Just returned from a USA trip

Hello my dear followers. You must have noticed that I’ve not written for a couple of weeks. That’s because, we were in US for two long weeks, and just returned yesterday. Lots of things will be written in the coming months, but for now let me give you some hints:

Visited some Atlanta highlights

Visited some Atlanta highlights

Ate "some" junk food

Ate “some” junk food…

...and some wine and dine

…and some wine and dine

 

...together with some fancy drinks

…together with some fancy drinks

 

Walked on the trails to be able to stay fit

Walked on the trails to be able to stay fit

 

Did some golf shopping...

Did some golf shopping…

...and tested the items we bought

…and tested the items we bought

Of course did not miss the World Cup 2014

Of course did not miss the World Cup 2014

A couple of days at ocean coast

A couple of days at ocean coast

Stayed in some old Inns

Stayed in some old Inns

And finally visited some old houses

And finally visited some old houses

Make sure to follow to learn the details.

Pony Dining: Fine Dine in Brisbane, Australia

Little shopping tour

Little shopping tour

Our final stop of great Australia tour was Brisbane. An evening walk from our Hotel, Novotel Brisbane, to Eagle Street Pier is a relaxing and nice highlight of the city. Although there was just one nice street down from our hotel to Eagle Street Pier, we preferred to turn rights and lefts, to explore Queen Street Mall and the little streets around for some final shopping opportunities.

Colorful shops

Colorful shops

Very colorful shops, lots of happy looking people, on street music performances and “happy hour” fans overflowing from the on street cafes and bars. So nice to walk around and enjoy.

An interesting cross walk

An interesting cross walk

Another highlight of the area is a very little park: Anzac Square. This park consists of many monuments to remember Anzac’s who have been to various wars around the world. If you ever go to Dardalles in Turkey, visit the memorial parks and learn the stories of Anzac’s came from such a far country died at a meaningless war, this little park means a lot to you. I recommend you to read the novel The Long White Cloud-Gallipoli of Buket Uzuner. A novel about a young New-Zealander woman coming to Gallipoli to find the lost grave of her great-grandfather who died in the Battle of Gallipoli, and the stunning eighty-five year old secret of a Turkish granny strolling in the Gallipoli National Park with her cane. (www.buketuzuner.com).

Lightened up buildings

Lightened up buildings

After a couple of hours, there we were finally at Pony Dining; a heaven for meat lovers like us, on Eagle Street Pier.

Wine of the evening, with menu

Wine of the evening, with menu

The wine of the evening is from Voyager Estates Girt by Sea, Cabarnet Merlot, a perfect match with well cooked steak and fried brains.

Fried brains after 30 years

Fried brains after 30 years

The last time I ate pan fried brains was when I was 10-years-old or so. My mom was not a vegetarian than, brain was in her “very healthy” list and fried food were not added to “black list” of our diets. So she quite often cooked it, pan fried or boiled which I loved both. So it was a nice surprise to find it in the menu. Actually, there is a good steakhouse in the city where we live and we go there quite often. We advised the chef to add this to the menu a couple of times, but  unfortunately he still did not do so.

A great combination of tastes

A great combination of tastes

All other plates we ordered were inventively combined tastes of sweet and bitters. The atmosphere was also very nice, lots of wood with black and red.

Buttered breads

Buttered breads

This probably will be my final post about Australia. I hope you enjoyed our adventures and my posts. Let me know if you need any other advice or if any of my posts help you in planning your trips.

Next: I think it is time to write about Japan now, what do you think?

Suits very much to me

Suits very much to me

The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Sydney, Australia

The Boathouse Menu

The Boathouse Menu

First ever e-book I bought to my Kindle is Top 10 Sydney, of Eyewitness Travel series and the first ever thing I looked was where to eat in Sydney, and first ever thing I highlighted at my Kindle was the restaurant: The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay. After a day out in Blue Mountains, with lots of walking, we thought that we deserved an “out of diet borders” dinner for the evening, with some wine and fine dining. So we made our reservation from this restaurant, took a taxi from our hotel and after about 10 minutes drive, there we were, in a romantic (would be without our son), dark and elegant fish restaurant, with a nice view of city lights and the Anzac Bridge.

