Tag Archives: coffee

A Trip Down York Lane

Coffee is my comfort food and cafés are my safe haven. So having lived in Sydney my entire life and being a lover of coffee for most of that time, you’d think that I would be an expert on where to get good coffee. But alas, being a student means getting my caffeine fix around my schooling schedule, leaving me at the mercy of chain stores that are open ’til late. Hello, Gloria Jeans and Starbucks.

But my student days are behind me (for now), and I’ve suddenly found myself with more time to peruse my friend Kelly and I have been on the hunt for cafés to while away the hours in. We’re fans of good coffee, comfy seats and funky decor, and we’ve visited a string of particularly good coffee places of late; amongst them is…

YORK LANE

Café by day and a wine bar by night, York Lane is tucked away in a narrow alley in Wynyard. I found out about this place from Corridor Kitchen, but I wouldn’t blame passersby for wanting to drop in after spying the quirky bicycle-sign on the corner of Erskine Street and York Lane (the actual lane) advertising York Lane (the café/bar).

It’s a shame that I didn’t take more photos of the decor, but it was definitely quirky and cosy. The otherwise neutral-coloured café was pleasantly accented with pops of red from milk-crate shelving and the occasional red stool. What impressed me the most was the way they made use of the small space; a lot of tiny cafés tend to squeeze in as much seating as possible, making for a cramped dining experience.

Tiny cafés usually make me a wee bit claustrophobic, and I don’t usually stay long inside them, but this was definitely not the case in York Lane. The seating was spaced out quite well, and there was even a tiny ledge for Kelly and I to rest our bags on. The lunch crowd seemed to come in short cycles — unsurprising as everyone else seemed to be business people on their lunch breaks — so the café was never over-crowded, and there wasn’t any pressure to vacate our seats quickly to make room for other customers.

The menus are charmingly handwritten, and for lunch there were a variety of tapas dishes and wine on offer. We decided on the Pumpkin, Goats’ Cheese + Sun-dried Tomato Parcels and the Haloumi + Pea Fritters with Tzatziki, skipping the wine and opting for more caffeinated beverages (which is why we were there in the first place).

haloumi and pea fritters w/ tzatziki ($9); pumpkin, goats’ cheese and sun-dried tomato parcels ($10)

a mocha and a latte with two sugars

Although the dishes were small, Kelly and I both walked away feeling surprisingly full. I enjoyed my mocha thoroughly, though Kelly did remark that her latte was milkier than usual — take that as you will.

The service was pretty great as well; the guy serving us was super-attentive and lovely, and we didn’t have to wait long to give our orders. Ordering food shouldn’t be a chore. A repeat visit is definitely in the books, and I’d also like to check it out at night for a few drinks. It would be interesting to see how the York Lane crowd changes when the sun goes down.

Seasonal Coffees

Call me a cynic, but over the years Christmas has lost its shine; the plastic evergreens are coming out earlier, the carols played over shopping centre speakers are jarring, and I can never for the life of me figure out what to gift to my father.

But if there’s one good thing the commercialisation of Christmas has brought about, it’s the seasonal coffees. This year, Samme and I decided to take our bellies on a tour of what festive delights our ‘local’ chain-store coffee houses had to offer.

STARBUCKS
When we ventured out into the City for our seasonal coffees, my first instinct was to head to Gloria Jeans first; in the past, they’ve had Christmassy drinks…right? Um, apparently not. Or if they did, they didn’t follow through this year. I don’t even think there was a sprig of holly or tinsel to be seen anywhere in the store. Boo!

But Starbucks didn’t let me down. They’ve got six festive beverages on offer: three of them cold, and three of them hot, to accomodate the dichotomy between Australia’s hot Christmas and the traditional White Christmas. But on a more practical level, because Sydney’s weather is fucking crazy and you may think you want a frappuccino when you walk into the store, but the weather could turn on you and make you wish you were holding a hot latte on the way out.

