Three Unbelievable Brunch Dishes 👌

Good afternoon! Hope your weekend has been wonderful so far. My week has been absolutely amazing, much better than I could’ve imagined – and I’ll show you why!

First, one of my favourite authors, Victoria Aveyard, came to Canada for her book tour! She visited Chapters Metrotown in Burnaby. Of course, I’m in Australia until the end of June, but my sister Seline had the opportunity to meet the lovely Victoria, get her books signed, and listen to Victoria’s Q&A. Victoria Aveyard is the author of the Red Queen quartet, and her newest book – series finale! – War Storm was released recently.

Also: another massive bowl of chai from Three Monkeys Cafe. I’m addicted.

In case you haven’t noticed, I am on a MISSION to try as many chai lattes as I can. This morning, I hit up Northey Street Farmers Market, an organic market, which is known for a cozy shack called Chai Cafe. There, I had a very enjoyable mug of chai, one of the spicier ones in Brisbane. The owner told me that she adds fresh vanilla beans, turmeric, and a plethora of other spices, to create a recipe she learned in India. This chai was one of the top two I’ve had so far… and by that I mean it’s the second-best. 🙂

The Northey Street Markets are lovely! Quite a bit busier than the other markets, perhaps due to its size, with lots of friendly dogs and children. It’s a very family-friendly place and I wish I came with the intention of grabbing a sandwich and doing some people-watching.

After my walk at the Northey Street Markets, I went to the Green Edge Vegan Market and Grocery Store. I’m on the lookout for some enchilada sauce (without too many additives or preservatives), and after visiting two or three different specialty grocery stores – I still haven’t found any.

From there, I tried to take the 450 to go home, caught the 150 bus instead, and ended up in South Bank! It was a wonderful accident, because I’ve had Pourboy Espresso on my bucket list for the longest time. It was destiny – I had to eat here!

Mainly, Pourboy Espresso has been on my must-visit list because of their famous Belgian hot chocolate, made with Callebaut dark Belgian chocolate and organic milk. I love how it was served in this little kettle with extra chocolate chips. It was flavourful and sweet, but the chocolate and milk were not mixed together very well. The first 1.5 cups were milky, but near the bottom of the kettle, the chocolate was much more concentrated and un-melted.

For my brunch dish, I ordered the cheesy jalapeño waffles, which were topped with mashed avocado, grilled cherry tomatoes, and two poached eggs. I was worried the waffles would be too spicy, since the waitress said they were quite spicy, but it turned out to be okay. I loved the generous scoop of avocado, since I haven’t had avo for a while, and the eggs were poached very nicely. The entire dish was fresh and flavourful, and it was sprinkled with some coarse salt that boosted the taste of everything. Overall, a solid brunch dish that I would recommend!

The table to my right savoured a slice of lemon sour cream pound cake with lemon curd, and it looked delicious. On top of that, my server talked about how much she loved this dessert. For those of you who have read my blog for a while now – you know that I’ve never been a fan of citrus desserts. In fact, I hate lemon. I think orange ruins chocolate. Grapefruit desserts should be called breakfast. I’m all about the nutty desserts. The chocolatey desserts. The richer, the more decadent, the creamier – the better. So, ordering this fresh and fruity LEMON dessert was out of character!

But it was good. Really good. Paired with that lemon curd, this slightly-warm, crumbly, buttery cake with blasts of flavour from the toasted walnuts, this was a fantastic way to end my meal.

“We noticed the lady to our right, munching on this cake and gushing about it,” the man beside me had mentioned, “so we had to order it, too. It’s just a ricochet of lemon pound cake.”

A couple days ago, I spent my morning at Corner Store Cafe. I’ve been to Corner Store Cafe a couple times before. Literally, a couple. The first time, I had a lamb flatbread and a smoothie. The second time, I enjoyed the polenta waffles with smoked salmon and a mug of chai. This time, the chai was calling my name again.

