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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Off Hours

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She wrote poetry

late into the night to

the scent of

misty lavender, and

she rose at the earliest of

hours to arrive

at a train station

that smelled of

Sunday breakfast.

Bakery Dreams

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The iced coffee was so on point I thought I dreamt it.

Just steps beyond the wrought-iron gates of Providence College exists the most delectable hidden gem: LaSalle Bakery. It’s far from a cute coffee shop. It looks like the town bakery down the road from my childhood home, except all of their cakes are painted with Patriots colors instead of the New York Jets or the New York Giants. It’s bustling with students almost all of the time, and I’m told they’ve got a wildly different radio station on every day. Almost everyone, even the kids behind the counter, are in sweats. Ask any Providence grad and they’ll tell you it’s a rite of passage to go there, and then they’ll tell you it becomes a weekly (if not daily) ritual.

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They’ve got an Iced Coffee flavor menu long enough to give Dunkin’ Donuts a run for their money. I always ask someone behind the counter what their favorite thing to get is, although apparently since a cute guy was helping me it comes off as flirting (Whoops?). Regardless, he said Vanilla Almond, which secretly was the flavor I was leaning towards anyway, and man was he right (Always ask for recommendations from someone assisting customers, they’re the experts on what’s good!).

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The egg & cheese sandwich I chose was outstanding for genuinely no reason at all, like my coffee. It was all just good. And honestly, I think that’s the magic of it. Without having to do much work, you’ve eaten magnificent food and have been welcomed to the community. It’s easy to see why students and locals alike frequent LaSalle.

I myself even made a double visit for the full effect. 😉

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Coffee so nice, my friends & I went twice!


LaSalle Bakery

993 Smith St.

Providence, RI

or

685 Admiral St.

Providence, RI

http://lasallebakery.net/

The Remedy

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Lately I’ve been finding myself to be a little lost. Not the good kind of lost, more of an “I can’t figure out which way is up” kind of lost, and therefore in need of some love– which arrived just in time in the form of Sunday brunch.

The fix: A classic, wholesome, adorable corner eatery called Perla Café. At night their menu leans Italian, but their brunch is simply a small, quality menu with just a touch of fun. There’s a charming and inviting staff armed with an arsenal of recommendations. The first thing our waitress asked was if we had any allergies. Thankfully, we didn’t have anything too alarming to challenge the kitchen with, but it was obvious they were prepared to make changes and be accommodating.

It’s not a boozy brunch. Well, I guess technically you could make it boozy like you can do with most things in New York City, but why taint it? It balances perfectly somewhere in between healthy haven and artisanal masterpieces just as it is. Their coffee is to die for (Macchiato and Almond Milk Iced Latte pictured below). The iced latte was the perfect wake-up on a slightly-oppressively hot morning, and paired perfectly with my dish of choice: Parmesan biscuits, poached eggs, Italian sausage and a broccoli rabe pesto (Adjustable for my vegetarian friends, by the way!). The broccoli rabe is not at all broccoli-ish, the poached eggs don’t explode all over your whole life, and the biscuits and sausage are a great touch. You would think the four different ingredients would compete with one another for the top spot, but rather they do a well-choreographed little dance with every scoop, making my heart and my stomach very, very happy.

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Bring a friend to share the love with, or don’t and just feel the love yourself; it’s the best place for it. Whether you’ve got loads of catching up to do, or you’ve been finding yourself kind of down and hug isn’t so attainable (I understand, we New Yorkers tend not to be so friendly…), I can promise you one thing: Perla Café will do the trick.


Perla Cafe

234 West 4th Street

New York, NY 10014

http://www.perlanyc.com/

Two Thumbs Up For Two Hands

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Is an affinity for coffee shops and breakfast places something you automatically acquire when you’ve been living in NYC for almost four years? Because I most definitely have and it’s most definitely a problem.

