Doughbox Diner: Milkshakes, Elvis, Red lipstick, and Existential Nihilism

I took two little friends of mine to Doughbox Diner last Saturday. We stepped out of the icy winter’s night into the tiny establishment and boy, did we feel like Dorothy Gale stepping into glorious Technicolor from the mean, monochrome streets of Kansas.

First opened in 2011, Doughbox Diner is a bright and cheerful burger joint styled like a 1950s diner. Complete with candy-striped booths, a Jukebox, walls adored with pictures of old Hollywood stars, and Elvis crooning through the sound system, the diner is a fun, whimsical place to escape reality for a while.

The extensive menu includes burgers, savoury crepes, hot dogs, milkshakes, banana splits, and soda floats with cherries on top, among myriad artery-clogging treats.

Excited customers arrived decked out in 50s garb. Bright-red lipsticks, victory rolls, headscarves, Sailor Jerry tattoos, leopard print pedal-pushers and leather jackets. The Greasers and Bobby-Soxers revelled in their surroundings. The staff was dressed in retro uniforms and bustled around taking trays laden with ice cream sundaes to expectant diners who were busy instagram-ing the bejesus out of themselves.

I chowed down on a Dixie Burger and a Chocolate Mud thickshake. The burger was nice, if a little on the dry side, but the shake was heavenly! It was luxuriously creamy and oh-so chocolatey. I felt like I deserved to face the psychotic wrath of Kevin Spacey a-la Se7en. Like, obviously I was guilty of gluttony. “What’s in the box?!”. Anyway, I digress.

The eyes of my two charges, aged 6 and 10, lit up when I said they could order anything from the menu. The small humans ate their fries and drank their shakes with gay abandon. It’s nice that they don’t realise yet that life is utterly, utterly meaningless or understand that one day they’ll face the struggles of adult life, feel the searing pain of shattered dreams, know the crushing weight of regret, and are forced to witness the decay of western society as it crumbles around them. And bills, bills, bills. Anyway, I digress.

The 6-year-old discovered that glacé cherries aren’t like normal cherries and decided that they taste like ‘bad medicine’. The child learned a valuable lesson; some things in life are not what they appear. Something can look enticing and worthy of time and effort on the surface but in the end there’s nothing but disappointment and you end up swallowing a dose of bitter medicine/reality. Anyway, I digress.

One thing to note is that this place is extremely popular. We waited about 15 minutes for a table and there was literally a line out the door. I’d recommend going on a weeknight if you want to avoid the queues.

Doughbox Diner is a cute option in an area abundant with restaurants and bars, and is right across the road from the fabulous Enmore Theatre.  If you’re looking for a burger fix and an alternative dinner option, then don your Bakelite bangles and head on down to one of the dreamiest joints in town.

Doughbox Diner, 173 Enmore Road, Enmore. Open Tue to Sun, 6pm to 11pm.

 

 

 

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Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life

‘My style icon is anyone who makes a bloody effort.’ Isabella Blow

I saw the Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum last weekend. An icon of the British fashion scene and ardent supporter of up-and-coming British designers and models, the late Isabella Blow brought people like Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant to the forefront of the creative crowd’s consciousness.

Once the editor of magazines like Tatler and the Sunday Times Style, Isabella used her aristrocratic heritage, social standing, and unforgettable presence to become a muse and friend to designers, models, artists, and stylists.

Tragically, Isabella died in 2007, finally succeeding in ending her life on her 7th suicide attempt. Fast forward nearly 10 years and her friend, the indomitable Daphne Guinness, has used her powers for good and organised the collection and display of many of Isabella’s most fabulous outfits and hats – mostly designed by McQueen and Philip Treacy.

The clothes were perfectly curated and truly breathtaking – such exquisite craftsmanship in every piece. I was especially taken with some of Alexander McQueen’s creations. The enfant terrible of Central Saint Martins, McQueen wasn’t aware that Isabella was in the audience at his graduation show in 1992. Blow purchased the entire collection and the rest, as they say, is history.

Also featured were some stunning dresses designed by John Galliano during his tenure at Christian Dior. Is it bad to mention John Galliano these days? I cannot believe his spectacular fall from grace. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Even if you aren’t really interested in clothes, the exhibition is an elegant, often moving way to gain an insight into the life of one of the most interesting and eccentric figures in fashion from the last two decades.

I’ve always been fascinated with Isabella Blow. If you aren’t familiar with her then do yourself a favour and look her up. People like her don’t seem to come around too often.

If you’re in Sydney and are looking for something to do, then I’d highly recommend checking this exhibition out. It’s on at the Powerhouse Museum until 28 August 2016.Click here for more information

Me and Radiohead

I fancy that I often think of clever and witty things to say. The problem is that when I open my mouth they never come out. Instead I say nothing, or offer up a quiet, stuttered, uninspired response. Or I stare with wide, frightened eyes like a rabbit facing a headlight.

I used to work for an Orchestra. Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead wrote a new piece of music and toured it with them. It was weird knowing that one of the most famous musicians on the planet was in the Studio next to my office. Like, actual Jonny Greenwood was in the next room. Cray.

It was only a matter of time before I’d pass him in the hallway and have to say something. Of course, in my head I kept repeating “say something cool, say something  cool.” He came into the staff kitchen one day as I was making tea. All I could manage was a brief glance with the frightened rabbit eyes, a girly “hi” followed by an awkward laugh, before I rushed out of the room, adrenaline pumping. Face scarlet.

I find the following quote from Thom Yorke rings true (I’m pretty sure it was Thom, if not, sue me!). I find it applies to me on almost all occasions that I have to speak (which is quite often) in the workplace, to family, to friends, and (excruciatingly) to guys.

“I had so much to say. When I finally had the chance to say it I stood there silently like a dumb motherfucker.”

Yeah.

Musings

“…Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.” Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita.

I love that line. I always repeat it in my head. If only I had thought of such a perfect sentence. Alliteration. Nabokov. What an author to admire. What a story!

Maybe I should stop thinking about writing and start doing it. Doing rather than thinking. Repeat. Do rather than think.

Thinking on the bus each morning as I travel to work in the hard, grey city. Thinking as I bathe each evening. Thinking alone each night in my warm, soft bed. Incessant thinking. The super-charged cogs turning, turning. The endless, messy, confused, stream-of-consciousness whirlpool of thoughts. A jambalaya of memories, past, future, sometimes the present. Perhaps if I wrote things down and out of my head the fog would lift?

The paper and pen or the keyboard and crisp, white space on the screen. Could they be a salve? A balm of some sort?

I think so.

Actions speak louder than words.

Jesus that was emo. This post is emo isn’t it? Now the cogs are turning into overdrive and oh my God I don’t want people to think this blog will be filled with posts like this I swear it won’t be and now I think I need a paper bag. And a nice comforting cheese plate. And red wine. Definitely a large glass.