For my main dish, I knew I wanted the mushroom quesadillas. These quesadillas were filled with gorgonzola and stracciatella (Italian buffalo milk) cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and spinach. It was set on a bed of pumpkin puree, and topped with two fried eggs and pebre salsa. According to Wikipedia, pebre salsa is a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers. The dish was a blast of flavours and textures, incredibly filling, and I was in love with the cheesy centres and doughy tortilla.

For dessert, I wanted to try their daily special – a middle eastern fruit bread pudding topped with sliced fruit, and two scoops of orange marmalade ice cream. This was much bigger than I’d expected, and the giant slabs (yes, there were three slices) of bread were layered with figs, dates, raisins, and bananas.

Every bite was fruity and paired well with the zing of the ice cream. I liked how some parts of the fruit bread were crispy and caramelized, while the middles were creamy and pudding-like.

You can probably imagine, that after a mug of milk tea, a veggie-filled quesadilla with two eggs, and then a massive loaf of bread pudding with two scoops of ice cream – that I was very full. 🙂

IMG_E0001

Photos of South Bank, Brisbane! Gotta do the touristy stuff here, too.

  • L: a dessert restaurant in South Bank that I want to try!
  • R: photo from the bathroom of Banneton Bakery that took me right back to my summer in Paris, France. I remember all of these stops, and miss Paris so much. Thinking about my time there always makes me happy – and simultaneously leaves me in disbelief. I can’t believe that the 16 year-old me took my younger sister to live in Paris for a month.

Another amazing brunch happened at Pearl Cafe. I’ve wanted to visit Pearl Cafe for ages, and it’s been at the top of my food bucket list for months. For some reason, I thought it would be far away, but it was only a 30-minute bus ride from home.

Here, I didn’t think twice before ordering the crepe, which was filled with fried egg and spinach. It was such an easy choice because the server told me that the crepe was her favourite item on the menu, and she eats it every single day after her shift. Can’t argue with that! The topping is saffron and radish, with fresh prawns and a zingy marinade. Honestly, a spectacular dish, and it was exceptionally tasty with freshly-cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. I can see why Pearl Cafe is so popular!

For dessert… you guys. You guys.

“Tea cake”, to me, sounds boring. I just think of some plain old yeast bread, maybe studded with a couple raisins. Pearl Cafe’s tea cake, however, is on another level. This massive slice was buttery, had incredible crumb, and was loaded with caramelized rhubarb. Yes, caramelized rhubarb! Even better, there was a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I devoured every crumb, as usual, and would eat this a million times. I’m already planning my next trip back to Pearl Cafe.

Back to the chai! I stole this paragraph from a popular Brisbane food and travel website called The Urban List:

There’s a lot of chat being thrown around by a bunch of heathens trying to tell me that flavoured sugar powder is a worthy substitute. Where’s the LOVE? Where’s the AUTHENTICITY? Nothing compares to the spicy aroma of a freshly brewed pot of proper chai; you feel that shit in your soul, and Brisbane’s got it on lock.

Couldn’t’ve (had to google how to spell that!) said it better.

Anyways, the award for the #1 chai I’ve had in Brisbane so far goes to… the Baker’s Arms! Their chai is a homemade blend, steeped in organic milk and honey. It was rich, had excellent tea flavour, and had subtle sweetness from the honey. I enjoyed this tea with a side of sunshine, before grabbing a tasty meal next door. My only complaint about this chai is that there wasn’t enough. I can’t wait to go back for this!

No, you aren’t having deja-vu; I posted about this incredible peanut butter hot chocolate on my last blog post. It was so good that I had to go back for another mug. Look at those chocolate shavings! That foamy milk! Those granules of sea salt!

Another place I’m dying to visit, and a quote that hit me yesterday. I haven’t been performing very well on a couple recent exams and essays, and surprisingly, don’t feel too discouraged. It’s a weird feeling because I feel like I should be angry or upset about the grades, but I’m not. Interestingly, I’m not in denial about it either… I’ve just accepted it and feel okay with it. I know I didn’t study as much as I normally do, and my grades reflected that, but I’m trying my best. I don’t know – it’s so strange!

