Café Strada – Crepes So Good They’ll Make You Cry

6EB6F251-36BB-4457-849F-149083B90386Café Strada is a cafe with a fresh casually elegant feel to it, with a few tables outside on the sidewalk and 14 or so tables inside. They proudly proclaim (in their menu, not shouting it through a megaphone as you walk in) that they “use organic spices, grains & flours and support local produce where we can.” Both times I went there were no crowds but a few people scattered about. The floors are polished concrete and one wall is covered with large lush palm leaves and the other is a solid steel blue making you feel like you are sitting between the jungle and the ocean (without that pesky humidity). The cafe has high ceilings with a bustling coffee counter up front where you can order from the window facing the sidewalk or come inside, and pull up a seat. 2D6ED76F-8079-45F7-9B66-F38F02426E35Their beverages are made with serious love (not puppy love – it’s the real deal baby!) and they have an assortment of unique teas as well as coffees. They proudly proclaim that they use Sipping Duck coffee (a local coffee roastery and a proud silver medal winner in the Australian International coffee awards) though when I read this all I could think of was an over-caffeinated duck swimming around in frantic circles while sipping a tiny duck sized cup of coffee. Also the duck is drinking a double shot (since the cafe ALWAYS serves a double shot… now if I could just get my bartender to follow this plan). The organic velvet latte sounded unique to say the least. It is made with beet root, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne, & black pepper.  It sounded a tad too unique for my nervous taste buds so I stuck with a classic favorite – chai latte. So glad I did as it was just the right amount of sweet, a delicate flavor that is pure comfort and love (I don’t know that’s just what I felt…). B4F70203-2E51-49D9-AF9D-B933A76E9E48There is Creme Brûlée Tea which somehow manages to really taste like a creme brûlée but without the richness. Add milk and voila! You are getting a creme brûlée without the added calories. It was simple, light, and still quite delicious. The perfect tea if you decide you are going for something rich like the crepes. And my advice is… GO FOR THE CREPES!5F74BB9F-17AD-4B61-95A7-7C96A079488A

The crepes are made from a buckwheat flour which initially caused me some hesitation because I associate buckwheat with healthy and healthy with not decadently delicious and I’ll take decadently delicious over healthy any day of the week (as my regular readers are well aware of at this point). Despite my misgivings I ordered the savory breakfast crepe ($13.9) with garlic butter mushrooms, a soft egg (no the egg didn’t have fur, it was a soft over easy egg), vibrant spinach leaves, and of course the price d’resistance – the melted cheese. This was absolutely heaven on a crepe. It was rich, fresh, and the crepe was actually fantastic.4AFAD168-E7E8-48C0-BCED-7FB13A51217B Then came the difficult decision. I couldn’t decide between the traditional lemon sugar crepe ($7) or the salted caramel crepe ($7.5) and the chef was kind enough not to force me to choose and gave me a side of salted caramel to slather on the crepe at will. She mentioned that she absolutely loves both of these and when I took a bite of each, after breaking down in tears of ecstasy, I suddenly understood. The lemon sugar was a sweet and sour burst of flavor that demanded I eat every last bite. The salted caramel was eyes rolled back in your head good. I can’t even begin to describe how good it was (which sucks since I’m a writer and that’s what I’m supposed to be doing here…). I somehow managed to leave a few bites but this was not an easy feat. 160320E7-FF9C-4A9B-9B07-A682EA7F2054So generally when I go out to eat I have to leave at least one third of my meal so that I don’t become a round food reviewer (the food would’t be round, I would… though crepes are round, and of course there are cookies and those are generally round. Right. Off track again…). If I had a baseball bat held to my head (they don’t have many guns in Australia) and HAD to choose I would absolutely choose the lemon sugar crepe with salted caramel on the side. 

