Brunched Designs with Baby

- - Inspiration

It’s amazing how much time you think you will have once your baby arrives, you dream of projects you’ll start, the reading you’ll do, the television shows you’ll watch… then if you have a baby like mine who only sleeps for a maximum of 45 mins in a stretch during the day, those dreams go out the window.  Do you know what else you dream about?  Soothing car trips to get your baby off to sleep on the way to brunch.  Hmmm there goes another dream… my babe hysterically cries when in the car – seriously there is no bringing her down unless you pick her up.  Goodness only knows what it is!

So brunch has been local and the blog reviews are still in draft mode, and Brunched Designs has some new artwork coming but I’m struggling to find the time to upload it and print it so I’m order ready.  On a positive note I am really good at using a computer one handed and I’ve never ever loved my baby carrier so much before in my life!

Stick around with me on this journey of being a mum and I promise there will be more brunch, designs and baby spam soon enough!

Brunch with Baby

- - Inspiration, sydney

So the countdown is officially on, I am in the dropzone waiting for Baby Code to arrive and as a result I am doing 3 things:
1. Working on Brunched Designs (see image of a customer order above)
2. Eating brunch with 2 hands as much as I can
3. Starting a list with a friend of brunch spots to try once baby arrives.

We’ve consulted coffee guides, good food guides, foodie blogs and word of mouth. Now the challenge is that my friend has a 2 year old, and is having her second a week after me which means that we are looking for cafes to visit on the days her 2 year old is at Day Care.. cruel I know – but we have brunch plans!

Here is the list so far, and we would love your thoughts/suggestions.. send them through!

Brewistas (Glebe)
Maslows (Pymble)
Kitchen by Mike (Beaconsfield)
Cuckoo Callay (Newtown)
Revolver Cafe (Annandale)
Three Williams (Redfern)
West Juliett (Marrickville)
The Station (Wahroonga)
Rupert and Ruby (Darlinghurst)
The Grumpy Barista (Petersham)

Brunched – designs for little people

- - design, Inspiration

Brunched not only blogs about the best brunch in town but for the last 12 months I have been producing designs for little people and selling them through etsy. With a countdown of only 4 weeks until Baby Code is due brunched designs is taking on a new life of its own and we are featured on one of my favourite little people design sites Bondville. Steph’s Christmas guide is out and there is so much cute stuff featured. It’s been a journey, figuring out if this is something I should dabble in, or pick it up in a larger capacity, and this break in my career to have a baby seems like the perfect timing to start setting brunched designs up for success.

So join the journey.. there will still be plenty of brunch (like this one) but there is a whole lot of creativity waiting to debut from my sketchbook and laptop to you.

brunched designs bondville featured

Sprout Wholefood Cafe & Grocer

- - sydney

Sprout Wholefood Cafe and Grocer on Willoughby Rd, Naremburn combines paleo style food and killer brunch.  Paleo is the new black and finding somewhere that combine paleo and killer brunch on the North Shore of Sydney isn’t exactly easy!  So if you have friends that you want to take to brunch but they are glueten-free, dairy-free, paleo, ciliac or something else that’s sometimes bothersome – Sprout Wholefood Cafe is going to solve many of your problems.  The brand new light and airy cafe is larger than it first looks and we had the pleasure of brunching out the back in the garden.

Sprout Wholefood Cafe  interior

As you first enter Sprout Wholefood Cafe and Grocer the atmosphere is airy and and the staff friendly.  For a cafe that’s only been open a short time they have become more than popular with young families mostly enjoying the food and atmosphere especially out back where the garden and ramp are kids and pram friendly.  We settled in and had the tough job of choosing an option for breakfast.  With so many choices covering the simple, sweet and savoury it’s really difficult to decide (and in typical fashion, I choose last because I wanted to see what everyone else got!).  Here is  what our ordering looked like:

Bacon & Egg Roll (x2):  Fried Egg, nitrate free organic bacon, tomato relish, rocket and aoili all on a freshly baked bun.  MMMM

Poached Eggs on Toast (x2 + 1 with a side of avo):  Soy and Linseed bread (or you could choose rye), poached eggs and avocado.  Simple but lovely.

