Eating the city: New York City, USA

In a city as big as New York and a stomach that can only physically expand so much, it’s impossible to eat everything. So, in order to save precious gut real estate for the good stuff, let me run you down the goodies you need to save space for when you visit.


1. Walnut chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery
Multiple locations

Not particularly cheap at USD$4.00 but they’re the size of grapefruit, FULL of melty chocolatey and nutty goodness, and can you really put a price on happiness? If you want to eat in, get there early or prepare to wait around – it’s a tiny space, so it fills up and the line ends up out the door pretty fast!
Read more here


2. Patrami & mustard on rye from Katz’s Deli
205 E Houston St

This is one of the classics of NYC, and there’s a good reason for that. Family run for several generations, they’ve served everyone from Harry & Sally to NYC Mayor de Blasio and Senator Bernie Sanders (I know that because they were sitting at the table next to us a few weeks ago!). And if the USD$22.00 price tag puts you off a little, remember how much you’d pay for that much meat at a BBQ place – just because its between bread doesn’t mean you’re not getting your money’s worth!
Read more here


3. Brisket and burnt ends from Mighty Quinn’s BBQ
Multiple locations

Tender, juicy meat with soft, melty fat… and those perfect burnt pieces off the ends to finish it all off. Heaven! These guys know how to make meat perfect, and don’t forget some mac & cheese on the side. Prices vary depending on your order, but it’s good value for money for such high quality.
Read more here


4. Any and all of the pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn
439 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s amazing, but even if it wasn’t, it’d still be worth going to just to get your pie fix from these guys. They have a sweet little pie shop on a street corner, with a chalkboard hanging over the counter announcing the day’s offerings (around USD$6.00 per slice), and REAL tea and coffee to go with it!
Read more here


5. A salmon & cream cheese bagel from Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St

This is the bagel dreams are made of, in whatever combination you decide on. I can’t go past the scallion cream cheese, and while it’s damn near impossible to narrow down the fish, I’d strongly recommend the cured Scottish salmon and the smoked sable. Prices vary depending on your fish, but they’re kind enough to slice off a bit for you to taste before you commit.
Read more here


6. Hot dogs from Papaya King or Nathan’s Famous
Papaya King: 179 E 86th St

Nathan’s Famous: Coney Island or at a Bulls game at the United Center

Two NYC stalwarts, two great dogs. From Papaya King you’ll be wanting the two hot dogs with sauerkraut & mustard and a papaya drink combo. I wasn’t sold on the papaya juice drink with a hot dog, but its actually a weirdly good combination! And at Nathan’s, you just want a dog with a little ketchup and mustard. Amazing!
Read more here and here


7. Tea and scones at Alice’s Tea Cup
Multiple locations

I’m a big fan of Alice, so I was stoked to find this wasnt a completely tacky themed cafe. They do breakfast and lunch, too, but I was there for tea and sweets. You can get a large pot (6 cups) of tea with two scones of your choice (they have a rotating selection daily) for USD$20.00, and they’ve cleverly switched to a tip-included-in-the-price system to make things even easier. Selecting you tea is the hard part, with dozens to choose from – I like the Mauritius black tea with a hint of vanilla, and of course their signature Alice’s tea; you can also purchase any tea from their menu to take home!
Read more here


8. Deli sandwich near Sunset Park, Brooklyn
5th Avenue between Green-Wood Cemetery and Sunset Park

It doesn’t really matter where you get it from or what’s in it, the whole walk up 5th Avenue to Sunset Park is lined with these little delis. It’s a bit of a climb to the top of the park, so grab some sandwiches on fresh bread piled high with just-sliced deli meats for a picnic in a spot that overlooks the Manhattan skyline.


9. Noodles and dim sum in Chinatown

Let’s be honest; where there’s a Chinatown, there’s good food. And New York’s is no different. Get yourself over there and just start walking. It’s just like being in Asia, which means the menus are often difficult to decipher, and there are more options than you’ll know what to do with. And, it’s cheap. Enjoy!


