I visited Tasmania once as a child. I have vague memories of staggering up Cradle Mountain at my parent’s request, blinking back tears at Port Arthur and trying, in vain, to spot Tassie Devils. Roll the clock forward many years, and with Tasmania’s booming foodie scene, my new appreciation for “getting back to nature” and the recently opened MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), this destination was suddenly high on my radar again.
We landed at Hobart Airport, bright eyed and bushy tailed and excited to explore some of what Tasmania had to offer. We hired a car at the airport, definitely the easiest and most flexible way to get around Tasmania.
Only a 15 minute drive later (god I love small destinations) we arrive at our hotel, Somerset on the Pier, which is literally on the pier with gorgeous views of the harbour.
Our spacious room was split level, with kitchen, bathroom and living areas downstairs, and our beds upstairs. I could easily have spent a week here!
But alas there was no time to continue enjoying our quarters – we had “work” to do! First stop, Salamanca Market. Salamanca Market is of Australia’s best known outdoor markets, and is home to over 300 stalls selling fresh produce, arts & crafts, fashion and an array of tasty snacks.
Our tummies were rumbling, so we started off at the crepe stall, purchasing several savoury crepes (the salsa they serve them with is delicious) and of course a Nutella crepe, as it would be rude not to.
It would probably be of no surprise to you that my favourite stall at Salamanca was the succulent store! These mini succulents planted in egg shells were my favourite (and what a great idea!) as well as the settings planted in vintage boxes, complete with mini mushrooms and a ladybug.
There was also a huge array of homemade clothing, ceramics and wood work, and beautiful, fresh produce for sale.
MONA - Museum of Old and New Art
Our next stop was what I was looking forward to most – MONA! MONA is Australia’s largest private museum located on the Berriedale peninsula, a 30 minute ferry ride from Hobart.
Even getting to MONA is fun – we board a ferry painted in camouflage and ride along on deck with sheep and cow figurines. Graffiti graces the walls and I admire the birdcage (with live bird) as we sip our drinks from the on-board cafe/bar.
The view from MONA was spectacular and we were treated to lovely weather. Thank you Tasmania!
MONA houses a huge array of ancient, modern and contemporary art presented in a stunningly-designed building – for example the lowest floor at the Museum is 14 metres below ground and was carved out of a 240-million-year-old sandstone quarry!
Some of my favourites included Tessa Farmer’s “The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum” which features insects and arachnids set upon a skull. Beautiful and macabre.
data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda was another of my favourites, featuring a huge darkened room lined with projectors with moving text.
And last but certainly not least, possibly MONA’s most infamous installation – “Cloaca Professional” by Wim Delvoye. An installation that accurately reproduces the human digestive system step-by-step and produces… yep you got it, poop. It did not smell great. However, it was fascinating and the machine was quite beautiful to look at.
After several hours of checking out the fascinating exhibitions in the dark rabbit warren of MONA, we break for air at the top and locate the MONA Wine Bar. It features a deck with a nice view, Moorilla wine, Moo Brew beers plus a selection of other craft wines, ales and spirits.
The Wine Bar has a great range of tasty snacks to enjoy, including oysters, charcuterie and wood-fired pizzas. We enjoyed a cheese plate and some olives with parmesan biscuits, washed down with a glass of prosecco.
The Mill on Morrison
We arrive back on dry land in Hobart and head to dinner, which is just around the corner from our apartment. The Mill on Morrison is a tapas and wine bar, and our hungry tummies eagerly await.
Feeling pretty tired after our big day, my friend mentioned she felt like an espresso martini, and lo-and-behold, they have an entire menu dedicated to them!
I stuck with the classic, an Original Sin, whilst my friend braved the Devil’s Elixir with contained house infused chilli vodka, Cointreau, chilli infused sugar syrup and espresso. We were awake!
There is a LOT to choose from on the menu, and we go with the $45pp tapas banquet option (there is also a $35pp lighter option, or a $65pp more extensive version).
Highlights of the huge array of food we snacked on included the artichoke and pyengana tasty cheddar pinxtos ($3 each) and corn chips topped with shredded paprika chicken ($5 for a serve of 2).
The arancini balls of the day ($4 each) were chorizo and onion – I loved their flavoursome filling and crunchy outside, but I found the breadcrumbs were over seasoned. The pork belly and apple slaw ($16) was another standout, with the slaw being a nice reprieve from the rich and fatty pork belly. And that crackle, oh that crackle.