Sprout Wholefood Cafe

Buckwheat Pancakes: with cashew butter, seasonal fresh fruit:  Oh my, these lived up to expectations and were definitely the right choice, the fruit, the light dash of syrup and most importantly the crunchy but fluffy pancakes.  If you aren’t looking for a decadent pancake like these, but instead a healthier option = Winner!

Sprout Wholefood Cafe

Other bits and pieces we ordered included the Nourished shake that had blueberries, spinach, coconut milk and some other goodies in it – I thought I would love it but it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Chocolate milkshake was great (the husbands trade for coke), as was the coffee and chai latte.

Service overall was ok, but not amazing – I’m sure it’s because as the owner told me it’s their busiest day since they opened.  It’s the little things that I’m sure will improve in time, such as clearing dishes quicker, bringing water and refilling it for the table.  The staff had great attitude, there is definitely a family friendly vibe and you can do some wholefood shopping on the way out which is always good.  There was a girl running about showing us her skincare range – wasn’t exactly what I wanted before I ordered my coffee – perhaps a little stand that we can approach would be better.  Regardless, I’ll definitely be back to Sprout Wholefood Cafe and Grocer as the raw, paleo, gluten free, allergy options are plentiful and the quality of food was tops!

Sprout Wholefood Cafe

PS.  Xtend Barre North Sydney is located just about Sprout Wholefood Cafe & Grocer and part of their family business. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a combination of pilates and sculpting exercises at the ballet barre.

Sprout Wholefood Cafe

Starbelly San Francisco: Best Brunch

- - USA

When you only have 1 guaranteed day in San Francisco to brunch things get dangerous.  I crowd sourced options like Dotties, Lori’s Diner, Le Garage, Blue Bottle Coffee Co, Kitchen Story, Brendas, Zazie, Nopa… You can start to see the dilemma I had right?  So after much research, emails to my friends in San Francisco I eventually came up with a super shortlist for the best brunch in San Francisco.  Serpentine and Starbelly were the two I had to choose between based on my requirements and eventually the choice came down to which option had more of my friends “Check In” on Facebook.  Might sound like a silly way to do it but working in social media at LinkedIn means that I needed a way to choose between 2 amazing options.

 

Starbelly-inside-1

I ended up at Starbelly San Francisco which is located in one of my favourite parts of SF – The Castro, and was far from disappointed when a gorgeous friend of mine wanted to do dinner at Serpentine (talk about the best of both worlds!).  Arriving at Starbelly the friendly staff seat us straight away and the long but narrow restaurant has high ceilings and is super inviting.  We all sit, order coffee and start perusing the menu and at this point I realise that if I thought my choice of restaurant was tricky picking something from the menu was just as hard with so many choices and only 1 brunch sitting.

Standardly there were a few of us who picked the same thing and I couldn’t go past the Challah french toast with bananas, maple-walnut & mascarpone, rosemary breakfast links or bacon.  I obviously went with the bacon (rather than the fancy sausages).  You know me, in love with french toast and bacon

Starbelly french toastThen we had a couple of people pick the chilaquiles, house made chorizo, corn chips, chile sauce & cilantro, house salad and this looked almost as good as the mexican inspired choice I had at Rueben Hills Surry Hills the other week – remember this.  I managed to convince my friends to share a smidge with me and boy.. it was good – well, except for the coriander (read cilantro) which as some of y0u know I find hideous.

Starbelly chilaquilesNext up was the All-american favourite brunch order of buttermilk fried chicken & waffles, maple syrup.  Now reports on this was mixed, mostly from the Australians at the table.  I managed to convince Erica (pictured above) to give me a little taste and it’s better than any chicken waffles in Sydney but I imagine chicken waffles have to be your thing.

Starbelly chicken wafflesLast but not least on the Starbelly brunch menu was the Pizza.  Now I wasn’t sure what to think when brunch pizza was ordered but then it came out and looked and smelt spectacular.  If you are wondering what roasted butternut squash, black garlic, local goat cheese, sage & pumpkin seeds tastes like then let me leave you with the winning comment of the day “It’s like Thanksgiving on a pizza!”.

