Saturday, January 28, 2017

Things I'll Miss about Australia Pt 2

I had to rename the post to things I'll miss about Australia especially since this title picture is a panorama of Newcastle beach.  We actually visited Newcastle quite a bit. First about the beaches, so most beaches have have a shallow protected area for children and usually a concrete lap pool that is fed by the ocean waters. The water is very blue and beautiful. We really enjoyed Newcastle since it's a smaller city that has upgraded itself from the industrial coal harbor to be a bit more tourist friendly. You can walk from the Harbor side to the ocean beach side within five blocks. It reminds me of Austin in the late 90s, meaning small and slower paced.

While in Newcastle take a walk on the ANZAC memorial walk.

Check out Habesha Ethiopian restaurant in the Newcastle CBD. I was surprised to find an Ethiopian restaurant in the middle of Newcastle.

Back to Sydney. World Square off Liverpool is an area we spent a lot of time especially because they had a Din Tai Fung there. The BEST soup dumplings, I was first introduced to this place in Taiwan. I was excited to find out there were like five of these places in close proximity here in Sydney. My first two weeks visiting here, I had soup dumplings for lunch or dinner seven times. No doubt I will miss this place the most. In the city they have a Din Tai Fung in the Westfield tower, Broadway shopping center, Star Casino and World Square.

Not for everyone, but Chinatown (Haymarket) had a lot of Chinese apothecaries that feature a wide variety of dried seafood delicacies.

I talked about the seafood at the fishmarket this is a shot of the sashimi/sushi you can get there.

Near St Mary's Cathedral off College street is Bodhi Restaurant. This place features vegetarian fare and in particular a vegetarian Dim Sum menu.

The dishes were very creative and if someone didn't tell me it was a vegetarian place, I wouldn't have questioned it.

It was really close to work and we visited a few times. I was really impressed with this place hence the extra pictures.

Hunter valley is one of the Australian wine regions just about three hours out of Sydney. They have a hidden treasure: Hunter Valley Zoo. Originally an animal refuge/sanctuary it expanded to let the public in. You can actually feed the animals and interact with them. Uh and koalas.

And Wombats.

Visit Binnorie Dairy they have some wonderful Goat cheese Feta.

And of course do the winery thing.

Exp. Restaurant is one of the restaurants that we really enjoyed.

Check out Cornersmith, we took a miso and tofu making class there (they had other classes that we wished we had time for). They also feature a lot of locally made goods (jams, kombucha etc). We saw that folks bartered with their garden grown produce and fruits.

At Dawes point we dined at Seawall Bar and Restaurant. They had a nice Tapas menu and I really enjoyed the lamb ribs.

This maybe a controversial statement: Best Fish and Chips was at Watson's bay at Doyles, beautiful view of the bay and some of the best Fish and Chips.

There really isn't a bad picture of the harbor.

Chaco Bar off Crown street and Yurong is another tucked away izakaya (only at night) that had a great decor and atmosphere. During the day they only serve Ramen.

Unfortunately this one is closed now, but the coffee bar downstairs at work had this chicken soup which was awesome on a winter day. I managed to get the loose recipe from the chef before they closed.

This is a picture of Whitsunday beach where we had a picnic lunch (after a helicopter ride) the sand is so fine it's like flour. Again, I'm so behind on posts but If you get a chance go visit the Great Barrier Reef. It's amazing!

Hamilton Island is where we stayed when we visited the Great Barrier Reef. It's a resort island that had you drive around on a golf cart. Great place to stay and we were told a lot less touristy than Cairns. You can charter boats to take you out to scuba/snorkel the reef.

We only spent a couple of nights in Brisbane, it seemed a lot more laid back. We went to Madam Wu's for dinner and it's worth a check out.

Tim Ho Wan is probably the most affordable michelin star restaurant they are famous for their bbq buns which is not usually the bready fluffy bbq pork bun. The bun has a crispy sweet outer shell and a stew of bbq beef in the center. They opened two in the CBD area one in the Westfield tower and one by George street off the Townhall train station between bathurst and liverpool.

Mama Buoi in Surry Hills. They had this delicious Coconut Tamarind curry. Pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato and mushroom. So very delicious. I really need to figure out this dish.

Pilu at Freshwater. Great place for brunch, delicious food, check out the suckling pig.

This is more of a tourist one, but Harry's Cafe de Wheels. They are famous for their pies. So I had a pie, with mushy peas, gravy and chili on top.

If you get out to "The Rocks" markets during the weekend there is a licorice shop, the guy is super passionate about licorice and all the unique flavors he makes. It's awesome.

Gumshara is another famous Ramen shop located in Haymarket off Dixon street. It's my second favorite only because it's farther out.

Wow Pt 2 only took me one year back on my camera roll.

Things I'll miss about Australia Pt 1

So I'm sitting here on our last full day in Sydney, Australia. It's hard to believe that two years have come and gone so quickly and yet here I am ready to return home. Without a doubt this has been one of the best experiences I've embarked on. Somehow it's appropriate that I found this picture of the sun setting on the Harbor (Harbour) bridge for my title shot. We visited a lot of places while we were here and got to experience a lot of food. I'm going to try to summarize the things I'll miss the most. (this might take two posts). I'll try to be specific about the places each photo was taken just in case someone wants a list of places to visit.

Edit: I renamed the title, things I'll miss about Australia is more accurate than just Sydney.

We're going to go back to front since we're hitting my phone's camera roll. Ok so fireworks, they LOVE fireworks here, pretty much every occasion has fireworks. During the summer for a period every Saturday, you guessed it, fireworks. This is of Chinese New Year Eve. They lit up the opera house red and at some random time started in with fireworks.