Plus, most of my time has been going to – you guessed it – aerials. 😉 I revamped the page, by the way, so y’all should go check it out.

Couple other things – my friends and I are having lunch at Wordsmiths, a cafe on campus, tomorrow. I’ve starred all the items that I think would be delicious, but I haven’t decided which one I’m going to order. I’m leaning towards the soup of the day, depending what it is, but the baked ricotta (it has pumpkin in it!) and vegetable lasagna also sound delicious. Wish I could find photos for all of them, though.

And… I’m back to studying!

By that, I mean I am going to start now, though I should’ve started days ago.

Bye!

The Longest Essay I’ve Ever Written

Good morning! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and feel rejuvenated for the week ahead.

I had a wonderful weekend, full of aerials, where I started working on something new (to me) – a splits balance. The studio that I train at on the weekend, Vulcana, is beautiful and home to some very kind souls.

Last night, my housemate Jessica very generously donated some backpacks to me! I adore backpacks of all shapes and colours and sizes, and was so thrilled to get some new ones. My old grey one is pretty boring, and I’ve used it for over two years, so I’m excited to start using these new-to-me treasures.

Also in my life recently:

  • using my Staedler pens to write notes all the time – they make my notes so colourful and enticing. I almost want to study when these pens are hanging out on my desk.
  • thinking about starting up running! I love walking, but it isn’t a ‘challenge’ any more. Would be fun to do a bit of running before the weather gets too cool.
  • map of Brisbane and all the suburbs! My favourite suburbs are Fortitude Valley and New Farm, which is where my aerials training studios are – and home to my favourite farmers markets!
  • giant mosquito. Whoa.
  • it’s been a while since I’ve had a good old smoothie! This one was made with banana, chocolate, almond milk, and cinnamon. It was delicious on a hot day, before I ordered a lovely brunch dish of cabbage pancake topped with goat cheese, poached egg, roasted broccoli, and parmesan (unpictured).

This is the Brisbane City botanical garden. It was my first time visiting this particular botanical garden – I’ve been to two others in the area. Although this didn’t have as much plantlife as the other two, I enjoyed the lush green grass and simple ponds.

On a different note, my shoes are finally comfortable! I had some issues with my toe, and after wearing comfortable (read: ugly) shoes for a few months, giving my toe time to heal, I can finally wear my slightly-less-comfortable (but much cuter) shoes. I love this pair and glad that I’m able to walk around in them, completely pain-free!

I saw this online and it really got me thinking. What do I want to do in the future – and is it something I love? Will it be something I’m good at? Is it something the world needs? I’m going to keep thinking about this, and perhaps one day, pen in some of my career choices and see which ones fall into the centre.

IKIGAI

This was the longest essay I’ve written in my life! It is a research essay about kidney disease in Queensland, and potential health-enhancing behaviours that may improve the mortality/morbidity of chronic kidney disease. It took me a little over a month to complete, so I was very satisfied to finally submit it last week.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 10.53.43 AM

Essays were also involved in my biology class. We worked in groups of six, and I thought we did a fantastic job together. I was super pleased with how our report turned out, and how we collaborated.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 7.09.00 AM

Finally, a lovely salad with some vegetable tarts. One tart is broccoli-parmesan, the other mushroom and pesto. I loved both, especially with this glorious colourful salad.

30771565_2152864144740112_1009518465_o

Last but not least, I finished my box of chai – which means I had 25 chai tea bags in less than a month. Definitely obsessed with that stuff. It’s just perfect with milk and honey.

Of course, I had to make a list of chai to try (I’m sure there’s some pun I can make with this). I hope I can find some of these here in Brisbane!