Starbelly pizzaOk.. now for the goods.  By now you must be thinking Haimee – how is this the best brunch in San Francisco?  Or, did your french toast count as Brunch Dessert.  Well, drumroll please because your questions are about to be answered.  When I saw dynamo doughnuts on the menu it took all my strength not to order them as a starter!  Instead we ordered 2 rounds for the table covering all flavours: maple bacon, peanut caramel and  vanilla bean.  Again opinions varied with the peanut caramel being a favourite amongst most but with my personal favourite polarizing the crowd.. I of course fell in love with the maple bacon donut!

Overall I was truly pleased with only 1 day to brunch that I picked my best brunch in San Francisco to be at Starbelly.  I’ll definitely be back when I’ve got time as good brunch isn’t always easy to find when travelling!

Starbelly donuts

Reuben Hills does Surry Hills proud

- - sydney

Brunch in Surry Hills is more a question of where to brunch because there are so many great places (remember this).  This weekend the girls and I ventured to an old favourite that hasn’t had the pleasure of my company in a while Reuben Hills.  Now my main attraction to the cute and hipster brunch spot Reuben Hills Surry Hills is the Doggs Breakfast Icecream Sandwich with Salted Caramel that is a huge fan favourite but I was equally excited about what I was having before we ventured into brunch dessert territory.

Scoring a table up the very back of Reuben Hills was great as with the back door open there was a nice breeze and plenty of room for my girlfriend who brought her little boy with her.  Starting with great coffee that many of my American friends will be pleased with (mostly because they serve drip coffee both hot and cold varieties) we then got down to business.  The menu.  Well.  What can I say except that I wish I had time to try the Really fucking great fried chicken but alas.. I was here for breakfast and with the fried chicken waffles I had at The Carrington a few weeks ago I was in the mood for something else.

We settled on the following and none of us were disappointed:

Reuben Hills Food 1

Avocado, coriander and lime on sourdough rye:  This was presented beautifully and is my friends go to on the brunch menu.  There was something mixed in with the avocado that we couldn’t quite figure out that made it creamy.. tasted good, whatever it was.  This was great but there were much more adventurous things on the menu!

Achiote Pork ‘n’ Beans with Tortilla Chips and a soft fried egg:  This was totally the winner of the day.  Imagine so many things you love on one plate.. Soft fried egg, tortilla chips, pulled pork and mexican beans.. it was heavenly and created food envy at the table.

Reuben Hills food 2

Dirty Bird Sandwich:  If you were feeling like lunch and couldn’t bring yourself to try the Really fucking great fried chicken then this was the sandwich to try.  Served on a brioche bun with some super awesome sauce on it this little sandwich was a winner.

Now let’s talk about breakfast dessert.  We ordered two items from the dessert menu and one was good and the other was amazing!

Brioche with Dulche Leche: was ok, not bad, bearable 😉  However the Doggs breakfast ice cream sandwich w salted caramel was to die for.  Seriously some of the best salted caramel I’ve had in ages.

Reuben Hills food 3

Overall, great food, great service, a great space to sit down and amazing coffee on an all day eats menu brunch in Surry Hills was definitely done proud by Reuben Hills.

Brunched Designs – Launched on Etsy

- - Inspiration

So this post isn’t about a brunch review (but trust me there are a number of them pending!) instead it’s about the other part of Brunched that I’ve just launched and that is Brunched Designs.  For the longest time I’ve been playing around with illustration (both by hand and digital) and for anyone who knows me you know that I’ve loved the art classes I’ve taken and can often be caught doodling in my sketch book and making hand illustrated gifts for friends birthdays, baby’s, invitations and baby showers.  With all that being said I’ve finally had the time off work over the Christmas break to set myself up on Etsy.

So there are a few things I’m trying to figure out such as how do I combine by two passions on this one website – that’s something I’m conscious of because not everyone will want both lots of content but I want to keep the two linked if I can.  This means that the husband is on the case for this one as I think it might require some custom coding to alter my home page of my website.  So while he is on the technical fix I wanted to share with you some of the things that have been listed and are in progress of being listed on Etsy and just where you can find my store.  The first sale is already shipped (in less than 24 hours of being open!  I know – pretty crazy hey!) and I am hoping that it’s a sign of things to come.

