Peaceful Spaces

I love finding peaceful places when traveling. It allows for respite, rejuvenation and a alternative connection to the sense of place. Costa Rica can be full of spaces heaving with people in search of sun and surf. Those places are few if you’re willing to go down the road less traveled and seek out random dots on the map. Local Sprouts encourages you to wander, explore and discover the peaceful side of where ever you’re headed next.



Snack Time!

Most of us hit that wall around 3 pm. The urge to have a little something to get us through to dinner. In Spain, they even have a name for this type of snack, la merienda. Typically a piece of fruit or small sandwich, it takes the edge off and gets you through to dinner. I try to be good and have a healthy snack. But sometimes, you come across something special. Something real special. Like Ding Dongs! These are not the ding dongs from my American childhood. Oh no sir-e-Bob. This spicy snack was procured on a trip to Fairfield, they made the trip so worth it! Soy beans, peanuts (25% more!), freeze dried peas, corn nuts and sweet and spicy surprises, all working together to get me through to dinner. What are some of your favourite snacks? Where do you go to find out-of-the-ordinary snacks?

Hot & Spicy!

Hot & Spicy!

Smokey O’s BBQ

As you know by now, I love really good food. And really good people. And a good story! I am really excited to share a fun interview with Tim Odom from Smokey O’s BBQ, and a few dates for his pop-ups across Sydney! In the past, I’ve shared pics from Tim’s Pork in the Park and have been lucky enough to be invited out for a Sunday BBQ! So, let’s get stuck in! Bring on the good ol’ ‘Merican BBQ!

LS: Smokey O’s! Tell Local Sprouts readers a bit about you & where this love for BBQ came from!


Smokey O’s: I’m a husband, a father, a gardener and a cook. I was born and raised in NZ, but my roots are in The South. My Granddad was a true southern gentleman. Everyone he met became his friend and in true southern style, he would open up his home to all friends and family and we would have ‘One of Those’… a term coined to describe a barbecue as my Granddad also believed he was cursed by bad weather just by mentioning the word!

 Rainy Day Pork in the Park

I love slow smokey barbecue because to make it right takes a long time! It can be 15 hours in the cooking and 15 minutes in the eating!…But what a great 15 minutes! And to that point, what a great 15 hours! Adding wood and charcoal to the fire, basting a whole pork shoulder with special flavours that build on one another. It’s a lot of fun. In the last few years I have tried to take what my Granddad has given me, a passion for cooking barbecue for others, and share it with as many people as I can!

LS: Where is your local community? What do you love about it? How would you describe it?

Smokey O’s: I live in the Northwest of Sydney. It’s an interesting time to live here. It’s a mix of large brand new housing on small blocks, the face of Sydney’s urban sprawl, mixed in with rural paddocks and farms. I’m a country boy at heart, I’ve grown up in small towns and semi rural areas. Being able to look out my backyard and see farmland is very comforting. I love that when I pick up my daughter from daycare, we bike past paddocks with cows and goats. And yet, we are still very much in the ‘burbs.

LS: If you were showing someone from out of town around your local area, where would you take them?

Smokey O’s: On a clear day, about 100m from our house there is a great spot that you can look out over the Hawkesbury and see the silhouettes of the Blue Mountains, you can see the ridges as they roll into one another. It’s a great view. I’d also take them for a country drive around here, windows down, enjoying the fresh air. There are ‘honesty boxes’ dotted about the place with people selling pumpkins, eggs, watermelon…whatever is in season I suppose. We would make out way out to Pitt Town, which is a beautiful township that harks back to rural Australia of many years ago.

LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you?

Smokey O’s: Local, to me, is about relationships. Being connected is so easy today, that distance is often a bit fluid. But if I have relationships with my Café, my Fish and Chip guy, even the guy I get petrol from! Then I feel like they are my local hangouts. Whether they’re the closest doesn’t really matter to me.

LS: Hidden local gem?

Smokey O’s: The Ponds Parklands is a green space amongst all the new housing developments. There are creeks, large ponds and small wetlands, which provide habitat to countless critters. There are walking tracks, which connect all the different areas, playgrounds and fields together. It’s really great.

LS: Local person, cultural or food experience Local Sprouts should seek out?

Smokey O’s: On Schofields Rd, there is tiny little stall that sells their own fruit and vege. They have the best strawberries I have tasted in a long, long time. Years of supermarket strawberries had made me forget how good they can be!

LS: Now! Let’s get down to business! Where can you find Smokey O’s BBQ? Two very special pop-ups are taking place in May!

May 13 & 14 at The Rag Land Cafe for a BBQ breakfast and lunch! The bacon alone is worth the trip, and I’m know Tim will have some special BBQ treats up his sleeve!

May 17 at The Baron for a set-menu dinner made up of all things BBQ. Tickets required. $50 per person. Email to get your ticket!

And keep your eyes open & your stomach ready for more! You never know when Tim will be popping in to your local park or cafe with his incredible BBQ!

**Update** Both pop-up events were a big hit! Check out Smokey O’s Facebook Page to see where you can find Tim and his BBQ next!

Facebook Smokey O’s BBQ

Instagram @smokeyosbbq

Twitter: @smokeyosbbq

San Francisco Favorite Eats

Here’s the list of a few of my favorite spots. You don’t need my descriptions or photos. You just need this list! And this bit of advice. Eat your weight in tacos. Or at least one a day. You’ll thank me later.

Dynamo Donuts for the obvious. and the unique.

Mission Beach Cafe for best brunch in SF

Sweet Maples millionaire’s bacon (go during the week when the wait is less)

Balompie for pupusas

Blue Barn for salad & a taste of the Marina neighborhood. go at lunch and wear your yoga gear.

Tommaso’s for pizza and pasta (get the half and half so you can try pasta & ravioli)

The Cheeseboard Collective pizza by the people, for the people.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen noodle kugel & 1/2 sandwich 1/2 soup

Tartine Bakery go bananas and eat it all.

Monk’s Kettle for beer.

Southern Pacific Brewery more beer. (get the brussel sprouts)

Humphrey Slocombe crazy ice cream flavour combinations

Tonga Room because everyone needs a dose of cheese every now and again.

TACOS: don’t get crazy and pay $9 for a bloody taco. eat at the local spots, the ones packed with locals, with salsa bars and taco happy hours. $1.25 people.


Out of Town but worth the journey…

Swanton Berry Farm sea views, men in carhartts, baked goods and jam.

Phil’s Fish Market Cioppino & a walk on the beach.


Pig on a Spit

The other day, I shared with you my adventures in BBQ and this coming Sunday I am off to Pig on a Spit at Restaurant Atelier! And I can not wait! Part of their celebration for their 10th Anniversary, the Sunday Lunch will be a great way to kick back, relax and enjoy all the Darren and the Atelier Team have accomplished.

‘The celebrations would not be complete without one of our now-famous Pig-On-A-Spit Sunday lunches – a day of relaxed family-style dining,’ says Bernadette. ‘It’s our 10th birthday, so why not go the whole hog!’

Local Sprouts loves any chance to celebrate, especially if it is one of our favourite things! You can join in on the fun too! Give them a call and book your space!

Pig on a Spit


10 Year Celebration Pig-On-A-Spit

Restaurant Atelier
April 28, 2013 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
$50 per person
Bookings: 02 9566 2112