Culture & Arts, food, local, perth

Paint The Town Ford – Urban Adventure

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I can’t tell you how long the Wallpaper Guide To Perth has sat on my bookshelf, but when I initially picked it up online I had plans. Plans to get out and discover my city. Yes, I’ve lived in Perth since I was nearly nineteen, but I’m one of those people who finds a suburb and sticks to it. I also sport an impressive secret stash of Urban Walkabout guides. I’ve looked through them, circled things I want to check out and then put them in a drawer, never to be seen again.

Saturday morning saw E and I with no plans – at all. A rare occurrence, and probably the chance we needed for a much-needed sleep in, but a free morning meant the perfect opportunity to make use of all the tidbits I’d collected over the years and go on an Urban Adventure in our beautiful city. Thanks to Kidspot and the Voices of 2014 competition, major sponsor Ford provided me with a sexy, brand new Ford EcoSport Titanium on loan for a few weeks. E and I have been zooming all over the shop in the zippy little beast, and it was the perfect set of wheels for our adventure.

Perth is small. But that certainly isn’t a bad thing, especially when you only have a few hours up your sleeve (we had a date with roller skates later in the afternoon). E is a walking road map, but just incase her sense of direction failed (it was very early!) I mapped our route on my iPhone and connected it via Bluetooth through Ford’s simple SYNC system. Armed with dodgy coffees and some banging tunes and we were off.

urban adventure playlist:
royals (lorde cover) – bonjah
sleepyhead – passion pit
wild things – san cisco
morning after day – timbaland
father said – thelma plum

07:30AM: PUBLIC STREET ART, MURRAY STREET CAR PARK, PERTH

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In the last few months Perth CBD has had a much-needed mini facelift. An initiative between private businesses and Form Gallery has seen once bare walls and alleyways infused with colour and design by local and international artists to create a myriad of beauty in a once industrial setting. Murray Street car park is now a haven of vibrant street art, a major contrast to what it once was. A normally busy spot, we were lucky to arrive bright and early to an empty scene, allowing us to really stop and appreciate the art. As you know I’m a colour fanatic and anything bright and shiny will keep me entertained for hours. E and I wandered around the car park, snapping away at its new beauty. Move over Melbourne, Perth’s on your tail.

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08:30AM – BEAUFORT STREET, HIGHGATE

You could call Highgate Mount Lawley’s cooler, hipper little sister. With many fantastic food spots including Soloman’s Cafe and Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting, flower shops on every corner and quirky artistic tokens (think bathtubs converted to planter boxes) it’s the perfect place to stroll in the sunshine. Fortunately the EcoSport Titanium is small and compact, perfect for city parking, and the reverse sensors helped me to squish into the tight street parking offered in the hip suburb.

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After ogling street art for a good hour, E and I were craving a tasty breakfast and Mary Street Bakery filled the brief. I’ve visited Mary Street in the past for coffee and cake (a peanut butter and jelly donut to be precise… heavenly), but I’d been dying to sit down for a meal. All of their organic bread is made on site and the cafe/bakery was warm, cosy and full of smiles. My feast of boiled eggs and toast “soldiers” took me back to childhood – boiled eggs were rare at our house. Mum’s specialty was fried or scrambled, so it was always very exciting when boiled eggs were delivered to the table at family breakfasts. Mary Street’s boiled eggs were perfectly cooked and the corn relish was the perfect addition. Two cold pressed juices later and a stop past the bakery for some sweet treats and we were refueled and keen for a walk. Any suburb whose bike racks are covered in colourful twine has my tick of approval.

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09:30AM – PERTH CULTURAL CENTRE, PERTH

The final stop on our early morning adventure took us to Perth’s cultural hub. Perth Cultural Centre is one of those feel good spots where you’re guaranteed a good coffee and something to gaze at. On this particular morning we were bombarded with shrieking children, the smell of good food and a whole lot of ruckus. Being school holidays the space was sporting a very impressive setup including an ice skating rink! Families milled around drinking warm cocoa whilst their children enjoyed the ice.

