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.
On Friday night, after resting in my hotel and recovering from the prison and all of that Fremantle Market food, I headed over to the Twilight Hawker Markets in the CBD which is a phrase Australians use to refer to the “Central Business District” (I’d never heard it before).
As you might be able to tell from that picture, the event was totally, incredibly packed. Swarms of people cued up for bites of Japanese food and Moroccan food and even American BBQ. Here’s another pic.
I ordered the empanada sampler and here’s Matt and Marcella presenting it to me:
This time, I was determined to eat every last bite (the last time these two cooked for me, I was so pooped I could hardly lift the fork). That was easy to do because these were totally delicious:
I can’t remember all the flavors but one had pork and lime (a great combo), one had beef and one had potatoes. Actually those were the three flavors, they just gave me an extra one because I’m nice.
The next day was the whole reason I was in Perth: the Eat Drink Blog conference.
I have to say, this conference was the most perfectly situated of any conference I’ve ever been to; it was hosted at Perth City Farm and there was a farmer’s market right outside the doors of where we were talking about food. There were also roosters:
There were over 100 Australian food bloggers in attendance and I was on three panels: one about food bloggers and restaurants, one about food writing and one about opportunities from food blogging. Here’s the audience looking back at me during my first panel:
And here’s a reverse shot during one of the presentations:
Lunch was an absolutely beautiful buffet catered by European Foods:
The best part was meeting all of the different food bloggers from around Australia. Here are some of them, including my biggest fan (in the striped shirt) Anna of The Littlest Anchovy:
That night, there was a party for all of the food bloggers and panelists in the same location, now filled with food trucks. It was fantastic.
There was pizza:
There was Thai street food:
Here’s wonton shrimp pad Thai made to order:
And Japanese dumplings:
More food bloggers!
That’s The Smiling Foodie on the right in that last pic so called because he smiles a lot.
Even though the food blog conference was the “work” aspect of my trip, it may have been my favorite day because I felt like I was surrounded by like-minded people who really appreciated what I spend my days doing. It was the only context in the world where I could feel a little bit like Mick Jagger (if, as I Tweeted, Mick Jagger surrounded himself with people who take pictures of pastries).
The next day was my first totally free day in Perth. I loved being able to explore the city on my own before leaving for Sydney the next day.
How did I do that? I headed to a charming neighborhood, Northbridge, and ate some sushi at a place called Aisuru Sushi (I tried to eat this chicken and rice dish someone had recommended, but couldn’t find the right address):
Not sure if that picture reveals it, but the day was painfully hot. I was so sweaty and hungry by the time I settled on the sushi place, it could’ve been a can of tuna sitting on a box of Uncle Ben’s and I would’ve been happy. As it was, the sushi was really nice, if not quite excellent:
That woman you see in the picture sliced the avocado with such finesse, I wanted to make a video of her doing it. Instead, I went next door to a book shop and tried to explain an “iced coffee” (in Australia, that often involves ice cream). This was espresso, milk and ice. I was happy:
I was thinking about writing a post about planting yourself at a coffee shop when you travel because it’s such a good way to experience a city. Instead of flitting from place to place, you get to soak in the culture of a specific location, studying the people as they traipse through. This was a great place to do that.
That night, I returned to Northbridge to experience an Australian-style burger at Flipside burgers:
What is an Australian style burger? One that comes with a fried egg and beets:
Let me open it up and show you. See? Beets:
And fried egg:
The patty, unfortunately, was cooked beyond oblivion but everything else was pretty nice. Beets on a burger work well because their earthiness pair well with the beefy flavor of the meat. And a fried egg tastes good on anything.
Walking through the neighborhood afterwards, I spied a Taiwanese dessert place and I was intrigued.
The joint was pretty busy for a place specializing in Taiwanese desserts:
The menu, helpfully, had pictures on it so I ordered this:
And it came out looking beautiful, as you can see at the top of the post. Here’s an Instagram version of that same picture:
I absolutely loved this. The ice in the middle was flavored with a fruit syrup (mango?) that made it taste like a snow cone; surrounding it were all of those legumes, which somehow don’t taste weird in a dessert, and those chewy orange and white bits made with tapioca? Or taro? I don’t know, but each bite was a little bit of an adventure and also really refreshing on such a hot day.
And that, my friends, concludes the Perth portion of my trip. It’s a very charming city, even if it’s not a premiere tourist destination. It reminds me, in that way, of San Diego here in America: people who live there absolutely love it, and if you take the time to go there, you can have a truly excellent time. It’s just that most visitors to America don’t take the time to go there. Same with Perth. But hopefully, through my posts, you’ll consider a trip there the next time you make it to Australia. I hope to get back there, some day.