olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Category: eat up

sundays in the states




One of my favourite things to do in the US is buy the Sunday New York Times and spend a few hours reading it in a cafe (or two). Of course, I could hang out in any Sydney cafe and read it online but that just ain’t the same. Last Sunday I was in San Francisco and struggled to find the Sunday NYT. I picked up a copy from a bookstore on Monday and slowly worked my way through it over the course of this last week. These photos were taken at (top) Heart and (bottom) Stumptown in Portland, OR. a few weeks ago. 

local love


Last Saturday I had breakfast at a bar. I drank a cold pressed green juice and ate a bagel with an organic egg and some relish on the side…plus a tiny pear and a slice of watermelon. Not your average pub fare, eh? There’s a reason for that: The Local Harvest Collective has taken over Darlo Bar’s upstairs communal lounge and filled it with bags of fresh produce, beautiful blooms and breakfast-y delights care of Cornersmith, Brooklyn Boy Bagels and Prodjuice Cold Pressed Juices. I met Hannah-Rose, Rachel and Alana there and we had the most relaxing morning, chilling on the couches and filling our tummies with fresh, local deliciousness. Just think, next Saturday that could be YOU!


33rd Annual Morgner Family Lobster Bake


I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years but a sweet, tender lobster put an end to all of that.

As part of the Small Town Girl project, I stayed with a family in the coastal village of Damariscotta, Maine. It just so happened that my stay coincided with the 33rd Annual Morgner Family Lobster Bake.

On the day of the bake Allie, her father, brother and I woke early and went to pluck the lobsters from the water and transfer them to a couple of eskies. Back home, seaweed that we’d collected the day before was laid out over a low platform above a big campfire. Potatoes and onions wrapped in foil were placed on top then the lobsters were poured out of the eskies. Corn on the cob was arranged alongside the lobsters. Wooden boxes of muscles and clams and crates of eggs went on next. All of that was covered with another layer of seaweed and a canvas tarp went over the top of everything then a fire was lit underneath. Once the tarp was too hot to touch, I was told that the lobsters would need another 20 minutes. When the time was almost up an egg was removed and cracked open. It was done and that meant the lobsters were, too. The tarp was lifted off and the seaweed shovelled away to reveal bright orange lobsters. Men, women and children couldn’t grab their cardboard box lid trays fast enough. The food was piled on and the feast began. I was given just the smallest sample and had to really psych myself up to put the soft, white meat into my mouth (you can see that moment here). At first it felt all wrong but once I relaxed I realised I was actually enjoying what I was eating. So I had another bite…and another. And then there was no turning back.

It was such fun to be a part of this family’s long running tradition. Bill Morgner (dad) was so excited to include me in the process and explain how and why he did certain things. I find gatherings centred around food fascinating; there’s so much more to them than the actual meal. I’ve been such a strict vegetarian for the longest time but eating the lobster felt like a natural, respectful thing to do that day. I’m constantly observing and analysing and capturing life but sometimes it’s important to just be in it.


strangeways in bushwick

ImageWhen I visited NYC in 2009, cupcakes were all the rage. Magnolia Bakery cupcakes to be precise. Then during my stay in the summer of 2011 it was all about ice cream. Who could come up with the most attention grabbing combination? Pear and blue cheese! Sweet corn and black raspberries! Strawberry honey balsamic and black pepper, if you don’t mind! When I was in the city a few weeks back it was clear that doughnuts were the latest must-have for mouths. I jumped on that bandwagon quick smart and made daily trips to Doughnut Plant. I then read about rival, Dough, and decided I needed to sample their offerings, too. All in the name of balance, you see. One morning while strolling around Bushwick I saw a sandwich board sign with the magic words on it: ‘Dough doughnuts served here’. YES. The cafe I’d stumbled upon was Strangeways Coffee. And what a find it was! I ordered a dulce de leche and toasted almond doughnut (though I was tempted by mojito with candied mint leaf and lemon with olive oil and thyme, decisions decisions) and mentioned my food trend observations to the barista, Eddy. He agreed and added quinoa and kale to the list. The topic turned to coffee and he asked why Aussies are so particular when it comes to black gold. Really, Eddy? Are we having that conversation? I let it slide and he let me take some snaps around the cafe. Thanks, Eddy! Oh and the doughnut was to die for. The juice fast starts when I get back to Sydney…


foodface – my friends and what they ate (part two)


Tired of seeing food photographed in the same way time and time again, I decided to have some fun with my lunch dates and what was on their plate. The result was a little series called ‘foodface‘…and now it’s time for part two!


1. Mr Pham // 2. Emma // 3. BC // 4. Stef // 5. Tal // 6. Juz // 7. GDM // 8. Leah

march mf

ImageImageImageA few recent medium format portraits.

Lydia at Bread and Circus // A store holder at the Rozelle Markets // Kate at Brickfields

i am a tourist


There’s nothing like a visit from an out-of-towner to help you appreciate the city you live in. Roaming around with someone who sees your ‘hood with fresh eyes can have a profound effect on your sight, too.

The wonderful Mr Pham blew into town a few weeks back so we grabbed BC and set off on a Sydney adventure. First stop was dream come true cafe Bread and Circus where we filled up on coconut water, fresh fruit and quinoa pancakes…and a little chocolate coconut butter, too, mmm. Then we drove over the bridge (which excited Mr Pham no end) and up to Wahroonga to check out Rose Seidler House. I must admit, I wasn’t super keen to see this place but thought I’d indulge my architecture-mad companions. But as is so often the case with me, I was quickly enthralled and lapped up every little detail. This house and its history is utterly fascinating, plus it boasts gorgeous natural light and popping colour.

Quite the rookie error, I know, but I failed to pack enough film so this is where my documentation of the day ended. Luckily Mr Pham had his Canon on hand to capture our lunch at the pop up El Loco beside the Opera House, spin around the harbour in a speed boat and stroll through Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at the MCA.

See, being a tourist ain’t so bad.

foodface – my friends and what they ate



1. Dave and his bacon beard at GG’s, Kirra Beach 2. Hannah at Gelato Messina, Surry Hills 3. Tracy at Kitchen By Mike, Rosebery 4. Monika at The Little Marionette, Annandale 5. Dom at Mecca Espresso, Ultimo 6. Ange at Reuben Hills, Surry Hills 7. Bee at Youeni, Darlinghurst. 8. Ky at the Art Gallery of NSW (eating incredible Pana Chocolate) 9. Lydia at GG’s, Kirra Beach 10. Ilich at GG’s, Kirra Beach.

lunch club


Starting work at 5am and finishing at 1pm means the middle of the day is the perfect time for me to grab a bite out. Wanna be my lunch date?

1. Bee at the Veggie Patch Van, Victoria Park 2. Grace at The Grounds, Alexandria 3. Stef at On The Green, Camperdown 4. Maddy at Envy Cafe and Gallery, Summer Hill 5. Lynny at Reuben Hills, Surry Hills 6. Ange at Bourke St Bakery, Surry Hills 7. Faith at the park across the road, Camperdown 8. Lee at Single Origin, Surry Hills 9. Grace at The Grounds again, ’cause she’s a cutie.


Bee at the Nourishing Quarter on a rainy night in September.