Two Hands has been on my radar for basically ever, since I started seeing it pop up on multiple other food blogs. I followed them on Instagram as a continuous reminder to stop by (Fair warning, their Insta-game is strong, and you will want to eat or take a picture of everything. No judgment here, I promise my roommates and I left our coffees for longer than we should’ve just so we could get the perfect shot, and we weren’t the only ones doing it…). Today, my two amazing roommates and I decided to make a date of it, and got breakfast together.

The place is so many levels of cute. Get there early, because even at 9 AM on a Friday, only about an hour after they’ve officially opened, we snagged the very last table that could accommodate a party of more than two people. A little cafe with fairy lights strung across the ceiling, they have enough choices of fresh juice, coffee, milkshakes, and smoothies on the menu to sufficiently overwhelm you. The juices are all brightly-colored, and come in Mason jar mugs. The smoothies, too. However, full disclosure: I’m the biggest coffee drinker of the three of us, but all three of us intentionally ordered a hot cappuccino or latte just so we could get the pretty design on the top. It was a great choice though; they were amazing.

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Their food selection is not as expansive, but there pretty much isn’t a single thing on the menu that doesn’t sound fantastic. I chose the acai bowl, which is basically a deconstructed smoothie. I think my only suggestion would be a few less chia seeds, because there’s a lot of them. Other than that, the fruit, granola, seeds, coconut and chocolate combination was all I could ever want and then some.

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Clockwise from the top: Granola Bowl and latte, Avocado Toast and cappuccino, and my Acai Bowl and cappuccino

We were sorry to have to leave and return to our homework, especially after we made friends with one of the waiters and tried to make our coffees last as long as humanly possible so we could people-watch. Two thumbs up from us for Two Hands!


Two Hands

164 Mott St

New York, NY 10013

http://www.twohandsnyc.com/

And, if you really want to indulge in the breakfast food porn: https://instagram.com/twohandsnyc/?hl=en

It’s All Greek to Me

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There’s no shortage of absolutely precious breakfast places in Soho.

I found Greecologies while snooping around on one of my favorite blogs, Leopard For Breakfast. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting the writer and hanging out with her for a bit; she’s an exceedingly cool Miami-to-NY transplant, and anywhere I’ve tried from her blog is nothing short of awesome.

So, I took her advice, and took my mom for breakfast. Greecologies sits on the border of Soho and Little Italy. It has big windows, plenty of seating, is very well lit, and is very relaxing.

My mom and I started sitting in the front window, and then moved to the back of the restaurant, where we had the cutest courtyard to ourselves. We got to catch up over our shared Butter Coffee, watching a woman from a nearby apartment building hang up all of her stuff to line dry. It looked like a picture, a cross between old New York and the hip, modern cafe that had just taken residence in the neighborhood (Nerdy writer moment, sorry…). I could’ve stayed in that one spot for the whole day and been the happiest person alive.

Not to mention that the Butter Coffee is the bomb, although it is very rich and you cannot get it iced. It’s a homemade butter that goes into the coffee, and if you get it iced, the butter gets funky and takes away from the unique flavor (I had to ask because my iced coffee obsession has gotten far too real…)

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Our (shared) coffee and our yogurt bowls!

For real though, how do you not feel cool scooping an entirely homemade meal out of one of these? It’s like having breakfast inside one of those fancy fashion blogger’s Instagram accounts. Anyway, I went with their traditional Greek yogurt, muesli and their specialty honey. The yogurt walks the really fine line between sweet and sour, and depending on what you put in it, tastes more like dessert then breakfast. I actually tried something similar in Denmark at my group’s hotel and ate it for five days straight, thinking I was never going to find anything quite so delicious. New York City proving me wrong again…

Not a yogurt fan? Go anyway. Do it for the ‘gram. Get a Butter Coffee because it’s great and you have to. And come say hi to me, because you’ll find me back there for sure.

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Greecologies

379 Broome St

New York, NY 10013

http://www.greecologies.com/

Am Actually My Father’s Daughter

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In case you were curious as to where I get the foodie thing from, it is undoubtedly, unquestionably, 100% from my dad.