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I’m one of the most uncoordinated people to walk this planet so ice skating was certainly not on my list of priorities that morning (flashback to age 12 and feeling absolutely terrified on a school camp and being forced to ice skate for two hours – I still shudder at the thought of it), so E and I were quite happy to inhale the carefree vibe and take a lazy stroll through the hubbub. What I adore about this area is the mix of old and new – heritage buildings dating back to the 1890′s juxtaposed with new, edgy structures and abstract art. It’s a bit of a design dream. If you could only visit one spot in the CBD, this would be it. Thanks Perth, it’s been real.

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Have you ever just taken time to discover your city?

E x

As a Top 40 Beauty & Lifestyle Finalist for the Kidspot Voices of 2014 competition, major sponsor Ford Australia provided me with a brand new EcoSport Titanium for six weeks to Paint The Town Ford. This is the first of three posts documenting my adventures in this sexy little vehicle. I can’t say I was a huge car enthusiast in the past but this car has changed my opinion – no wonder people are so obsessed with their wheels! Follow my adventures on Facebook and Instagram – #paintthetownford xx E

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food, perth

Lunch Club: The Green Bean Organic Store & Cafe, Lathlain

My little sister L has been on a strict diet for the past few weeks but that didn’t stop us from heading out to lunch this weekend. Just meant we had to go for a healthy option, which gave us the perfect excuse to visit The Green Bean Organic Store and Cafe in Lathlain. A short drive from home, L, E and I weren’t too sure what to expect but we were very surprised. Green Bean is more organic store than cafe, but they do have a few tables tucked in between fruit tea displays and vege chips stands. The cafe is quaint but the staff were very friendly and attentive. L was so excited that she could eat majority of the menu, because we all know hard it is to dine out when dieting.

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Everything on the menu is made fresh daily with organically sourced produce. The menu has many choices with ample raw, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. I decided on the Frittata of the Day with salad ($17.50). Like any good frittata it was crammed full of delicious vegetables and very tasty. Served with three gorgeous salads and spicy tomato relish, it disappeared from my plate very quickly. Mmm. L went with the Zucchini Soup ($11.50). She found it flavoursome, rich and very filling. It smelt wonderful, and you could tell it was homemade. It looked very hearty.

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Green Bean boasts they serve the best coffee in Perth, and I’ll tell you it was pretty damn good. They use organic, fair-trade BioBean coffee beans and you could taste the difference. On this occasion I went with a Traditional Long Mac with Soy (regular and coconut milk also available) and I really enjoyed my cuppa.

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Even though L was stuffed after her soup, she couldn’t pass up a Raw Cacao Ball ($3.95). We shared the sweet treat, and it was the perfect finish to our lovely meal. I also left a very happy lady after picking up some organic tea by the English Tea Shop at half the price I normally pay at our local deli. Score. Even E was impressed, and she’s the fussiest of the fussy. You know you’ve found a winner when E leaves in a good mood, haha.

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Green Bean is one of those places where you can tell that a lot of love goes into the food, and the staff are obviously very passionate about healthy eats. If you’re looking for a hearty, tasty meal, this is your kind of cafe.

What’s your favourite healthy eat?

E x

PS – My blog now has a Facebook fan page – like away for more fun. Or search “theillusivefemme” on Instagram!

The Green Bean Organic Store & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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food, local, perth

Like It Local: Delish Ice

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Sunshine, on my window, makes me happy, like I should be. I swear winter has been a little bit confused this year. Sunshine galore during the day but freezing cold nights. Whenever I feel sun on my skin I suddenly crave a sweet, icy treat. Why not? If the sun is out then why shouldn’t I deny myself a summer favourite. So who better to pick the brains of than Delish Ice‘s Katie, the lady behind the ultimate summer icy pole. You’ve probably spotted her retro turquoise van parked at your local hang out over the summer and tasted the sweet, fresh flavours of handmade artisan goodness. If you missed out never fear, she’ll be back, peddling pops in the coming months.

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Who is Katie in five words?
Working hard towards her dreams.

What do you do?
Myself and my gorgeous team create delicious, hand crafted ice pops.

Delish Ice began as a random idea a few years ago after realising that there was nothing similar in Perth (or even Australia at the time). I spent the winter planning the business, finding the pop van, giving her a makeover and recipe testing. A few years later and we now have two vintage vans, four cute-as-a-button pop carts and even a Pop Up Shop in Northbridge this summer gone.