We also enjoyed other tapas including croquettes, zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and pesto, char-grilled chorizo, chicken wings and a goats cheese semolina gnocci.
Our only problem was a huge portion of the banquet menu was deep fried with little fresh vegetable accompaniment. Whilst everything was absolutely delicious, next time I would choose the dishes myself, including some lighter options and a salad to break it up. We were so full I couldn’t even make the most of the extensive sundae menu! Looks like I’ll have to return :)
Jackman & McRoss
We arrive at Jackman & McRoss the next morning for breakfast, which is located in Battery Point, one of Hobart’s oldest and most historic areas. This gorgeous bakery is chock full of delicious pastries, breads, desserts and much much more, and I spend a good amount of time staring into the display cases.
Service was super friendly and attentive and our well-priced coffees and food were swiftly delivered. I went for the asparagus, brie, potato & red pepper frittata ($9) whilst my friend ordered the scrambled eggs wrapped in salmon on Danish pastry ($11). Hello decadence! We are starting to notice a “large portion” trend in Tasmania, and once again we fail to finish our delicious meals.
I’ve heard good things about Smolt being one of Hobart’s top restaurants and was pleased to check it out. All the staff were so friendly, our waiter even offering to move us to a different table when we were cold and offered a sweater when we politely declined (it’s meant to be summer, Tasmania!!)
We started off our meal with 2 salads which induced much umming and ahhing with delight. On the left we have the jamon serrano, local pickled pear, smoked almond and shallot vinaigrette ($19.90). On the right was the roasted beetroot, asparagus, artichoke, caramelised pumpkin puree, Kettering grown hazelnuts and goat curd salad ($19.50). Both dishes were stunning and a great start to our meal.
On to mains now and I had the locally farmed lamb leg primal, seasonal spring vegetables, smoky eggplant puree, chilli, garlic and anchovy dressing ($36.90). The lamb was cooked to perfection and the crisp roasted vegetables made a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge fan of anchovies but that flavour was subtle in the sauce. My friend had the house made pappardelle with lamb ragu, tomato, garlic and reggiano ($28.90). I know this is a weird thing to say, but I don’t really like pasta. However this pasta was honestly, absolutely delicious. The meaty sauce was chunky and flavoursome, the pasta cooked to perfect al dente and it avoided the temptation of being drowned in cheese.
Machine Laundry Cafe
It’s our final day in Hobart (sad face) and we head to Salamanca Square which is full of rows of sandstone buildings and contains numerous restaurants, galleries, craft shops and offices – and our breakfast location!
Machine Laundry Cafe is located in the corner of Salamanca Square and is bright and colourful – you can even do your washing whilst you eat breakfast if you so please. We got there early, but the place quickly filled up which indicated the great meal we were about to enjoy.
Our coffees arrived in colourful mugs and saucers, filled with strong and flavoursome liquid that helped us conquer the lengthy and tempting looking menu.
We fortunately made very good choices and this is possibly going down as one of my favourite breakfasts… EVER (big call, I know).
On the left we have the “Fat Boy” ($17) which is the weirdest, most wonderful breakfast concoction ever invented. It features a roti bread wrapped around grilled chicken, bacon, tomato and iceberg lettuce, then drowned in spicy peanut sauce. I am drooling just thinking about it. It was a great Eastern twist on a classic Western breakfast dish.
Our other delicious breakfast option was “The Old New Egg Dish” ($14 + $3.5 for crispy pancetta) which included scrambled eggs with fetta on garlic sourdough with beetroot relish and wild rocket. Once again both dishes were too big to finish, but god we tried, and remembered at the end there is actually an option on the menu to request a small serve of any dish for $2 less. What a great idea! I wish more places would do this.
And so that amazing meal concludes my whirlwind tour of Hobart. I definitely feel like I need to return, yet again, to discover more of what Hobart has to offer, but it’s already knocked my socks off.
Stay tuned for more Tasmania posts featuring Bruny Island, Port Arthur, Richmond and Swansea!
Love Swah + 1 travelled, ate & stayed courtesy of Tourism Tasmania
What a task I had… to try every cupcake shop I stumbled upon in America (and there are LOTS of them) on my quest to find the best cupcake in America for Love Swah. How I must suffer for my “art”.
