5 Best Things I Ate: Sydney

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Yes, you read that right. Six days in Australia and about a billion dumplings later, my new job is a literal dream come true.


Coffee

Where to find: Gumption Coffee, Shop 11, The Strand Arcade

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The Australians don’t joke about their coffee. Starbucks actually closed most of their Australian locations because their stuff just wasn’t up to snuff. Any Sydney coffee spot is a good choice, but a really great choice is Gumption. The cold brew is the way to go, and Australia is non-dairy milk friendly!


Breakfast Brekkie

Where to find: Porch & Parlour, 17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi

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Here’s another thing Australians take very seriously. In general, I found that my Sydney-dwelling friends and co-workers prefer a healthier lifestyle, especially out in Bondi Beach. Naturally, that starts with a hearty breakfast. Porch & Parlour’s appears to be a local favorite (beware of the 40 minute – 1 hour wait), and it’s easy to see why. That’s my incredible “Smash n’ Hash” above, and yes, I was judged for taking this picture (but I did it anyway).


Noodles

Where to find: Bangkok Street Food, or the Night Noodle Markets

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Confession: I cheated on this one.

The Sydney Night Noodle Market was open around the corner from my hotel for the entire duration of my stay, so I got to eat all the noodles without having to go very far. Because of Australia’s proximity to Asia, I knew what I was getting was way more “real deal” than New York Asian fusion food. Pad See Ew (spelled phonetically and likely incorrectly, sorry!) is my favorite Thai dish. The one I tried in Sydney was totally different from what I was used to, and potentially changed my life.


Cocktails

Where to find: Uncle Ming’s, 55 York St, Sydney

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“Going out” is hardly my scene, but I never turn down a good cocktail.

That’s Japanese whiskey & frothy, fresh-pressed apple juice, and by fresh-pressed, I mean I watched the bartender throw four green apples into a juice press in front of me and then pour the results into my drink. I don’t even like whiskey, and it was probably one of the best drinks I’ve ever had anywhere in the world.

A close second: this amped – up Moscow Mule from Gowings Bar & Grill under my hotel. Pricey, but worth it.

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Dumplings

Where to find: Din Tai Fung, or the Night Noodle Markets

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I pretty much lived on noodles and dumplings in Sydney. They were so good, I couldn’t get enough! These pork buns and shrimp & pork dumplings were another Night Noodle Market find. Shoutout to my friend Vy (who I met on Contiki, and then got to see while I was in Sydney!) for the recommendation, and also for the wine. 😉

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5 Best Things I Ate (Drank?): Manhattan Coffee Shops

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I haven’t a clue how I’m going to make this series work for all of the things there are to eat and drink in New York City, but I’ll try. Starting with the caffeine here of course, because once you go cute coffee shops, you never go back.


Black Cat LES

Where to find: 172 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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Coffee shops are not rare on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This one, however, is home to my favorite iced latte. Black Cat is a funky hole-in-the-wall that sits pretty deep on Rivington Street. It’s a little warm inside, which makes it perfect for a chilly day. If it’s too hot, go in anyway, and check out all of their décor. Look up too- all of the fun quotes and writing reaches the ceiling.


Ground Support

Where to find: 399 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

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Raspberry. Pumpkim. Muffin. Photocredit: My sister 😉

The location is the selling point for Ground Support. It occupies the most precious corner of West Broadway, just steps from Laduree’s Downtown NYC location. It’s always crowded and the line is always out the door. If you catch it at a good time, take your pick, because everything on the menu looks good: breakfast sandwiches, artisan muffins (any of their muffins… seriously, any of them.), coffee creations, the works. There is a nice place to sit if the weather is cooperative next to the Eileen Fisher store.


Birch Coffee

Where to find: My favorite is their 13th Street location in Chelsea, but you can see their other locations here.

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A dinky, very hipster, no seats kind of place. Everyone who works there is cool and wears fedoras or bohemian jewelry unironically. Everyone who stops in is fabulous and probably brilliant and probably works somewhere really trendy. Go if you are fabulous. Go if you are not yet fabulous but are attempting to acquire fabulousness and brilliance by diffusion (Me…).


Ground Central

Where to find: View all Ground Central locations here.

 

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Reusing pictures here, but this never stops being relevant. Photocredit: 9two5 Fit

A different entity from the aforementioned Ground Support, Ground Central is an amped-up version of whatever fast-casual place you get your caffeine fix from every morning. They brew La Colombe coffee, which technically is another NYC coffee shop chain, but is also an outstandingly delicious brand of coffee beans. I’m not expert on different types of coffee beans, but if you asked me what type of coffee I want in my hand right now, it would be La Colombe with almond milk in a Ground Central cup.