Why do you do it?
Delish Ice combines so many things that I love in life – food, business, people and vintage vibes. I love cooking, and I have fun dreaming up different flavour combinations. I loved the challenge of starting a business from the ground up, and the challenge of trying to get all the parts of a successful business to work in cohesion. Going to work in the Pop Van means hanging out in a retro van, frocking up in a cute vintage dress, listening to swinging tunes all day, chatting to people and dishing up pops… what can I say, work is a blast!

What inspires you?
From a food and flavour perspective I love drawing inspiration from cocktails; not just the flavour combinations but also the balance. I spend time looking at sweet treats and popular desserts and working out how I can recreate them into a popsicle.

I also love finding fresh, seasonal, good quality produce and using that ingredient as a base for inspiration and combining it with other flavours to create a tasty pop.

Anything exciting we should look out for in the near future?
It’s hard to say. So many wonderful opportunities have appeared over the last few years… I am sure I’ll have something exciting to announce next season. Our opportunity to have the Pop Up shop last summer in Northbridge was a wonderful case of serendipity… so who knows what the future will bring!

I’ve just spent a bit of popsicle money buying new equipment, which is super exciting. We just couldn’t keep up last year, so this equipment will mean we can create more pops faster, which is amazing.

What is your favourite popsicle flavour?
I have a few depending on my mood or the weather. When it is super hot, I really like a simple refreshing sour lemon pop. The basil and elderflower pops are also an eternal favourite, and I think are really refreshing. Coincidentally they also go exceptionally well with gin.

We make a sour plum and orange pop, which has sugar syrup infused with spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander and star anise; totally my kind of flavours.

If I am after something dessert like, then maybe the tiramisu or salted malted caramel.

Sorry… I was only supposed to choose one flavour wasn’t I?

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Keep your eyes peeled as the weather heats up for Katie’s retro blue caravan – and I’ll agree, the basil and elderflower is absolutely divine!

What is your favourite Popsicle flavour?

E x

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Dessert Club: 1982 Espresso, Subiaco

It is a rare occurrence for me to visit Subiaco. Even though I work 5 minutes from the pretty strip, I never manage to make my way to Rokeby Road. But when I discovered a super cute vintage fashion and costume market was being held near Perth Modern it gave my friend L and I the perfect excuse to wander the streets of Subi post sale and pop into 1982 Espresso for a much needed cake and coffee date.

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If I had to describe the tiny cafe nestled in next door to the iconic Regal Theatre in one word it would be comfortable. L and I kicked back in gorgeous, luxe sofas and enjoyed a girly goss complete with scrummy cake.

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On today’s adventure I went with the Mini Raspberry Baked Cheesecake. Tart berries and rich, luscious cheese filling, the cake was a lovely sweet treat. L’s Almond and Orange Cake was moist, zesty and she didn’t leave a crumb. Our coffee’s arrived promptly and were just as they should be. Strong, smooth and very easy to drink. And very pretty to photograph – the rich purple mugs were gorgeous.

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1982 is the perfect place to pop in, relax in a comfortable chair and just chill out. No wonder it’s always so busy, Subi people know a good thing when they see it.

Which suburb do you wish you visited more often?

E x

1982 Espresso on Urbanspoon

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Brunch Club: La Veen Coffee & Kitchen, Perth

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I avoid driving in the city like the plague. Even when I’m following my GPS I get very confused. Especially with the current road issues in the city, I don’t know why I even try. But when V & I decided to meet at La Veen on King Street for this weeks Brunch Club, I had to buckle up and head into town. Long story short, I took more than one wrong turn, but it was worth it.

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Located on one of the CBD’s fanciest streets, La Veen Coffee and Kitchen oozes style. The dark tiles and fresh wooden furniture is a wonderful pairing, and looks classy and fresh. Greeted by a friendly, hip looking waitress, V and I pulled up a school style chair and inhaled the menu. Both breakfast and lunch options are available till late afternoon, but I already knew exactly what I wanted. I had my heart set on smoked salmon (strange cravings) and La Veen had various options to satisfy my needs.