The quality of American cupcakes overall, particularly chain cupcakes, was high and much better than the cupcake chains in Australia (you know who you are, you dry and overly sweet places). There were a few major fails (see Magnolia Bakery below), but on the whole this was a very delicious and satisfying search! Now, to the gym.
Starting from #8 – my least favourite, all the way to #1 which I am awarding America’s Best Cupcake!
Magnolia Bakery is one of New York’s most well-known cupcake shops, made famous by Sex and the City. Does it live up to the hype? Certainly not. Which is why I am awarding it last place in my cupcake search.
Honestly I was quite surprised and disappointed. I have their cookbook and frequently bake their cupcake recipes with great success. The red velvet cake was dry and flavourless, and the icing was overly sweet and I couldn’t taste the cream cheese. I ate barely half before throwing it in the bin. My friend had a similar experience with her chocolate cupcake.
#7 Kara’s Cupcakes - 3249 Scott Street, San Francisco
I couldn’t work out why my vanilla cupcake with passion fruit filling tasted overwhelmingly of marzipan. I later found out they top their cupcakes with marzipan (which I am allergic to as it contains almonds) instead of fondant. This annoyed me and they need to make this clearer. Apart from the “marzipan incident” it was a pretty ordinary cupcake. The base was dry and bland, and the icing a little too sweet. The passion fruit filling was delicious though.
Could cupcakes that are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free taste any good? Well, no. These didn’t. And they were expensive (US$4.75 each)! The flavours were good (lemon and carrot) but the cake was dry and the icing a weird chewy texture (almost like modelling clay… weird).
I was very excited when I walked into Crumbs. So many giant cupcakes in unique flavours such as Cookie Dough and Stuffed Pecan Pie! I decided to sway from my usual preference of lemon/vanilla/red velvet and get a White Hot Chocolate cupcake. This was a vanilla cake filled with white chocolate mousse topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting edged with mini white chocolate chips and topped with marshmallows and white chocolate drizzle. WHOA.
It was sweet. Very sweet. But given the above description you would assume that. It took me several attempts to eat it over a few hours. I late found out Crumbs uses high fructose corn syrup which I found really disappointing (and explained the sickly sweetness). Overall it was a good cupcake but I don’t think my blood sugar levels could handle another.
Miette is so cute and I am sure I will talk about it again in future Sweet USA-related posts. Their chocolate cupcake was rich and moist and the vanilla icing was delicious and creamy but not too sweet (finally!) This cupcake was a strong contender but not the best one I found in my search. Miette does, however, win the award for best confectionary – their Fleur de Sel Caramels were out of this world. Why didn’t I buy 50?!
#3 Eleni’s New York - Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue @ 15th Street, New York
Eleni’s is a nut-free bakery filled with an amazing array of cookies and cupcakes. I will definitely be talking about it more on future Sweet USA posts. I tossed up between the lemon and red velvet cake before finally settling on the former. I can never go past a lemon cupcake. The cupcake was moist and icing was lemony and delicious. I also heard their chocolate cupcakes are amazing after I left, so please try one for me!
Sprinkles claims the title of the world’s first cupcake bakery and the progenitor of the gourmet cupcake craze. That’s quite a big claim! I joined the long queue of cupcake-fans and finally got my hands on a lemon cupcake. The lemon cupcake was moist and bursting with flavour. The lemon-vanilla frosting was heavenly, it was the perfect texture and had the right amount of lemon zest. I was a very happy Swah.
And the number 1 cupcake in America? Drum roll please….
#1 The Little Cupcake Bakeshop - 30 Prince Street, New York and 9102 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
The red velvet cupcake was so so moist (I hate that word, but it needs to be used several times in this post) and the cream cheese icing actually tasted like cream cheese. Unlike whatever the hell Magnolia used. In fact this red velvet cupcake was almost as good as mine! Haha. The coconut cloud cupcake was light and flavoursome with a strong coconut taste and hit the spot. These cupcakes won for overall flavour, texture and taste. Yum!
*Notable mentions – Billy’s Cupcakes, Georgetown Cupcakes and Sugar Sweet Sunshine are other great cupcake stores that were not visited on this particular trip.
What do you think of my list – have you tried any of these cupcakes on your travels and do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your opinions!
