Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sunny Coast

Brisbane is sandwiched between two areas, Sunshine Coast to the north and Gold Coast to the south.  I don't really quite "get" what these areas are, since they are not cities, but are treated as such.

Australians wouldn't dare say a full word without butchering it, so naturally the Sunshine Coast is known as the Sunny Coast.  Pay no heed to the fact that the words Sunny and Sunshine contain the same number of syllables, making the nickname no great saver of time.  It's just how the English language is slaughtered here day in and day out.

We went up to the Sunny Coast one fine summer day for a day of beaching for some, laying in the shade reading for others (points finger to self).  As you can tell from the weather this was a while ago, as it is now smack in the middle of winter and it is freezing.  Well, "freezing" in the way that 65 degrees during the daytime could be considered cold.

Our day in Noosa, Queensland resulted in our very first sighting of a wild koala:


They're so cute and lazy.  They sleep 23 hours a day and rarely ever leave their home tree.  An animal of my own heart.

We enjoyed some beautiful natural scenery:



And some really not beautiful natural scenery:


In the northern hemisphere we have nicknamed this fine swimwear garment a 'banana hammock', but down here they're called 'budgie smugglers'.  A budgie being this cute little bird:


I will leave you with a fun fact: Speedos are an Australian invention.  I didn't know this until I moved here.  I can't believe any country would actually brag about this, the way the inventors of zippers and penicillin are proud of their contribution to the world.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tasty Food


That creepily ambiguous box 'o grub sums it up nicely.  There is lots of Tasty Food here!  And I'm doing my best to eat it all.  Here's a sampling of our culinary adventures:

Bulani


Holy crap, you guys, bulani is one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten.  If you've never heard of bulani before, hold on to your hats.  Allow me to blow your mind and tastebuds.  It's an Afghani dish that is stuffed with potatoes and crack cocaine.  So.  Unbelievably.  Good.  It's like a quesadilla made by the hands of angels.  Then dipped in crack cocaine.

If you're lucky enough to live in a place with an Afghani restaurant I implore you - run, do not walk, towards the bulani!  I'm barely ashamed to admit that Martin and I ordered an extra serving of bulani for dessert......before ordering dessert for real.  So good!

Sour cream + sweet chili sauce


Sweet chili sauce is to Australia what malt vinegar is to the UK, and what salsa is to the US (because people like to say salsa -Jerry Seinfeld).  It is the beloved condiment.  And mixed with sour cream it is divine!  Genius, too.  Why have 1 dipping sauce when you can have 2?

Sour cream in Australia is incredibly thick.  It's dang near a solid, but I've never met a sour cream I didn't love.  Mixed with sweet chili sauce it goes to a whole new level.  It is the yin and yang of deliciousness.  So awesome with chips fresh out of the fryer [the dirtier, the better]!

(I'll explain those big 'ol balls in a future post.)

Hot rock


This is a fun dining concept: Raw meat + a 400 degree slab of rock = cook your own dinner.  I wouldn't recommend hot rock dining on a steamy evening, because sitting over a rock that is several hundred degrees is a sweaty experience.  It would be great in a North Dakota winter!

I had chicken satay skewers and Martin had a tuna steak.  Tuna requires 1/100th the cooking time of chicken, so we weren't really eating in tandem but I enjoyed it.  I'm not sure if Australia invented this but I've never seen it anywhere else before.  Gimmicky, but fun.

Philly cheese steak


Would you believe I've never had a Philly cheese steak before?!  And I've been to Philadelphia!  Albeit as an idiotic 16-year-old who didn't know that was the one thing you had to do there.  So I made up for lost time roughly 10,000 miles away, though sadly, there was ne'er a jar of Cheese Whiz in sight.

Guzman y Gomez


Do you like Chipotle?  When eating Chipotle do you ever think, "Man, I really wish I had paid double for this burrito, and I also wish it was half the size"?  Oh you have?  Well then Guzman y Gomez is the place for you!

Don't get me wrong, Guzman y Gomez is delish, and at the rate they're popping up all over the country they're doing damn well.  But it ain't cheap, and the burritos ain't huge.  Such is life in Australia.  I haven't eaten at their competitors Mad Mex and Burrito Bar enough to make the declaration about which is best.  I am just grateful to be in a country where you can get a burrito at all.  Some places are not so lucky.

I'll make a separate post about traditional Aussie food.  There is some wild (literally and not) edible stuff down here that the culinary world needs to know about!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Viva la Mexico

A bunch of my gringo amigos and I got together on Cinco de Mayo (that's May 5th for those who don't hablo espanol) and did what no Mexican in the history of Mexico has ever done: partied like a rockstar on Cinco de Mayo.

I'm not feeling particularly verbose at the moment so let's make this a post in pictures.  You can't have a Cinco de Mayo party without....


Tacos y sombreros for all.


Margaritas made of freshly squeeze lime juice (hell yeah).


Whackin' a pinata (the first of my lifetime).


CANDY!


Tequila shots!


And of course, juggling limes after the tequila shots.

"You know you don't need to get drunk on Cinco de Mayo - you're 30" a grown-up friend of mine pointed out.  I will have you know this is the first May 5th that I've ever "celebrated" this "holiday" in all my years.

If someone is offering me a Sunday of day drinking, Mexican food and wearing funny hats then dang nam it I ain't going to refuse!