Saturday, 24 March 2012

Walters River Cafe, Point Walter

The Narrows to Point Walter via Mosman Bay, 12.75km, Wind ENE 20kts 

 I knew it was going to be good today, as I drove down Stock Road in Palmyra. 6.30am on a Saturday morning and two examples of young ladies doing the 'walk of shame' from wherever they had woken up. One was so hilariously funny with birds nest-like bed hair, ludicrously short dress and contrastingly high heels that she could have been the poster girl for 'The Walk'. Either that, or she was a prostitute hoping to get an early start on the competition. Don't get me wrong - I am not being judgmental nor holier than thou. I may have found myself in unfamiliar territory once or twice in my youth - although being a bloke there wasn't much shame involved because most wouldn't normally consider that sort of thing a shameful event. Unless you went for quantity over quality and your mates caught you. Regardless, both girls made my morning only a few minutes after it started.

Bad James sets off.
Bad James, Westy and I met at Point Walter with the intention of doing a run to the bridges at Fremantle but when we arrived it was blowing dogs off chains. The kite surfers were speaking some indecipherable tongue loudly and staccato, which seemed to indicate excitement. The thought of coming back into the wind all the way from Freo didn't do it for us so we hatched a plan so cunning that you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel. A quick car shuffle and call to Mrs Westy later (sorry - but we did know you were already awake!) we were on our way to The Narrows to do a down-winder.

When we arrived, being in the lee of the city it was very calm, and we slid in with a view to heading for Heathcote before turning tail to the wind and riding the chop all the way back, and that's exactly what happened. It gets quite shallow at the point at Crawley and when the chop hits the seawall of the yacht club at Nedlands it turns the water into a washing machine, so we were able to studiously avoid these places. At one stage we were doing 12.5km/h with 20kts of wind behind us - not bad for two Endorfinns and a big Mirage sea kayak!

A couple of weeks back my former boss at Gorilla Biscuits Pty Ltd - Mr Silverback - gave me a hint on hand width whilst paddling and I have to say, it's been great. I had my hands too far apart and my paddle not extended far enough, so have widened it by 5cm and incorporated some training tips from and I am now doing faster speeds (slightly) with far less effort. In a shameless mutual promotion, the folks at RBP have recently featured the adventures of the Perth Breakfast Paddlers on their site. Thanks!

Mosman Bay.
Speaking of Gorilla Biscuits, things most certainly have been full on of late. Some of the young bonobos and howler monkeys have only been smacking half of their faces into the dough, having not read the company mission statement, and some of the elder chimpanzees have taken to smacking certain other random body parts into the mix in a direct contravention of the Gorilla Biscuit Standing Instruction on Ugly Foodstuff Production. Having been promoted recently to lead a section of face smackers, behaviour like this needs to be stamped on in a merciless Planet Of The Apes fashion, so I have had to bring in a unit of Congolese poachers to instill discipline. The cure can sometimes be worse than the disease, so I have to watch the watchers to ensure there isn't a new line of Gorilla foot ashtrays coming out of the factory. Suffice to say, I haven't worked less than a 12 hour day all this week and yesterday peaked at 15.5 hours. Two beers and I was asleep in front of The Clone Wars at 7.30pm.

So the paddle this morning was a very welcome and de-stressing one. Even when we turned into the wind to go back across Mosman Bay after having tucked in to the Yacht Club cove for a bit. We weaved amongst windsurfers and kiteboarders as we made our way across to the spit, looking forward to our beloved fried pig and coffee but sensing disappointment all the same.

Walters River Cafe, Point Walter Reserve, Point Walter (08)93309330

I need to start with a disclaimer. As regular readers will be well aware, I have never liked this cafe. So I was trying really hard to be objective and go in with an open mind. Things might have changed since I was last there. New owners may have taken over. The view may have justified the experience. Pigs may have sprouted wings and taken to the sky, too.

Giant Baked Beans. Obviously!