10. New York Cheesecake from Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place

Because how can you possibly go to New York without trying the namesake cheesecake?! You can get a little personal one for yourself (USD$5.00), or a nice big one to share (or, for yourself, no judgement), and in all sorts of flavours as well as the original.
Read more here


11. Crack pie & birthday truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar
Multiple locations

We live in a time where sugar’s been proven to be more addictive than crack anyway, so may as well skip the drugs and go right for the sweet stuff! The pie is basically pure butter and sugar, and the truffles are sugar with sprinkles, but they taste so damn good you just can’t help yourself!
Read more here


12. Bomboloni from Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 57th Street

Soft, airy, pillowy balls of dough, fried to golden perfection and filed with silky smooth custard. Off you go.
Read more here


13. A bit of everything from the Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue

There’s a whole basement full of food here, from vegan sushi to Aussie sausage rolls, herbal teas to artisan pastries, pizza slices to microbrew beer. If you can’t find something here you like, there’s something wrong with you!
Read more here


14. Gyro platter from The Halal Guys
Multiple locations

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and a gap in the market for halal food in NYC led to one of the city’s greatest creations in the Halal Guys. The meat (served street side from a cart) is probably better than any you’ve had in a restaurant, and starting at around USD$8.00 for a platter, you won’t even need dinner later!
Read more here


15. Burgers! Fancy ones from Five Napkins, simple ones from Shake Shack.
Five Napkins: multiple locations

Shake Shack: multiple locations

I’m a real burger lover, and my two NYC favourites fall on both ends of the spectrum. For something a bit fancier, try the Original 5 Napkin with gruyere and caramelised onions (around USD$17.00), and for a quick and cheap option, get yourself a ShackBurger for just USD$6.00. Both amazing. Just get both.
Read more here and here


Eat here: Green Park Dining, Melbourne (all day) V.2

Green Park Dining
815 Nicholson St, Carlton

You know what a really fun way to start your weekend is? With a best friend brunch date. I love my husband and all, but I’m also lucky to have some really close girlfriends to hang out with. The added bonus is that they all love to brunch!

I enjoyed a particularly delicious brunch date last weekend with one of those lovely ladies at Green Park; I hadn’t been there since our Scarf Dinner last year, and heard they did a mean breakfast, so off we went. It was beautiful at night for dinner, but sitting there in the sunshine made it even lovelier – it’s the vintage books and knick knacks décor of my dreams…

Talking food, the menu is fantastic, and picking one dish was difficult. So I went with the breakfast platter ($18.00) and got a bit of everything! The platter comes with fresh caraway rye bread, butter, Maffra cheddar, marinated feta, a boiled egg, avocado, beetroot, ham & cured sausage. Exceptional value for money, and every single item was delicious. The coconut milk panna cotta and 63° egg with thick cut bacon sounded so good, but I’d be hard pressed to go past the platter again!

After breaky and a good chat, we still weren’t ready to head our separate ways and be adults, so we got more tea and dessert (duh). Chocolate brownie cheesecake was the pick, and it was the right decision. I’d highly recommend chasing up your breakfast with one of these!

Green Park isn’t shiny and new, but it should still be on you to-eat list. And even if you’re not there for breakfast (or lunch or dinner), you can enjoy some good tea or coffee and pastries. It’s literally your one-stop shop for weekend eats!

Green Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ladies who eat & blog: SCARF Community dinner @ Green Park

Hands up who’s heard of SCARF?! Not many, I’m guessing? That sucks… hopefully this will help spread the word about an awesome group who do some seriously good work for the community and also make some delicious food in the process!

So, my last attendance to a Scarf dinner was when I was in a past blogging life at Multicultural Melbourne, way back in 2011, and I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t been back since! You can read all about the amazing work Scarf do on their website, but the Readers Digest version is basically they’re an amazingly dedicated organisation taking disadvantaged youth and mentoring/training them up in all facets of the hospitality industry. Once a week, they take over a restaurant kind enough to donate their space for a few hours and run a full service. Told you they’re amazing! They are currently taking up residence at Green Park in Carlton North, where $40 gets you a two course set menu and the opportunity support a pretty great organisation that’s making a big difference. Everyone wins!