Must-Try Chai

  • Samovar Masala Chai Black
  • Prana Chai Masala Blend
  • Dona Chai Chai Tea Concentrate
  • Chai Wallahs of Maine Spiced Chai with Assam Black Tea
  • Firepot Nomadic Teas Masala Chai Loose Leaf
  • Bollywood Theater Masala Chai
  • Tipu’s Original Slow Brew Indian Chai
  • Rainbow Chai Spice Mix
  • Pukka Vanilla Chai
  • Madura Seven Spice Chai
  • Nerada Organics Chai
  • Chai Walli chai
  • Gopi Chai
  • Teapigs Chai
  • Twinings Chai Ultra Spice
  • Tazo Chai
  • Organic India Chai Masala

That’s it for today – wishing you a lovely rest of the week.

Menus and Stuff

Good Monday morning, everyone ❤ Last week was one busy week, and this week will be equally packed with classes, presentations, and more. Here’s what I ate recently.

Omelet with peppers, asparagus, tomato, Provolone cheese (a new favourite).

Dinner at Fogata Latin Cuisine. I don’t always get appetizers, but when I do, it’s cheese bread. Brazilian cheese puffs are a little chewy like mochi, with a springy texture and good savouriness from the cheddar.

  • 6 pieces Brazilian cheese bread
  • 1 stuffed pepper with couscous and pulled pork, cassava puree, parsnip chips, radishes and sprouts
  • Pavé (large Brazilian tiramisu cake) with caramel sauce, cookies and cream ice cream, whipped cream (uncomfortably full after this big meal, not happy and not confident. Ice cream was good portion but dessert cake was just too large.)

Another day, another omelet, this time served with cauliflower rice and spinach.

Working at the library on an early Monday morning 🙂

I found myself in a post by the University of Waterloo for International Women’s Day! This was pretty cool.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 9.36.02 PM

Life around campus at the University of Queensland. One day, I am definitely going to try one of their famed pizzas. The one I want to try is the vegetarian four seasons, which means the four quarters of the pizza have different toppings. It sounds so good!

I went to the Milton Farmer’s Market on one Sunday morning. It was truly a beautiful day. Next time I go to the market, I want to try the mini Dutch pancakes. There was also a mushroom vendor who was cooking up some mushroom dishes, and it smelled divine!

I’m still in love with cauliflower rice, veggies, and halloumi. I decided not to buy halloumi yesterday, though, considering I’d been chomping on halloumi like a fiend for the last month.

Another day, I had yogurt with raspberries and macadamia nuts (roasted with honey), plus chocolate coconut roughs. This was following a great lunch of cauliflower rice with spinach, topped with carrot pancakes.

Menus for places that I want to go! Okay, I did go to Fogata Latin Cuisine already. But next on my list are Mu’ooz, an Eritrean restaurant, and Abode Cafe, which is famous for their ham and cheese toastie (The Dulcie). Golden sourdough, mango sauce, Gruyère – this sounds incredible.

Another day, I picked up some tarts from the farmers market and devoured them alongside a veggie mix. This was so, so good. I love Portuguese tarts and the flakiness of their crust; plus, these fillings were so fresh. They went perfectly with the simple veggies.

  • 1 Portuguese chicken and herb pastry, 1 Portuguese goat cheese, walnut and honey pastry, cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, Manchego cheese

I’ve been experimenting with different filters. They all take on a slightly different look depending on how much light is coming into my room, depending on the time of day. Which one is best?

One assignment that I am working on is about pureed vegetables in baked goods, as an increased veggie intake, among other things, will improve the health of people with chronic kidney disease (hence the kidneys in the background). This is for my health psychology class, where we look at various theories for health interventions.

Last but not least, my weekend plans. I ended up taking a long walk instead of going to Perrin Park’s fitness program, and skipping a few bakeries on Sunday because I purchased way too many at Chouquette (ate them all yesterday without taking pics!). On the right? One of my sister’s best roasts. She always cracks me up. Another 99 days until I reunite with my favourite loser.

That’s pretty much… it… for today. I wish I had something better, cooler, more exciting. But I don’t. Have a beautiful week ✌️

Black Garlic Dessert Bread?!