Brunched Designs Post 1 image 2

So stay tuned and if you know of anyone who wants a custom design or piece of work just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to work out something original for them.  In the airport at the moment and it’s ironic that this is where I’m writing this post as on a plane or in an airport lounge is where some of my best sketches have been born.. hopefully this one will be just as fruiful!

Here is the link to my Etsy Store and the web address:  https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/bruncheddesigns

Brunched Designs Post 1 image 1

Brewtown Newtown

- - sydney, Uncategorized

Brewtown Newtown is the latest sensation in Newtown as far as brunch and coffee is concerned.  After seeing the cutest ever pictures of gnomes and crounts on my instagram feed I couldn’t help but get to Newtown to try out a cronut.  Brewtown Newtown is the latest up and comer from the the people that brought us Gnome in Surry Hills and they have converted the old Berkelouw Books warehouse building to a funky 2 story coffee shop.

I’d heard that the lines and wait to get a table here have been out of control since Brewtown opened a few weeks ago so the husband and I met friends at 10am for an early brunch (well, early for us!) and only had to wait a few minutes because I had been ahead of the game and booked a table.  The wait staff were super friendly and happy to help.  The four of us were initially seated at what realistically was a 2 person table but as soon as there was another table they added it on for us!

Let’s start with the coffee, it was grand and there is a nice little surprise in your cup and on your saucer as you drink in the goodness!  The water served is sparkling which goes down a treat for the coffee lovers at the table and the husband ordered a juice instead of any fancy cola this time around.  The menu is the next thing to impress and the biggest challenge here is what to choose… the only thing me and my friends knew is that we wanted a cronut or two after our meal.. which made it exceptionally hard to focus!  In the end we all came up with something slightly different.

brewtown newtown coffee cute

Poached eggs on toast with house relish and a side of black sausage:  The husband went for this and was not disappointed.  I would have though he had enough black sausage when we brunched in Dublin earlier this year but apparently not.  Lots of quantity for the side ordered.  #winning

Corned beef hash with garden peas, poached egg and parmesan crumbs:  This looked amazing.  Came out with the other meals but we had asked for this with eggs cooked all the way through.  That’s not how it came so we sent it back and then we waited.  By the time the rest of us had all finished our meals my friend finally received hers.  AND it was great – so potentially worth the wait!

brewtown newtown food 1

Grilled Black Sausage, home made hashbrowns, canadian bacon, and house relish with boiled eggs:  This was the mother load.  If you like black sausage then get excited because you get plenty of it.  Smelt and tasted amazing – a definite crown in the jewels on the menu at Brewtown Newtown.

Poached eggs on toast with house relish and a side of Avocado: Whilst I was tempted by the fruit salad with sweet doughnut croutons I was in the mood for eggs and went with the usual option.  Eggs were great, the only issue was the very very very small amount of avocado served as a side.

brewtown newtown food 2

Shall we now talk about what we really came here for?  That’s right, Brewtown Newtown cronuts.  You know I’m a sucker for baked goods.  Remember this or this? They could seriously start wholesaling these things.  Nothing better than ordering a selection for the table and we were pretty lucky to get in as there weren’t many left.  We managed to get a Sugared Jam-filled cronut, a Chocolate Custard-filled cronut and a plain old Glazed Cronut.  They were as good as they look and sound.  Seriously, I would get these to take away.. AMAZING.

Overall apart from the small meal mix up this place was amazing and will definitely be on my regular list and “year in review” list for 2013.  The gnomes are super cute, as is the retail shop upstairs and the coffee and cronuts take it home for the win.  Thank you Brewtown Newtown!

brewtown newtown cronuts combo

West Juliett Marrickville..AMAZING!

- - sydney

My gorgeous friend visited West Juliett Marrickville for brunch a few months ago and loved it so much she got me their business card to remind her to recommend it to me.  I’ve been looking for the right moment to go and found it on Saturday when I was able to brunch with my siblings to remember our Mum who we lost 15 years ago.  It wasn’t a teary occasion instead it was a celebration of getting together, meeting the brothers new girlfriend and just hanging out for brunch in Sydney with cracking weather!

So, why was West Juliett Marrickville so amazing you ask?  Well as always I am looking for at least 3 things when I brunch:  All Day breakfast, Good service and great coffee and West Juliett delivered on all 3 plus more!