Chinese New Year, it's a big production here. I've never lived in an area where there are so many Asian people and they actually have the city decorated for Chinese New Year.

Gozleme, Turkish "pizza", I call it a Turkish quesadilla. I usually get the Sucuk (pronouced Soozjook)

Walking to work and green space. Sydney has parks everywhere! And they aren't just piddly little parks they are BIG parks. Despite the limits of space in the city (people are densely packed) they find the room to have a lot of green space. People crowd these spaces when the weather is sunny and nice.

Mappen City Udon noodles. A recent find but delcious. Located off George street near Liverpool

Dim Sum at East Phoenix at East Village. We went to a lot of dim sum places, but we always ended up here. The place was nice and clean the food was delicious and the roast duck very yummy.

This was in Kooragang near Newcastle (2 hours north of Sydney) we went 4x4-ing and sandboarding around the sand dunes. I've never been in a dessert, but seeing nothing but dunes and sand is quite an experience.

Afternoon Tea. I know a lot of folks find this idea to be stuffy, but my wife and I really enjoy civilized afternoon tea. Don't let those three little platters fool you, it's a LOT of food. There's something to be said about sitting around having snacks and tea and great conversation. Our favorite spot was the Palm Court restaurant at the Langham up near Barangaroo in the city.

This isn't a place but a photo of a portion of our sale's team's Star Wars lego collection. it's impressive *almost* rivaling my own :)

Growing up my parents had a restaurant. If I ever made straight A's I was allowed to pick one thing for my father to make and it was always Peking Duck. There's a lot of Peking duck here, but my favorite is Mr. Wong's on Bridge Street in the CBD area.

You know it's legit when there's a glass cooler with lots and lots of ducks air drying. Duck, it's what they do.

Not sure what tree this is, but they have some really beautiful colored trees that flower at different periods in the spring, parks will turn purple or red for a few weeks. This is near my office is Woolloomooloo. (yea it's a mouthful)

This is the evening photo of the Anzac memorial in Hyde park just outside our apartment. The night shot of this is pretty neat. Our building was the tall one on the right.

New Years fireworks off the bridge and Opera house. Our office has a spectacular view of the harbor and it's the best place to catch the New Years fireworks.

Bill's is a cafe (off Crown street) we went to for breakfast on occasion, their ricotta (home made) hotcakes were pretty good. 

Hokkaido style "cheese cakes", this stand was located in the basement of World Square. It's more like a pudding tart. You gotta try it fresh out of the oven hot.

The bull statue at World Square. We passed it all the time since World square had our local grocery store (Coles) and a regular place to find something to eat (they had everything there). Often you would find tourists having their toddlers pose in inappropriate ways with the bull for pictures, it usually involved being under the bull. (sigh)

Izakaya Yebisu in Regent's Place (off George and Bathurst). Probably our most regular haunt. They feature Japanese grilled skewers and some of the best little plates. My wife particularly loves that you order completely off the tablet menu. I'm very partial to the Takowasa and the Mentaiko Tamagoyaki.

Momofuku Seibo at the Star (Casino) in Pyrmont next to Darling Harbour. WOW! I think it was my favorite restaurant while we visited here. It was pricey but I thought the food was well worth the price. It was a long dinner set menu. I've neglected posting but I do owe a post on our experience at this restaurant. MUST go but you gotta get a reservation early.

Uncle Tetsu's Japanese cheese cake at Regent Place. I don't eat much in the way of sweets but this is something I make an exception for.

It's not a NY style cheese cake, it's light fluffy spoungy cheesecake. The downstairs cafe also serves crepes and other items. It's next to the Daiso (Japanese dollar store) which I unfortunately didn't take a picture of.

Ramen at Yasaka ramen. I posted about this place before. They make their noodles at the front window of the restaurant. It's located on Liverpool street between Castlereagh and Pitt near the Museum station. Sydney has a lot of Ramen shops but I loved the noodles and the broth here, that and it was close.

Quokka, they are cute. There are a couple of zoo's that we visited. This was from our work Christmas party at the Wildlife zoo in Darling Harbour.

Balmoral Beach. I caught a lot of Pikachus here. :) All the beaches were amazing. I guess coming from Austin, you don't get much in the way of beaches so each one was pretty magical to me.

Manly Beach. one of the larger touristy beaches.

Longrain is a fusion Thai/Asian restaurant. We particularly like their egg net salad. Located in Surry Hills.

Sydney Opera House. It goes without saying you should visit this place. Take the tour, there is a LOT more going on in and under that place than meets the eye.

Coffee, Australians went nuts on coffee after the Italian immigrants brought it to the country. Before that it was the freeze dried instant stuff. I've cut back on drinking coffee but I will say after having coffee here, coffee back home really isn't the same. The "flat white" somewhere between a latte and a cappuccino is the universal morning drink.

Sydney Fish Market: There is nothing like waking up and going shopping for the freshest fish around. There were fish/shellfish that we had never seen before. They offer classes and there's a seafood dim sum place up stairs. I bought many an octopus here.

Speaking of we had many a sashimi breakfast here as well. They cut it right there and you eat it right in the market.

The Blue Mountains. This is a picture of the "three sisters". The blue mountains is a really beautiful area about three hours north of Sydney, lots of hiking and picture taking definitely worth a look.

While you're in the blue mountains go by the Conservation Hut. The trout hash with fried egg is my favorite.

Ipot hotpot restaurant in Haymarket off Goulburn street. Chinese hotpot where you order the ingredients you cook right at your table. They have a dizzying array of sauces that you can put together.

"Big Brekky" it's a "full on" breakfast, this is one we had at Deviate Cafe in Clovelly.

Ok that's a lot of pictures. I'm going to have to break it up into another post.