Welcome to Mi Casa Su Casa! Local Sprouts has had the opportunity to share many a meals at Mi Casa Su Casa, a supper club in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney run by a sweet American couple, SarahKate and Andy, who take southern hospitality to a whole new level. It is one of LS’s favourite things, bringing people together to share a gorgeous meal. Today, SarahKate and Andy share their global view of local with lots of Sydney flavour!
LS: Who are you? What makes you tick? Any special details Local Sprouts readers should know about you?
SK&A: We’re two American expats who have spent the last 8 years living in Australia and the UK. We’ve travelled all over the world and seen the amazing ways that food can bring people together… from making local friends over a hotpot on the streets of Ha Noi, Vietnam, to learning to cook with quinoa in Arequipa, Peru, to meeting outgoing and fascinating Sydney-siders at our own table during one of our supper clubs, our love of food has helped us connect with our world in a more meaningful way.
LS: Where is your local community/neighbourhood and what do you love about it/how could you describe it?
SK&A: We live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, but for some reason I never really consider that to be our “neighbourhood.” Perhaps it’s because Andy works in the CBD and I work in the inner west, so we’re out and about a lot. I really consider all of Sydney to be our community. There’s not a weekend that passes that we’re not off exploring some other part of this amazing city.
There’s so much that I love about Sydney… the deep blue water of the Harbour, the hidden food courts in Chinatown, the bustle of the fish markets on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the pubs packed with happy locals during Rugby season, the smell of 100 different barbies cooking snags up and down our street during the summer, and the taste of a perfect mango on a hot January afternoon.
I would describe Sydney as vibrant, expensive and entertaining. There’s always somewhere to go, something to do, a new restaurant to try… but there are also lots of quiet parks, cozy cafes and walking trails with stunning views of the ocean for when you want to get away from the glitz and the glitter and give your wallet a rest.
LS: If you were showing someone from out of town around your local area, where would you take them?
SK&A: I love showing our overseas guests around Sydney! I’m always so proud to live here and to show off our amazing city.
An out of town guest should definitely be taken to the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park. We live within walking distance and there’s no better way to spend a summer evening than with a picnic and a film in the park.
I also love taking guests to the beach. No matter the time of year, a ride on the Manly Ferry is a special treat. Has there ever been a ferry ride with a more iconic and breathtaking view? Once we arrive in Manly we love to do the short walk around to Shelley Beach. After the walk, a little lunch of fish and chips and a schooner of cider at the Hotel Steyne is a favourite way to chill out.
Our guests usually get a stop at the Sydney Fish Markets on their agenda. We take the light rail to the Fish Markets and spend a happy hour or so wandering around looking at all the beautiful, fresh fish. Then we grab some oysters and a bottle of wine and have a snack whilst dodging seagulls and watching the boats pull in to shore.
It’s always a treat to take guests around to some of our all-time favourite Sydney restaurants like Restaurant Atelier in Glebe, LL Wine and Dine in Potts Point, Mr. Chow’s in the Rocks, Ichi Ban Boshi in Bondi Junction, Al Mustafa in Glebe and Flavour of India near Edgecliff.
And, finally, I’d try to schedule a supper club night at Mi Casa-Su Casa for while our guests were in town. Opening up our apartment for meals with food-loving Sydney-siders has been an amazing adventure! We usually cook and serve American food, which for us conjures up memories of home and family. The dinners bring together a huge mix of people and I think a visiting guest could meet a fantastic group of Sydney locals at Mi Casa-Su Casa!
LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you/your work/your family?
SK&A: Since we don’t have a car, “local”, in terms of shops or restaurants, usually means “walking distance” or “easily accessible via public transport” for us. I’m afraid that does give us a pretty broad definition of local. Basically, anything from Bondi Junction to Town Hall seems quick and easy to get to from where we live.
Having said that, my definition of “local” changes throughout the day. “Local” during work hours means the café down the block that does great coffee or the tiny Vietnamese place two blocks over that has excellent rice paper rolls. After 5pm, “local” means closer to our apartment, like Peter’s Meats in Edgecliff where the butchers know us or The Lord Dudley Hotel where we love to unwind after work with a drink near the fire.
In a city like Sydney where it’s easy to move around and most neighbourhoods are accessible without a car, “local” can mean where ever we are at that moment. The only places that can never be “local” are huge chains and big box stores like Coles or Woolies.
LS: Hidden local gem?
SK&A: Can I have two??
The first is Rushcutters Bay. I know it’s not hidden, but it’s often overlooked in favour of its flashier neighbours like Centennial Park or Double Bay. But Rushcutters Bay is basically the perfect park. It’s never crowded, there’s a lovely view of the marina, there are clean public toilets and there are tons of perfect picnic spots. Even more importantly, it’s where Andy and I got engaged 7 ½ years ago!
And the second hidden local gem is One Moncur. One Moncur is a beautiful new champagne bar that just opened in Woollahra, right near our flat! It’s a gorgeous space with an interesting and delicious menu. The staff there are so incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. It’s a really fun place to go for a special drink before dinner!
LS: Local person, cultural or food experience Local Sprouts should seek out?
SK&A: The wineries of the Hunter Valley are just on the doorstep to Sydney. A weekend in the Hunter is a brilliant chance to get out of town, enjoy some gorgeous wines and meet some kind, funny and enthusiastic wine growers. We’re big fans of Peterson’s and Peppertree.
Mi Casa-Su Casa happens each month. The supper club books up quickly, so be in touch with SarahKate & Andy so you can enjoy their southern hospitality, a great meal and new friends! http://www.micasa-sucasa.com.au/
Local can mean so many different things. It can be local, like right down the street. It can be your local, as in your local pub where they know what you drink and, hopefully, even your name. It can be a locavore lifestyle, such as eating foods grown within a certain radius of your home. It can be supporting a community business, artist or sports team. Local Sprouts is going to explore local on all sorts of levels, with a focus on people, culture and food–and all the iterations these themes come in.
Local Sprouts wants to know what local means to you. How would you define local? What local place, space, event, community or individual springs to mind when you hear the word local? This is your chance to share your local story, the best of your community/neighbourhood/life. Send along your thoughts & LS will see what’s up and share it with readers. It can be anything which connects to people, culture and food–your favourite coffee shop, the best library, an inspirational community leader or special event you want to share. Big or small, well known or undiscovered gem, local is the name of the game.
Post your ideas below and I’ll add them to the list of people, places and experiences to explore. Local Sprouts is based in Sydney, Australia, but is happy to entertain near or far. I’ve lived all over and am from away, so you never know what might pop up on Local Sprouts! Happy Reading!