Char Grilled Fremantle Octopus

Char Grilled Fremantle Octopus

Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon

Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon

When we travel with a child, the first thing we look in the menu is something to eat for our son (I admit that sometimes I look at it after checking what to eat for dessert). Nothing seemed suitable for him, but our lovely waiter offered him some fish and chips which he loved.

We on the other hand started our meal with some starters of Octopus and Salmon with the wine of the day, once more Pinot Noir, this time from Adelaide.

Nygeringa wineyard, Grower serries

Nygeringa wineyard, Grower serries

Wine of the evening

Wine of the evening

Our main course were Poached Local Ocean Jacket and a Roast New Zealand Hapuka, all very tasty.

New Zealand Hapuka

New Zealand Hapuka

Local Ocean Jacket

Local Ocean Jacket

And finally our desserts were Honeycomb Parfait, Buttermilk Pannacotta and Pistachio Cannoli. Yes, I do not know what they are either, but they tasted lovely and looked like these:

Dessert

Buttermilk Pannacotta

Dessert

Pistachio Cannoli

Parfait

Parfait

After finishing our meals, I asked the waiter to take a photograph of the menu and write down the things we have eaten, to note for my blog. Guess what? The waiter said that we may take the menu with us, as the menu is printed daily. How nice, now the menu is just by my lap top and making me remember this fine dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah’s Whale Beach, Sydney

Jonah's restaurant

Jonah’s restaurant

Remember our seaplane adventure with Sydney Seaplanes from my previous post. Well, Jonah’s was the restaurant we arrived in 20 minutes, not on an island, but on an island-like part of Sydney, which takes about an hour, by car.

Jonah’s was more than we expected with a good variety in menu and a nice wine list. Moreover, every plate looked like a piece of art.

A taste to start

A taste to start

Wine of the day

Wine of the day

Australia has really good wines. I will be writing another post soon about Hunter Valley, a wine paradise. Today we chose a Pinot Noir of Tasmania.

Scallops, gooood

Scallops, gooood

Piece of art

Piece of art

In many day trips in Europe, if lunch is included, you come across with ordinary local dishes, sometimes really good and tasty ones but never so elegant.

The deserts...

The deserts…

...and another desert...

…and another desert…

...and another. Yummyyy

…and another. Yummyyy

So, finished with our three course meal in 3 hours, enjoyed the view of the whale beach and watched a local wedding next room, we were taken back to the beach to return with our seaplane back to Sydney.

Sure I can live here

Sure I can live here

 

Mosel river with Riesling tastes

Remember our super car adventure and our road trip to Germany. After a long and a fun day at Koblenz and tiny towns of Rhein, we decided to drive next day, further West from the shores of river Mosel. Mosel river meets, Rhein in the very center of the city of Koblenz. And both rivers provide scenic route to drive especially in late August and early September, when every little town organizes a local festival. Colorful people, tasty junk food on street, music and riesling wines. What on earth would a traveler ask for?

It was a nice but cloudy Sunday morning when we started our drive from our hotel in Unkel. We did not have any specific plan, except to drive by Mosel river and stop wherever we find interesting, until we reach to Trier. Our first stop was Alken, a very cute town by the river. But the main reason to stop was the “Apfelstrudel” sign on the main road. Well, as you may guess it was a perfect excuse to stop. I already loved Apfelstrudel but it was our son’s first time ever taste of it, and guess what! He is now a fan of it too.

Grapes everywhere

Grapes everywhere

Grapes everywhere

Grapes everywhere

After a very tasty Apfelstrudel, with cream and ice cream on top, and a nice coffee escorting it, we found some little shops and little streets to walk around. Then we drove further to find new towns on the way.

We passed again very nice little towns, but when we reached to Cochem, there was a huge crowd, music and nice smells. This is it, we said and parked our car to enjoy the music. Every little “Piazza” of the town was settled like a film set, colorful flags all around, a stage for the band to play and street food kiosks everywhere, with Riesling wine kiosk in the middle, surrounded by long wooden banks and tables. My choice was various garlic breads and “the boys'” choice were hot dogs with different kind of sausages, again with some Riesling wines.

