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There is no denying Kyoto is a beautiful city with amazing old architecture, serene temples and shrines as well as great food and important history. There is always something interesting to see and do – a festival, cherry blossoms, autumn leaves or sprinkling of snow on the old buildings that feels almost magical. Who wouldn’t want to visit? And while Kyoto receives record numbers of over 50 million visitors every year and the main tourist sights like Fushimi Inari, Kinkaku-ji and Arashiyama bamboo forest are crowded you may find yourself asking – is Kyoto worth visiting? It all may, of course, depend on many factors, one of them being your level of anxiety in crowded places. From my experience (visited in 2015 and spent 4 weeks in 2019) it’s all about balance. Kyoto definitely should be on everyone’s itinerary. The only thing I would recommend is to balance out the extremely popular with the less crowded and not so obvious. Here’s my list (in no particular order) of places I found worthwhile. You may want to consider them on your next Kyoto visit. 1. Hike to Kurama-dera Temple Spend a day hiking and visiting temples in the northern mountains of […]

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Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. And while Prague is getting all the attention, Brno (like many other Czech cities and regions) is not getting enough of it. We spent there only a total of 56 hours but let’s be real – most of that time was spent on eating and drinking. And we can say with confidence that Brno makes for a great day trip from Prague for food lovers. 4pokoje Vachova 45/6 https://www.miluju4pokoje.cz/ This restaurant/cafe/bar in one operates almost around the clock and changes (menu and lights) depending on the time of the day. It has a funky design with cool neon lights and the shiny bar area is the main focus. I recommend trying the local beer, homemade lemonades and the Fatty Bun with bacon, cheddar and egg. Whiskey Bar, který neexistuje Gorkého 98/58 http://www.whiskeyprovsechny.cz/ Don’t get discouraged by the word “whiskey” if you’re not a whiskey fan – I’m definitely not a whiskey drinker but really enjoyed the experience. The Whiskey Bar, který neexistuje team created some beautiful cocktails with whiskey that will turn everyone into whiskey lovers. If you don’t know what to order just chat to the friendly bar staff […]

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Náplavka farmers market in Prague wasn’t only a nice Saturday morning activity, it was also a great source of culinary inspiration. After checking out the produce and tasting some things I couldn’t get the beautiful halušky (Czech gnocchi) with smoked bacon and sauerkraut out of my head. It seemed like a perfect comfort food combining all my favourite ingredients. I had a go at recreating it at home but it wasn’t perfect, so I adjusted the recipe and it was a hit. It’s a nicely balanced mix of textures – soft halušky and a bit of crunch from the green onions – and flavours – a bit if sour, slightly sweet and smokey. Goes well with a cold beer. The recipe is very simple, doesn’t require you to have advanced cooking skills and the dish can be made in one pan. Halušky with smoked bacon and sauerkraut Serves 4 200g of sausage 250g of smoked bacon 250g of sauerkraut 500g pack of fresh halušky (or gnocchi if you don’t have access to halušky) 1 small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped Half the sausage lengthwise and cut into 0.5cm slices. Fry in a large […]

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From the warm welcome, beautiful fragrance throughout the hotel to food, drinks and the smallest details – it’s not often that hotels make such an impression on us. We would go back to the Sofitel Singapore City Centre in a heartbeat! Location: Room type: Luxury King with Club Access Price: from $600 The Room The Luxury King room ticks all the boxes in my books. It has everything I always look for – universal power points (not just one by the desk but everywhere), rain shower and a large separate bathtub, coffee machine for the much needed hit of caffeine in the morning, floor to ceiling windows with great views (in this case over Chinatown) and the most comfortable king size bed. I seriously could stay in that room all day – with room service food and a couple of naps in between to sleep off the food coma – but there was so much more to explore in the hotel than just the room. There are also some extras provided with relaxation in mind – a colouring book, bath salt and a shelf over the bathtub with a wine glass slot and “101 ways to live well” book. The […]

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Writing about places I visited recently always makes me hungry for more. Last month, I published a comprehensive review of Santorini which made me literally hungry – I started craving tomato fritters. Once I tried them on the island, I was instantly obsessed. My favourite were those of irregular shape, which were a bit more fluffy and had a doughnut-like dough. Their taste also varied, each restaurant had their own spin on the recipe – some were made using fresh herbs, some, I’m pretty sure, had tomato paste in them. What they all have in common is that they burst with flavour and taste like summer. That’s probably thanks to the small, sweet Santorini tomatoes, which I don’t have access to in Australia but I found some organic cocktail tomatoes that do the trick. It’s enough to bring back memories. I’m closing my eyes, taking a bite and imagining: I’m sitting on a big terrace attached to a local taverna, overlooking the caldera edge. The sea is glistening in the sun and cicadas are singing in the background. It’s a lazy afternoon, there’s nowhere I have to rush to. I’m definitely on holidays. Ingredients 400g cocktail/cherry/mini roma tomatoes, quartered 1/2 […]

