My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Staff Wanted

George Falconer, humble proprietor of Criterion St Cafe in Hobart, is on the look out for an experienced barista to replace the current coffee cowboy Tristan, who is moving off to the greener pastures of Melbourne to cut his teeth at Cumulous Inc (much to the envy of everyone I've ever met).

Tristan departs us somewhere around the end of October, so George is pretty keen to find a suitably talented replacement as soon as possible.

The café is open Monday-Friday 7:30-4 and the position is full time (with casual rates and other perks like the odd chicken sandwich or a cup of soup). Any interested parties can drop George a line at the café on (03) 6234 5858 or via email at

I would personally encourage only applicants with a suitable skill level to apply, as competition for the best coffee in Criterion St is fierce these days. You will have big shoes to fill, but if you enjoy a laugh and a tolerant disposition you could fit in well. Oh, and I would like a regular latte, remember that order.

Criterion St Café
10 Criterion St Hobart

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's not about food, it's about booze, damn it.

When I first moved to Hobart I didn't have any friends. Well, okay, I had one or two, but I couldn't make them drink with me EVERY night. I was pretty lonely, and pretty homesick (for a city I'd be desperate to get out of) and pretty open to distraction. Read: beers.

The beer garden at the Republic Hotel in North Hobart provided that outlet. Home away from home (conveniently within crawling distance), and before the Alley Cat came along, my only option anyways. And you could smoke in that beer garden (back when I would smoke "full-time," and not just intermittently like now - depending on the weather, the booze at hand and if I can afford it).

It's best on a lazy afternoon, in particular if its raining. I think I've sunk more coin into this establishment than a third-world debt, but I wouldn't say I've nothing to show for it. I've made friends here, and lost friends here, broken up petty fights and knocked other peoples drinks over, been hit on (successfully and unsuccessfully) and watched any number of my mates make ridiculous on at least a weekly basis.

A correctly timed visit and you might find the evening's entertainment doing a sound check, although Diesel seems to be around these days a little too much for my liking.

The food's none too shabby either. I'm particularly partial to the milk fried venison, marinated in garlic and cayenne pepper, served on a lemon and thyme risotto cake (not unlike venison KFC) and there is a porterhouse drowned in Jack Daniels sauce to soothe the inner bogan. This is the menu that price rises forgot, what other pubs still list side dishes at $4 and hand cut their own chips?

After 10 (I'm rarely ever about after 10) the band kicks on and the restaurant tables make way for what will become an utterly filthy dance floor. I'm not a fan of pubs after dark (thankfully daylight savings has increased my allotted drinking time), I prefer loungy bars with less shouting and marginally cleaner floors.

So if you are looking for me on a weekend afternoon I'm probably out the back at the Republic with a good book and a schooner, enjoying the peace and quiet.

The Republic Bar

299 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart.

(03) 6234 6954.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome back asparagus

In Hobart, in winter, it rains like a monsoon. It rains sideways, and sometimes even up from the ground. An umbrella is useless protection from the downpour. Gumboots are no Kate-Moss-at-Glastonbury styled fashion statement, they are a necessity that enables one to walk 500 meters from the front door to the bus stop. We complain about the cold, and spend extra time at the pubs with open fires to save on the heating bill while snow falls on the mountain like icing sugar onto a cup cake.

We rug up and wait for winter to end, but when it seems like it never will a glittering weekend of sunshine will drag us from hibernation and back into our neglected gardens. Fresh asparagus at the market on a Saturday will mean summer is finally on the way. It means smoked salmon, poached eggs and asparagus for breakfast, always eaten outdoors.

For the next 4-5 months most meals will be garnished with lemon, and I will buy a a bottle of Bombay and a slab of tonic to celebrate. And then I will buy another one.

Laundry will dry before it has even left the basket and people I haven't seen for years will come back to Hobart for a season. It only takes 16 degrees and we will all wear shorts, lily white legs poking out to catch the sunshine. It will be taken for granted that every day will be sunny, and no one will pay attention to the weather report unless someone mentions it will be hot enough to go swimming, although the water will always be freezing.

At the beginning of the season we will pick a local and stay loyal. Magner's Cider will be the order of the day. Pint glass, wedge of orange. Only the uninitiated have lemon.

Seafood really is fresh off the boat, and no one will buy it from the supermarket. Saturdays will mean a trip to the market followed by a trip to the wharf, and I will suddenly spend more time with my friends who own barbeques.

I have no idea what I am going to do with my asparagus yet, I just like having it. It's just the right kind of green. Asparagus green. It is a thing of beauty.

Hello spring. Welcome back asparagus.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Table for 2.5?

On Saturday night two of my grown-up (read: responsible) friends took their 10-year-old son out to dinner with them at Piccolo in North Hobart.

Reportedly, as they walked in the door, the whole room looked up with concern, as would I have done if a younger person threatened to ruin my dining experience in an upmarket (read: expensive) establishment just by their very presence.

We are talking about one very civilized 10-year-old, not a screaming toddler. So civilized he ordered from the menu - no requests for chicken nuggets and chips here - he sat up straight, he ordered politely and he never made a fuss. Why not? Because he's 10, not three, and his parents have raised him to be a polite and well mannered young man.

So why shouldn't my friends be able to take their son with them to a nice restaurant for a nice meal, if he will enjoy the evening as much as they would? Their son after all, did not behave like a child. The were home at a reasonable hour, not sitting at the bar sinking gin and tonics (as I would have been) while their bored child played Gameboy. Society dictates that restaurants are the domain of grown-ups (as they are, most kids find them terribly dull) on a Friday and Saturday evening, but perhaps their is room in our restaurant circle for a few well mannered young guests, no?

Behavior is the key. I for one would be perfectly happy to sit at a table next to a young adult who was behaving like an adult. And I for one would expect nothing less from my (currently imaginary) children.

My friend tells me that during their very enjoyable evening a number of customers commented on their son's very good behavior, as did the staff as they were leaving. She also tells me this happens fairly frequently.

This I like. God knows I know bugger all about parenting, but I think my friends are definitely doing something right. And the world needs more little boys like this one, because good kids grow up to be good customers, hallelujah.