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I went with the The Rosti ($17). Perfectly poached eggs, zesty avocado smash, smoked salmon and potato rosti drizzled with balsamic glaze. Mmm. Flavour explosion at first bite. The balsamic added a slightly sweet taste and complemented the meal perfectly. The rosti was delicate, yet crunchy. I just wanted more. And there is nothing better than a perfect poached egg. Craving satisfied. I was in food heaven, no wonder the King Street eatery is very popular.

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V opted for the Slow Cooked Eggs Florentine ($14). Served with olive ciabatta, spinach, béchamel and hollandaise, the dish smelt delicious. V gave La Veen a four out of five rating, so his brunch must have been great.

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La Veen’s drinks menu is very extensive, and we both decided on juices and coffee. My Strawberry, Apple & Ginger Juice was fruity, sweet with that ginger kick. V’s juice sounded just that little bit too healthy for me, and featured kale and beetroot. It photographed beautifully though!

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For the coffee, I went with my usual Long Mac with soy milk. I’m not sure if it was because I was going between the sweet juice and the coffee, but I found my brew slightly bitter. Next time I’ll just have a coffee on its own and see how I go.

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All in all a wonderful morning. If I can psych myself up enough to drive into the city again I’ll definitely be back.

Where is the furthest you’ll go for a good breakfast?

E x

La Veen Coffee & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Lunch Club: V Burger Bar, Victoria Park

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As much as I love a gourmet feast, there are just some days when nothing but a burger will cut it. Juicy meat, fresh salad and crunchy bun. Mmm. Clutching a slightly scrunched voucher from the entertainment book E & I headed to V Burger Bar to see what all the fuss was about. E is a major Grill’d fan so I had to keep reminding her we were trying somewhere new and to keep an open mind. She did.

The Vic Park store is bright, funky and open onto the street so you can dine inside or out. E & I chose a seat in the window, and pursued the menu. As much as the burgers looked very appealing, I went a little crazy with the sides menu, ordering both the giant Onion Rings ($5) and the Crumbed Mushrooms with Blue Cheese Sauce ($8). With that many extras I opted for the Mini Chicks Burger ($8.50) and still couldn’t fit it all in! E went with the Mini V – a mini classic beef burger ($8.50) so to help me with the sides, but she was no help either! So much tasty food.

My burger was fresh, well seasoned and tasty. It was something I could have made at home, but I really enjoyed it, without the dirty dishes! E’s Mini V was a tasty treat, she loved the ample serve of cheese oozing over the patty. The onion rings were crunchy and succulent. Served in a stack, we tried our hardest to get through the pile and failed. But my favourite part of the meal had to be the crumbed mushrooms. Mmm. Thick, juicy mushrooms in a tasty crumb with a strong blue cheese sauce. I probably could have devoured the entire bowl (but that’s not lady like).

It’s always nice to try a new restaurant, and we give V a thumbs up. And I’m still thinking about the mushrooms.

What is your ultimate burger?

E x

V Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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food

Healthy Eats: Thai Pumpkin Soup

I’m always on the hunt for recipes with five or less ingredients. After a long day at work I just love throwing a few things into a pot and letting it simmer – the less effort the better! This is one of my favourite soup recipes. The flavour is delicate and tasty, with a zingy underlying heat thanks to the red curry paste. Enough heat to make your nose run, perfect! Simple and healthy, this is a winter favourite at our place. Thanks Taste.

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INGREDIENTS:

1kg pumpkin
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 cups cold water
270ml coconut cream
salt & pepper to taste
garlic (optional)

METHOD:

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced pumpkin and curry paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture starts to stick to bottom of pan. Add coconut cream. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Add cold water, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.

3. Blend with a stick mixer till smooth and serve. Add salt and pepper if needed.

NOTE: I always add a teaspoon of garlic in step one, and serve with crunchy toast.

What is your favourite pumpkin recipe?

E x

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Brunch Club: Sixteen Ounces, Victoria Park

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My best friend B is back in Perth! To celebrate her homecoming, and a much needed reunion, we chose to brunch at Victoria Park’s latest project coffee bar Sixteen Ounces. I’ve been begging E to take me since the spot opened a few months back, but my lady is a very fussy eater so thankfully B will try anything.

