Thursday, 30 July 2015

early winter eats and explorations in Sydney, 2015

A yellow hut/shack at Watson's Bay.

We spent the entire month of June in Sydney, and it was glorious. While Simon went to work, I did my freelance work back at the apartment, reveling in the persona of a digital nomad. We were frugal on the weekdays, and I would happily collect groceries and cook dinner from Monday to Friday. On the weekends, we caught the bus and the ferry to various locations, and relished all that Sydney had to offer while still being mindful of our spending, being not-very-rich freelancers and all.

On our first weekend, we actually walked all the way from the eastern suburbs to the city. It took us about two hours, but we stopped by Mr. Crackles along the way and gleefully refueled ourselves with the crispy pork nacho fries. The sauce was perhaps just a touch saltier than I would like, but the warm, tender and crunchy pork was a revelatory match for the fries.

Crispy pork nacho fries at Mr. Crackles in Darlinghurst, Sydney ($12).

Stumbling upon Tenkomori Ramen House one evening, we were quickly drawn in by the cheap prices. Ramen and rice dishes for under $10 per bowl? Yes please! I chose the black garlic ramen in a tonkotsu broth. Again, this was a tad salty for my taste, but I enjoyed the smoky flavour of the black garlic oil. In retrospect, I should also have added some toppings or side dishes to make the ramen more substantial and interesting.

Black garlic ramen in tonkotsu broth at Tenkomori Ramen House ($6.50 regular, $7.90 large, with no additions).

We went out late one morning to grab brunch, but when I saw that The Stomping Grounds had wagyu steak on the lunch menu for an extremely reasonable price, I decided to forgo eggs in favour of beef. I wasn't sorry. I have been disappointed so many times by cheap wagyu that turned out to be tough and chewy, but the wagyu I received here boasted a gentle, buttery texture, and it was so delightful that I was willing to forgive the slightly decrepit cauliflower amongst the vegetables on the side.

Wagyu steak at The Stomping Grounds cafe in Maroubra ($15 - or thereabouts).

On another evening, we were lured by the cheap noodle soups at Mrs. Chan's Kitchen. The tom yum noodle soup here isn't as complex as others I've had, but it served its purpose well on a cool winter night. And it was so incredibly affordable!

Tom yum noodle soup at Mrs. Chan's Kitchen in Sydney ($6 or thereabouts).

We also had Thai food at Dixon House Food Court. I was quite impressed with the fried fish meal that Simon ordered. It was quite the bargain, as it came with an apple salad and a side of rice for around $12. The fish could be fresher, but for the price, it was decent, and I was charmed by the splendidly spicy apple salad. We ordered sugar cane juice from another stall to go with it. Gotta love Asian food courts.

Fried fish with apple salad and rice at Dixon House Food Court in Sydney ($12 or thereabouts).

It wasn't just about the eating, of course. The weather was excellent for a great portion of our stay, and we strolled everywhere. We briefly considered watching Jurassic World at IMAX, but the ticket prices (I think it was $33.50 per adult) scared us away. The IMAX screen here is the largest in the world, so perhaps it would have been worth it, but still...

Anyway, we went on the ferry instead. The Sydney Opera House looked very pretty from this angle.

Cruising by the Sydney Opera House on a fine winter's day.

We walked around Watson's Bay...

A handsome ocean cliff at Watson's Bay.

And took too many pictures of this pelican.

A pelican grooming itself at Watson's Bay.

On the last weekend of June, Maroubra beach embraced us with its shimmering sapphire waters, friendly dogs and laid-back vibe.

I wanted to linger, but eventually, we had to leave. Bye bye, Sydney. I'm sure we'll meet again soon.

Maroubra Beach on a lovely sunny winter's day.


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