Sunny Spring Monday in Freo

The blue spring sky called me this morning, and the coffee called me this afternoon.

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The XWray Café in Essex Street hits all the requirements of a favourite place:  great vibe, delicious food and smooth coffee.

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Freo always delivers the goods.

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Perth is my holiday romance turned True Love…

I haven’t lived there for years, but deeply embedded in my psyche are a few things which are a result of growing up in South Australia. I have an unwavering affection for Fruchocs, Kitchener buns, and yiros.  I secretly blame Queensland and New South Wales for ruining the Murray-Darling basin.  Colin Thiele is my literary hero.

And I still pronounce chance ‘chahnce’, example ‘exahmple’ and transfer ‘trahnsfer’.

South Australia is like my best friend from high school; we share memories, we will always be connected, but we don’t see each other often.

I currently live in Perth (Western Australia).  I don’t love Perth like I love South Australia; my feelings are less deep-abiding-friendship and more passionate-holiday-romance.

My niece and my mother visited us last week.  We shared some of our Favourite Places and the crush I have on Perth got stronger.

Most of my Favourite Places are in Fremantle…

Theobroma Coffee Lounge (what’s not to love about good coffee and a red stiletto made from chocolate?!):

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Fremantle Markets (always good shopping, people-watching and food; including South Australian mettwurst and the glorious mystery that is fritz):

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South Beach put on some spectacular winter weather.  Hours were spent walking on rocks, digging holes, and enjoying sunshine on shoulders.

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When we ventured away from Freo, we enjoyed the always excellent beverages, creative gifts and friendly folk at Kookery in Subiaco:

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And King’s Park.  Glorious, fun, and something for everyone in any weather:

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My family make my heart smile.

When I can explore a city I love and drink good coffee while I’m with my family, life is probably as close to perfect as it can be.

I can order Fruchocs online now, so if I find yiros in Perth as good as those in Adelaide…well, there’s a chahnce I could live here happily ever after.

It kinda sorta reminds me of France

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It’s a cold nearly-winter day in Perth.

This morning in addition to requiring caffeine, I required Feeling Like I Look Fabulous (because sometimes the best mood-enhancer – aside from coffee – is wearing The Right Outfit).

The definition of ‘the right outfit’ varies depending on my mood. It’s not an exact science; the jumble of clothes on my bedroom floor this morning is evidence of this. I ended up deciding to wear clothes I bought in Paris a few years ago…side note: every time I say a sentence involving the words ‘clothes I bought in Paris’, I fulfil one of my teenage dreams. It never gets old.

I digress.

This morning I had coffee at Ogilvie’s in Subiaco.

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Its rustic, old school decor makes me feel like I’m hanging out in an old farmhouse kitchen.

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It reminds me of a few cafes we came across in France so it seemed appropriate – while wearing my awesome French clothes – to get my Saturday caffeine and writing fix here.

Any caffeine-related Favourite Place needs a good vibe and excellent coffee. Ogilvie’s has both.

I’m feeling warm and pretty, and I’m drinking good coffee.

The world is as it should be.

Coffee Utopia in Fremantle

The first time I entered Dibella’s Roasting Warehouse on the corner of Little Lefroy Lane and South Terrace in Fremantle (Freo) I gasped in awe then clapped my hands together like an excited three year old. Yes, I really did.

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It’s a coffee-the-experience lover’s heaven.

(Note: coffee-the-experience is about so much more than coffee-the-drink. It’s about the vibe too).

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The coffee is smooth, strong and aromatic. The service is exceptional. The food is wide in variety, high in quality and reasonable in price.

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There are abundant options of home coffee preparation equipment and fresh beans for sale, and bicycles for hire. It’s perfectly located mid-way between the Fremantle Markets & South Beach – no more than a ten minute bike ride to each.

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It’s high on Penny’s List for Freo.

South Beach – one of the best in Australia

Disclaimer upfront: I’m biased.

Disclaimer to my disclaimer: I’ve lived and travelled extensively across Australia, so I’ve experienced other coastlines…but I’m still biased.

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In some parts of the West Australian coast, the Indian Ocean greets the land with a gentle kiss. In others it knocks it over with an enthusiastic thump on the back.

I’ve not seen the vigorous greeting in Fremantle, but I haven’t had a full winter here yet. That may still come.

So far, South Beach has been a place to regroup, to exercise, to drink coffee, to catch up with friends, and to simply enjoy the view.

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There are two cafés at South Beach.

One is a beach kiosk with staff who are friendly and calm regardless of how busy they are. It’s a comfortable place to grab an ice-cream, hot chips or a coffee before, during or after a South Beach experience. You’ll be right at home in sweaty exercise clothes, or a swimsuit and towel with sandy bare feet, or in your best Going Out Thongs (aka flip flops). Kids can run around on the grassy foreshore, dogs can be on a leash at your feet.

The other café has delicious but expensive food (upwards of $25 for a lunch main). My experience is it’s really only worth it if you’re there early in the morning for a light breakfast or coffee on a weekday; on weekends it is packed and usually has a line-up. It’s not terrible, and clearly many people love it (hence the lines to get in), but lacks the right vibe for it to be a Favourite Place on Penny’s List.

That being said, South Beach as a whole is still a Favourite Place because of the views and the vibe – and the fact that really good coffee is only a short drive away.