October 30, 2012

Beer Festival

Is there any better way to spend a Saturday than drinking beer in the sun?

Last weekend the Australian Hotel put on their annual Beer Festival. Luke and I decided to go on Saturday which, luckily for us, turned out to be the better weather day for the weekend. When we arrived we bought a $20 ticket which included a tasting cup and 10 tasting tickets. If you want to buy another set of tasting tickets later in the day its only $15.

It was kind over overwhelming at first. It took up a whole block behind the pub and both sides of the street were lined with pop up tents each housing a different brewery. Luke and I were both expecting it to be a lot bigger, but we quickly forgot our disappointment as we tasted away the day.

We slowly sipped through the stalls savoring the darks, pale ales, porters and lagers while we basked in the sun. The middle of the road was in the shade, so we grabbed drinks and pushed through the crowds to get back into the sun with each of our samples. There were a lot of breweries there that we have tried during our time in Sydney already, which was kind of a shame, but there were still quite a few that we hadn't heard of before.

Expectations aside, it was an overall great day and I would recommend it to anyone who likes beer (or cider!).

October 24, 2012

Crave Festival

During October, The Sydney Morning Herald (and Citibank if I'm going to name drop) help to put on the Sydney International Food Festival called Crave. There have been special nights, special menus at restaurants and most importantly, Noodle Markets

The Markets are set up in Hyde Park and the first thing you notice when you walk into the park is the smell. It is amazing. Sizzling beef, sauces, onions. Its pure bliss and slightly sensory overload. The night we went it was busy! I'm not sure if it was like this every night of the market, but it made decision making that bit more stressful. There were stalls all over pouring out their sights and smells and the lines were long for some and even longer for others. People walked past with things that looked and smelled delightful and my stomach was growling from the moment we got there. First we did a loop of all of the stalls, then lined up for a drink in the hopes that would make decision making a little bit easier, then we headed off our separate ways to try to figure out which stall was serving up the best noodles. 

The setup was great. As the sun was setting we suddenly noticed that we were surrounded by fluorescent chinese lanterns and the trees were illuminated in blues and pinks and yellows. It was almost romantic, if al fresco dining is your kind of thing. Our first choice was a Vietnamese place where we got beef and noodles with mint and a beautiful sauce. It did not disappoint.

It started to get too dark for my little Samsung, so I stopped taking pictures of the food and places, but we had some more amazing food. Our next stop was for some Massaman curry and fish cakes which were also fantastic. I'm not sure anyone was serving anything underwhelming there, but if they were we didn't know about it. We capped it off with some ice cream from Serendipity. Wowza, its good. They need to get themselves into the city so I can consume them every day this summer.

There are a few events that coincide with the festival that seem to work alongside the idea of good food and drink. Last weekend there was the Moveable Feast. They closed off part of the main street and filled it with all of the food trucks in Sydney and a bit of live music to eat with! Unfortunately we didn't make it because I've been a little bit more than slightly under the weather. But we will be heading to the Beer Festival next weekend to cap off the month. Stay tuned for the review!

October 14, 2012


Newtown is cool. There is no other single word that can be used to describe it. The main street is cool, the people are cool, the restaurants and cafes are plentiful and cool. It is Sydney's home of the hipster and everything around the suburb works to support that image. The terrace buildings that line King Street are run-down-chic, the boutiques are slightly off beat, and the independent food establishments service every taste and time of day. And the amount of used bookstores! Don't even get me started.

Luke and I prepared for our foray through Newtown by donning our best hipster apparel: me in my colored jeans and Luke in his v-neck tshirt. We wanted to blend in with the locals.

 The best bookstore I have ever been in. Ever. Take that Barnes and Noble.

We stopped for a mid-afternoon snack on our way back out of Newtown at a spot called Urban Bites. Go there. Have the Iced Chai Latte. You're welcome.

 We shared the Mediterranean Plate which had four dips and some seriously good flat bread.

 Heaven in a glass.

Then like any good hipsters, we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing in the sun at the park. We are so happy that spring has arrived!

October 11, 2012

Wine and Cheese please

This weekend Luke and I took advantage of still being on a bit of a travelling high from my parents visit and decided to book a wine tour in the Hunter Valley. It's another one of those things that we kept talking about, but never actually doing! Unfortunately for us, we booked it on the morning that the clocks went forward, so it was like waking up at 5am and starting to sip wine at 9!

We quickly overcame both of those obstacles and tasted away the day at 5 wineries, a cheese shop, a chocolate shop, and a brewery!

 Our touring car full of thirsty tourists

It was once again amazing to get out of the city. There is something incredibly relaxing about the quiet that comes with the Hunter Valley. Rolling hills and no car revving to be heard for miles = absolute bliss. It would seem I am secretly a country girl at heart. Either way, I will definitely be seeing you again soon Smelly Cheese Shop. 

October 09, 2012


Ok, I think I have just about crawled out of my 'feel-sorry-for-me-my-parents-are-far-away' funk. Not that I don't still miss them! But as I sit here on my balcony in the sun sipping a Starbucks iced coffee - which they kindly trucked all the way from Walmart - I feel as though I have finally returned to being myself again.

Now I can tell you about all we did and saw while they were here! We pretty much started right away! Ok, we had breakfast first, then we toured. I took them along one of my favorite paths leading past Darling Harbor and over to my bridge the harbor bridge for some photos finally ending with a walk around the opera house.

We rested for the afternoon and started again Sunday morning. We were up early and off to Taronga Zoo. Luke and I still hadn't been so we thought it was a perfect thing to save for when my parents came. The view back over the city is everything we had hoped and the animals were pretty good too. Especially the bird show!

 I would like a Tasmanian devil as a pet..

The rest of that week was sort of a mish-mash of beach and city touring. I made sure to get over to Manly, do a bit of the Bondi to Coogee walk, and show them all around the Botanic Gardens. We saved the best for last and headed out of town over their final weekend to the Blue Mountains. It was another trip Luke and I decided to save for when my parents arrived. I'm so glad we finally made it. We walked through bushland and navigated up some serious stairs, but the views were well worth it. It was so nice to get out of the city, exercise the legs and get some peace and quiet.

 Having their first savory pies! Despite my mom looking like she's about to cry, she actually enjoyed it!

 This trip was not only amazing because I got to see my parents, but also it reminded Luke and I that there is still so much around us to see. Getting out of Sydney and exploring the surrounding areas is much higher on our to-do list now. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for visiting!