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Stepping into the cafe was like entering a mini art gallery. Quirky art crowds the walls, an oversized lightbulb buzzes away at the front door and gorgeous wooden furniture creates a slick, yet welcoming vibe. I couldn’t get over how brilliant and friendly the staff were. Miss B was stuck in traffic so I had to wait a short time for her arrival, but the barista chatted away like an old friend and made me a fabulous macchiato just the way I like it. And they know how to make a damn good coffee!

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Although short, the menu has something for everyone, and I couldn’t pass up the Sweet Rosti Haloumi ($17). Sweet potato rosti, haloumi cooked perfectly (and it’s definitely an easy cheese to overcook) with a tomato and rocket salad. Mmm. I can say I’ve found a new favourite – sweet potato rosti is so much juicer and tastier than regular rosti! B went with her usual Banana Bread – no complaints from her side of the table.

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Sixteen Ounces is the perfect spot for a well made coffee and a bite. I think I’ve found a new favourite coffee spot. Now I just need to get E involved.

Are you scared of trying new places? If so, why?

E x

Sixteen Ounces on Urbanspoon

PS – The Illusive Femme is now on Facebook, get involved!

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Coffee Club: Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee, North Perth

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People speak differently when they are passionate about something. And at Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee it is obvious the snappily dressed staff live and breath a good quality cuppa.

The industrial style open space on Fitzgerald Street oozes cool. Black and white tiled floors, hanging lights and exposed “insulation” creates a hipster friendly spot for A+ coffee and a tasty bite.

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V & I visited A&S on a whim after the cafe we were originally planning to visit was very busy and we were too hungry to wait. Our second option of the day was the perfect choice. The cafe focuses predominantly on coffee, but they do serve pastries and sweet and savoury bagels baked fresh daily by the Holy Bagel Company. V & I both went for the Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese ($14) – a scrumptious choice. The bagel was soft and flavoursome, both salty and nutty. Mmm. The salmon was just as it should be, fresh and smokey. And the salmon serving was very generous, none of this one slice stuff. We were very impressed.

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And now to the coffee. You could just tell a lot of love goes into the process. After spying the table next door ordering science beakers of fresh coffee, V & I had to get involved. Turns out the beaker was filled with a “hand syphoned” Ethiopian brew made fresh at the A&S brew bar. The coffee was light and smooth, almost like a herbal tea, and went down very easily. Our friendly waiter explained the process of Ethiopian coffee production and suggested we keep our noses open to “floral undertones” within the brew. He was very right. As soon as the science experiment was placed on our table I couldn’t just smell coffee, but flowers. Heavenly.

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I was buzzing all afternoon thanks to Addison & Steele and I can’t wait till we meet again – next time I think I’ll try the drip coffee.

What is your usual coffee order?

E x

Addison & Steele Speciality Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Dessert Club: The Sassy Cookie, Victoria Park

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Usually I’m the one dragging E out to eat. She’d prefer to stay home and have me cook for her. Lucky for some, but I love having someone else cook for me, without the mess to clean up. This sunny afternoon my lady suggested afternoon tea, and we couldn’t pass up a second visit to The Sassy Cookie.

Tucked away in Victoria Park suburbia the super sweet dessert haven is tea time luxury. The staff dress in 1950′s glamour garb and the cake display is always full of darling treats.

We managed to score a seat outside in the sunshine on this occasion. E stuck to her afternoon tea usual, scones with jam and cream. The scones were dotted with dates, adding a surprising flavour and texture to the traditional eat. My eyes went straight to the Key Lime Tart. On my previous visit to the cute little bakery I tried and loved the Lemon Tart, but I’ll have to say the Key Lime was even better. The tart wasn’t overly zingy, and had the perfect balance of sweetness. I’m definitely a citrus dessert fan.

If you’re looking for a refreshing cold drink instead of the usual tea or coffee, SC’s smoothie menu, with or without moo (milk) is very extensive and the Raspberry and Blueberry option was divine.

The Sassy Cookie also has a fabulous high tea menu as well as lunchtime favourites, so they’ve got you covered for pretty much anytime of the day.

What would you choose, a scone or a citrus tart, or something completely different?

E x

The Sassy Cookie on Urbanspoon

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