My European birthday

My European birthday

International birthday travel is fast becoming a tradition of mine. While last year I travelled through Japan, this year I traipsed ate my way through Europe. I loved every moment of it, and despite it being my third visit I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface.

I’ve commonly heard of France as being a love it or hate it city with no in between. I have to say I fall smack bang in the ‘love it’ camp. It holds a special place in my heart and I don’t think I could ever travel to Europe without a visit. On this trip we were fortunate enough to drive through the south of France all the way up to the Italian border. I loved how wide and varied the scenery shifted in such a short distance.

I think I OD’ed on cheese and wine, although can one really get sick of cheese and wine In France we ate at Mirazur for my birthday (I was sooo spoiled), which is currently number 4 restaurant in the world. I can’t stop thinking about the trolley of cheese they brought out post-meal. I spent some time in Lyon – know as the foodie capital, I ate endless quenelles and saucissons at the downtown market. We were blessed with clear blue skies for most of our trip.

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We stopped by London and Amsterdam to say hello to our expat friends that have since gone onto live fun adventures abroad. I’m a little jealous of all the European countries they have at a stone’s throw. Coming into spring, it was lovely to have the flowers (especially those gorgeous tulips) in bloom during our nordic leg of the trip.

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Take me back! <3

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.

02 drink

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.

03 food
Arancini di Riso on the left, and Burrata con Tartufo on the right.
04 squid
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.

07 capitol

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.

09 sunset

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!

My new love for veggie burgers

My new love for veggie burgers

I’m very much a meat-n-potatoes girl at heart, so you can imagine my reluctance when I got recommended a vegetarian cafe on my recent trip up the coast. A couple of people had mentioned a place called Pilgrims, which is located in Milton. There’s a cafe at Cronulla as well, but with all the carnivorous options in the area, I’d never thought to go.

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There were these adorable little blooms on each table, Pilgrims had a very rustic feel to it. They offered a wide range of fresh juices, but the early morning start had me opting for a coffee.

Pilgrim's

Pilgrim's

I chose the Bliss burger, which consisted of a toasted wholemeal bun with avocado, cheese, tabouli, sprouts, onions and peanut sauce with a patty made from brown rice. Best. Thing. Ever. I will definitely be visiting the Cronulla cafe for this in the near future.

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A post about Mollymook wouldn’t be complete without a beach shot. It was a little bit overcast that day, but it made for a nice stroll down the beach.

BerryWe also stopped by Berry on the way back to Sydney to look at some antiques and walked past this house with the most adorable mailbox! Want.

 

Monday. With a side of bacon.

Monday. With a side of bacon.

On Monday morning I was stopped at an inner city train station when the train guard made a lengthy announcement over the loudspeaker. It was a PSA informing us that we should blame the lady in the fourth carriage (and not CityRail) if any of the 600-odd passengers were late to work. Assumedly she had caused a kerfuffle and held up the train at the station just to get on board. To be honest I didn’t even realise there had been a delay in leaving the station. Such a lovely  greeting to kick off the work week.

Anyway. I caved and got myself a personal blender thanks to a lovely lady on my Instagram (@smeloise – thanks for enabling. Haha). I found out that the George Foreman Mix and Go was on sale at Myer, and after discounts it worked out to be something around the $32 mark. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with it so far. Not only with the blender itself but also with my self motivation in prepping the fruit/veg the night before ready for the next day. Who knew coming up with juice concoctions could be so fun? I’d love to hear your fave juice combos!

George Foreman mix and go

I discovered a new favourite brunch place over the weekend – Three Williams in Redfern. I can’t recommend the French toast enough. Seriously. If you love berries, and yoghurt, and sugar, this is for you. The coffee ain’t half bad either. I’ll be back for more. Oh the ideal time to pop by is probably between 1:30-3:00pm, which is closing time, but if you don’t mind a late lunch, you’ll avoid the queues.

french-toastThe scrambled eggs with a side of crispy bacon is a winner. I didn’t try the tasty pile of chocolate coated doughnuts (I think?) on the counter, but I’m pretty sure they taste good too.

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I’m off to dream about eating said donuts whilst thinking up some more juice combinations. And potentially consider the inclusion of black or white chia seeds…

Have a great week all!

Keep calm and eat cake

Keep calm and eat cake

I’ve been so busy with last minute this-n-that for everything you can think of! I had a hens party was last weekend, so if you follow me on IG you know I’ve been doing a bit of prep for it for the past few weeks. I’m experiencing a bit of a craft lull now that it’s over.

Anyway, that’s over now, so I’m focussing my energy into the overseas trip that is just under a month away! SO so so excited. I’ve been trying so hard on enforcing a spending ban as I know I’ll be buying up big overseas just because. I haven’t done very well. I picked up two Essie polishes at Priceline (they were doing 2 for $20). Not to mention a liquid sand OPI polish that was on sale for $5.

Here are some photos from the morning tea last weekend. I made some lettering and tent cards for all the lovely food that the hen’s sister whipped up for all of us! It was so much food and so much fun.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend despite the drenching on Sunday!

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Cheese sticks

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GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

Last Friday a few friends and I popped by The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room for the very first time. I’ve admittedly walked past it numerous times, but have never step foot inside. I find it always crammed with so many people – especially on a Friday night.

I was sceptical whether I’d be able to get a booking for Friday night at such short notice, but after submitting an online reservation request I was surprised to got a confirmation reply within the hour which was very impressive.

I’m not big on oysters, but I knew that I had to try the duck fat chips. I had gone to Sean’s Kitchen (when it was previously open at The Star) to try said chips years ago. We ended up ordering duck fat fish and chips ($26), as well as the dry aged hamburger ($20) (which happened to also come with duck fat chips). Both to share.

dry aged burger and fish and chips

I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The fish was well cooked and moist on the inside, and the burger was oozing with cheddar cheese. The duck fat chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside like any perfect duck fat potato chip should.

After dinner we walked down the road to The Cortile  at the Intercontinental for ‘Let’s do dessert’ (previously known as Sugar Hit). Frankly I prefer the old name to the new as it doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue as nicely. I always enjoy the ambiance inside the Intercontinental – an ethereal old world vibe. The desserts are the one definite thing I will shell out for during October Good Food Month.

Lolly cake

On offer at The Cortile was a pretty-looking Gianduja chocolate lolly cake, almond jaconde, banana marshmallow and hazelnut crunch. The intricately layered cake was served with a glass of Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora all for $20. I really enjoyed it – the different layers complemented each other nicely, and the whole lollies on the side were a lovely touch for sight and taste.

Lolly cake

Have you been to any Good Food Month events yet?

THE MORRISON
225 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9247 6744

THE CORTILE
InterContinental Sydney
Ground Level, 117 Maquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 1220