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Monday, 23 January 2012

Day 4 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: First world problem

This year we stayed in Sydney for Christmas. Sometimes we go to Brisbane to see our families and sometimes they come to Sydney. Staying in Sydney can seem a little lonely, only because in Glebe, and I'm sure other parts of the inner city, many of the businesses close. Some just over the Christmas/New Year week and others for longer. Glebe feels a bit like a ghost town when I walk down Glebe Point Rd. There is a French patisserie down the Parramatta Rd end of Glebe, that is still closed.

I have to admit this does my head in a bit. That there are businesses around that can afford to close for a couple of weeks or even a month seems to defy common sense. These businesses spend the year building up their customer base and their loyalty, and then close for a holiday and take the risk they go somewhere else and don't come back. Maybe coming from a family that basically worked 7 days a week, first on a dairy farm and then a 'only shut 3 days of the year' hardware business, has tainted my view of what's reasonable. 

The businesses we particularly missed are the cafes. I have written before about how cafes and like businesses help create a sense of community and reduce social isolation. They provide a place for people to come together to meet and be with others. If I owned these businesses I would be worried that my customers might find other places to frequent. Like Arran and I did this year. We had to get our coffee. Yep, "First World Problem".

I'm still feeling quite peeved with many of the cafes that closed, so here are a couple of cafes we discovered in the last few weeks that deserve to be talked about.

Clover
I have driven past this place in Annandale many, many times to and from the Personal Trainer I used to see in Leichardt, and always wondered what it was like. When Gallery Cafe was closed after Christmas for a number of days we kept driving along Booth St and discovered Clover was open. In we went in the hope of finding good coffee. And we did, along with a quirky interior and interesting breakfast fare. We also finally exchanged names and had a chat to a regular from Astor Espresso (closed for about 3 weeks) who was also out looking for coffee in the Inner West. This cafe will become one of our regular haunts.

You can read more about Clover here and here.

Madame Frou Frou
This is a new offering in Glebe and we have learned that many new cafes in Glebe are not that good. Some come and go very quickly. Some should go much more quickly then they do. We have learned to be a little skeptical and hesitant about trying the new ones when the tried and trusted ones are so good. Madame Frou Frou is an example of why the tried and trusted ones shouldn't shut!

I have walked past this place a number of times on my nightly wanderings and the fit-out alone convinced me to drag Arran and the small boys there one Saturday afternoon for caffeine. Its located more towards the 'point' end of Glebe Point Rd. Vintage back-lit magician posters, old cinema seats and beautiful tiling provide interesting surrounds to park your bottom (which will be expanding with their offering of sweet things). Coffee and service was good. We will be back to sample their breaky menu.
Cappuccino and rose-water and lavender macaroon at Madame Frou Frou's
You can read more about Madame Frou Frou here

Wedge Espresso
So I have been walking past this place since before Christmas to drop Aiden off at daycare. Every time I walk past I say to myself, "I must grab a coffee from there on the way back". I forget on the way back, because I can't see it. Its "wedged" down Cowper St, just off Glebe Point Rd towards the Parramatta Rd end. It's a little skinny space with red timber stools, black tables and a polished cement floor. It's pretty cool. Arran and I stopped there on the way to collect Aiden one afternoon. I got a cappuccino (very nice) and Arran got an Iced Milo. Yes Iced Milo. Why hasn't anyone thought of those before?!! We will be back to try food.
Coffee at Wedge Espresso

You can read more about Wedge Espresso here and here

We still haven't been back to some of the cafes that closed over the Christmas period, and if we do, I can see that we will be sharing our patronage with some of the new kids on the block!

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