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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

How can you not love Paris? It’s a city I’d return to in a heartbeat although I must admit the recent terrorist incidents have made me wonder just how keen I’d be to return at the moment. Not to mention a lack of actual funds or time off.

I first visited Paris in 1989 with a couple of friends who were living in London. We picked a busy weekend (sporting event? soccer I think?) and when we arrived (I think we flew?) hotels were scarce. With my high school French we managed to find a hotel with three sagging beds with dodgy chenille bedspreads. We couldn’t risk not taking the room because there was a trail of tourists with the same idea following us.

Well, that could have been my first visit, or my second; I managed to visit Paris three times across a four or five week period during my first big European adventure in 1989. I had intended to visit with one of my best theatre friends but when I arrived in London she was broke.

So I ended up doing a Contiki tour that took me to Paris, Florence, Venice, Switzerland, Austria, and Amsterdam. We stayed in budget hotels, backpackers and even some chalets in the woods somewhere along the line.

The third trip was with my now less-broke friend, and I am pretty sure we flew. I have no idea where we stayed. We bought interesting brocade jackets and tunics. We went to Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen which I seem to recall had thoroughly appalling toilets.

Visit two was with my husband in 1998, en route to a wedding in Scotland. It was May and unseasonably hot. We picked a hotel that ended up being not far from Sacre Coeur but somewhat too close to the Sexodrome.

Our last visit, in 2007, was as a family en route to a wedding in Amsterdam. We arrived via Eurostar and spent a couple of days in Paris before heading to Disneyland Paris. We then returned for a final few days before taking a Thalys train to Amsterdam.

For the first few days we stayed at the Hotel Valadon. By the looks of the website it has had a serious makeover since then. We chose it due to the proximity of the Rue Cler markets which I had read about in a Rick Steves guidebook. I think that was the start of my habit of basing hotel locations on their proximity to restaurants and markets.

On our return we stayed at Residence Les Gobelins, the website for which doesn’t seem to be working at present but Gobelins seems to indicate it is still open. It was a budget hotel, close to the Rue Mouffetard markets and restaurants, and we had a family room with three beds. The breakfasts were simple – croissants and baguettes with coffee.

I remember painstakingly researching all of these hotels over and over – this was probably the early days of TripAdvisor from memory – and perhaps emailing inquiries to half a dozen about rates and room set ups…

In all of these visits I have never made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, given my fear of heights seems to get worse, not better with age. I think I made it to level two on my second visit. Last time, the family went to the top while I ate a baguette by myself on the first level.

It’s my aim to brush up on my now very rusty French and visit Paris and New York for my 50th. Watch this space (for a few more years!).

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Clearly the “back in business” post in April was premature because here we are in September (what!? September!? It’s almost Christmas) with not a sign of a post in between.

So I’m cutting myself some slack. I have a life. I have a family. I have a full-time job where I use up my best words every day and then some. Maintaining a blog as well as a social media presence – I haven’t gone dark on Twitter or Instagram – takes time.

So rather than long, ambitious posts like the ones that have been stuck in my drafts for weeks and months, I think I’ll try to keep them short and sweet. Or savoury if the mood suits. A picture says a thousand words, so I’ll try to post more photos.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a feature from The West’s Travel pages that ran last month about my culinary adventures through Sydney’s Surry Hills in June when I was a guest of Destination NSW and Vivid Sydney.

A selection of images ran in the print version including IMG_1912 this one, or a variation of this one, that I took outside the ever-popular Bourke Street Bakery.

I sat on a park bench on the other side of the road eating a chicken, sweet potato, pea and lime pickle pie out of a paper bag.

And just as I typed this, I realised, I ate a #dirtystreetpie before that hashtag was coined this month on reality series #thebachelorau after Laurina had tears and a tanty for being taken to the legendary Harry’s Cafe de Wheels!

Which is also a neat segue into partially explaining my blog absence, because I have been addicted to watching The Bachelor Australia every Wednesday and Thursday and tweeting, possibly a little over-enthusiastically.

Even though I am tweeting in Perth real-time, ie two hours behind the east coast, a selection of my tweets have ended up on news.com.au much to my colleagues’ amusement.

Anyway, must go, have some ACTUAL pies to make before the footy finishes!

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Pasadena at Dusk

Pasadena at Dusk

 

In the year, gulp, year that has passed since I last posted, a lot has changed.

But you won’t find any selfies posted here.

Nor will you see photos of my kids.

Instead, here are a couple of my favourite things about Los Angeles.

The wonky palms.

The crazy freeways – so big, so many lanes, so fast – but somehow safer that Perth where no one can merge to save themselves!

And Starbucks. Yeah Starbucks! Frozen soy frappes/frapuccinos rock!

 

Starbucks frozen soy frappe

Starbucks frozen soy frappe

Hollywood or bust

Hollywood or bust

 

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Where is 125 St Georges Tce?To the casual observer this looks like a pretty boring photo. Part of a building facade with the number 129.

