Thursday, January 30, 2014

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, USA

December 2013

On everyone's must do list for Philadelphia is a trip to Independence Hall.

They run 30 minute tours from 9 am every day. These tours are free, but you can book online for a $1.50 booking fee per person, which is a great option if your tight on time and travelling during a busy peak.

You can walk around the grounds without a ticket, but you will still need to clear customs.

The tour takes you into three rooms in the Independence Hall, with a bit of the history of the building and the events that occurred there (the Declaration of Interdependence being one). The commentary seemed far and balanced with a lot of talk about the founding fathers feeling that it was good but not perfect (we found a great quote in DC to match this).

If you can't get tickets the buildings are worth the trip through security.

The Liberty Bell is conveniently located next door and can be viewed inside (you don't need a ticket but there can be a bit of a line) or as we did through the glass.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, USA

December 2013

I wasn't expecting much with the Reading Terminal Markets. It was on everyone's must see list when in Philadelphia and had been recommended by a number of people but it was just another market right? Wrong.

The Reading Terminal Markets has a large selection of food, from take home vegetables to must eat right now cheese steak. I wished I had planned my eating better so I could have sampled some of these tasty pickles.

Instead we first went to try the traditional Philadelphia Cheese steak, with wiz (I am assured that this is the traditional form).

After that we stumbled across these hand rolled doughnuts, which were light and delicious.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Philadelphia, USA

December 2013

We caught an early morning train to Philadelphia for a day trip from NYC. It was a quick trip (1 hr 20 min) and easier than trying to navigate the road. I was surprised how compact the city area was, we walked all day (initially we had thought about using the metro) and while it was cold (about 32F or 0C) it wasn't raining.

Reading Terminal Markets
I could have spent all day eating here, but we only managed to try the Philly Cheese steak with wiz and some fabulous hand rolled doughnuts

We had meant to try Campo's but after the early morning start and all the good food at the market we never made it

Independence Hall, we were able to reserve our free tickets online for a $1.50 booking fee, this worked out except for the fact you still had to collect your tickets at the visitors center!

Liberty Bell, can be viewed inside or outside the museum that is independent of Independence Hall

Walk from Independence Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Boathouse Row, you can get some cool pictures at night (our are from the train)

City Hall
We missed out on tickets to the observation tower (I couldn't find anywhere to book online) and I'm still disappointed

Special call out to The Red Headed Traveler for all her cool tips

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Opera Bar, Sydney

January 2014

This is the second time we've been to the Opera Bar (the last visit was December 2012), this time for drinks and snacks.

The advantage of the Opera Bar is that its situated with perfect viewing points for the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


The Sydney Festival was on and the Opera Bar had decorated some of the table umbrellas with washing (in tribute to the Hills Hoist clothes lines is my guess).

Virgin Mojito $11

One of the best things about the Opera Bar is their cocktails (or in my case mocktails) even if they are majorly overpriced...

Glazed pork ribs, chilli, pickled cucumber $16

Yam Crisps $8

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Miss Chu, Sydney

January 2014

I read about Miss Chu in the Australian Financial Review a few months back. I really don't remember much about that article except for "Queen of the Rice Paper Rolls" and made it my objective to try some.

So on a recent weekend trip to Sydney we headed to Miss Chu on George Street to try some of her famous rolls.

The system plays on what in my time was how you ordered your lunch at school when mum hadn't packed it for the day, you line at the little window and order using the pen and paper to tick what you want (hence the Tuck Shop use in the name).

This is where we ran into issues. Not with the system per se, but with the array of options. I came for rice paper rolls and tried only one type but a bit of everything else.....

Bbq pork char sui buns $2.50

Tiger prawn & green mango 
(2 per serve) $7.50

Prawn & crab net spring roll salad $13

Peking duck pancake 
(2 per serve) $7.00

 Bánh mì $9

Pineapple and Mint Slush 

 The food was good, it was quick and it was filling. Next time I go back I will try and focus on my original objective - trying lots of rice paper rolls!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hyde Park Barracks Cafe

January 2014

We didn't want to eat at the hotel buffet so had pre-planned a few places just in case, and seeing we were headed to Hyde Park for the Sydney Festival the Hyde Park Barracks Cafe seemed like a good option. The Hyde Park Barracks was built in 1819 to house convict men and boys.

We didn't check the opening times so I think we were lucky they were open at 9 am on this particular Sunday (then menu stated 10 am for Sundays so check before you come).

Cafe Latte $4.40

 Blueberry and white chocolate hot cakes, served with lemon posset and vanilla ice cream $15

An interesting combination of flavours that worked really well

Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado on a toasted ciabatta  $17.50 
with a side of  Potato hash $3

The Eggs Benedict was wonderful, but it didn't really need the side of potato hash (which wasn't that good)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weekend in Sydney, Australia

January 2014

We had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the InterContinental Sydney so we jumped at it.

InterContinental Sydney, located a short distance to the Harbour and nice and close to the Botanical Gardens. Rooms are comfortable but the city lights aren't blocked out that well

Opera Bar, with a great view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

Miss Chu's on George, fabulous Vietnamese influenced street food

Hyde Park Barracks Cafe for breakfast

Drinks at Quay Bar

While it may look like all we did was eat and drink (and to be fair we spent a fair amount of time doing such!), the Sydney Festival was on so there was a few places to see things if you had tickets (which we didn't) but I would recommend you do so if ever in town around the same time.

For other place to stay, eat and see in Sydney check out some of my previous posts here