Good morning, everyone! Today’s a crazy rainy day, and the next few days in Brisbane aren’t looking much better. It’s 24 degrees, and just pouring. We have thunderstorms planned for the next few days – until next Thursday. What a disappointment!

Anyways, this week was my first week of school, and I loved it. Here you can see the schedule that I had for the first week. I had to dip out of a lot of yoga/fitness classes because I didn’t feel like going. Getting there is always half the battle! And, unfortunately, I sometimes lose that battle.Schedule (13)In light of all the events that have happened over the last couple of weeks over in the US, this tweet really stood out to me. What powerful words. I’ve been following the incredibly articulate, thoughtful, patriotic, and compassionate students of Stoneman Douglas High School since the event, and every day I am impressed by the momentum they’ve gained. What an incredible group of young leaders.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 3.54.29 PM

Here are some of my class notes! I am taking four courses this semester, and they are:

  1. BIOL3009: Arthropods and Human Health
  2. SOCY2179: Sex, Drugs, and Disease
  3. SWSP2211: Individual Development and Health Care
  4. PSYC3132: Health Psychology

I don’t know if I have a favourite yet, because they all differ from each other quite a bit. I am trying to link the courses together as I work through the material. For instance, in Individual Development (a Sociology course), we discuss marginalized populations and how people in third-world countries are susceptible to diseases such as malaria. Then, in my Arthropods course, we discuss the mechanisms behind malaria, and how exactly it is transmitted.

I am getting a personal trainer! I felt that it was more “worth it” to get a 10-class personal training class rather than a fitness pass. Starting Tuesday, I’ll be working with a lovely woman called Amy to meet some fitness goals. On the right side, you’ll see my academic to-do list. I’ve only been in school for a week and there’s already plenty to be done! I love it.

I don’t have much stuff in my room, so it isn’t too hard to keep it tidy.

L: Here is one of my lecture classrooms. I really like it because it isn’t extraordinarily big. The entire classroom will seat about forty students, so I think that’s just right.

R: Toowong Village is the local mall. I love this place!

Some eats:

  • broccoli, cauliflower rice, squash, tomatoes, red pepper, cheddar and gruyere, 1 fried egg, 4 pieces fried halloumi

And again:

  • cauliflower rice, squash, 6 pieces fried halloumi

Some things that I really want to make include crepes with brie, apple, and turkey (or flatbreads, using the same ingredients), stuffed peppers, or spaghetti squash with veggies and cheese.

I did end up making something like that, using a hearty whole grain bun from Baker’s Delight, creamy brie, and some sliced turkey.

  • 1 medium cucumber, truffle dip, smoked salmon dip
  • 1 whole wheat grain bun, 4 medium slices turkey, 1/2 triangle of brie

Deliciousness – one for dessert, and one for breakfast. I recently discovered how tasty it is to crumble up a LARABAR and serve it on yogurt. Love this!

  • plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR, 2 squares nougat chocolate
  • plain Greek yogurt, 2 peaches, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR

One afternoon, I visited a restaurant called Gauge. When I looked at the menu previously, I was 99% sure that I wanted the cavatelli, cashew cream, zucchini, black garlic dish. However, upon speaking to one of the kind waitresses, who recommended the pan-fried mahi-mahi with caramelized cream, tomato, and dill, I changed my mind. This was good, but not worth $32. I was also surprised by the very long wait (surprising, because I normally dine alone so food comes to me quite quickly) of approximately 40 minutes and the little serving size. Was expecting… a little more for $32 – at least some bread or greens on the side.

