Posts Tagged ‘trip’

20
Jul
2009

Paris Days


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Côte de boeuf, gratin dauphinois, marrow!

Most days it seems like it didn’t happen. It was an aeon ago and I was a different person then. So many things have changed now. I had grand schemes of coming home and writing up my adventures in luscious flowing prose that would transport you all to the exact cafe I was standing in when I ordered my first coffee, or to the crepe vendor who rolled my first real Parisian crepe. Picturing the look of intense fascination on my face as nimble hands carefully poured a thin layer of batter to the hot plate, smoothed it over, flipped it gently, and applied a generous helping of nutella before folding corner over corner and handing it to me without pomp or ceremony. Imparting the feeling that it was truly something special, not because it was the most amazing thing I’d ever eaten, but because for once I wasn’t living someone else’s experiences. It was me, and I was there.

Of course the natural thing happened. I came home, got back to the reality of work and life in Perth, and besides a few lazy uploads of photos, didn’t ever expand on the great time I had, the people I met, or the scenes of Parisian life I had acted out before me on a daily basis.

Which is indeed a great shame, because as short as my time was in Paris, I feel like I squeezed every little bit out of it that I possibly could. And I still think back very fondly of my time spent wandering aimlessly down Rue’s and Boulevards and trudging through Jardins… Being asked for directions by other hapless travellers and the occasional local, and being laughed at by old ladies who realised I was completely lost.

I could tell you about Berthillon ice cream and sorbet, drinking many a caraf of Provençal Rosé, street side crepe vendors of every description, duck confit, tart tartin, roasted Camembert drizzled with honey and slices of apple, steak tartare, bone marrow, cheap but expensive champagne at the top of the Eiffel tower (that I didn’t order), macarons, jamon sandwiches, foie gras shops, wild dogs, being bored out of my mind in the Louvre, loving the Pompidou. Being taken to dinner by famous food writers to 200 year old brasseries.

I could also go on about the providence and connective powers of the internet. How friends across the other side of the world put me in touch with lovely local dining companions, suggested restaurants for me to try, and showed me some of the hidden sights of this city that holds so much potential.

But really, the images can speak for themselves. So please have a look through my little slice of the life Parisien.

09
Oct
2008

Destination London

Tags: , ,
Posted in Travel

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Heathrow is like a seething mass of frustration the size of football field concentrated in an area the size of grapefruit. We are the last in a long line of planes to be given permission to land, joining the end of what at first glance is an impossibly long queue. I text my friend Amanda, making sure she’s aware that even though I said I’d be arriving at around 7, there is no way I’ll be out of this room til 9. She is… She’s been there and done that, and so I wait. Sure enough 1 and half hours later, with a determined look of enjoyment to be here still desperately clinging to my face, I emerge.

Amanda finds me a Tesco’s muesli bar in the bottom of her handbag and I devour it in 3 bites. Welcome to London she says.

Don’t worry, it gets better :)

24
Jun
2008

The Wines of Margaret River

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Are good. As a group of good friends and I discovered this past weekend at a birthday weekender down in this glorious little wine region with such a big reputation. Of course I’ve liked Margaret River wines for a long time, but perhaps didn’t have a full appreciation for the beauty and finesse of good Cabernet and Chardonnay.

Specifically the Cabernet from Moss Wood, where we were given a great tour by wine maker Josh Bahen (cheers Max!) and had a chance to try some of the blended 07 Cabernet, and unblended batches of the 08 Cabernet Sauvignon. A great experience and also a learning opportunity for most of us (well some of us, who weren’t trying to get drunk by 11am).

Of course, it is hard to maintain an air of sophisticated wine appreciation when you are being chauffeured around the place in a limousine while wearing novelty hats… but I think we almost managed to pull it off.

Other stand outs were the Grenache from Moss Brothers, the 07 Chardonnay and 05 Cabernet from Hay Shed Hill, 07 Riesling from Clairault, 04 Cape Grace Cabernet, and 07 Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Of course the region is not just about Cabernet and Chardonnay. It’s increasingly becoming know for producing excellent Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc blends, and there are many a great drinking Shiraz to be found as well.