Project Cozy

Where to find: 398 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

 

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I love places that make you want to stay forever.

Project Cozy is Soho’s newest coffee spot, having taken over a space just south of Houston St. that has rotated residents for the past year or so. They pride themselves upon being “Cozy as Fck,” which I think is an odd slogan that never stops being amazing. There’s ample seating, nice staff, and a fantastic view down Centre St. that definitely got all my creative gears going… except I totally didn’t have my laptop with me. Note for next time, because there will be a next time.

Bonus: They’re also a juice bar. Get the Kale Yeah smoothie.

5 Best Things I Ate: Ireland

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I finally made it to Ireland, and the whole fam was there too! Shoutout to them for helping me narrow our Irish culinary endeavors to these top five.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

Where to find: F.X. Buckley, Dublin, Ireland

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My family purchased this masterpiece to mark the commencement of our Irish adventure. A caramel-drowned piece of homemade Irish brown bread with homemade whipped cream set the bar very, very high for any dessert we ate in the following days.

Spoiler: we ate a lot of dessert. This was unbeatable.


Bailey’s Fudge

Where to find: Somewhere on the Ring of Kerry

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This might seem weird, but a man named Fi has quite literally has set up a tiny fudge shop out of his car. He’s parked at a lookout point right where all of the coach buses stop for pictures, so you’ll have a higher chance of finding him if you’re traveling with a tour. It’s two euro for a glorious bag of goodness, and you are permitted to sample (Both before making your choice, and after…). While all four flavors are homemade and wonderful, the Bailey’s (bottom right-hand corner of the second image) is the winner.


Boxty

Where to find: Bricin, Killarney, Ireland

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Meat has been folded into a giant potato pancake and my life with never be the same.

Bricin specializes in traditional Boxty. Filling options include lamb, chicken or veggies, and sometimes beef stroganoff as a special.  My picture immortalized one of the last plates before they ran out of beef stroganoff for the night, so get your paws on it while you can.


Shepherd’s Pie 

Where to find: Murty Rabbit’s, Galway, Ireland

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I rarely find planned dinners on tours to be much to speak of, as it’s likely someone has narrowed the menu for you, eradicating some potential choices. But when there is a Shepherd’s pie situation, there’s basically no need to consider anything else anyway. Murty Rabbit’s version is best paired with a pint of Guinness.


Guinness

Where to find: Literally everywhere in Ireland

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Speaking of Guinness, your friend who never hesitates to mention how much better Guinness is in Ireland is totally on to something (Read: I am now that friend).

5 Best Things I Ate: Contiki’s Eastern Trail

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Starting a new series here on the blog, because just one must-have meal is boring. Here are the five best things I ate in Eastern Europe to kick it off:


Donuts

Where to find: Somewhere in Krakow, Poland

My friend and I quite literally purchased these from a random window in Krakow for the Polish equivalent of one American dollar. Mine was filled with Avocat cream, which airs on the side of a custard (like the best Boston cream donut you’ve ever had, times a billion). My friend’s was filled with rose marmalade. Rose is a common ingredient in many desserts, and if you can get past that it will taste exactly the way a rose smells, it is worth a try. Beware of filling explosions, and keep your treats away from the pigeons!


Goulash

Where to find: Nyakleves Soup Truck @ Karavan, Budapest, Hungary

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Goulash is a must in Hungary. While almost everywhere will tout some version of the traditional dish, the thick, hearty version at Nyakleves raises the bar and keeps it there. It’s jam packed with meat, veggies, and paprika, all inside a giant loaf of bread. It’s like a hug for your stomach and your happy traveler heart. Whatever you do, do not miss out on it.


Bled Cream Cake

Where to find: Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled is very proud of their iconic, simple, light vanilla cream cake. It can be purchased at any of the little cafes in town. Enjoy with a coffee, some friends, and a view.


Pasta in a Box

Where to find: Dal Moro’s, Venice, Italy

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I can promise it will be very, very worth however long you’ve been lost for trying to find it (Getting lost is part of the fun!). Dal Moro’s is quality, authentic pasta, with any sauce you want and any decorations you want (Give me ALL the parmesan!) boxed up to-go in a little container. Sheer spaghetti perfection.


Gelato

Where to find: Suso Gelatoteca, Venice, Italy

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Another hidden Venetian gem, and that’s not a pun – Suso lives on a street where the next street over has the same name but doesn’t connect. Confusing, I know… the dark chocolate gelato should compensate for any frustration. Pair it with Mint Chocolate Chip or Stracciatella. Four euro for two scoops. Eat after Dal Moro’s and before (happily) rolling yourself to back to the mainland.