I’m back from my American adventures and a bit jet lagged. So while I get myself together and start writing city-based guides, I wanted to share some handy general America tips with you if you’re planning a trip.
ESTA is required for international travellers who wish to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program due to enhanced security requirements. You will have to pay a $14 fee.
♥ Travel insurance
Don’t even think of entering America without comprehensive travel insurance. You could end up paying thousands of dollars in medical bills if something unfortunate happens to you on your trip. Buy this the second you book your travel!
The concept of tipping is a little foreign to us Aussies, but it’s a vital part of survival for those in the American service industry. Tip around 20% for restaurants and cafes (unless the service is terrible), $1/drink at a bar and around 15% for taxis.
I used this handy site to book all my restaurants across America, from West to East coast. While not all restaurants take bookings, it’s very handy to book with one that does especially on a Friday or Saturday night, or when in Vegas (there are always queues in Vegas!) You don’t want to waste your precious holiday time queuing, do you?
Another site I used regularly, especially for booking a last minute taxi to the airport at 2am ;p They send you an email confirmation and will give you a call prior to double check. Sure beats standing on the street hoping to hail one down.
♥ Buy a SIM when you get there
Make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave and upon arrival hit up your local T-Mobile stand for an American SIM card. I paid $20 for the card plus $40 for a month of unlimited calls and internet (very important for Google maps and Instagram!) While ofcourse you could rely on your roaming (very expensive) and wifi (not always available) I highly suggest getting a local SIM card as it made my life immensely easier – from receiving confirmation calls from taxis, to checking my location on Google maps when I was lost.
♥ Buy heaps of makeup
Makeup is SO much cheaper in the States and I spent a lot of money at Sephora, but saved heaps in the long run. For example my foundation is $90 in Australia and $60 in America, and my blush is $45 in Australia and $29 in America. Stock up!
Do you have any tips on travelling to America? Share with us below!
My last (but certainly not least) guest post comes from the lovely Amy of Oh, My Design Blog. Amy’s blog was one of the first Aussie design blogs I read (and commented on!) and I am a huge fan of her work. Her taste is second to none and she has rounded up some gorgeous travel accessories for you all to covert.
Hi there, Love Swah readers! I’m Amy, a graphic designer, and I blog over at Oh, My Design Blog. Today I feel super special because the lovely Swah has invited me to guest post! Since Swah is off travelling the States (lucky her!) I have done a little round up of my favourite travel bits and pieces. I have been travelling a lot recently, but for short periods – I pack my little over night bag and off I go. My trips have made me a little more savvy in the packing department than I used to be!
1. Keep Cup: I bought a Keep Cup about five years ago and it’s still going strong. I fill mine with green tea for long car trips. If you use it instead of throw away cups, you help the environment, and you can design your own on their site by selecting different cup, lid, band and plug colours.
2. Country Road tote: The classic Country Road tote is my overnight bag of choice. They’ve been around for years and years and now they do them in every colour and pattern imaginable. And they are tough, really tough.
3. Sense & Sensibility designed by Mr Boddington: I’m a bit old school with my books. I don’t have an e-reader, I much prefer the feeling of turning the pages of a book. Mr Boddington designed some lovely Penguin Classics covers which are too gorgeous to resist.
4. Aesop Jet Set Kit: I always take miniature versions of my toiletries when I travel. I usually fill up plain little bottles with my usual body wash, shampoo and conditioner, but if you’re after a treat there’s this lovely little set from Aesop.
5. VS EcoDry Dryer: It’s a bit sad, but I can’t go anywhere without my hair dryer! It’s just one of those things. I travel with this one, its pretty small but still packs a punch.
Thanks Amy! My already exhausted credit card will need to obtain all these things, now! ;)
Next week I’ll be jetting off to LA and I can’t wait! This trip has been in the works for 6 months and it’s crept up awfully fast – in fact I am suddenly begging time to slow down as I try and get work finished before I leave. Never mind, I’m super excited and hope you can share your USA tips with me too!
I’ve been to America several times before, but am always on the hunt for great restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and the weird and wonderful (for example, I plan on going on a water slide that goes through a shark tank in Vegas). I’m visiting:
♥ Los Angeles
♥ San Fransico
♥ Las Vegas (Never been)
♥ New Orleans (Never been – and we’ll be there for Halloween!)