 

Little towns of Mosel river

Little towns of Mosel river

After a few hours we left our hearts in Cochem and went back to our car, as our target was today to reach to Trier. Trier is a big city, which is as every big city, not so fancy to visit on Sundays. The streets were rather empty, except some crazy tourists like us and the shops were closed. So just like many tourists do we went to the Pont Negro (A huge stone building, mainly black, used as the main entrance of the city in the past) and took the touristic train to explore the city faster. (Since we travel with our son, it is always easy to take these trains, instead of forcing him to walk.) Than we stopped at Hauptmarkt, which is the main Piazza of the town, with some interesting shops (like the oldest Pharmacy) and sounds of Sunday church bells. After eating some snacks in a wine house, at about 6.00 pm, we started to drive back to Unkel.

On the way back, our navigation took us directly somewhere close to Unkel, but on the wrong side of the river!! With a little panic of what we will do, we found out that, we were headed to the ferry to cross the river. Thank god, it was not a rocket science to take the ferry. The tickets were sold on the ferry itself, and it was very often. So it was just the right time to have a fine dinner at our hotel, when we finally reached to Unkel.

Next: We will drive to North: Holland, but not Amsterdam

A Business Class flight with our son

While travelling for holidays, we almost always fly at Economy class. Of course we very rarely appreciate a free upgrade or use our frequent flyer points for a Business Class. But once in a lifetime (or maybe more than once in a life time) we like to pamper ourselves with a business class flight especially if it is a long haul flight. Thinking that Australia is a longest haul flight that might ever be, that’s what we did and flew with Ethiad Airways Business Class to Sydney. That’s a journey that you wish it never ends. Almost unlimited space, almost unlimited in flight entertainment, almost unlimited fine wine and dine.

Our Business flight included a 4-hour-flight and than another 14-hour-flight, with a good 2 hours waiting in between in Abu Dhabi. Another excitement of the travel was, it was our first time ever flight with Ethiad Airways. Another excitement of the travel was, my shortest ever birthday.

Sooo, after a nice waiting in the lounge (with our son eating lots of sushi) we got on the plane with a nice surprise seeing how each of us had a tiny room for ourselves.

Almost unlimited legroom

Almost unlimited legroom

Need time to find out all

Need time to find out all

 

Nice cushions to relax and magazines to read

Nice cushions to relax and magazines to read

And a side table with my famous orange juice

And a side table with my famous orange juice

Here I answer the ever wondered question: Yes, this orange juice tastes much more richer than a Tropiacana in our local market and yes you are not allowed to sit in Business unless you drink the orange juice.

After a 4-hour flight with a very nice dinner included, we arrived to Abu Dhabi, late in the evening, and our planned 2 hour waiting, increased to a 4 hour waiting with a few hours of delay of Sydney flight. Thanks God we were travelling in Business, and thanks God that meant to wait in the Business Lounge of Abu Dhabi airport. So we had another dinner at the lounge with Arab mezes and varieties of Baklava deserts.

Afterwards, our longest ever flight and my shortest ever birthday started. We got on the plane almost at midnight, flew 14 hours, included a good nights sleep, a birthday cake with birthday celebration and a fine breakfast, which was meant to be in the morning, but was actually in the afternoon of Sydney. When we finally got off the plane, finished with the passport controls and a security control (just as shown in the “Border Security” documentary series) it was already late in the evening and my birthday was already over.

Fine wine and dine

Fine wine and dine

Celebrating to be 40

Celebrating to be 40

Butchery and Wine

The finest restaurant we have been in Warsaw, actually one of the finest “red” restaurants we have ever been was Butchery and Wine. Having studied the tripadvisor in advance and taking the note as: “close to our hotel”, our very helpful reception staff did make a reservation for us, which I strongly recommend to do, as it is a very tiny restaurant and it’s not easy to just pop in and ask for a table.

Warm atmosphere with very few tables

Warm atmosphere with very few tables

With a short walk of 10 minutes from our hotel, we reached to the restaurant and settled to our table. The menu involves very few varieties and all three we ordered were lovely cooked and very well fitted with our wine of the day.

Wine, butter and bread. Mmmm...

Wine, butter and bread. Mmmm…

Aged beef fillet with fondant potato, spinach and truffles

Aged beef fillet with fondant potato, spinach and truffles

Any guess, whose order is this?

Any guess, whose order is this?

What on earth would our son wish more, other than a hamburger. So that’s it, this is the finest for all of us.