travel

L'Effervescence | Tokyo

L'Effervescence | Tokyo

For the last eight years, Tokyo has been the culinary capital of the world, boasting the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants of any city worldwide. Tokyo is currently home to 160 one-star restaurants, 52 two-star restaurants, and 12 three-star restaurants - not to mention the 324 restaurants with Michelin's Bib Gourmand tag, offering "exceptional food at moderate prices".

Spoilt for choice (if you're rolling in Yenjamins, that is).

So when the opportunity arose to visit Tokyo recently, I got into my 'you-only-live-once' frame of mind and decided it would be worth spending a week's pay on one exceptional meal. With so many restaurants, it was hard to know where to start. Should I aim for the three-star restaurants? Do I want a traditional kaiseki meal, or French, or a meal of just sushi or tempura?

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street art in adelaide

street art in adelaide

when you hear the word 'adelaide', what springs to mind?

  1. churches?  yep.
  2. barossa / <insert wine region>?  obviously.
  3. AB's?  distinctly. (what's an AB, you ask? best to call it a 'late night snack' of kebab/yiros meat on a bed of hot chips, drizzled with garlic, tomato and chilli sauces. in other words, heaven and hell on a plate. if you're still intrigued, click here for a tantalising pic)
  4. festivals?  you bet. there were no fewer than five festivals happening over the course of the March long weekend. i managed to get to one of them, meaning i'll have to come back another four times to see the others (someone at SA Tourism was earning their bonus when they conjured that one up. well played.)
  5. ....street art?  huh?
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a day in the yarra valley

a day in the yarra valley

i recently travelled down to melbourne to catch up with schoolmates. rather than do our usual circuit of lattes in carlton and cocktails in city laneways, we opted to spend a day out in the yarra valley and sample some chardonnays and pinots.

upon our friend's friend's recommendation, we made tracks for the Yeringberg winery, and found upon our arrival that we'd stumbled upon their once-a-year cellar door opening and their 150th birthday! as the photos below will attest to, their tasting room was in a beautiful rustic barn, as old as the winery itself and still housing all of the old barrels and equipment. 

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cambodia pt 3 - angkor rat

cambodia pt 3 - angkor rat

as we reached siem reap, not only did my craving for more grilled rat increase, it also felt like the 'main event' of our time in cambodia was approaching - the Angkor temples. history and cultural significance aside, there's not a lot i can say about the Angkor area other than it is simply spectacular - words can't even describe the sheer size and magnificence of these structures.

we were lucky enough to have two full days here, which included a warm sunset on top of the Pre Rup temple, and a sunrise the next morning in front of Angkor Wat itself. it took me about half an hour to jostle my way to a spot at the front, but it was worth it in the end...

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cambodia pt 2 - food, the old fashioned way

cambodia pt 2 - food, the old fashioned way

as we headed west out of phnom penh towards the small town of battambang (about 100km from the thai border), the dusty, pothole-ridden back streets of the city turned into a super-green expanse of countryside. it didn't matter that our bus was playing video clips of cambodian pop music ( google 'khmer rap boyz') or that the driver didn't lay off the horn for the entire 5 hour trip - nothing could draw your attention from the view out the window.

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cambodia pt 1 - a sobering start

cambodia pt 1 - a sobering start

'3 years, 8 months, 20 days'.

speak to any Cambodian about the Khmer Rouge and at some point you will hear these words spoken with both anger and sadness. it's a period they would rather forget - a period of mass genocide, repression, and disregard for human life - but it seems like it will forever be a part of the Cambodian identity.

and so it was during our first day on a recent trip to Cambodia that we saw the mass graves of The Killing Fields, stood in the torture rooms of the S-21 school-turned-prison (blood stains still visible and the smell of ammonia filling the rooms), and heard the harrowing stories of the regime. not a usual start to a holiday, but certainly gave us a solid reference point for the next two weeks we would be spending in the country....

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