June 10, 2014

Liana Gangi

Have your sweets and tweet them too

It starts with an order for a double shot skinny cap, 2 sugars. Then you start to meet friends for a lazy brunch of smashed avocado, spread over a poached egg, oozing with yolk. Soon after, you find yourself travelling miles to that retro decor diner, all for the sake of tasting their world famous burger.  Welcome, my friends, to the ‘Cafe Culture’.

‘Cafe Culture’ can be defined as the practice of regularly socialising at trendy eateries to be seen as much as to eat. the practice has evolved little since its inception in Turkish coffee houses during the 14th century. But the dining pleasures that were once reserved for the wealthy classes are now frequented by us – students as young as 15 (and probably working for $13 an hour). What has caused this culinary shift?

With the popularity of online review sites such as Broadsheet, Urbanspoon and Weekend Notes, young people rely on featured dining experiences to determine their own. Social media provides us with even moer avenues to talk about dining hotspots. Cafes and restaurants have clued in and offer discounts if you “check in”, “regram” Instagram posts or tweet new menu selections. Suddenly, your local coffee shop has more Instagram followers than Rhianna.

While this all sounds like a cult worth joining, in a world where part time jobs pay a pittance, indulging in ‘cafe style’ can be a challenge. Here are some helpful tips on how to have your café-style cake and Instagram it too!


Wait until you find ‘the one’

These days there are cafes on nearly every corner. But when eating out on a budget, wait until you find a cafe equivelant of a love interest – special, unique and worth spending time (and money) on without feeling guilty about an empty wallet.

Be able to pronounce the menu

Gone are the days when menus were as simple as a toasted sanga. Like roller skates in the ‘70s or side fringes in grade 6, a current cafe trend is giving each dish a fancy name for the sake of making it sound a lil fancier. If the terms ‘acai’, ‘quinoa’, ‘chorizio’ are unfamiliar, Google common dining terms to educate yourself before hand.

Bring along a pal

Lovers of good food are the best kind of friends because you can 1) enjoy your meal, 2) taste their meal without them knocking back your fork and 3) have a great catch up too! But be sure to take someone who has a similar cuisine taste to your own.

One of my most traumatising dining experiences was when my friend organised a date at a Thai restaurant and I had to stomach a super, spicy soup (I cannot tolerate Smiths Chilli Chips, let alone a dish spawn of spice). The moral of the story: bring a pal with a similar taste pallet! Besides, you are going to need someone to check in with via Facebook, right?

– Liana Gangi


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