96DC8EB9-BC0A-42B1-898C-E29825AC23DFI went back another day because despite my desire to try all the breakfast places I could in Cairns, the draw of these crepes was just too strong to resist. On this visit I had the whipped goat’s cheese crepe with homemade onion jam, cherry tomatoes, cheese, spinach, and roasted almonds ($17.9 AU). It was even better than the first savory crepe I’d had here. It was, as they said in the 50’s, “dreamy”. Yes I’m aware that was a phrase generally used to describe handsome guys but given the choice between the most handsome guy on earth and this crepe, I’d choose the crepe. Now THAT is saying something about the super yum factor of these crepes. 95875E7C-C14E-4212-86F7-772801B5BC44For dessert I really really really wanted to order that lemon sugar crepe with a side of that golden salted caramel sauce but resisted said urge and decided to try the crumpet ($15 AU). I’ve read Alice in Wonderland and they talk about crumpets and since I’ve never had a crumpet I realized it was high time I tried one. The crumpet came with rhubarb and strawberry compote, lemon ricotta curd, dark chocolate and almond flakes. A830F1B5-6275-4727-B8AE-3DB103EEC944It was very tasty and I’m sure I would have absolutely loved it, if only I’d never tried the lemon sugar caramel crepe. I’m afraid it ruined all other desserts for me from now until the end of time (or at least until I find something equally tasty – which is sort of like the search for the holy grail, time consuming and pretty much impossible). 

I didn’t indulge because it was 9 am and that “it’s 5:00 somewhere” logic doesn’t work for me – but hey, no judgments if that’s your thing! So if you do want some cocktails to go with your breakfast or lunch they have mimosas, bellinis, Irish coffee, and Bloody Marys at $10 AU each. There are a selection of ciders and beers from $7-8, including beer on tap, as well as a list of a few wines in each category from sparkling, to white, to rose, to red by the glass or bottle. 

I give Café Strada 6 out of a possible 5 golden forks… Hey don’t gripe about that score – it’s like getting that extra credit problem right on your test. So it’s not just perfect, it is above and beyond perfection. 

0D1D24F5-0AFC-4D62-864D-B3B6F799A81DCafé Strada 

79 Lake Street Cairns QLD 4870

+61 7 4028 3860

Open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm 

Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm



Waffle On Cairns – A Small Cafe With Big Taste

B25DF03D-BC4D-4E8E-931D-CFD314FE1D76Waffle On comes VERY highly recommended by reviewers at Trip Advisor and since I own stock in that company I try to heed their advice whenever possible. When I arrived the place was full which isn’t difficult considering there is only 1 table inside and 1 counter for 2 people. Outside there are maybe 5 tables, a couple with 4-5 seats and a few with 2 seats. There are people constantly stopping by to try to get a seat and unless they are masters at musical chairs and have the music timed right they are out of luck and are sent on their way. Those who are truly tenacious and demand their waffle will have to wait patiently on the sidewalk mean mugging the diners until they finally get up and give up their precious chairs. There is no to go ordering so you either sit here to eat or you go home and make your own damn waffles. Trust me your waffles will not hold a candle to these waffles and you will be missing out on one of the great wonders of the world. Yes. They are that good. 4544AC58-2CD1-4554-8078-1B2419288EB6