IMG_6632

For dessert, I had a very unique dish: the black garlic bread with brown butter, burnt vanilla. It sounds weird. It was weird. I’ll try my best to describe this:

  • First of all, I’ve never tasted ANYTHING quite like this. It was like the time that I tried mushroom ice cream at the Sunshine Coast – I didn’t have any expectations, but was full of curiosity.
  • This had the texture of banana bread, but a little less ‘crumbly’. As if it were a banana bread crossed with a yeast bread. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to crumble this between my fingers – I’d have to tear it. Perhaps the texture was like a banana bread made with oil rather than butter.
  • The flavour was sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Of course, I had the rich brown butter on the side. The cake itself was a bit like a toffee or date cake in flavour, with rich notes of garlic.
  • The garlic flavour didn’t really shine through until after each bite, when you get a garlicky aftertaste. Black garlic, to me, tastes just like regular garlic.
  • Definitely an interesting experience. Do I regret ordering it? Not at all. I finished every crumb on the plate, and kind of wanted more. But would I order it next time? No.

I had the opportunity to attend a cool convention called the Mind Body Spirit convention, where there were hundreds of vendors selling things like essential oils, yoga mats, yoga attire, turmeric, vegan treats, and so much more. I saw lots of unique things like pumpkin seed meal, and vegan coconut-cashew ice cream (which I got a delicious sample of). It was a lovely experience, though most of the products were too expensive. Yoga mat for $150? No… I’ll stick to my $5 mat, thank you.

Brisbane is so lovely. Every time I come to the South Bank and West End area, I am bewildered by the beautiful buildings and sunshine. It’s so nice to live near a river.

Another day, another yogurt snack. I love these! This time, it was a chopped pear on Greek yogurt with a crumbled peanut butter LARABAR.

Also, I just realized later this week we’ll be in March. WHAT!?

For dinner one day, I went to A Night in India (they do takeout as well, but I’m so glad I didn’t do takeout because I wouldn’t have had the DESSERT), where I devoured a bowl of palak paneer. Palak paneer is hands-down my favourite Indian dish, ever. I love it. The spices, the creamy-but-firm cheese, the rich sauce and the spinach. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life! Alongside – some saffron rice and a big garlic and cheese naan. This dinner was one of the highlights of my week.

Dessert, of course, was just as stunning. Get this, my friends: a chocolate haven cake on a sizzling pan (literally, the chocolate was sizzling). Oozing with milk chocolate from TWO layers, which became warm and gooey on the sizzling pan, and topped with dark chocolate ganache. Vanilla bean ice cream on the side. As I was eating this, I was so mindful to savour every bite, and I’m pretty sure I went to heaven?! This was unbelievable. Easily one of the top three desserts I have ever eaten. It was amazing, and words just don’t do it justice.

IMG_6694

Finally, a huge spider web I saw (!) and my new, updated class schedule. This is the one I’ll be sticking to, from now on, because it includes lectures and tutorials.

That is… pretty much it for today, friends ❤ I hope you all have a lovely, lovely rest of the week.

The Tiniest Asparagus

Hello! Lately, my agenda has been full of exciting activities. This week is O-Fest, which means there are plenty of introductory sessions that welcome students to the University of Queensland. Next week, it is CONNECT Week, so there are free fitness sessions and other activities designed to help students find friends with common interests. You can see my trusty planner (a kind gift from my sister, Seline) along with my morning cheddar scrambled eggs with mushrooms. Also, my laptop stand is truly a gift!

I got to see some cool animals. Check out this dwarf crocodile, which is ten years old, and this male owl. I had the opportunity to pet both of them, and they are really cute. This was organized by the QUEST Society at UQ. QUEST stands for the Queensland University Exchange Student Society.

The UQ campus is really beautiful, complete with museums (art, geology, and more), a Great Court, and so much more. I love it. Even though I get lost on an hourly basis.

There’s a grocery store called Fruity Capers in the local mall, and they sell the most amazing little vegetables I’ve ever seen. Check out these teeny tiny asparagus, which were about the length of my wrist to fingertips. They are so cute, and cooked in a minute. I put them in my scrambled eggs, which you can see below. I like these tiny asparagus more than large (regular?) asparagus, because they don’t have stalky ends and cook much quicker.

