Australia Eats

So I’m on a 23 day honeymoon right now. And I’m eating like I was starved for the 23 days before this trip. Byeeeee eating Paleo healthy!

Being foodies, my husband and I love to experience new restaurants, from the very cheap to the fine dining. To find the best, we (ahem, I) search TripAdviser, Google reviews, and local websites to find the city’s favorites.

Here were our most loved restaurants in Sydney and the Whitsunday Islands.

Sydney!

Sydney is a mecca of shopping, food, history, beaches, walking, and of course, the famous Sydney Opera House. It reminds me a little of New York with it’s tourist haven, bustling streets and a little bit of San Diego sunny, surfing, beach vibe. It’s truly the best of both worlds. We toured here for six days and stuffed ourselves every day on food, wine, coffee, and selfies.

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Ume Burger http://www.umeburger.com @umeburger

I don’t normally eat burgers, but this one was absolutely worth it. Fresh buns, perfectly cooked meats, delicious sauces, and unusual combinations like Pork Katsu Burger with Tonkastu sauce. What’s Tonkatsu? No idea. But it’s deeeeelicious. While ketchup is available on request, you’re not going to want it. These burgers are saucy, perfectly crispy, mouth-watering, and diet-ruining worthy.

Eat: The Katsu Burger with added spicy cod roe mayo.

Bring: Your adventurous tastebuds. Not ketchup.

Bangaroo House www.barangaroohouse.com.au @#bangaroohouse

Fish Wings? Yes. These are a thing in Australia, made of the thick side fins of a barramundi. The fish wings at Bangaroo House were salty, crispy, hot, and deeeeeelicious. The House seasons the wings with course sea salt, and we ate every little flake!

Eat: The Fish Wings paired with a crisp, New Zeland Sauvignon Blanc. Make sure you get what we called the “dark meat” right under the fin.

Bring: extra salt. Just kidding. Bring water!

Sydney Fish Market http://www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au/home @sydneyfishmarket

The Sydney Fish Market is exactly what it sounds like and more. Fresh, local fish is brought in daily and, for a little extra, they cook it for you right there! Rock Lobster is the favorite here, which I bought for about $55 USD plus about $12 USD to steam in ginger and scallion sauce. The market also has fresh oysters, a wine bar, fried everything, crabs, shrimp, gelato, and a full grocery market. The market reminded me of Pike Place in Seattle plus fresh food and plenty of benches to enjoy the fresh fishy flavors.

Eat: The Rock Lobster! And sing the song. Obviously.

Bring: A bottle or two of local white wine, or buy a bottle at the wine bar along with a $2 cup (yes, $2).

Danjee Korean BBQ Resraurant www.danjee.com.au

Ok. People. Seriously. If you’re into Korean BBQ, this is the place to be. And if you haven’t tried it yet, get on that train now. Danjee has unique meats that I haven’t seen elsewhere- even in Korea. The local favorite features an outdoor setting where you can cook the meat yourself or inside where they cook it for you. Trust me, cook the meat yourself to that crispy, medium-rare perfection. Our favorite was what we call the “beef roll”, which is rib meat wrapped around a tasty, large rib bone. And, of course they had all the delicious condiments like picked radishes, fermented kimchi, sesame paste, and soy cabbage to wrap in shiso leaves with your perfectly cooked meat.

Eat: The beef rollie thing. They’ll know what you mean.

Bring: Additional napkins and wear clothes that you’re ok if they smell like barbecued meat for a few days. Cause they will.

Whitsunday Islands!

The Whitsundays are where Australia stores its Great Barrier Reef, exclusive resorts, sailing adventures, and Trip Advisor’s 17th most beautiful beach: Whitehaven Beach. We stayed in the quaint little beach town of Airlie, which is central to all activities, backpacking hostels and full of wild Cockatoos (who will gladly eat all your crackers). Food and wine were abundant and we were pleasantly surprised by the fresh ingredients, local watering holes, and the fine dining.