So now that you’ve scored a seat, do you want a traditional strawberry waffle, a plain waffle (yawn… just give up your seat now – what in the name of heaven is wrong with you???),  a “normal” breakfast perched on a waffle, or perhaps you are feeling like breakfast and dessert all in one fell swoop. If so you are in luck since there are an assortment of waffles that will satisfy that deep dark desire. 1628D1EA-397C-4281-A5F9-A690ACD80706Nothing to be ashamed of, just boldly order your dessert on a plate and pretend you are having a healthy breakfast. I do it all the time (if you’ve read my reviews you know this is oh too true). The prices for the sweet side of the menu run from 9.90 AUD for plain (yawn) to 15.90 for “Chronicles of Banan” which is served with Nutella, sliced banana, walnuts, caramel sauce, melted Belgian chocolate, and chocolate ice cream. If that doesn’t make you salivate then how about a Robert Brownie JNR made with a chocolate brownie waffle and served with chocolate AND vanilla ice cream, melted Belgian chocolate and your choice of strawberries, banana or both. There is a Maple Bacon waffle that is made with homemade candied bacon with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream. Gimme S’More is something that sounds heavenly – hand toasted (as opposed to foot toasted?) marshmallows, Belgian chocolate sauce topped crushed chocolate honeycomb with a side of vanilla and strawberry ice cream sandwiches between their delicious chocolate brownie waffle. There is a nod to the artist formerly known as Prince on their menu with a Raspberry Beret (yes there are raspberries in it – you are catching on..). The Cookie Monster is a decadent monstrosity which has brownie waffles filled with whipped cream, crushed Oreos, and served with both vanilla and chocolate ice cream, finished with melted white chocolate and chocolate Belgian sauce. ACAF39C2-8DF7-4B71-BE38-64F6D6F45E66Another waffle that had my stomach rumbling with desire was the Black Forest – chocolate brownie waffle with fresh raspberries and blueberries, served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, dark cherry purée, topped with white and milk Belgian chocolate. If you, on the other hand want to act like an adult instead of a kid in a candy store (I’m on the kid in the candy store side but you may be more refined in your tastes) you can order some of the savory waffles (price from $14.90 – $16.90 AUD + $3 for extras) which include Avocado which not surprisingly has smashed avocado on the waffle, as well as scrambled egg, bacon (or mushroom – or both for a bit more money if you’re feeling famished) and finished with spring onion for $15.90 AUD. The Pommy breakfast is a homemade waffle served with baked beans,  bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomato and pork chipolata. I have no idea what chipolata is (look it up if you must know) but to me it sounds sort of like a pina colada with chocolate chips in it… They have a BLT waffle sandwich with the expected ingredients plus you can add avocado for $3 AUD. The mountain goat sounded tasty with goat cheese, smashed avocado, blueberry coulis and honey (see just add sweetness and I’m all over it). The Hot Spaniard is a waffle served with spicy chorizo, roasted red peppers, white beans in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with a poached egg and a side of sour cream. Any of the waffles can be made gluten free or vegan by substituting the regular waffle with a special coconut waffle.F1386955-EA6F-4427-8BA6-0B0A276AB5C0 I got greedy when I decided to order the Sir Eggs Benedict waffles and instead of bacon or mushrooms I got both (just another $3 AUD) PLUS I added goat cheese (just another $3 AUD) and oh my dear lord it was soooo worth that extra $3. I avoided the smoked salmon that was also an extra $3 because I have my limits, plus I can’t wrap my head around fish waffles… The mushrooms on the side were cut in thirds and complemented the Benedict perfectly. There was a MASSIVE pile of bacon that would send any pork lovin’ fool straight to heaven, pass go and DO collect that $200 because you are worth it. Anyway I loved the mushrooms but the bacon tasted different to me. I’m guessing it’s an Australian vs American bacon thing and I’m not about to get in the middle of that food fight. Honestly I’m sometimes a bit squirrelly about meat and large piles of it sort of freak me out… I know, I know, I’m in therapy for this, we’re working on it. I ate half the food and desperately wanted to inhale the other half but as someone who reviews a fair number of restaurants (and we’re not talking the sprouts and salads sort of restaurants) I’ve got to go easy on the portions or I’ll have to by my clothes in extra stretchy sizes. 

The waffle was lightly sweet so it didn’t taste weird (yes, I was afraid it might) with the eggs Benedict. The waffle complemented the eggs and hollandaise perfectly (eggs to waffle: “you look lovely today” hollandaise to waffle “Dahling you are simply divine!”). The whole thing was pure perfection.

To finish it all off (or to start) there are some healthy and not so healthy drink choices to include the normal coffees and teas but also fresh juice, smoothies, some decadent sounding shakes, and fresh fruit crushes.

and I’d travel on a plane for 10 hours to come back and have one of these again! In fact… I may sneak over there before my conference tomorrow to sample another one of these delightful waffle extravaganza creations.

Closed on Monday and open 7:30 am to 1:00 pm all other days.

64 Shields Street, Cairns, QLD, 4870 Australia

+61 429 930 921


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