48 Hours in Sydney

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After spending a week in Perth, Australia for the Eat Drink Blog conference, I knew I’d be connecting back through Sydney and everyone in my life told me I’d be crazy not to spend some time there. As it happened, I had recently signed up for an American Express Starwood card that came with 25,000 points—or I’d earned them or something—and I could use those points to stay at the Westin in the Central Business District for three nights. So, in other words, I could stay in Sydney for three nights totally for free or just go straight back to America. Duh: I chose to see Sydney.

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I Ate Bugs at Billy Kwong

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Let me start by saying that the dish you see above is not an actual dish served at Billy Kwong, the Chinese-Australian restaurant in Sydney where I ate my first meal after the five hour flight from Perth. It’s a dish that the manager hastily assembled at the end of an incredible dinner (one shared with my old friend and neighbor, Ameer) to allow us to sample the various bugs used as garnishes and flavor-enhancers for a panoply of dishes we didn’t get to try. Do not, by any means, be scared off by that plate. Instead, let me seduce you with the food we did eat before we get back to the bugs at the end.

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Farewell To Perth: Hawker Markets, Eat Drink Blog, A Food Truck Party, Aisuru Sushi, Flipside Burgers & Taiwanese Dessert

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My sense of time is totally warped. I flew back from Sydney yesterday, leaving Thursday morning and arriving in L.A. on Thursday morning, five hours earlier than when I left. Today might be Friday but it also might not be Friday, I’m really not sure. All I know is that after visiting Fremantle last week, I had a few more days in Perth before going to Sydney on Monday (or was it really Monday?) This is an account of everything that I did in that time.

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Let’s Go To An Australian Supermarket!

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All right, class, find your buddy and take them by the hand…we’re going on a class trip to Australia to check out an Australian supermarket!

Surely there are better reasons to go to Australia, like the Sydney Opera House or kangaroos or Olivia Newton John, but as a lover of food and food shopping and grocery stores, I was fascinated to go into a mainstream grocery store today to see how it differed from its American cousins. And the one that I chose, Cole’s, was a perfect choice because it couldn’t have been more conventional. It is to Sydney what D’Agastino’s is to New York and Ralph’s is to California. It’s where normal people go to shop and, because of that, it’s easier to compare the differences. So hop into my cart and let’s see what there is to see.

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Sayers Food, Jerry’s Oysters, Print Hall, An Indigenous Tour, Fremantle Markets & Little Creatures

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Let me tell you about Cory Gale. When Eat Drink Blog (the Australian food blog conference) decided they wanted me to be their featured speaker this year in Perth they partnered up with Cory Gale of Experience Perth to help plan my trip. All of these adventures I’ve been sharing with you so far have been dreamed up by Cory and what’s made them all so lovely–even the ones I was dreading (helicopter, speed boat)–has been Cory’s genuine enthusiasm for his city. He loves Perth and, even more, he loves sharing his love for Perth with other people. Here he is at breakfast sharing his enthusiasm for a mushroom omelet with truffles.

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Heli to Rotto, Biking The Island, Quokkas, The Rottnest Express, A Beach Lunch and A Colombian Dinner

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The truth about my trip to Australia is that, until I boarded the flight over here, I hadn’t really thought about what it was that I expected to get out of the trip. Of course, just coming here was going to be enriching and exciting, but what specific thing did I hope to take away? And then it dawned on me as I studied my itinerary; Australians are daring, they just get up and do things and don’t think twice about it. And so the activities planned for Wednesday (yesterday) would be the perfect opportunity for me to let go of my neurotic New York Woody-Allen-like qualities and become a Paul Hogan, a Steve Irwin, a Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It all began with a helicopter.

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Eating Swan Valley, Bushtucker, Makin’ Nougat, Lunch at Houghton Wines and Kanga Bangas on the Beach

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Today was a day so filled with food and information about food I’m not sure what’s more likely to burst: my belly or my brain. Before I take you along on my first Perth adventure, here’s something I learned from my new Australian friends: Australians like to abbreviate words to make them easier to say. So they wouldn’t call me Adam here, they’d call me “Ads.” A fireman is a “firey,” a relative is a “relly,” breakfast is “brekky.” Got it? So let’s get started on this posty.

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Flying to Australia, Qantas Food, The Sydney Airport, Hello Perth and Dinner at Lalla Rookh

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I can’t believe I’m about to do what I’m about to do. After 26 hours of travel (with 20 hours of flying), I’m finally in my hotel room capable of going to bed–it’s 7:52 PM on Monday night in Perth, it’s 3:53 AM Sunday night/Monday morning in Los Angeles–and here I am editing pictures and writing a blog post about everything that’s happened so far. I must be mad! But no, readers, I do this for you…because I figure if I’m going to have an adventure to Australia, you should get to hear all about it. So let’s start with the lentil soup.

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