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Fish D’Vine www.FishDVine.com.au

This was, by far, the BEST crab I’ve even eaten. And living in San Francisco, I’ve eaten a lot. The restaurant serves fresh, locally sourced crabs and has Australia’s best rum bar. They boast “The Whitsundays on a Plate” and they are right. Their signature dish is a “mud crab”, which I loosely translate to a crab cooked to perfection in a delicious, soupy sauce and comes with a side of rice. What’s also incredible about this place is that they make their own delicious curry, which is no easy feat. We left happy, full, and a little tipsy thanks to Sauvignon Blanc and fresh mojitos.

Eat: The Thai Chili Mud Crab

Bring: A converter from kilos to pounds. They sell their crab by weight and no one in America understands the metric system.

Bohemian Raw Cafe www.bohemianraw.com.au @bohemianraw

Ok, I know this is a photo of their cups and not the actual coffee, but (a) you can imagine how delicious this coffee is but (b) you wouldn’t believe how perfectly charming this cafe is. The cafe is situated in the Abell Point Marina where our JetSki and Sailing adventures were. Side note: Whitsunday JetSki Tours and Providence Sailing were superb. One being adventurous and the other relaxing. I bet you can guess which one is which. Back to the cafe: their delicious coffee is served in an outdoor setting overlooking the islands and ocean. The breeze, fancy cups, and amazing coffee kept us coming back each day.

Eat: I mean, coffee. Duh.

Bring: A pillow. You could really stay all day with a nice nap outside.

Treehouse www.airlietreehouse.com @airliebeachtreehouse

Ok, again I don’t have a picture of the actual food. But this setting was so much our favorite that we ate here twice. Which says a lot, given this little town has a ton to offer by way of beachside cafes. $16 USD pork belly burgers and a beer kept our mouths watering and visiting this lagoon-side, open-aired restaurant.

Eat: Pork belly burgers, fried squid (aka calamari in American speak) and a crisp beer.

Bring: A book. You’re going to want to stay here a while.

Fat Frog Beach Cafe @fatfrogbeachcafe

If my husband looks frightened in this photo it’s because he is. He ordered the Fat Frog plate, which is about every delicious meat they serve on the menu. No, he didn’t finish, but yes, it was delicious. Meanwhile, I had a sensible breakfast of poached eggs with labneh and rocket greens (which is similar to our arugula). The cafe is situated on, of course, a beach in Cannonvale, which is a beautiful walk along the boardwalk or an inexpensive taxi ride.

Eat: I mean, everything. But I do recommend the delicious poached eggs with labneh for a unique twist on your normal brekkie.

Bring: An empty stomach if you want that Fat Frog plate!

 

Well, that’s it for our Australia adventures. We are now off to beautiful New Zeland where I’ll be having, yes, even more Savignon Blanc and bringing you suggestions on local, delicious places to eat in NZ!

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Paleo Ice Cream with Thai Inspirations

Clockwise from top: Ginger Rum, Irish Coffee with Whiskey, Mango Coconut

Clockwise from top: Ginger Rum, Irish Coffee with Whiskey, Mango Coconut

I recently took a trip to Thailand where inspiration for flavors and adventures are around each and every corner and usually in unexpected places. The more I explored, the further I travelled, I became pleasantly lost in a country of spices, flavors, curiosities and wonderfully warm people. I took a cooking class from Thai Charm Cooking School, ate homemade spiced chicken and rice on remote islands with Phi Phi Dive Club, bartered for Spices with Joy at the Damnoen Floating Market, drank ginger rum with a french man who made the best American burgers, ate “Angry Birds” sushi, dined at the finest of street food stalls for $3.00 a meal, perused local farmers markets for local fruits and fried whole chickens, and downed my weight in Pad Thai. The flavors and adventures plus birthday present in the form of an ice cream maker inspired me to make “Thai” Ice Cream once I returned home.

Thai Spices from the Floating Markets

Thai Spices from the Floating Markets

Simple ingredients for ice cream

Simple ingredients for Rum Ginger ice cream

Here are the recipes for my Paleo ice cream. Most use a base of Coconut Whole Fat Milk, which you can find in the Asian section of a grocery store and Coconut Creme, which you can find at an Asian specialty stores, Trader Joe’s, or Amazon. Because Amazon has everything. Except Angry Birds sushi.