I can’t remember what made me think of it, but I simultaneously thought that I really wanted to head back for a long overdue Scarf dinner and organise a little catch up for some fellow lady bloggers. It really frustrates me to see how competitive women can be these days; at a time where we seem to be hearing about more and more women being attacked, bullied, hurt and victimised, when maybe more than ever we need to support each other and have each others backs (isn’t there already enough pressure on us without being mean and bitchy to each other, too?!), more and more women seem to be getting more and more competitive and judgmental towards each other instead. On the flip side, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some really incredible and inspiring women through blogging and would love to get to know some of them a little better! In the spirit of Scarf and doing good deeds, I thought it might be nice to get a group of women who’s work I really admire together for a great night  : )

IMG_8413So, allow me to introduce to you the lovely ladies who joined me for dinner this week:

Cass from Hungrycookie – Cass’s blog is about “all things fashion, food and travel” who brings you the latest in both food and fashion, both very important to Melbournians!

Terri from Little Wanderings – Terri is a bit of a blogging soul sister to me with so much in common – another Melbourne girl who loves her city, her food, and travelling the big wide world 🙂

Monique from Mon’s Adventure – Mon’s a foodie and a beautiful story teller, who always seems to be on and between fabulous adventures!

Sheena from Chasing A Plate – Sheena collaborates with Thomas for a beautifully photographed and written food journal, based on the belief that life is too short for bad food (amen!).


With the introductions over with, allow me to introduce the food and the host restaurant…

Green Park
815 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Melbourne

The Scarf menu, designed by Green Park’s chefs and executed by Scarf’s trainees, offered two entree and two main options (thank you very very much to Cass sitting next to me who coincidentally ordered the dishes I didn’t and let me try hers!)…


Roast beetroot, feta, walnut and rocket salad (which I ordered, and was a really nice and light starter)…

IMG_8402… and the chicken liver parfait with onion jam and bread (so rich, so good!)


Braised beef shin with cauliflower, bacon and hazelnuts (I was stoked with my choice – the beef was delicious and sooo tender, the perfectly little pile fell apart at the first poke with my fork! Also, the hazelnuts were the perfect addition!)…


and the gnocchi with pumpkin, burnt butter and sage (it’s a classic for a reason, and it was done very well!):


Just the one option, and being lactose intolerant and quite unwell for the last week or so, I decided to forgo the deconstructed yoghurt cheesecake, but it looked very pretty and the ladies who did order it seemed pretty happy with it!


The food was amazing, especially considering the fact that these were restaurant quality dishes made by trainees! They did a fantastic job and both the trainees and mentors should be incredibly proud  : )

Green Park on Urbanspoon


Everyone did a fantastic job, from the slightly nervous waitress who must have been at least a little daunted by the five loud women talking about everything from Hodor to potatoes, the waiter who wasn’t looking after our table but still more than happily took our photo at the end of the night, the mentors floating around making sure everything was running smoothly. Yeah, the food is great, but it’s about so much more than that.

If you’d like to do more than dine and support Scarf, you can book dinner right here, and someone will get back to you with a confirmation very quickly! And I must make sure I don’t leave it another four years before dining with Scarf again! Thank you for a great night, and we’re all wishing the trainees all the very best for the bright futures they’ll no doubt have in the hospitality industry!

Eat here: Eileen’s Special Cheesecake, New York, USA

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Pl, New York (between Kenmare & Spring Sts)

Hello, lover ♥


So, not long before taking off on the USAdventure, I discovered my infantile lactose intolerance had come back to bite me in the ass. And not only that; having spent more time sick than well over the past 12 months or so, we’re slowly discovering other foods that are making me rather violently ill (looking at you, garlic and onion… I’ll still always love you!). But lactose, that’s a big one. Think that was gonna stop me eating a proper bit of New York cheesecake?! HAA!!

After a bit of research and a random spot on a food show I was watching on Foxtel, it became pretty clear that it you were only going to try one cheesecake in New York, it had to be one of Eileen’s. This sassy lady has been baking for over 35 years, and despite operations being temporarily interrupted by the events of 9/11, she’s still baking cakes as gorgeous as ever in the little pocket of Cleveland Place (literally, little, tiny pocket. Easy to miss. Keep your eyes open!).