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Many people, when asked if they like Japanese food, would say “sushi? yes, I like sushi”. Or worse – “no, I don’t like sushi“. Some may know ramen, gyoza and maybe heard of matcha but it’s sushi that first comes to mind. Before I went to Japan for the first time, I didn’t know much myself. What I learned after 4 visits is that Japanese food is so much more than just sushi. It’s diverse and can often be surprising. Sometimes, it looks more like a work of art. But it’s always a pleasure to eat. Japanese food is regional (different regions can have different styles of cooking the same dish and they’re usually based on local produce) and seasonal. It’s shaped by history, influenced by other countries (China – ramen & rice, India via Britain – curry, Portugal – bread) and religion. It can be served in a variety of restaurants – from street stands, specialising in one type of dish through fine dining, izakayas, home-style cooking to unique ones like robot & ninja restaurants or maid cafes. If you’re going to Japan give all dishes a chance. Here’s a list of some things, in my opinion, worth trying. Rice I came […]

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After what looked like a never-ending winter in Melbourne, we finally have some proper summer weather. I’ll take heatwave over windy winter any day! Seating on my balcony, working or reading, with a refreshing drink in hand is where you can find me on most sunny days. I even call it “my balcony office”. For those days I created the Green Bison. A very refreshing cocktail, inspired by my favourite cocktail from my favourite bar in Brisbane. It’s based on one of the best Polish vodkas – Żubrówka (bison grass vodka) and doubles as a boozy fruit salad. Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail): Soda Stream lemonade flavour 2cm slice of cucumber, coarsely chopped 1/2 kiwi fruit, coarsely chopped 1 thick slice of lime, halved 40ml of Żubrówka (Polish bison grass vodka) a handful of ice cubes Directions: Prepare sparkling lemonade: fizz a bottle of water and add lemonade flavour. Mix and chill well. Smash the cucumber and kiwi in a bowl (I used a wooden honey dipper to do so) and pour to a glass together with the juices. Squeeze half of a lime slice into the glass. Put the other half slice & slice of cucumber in the glass for decoration. Pour 40ml of […]

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Wierzynek is one of the oldest restaurants in Poland. Its origins date back to 1364 when an abundant royal wedding reception feast was organised by a wealthy merchant – Mikolaj Wierzynek. Apparently, it was so good the guests celebrated for 20 days and nights. The present-day Wierzynek Restaurant honours that legend and keeps it as an inspiration. The interior of the restaurant, with its draped curtains, beautifully set tables and golden details are suitable for royalty. The food – traditional Polish flavours with a modern twist, presented with some theatre to it. Ever since I learned about the restaurant from my Polish language teacher (she went there as a student, after reading about some well-known author being fond of the place, and all she could afford was a pot of tea, so she spent an hour there, drinking the tea very slowly) I wanted to experience dining there. I lived in Krakow for 5 years, walked past almost every day, but I simply couldn’t afford it. Now, coming back to Poland as a tourist, knowing what Australian prices are like, I had to book us a table for dinner service. I was ready for my royal feast and expected a lot. The first impression […]

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Do you ever save the best for last? Going to Dubai, we looked forward to many things: the sunshine, poolside drinks, beautiful hotels we had lined up and to discovering this place we’ve never had a chance to explore before. But what I couldn’t wait for the most was the desert trip. To “see a desert” was on my bucket list for ages and I was planning to finally tick it off. That happened on our last day in Dubai. The anticipation started a few days before when we were greeted by a lovely present in our hotel room – an elegant bag, containing a surprise gift, a desert dinner menu, and a letter. How thoughtful! The long, 1-hour drive from our hotel was an absolute pleasure thanks to Eric, our guide for the day. Chatty & very knowledgeable guy, who met all the world’s celebrities on the job (and now us, ha!). On our way to the desert, he not only explained everything about the tour but also told us a lot about Dubai, its culture, food, customs, nuances and traditions. All that with a great sense of humour. Tall buildings of Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa in the distance, wide empty roads, camel racing […]

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Weekend getaways, no matter how far from home, are always exciting for me. When they involve a road trip, large amounts of food, interesting local alcoholic beverages, comfortable place to stay at and some sort of hiking or bushwalking then I really don’t need any convincing. If you fancy all of the above, treat this itinerary as a cheat sheet for a successful foodie weekend in Bright. Bright is located in northeastern Victoria. It’s about 325km from Melbourne and not much more from Canberra – thanks to being not far from the Hume Highway, which makes Bright really easily accessible. And for those who don’t fancy winding roads (like me), I have great news – there aren’t any between the Hume Hwy and Bright. Unless, of course, you plan on going to Mt Buffalo or driving further down the Great Alpine Rd. Friday 3pm sharp: We leave Melbourne before the rush hour, we don’t want to start the road trip in traffic. Also, according to Google Maps, the trip takes about 3h30m. Adding a stop for coffee/toilet and other unforeseen circumstances, let’s say it’s 4 hours away. We want to reach Bright by 7pm and go out for dinner. 7pm: We […]

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