♥ New York
So please share any suggestions you have and I’ll be eternally grateful xxx
As an avid fan of yoga, I’ve always wanted to try a yoga retreat. And after discussing it with an old friend (who was equally overworked and stressed), she offered to come with me and help me cross it off my 30 Before 30 list. We researched many different yoga retreats and most were either too expensive, too far away or a bit too “basic” (we’re not going to slum it on our holiday!)
The retreat that best suited our budget and location needs was Billabong Retreat. Located just 45 minutes from Sydney, we were able to book a 4 night retreat for under $1000 each (we put 2 x 2 night retreats back to back for maximum relaxation). This price included accommodation in their Treehouse Cabin, all meals, yoga classes, meditation classes and full use of the facilities.
We arrived at Billabong Retreat on the Wednesday afternoon in a bit of a panic – my friend’s car had started making terrible noises as we approached the retreat. It turns out a screw on the break pad had come loose and it needed to be towed! Deep breaths now. We hurried off to our first yoga class.
Set in a beautiful purpose-built wooden yurt, the yoga room is surrounded by windows looking out to the bush with beautiful stain glass panels in the ceiling.
The style of yoga here was much gentler and more relaxing than I was used to – it took me a class or 2 to fully get into it, but before long I was really enjoying focusing on my breathing and stretching, as opposed to getting a work out. Here is the lovely Basia, one of our yoga instructors.
The retreat centre was perfect for unwinding in-between yoga and meditation classes and meal times. With plenty of comfy couches, chairs and a hammock, I spent many hours sprawled out here reading, napping and gazing out into the bush.
We returned to our rooms to unpack and prepare for dinner. We spent the first 2 nights in the Treehouse Cabin and the second 2 nights in a Treehouse Room. Both were perfectly fine although the Treehouse Cabin has more privacy and an outdoor bath on the balcony!
The meals at Billabong Retreat were healthy, organic vegetarian food. Cooked daily by the lovely chef Mignon, there was always a huge array of flavours and textures, meaning you never got bored (nor hungry, there was always seconds available!)
Here we are helping out in the kitchen :)
An example of a main meal – Miso soup with shiitake mushrooms, omelette, asian greens and brown rice – this was absolutely delicious.
Some snacks on offer during the day - spiced ginger cake and kale chips.
And of course there was always dessert! Which made me very happy. These were stewed pears with almonds, served with a side of ricotta cream. I had advised the retreat ahead of time about my almond allergy and they kindly prepared me a separate dish whenever necessary.
Breakfast was always delicious and featured coconut porridge, fruits, granola, bread and an assortment of teas.
My favourite was the coconut porridge, I ate it every single morning!
There is also an option to book in a facial or massage at the retreat (at an additional cost) and I can’t recommend the massage enough! An hour of bliss located at the Waterside Pavilion by the billabong was truly relaxing and indulgent.
We also enjoyed going on bushwalks and exploring the local area.
We met a horse named Billy who was wearing a fancy jacket.
He was very friendly but disappointed we didn’t have any food. Not sure he would appreciate kale chips.
And this is what I looked like after 5 days of no makeup or hair washing. Very happy and relaxed and thinking high waisted black yoga pants are a good idea.
And finally, a succulent. Because I love them so.
So overall, how did I find the retreat? I had a hard time unwinding during the first day. I was still in a “go go go” frame of mind and it look some time to unwind, relax and realise it’s ok to do nothing for once. By the end of day 5 I didn’t want to leave – I felt refreshed, energised and positive which stayed with me for days afterwards. I’m not going to lie, I did miss meat though (funnily enough I was vegetarian for over 10 years). But I would love to do it again next year!
I am sure by now you are dying to give this retreat a go too. And I have good news! Book a mid-week retreat by 30 November and save $100 per person by using the code ‘guests100midweek‘. Enjoy :)
A few months ago I was approached by JJ from 84th & 3rd to see if I wanted to design a new iPad magazine that Jackie M was launching on Malaysian food and travel. I jumped at the chance – I’ve designed several print magazines before but I’ve never created an app and was dying to learn. It was a steep learning curve, fuelled by many a Youtube video and online tutorial, but slowly and surely I became confident at navigating my way around the often-confusing InDesign DPS system and now I feel like a pro!