There were SO many cakes to choose from… everything from red velvet to pumpkin to a simple strawberry topped number and a dressed up rocky road. Too many options! I decided to go classic and play it safe, ordering the original. I have no regrets. I’ve had some crappy cheesecakes in my time, but this was the perfect one. The crumb crust was just sweet enough to balance out the cheesecake, it was soft and smooth, tasted like heaven. Despite the Lacteeze tablet I popped just before devouring it, I was still a little unwell that afternoon. Absolutely, completely worth it!

It’s constantly named best cheesecake in New York for a reason, and has to be the one you try when you’re visiting, too! Oh, and for those of you not keen on cheesecake or for those who take their food intolerances more seriously that I do, they had other goodies like the pecan pie husband tucked into, as well!


Eileen's Special Cheesecake on Urbanspoon

Tea time: Mámor Chocolates High Tea Szalon, Melbourne

Mámor Chocolates High Tea Szalon
153 Johnston St, Collingwood, Melbourne


Ahh here we are, at the end of a lovely, long weekend. Easter long weekend, to be precise. Chocolate long weekend. Pity it’s just about over. But if you’re not quite done with deliciousness and decadence, and need something to look forward to for next weekend, Mámor might be able to help you. Think luxurious, old, Easter European glamour. Red velvet and golden trinkets. Delicate china tea sets and piles of pastries. In a hidden little den of deliciousness. Welcome to Mámor.


I’d heard of Mámor for the first time a few years ago at a food exhibition – maybe the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show? I can’t remember now. I do remember how good the chocolate was, though. I also remembered they offered high tea. And hen’s nights. Small, bespoke parties of all types. But when I called to enquire about taking my lovely friend out for a little bit of tea and cake for her 30th birthday, I found out you can also just do that! The exceptionally fantastic customer service well and truly began before we even set foot through the door, with the darling Hanna talking me through all of my options when I first called to enquire, explaining that organising the big “high tea” wasn’t necessary – she’d be more than happy to reserve us a table and we could just order off the a la carte menu of sweet and savoury delights, plus as many pots of tea as our premature nanna hearts desired. Perfect!

We arrived around 11am last Saturday morning, ushered in and seated with glasses of water and menus. We enjoyed a very lady-like two hours of tea and bubbly, sweets and savouries, gossip and laughs in the most gorgeous setting. We quite enjoyed picking and choosing our way through the menu, and the food was fantastic. Before we got stuck into the sweets, we decided to have a few savouries: chicken paprikash tartlets and pogácsa, a Hungarian savoury scone. Hilariously coincidental and ironic, considering the birthday girl is of Hungarian descent! The tarts were lovely, the tiniest bit of kick to them, deliciously flavoured chicken. I loved the savoury scones – they were kinda of like a super buttery scone/gnocchi hybrid, somehow light and airy despite being made of heavy potato and flour. Delicious!


After a few tarts and savoury scones each, we hit the tea and sweets. Tea first: I went with the Chocolate Meringue Magic tea, which was incredible. And Indian black tea with chocolate praline, meringue pieces, strawberry, almonds and rose. Sweet, subtle, perfect for afternoon tea. The birthday girl had the Chocolate Banana Split – China-Ceylon tea with ripe banana, chocolate and cream. Thumbs up from her, too.


Round one of sweets: the raspberry macarons and the Black Forest cupcakes. The macaron shells were a little hard, but the filling was lovely, but the Black Forest cupcakes were a huge winner. Super light and fluffy chocolate cakes with just the right amount of cream and cherries. We both loved those!


Round two: the Rákóczi cheesecake. Upon Googling, I found out that this is a traditional Hungarian cheese curd. meringue topped cheesecake. We both really loved the cake base, and I quite enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t a super sugary sweet cheesecake. I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in it other than cheese and a meringue top, but it was very, very good!


Round three: last but not least, what’s tea without scones?! They were thicker scones than a lot of high tea places serve, but they weren’t clumpy or doughy at all, and the strawberry jam was really tasty. We also had a chocolate each; a butterscotch truffle for the birthday girl and a salted caramel truffle for me. Amazing way to finish off!