Anyway, Samme and I decided that it was far too cold for any of the cold drinks on offer, so I chose the Peppermint Mocha, simply because peppermint-flavoured coffee was mentioned in a Gilmore Girls episode and it reminded me of that and I just really love Gilmore Girls, okay shut up. Samme is less inclined to be swayed by the antics of Lorelais, and she chose the Gingerbread Latte Toffee Nut Latte, which in my opinion, seemed to be the more delicious option. I don’t even like peppermint normally, but I thought it would be super festive because of candy canes and…Gilmore Girls.

So lesson learnt! Don’t choose beverages based on TV shows.

A+ for Chrismassing up the place, Starbucks. It was fun being inside you.

All in all, a successful coffeetime. A+ for Chrismassing up the place, Starbucks. It was fun being inside you.

KRISPY KREME
I don’t remember signing up for the Krispy Kreme newsletter, but it was probably long ago, in a sugared haze. Anyway, they’ve somehow got a hold of my email address and I’ve been getting sporadic emails ever since. Recently they sent me one that mentioned Christmas doughnuts, so once Samme and I had decided to go on our Seasonal Coffee Escapades, naturally I put Krispy Kreme on our list of destinations.

Our store of choice was the Krispy Kreme on George Street. There was no clear signage for seasonal treats of any kind, which was disappointing, because I was sure I had read the email correctly. Not entirely disheartened, I asked the girl at the counter if they were serving any Christmas doughnuts.

“Do you have, er, like, any Christmassy doughnuts?” I started talking with my hands. I made them into a doughnut shape. I don’t think she paid attention.

“What was that? What are you talking about?” she asked.

“Christmas-themed doughnuts. I, um…I got an email. Christmas?” I am not very good at talking. It was at this exact moment that I realised I should have remembered the names of the doughnuts I was asking for. The girl looked at me quizzically. I should have done a little more research.

“We don’t have any Christmas doughnuts, sorry.”

Samme and I left the store disappointed. I swore I did not just dream up the Christmas doughnuts, and later that night I found out I was right.

Vindicated!

I hopped over to the Krispy Kreme website, and they have not one, not two, but THREE Christmas- (or, Kristmas-) themed doughnuts: Kristmas Cake, Kristmas Pudding (pictured above), and Kristmas Sprinkles. Oh, and there’s a Kristmas mini gift pack with 12 kristmassy mini doughnuts, so I don’t know. Maybe I should try another Krispy Kreme store, because looking at all those pictures have made me really, really want some fried Kristmas dough.

GLORIA JEANS
Remember way back at the beginning of this post where I said Samme and I went to Gloria Jeans and there were no Christmas-themed coffees? Well later, we went to the Gloria Jeans near George Street cinemas, and it turns out they had two ‘seasonal’ beverages on offer, after all. They had a Butterscotch Chiller and a Butterscotch Latte.

Samme pointed out that Butterscotch drinks aren’t really seasonal and don’t they have those drinks available all year round? But they had it advertised specially and they put like, pictures of holly sprigs around the ad for the drinks, so of course I had to drink one of them. Samme was still not convinced, so she went to the Starbucks down the street to get a White Chocolate  Raspberry Cranberry MochaFrappuccino (as the weather had hotted up; Sydney weather be crazy) and I got a Butterscotch Chiller.

Yep.

The concept of a Butterscotch Chiller is far better than an actual Butterscotch Chiller, because that drink was sweet as fuck. I don’t recommend it.

The moral of the story is that Starbucks serves the best Christmas coffee, and if you disagree with me then you are wrong. I also did a quick google search to find out the names of the Starbucks coffees, and according to this site, Eggnog Lattes are a thing that exist in the world. They don’t seem to exist in Australia, but one supposes that they certainly exist in say, America. So next year, I’m going to spend Christmas in America, where I can play in the snow and drink all the eggnog lattes. The end.