Another afternoon, I happened to pass a place called Noosa Chocolate Factory. They are famous for a massive selection single origin, single plantation & blended slabs delivered fresh daily from the Noosa Chocolate Factory, fine specialty coffee, and rustic hot chocolates. Of course, I had to try one of their renowned drinks! The 35-degree temperature, however, gave me the opportunity to try their iced chocolate drink. This one, which was 56% cocoa, was sweet-but-not-overly-sweet, icy, and had such a rich chocolate taste. No phony stuff here!

In other words, I’m in love. Can I live here? And eat chocolate for the rest of my semester?

Afterwards, I went for a little stroll around this lovely area of Brisbane. There were plenty of souvenir shops, and I loved looking at the lit-up bridges as I walked down the river.

At this grocery store, there are always fresh fruit samples. Next time, I want to try their homemade banana bread! Banana bread is, and always will be, one of my weaknesses. I just want to toast it up and smother it all in peanut butter.

On Friday, I had a day off! No orientation events, no classes, no commitments, nothing. The day before, I created a detailed plan of activities and events that I wanted to attend, but when Friday rolled around, I was so tired (and hot!) that I didn’t want to do anything. I ended up relaxing at home, cooking, and spending time in the downtown area.

IMG_6258

More eats:

  • 2 plates of buffet food: coleslaw, pasta salad, goat cheese spinach salad, melon, cheese, carrots, gratin potatoes, omelet with squash, onion, vegetables, roasted squash and sweet potatoes, crispy fried pita bread (a wonderful Chinese New Year feast with my landlord’s family)

  • breakfast on the bottom right:
    • 2 scrambled eggs with broccoli, cheddar and gruyere
    • vanilla Greek yogurt with 1/2 container blueberries, 1/3 packet pecan butter

I spent the next day strolling around one of my favourite parts of the city, and had the opportunity to visit Morning After Cafe. My dish was absolutely spectacular, and I added halloumi on the side. I’m in love with halloumi!

  • red pepper, eggplant, and onion sauté, cucumber with labneh and dill, fried egg, halloumi, paprika oil

Dessert at Gelato Messina was quite eventful. Their menu was enormous, and you can get three scoops of three flavours in one cup. How could I resist that? After sampling a few, I decided on:

  • 1 scoop pistachio praline, 1 scoop white chocolate hazelnut, 1 scoop milk chocolate peanut butter fudge gelato

All together in a large-sized cup, this dessert was an absolute dream. To be honest, the flavours were on the sweeter side (thanks to the white chocolate, praline, and fudge), and I would’ve preferred the sweetness to be dialled down a little. Nonetheless, delicious!

Few things from recently:

  • This beautiful post by Bucket List Tummy discusses reasons why one should never diet, and is worded in such a clear, inspiring, beautiful way.
  • One of my favourite pairs figure skating teams (Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany) won the event. I was super happy because their performance was flawless, and this was Aliona’s fifth and final Olympics. Are you following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea? Which events are you interested in?
  • 56 different names for sugar – interesting!

That is pretty much all I have for today. I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

Taiwan, Cambodia, Macau | Trip Summary

Coquitlam, Canada

Early January, my sister and I did some hilarious (i.e. stupid) things, and I got an eyelash perm. I also packed up my travel bag with plenty of homemade baked goods, books, popcorn, and info sheets with health tips. Read more, and find more photos, here.

Taipei, Taiwan

Before I knew it, we were in Taipei after a twelve-hour flight. Though most of the first days were uneventful (we had errands to run), it was exhilarating to be back in Asia, and I loved browsing the markets. Read more about it here.

One of the highlights of my time in Taiwan? We visited a famous Taiwanese breakfast house, where I tried savoury soy milk, and ate egg pancakes, “shao bing”, Chinese crullers, and more. We also visited a temple, some old friends, and had a seafood meal with my two of my six great-aunts. I also got a massive taro ice cream (hands-down one of my favourite ice cream flavours, next to pistachio and chocolate-hazelnut). Then, we flew to Cambodia! Read more about it here.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In Cambodia, we arrived at our hotel in Phnom Penh. I loved our hotel room, and the restaurant downstairs, where I enjoyed baked snails, risotto, and other incredible dishes. Dipping my toes into the pool was so special, and then we headed to an authentic Cambodian restaurant. Read more about it here.

