A Foodie in Australia
You may have noticed a bit of radio silence this month and I hope you'll forgive me for that. I have a SUPER good excuse.
I went to the other side of the world and practically gorged myself to death.
In the process, I learned some very important tips about being a foodie in the land down under. And I'm going to share them with you because I share EVERYTHING with you.
Well, mostly everything. I'd like to share the ten pounds I probably gained on while on vacation in Australia, but I'm pretty sure science hasn't figured that out yet. Until then, you can gain weight just looking at these pictures.
I KNOW. BUCKLE UP. You're about to be VERY, VERY hungry.
1. Adelaide and Melbourne is where it's at.
If you're interested in eating your way through Australia (and who isn't?), I'd recommend these two cities. They have a hopping foodie scene with a unique, quirky flavor and plenty of hipster attitude.
2. EVERYTHING is bigger in Australia. Even the portion sizes.
Yikes. I seriously needed a second stomach. Who are these people and what sort of metabolism do they use to digest this stuff? Plan on ordering half portions if you can and be aware that small plates are plenty big enough for a meal in most places.
3. Australia has mastered the art of the cocktail.
You can't drink your way through the land down under, but you should definitely try. The hangover is worth it. Australians take their cocktails seriously and the art of bartending is a respected profession. The speakeasy is a popular venue for cocktail theater and they are tucked into Melbourne and Adelaide's back alleys like little, hidden gems.
Here are, in my humble opinion, the best places to sip, savor, and see some of the world's best bars.
At Hains the cocktails aren't on the menu but that's the magical part. Place your trust in the capable hands of these bartenders. Just a few questions about what you like and they'll conjure up some of the best tasting cocktails you've ever experienced.
Do you like whiskey? Good. Because this bar has a carefully curated collection of hundreds of unique single batch whiskeys from independent bottlers. And your bartender knows the nuances of each and every one. Since each bottle is a unique, irreplaceable experience, sip slowly and savor it.
Watching the bartenders at the Everleigh is a pleasure. With the measured precision of professionals, they move behind the bar like poetry in motion. And every drink is carefully balanced, mixed with the kind of expertise it takes years to perfect.
Want a little cocktail theater? Wander on over to Eau de Vie, a charmingly classy little speakeasy tucked into a graffiti-plastered alleyway. Espresso martinis, marshmallow fizz, or popcorn flips. Whatever you've got a hankering for, this bar will produce with dramatic flair.
4. Fusion is Australia's jam
Both Melbourne and Adelaide seem to have mastered the art of melding cultures and ingredients into unique dishes that are out of this world. Busy cities teeming with diversity from all over Asia coupled with incredibly fresh ingredients and seafood makes Australia perfectly suited as a foodie haven.
Here are my recommends for the best eats.
Nibble away for breakfast, brunch, or lunch at this adorable themed restaurant where the emphasis is on making everything taste as if it just came out of the garden. Plus the coffee comes with its own story. Hard to beat that.
This is the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. For real. Asian fusion is a thing at Peel St. and this is some next level black magic foodie voodoo that will live on in my dreams forever. I ate myself into a coma and it was like happiness but better.
You'll have to wait patiently for a seat at this Thai fusion restaurant, but it'll be worth it. I recommend choosing "Feed Me" and just letting them roll plate after plate of the most delectable delightfulness out of the busy as hell kitchen. Best in Melbourne? Yep.
Fancy yourself a Viking? You'll eat like a Nordic God at Mjolner, a themed speakeasy restaurant and bar. Get the bone marrow and when you're done, they'll light it on fire and have you sip whiskey from it. I'M NOT EVEN JOKING. It's a little campy and hella expensive but you're on vacation. Live a little.
The New York Times says these are the best croissants in the world. They're not wrong. Stumble up the quiet alleyway to a small, discretely marked takeout window. You can only get these to go and they close at noon but it's a religious experience you'll be telling your kids about for years.
5. Art is the thing in Australia
I've never had so much fun at art galleries. Okay- part of this may be that I left my kids at home this trip and was finally able to saunter through these museums on my own timetable. Makes ALL the difference in the world.
The Art Gallery of South Australia, although smaller than the national gallery in Melbourne, was definitely my favorite. It's playfully curated and the rooms are themed instead of staged by the period which lends a different flavor to the experience.
Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria is pretty overwhelming and you can definitely get lost for days in the depth and breadth of their collection. It's a little more serious and stiff than Adelaide's though so be prepared to soldier through some of the less interesting displays. Like an entire room devoted to glassware.
And it's not just art galleries. The architecture in Melbourne was pretty impressive, including La Trobe Reading Room in the Victoria State Library, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Yes, I'm still wiping the drool off my chin and dreaming about getting lost in here and never going home.
Melbourne also takes their graffiti pretty seriously and its an iconic fixture of many streets, including stretches of DeGraves and Fitzroy. It's pretty disconcerting to tumble down a labyrinth of graffiti-plastered alley and emerge into beautiful bars and restaurants hidden behind unassuming, rundown facades.
Like most cities in the world, Australian cities are busy, bustliing culture clashes that result in some pretty fantastic artisitc instincts.
6. This is wine country.
It's hard to imagine but some of these vines date back to the early 1800s and Australia has had plenty of time to get this right. Their big claim to wordly fame is the full-bodied Shiraz, but it's worth taking a wine tour just to get a glimpse of the beautiful vineyards and taste the full scope of what valleys like the Barossa have to offer.
I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of the land down under as much as I did. Vacation is a glorious thing most of us just do not do enough of. Here's to more travel and more fun and definitely more food in our collective futures.