As usual, I’m sad to leave Australia. It’s such a huge country (as large as the continental US) with so much to offer. Even after multiple visits, I feel like I’ve barely seen any of it. Here’s a smattering of some of the fun things we’ve seen and done on this trip:
A large influx of Italian immigrants after World War II turned Australia from a tea drinking nation to a coffee loving one. Some of the best espresso in the world is served in its cafes and restaurants. Here are a few that we sampled, but truly you don’t have to look very hard for a good cup, the coffee at Sydney Airport is better than most of what you get in New York City.
Mecca is in Sydney’s beautiful, Art Deco, Grace Hotel. This hard core coffee destination is only open Monday through Friday and closes at 4:30 PM sharp so don’t miss out.
Jasper’s is found on trendy Brunswick Street in the Fizroy area of Melbourne. Aside from magnificent coffee, they also sell beautiful accoutrements for the making and serving of coffee and tea.
If you’re looking for some tasty food along with your coffee, do check out Single Origin in Surry Hills. Living up to the name, all of their ingredients are single origin, including the eggs, which come from a local New South Wales farmer who delivers them himself to the café.
I always try to stop in at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney when I’m here. The exhibits are well curated and always interesting. This time around, the special exhibit is near and dear to my heart: “The 80s are Back!” Having grown up in the 1980s in the US, I was familiar with some of what was on display like the Rubik’s cube and one of Michael Jackson’s singular gloves, but there was much in the exhibit that was specific to Australia, like the fabulous dance parties hosted by the Recreational Arts Team or RAT. Definitely stop in for some pink and black polka dot memories if you’re in Sydney.
When visiting Sydney we always ask my brother-in-law and his wife for restaurant advice, since they are both chefs. This year they reckoned that their new favorite is Bistro Ortolan in Leichhardt. It’s a lovely little boîte with wine colored walls and innovative, modern, French-style food created by Irish-born chef Paul McGrath.
Finally, I’ll leave you with the view from the verandah (isn’t it so much more exotic when spelled with an “h”?) of the cottage we stayed in while visiting the Hunter Valley wine region about two hours north of Sydney. At night we fell asleep to the sounds of cicadas and kookaburras.