We spent one sunny morning at the Royal Palace, where we took some of my favourite photos. I also enjoyed the lunch we ate at Daughters of Cambodia, a café that trains young women trapped in the sex industry. Then, we visited the beautiful National Museum. Read more about it here.

At Khéma, a stunning French restaurant, the three of us enjoyed a spectacular meal. I also loved taking photos outside our hotel, in the beautiful, yet busy, streets of Phnom Penh. We visited a market in the morning and had a lovely brunch together. Read more about it here.

Dad and I visited Wat Phnom, a Buddhist temple built in 1372 to mark the centre of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. There were so many photograph-able places. In the afternoon, we took a tuktuk to a Cambodian restaurant, and I saw a little gecko in the bathroom! Read more about it here.

Our last day in Phnom Penh involved another visit to Daughters of Cambodia, some time by the hotel pool, and tasty tapas. After a breakfast buffet in the hotel, we took a six-hour bus ride to Siem Reap, a city in Northern Cambodia. We ate an unforgettable seven-course meal at EMBASSY, a French restaurant with a Cambodian twist. Read more about it here.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Finally, I got to check off “Angkor Wat and Angkor Archaeological Park” from my bucket list! We woke up at 4:00 AM to buy tickets and watch the sunrise. Despite a torrential downpour, I was thrilled and amazed to get a glimpse into these legendary temples surrounded by forest. Read more about it here.

The next morning, Dad and I did some exploration before enjoying breakfast at the hotel. I tried jackfruit for the first time, before we completed Angkor Archaeological Park’s Grand Circuit, visiting temples in the outskirts. This was one of my favourite days of the trip, and made me realize that I’d love to visit more historical world heritage sites. Read more about it here.

Kep, Cambodia

After a final meal in Siem Reap, we took a night bus back to Phnom Penh, had breakfast at our old hotel in Phnom Penh, and took a three-hour to Southern Cambodia, where we enjoyed our time in a resort in Kep. We completed a short hike in Kep National Park, and I had the best fish dish with spicy garlic coconut sauce. After brunch the following morning, Dad and I visited Bokor National Park, where we saw the Old Palace (built by French settlers prior to 1920). Read more about it here.

Since Kep is famous for their peppercorns and fresh crab, we took advantage of the situation to devour plenty of prawns, crab, and fish! I loved wandering around our resort, where there were plenty of bright, colourful plants to photograph. One afternoon, Dad and I visited the caves of Kampong Trach, which was a little disappointing since they were dry (it is dry season), and there was no waterfall. I also made a list of things I had the opportunity of eating for the first time in Cambodia. Soon, our Cambodia adventure was over, and we found ourselves back in Taipei. Read more about it here.

Macau, China

A trip to the night market kicked off our one-day stay in Taipei, and then we were off to Macau, the City of Dreams. We ate a scrumptious dinner at Bene, an Italian Restaurant near Sheraton, our hotel. I also made the mistake of ordering (and solo-eating) two large desserts. 10/10 would do it again, though. The next day, I had a delicious quiche before a lovely spa treatment, and we had dinner at the famous Din Tai Fung. Read more about it here.

Delicious buffet meals and incredible dim sum were enjoyed in Macau, and we had the opportunity to see some wonderful performances. I also got to do the Sky Walk on Macau’s highest tower! Read more about it here.

Taipei, Taiwan

During the last few days I spent in Taiwan, I enjoyed a variety of night market treats, had a tasty meal with family, and watched The Death Cure. Read more about it here.

On one plane ride, I had the opportunity to compile a list of tips for those travelling with elderly parents or grandparents. Like I mentioned in that post, many special memories were created during our trip to Cambodia, and I gained a valuable appreciation for my grandfather. Most importantly, the time that we spent together was a gift that I will cherish for a lifetime. Read more about it here.

Then we were back home! 🏡