We were so well looked after and attended to while we were there, from the “happy birthday” greeting when we arrived, to the constant checking to make sure we were happy with the amount of food we’d ordered, menu suggestions, our tea pots and water glasses frequently re-filled. It was such a fun way to spend a few hours, and time flew so quickly! It was warm, comfortable and welcoming, and I can see why so many people choose to celebrate special occasions there as well as it being a great spot for a casual morning or afternoon tea. I imagine we’ll be back!


Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Vegie Bar, Melbourne

Vegie Bar, Fitzroy, Melbourne


If you live in Melbourne and you haven’t eaten at this Brunswick St institution at least, like, twice, well then shame on you. This stalwart of the Fitzroy cafe scene has been dishing up internationally inspired meat-free dishes for around 20 years, looooong before the gluten-free, organic, vegan etc were “in.”

If you’re planning to visit for dinner, on a weekend, on a sunny day (or, heaven forbid, a combination of the three!), expect to wait in a line that often hangs out the door. Despite the fact that seating is available not only in the main “restaurant” as you walk in but also the little alcove area to the right, upstairs seating above the kitchen and a courtyard out to the left, it is ALWAYS packed, which speaks pretty highly to the quality of the food being served up in an area with other seriously good options.

The main menu had remained relatively the same over the last six or seven years I’ve been visiting, but my most recent visit, last weekend, showed some big changes. My previous favourite dish, the falafel roti wrap, was gone. I was upset. Really, really upset. You know when you go to a place just to eat a specific dish? Yeah, that was my dish. For under $10, you were facing a golden slab of roti bread filled with crispy shelled falafel that are some of the best I’ve had, as well as hommus, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and beetroot curls (below left). It’s been replaced with a falafel pita bread thing (right). It was basically the same thing, but the roti had been replaced with a soft pita bread (nice, actually), and the falafels were different. Spicier. Didn’t enjoy that part. It was nice, but I liked the old one better!

vegie bar

The recent visit also saw us order another old favourite – the rice balls with satay sauce. These had also changed – they were bigger and better! Brown rice balls of deliciousness with a crunchy shell, much more flavour than the last time I had them there pre-change, and still the best satay sauce going around. Husband also got the lentil burger, drenched with more satay sauce. Messy, but good – however, he also preferred the old version of the burger.

vegie bar 2

And just because it’s a “vegie” place, doesn’t mean you should skip dessert. These guys make two of my favourite desserts in Melbourne – their flourless chocolate cake and raw berry cheesecake. Beyond amazing, nothing different there, and absolutely enormous – bring your appetite, and bring a friend with an appetite, too.


I’ve been eating at Vegie Bar for years now, as have a truckload of other people. The waiting for a table, sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, occasional mistake in getting the wrong order because it’s so damn chaotic are sometimes frustrating but have always been bearable because the food has always been so good. I wasn’t overly thrilled with the changes from this last visit, but I also recognise that not everything had changed, and that sometimes some changes are necessary. I’m looking forward to another visit, to try some other old favourites on the menu, and to see what else has changed!


Vegie Bar on Urbanspoon

Batman Market, Melbourne

Batman Market


I’ve been looking forward to this market – it’s had plenty of advertising and word of mouth leading up to opening weekend (October 11th & 12th), so I was pretty excited to find out I had nothing on and was free to eat and shop my way around. The fact that it was opening weekend and a sunny 24 degrees was just the cherry on the cake!


You can read a bit more about the market on their website, but the basic premise is that the team behind the Batman Market are working to build a new iconic multicultural market for Melbourne to enjoy, representative of the “Australian weekend lifestyle.” They’re hoping in the future that it’ll be a site that can be used to host events for the community, as well as celebrating multiculturalism through food and creative locals selling their wares. Stalls will cover the spectrum from street food style sellers to health food and groceries, as well as homewares, jewellery and second hand pieces.


I visited on opening day, last Saturday, and the atmosphere was fantastic; there were people of all nationalities, all ages, all walks of life. Hipsters, nannas and babies in prams co-existed in happy harmony, absolutely packing the sunny market place. There were seriously good vibes coming out of the place! The stalls I looked at were well set up, with heaps of gorgeous little trinkets for sale – the jewellery stalls in particular caught my eye, there were beautiful handmade pieces, and I’m looking forward to another visit after pay day so I can make some purchases!

