Ramen, gangsters and giant coffee bowls

Ramen, gangsters and giant coffee bowls

I popped down to Melbourne the other weekend for a quick trip. Not for any particular reason, but mainly to eat. Hah. I love how Sydney and Melbourne are similar, yet so very different at the same time.

Naturally, we left behind a sunny Sydney day for a cloudy Melbourne one. But that’s OK. Our hotel was pretty swish and the food we ate was beyond amazing, so in my opinion it worked out in the end. We paid a visit to what has now become a tradition each trip – Hu Tong Dumpling Bar. It legitimately serves the best dumplings ever. The XLB’s and the pan-fried dumplings are bursting with broth. So comforting on a winter’s day.

There were multiple bowls of coffee to be had. Can I just say at $5 a bowl, that’s a bloody bargain? I usually pay $4 for my regular soy flat white in Sydney. If you’re ever down in Melbourne, I highly recommend The League of Honest Coffee. Loved it. We bought a bag of beans which reminds me, I should grind some for the aeropress.

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I can’t get over Melbourne street art. Nothing compares. Also I stocked up on some Nyx cosmetics at Priceline. Props to whomever can spot the horrible typo on the packaging. We had a peek at the Scorsese exhibit at the ACMI – they recommended 45 min to see everything, but we stayed for a few hours and took our time to watch all the exhibits.

IMG_7238IMG_7265 IMG_7263IMG_7273Of course a weekend is never nearly enough time to explore Melbourne. I’ll do another post on some other foodie places we visited soon. I’m so slack with photo curating.

Canberra part deux

Canberra part deux

Continuing on from my last post about the nation’s capital, we stayed in the New Acton precinct which gave us a good chance to explore the surrounds on foot. Behind our hotel was the snazzy Hotel Hotel… hotel. Definitely worth a gander if you plan on staying in Canberra.

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We ate brunch at Mocan and Green Grout, where there is always a wait for a table. The coffee however is amazing. As I mentioned in the last post, we went to the Handmade Markets where I bought some matching coffee cups and some cold smoked garlic. The latter with the most intoxicating smell. I have some plans for the garlic with some fluffy scrambled eggs and potentially truffle.

We ended up in the city’s centre on the Sunday, and went to Akiba for some late lunching. I had read some reviews of them having some amazing dumplings and just couldn’t resist the allure of warm parcels of goodness on such a cold winter’s day. The beef rib dumplings were delicious and tender and melt in your mouth – everything they should be.

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On our final day we had a late breakfast at The Cupping Room, which was one of the few things open on a public holiday. After putting our name down we got some take away coffees and stood out in the sun. Once finally seated, we opted for a sweet and savoury dish, French toast and the bacon and egg roll which were both delicious. The citrus on the French toast would have ordinarily put me off, but it wasn’t too tart which made it perfection.

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All in all it was an excellent stay and Canberra was a great choice for a short road trip. I’d definitely recommend Canberra as a place for great coffee and amazing food! Also. GO NOW while it’s truffle season! The best season of them all.

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Eating my way through the capital city

Eating my way through the capital city

For the Queen’s birthday long weekend, we decided to do a road trip down to Canberra which is an approximately 3 hour drive. Let me just say that the Australian capital city has changed quite a bit from what I remember. There are loads of jobs in C-town which I guess means the foodie scene has been flourishing. We stayed in the New Acton area, which was pretty much hipster central. We made Japanese pancakes (AMAZING) before setting off on the drive down.

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We got to Canberra late in the afternoon, driving to Joe’s Bar for a late tapas lunch. No regrets. We got three dishes to share (admittedly 2 fried dishes #noregrets). I started off with a floral G+T, too pretty to drink.

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We got the burrata con tartufo, an oozy mozzarella made from fresh cows milk and cream, finished off with fresh local truffles. Did I mention it was truffle season? Oh and some arancini and calamari as well. Jokes aside, the calamari was pretty amazing. It was the most tender calamari I’ve had. You didn’t even need cutlery to slice it up, it was that soft. The calamari was paired with a black squid ink aioli, which despite it’s scary hue, was quite salty and went nicely with the seafood.

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Arancini di Riso on the left, and Burrata con Tartufo on the right.
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Calamari Fritti with black squid ink aioli hidden underneath.

We stayed at the newly renovated QT hotel, which was previously the Rydges hotel. The verdict? It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible either. Each QT hotel has their own theme, and in Canberra it’s no surprise that the theme is politics.

There are multiple prior Aussie prime ministers hidden within the wallpaper in the lobby and streaming political tweets all over the walls. Overall it was a good stay, however we found the mini bar fridge didn’t work well. It was faster to chill a bottle of champagne on the balcony in the sub-zero temperatures!

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A stunning view at sunset.

Dinner that night was at the Capitol Bar and Grill at the hotel, famed for their enormous tomahawk steaks. Naturally we chose to have some truffle mac and cheese on the side. Amazing. I love truffle season. M&C didn’t look too attractive, but believe me, it was the most delicious thing ever on a winter’s night.

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The handmade markets happened to be on during the weekend we were visiting. We stopped by at EPIC, the Exhibition Park In Canberra. It was like a slightly less crowded version of the Finders Markets that they hold in the other capital cities. We ate a few things, bought a few things, and had a pretty good day.

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Cinnamon donut ice cream and a cute wall shelf stall.

I have a part 2 Canberra post lined up as we ate at so many great food places, but for now, thanks Canberra, you’re alright.

