The Odd Spot

Get taken round the world at Odd Spot with cafe meals that are a sensitive blend of international cuisines. There’s one defining feature of an Odd spot meal; it goes well with coffee.

On the regular menu is standard cafe fare: breakfasts, and burgers, toasties and salads for lunch. The real action is on the Specials’ Board where you’ll find traditional dishes transformed into modern cafe meals to suit a multicultural palate. It changes weekly, so it’s no shoe-in you’re favourite will make it.

Specials Board

I wondered if breakfast would ever surprise me again until I ordered Japanese pancakes filled with prawns and bacon. Nothing like a new start to the day

On another visit, the handful of chips to accompany the baguette filled with roast pork and Asian salad, seemed to complete the dish rather than confuse it. For added finesse, it came plated on a wooden bread board.

And I was ready to cheer when a Bibimbap showed up for lunch. Korean traditionalists might have something to say, but the loads of crisp BBQ’ed steak, basmati rice and touch of coriander added a refreshing touch to this popular Asian dish.


European, American and other international flavours also find their way into meals.

“I just make food that I like to eat,” says the owner, Sarah Pope, who spent over five years working as a chef in cosmopolitan London.

Odd Spot

Carefully, the subject of the name is broached. There’s got to be a reason for calling a cafe, Odd.

“Same as the restaurant where I worked in England. That’s where I refined my skills and ideas,” she says.

Some say Newport. Some say Williamstown. The cafe sits right on the border of the two suburbs on the main thoroughfare, Melbourne Road. It can easily be missed hurtling past Newport junction on your way to Willi beach.

While there are tables outside, I recommend you go inside and take in the atmosphere. It feels warm and relaxed, and nothing is ever any trouble. Going by their smiling faces, the staff find the job of creating and serving Odd Spot meals something effortless and fun.

The meals are inspiring. Coffees are tip-top. You’ll be reminded that eating breakfast or lunch isn’t a chore, but there’s another reason for punching Odd Spot’s address into your navigation system.

The sweets are baked in-house. Some time ago, I had the walnut laden chocolate brownie that came with chocolate sauce oozing all over it and still remember how the first mouthful tasted.

It is odd – cafe food isn’t meant to be this good.

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Asian-noodle-salad-with-peanut-ginger-dressing-5Here’s a fast and easy dish for the calorie conscious. Something I picked up whilst traveling in Vietnam a few years ago – this delicacy was the ‘house special’ in a tiny cafe in the North, and was exactly what was needed after several days of a mostly meat diet. Try it. It serves 6-8.


  • 4 cups cooked egg noodles, cooled
  • 1 red, yellow and green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, julienned
  • 1 baby red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • large handful fresh mint leaves
  • large handful fresh coriander
  • optional extras: bean sprouts, broccoli, green beans, spinach leaves

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed ginger (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.


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CEbGF8DUMAAsyi9Harper Lee’s recipe for cracklin’ cornbread

First, catch your pig. Then ship it to the abattoir nearest you. Bake what they send back. Remove the solid fat and throw the rest away. Fry fat, drain off liquid grease, and combine the residue (called “cracklings”) with:

1 ½ cups water-ground white meal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 cup milk

Bake in very hot oven until brown (about 15 minutes).

Result: one pan crackling bread serving 6. Total cost: about $250, depending upon size of pig. Some historians say this recipe alone fell the Confederacy.

Harper Lee’s other mentions of pork


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tumblr_njr9alt21n1sy42who1_540Guests who attended the Paris Inn ‘s grand opening on New Year’s Eve, 1924 were invited to “take a trip to Paris” by club owners Bert Rovere and Innocente Pedroli. The Paris Inn’s decor was a combination of bohemian and Renaissance. In keeping with the Left Bank ambiance, smock and beret-clad artists were available to draw caricatures of guests. The club’s waiters were of the singing variety.  Prominent guests at the Paris Inn included Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow. The club occupied three Los Angeles locations during its lifetime:

  • 110 East Market Street
  • 210 East Market
  • and finally 845 North Broadway in 1950.


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tumblr_nqmbuunBjP1rd3evlo1_540During the Civil War, since pecans were in short supply in the South, oatmeal was substituted for the traditional pecan pie 

The history of oatmeal pie is difficult to verify.  Its thought that this pie originated during or around the Civil War, in Charleston, South Carolina. That would mean it is an idea that has been around since the 1860′s or close to that time.


  • 1(9 inch) pie crusts
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14teaspoon salt
  • 1cup light corn syrup
  • 1814cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal  (uncooked)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat eggs until frothy.
  3. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Add eggs; mix well.
  5. Add corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla.
  6. Mix oatmeal.
  7. Pour into uncooked shell.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.


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tumblr_npw7vv04km1rd3evlo1_500Abraham Lincoln visited here after giving his famous Cooper Union address in 1860, and a chair where he supposedly sat is kept behind the bar.

Located 15 E. 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

McSorley’s is said to be the oldest bar in New York, dating back to 1854. The only drinks served, light and dark McSorley’s Ale, have been poured for a hundred and fifty years.
Women were not allowed inside until a controversial 1970 Supreme Court case, and after years of bartenders guarding the bathroom door, a ladies room was finally installed in 1986.

Since then McSorley’s has seen a long line of famous patrons such as Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Kennedy, Woody Guthrie, Mickey Mantle, John Lennon and JFK. and wishbones on a chandelier left by young U.S. soldiers who went off to fight in the First World War. The wishbones that remain, among decades of gathering dust and gunk, are of those soldiers that didn’t come back. Anyone who touches them is banned for life.

With its floor covered in sawdust and mugs of ale served two at a time, McSorley’s continues to be a bar unaffected by time or the outside world.

BEEN HERE BARS – Read more

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JULIO’S CAFE – Best Food in Stonewall Jackson’s Hometown


If you’re traveling near Clarksburg, West Virginia, and are looking for a leisurely and well-prepared dinner, you couldn’t do any better than Julio’s Cafe.  Here’s the guff:

WAIT:  No delay in seating.

SPEED OF SERVICE:  A leisurely pace which allows you to enjoy drinks and dinner over the evening.

MENU OR LACK THEREOF:  No written menu.  The long list is recited from memory. Ask as many questions as you like.

PRICE/VALUE:  Entrées were around $35 each but the entrée price includes the entire dinner minus drinks and dessert – you get bread, soup, salad and an entrée large enough that you’ll need doggy bags. Recommend the sea bass or the filet.

QUALITY OF FOOD:  Couldn’t be better.

DECOR:  The restaurant is not fancy inside or out – no shag carpet, ho-hum murals of Italy, but CLEAN.

SERVICE:  Excellent.


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