I was fortunate to be able to work with Jackie’s delicious recipes, JJ’s amazing food photography and a huge array of great articles to design a magazine that reflected the look and feel of Jackie’s style. I had never interacted anything using DPS before but soon enough recipes were opening and closing, videos were playing, articles were scrolling and links were working. There were many long nights and weekends spent working on this, plus a trip away and 2 bouts of sickness thrown into the mix. But we got there in the end and have created a piece of work we are all truly proud of!
After a few back and forth moments with Adobe, we submitted the app and waited with bated breath. Would it be approved to the app store? And sure enough a few days later it was! Hallelujah! Opening up Itunes and seeing something I helped create in the App Store was a great moment.
Download the magazine now and check it out for yourself! Oh and if you are interested in being a future contributor please drop JJ an email at editor (at) trulymalaysian.com
And if you have a design project you’d like to work with me on please email me :)
I’m not very good at relaxing. I always have to be doing fifty million things at once in the fear I might get bored and…. self combust? I’m not sure what I think will happen. But after working far too many 70+ hour work weeks in a row, my body had a little breakdown and I got very sick. So I thought now would be the perfect time to try something I have always wanted to do… a relaxing holiday, at a yoga retreat!
The concept of a relaxing holiday is very new to me, as all my previous trips have been action-packed holidays where I try and cram as much amazing culture, history and food as possible into a short space. I generally come home feeling like I need a holiday from my holiday. However, I’ve never been attracted to the idea of a beach holiday – lying on the beach for a week? How boring! Not to mention too much direct sunlight.
I’ve been practicing yoga for around 4 years now and have been dying to try a retreat (it’s even on my 30 Before 30 list). So for the next 5 days I will be staying in a cabin in the bush, doing 3 yoga classes daily, practicing meditation (something I’m terrible at), getting massaged, catching up on reading books and eating healthy food. Exactly what my body and mind needs right now (before I destroy it on my upcoming trip to America! More on that another day).
I will be taking my camera and notebook with me and will be reviewing this retreat in a future blog post if you want to give it a go too. My friend I am travelling with has enforced an internet-ban on me whilst I’m there, so I’ll be quiet on social media for the next few days (how will I cope?!)
Have you ever been on a retreat (yoga or otherwise) or do you want to give one a try?
The lovely guys at Zinio recently contacted me and offered Love Swah readers the chance to win one of 10 one-year digital magazine subscriptions!
So who are Zinio? They are a digital magazine company with literally thousands of top magazines from around the world. You can browse and purchase subscriptions or single issues instantly from your computer or mobile device to read wherever and whenever you like – on your iPad, iPhone, Android mobile phones and tablets, laptop or desktop. This is perfect for travelling or when you want to read on-the-go, plus it’s good for the environment so everyone wins really.
They have some of my top magazine titles available including Donna Hay, Vogue and Frankie, with a huge array of food and travel magazines (always my favourite!). Enter now for your chance to win and let me know which title you would love if you won from Zinio
If you want to try Zinio out for yourself, they currently have a special on 5 Issues for $5! This deal ends July 26.
I was recently invited by Rachel (aka CreamyMiddles) to accompany her on an all expenses paid weekend away in Canberra – yes please! This is all part of a great marketing concept known as The Human Brochure - they invited 500 humans to come and experience Canberra first hand and then spread the word online (using the hashtag #humanbrochure) about all the great things we get up to.
We set off Friday afternoon and began our drive to Canberra. Bad traffic meant we arrived late, missing the bus to our welcome meeting, gah!
Fortunately the guys at Human Brochure had a backup plan and we were swiftly driven to the War Memorial in time for the welcome speech.
We were led on a tour around the War Memorial, the stained glass window inside the tomb of the unknown soldier was gorgeous.
And they had laid out a DAMN good dessert spread, I was in heaven!!
Then it was time to return to our hotel and properly explore it. East Hotel, is a 4.5 Star hotel pitched as a “contemporary design and lifestyle experience”. It’s pretty freaking amazing, from the modern artwork on the walls to the retro-styled furniture (and our room was larger than my apartment!)
The East Hotel’s mustard chair proved very popular with everyone who saw it and I spent a lot of time Instagramming in it!
Design quotes in the foyer
We were up early (for a Saturday!) and off to our first stop… Parliament House! The moody clouds provided a perfect backdrop.