If you haven’t been for a tour and you live in W.A… shame on you :)

17
Jun
2008

Europe Bound

London skyline
Photo used courtesy of Vemma

The adventures of Matt & Sharon continue. This time internationally.

So my lovely eldest sister recently announced that she was getting married. She’s been living in the UK for the past 6 years now, and despite the fact that she’s developed a terrible generic Southern pommy accent, we still love her dearly and were very excited when the news came through.

What that means of course, is that it necessitates us flying over there. Something that has long been on the agenda, but has perhaps needed a kick up the bum like this to initiate. I am of course, the king of procrastination.

So the date is set for the 20th of September. We’ll be flying over a little beforehand and are going to dip our toes in the cultural sea that is Europe (specifically France and a little of my ancestral homeland Ireland), before livin it large in London for as long as our money holds out (not long).

I’m also charged with the job of being the wedding photographer on the day, and helping to coordinate the reception dinner menu (and I’m thinking of taking a marriage celebrants short course in case I need to step in for the priest on the day).

This henceforth is the post for anyone with knowledge of London, Paris, Dublin, and the greater European / British land mass, to share and inform me of the absolutely must go to places, restaurants, markets, pubs, bistros, schlocky tourist spots, and ridiculously overpriced celebrity filled cocktail bars.

Also if anyone on the other side of planet can give me an idea of what is fresh and seasonal in the UK in September, I’d greatly appreciate it.

08
Oct
2007

September : The Month that Was

Everlastings

So I am still alive. And in lieu of writing one of those smarmy posts about how busy I’ve been and how I should be posting more but am too tired/lazy/incontinent and how I’ve also been recovering from surgery, mourning my cat that just died, and trying to fix my broken computer… I thought I’d just go back and revisit the month that was September, and a few of the more meaningful events that happened. As always, in pictoral form… because we all know that a pictures worth a thousand words (unless of course you’re an editor, then they’re worth bugger all).

Corrigin Wildflowers

It was back to the country to help my parents out at the 2007 Corrigin Agricultural Society Show. The bouncy castle was getting a severe workout, the arts and crafts and tractor rides were in fine form, and in a little tent on the corner of the football oval, we had a mobile cafe set up churning out countless coffee’s and delectable treats to locals and visiting dignitary’s (Nicky Windmar and (Federal MP and all round hard head) Wilson Tuckey).

After the hectic pace of the show, we took a little time to relax and enjoy the peaceful nothingness that is the wheatbelt in the springtime. A short trip out of town to the dog cemetary for some sombre reflection, before checking out the wildflower drive, which had Sharon nearly hyperventilating in a state of flower induced frenzy.

Birthday Partays

Then it was back to big smoke for party shenanigans. Sharon and I have birthdays which are two days apart. So a semi tradition is forming whereby we group all of our friends into one big basket, and force them to pretend to get along while I drunkenly mingle my way around everyone. This seems to work out pretty well most years, and this year was no different. A great turn out of friends new and old came down to Must Wine Bar (the only wine bar in Perth I would consistently rate) and had a great night of food and drinks and laughs and the occasional puff on a Davidoff cigarillo.

Pre-drinks eating was done at the one and only Suraj, the simplest and best Indian I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a long time (If you haven’t been there before, go soon, he’ll be closing down soon), before moving a few doors down to Must for Yering Station Pinot (thanks Manda), Pandalowie Tempranillo (cheers Christretto), Armagnac (what were you thinking Ben ??), and who knows what else…

Thanks to all the lovely people who came out and made it a great night for both Sharon and I. Boo’s and Hisses to anyone who bailed :)

In other news I may have had another coffee article in the Spring edition of the excellent Spice Magazine (which was in fact excellent before I started writing for it, and I’m not just saying that now because I am, although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt). It’s about the transition from instant coffee drinker, to espresso aficionado. If that kind of thing sounds interesting, please go and pick up a copy, or even better, buy a subscription !

Oh, and I also joined a gym… food blogging is not without it’s pit falls.