Little Bbrayyyden (likely spelling) was not a happy chappy. About 4, he was obviously hungry. As was his little friend Tahnee-Lee-Lateesha (OK, I may have made that one up). Their respective mothers were ahead of us in the queue at the cafe, placing their breakfast order with a staff member who had no idea how to use the till. Sure, she is an older woman who is obviously not computer-savvy but I know for a fact that she has been working there for at least six months, having waited 30 minutes for her to make a single takeaway coffee six months ago, so you'd kind of think that learning how to process orders and accept money would be an essential, first-order skill and able to be mastered in 182.5 days. Not so, apparently. 15 minutes later, with us now loudly perusing the lunch menu (at 9.30 am), a change of till operator and with the mothers of the little dears only then having asked their little rays of sunshine what they wanted for breakfast, we finally put in our orders. Bbrayyydens fingerprints and thumb impression was very clear on the muffin under the cover right next to the till, and almost warranted me leaving a Gorilla Biscuits job offer on his table.

This place is expensive. Very expensive. But at least they are creative in how they hide how expensive it is with their menu. You can order Eggs Florentine for the eye-popping total of '22' (dollars? bananas?), but the menu doesn't have Eggs Benedict. Unless you order Eggs Florentine with ham (+'4.40'), giving you a total of $26.40. Smoked salmon, instead of ham, will set you back an extra '5.50'. Coffee - I ordered a small mug, rather than the thimbles that they use for cups - is a bargain '5.50'. Luckily, I had sold my two children into slavery yesterday, so I could afford breakfast here today. Also, luckily, Bad James had found a rock lobster near the car, so it took '20' off the bill, and Mrs Westy had dug out an Entertainment card, getting a further discount.

The coffees arrive 15 minutes later. Some people drink a certain exclusive and expensive coffee that has passed through the intestinal tract of some rare jungle cat/monkey. This cafe may have been developing something similar but things didn't augur well with Bad James describing his first sip as 'like my dogs had chewed up the beans and shat them into the cup'. And he was right (I think). Except the RSPCA would cart me to jail for feeding my dog the debacle in a cup that appeared for my '5.50'.

'5.5' - on the canine intestinal scale
Westy had ordered Eggs Florentine with ham, Bad James went the Giant Baked Beans ('17.60'), and I, obviously flush with the profits from selling the tin lids, went the Eggs Florentine with Smoked Salmon and a side of bacon ('4.40'). The breakfast plates came out just after the, and to be fair didn't look all that bad. If they'd got there having imparted, say, '17.5' each.
The white plates are very large, and whilst the portions of food were a reasonable size, they did appear lost on the wide expanses of these white Serengetis. I wanted the Hollandaise to be jarred by this stage, in fact was screaming for this to be the case, but alas it was made freshly. My eggs were nicely cooked and the bacon portion plentiful. The smoked salmon was also pretty good. The toast slices were large, albeit thin, but could have done with a lashing of butter. I found myself actually enjoying the food, much to my disgust. Westy enjoyed his as well, and James was quite enamored with his Giant Baked Beans which came with a poached egg on top. Silently, we finished our breakfasts and as the cutlery rattled around the plate we left, my wallet empty of nearly '40'.

Is this Perth's most expensive Eggs Benedict?..err...Florentine. With Ham.
As we walked to the car, eyes cast down, I couldn't help but feel that it was I who was also doing the 'walk of shame' this morning. After having a great time with my mates I had spent the latter part of the morning doing something that I had previously found to be morally repugnant, and shamefully I had enjoyed at least part of it, even as I was simultaneously disgusted with myself for being there in the first place. My hair was dishevelled and I wore large dark glasses, hiding the inner turmoil that I was experiencing. The only thing left for me was to find my way home from Satan's Kitchen and spend a long time having a very 'Crying Game'-like shower, because I felt dirty. Very dirty.

Lucky our mates didn't see us.

Walters River Cafe. 4/10 - The food didn't justify the price. Nor my loss of dignity. Walter's River Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I'm not being lazy!

Hi, My name is Blue. It's been seven days since my last weekend paddle. Unfortunately Gorilla Biscuit Pty Ltd had a crisis this morning requiring me to smash my face as fast and furiously (TM) as I could, thus preventing me from spending my Saturday morning in a meaningful waterborne manner! Luckily I did manage to fit 9 holes in at Whaleback this arvo (46 on the front nine in case you're wondering). I will return next week reviewing one of my least favored places - Point Walter Cafe. In the meantime, please enjoy the following link...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Point Walter Public BBQ, Point Walter

Coogee to Point Walter, 17km, 1hour 58 minutes

The good news is that The Wad in Hawaii reports that Perth Breakfast Paddles has been de-blacklisted (whitelisted?) from the U.S. Military internet! Apparently Ayman Al Zawahiri - despite all reports to the contrary - does not use this site to plan his evil deeds, although he well may use it to find a good Eggs Benny (hold the ham). 

