It's time for a trip to the North side to have lunch and today it's at Charlie & Frank's, a slightly hidden away but very popular cafe with plenty of outdoor (read: dog friendly) seating and a menu full of goodies.
I'm getting a whole load of recovered memories of my time working in St Leonards. However when I worked in St Leonards there wasn't as much choice as there is now (I remember the train station shops were the highlight) and all I remember was a lot of office buildings and concrete. But Charlie and Frank's is a pleasant surprise and it's Sammie that suggested it.
It's an unseasonably warm Autumn day so Sammie and I take a seat outside under the umbrellas. We start with drinks. The smoothie that I want is out as is the beef bun so I choose a juice but without celery while Sammie has a coffee. My juice comes with celery (damnit) but we are too busy talking and catching up to ask them to change it.
We go for the Carolina style chopped pork roll. This is soft, pasture raised pork with coleslaw and aioli with French fries on the side. The bun is toasted and it's a delicious sandwich although a part of me was sad that I missed out on the most popular Japanese style beef bun (next time!).
"My trainer recommended this," says Sammie which gives us both a second's pause as we look at each other. Do you take your trainer's advice? This is advice from a probably impossibly healthy person. But the eggplant with XO sauce was something that I wanted to order so we go for it. And I'm so glad that we did because it's my favourite dish out of the two. There's a long polenta chip, house made XO sauce, grilled Japanese eggplant, pecans and two poached eggs and its full of flavour and you wouldn't even know that you were eating something healthy or that your trainer would approve of.
It's just before Easter so there are some Easter treats in the cabinet. We decide to share a couple of butterbings, those macaron cookies filled with buttercream and they also bring out a couple of Easter cupcakes for us too which is very nice of them. There's a hot cross bun version with HCB spices as well as a peanut butter one. You can imagine which one I liked more (peanut butter of course)! And the cupcakes are soft vanilla cupcakes with soft buttercream frosting and little speckled eggs on top.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you usually sit inside or outside at cafes? And would you take food recommendations from a personal trainer?
This meal was independently paid for.
Charlie & Frank's
110 Walker Street, North Sydney NSW 2060
Phone: (02) 8920 1967
Monday to Friday 6am - 4pm
Saturday 6.30am - 2pm