Archive for the ‘Not A Restaurant Review’ Category

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.

A perfect latte from Mecca / photo by Flickr user bigiain

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 in Melbourne Style Themselves as Caffeine Dealers

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.

Single Origin Coffee Roasters in Sydney / photo by Flickr user bigiain

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.

A Gigantic (working!) Rubik's Cube at the Powerhouse Museum / photo by Flickr user mecookie

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.


Read Full Post »


Coming home to Brooklyn is almost as good as traveling. Yesterday I went for a walk in the sunshine to combat my jet lag and was reminded once again why I love living here, It’s just so pleasant. I know that sounds like faint praise, but wandering through the brownstones on the last day of summer just can’t be beat.

The trip to the UK was fabulous, the highlight being the inspirational Oxford Symposium. I’ve got a headful of ideas and lots of new food geek friends from all over. In the coming days I’ll write more here about the Symposium and the presentations I attended.

The Cotswolds are just as beautiful as everyone says. Most of the buildings are made of a golden stone from local quarries, which when combined with a long late-summer twilight is magical. The food is great too; English cooking has come a long way. We had spectacular Thai in Oxford, elegant, yet relaxed gastropub fare in Sapperton near Cirencester and pitch perfect, contemporary seasonal cuisine at Allium in Fairford, Gloucestershire. All of this, when liberally doused with lots of delicious cask ales and ciders, adds up to the perfect vacation.

Read Full Post »