The Wad has also clued me in to his Youtube channel which is now linked on the right of this post. Despite what some may think, and possibly previous form, The Wads' Youtube channel has nothing to do with nudity, and everything to do with excellent paddling videos on the windward side of Oahu. Not sure what has happened to The Wad over the years but he is half the bloke he used to be - must be the kilos he is leeching out with every paddle!

So for some strange reason, today in WA is a public holiday. I'm not bitching, that's for sure, but fair dinkum this state is just odd. Anyway - I put the word out last night for a paddle but had no takers so Mrs Blue kindly drove me down to Coogee Beach (just like the one in Sydney, but with no backpackers, no great pub and none of my skeletons in the collective area closet) at stupid o'clock, so I could venture out on my Pat Malone. There wasn't a breathe of wind, and the water was like a mirror. The bottom was clearly visible most of the way to the mouth of the Swan, and it was great to see heaps of people enjoying the morning out on their yachts, jetskis and pretty much any other form of water transport you could think of.

At one point I thought I had a "visitor" after a massive splash close aboard and I have to admit I was deadset packing it because I was a long way from anywhere! Fortunately, it wasn't a Noah, and I was extremely brave in chastising the shag that surfaced shortly afterwards.

It had been one of those weeks where the universe had been yielding dividends on previous crap that I had dealt with. A particular pain in the bum had left Gorilla Biscuits Pty Ltd and had me dancing a jig as I smacked my face furiously into the dough. Speaking of dancing, Mrs Blue has got the tin lids singing this disgraceful Gen Y anthem at the moment, and just like irritating earwigs like Spanish Flea and Girl from Ipanema, I couldn't get 'Sexy and I Know It' out of my head for the entire bloody 17km. Boy Wonders mate Ben has unwittingly bastardised one of the lines to say 'I've got passionfruit in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it' which I reckon is the best thing about that bloody song. Seriously, and at risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, music requires instruments. If in doubt see Jet, Eskimo Joe, Paul Kelly, Pete Murray etc etc.

So 17km later I emerged from the Swan River, ruffling my hair and looking every bit like Daniel Craig in that Bond movie, just as a white, mature Halle Berry came out of  the trees with a hot coffee from Pt Walter kiosk! OK. So maybe I didn't look all that much like Daniel Craig, but I'm pretty sure he'll get this good looking one day. Maybe when he's 80. Poor bloke. Along with Mrs Blue, Boy Wonder and the Little Princess, the Westy family was down at Pt Walter en masse - both sets of parents and Mrs Ws best mate Toni had flown over for Mrs Ws 40th on Saturday night.And the timing was spot on for my arrival with Westy and his Dad cooking up a storm on the Pt Walter public BBQ.

Point Walter Public BBQ, Point Walter. No phone, no email, no website and generally clean.

Happy Tin Lids.
So as I made my Daniel Craig-shaming exit from the Swan, Westy was putting the finishing touches to breakfast. My coffee had been provided right on time based on Westys estimate of my time around the Spit, and he had got it exactly right. The free BBQ, about 60m away from the Pt Walter cafe, was going great guns and sausages, bacon and 'rustic' fried eggs were being produced at a great rate of knots, even a yolkless one for Boy Wonder. Instead of taking out a second mortgage to get brekky from the Bank of Pt Walter, the barbie had proved its worth. Bacon and Egg rolls were rolling off the production line in volume and really hit the spot. The tin lids were certainly impressed (i.e. they listened when we asked them to come to eat) and the adults were too. Our group had commandeered our standard spot and there were quite a few families with the same idea.

'Rustic' eggs!

The facilities at Pt Walter are generally good, on average, but a little improvement would take them from generally good to deadset tops. The public toilets are, well, public toilets but the addition of a shower near the BBQ would be excellent, particularly noting  that most kayakers put in near the spit. 

This BBQ is clearly a better option than the Pt Walter cafe when you take into account the ludicrous prices and generally hit and miss service that I have had there in the past. To be fair, I'll review the place soon, but I've been saving up for a while so hopefully once I'm into four figures I'll go then. Also to be fair, the kiosk coffee was very welcome this morning and of a better standard than I've recently had there. 

In short, if you love Australia, use a public BBQ. It will encourage skinflint councils to use your rates for something other than bribery, graft and corruption.

Pt Walter public BBQ. 10/10.