The other day Hugh and I were getting some things from the local garden shop here at Semaphore and on the way back to the car I noticed the cafe next door. The word "sustainable" caught my eye and, knowing nothing else about it, I said to Hugh "Let's go there for dinner on Thursday". Now, I rarely go out to dinner, finding it very hard to ever get food as good as that from my own garden. So this impromptu suggestion took Hugh and I both by surprise! And tonight we went there for dinner..... Sarah's Sisters' Sustainable Cafe.
The setting is quite wonderful..... the tables all look out from a curved, semi-enclosed verandah-style room onto the water garden of the garden shop next door and behind! What a clever combination of businesses.... owned by different people, but complimenting each other so well. Past the water garden's trickling nymphs were pots of the agastache that Maggie tells me is so good for attracting bees, benches of herbs and rows of vegetable seedlings etc..... I was bound to enjoy this meal !
Ordering was quite unusual.... the lovely woman had not much idea what was going to be served except that it had soup, 2 entrees plus salad and 2 desserts..... for 2 people. It was called chef's choice and one of the sustainable things is that they try not to waste food, using up ingredients and introducing new things as required. The people at the table next to us ordered first and we looked with interest at what they were getting, expecting ours to be the same..... but no! We were given something different, all of it outstanding. The coffee was good but not great and Hugh reckons that the best coffee in Semaphore is to be had at The Corner Store, where Abbie's dedication to quality puts her far above the rest.
Anyway..... I have not enjoyed a meal at a restaurant this much for a long time. And as we called around the corner of the kitchen to compliment the chef, out he came, very interested in what we thought, who we were, why we were there and so, as Pattie would say, we started to chat about this and that.
His name is Stuart and he is helping set up a Semaphore group to promote the kind of lifestyle that most people reading this blog know a lot about already.... low impact, low input, organic, healthy living where sharing is the norm and a simpler, greener, community-oriented life the goal. They have a location in mind on Semaphore Road, down near the beach front, and want to invite genuine, community-minded people to be involved in getting it off the ground before Christmas.
I have fallen on my feet here.... having only been back from France for less than a month I have already managed to meet several local, green shop owners and given them dozens of my "The Wise Cook's Garden" brochures, have promised them samples of my herb and salad pots as well as my cooking and now being invited to join some of these grass-root discussions about my favourite topics! It is amazing how a passion leads you to sharing it .
Hugh is equally keen to be involved and has offered his skills as a fabulous young chef, enthusiastic food gardener and ability to inspire others. It is all very well for us old farts to harp on about what everyone should be doing but if we are to ever have the next generation follow our lead, we need people like Hugh out there demonstrating the fun and taking a leading role. I sincerely hope that Stuart and others can see the importance of accepting Hugh's offer to give to his local community in such a wonderful way.
This Sunday, November 29th, from about 11am there will be the Semaphore Street Fair..... not a strictly sustainable day but promoting co-operation between developers, traders and residents. Stuart says it will be something unique in this way and be the start of a Semaphore community spirit that will aim to maintain the culture and history of the past, meld it with its unconstrained present and ensure that the Semaphore of the future is unique, green and a comfortable and welcoming place to be.
The following Sunday, Dec 6th, and every subsequent first Sunday of the month, is the Semaphore Community Market at St Bede's, 200 Military Road..... come along and have a look.... I will be there and will write about it afterwards!