The food was the big draw card for me, so with husband’s help, I ate my way through as much as I could. Here’s what we devoured..


Nuoc Mama’s


It reallllly upsets me to have to give this place such a bad review, because I so wanted to like it… I realise that opening weekend for an event this big presents teething problems, and you have to anticipate there are going to be some waits while the teams in the trucks find their feet. But this is not a new food truck. They’ve been around for long enough to be able to pull it together, and they didn’t on Saturday.

We ordered a crispy pork belly pancake and proceeded to wait for 45 minutes for a dish that I can cook at home in 10, having learnt in Hoi An. After watching the lady in front of me ask for her money back and walk off pretty frustrated (understandable), I was getting ready to do the same, but was told my pancake was next up. The pancake we finally received was raw in the middle (I’m not a big fan of raw batter) and I found the pork to be pretty bland. Not only that, but when I went back to tell the guys in the truck that my pancake was raw, all I got was a shrug of the shoulders and “oh… sorry…”

Unacceptable; you CANNOT serve RAW food to your customers. You also CANNOT tell them to expect a quick 10 minute wait and keep them waiting for three quarters of an hour. We were disappointed and frustrated beyond belief; if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that I rarely have a bad word to say about people working hard in the food industry because I know what a tough gig it is, but this was ridiculous. Hopefully they can take it and learn and up their game next time!

Nuoc Mama's on Urbanspoon


Now that that’s over and done with, let’s get to the good food, of which there was heaps!!

Not sure what this place was, but they did BBQ pork belly on a stick. With some really delicious cumin salt sprinkled on top. It only cost $3.00 per stick, the fat was so nicely rendered and it was just a meat lollypop of loveliness. They had some other great looking stuff, like the soft shell crab and calamari, that was flying out of the place.



Ayomo Frozen Yogurt – but I was there for the waffles


This was possibly the best waffle I’ve ever had, no exaggeration. You pick a base, 3 toppings and a drizzle on top – I went with peanut butter base, oat crumble, chocolate pearls, peanuts and hazelnut chocolate drizzle. Best $8.00 I’ve spent in a while. Massive points for the lady and gentleman working, who were still smiling and genuine with each customer despite the hot sun and the long day they’d already had. Oh, and to offset the crap food and service at Nuoc Mama’s, when the lovely lady who took my order here realised she’d lost it, she apologised quickly and pushed my order to the front. From first order to receiving our waffle, we clocked no more than 6 minutes.  Won’t be my last visit to these guys. Make it a priority when you visit.

Ayomo Frozen Yogurt & Juice Bar on Urbanspoon


Strawberry iced tea. No idea where this came from because husband went to buy this while I was waiting in line at Nuoc Mama’s; it was soooo good! Ice cold, neither the tea nor the strawberry flavours were overpowering – it somehow magically tasted equally of both. $5.00, do yourself a favour and track this down! Delicious!



Señor BBQ


Chorizo choripan. Chorizo sausage in a crunchy roll, smothered in chimichurri. This was pretty delicious. Nothing special, nothing I’d rush back for, but it was very good.


Aaaand a little bit more dessert…



Indonesian handcrafted mini no-bake cheesecake pots. Yeah. This little cup of love is the mango and salted caramel cheesecake, and it was really, really good. Silky smooth, the caramel was salty but still sweet, and the biscuit crumb base was perfect. Amazing dessert, so unexpected, but I’d definitely be keen to try some more flavours!!

And one I didn’t get a photo of.. or catch the name… which I’m cursing myself for. There’s a bakery, they had chocolate croissants, probably the best chocolate croissant I’ve had, including the one I had in Paris. Whoever you guys are, you are FANTASTIC!!


So, worth a visit this weekend? ABSOLUTELY!! Get around the Batman Market; the team behind it are doing really great things and they need the support to make this market as big as it potentially could be! They’re open Saturdays and Sundays, 9am – 3pm, so head down this weekend and enjoy it!