Foam Cafe, Lennox Head, NSW

foam cafe lennox head I woke to a crisp morning air, but soon enough the sharpness of the early morning air was contrasted, thick with the aromas of shitty coffee and burnt toast. The smell did not stem from our kitchen but it was there… in the air… filling my nasal passage. The decision to get the hell outta dodge for breakfast was a foregone conclusion. We headed east, toward the Pacific Ocean, and luckily we found ourselves an eatery before we were submersed in said ocean. The eatery was called Foam. Yeah, Foam. Just when I thought it was a word used to describe the bubbly stuff they pump onto half naked uni students on Foam Party night at the local club, they go and use the same word to name a café. Genius! So we step into Foam and our first impressions are good… really good. The place is clean and oozing north coast beachside chic. The cleanliness was enough to get me going and the north coast beachside chic just helped us to realise where we were; on the north coast in a café near the beach.

The breakfast menu looks exactly like this
The breakfast menu looks exactly like this

We are greeted by a super friendly waitress who gets us a table, brings us menus, takes our drink order and has a smile on her face the whole fucking time. Like, a real smile, not one of those smiles that look like you’re forcing it for your year five class photo or, even worse, one of those smile that doesn’t even pass as looking like you’re forcing a smile but instead looks like you might be forcing a poo.

Now that is a damn fine looking coffee
Now that is a damn fine looking coffee

The goodness continued when our coffees arrived, delivered by another genuinely happy person but this time in male form. The Allpress coffee was delicious. It is very quickly becoming one of my favourites, even though it doesn’t tick the box marked “local”, it is just a damn fine product and at the hands of these folks it was allowed to reach it’s full potential.

Seba waiting for me to get some black pud into his breaky burger
Seba waiting for me to get some black pud into his breaky burger

More goodness continued in the form of our breakfast. The boys are becoming as predictable as the office tart at the staff Christmas party, with their choices of the bacon and egg rolls made within the first few seconds of perusing the menu. They were damn fine breaky rolls too, except for the store bought BBQ sauce… I want a little home made relish or chutney in a 10 buck breaky roll.

My quesadilla
My quesadilla

Jennee had a roast pumpkin something with grilled haloumi, poached eggs, toast and half a field of baby spinach. I didn’t pay a heap of attention to it, apart from the acre of spinach, but Jennee said it was damn tasty and she looked authentically happy, so that was good enough for me.

It looks a bit of a rabble, but it was damn tasty
It looks a bit of a rabble, but it was damn tasty

I ordered the caramelized onion quesadilla with a side of black pudding (I shouldn’t have bothered as most of it was scoffed by the younglings), which also came anointed with the canopy of a tropical rainforest. Once I had hacked my way through the foliage though, it revealed a tasty breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like my greens, I just think that shit needs to be manicured, much like the “other bush” which we shall not be discussing today. Maybe the thick layer of greenery was a form of insulation to keep the meal warm? Anyway, the quesadilla was damn tasty, oozing it’s cheesey-caramelised onion filling all over my plate… and beard if I am to be totally honest. The eggs were cooked perfectly, the chorizo was awesome (I heard it might be home made) and the little saucy number that adorned the dish was just what it needed to complete the package. Magic.

… and a short trek to Lake Ainsworth
… and a short trek to Lake Ainsworth

My belly was full, my caffine-o-meter was at med-high and my face was smiling. A quick dip in Lennox Head’s imfamous Lake Ainsworth AKA the Ti Tree Lake and it was back home to see if the burnt toast smell had dissipated yet… You can find the Foam facey page right here.

Carlos and Co. Port Macquarie, NSW

The spread. We all know how much of a fan I am of a good spread
The spread. We all know how much of a fan I am of a good spread

Driving into Port Macquarie by road you could be excused for thinking it is Byron Bay on some really heavy steroids. If you arrive at Port Macquarie by sea you may be excused for not really giving a fuck what it looks like and get your ass to the nearest reputable house of the ladies of the night… it’s been a long time between drinks, I’m sure.

I expected the place to be quite small. I had preconceived visions of a seaside town with a few resorts and possibly a nice little café where we could sit a have a coffee and maybe read the paper while our children invaded (yes, invaded) the park opposite. In fact Port Macquarie is more like Byron Bay on performance enhancing drugs; hotels, resorts, caravan parks, cafes, restaurants and also hotels that moonlight as resorts and caravan parks and also house a small restaurant and café strip.

The road layout seem to have been penned in the sixties by a town planner who was clearly taking a lot of acid, or possibly someone who thought it would be funny to make a life sized maze and secretly film all of the tourists trying to make the way into/out of town but always ending their journey at the same cul-de-sac – home to three cafes, a restaurant, a caravan park/resort/massage parlor and a beagle named Colin. Unless of course (humour me here), all of the cafe fronts and hotel foyers are painted on, merely a façade, and we missed the sign on the way in that informed us that the town is actually a giant crazy maze… and we didn’t even pay our entry fee. Damn, I like to entertain some pretty damn preposterous conspiracy theories.

The best I can figure is this place has got it’s steroids from the city crew, with Northern Sydney being less than four hours drive to the south, shipping in loads of steroids in the form of their tourist dollars so this town/city may grow wider and taller, and they have transplanted the means to appease their seaside holiday addiction in the form of the big resorts and café strips… a little city chic, but this place still maintains a sense of coastal country with it’s magic beaches, breathtaking scenery and thongs and board shorts vibe.

Hip as fuck
Hip as fuck

There is a plethora of trendy, paleo-friendly, local produce using breakfast joints in this town, but for us the shining light of the local a.m. food scene was Carlos and Co. South American street food.

The menu from which one may choose the dishes one would like to eat
The menu from which one may choose the dishes one would like to eat

We ventured into the hip little joint and I ordered a coffee. A long black  be precise. The first was a blend, followed by another, followed by a single origin number at the request of the barista, each as marvelous as the last. Perfectly poured Peak coffee tickled the back of my throat with a hint of chocolatey goodness and just enough coffee kick with out being bitter or burnt. Carlos and Co. was so close to getting 10/10 in the start-to-the-day stakes, but I thought it inappropriate to ask for the reach around needed to achieve this perfect score… and besides, we hadn’t even received our food yet…

dhfsgfi
Shredded beef and huervos arepas

The menu was concise and to the point, much like what you would expect of street food vendors South America even with your exactly nil first hand knowledge, so I treated the menu with the same lust and revere I would treat any South American street vendor’s menu with (again, with nil first hand experience) and ordered as much of this tasty soundy meaty goodness as I thought we would be able to eat. The Breaky Burrito (9.5), French Toast with Maple Bacon (9.5), Shredded Beef and Huevos Arepas (12.5) and Breakfast Carne (13.5). I kid you not, everything was delicious. The fried tortilla with the shredded beef was a little chewy, but still delicious. This breakfast had me almost convulsing in my chair, like I was on an imaginary boat on the high seas or possibly suffering a mild stroke. But it was the former that best describes the fit of unrestrained gratification I was experiencing right now.

A special mention needs to be given to this french toast. Truly kick ass. But the again, so was everything else that hit the table
A special mention needs to be given to this french toast. Truly kick ass. But the again, so was everything else that hit the table

It was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. Even the boys loved every chilli-spiked morsel (they have a great range of chilli condiments to perk up your taste buds if the coffee isn’t enough… and we all know I am a huge fan of condiments) and their mango frappes, wandering into the kitchen at the end of the meal to personally thank the chef.

Great work Carlos and Co. Great work indeed.