Saturday, 7 January 2012

Blend, Melville

Deepwater Point, Applecross to Shelley Bridges, 14km, 1 hour 52 minutes, Wind Southerly 5kts, I am glad you were wrong. Instead of the 15kts that was predicted, Westy, M4P - freshly back from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - and I arrived at Deepwater Point to find a mirror-like Canning River.

By unspoken consensus, we had quite obviously decided that this would be an easy morning's paddle. M4P hadn't been out for a while and it isn't much fun paddling on your Pat Malone whilst your 'companions' disappear over the horizon.

The sun was threatening to emerge from the overcast skies when we departed the beach just to the north of the Deepwater Point Cafe, having parked on the side of the road to avoid the parking charge near the boat ramp. The rowing club were out in force and as we approached the Mount Henry Bridge some bloke who was squeezed into a full-body condom rowed past yelling at us to "get out of the way" of the three or four boats approaching. Sorry, champ. You are absolutely right. The rowing club does own the entire river, it is a privilege for me to be there, and it is entirely my fault if the four people in a boat - who are all facing backwards - run into someone. Did someone say something about 'proper and effective lookout'?

Undeterred and defiant we pushed on, and beyond the Mt Henry bridge appeared to have the rowing club's river all to ourselves. Ourselves and the six million jellyfish, that is.

A 'traffic light' of skis
When you get a few blokes paddling together, just like when you get a few blokes at the pub together, some pretty random topics of conversation come up. In this case, as we rounded the spit at Salter Point it started when M4P said that he had been watching 30 Rock, and that Alex Baldwins character had made comments about Harry Potter. This naturally (de)generated the question 'Are you a bit 'wrong' if you think that Emma Watson is a hottie now that she's all grown up?'. The thought of having to answer this inspired a long, awkward silence and we pushed along the Shelley foreshore into a slight current, meeting three chaps on Endorfinns heading back down river and being passed by a couple in an Epic V12 and a K1. We turned around at the Riverton Bridge after having a look up-river and vowing to check that out in the near future.

The Canning River gets quite shallow if you don't follow the lateral marks and are seduced by the big, wide voids of open water and in a couple of instances we found our boats getting sucked down towards the bottom and our speed being immediately reduced (retarded?) by what is called shallow-water effect, or squat. It is quite obvious when it happens and speeding up your cadence to get out of it only exacerbates it. The only solution is to slow down and find deeper water.

By the time we returned to the Mt Henry Bridge we were all pretty hungry. The obvious solution would have been the Deepwater Cafe, but noting the ludicrous amount that they charge for Eggs Benedict we blew that idea off and decided to go to an old favorite, Blend at Melville.

Blend Cafe & Pizza Bar, 356 Marmion Street, Melville WA 6156 (08) 9317 4400

A crap photo of Blend - but they wouldn't move their cars, even when I asked nicely...

As usual, when we got to Blend at 9.30am it was busy. That will happen when you serve good food at good prices. It is situated in a small strip of suburban local shops, next to a butcher, on Marmion Street in Melville. Parking on a Saturday is a bit hit and miss as you would expect. Its a pretty funky place inside and is normally patronised by a group of Blend jersey-wearing cyclist. Jerseys are on sale in the cafe for $50.

Brekky Platter - $16
Blend had only just re-opened after the New Year break, and what we did notice was that their prices had gone up a touch, the litmus test being the Big Blend breakfast, up from $21 to $23. The menu has a good selection, from your standard eggs on toast to the unusual, such as the Breakfast Tortilla. I'm sure that the menu has selections for vegetarians but I always skip that bit lest someone I know sees me reading it. Blend does cater for people with gluten allergies.

Westy ordered the Brekky Platter, with eggs, toast, sausage, mushroom, tomatoes and hollandaise sauce. This sounded like a pretty good alternative to our usual massive Big Blend, and when it came out, it looked pretty bloody good. Westy certainly thought that his breakfast was at least on par with the Big Blend, although the absence of Blend's beans was stark.

M4P had scrambled eggs on toast, being a hater of porcine products on the basis that it reminds him of human flesh. He has never really fully explained that reasoning... Regardless, you can't really go wrong with scrambled eggs on toast, and Blend does them as well as anyone.

Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon - $17
I was the Eggs Benny guinea pig, and for $17 ordered Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. The regular variety is a dollar less. Normally I consider runny eggs to be the Devil's work, but ironically  I must be getting more tolerant to food with age. I'm sure Mrs Blue would insert a comment here akin to "it's a pity you couldn't carry that attitude over to everything else" but she's off galavanting around the world with the tin lids now, and it's my blog anyway...

But the Eggs Benedict was good. Not the best I've ever had, but it was right up there I reckon, and will prompt me to shortly add the Eggs Benny Index on the blog. I have to be careful though, because once I do that it will no doubt be reported every morning with the ASX, S&P, Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices. Anonymity is the key to blogging, particularly in the high-security world of the Gorilla Biscuit business where one slip up could see a rival dominate with a market-beating uglier product.

But I digress. The coffee here alone is a good reason to come. Reminiscent of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, our table had a cup, a mug and, yes, a bucket of coffee sitting there. OK so it's not an actual bucket but it is a rather large take-away cup. And because of the quality, it wasn't long (a short discussion on French breast implants and the strategic environment of the Asia Pacific - separate, not inter-twined topics) before it was all over Red Rover.

A good paddle followed by a good breakfast. Not a bad start to a Saturday.

Welcome back Kotter...err...Thomas.

Blend - good food and coffee, very good value. 8/10. Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon

Deepwater Point to Shelley Bridges, 14km return