However if you have read this blog lately, you may have noticed a slight obsession with the redevelopment of my old workplace, Newspaper House, formerly of 125 St Georges Tce.

Well, if you take a stroll past the revitalised buildings (Newspaper House, WA Trustees, Royal Insurance) that house restaurants The Trustee and The Heritage, plus assorted pop up shops – you will find there is no longer a 125.

So I did what any good journalist would do, and Googled for the answer.

It would appear that 125 is now the address of the Brookfield Place redevelopment featuring the City Square tower, home of BHP Billiton.

It will also soon be home to The Print Hall restaurant and bar complex which I simply cannot wait to visit, partly for the food and partly for the view of the Swan River which we never truly appreciated from our old canteen.

Somehow I doubt I’ll hear anyone calling out “salmon sammich ready” or that any restaurant will be serving chips and gravy.

St Georges definitely looks like it will be the place to be this spring and summer.

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Having missed the chance to dine at a Wolfgang Puck or Mario Batali establishment in Las Vegas, I used the very handy OpenTable service to book a table at Pizzeria Mozza in Hollywood on our second last night in Los Angeles.

My mouth is watering just looking at these photos. My favourite dish – a tie between the squash (zucchini) flowers and the arancini.

We took a risk visiting a pizzeria/Italian restaurant with Ms11, who has life threatening dairy allergies but our server went out of his way to allay our fears, even ordering new bread to go with her mussels.

For the record she ordered a second serve!

Ms11 usually misses out on dessert but Mozza even had dairy and egg free sorbets – so she rocked three courses that night. A great feast to farewell LA and the USA.

 

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On Friday I developed a bad case of Friday-itis. Post holiday blues. A reality check.

We had been home for a week after a month on vacation in the US. The bags were unpacked. The washing was done. The credit card bills had arrived. I was back at work.

So where was I going to find time to download and organise my photos? Print the photos? Scrap book all the receipts, menus and flyers? Post reviews on Trip Advisor? All the things I still haven’t done from our 2009 trip (or any small trip since!?!?)

Aarrrrrrgggghhhhhh…

Life guard station, Venice Beach, California

Life’s a beach

So here is my first step, which, embarrassingly, is also my first post for the year. Lucky I didn’t make a public new year’s resolution to post more often!

I’m going to post a couple of photos a week (that’s the aim) and a few snippets. And I am going to make a conscious effort to post reviews of all the hotels we stayed at on TripAdvisor – a site to whose members I shall forever be indebted, having used their reviews to choose pretty all the hotels we have stayed in since 2007.Pastry counter, Jean-Philippe at the Bellagio

Of course it wouldn’t be a post without the obligatory food photo. This one is of some of the delectable sweets at the pastry shop of Jean-Philippe Maury at the Bellagio in Las Vegas – home to the world’s biggest chocolate fountain. Somehow, if I can work out what I ate over 28 days (by looking at my iPhone) and document it all, a sort of travel diary may write itself!? I take my hat off to all the food and lifestyle bloggers who hold down day jobs and manage to post regularly. Most nights I slip into the familiar family dinner and TV groove and time disappears. However I am determined not to let all my photos, observations and notes go to waste. I also owe some reviews to Urban Spoon, Yelp! and OpenTable – all sites (and apps as the case may be).So between, here, there and everywhere (let’s not forget Instagram and Pinterest) – I look like being quite busy…hope I have enough words to go around!

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Marina Bay Sands Chocolate Buffet

Marina Bay Sands Chocolate Buffet

 
Anyone who knows me is well aware that while I love film, television and music – I am really passionate about food. Cooking it, eating it, taking dodgy photographs of it.
 
Last week in Singapore I visited The Club on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The Sky Park has a commanding view of Singapore city from one side and the harbour from the other.
 
If you’re a guest of the hotel and not afraid of heights you can even swim in the infinity pool. Non guests such as my friends and I can pay $38++ (everything in Singapore is plus plus for GST and service charges) each evening after 8pm to indulge in the chocolate buffet.
 
I will pad out this post at a later date but for now here are some photos of the 57 types of chocolate decadence on offer. I reckon I managed about 20 – and didn’t vomit (though we did all need to walk back to our hotel).
 
 
Chocolate Buffet, Marina Bay Sands

Chocolate Buffet, Marina Bay Sands

Some of the dishes I tried included churros, chocolate pudding, individual baked chocolate fondant,  profiteroles, cheesecake lollipop, white chocolate pannacotta,  67 per cent chocolate ganache truffle…and of course, macarons.

Marina Bay Sands Chocolate Buffet, Singapore - a taste

Marina Bay Sands Chocolate Buffet, Singapore - a taste

 

I think this was my second plate, though I could be wrong…as eating only dishes derived from chocolate for dinner is bound to alter your brain function in some way.

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