When we arrived it was hectic, not easy to park but we did a loop and managed to score one right outside the cafe which was rather convenient!  The husband and I wandered inside and asked for a table for 5 and it was only a 5-10 minute wait for them to put something together for us which was great!  While waiting all I could do was think about the baked goodies on the counter that were teasing me to order them!  Ordering the standard skim flat white and chocolate shake we waited for the siblings to arrive whilst perusing the menu.  And boy, what a menu it is!  As I sat back and reflected I realised that West Juliett had managed to fit a lot of people into a small space but it didn’t feel exceptionally crowded, it was just a little noise due to the concrete walls and high ceilings.

west juliett marrickville food 2

My mind was going to mush with so many things to choose from that I was super glad there was a few of us brunching (you know me, I like to share!)  It wasn’t long before the siblings arrived and we were ready to brunch, the only thing left was to determine what to order.  Across the table 3 of us went for the Poached Eggs, avocado, dukkah and lemon, Egg and Bacon roll with Chilli marmalade (and a side of haloumi) and then the Poached eggs on toast with the whole top line of sides (bacon, sausages, haloumi, avocado).  Now some of you might be asking.. but Haimee, there is french toast on the menu, what did you do?  Well, you know me and that I love french toast.  In face the best french toast I ever had was recently at the Paramount Coffee Project.  So I did the only sensible thing and ordered the French toast with Roasted rhubarb, marscapone and SALTED CARAMEL for the table to share.  That’s right, breakfast dessert.  That way I could have my eggs and eat my french toast too!

West Juliett Marrickville food 1

The coffee was great, the food was to die for (except for the coriander that was in my salad with my poached eggs), the french toast is an absolute must and the freshly squeezed juices were grand.  Overall I will definitely be back for brunch at West Juliett Marrickville, and I’ll be bringing a few friends that love french toast and salted caramel just as much as me.  The only thing I couldn’t do and it was purely because I didn’t have enough room after the french toast was to pick up some of their baked goods that have a reputation of greatness.

West Juliett Marrickville final

Decorating a Gingerbread House

- - Inspiration

I love Christmas.  Like seriously, I LOVE it!  2 weeks ago I had such a blast with my girlfriends getting my creative on and decorating a gingerbread house.  I’ve done this every year for the past couple of years but often due to a hectic work travel schedule I have usually done this by myself, late at night in my kitchen with limited lolly options.  Every year though I enjoy every minute and the in-laws enjoy cracking open the cellophane on Christmas Day (before Christmas lunch of course!) Here are some pics from the day and a list of the lollies I saw as essential to the spectacular decorating of my gingerbread house.  I don’t know the name of the gingerbread houses we used this year.. sorry.  But the last few years we used Edible Creations and at work we are doing it with our Women at LinkedIn Group and will use them too but any kit will do.

Decorating Gingerbread House

My amazing friend who is definitely the hostess with the mostess coordinated and hosted us all.  She decorated her verandah and had all the essentials for us – scissors, bowls for the lollies, water and tonnes of space.

My standard lollies that are an absolute MUST were also supplemented by all the girls – we shared and it is the easiest and most inexpensive way to do it.  PS.  I got my lollies from Kmart – they have heaps of $1 and $3 bags that make it cheap.  I have an obsession with the roof being covered in freckles, and it looks best if you pipe icing under each of the freckles to give a nice pattern.  Loved my friends idea though of a red and white house.. it was so cute with Santa on the roof.  Biggest advice I can give you overall is to not be stingy on the icing to build your house – you don’t want it falling down as you are decorating (there were a few casualties at our table).  Then just keep going, and when you think you are done, you probably need to add a little more!  It’s easier to do it if you don’t eat the lollies while decorating.. otherwise you might feel a little sick from all the sugar!

Haimee’s List of Lollies

  • Licorice Allsorts
  • Spearmint Leaves (every house needs a garden)
  • Raspberries
  • Rasperry Licorice (makes the best wood piles)
  • Chocolate Freckles (I used White ones this year)
  • Jelly Beans
  • Musk sticks
  • Strawberries and Cream
  • Clinkers (the cheap variety)
  • White chocolate to shave over the top (just like snow!)

Decorating Gingerbread House