My parents and sister came to ATX for the weekend to visit, help me clean my apartment, make something out of all the random ingredients I have that are about to go bad, and probably to keep me from just deciding I want to hop on a plane to somewhere else for the weekend, like I did last weekend. And, with my dad in charge of plans, we spent the remainder of our time eating.

It started on Friday evening, at a swanky place in Downtown Austin called La Condesa (I suppose I am allowing ATX to break me of my slight vendetta against Mexican food…). Perhaps I was just sold on the fact that they were tapas-style plates, so I could take one of everything without having to really commit. It started with a bowl of queso flameado so thick that you had to cut it before putting it on a tortilla chip (or just shamelessly shoveling it into your mouth). We then moved on to steak and manchego taquitos. You guys: steak and fried cheese. But like really good fried cheese. Manchego is really strong and often potent cheese, but if you’re into that sort of thing, it was so much fun to eat that you probably didn’t even need the steak there. My parents also gave solid praise for the remainder of our dishes, which included pulled pork, tuna, and a spicy chocolate cake with banana ice cream.

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Chile-Chocolate Cake with Banana Ice-Cream

We were at it again the next morning, less than 12 hours later, with breakfast at South Congress Café (We all should be 533,806 pounds, I know…). We decided to split their famous carrot cake French toast and Denver omelet. The fresh toast is basically cake, complete with an apply-it-yourself brown-sugar icing. The Denver omelet was good, but my sister and I preferred the cake, and consequently, didn’t have to eat lunch later that day either…

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And this morning, just before they left, we had to make a stop at Gourdough’s, because if you’re going to come all the way to Austin, you pretty much have to. We feasted on a Sin-a-bomb, a Miss Shortcake, a Flying Pig, and a Naughty & Nice, until we finished every last drop of their cream cheese icing. Their donuts are killer, figuratively and potentially literally, but so worth it.

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Clockwise from the top left: Naughty & Nice, Flying Pig, Miss Shortcake, and the Sin-a-bomb

Having to say goodbye to my family/the only three other people willing to spend an entire weekend only concerned with food sort of sucked, but we all got to check a few places off our food bucket lists. My dad has already replaced those with a few new places to be tested upon my return to New York…

New Addiction

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So, I started drinking coffee.

This may have been a really bad decision or a really good decision, but I’m not sure yet (Will get back to you on that!). Regardless, my sister is thrilled to pieces, because now we get to have real coffee dates when I’m home, as opposed to her getting coffee and me ending up with some over-sweetened iced tea or a Slurpee…

I’m only home for a bit before literally and figuratively taking off for the summer, so today we had a sister date at Crazy Beans, a place that everyone in my hometown swears by. The cute retro-themed restaurant is surprisingly small, decked out in red, white and black, with funny signs about food hanging all over the walls and place-mats on every table that don’t match.

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My sister and I sat at the “bar”, with her place-mat Avenger –themed and mine with lists of major cities (So fitting!). We were instantly introduced to Crazy Beans’ menu, which comes complete with every flavor latte you could ever want, and a fabulous Steve Jobs quote on the front (Excuse me while I completely geek out, sorry I’m not sorry ‘bout it…).

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I then continued to lose my mind, this time over a cupcake-flavored iced latte, which everyone needs in their life all of the time.

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Cupcake iced latte, and my sister’s Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate iced latte

We also ordered a snack, choosing to split the smoked Gouda, green apple, and bacon grilled cheese. It was the most flawless grilled cheese I’ve ever gotten my hands on, and that’s saying a lot, because I live across the street from a Melt Shop in New York City. My sister and I stopped every few bites to nod in solidarity that there were very few sandwiches that would ever top the one we were devouring.

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There was another half, but my sister got a hold of it before I could snap a picture…

Stop by, take pictures, catch up with a friend (or your sister!), and order one of those grilled cheeses (I swear on my cupcake iced latte that you will not regret it). As if my new coffee addiction wasn’t enough, now my sister and I have established that we have to try all of everything on Crazy Beans’ menu… Oops?


 Crazy Beans

97 A Main St

Stony Brook, NY 11790

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-Beans/763948576969008

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/crazy-beans-stony-brook-2