Rachel and I were approved for security clearance! Phew.
I loved the ceiling inside Parliament House.
And there were beautiful courtyards…
And we were lucky enough to be allowed into our Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office!
And then I stared at the flag pole… I think I prefer it from this angle.
Food time! Hooray! We had lunch at Two Before Ten, a fabulous cafe with great design.
Lunch was delicious and included great coffee, duck rillettes with figs, trout with brioche, tomato and ricotta salad, fresh baked grisini and a fennel salad.
We met Hank the Coffee Roaster and his human Sam gave us a talk on roasting coffee beans (which smells like popcorn to my untrained nose).
In the afternoon we headed off to the National Gallery of Australia. This “floating” ball was amazing.
What are we here to see? Toulouse-Lautrec ofcourse! Lautrec had a thing about painting redheads and prostitutes.. and in those days only prostitutes wore red lipstick. As a (faux) redhead who happened to be wearing red lipstick at the time, I was bought to the front of the group by our guide and declared that Lautrec “would have chased you through the streets of Paris to paint you”. Cheers.
Rachel viewing one of his works.
I bought a poster of my favourite work of his.
We headed off to the Sculpture Garden for champagne (as you do) and I was taken away by this amazing installation by Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto. It certainly had a bit of an Antony Gormley feel to it.
This fog sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya was another favourite of mine.
What time is it? It’s dinner time! We were off to Italian restaurant Mezzalira. My favourite was the ricotta, pumpkin and leek tortellini with burnt sage butter, delicious!
Next up was beetroot risotto, stinging nettle and caprino (cheese) – also very tasty and I will be trying to make this at home. I love bright pink risotto!
And our main, rare salt crusted Rangers Valley beef with cannelloni bean, roast beetroot, tarragon and horseradish. I’m usually a bit funny about eating meat so pink (I was vegetarian for 10 years after all!) but this was perfectly done.
And finally, cannoli with ricotta, rum and chocolate, pistachio and cherries.
I arrived back to my hotel and squealed with delight as they had left us another gift, this arvo it was wine, and that night it was salted caramels! Hands down the best salted caramel I’ve ever had.
Quite a few of us were nursing hangovers of varying degrees the next day (curse you matched wines) but we fortunately had a very pleasant morning – they gave us picnic blankets and breakfast boxes and we picnicked in the gardens of Old Parliament House.
We also sat for a group photo on the steps of Old Parliament House and there was a paparazzi shoot off!
That afternoon we headed off to the Old Bus Depot Markets, an amazing weekly market full of delicious produce and showcasing the wares of emerging designers.
I got *very* excited by these handmade cupcake stands from vintage crockery! I bought the mint green one on the far left :)
Our final stop on our whirlwind tour of Canberra was the Canberra Glassworks. We each got to design and make our own glass tile which was loads of fun! Here I am, concentrating very hard on my tile.
And here I am looking like a complete dweeb in my gumboots and safety glasses. Also samples of the coloured glass I used and my tile ready for the kiln (I will upload a picture of the finished tile when it has been posted to me!)
And we finished off the day with an amazing exhibition by glass artist Kirstie Rea. Beautiful!
An amazing weekend and huge thanks to the guys at Human Brochure. I had such great fun participating in all the activities you organised and had a great time promoting Canberra! Now I can say more than “Canberra has nice bike paths” next time I get asked :)
I was craving cookies over the rainy weekend and wanted to jazz up my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe. I found some Nestle caramel chips in the supermarket and thought a [...]
I LOVE gelato and was very excited to attend a taste testing with Mel and Tara at the newly opened RivaReno gelato at 280 Crown St, Darlinghurst. This Australian branch [...]
Happy Thanksgiving to all my North American readers! I would love to experience an authentic Thanksgiving meal in the States some day – can you believe I have never even [...]
- Treated myself to Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook today. Can't wait to try out all these mouth… http://t.co/8X6qi5epxd - posted on 09/03/2014 20:45:33
- My first time to Addison Road Markets and I think I died and went to heaven. I ate amazing food,… http://t.co/KsAbtDjnYA - posted on 09/03/2014 13:16:02
- Me and Mrs Nguyen and my expertly rolled rice paper roll (cough cough) @ Fairfield Museum and Gallery http://t.co/DtcXBoREnu - posted on 08/03/2014 14:24:59