Ginger Rum Paleo Ice Cream

Ingredients for Ginger Rum ice cream

Ingredients for Ginger Rum ice cream

This Ginger Rum ice cream was inspired by a French man, living in Thailand, who served the most amazing American Meals. I spent my birthday evening there, where we celebrated with newfound friends with burgers, cigars, and the most delicious ginger-infused rum. The rum was made by adding ginger slices and sugar to a bottle of rum and patiently turning the rum bottle on its side for 6 months at a time. Fortunately, this Ice Cream can be made in about 3-4 hours and requires much less patience than ginger rum. Before you start, remember to put your ice cream bowl from your ice cream maker or Kitchen Aid attachment in the freezer overnight to fully freeze!
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Ingredients
1c             Rum (yes, this much – you’re going to burn it off)
2c             full fat coconut milk
1/2 inch   ginger root, cut into small slices
2 tsp         salt
1/2c          brown sugar
1 tbs         vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, bring rum to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know the alcohol is burned off when you take a deep sniff and your nose does NOT have that “omg, alcohol!” reaction. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until the ginger flavor is as strong as you like it. The longer you simmer, the stronger it gets. I simmered about 20 minutes. Remove ginger and cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy!

Mango “Sticky Rice” Ice Cream

Coconut, salt, and mangoes love to hang out together in ice cream!

Coconut, salt, and mangoes love to hang out together in ice cream!

Mango sticky rice is a popular and incredibly delicious dessert from Thailand. This recipe is not Paleo, because condensed & evaporated milk are used in several Thai dishes. In fact, they like these ingredients so much that they are sold in little stands on the side of the road. This recipe uses condensed milk, and it’s worth cheating on any diet for it! 

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Ingredients
2            ripe mangoes
1 1/2 c   coconut full fat milk
1 1/2 c   sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs      vanilla extract
2 tsp      salt
1/2c       brown sugar
raw coconut flakes (I used unsweetened from the health food store)

Peel the mangoes, chop and puree until corse. Add all ingredients except for the raw coconut flakes into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all flavors meld. At this point, you can adjust salt and sugar to taste. Cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

While ice cream base is cooling, toast raw coconut flakes in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until slightly brown. WATCH the coconut carefully. It goes from brown to black in an instant. I know this because I did this. First batch thrown out, second batch watched much more closely!

Perfectly toasted (not burned!) coconut flakes

Perfectly toasted (not burned!) coconut flakes

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy. Top with toasted coconut flakes.

Irish Coffee Paleo Ice Cream

Ingredients for Irish Coffee pale ice cream

Ingredients for Irish Coffee paleo ice cream

Irish Coffees are not what you’d think of when you think of Thailand. But it reminds me of an evening watching World Cup games at midnight at an Irish Bar, who claimed to serve the best Irish Coffees in all of Thailand. I’m not sure the competition was stiff for this challenge, but I am sure that the Irish Coffees were delicious and left a warm memory from Thailand. 

Ingredients
1c          whiskey
1 1/2c    full fat coconut milk
1 1/2c    coconut creme
3 tbs      coffee grounds
1/2c       brown sugar
2 tsp      salt
1 tbs      vanilla extract

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In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, bring whiskey to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know the alcohol is burned off when you take a deep sniff and your nose does NOT have that “omg, alcohol!” reaction. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until the coffee flavor is as strong as you like it. The longer you simmer, the stronger it gets. I simmered about 20 minutes. At this point, you can adjust salt and sugar. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove coffee grounds as they can become bitter. Cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy!

Ice cream mixture just poured into ice cream maker

Ice cream mixture just poured into ice cream maker

Ice cream completed!

Ice cream completed!

Hope you enjoy the Thai-flavored ice creams and let me know if you have questions, comments, or ever want a buddy to travel with in Thailand!

Farmers Market fair, including (from top right) thai chills, curry paste, whole fried chicken, preserved eggs, and Angry Birds sushi

Farmers Market fair, including (from top right) thai chills, curry paste, whole fried chicken, preserved eggs, and Angry Birds sushi

Thai Charm cooking school ingredients and fare

Thai Charm cooking school ingredients and fare

Street food!

Street food!

And don't forget to set your table all pretty

And don’t forget to set your table all pretty

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