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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Things Just Got Real

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I had a spiritual food experience, and things got real.

Upon my return to my hometown after working in ATX for most of the summer, my sister and I got invited to dinner with my parents to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary at none other than Maroni Cuisine (my theory is that we got invited because my dad got just a teeny bit jealous that I did Barley Swine without him, but regardless, my parents are the cutest couple ever and deserve to be celebrated!)

Maroni is Barley Swine on steroids. There are no menus at this classic eatery; just a handful of tight tables, unlimited beverages, and several people with heavy Long Island accents. It doesn’t really matter though, because 21-25 mind-blowing little tasting courses are on their way to you as soon as you’re seated. It’s up to the chef what’s for dinner during your visit, and it’s up to your waiter what order they come to you in (Shout-out to Dave, our awesome waiter. Someone wasn’t so nice about him on Yelp, but I can assure you when I say he made our night so much fun!) It all seems sort of random, but that’s part of the experience. It really doesn’t matter though; you’ll be too busy chowing down on whatever deliciousness graces your table next, while admiring Maroni’s collection of Pink Floyd and Beatles paraphernalia.

All 25 courses are worth a shot if you can handle it. Standouts include custom sushi; the sushi chef even stops by your table to take into account your favorites. The sushi was followed by the most precious little mug of lobster bisque with cognac, which was more like drinking the butter you’d typically drown your pieces of lobster in. We were also brought Chinatown dumplings, which made me miss Lower Manhattan. The table favorite was the Veal Milanese. With the exception of my dad, no one at the table likes veal, but somehow it was cooked so perfectly that we devoured the whole thing. It was covered in arugula, tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella, and tasted like something that comes from your authentic neighborhood Italian place where the grandmother is still Queen of the kitchen, and nothing leaves without her stamp of approval. Other favorites included a black truffle grilled cheese (self-explanatory, and utterly delicious), Kobe beef hamburgers, Korean BBQ spare ribs and Maroni’s famous meatballs.

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Custom Sushi

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Lobster Bisque Mugs (cutest ever!)

My personal favorite, you ask? Ever thought of putting potato purée and vanilla together? Neither have I, but stick an itty-bitty bay scallop on top of that idea, and you have by far the weirdest, most flavorful, and surprisingly not-gross combination ever. On top of that, my sister and I agreed on bonus points for the pretty scallop shells it’s served on, and tea spoons for scooping it all up.

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Oh, and there’s dessert, if you haven’t had to unbutton your pants already. It goes without saying that everything is delicious, but I’ve got to give the gold medal to the Chipwich with Salted Caramel ice cream in the middle, most of which I ate before my sister had a chance to try (Oops, sorry!).

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Wherever you’re from, Maroni’s is worth the hike. Prepare yourself, bring stretchy pants, and don’t miss out!


Maroni Cuisine

18 Woodbine Ave

Northport, NY 11768

http://www.maronicuisine.com/