I’m a greedy traveller, as I am with most things. I’m rated triple-X with wanderlust and wincing from the nag of itchy feet. Yet as deep as the thrill of the unknown runs, my yearning for the known will always keep pace. I want to walk into a room and know where all the light switches are; want to know exactly how far to turn the hot water tap for a temperate shower. Want to boil two eggs, peel them and roll their warm flesh in the little pile of salt I’ve ground on my kitchen bench top. Want to savour each mouthful, and the ritual. No matter where I am, how far I’ve gone to get there, or what newfangled excitement is presented, some days I wake up and want exactly what I could have at home. See? Greedy. Now, some folks on the road find comfort in expatriate communities, others in bars; I like to find that familiar feeling in food. Plus Coffee. I’d already guzzled the perfect latte in LA (here) but what of the rare and fabled flat white? So far I’d not tasted one, good or bad, and after a week in Las Vegas I’d given up on coffee all together. Coffee + Food, on Melrose Ave in LA, delivered on the familiar front: A chalkboard heralding the Flat White, and an Australian soap actress ‘taking a meeting’ at a corner table, then proving all the world her stage by talking her way out of a parking ticket. Look, let’s be frank, I don’t actually know the difference between a latte, flat white or cappuccino. Are they not all hot, milky coffee beverages differentiated only by the amount of froth on top and the addition of powdered chocolate? I’m going to say yes. What I do know is that the flat white appears to be both uniquely Australian, thus tricky to pin down in LA, and the milky coffee beverage I prefer. The third salve to my homesickness came in the form of corn fritters, with damn good guacamole. There’s a café called Bills right near my house that fancies this their savoury specialty, yet in a Coffee + Food vs Bills battle, I’m backing the former; toast-textured on the outside, ideal corn-to-batter ratio and minimal irritating garnish. Plus, Sydney is a long, long way from Mexico. In summary: sitting on the side of a busy road in Los Angeles, gas-bagging with my best friend from home, about people at home, while enjoying a meal not dissimilar to one I would enjoy at home, I could basically be at home. Seeking out the food and coffee you’re accustomed to is no less embarrassingly insular and prosaic than an Aussie belting Khe Sanh in a Japanese karaoke bar, or slamming shots at a Kangaroo-themed nightclub in Phuket. But for me those are two of the best bits about travelling: readily embarrassing yourself, and being far from where you live, yet feeling at home. And just as Dorothy says, “Don’t be silly Toto, scarecrows don’t talk.”

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