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Japan!! (Part 1)

Japan!! (Part 1)

Guys! Japan is amazing and I’m staying in Japan forever because Japan is awesome and cool and has everything I could ever want slash need. But not really, because I have work. But seriously. One month in Japan is just not enough!

Perhaps I’ll do a more thorough post as we travelled through multiple cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kobe and Nara. One regret was not going to Hokkaido (However I got to sample a tonne of Hokkaido soft serve in a delicious lengue du chat cone), but all in all it was an amazing trip. Lots of shopping and lots of culture, I think it was a pretty good balance.

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I was a little intimidated by the language barrier, having not spoken Japanese since my high school days, where the most advanced thing they taught me was how to read hiragana and ask for someone’s phone number. We survived! On the plus my pronunciation was spot on as I multiple people attempted to have full on conversations in nihongo thinking I was fluent!

We made it just in time for the tail end sakura season and were treated with beautiful blooms on our shinkansen trips. It means no traditional hanami, i.e. laying out tarps and eating and drinking sake all day. I’m not complaining! I got my fair share of sakura. The photo below is from Ueno Park.

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The other thing that killed me was all the cute, crafty Japanese wares. I wanted to take it all home, and believe me I tried. I. Bought. So. Much. Stuff. So many DIY craft instruction books that I had to pass on because I couldn’t understand them. Sadface.

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The main reason for the trip was to celebrate some upcoming birthday milestones *cough30cough* and celebrate we did. We went to a small fishing village and stayed at an onsen (WITH THE BEST VIEW EVER: see below).

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More Japan to come.

Weekend brunching

Weekend brunching

Hopefully Sydney-siders are surviving the deluge today. It really seems like a little bit of rain makes everyone cray-cray. Just on the train this morning this guy was shaking off his wet brolly in the aisle leaving the floor soaked. My questions is, one wouldn’t do this INSIDE AT HOME, so why would you do it INSIDE A TRAIN? Honestly. /end rant.

I made the most of the sunshine this weekend and went out for some brunch at Mecca. I’m a sucker for their coffee and their grain bowls, but find not much variety otherwise. Otherwise I like to dropping by just for the interiors and the flora. They always have such interesting blooms to decorate their space.

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I paid a visit to Mecca on the weekend as H was craving some fried chicken and discovered they had updated their menu with an all day breakfast. Helloooo late brunch. Opting for some scrambled eggs and smoked hash browns (read: more of a rosti) I didn’t leave disappointed.

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Obvi went for the coffee as well. The hash browns were crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and deliciously tasty on the inside. Definitely will be back for more.

Here we go again

Here we go again

Past midnight on a school night no less, and I’m wide awake. I was baking chocolate chip cookies for work tomorrow, oops. Although this time to reflect got me thinking about how I haven’t blogged in a long, long time. I’ve since purchased a new camera that I took along to the Growers Markets earlier this month. Nothing that exciting, but just getting myself used to the different way the settings are laid out.

Bonsai

I really like bonsai trees – and I’ve been curious as to whether I’d be able to sustain one for the long term. But, I’m not really confident right now. I can barely keep my succulents alive.

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I haven’t really been out to many Good Food Month events. The one I did go to was at Flying Fish when they had their crab shack night. All the tables were coated in paper, and crabs were sold by the kilo at market price. They had truffle mac and cheese on the menu and let me just say that I don’t regret a thing.Giant G+T's Pretty fairy lights Pinchy!

Pinchy made a surprise appearance on our table. I wanted to take him home, but he had a job to do at the crab shack. I had to get the full experience and chose some San Francisco steam beer to go with dinner that night.The lightsIn conclusion, I’m digging this new camera. It takes pretty night shots.

Travelling through Asia in Malaysia

Travelling through Asia in Malaysia

I’m finally posting photos from my trip to Asia despite them being few months old. I figure it wouldn’t hurt. For this leg of the trip, we travelled from Singapore to Malaysia via Air Asia. We decided we’d save on plane fares given the distance between the countries wasn’t anything significant to waste moolah on creature comforts.

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I couldn’t resist doing a side by side day/night shot of the twin towers. I’m such a sucker for architecture mixed with pretty lights.

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H and I stayed at the Traders hotel, which was a stone’s throw away from Suria KLCC. It made for some convenient shopping and needless to say, I found myself the perfect Christmas present complete with a glittering camellia. I made H make me a Christmas tree, which you can sort of see in the right photo (made with a magazine). I don’t think I’ve ever had a Christmas without a tree and this one wasn’t going to be the exception.

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Without a doubt, shopping during the festive season was in full swing. All of the malls we visited were teeming with people. Of course I had to power through the crowds with egg tarts that I saw glistening from the window.

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We ended up eating at the hotel for our Christmas dinner. They had Christmas putting and Christmas bonbons which were all winners. You can see OCD me arranging the little stars in a row. These were to later feature on H’s DIY Christmas tree.

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We did a day trip out to Batu Caves, which was recommended to us by S. It was easy enough to hire a cabbie to take us out, wait for us there, then drive us back. To be honest it was the most peculiar thing I’d ever requested from a cabbie, but apparently it is the done thing to do (or so says the hotel concierge). It was something beyond spectacular. I even got to meet some little monkey friends.

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The view from the top of the 272-odd steps was hard to beat. I can’t tell you which view I preferred the most! It was a nice way to cap off our short trip to Malaysia. Now let’s hope it won’t take me another 6 months to post up the next leg of the trip!