss 19 loves the RAWR food treats that also come out of the kitchen. She recommends the raw wagon wheel or snickers – no nasties and apparently yummo. We haven’t tried the hotcakes, but watched a heap of them coming out on Saturday and boy, did they look pretty!
The service has been a tad on the whatever side – on our first visit (a Friday lunchtime) it was spot on, but last Saturday our meals staggered out, with the poached egg arriving for my smashed duo well after my smashed duo did. Not that it mattered – it was an overcast Saturday lunchtime and we had nowhere else we needed to be. Besides, the food was fabulous – although I’m still unconvinced about this whole activated charcoal thing – and a thing it is.
Oh, and newish to One Block Back, but not on the menu yet are, wait for it…doughnut fries. Yes, really. They look like fries, they’re served in a little box like fries, but they’re strips of doughnut rolled in cinnamon and sugar…and even drizzled with nutmeg. Stop it already.
A huge yes! Even if it’s just for that piccalilli mayo…or the sweet potato fries…or that pumpkin hummus. You know what? Just go.
One Block Back is at 106 Nothling Street, Moffat Beach
A noisy and overexcited reaction or response to something…
The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
It was synchronicity that led us to lunch at Brouhaha Brewery. Synchronicity and instagram. You see, it was a few days before Mother’s Day and my husband had uncharacteristically failed to organise a venue for lunch. Which translates to he realised that Mother’s Day was on Sunday, hadn’t booked anywhere, had no idea where to book, so threw his hands up in the air and said, ‘well, I don’t know where you want to go!’
As it happened, I’d been scrolling through instagram and just happened to see a post from Brouhaha. ‘Here,’ I said. ‘Let’s try here.’ Synchronicity.
So we did.
Mother’s Day is rarely a good day to try a new place out. The menu is usually cut down, the service staff are run ragged, and every last available inch of space is occupied. And yes, that was the case with Brouhaha too – but it was Mother’s Day – and we ate early enough that the roast was fresh and good (a real Sunday roast with proper yorkies, perfectly cooked veg and fresh horseradish…yes, fresh – not out of a jar).
Plus, the service was still good…and the pork scratchings with beer mustard dip worth the trip alone.
‘We’ll come back another day,’ we promised ourselves. ‘When it’s not Mother’s Day and the full menu is available.’
That someday was today. With beer loving friends in town, it was the perfect excuse to revisit Brouhaha. This time around we took our time, chose the beer for the paddle, and sat outside on the deck.
The verdict? I think we’ll need to come back again some time to make really sure that it’s worth coming back 🙂
You’ll find Brouhaha Brewery in Coral Street, Maleny. Booking is recommended and, the best bit, there’s plenty of parking. If you’re after more information, you can find it on the website. Oh, and there’s even an open fire for those cold, wintry, Sunshine Coast days…
As part of our quest to buy local wherever possible, we took ourselves off to Hinterland Harvest Markets at Woombye last Saturday morning. It was a drizzly morning, but the produce was fabulous – as were the stallholders…and before we knew it, we’d whiled away a couple of hours.
My key buys were:
Crunch from Pip’s Real Food. This is a gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar brekky granola that tastes amazing. I couldn’t decide which of her crunches that I liked best, so bought one of each. My problem is now eating it quickly enough so I have an excuse to go back and chat to Pip. I was so busy chatting that I forgot to take a pic of her stall, so here’s one I snaffled from her Facebook page.
Local limes, finger limes, avocados, and bananas. The finger limes have been put to good use in vodka…
Locally grown ginger and turmeric
Organic, free range eggs – beautifully sunny yellow yolks the way they’re meant to be
Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes taste before they’re sprayed, transported huge distances and kept in cold storage
Some extremely good sour dough bread
Cheese from Gympie Farm and Woombye Cheese company – yes, I know that I don’t tolerate dairy real well these days, but this cheese was worth it.
Daryl’s peanut butter – that I was assured is the best peanut butter that I’ll ever taste. I later discovered that even though the peanuts are from Kingaroy, the product itself is from Melbourne. Oh well.
What did I do with it?
First up was the peanut butter. The best I’d ever tried? Now that’s a challenge. It was pretty good, so as well as spreading it on the sourdough for brekky when we got home, I also made these peanut and choc chip cookies with it. The thing about using real peanut butter in this recipe, though, is that because it doesn’t have all the added sugar and oil that commercial peanut butter has, you need to add some extra brown sugar and butter. This makes the cookie a tad shorter, but no less tasty.
I’ve blogged the recipe before – you can find it here.
I also used the peanut butter in a satay dressing. This works perfectly on barbecued chicken thighs, or, when you’re not feeling like barbecuing chicken thighs, store-bought barbecue chicken – shredded – and tossed through some wombok, cucumber, capsicum, shredded carrot or whatever other veggie you have in the crisper.
Oh, what goes in it? About a ¼ cup of peanut butter, a couple of teaspoons of grated ginger, around 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, a pinch or so of chilli flakes, and a ½ cup of boiling water. Shake it all about and drizzle over the chicken and salad ingredients. It’s pretty easy to turn this into a satay sauce too – just by adding some chopped chilli and a small tin of coconut milk.
As well as the satay dressing, I also used the ginger and turmeric in a Kapitan chicken paste. It’s my hubby’s favourite and we’re having that tonight…you can find the recipe here.
The ginger was so young and tender – barely toddling – that I figured it needed to be used in something in which it could star – Chicken With Ginger Sauce. This is a Vietnamese dish from a book I was lucky enough to be given by the hotel where we stayed in Hoi An. If you book (directly with Maison Vy) for more than 5 nights, this is just one of the fabulous rewards on offer.
What you need…
500g chicken thighs, sliced
1tbsp shallots, pounded into a paste in your mortar and pestle (or is it pestle and mortar?)
¼ cup ginger, sliced super fine
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 cups onion slices – I used 1 brown onion and a few shallots
12 spring onion stalks – the white part only. These can be whole or chopped to a manageable length…your call.
¼ teasp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp pepper
¾ tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil – I use rice bran oil
What you do with it…
Add the oil to a heated wok. Toss in the onions, spring onions, ginger, and shallot paste.
Stir it round for a minute or so and then add the chicken, fish sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, and chilli.
Stir fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked and serve it with steamed rice.
Super quick, super tasty.
If you want further info on the markets, you’ll find it here. The Hinterland Harvest Markets are on in Woombye every Saturday from 6-11am during the summer, and 7am- 12pm in the winter.
Pip’s super crunch can be found here – and is well worth seeking out… (I’m enjoying it with Maleny Dairies yoghurt for brekky after my sunrise walks)