Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Weekly Photoset | Six Days in Madrid

For those reading my blog, if there are actually any of your out there, you may or may not know that I'm currently on study exchange at the University of Leicester in UK for a semester. It's been about a month since I came and it's just been amazing. I won't go in to much detail about the exchange side of things, I might make a separate post for that later on because what I want to focus on is Spain, Madrid in particular. The week before classes formally started, I went on six day trip to Madrid with a new friend. The whole situation was crazy, I had only known my friend and my flatmate, who is also on a semester exchange from South Korea, for a few days, and we organised, planned and decided everything in a period of a few hours the day before we were due to fly out. Everyone thought we were crazy. But it didn't stop us, it was such a good opportunity.

It wasn't my first time in Spain, as I visited Barcelona three years ago, but it was my first time to Madrid. The thing I love most about Spain is that everything is so laid-backed. The six days we had in Madrid was filled with warm sunlight and taken at a slow pace, with numerous naps and moments of comfortable silence in between. We booked an Airbnb in the suburb of Lavapies that had the most amazing views. I highly recommend the Lavapies and Embajadores district in Madrid, there were countless bars, tapas places and all sorts of food available, the buildings were especially beautiful. Madrid is one of those places that doesn't require a morning alarm, you just wake up to the natural sunlight. In retrospect, I can't believe I was actually there, it feels like it was a dream. Madrid was so beautiful, the buildings, the colours especially. All the buildings had cast iron railings, and was coloured in warm hues. When the sunlight bounced off the walls, the whole of Madrid was sun soaked.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Vegetarian and Vegan Food in the Perth Hills | Genesis in the Hills

If you find yourself up in the Perth Hills and looking for something wholesome and veggie based to eat, look no further than Genesis in the Hills. Although rather expensive, the food, coffee, people and surroundings makes this establishment a great place for breakfast, brunch or lunch. I had the full breakfast ($25.00) that came with sourdough bread, two poached eggs, aioli grilled mushrooms, grilled tomato, potato rosti, steamed greens, caramelised onions and canellini bean dip. The eggs were poached beautifully with a liquidy golden centre and everything on the plate was enjoyable and yummy. The highlight was definitely the mushrooms and the caramelised onions that were packed with flavour. My mum had the Piadina ($24.00) which was toasted housemade tortilla filled with eggplant, sundried tomatoes, potatoes, kalamata olives tepanade on top of caramelised onion, white bean dip and a garden salad. Being in the hilly area of Perth, Genesis in the Hills is a great restaurant to relax and unwind, we sat outside and the surrounding trees and nature was soothing and a great change to the city.

Genesis in the Hills Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Kinky Lizard Espresso Bar | East Perth

We went to Kinky Lizard Espresso Bar in East Perth as a sort of good bye brunch as I'm going to the UK for study exchange. One thing to note is that breakfast ends at 12pm, although they do have a few breakfast items available for lunch like my smashed avocado on toast that came with a generous amount of avocado, cottage cheese, polenta and pine nuts (although I swear I saw pistachio written on the menu). It was the perfect portion and balance of elements. We also had the felafel burgers that came in toasted pita bread and a side of chunky chips. This dish was filling and so delicious. The best thing about Kinky Lizard is definitely the coffee. The barista who made our coffee knows how to treat soy milk properly, the milk was smooth, the perfect temperature and the foam was silky.

Kinky Lizard Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 9 September 2016

Revisit to Stimulatte | Subiaco

Stimulatte in Subiaco released a new menu a couple of months ago with a focus on food that's more ethical and sustainable, resulting in the introduction of more paleo, vegan and gluten-free dishes. They've still got dishes suited for omnivores, but now it means that everyone regardless of dietary needs can come together and enjoy food from the vast menu. I visited last year in November and I thoroughly enjoyed my hotcakes and was quite sad to see it off the menu. However, what replaced the hotcake was a completely vegan and gluten-free raspberry pancake with chocolate mousse, peanut praline and lemon balm ($18.50).  Looking through on Stimulatte's geotag on Instagram convinced me that this was the dish I was going to order when I made my next trip to Stimulatte. It just looked so pretty! However, I think my expectations were a bit too high and I was unfortunately disappointed. The pancake itself was quite strange, I was expecting it to be similar to Little Bird's gluten-free pancakes made with buckwheat flour, but Stimulatte's pancake was more like a rice cake without the glutinous aspect, rather than a typical pancake. It was light and fluffy, but I was missing that cakey texture. The chocolate mouse had a nice flavour, however it had a slight sour tang, and with the general sharpness of raspberries, it made the overall dish quite tart. The peanut praline was delicious though and it added a nice crunch to the dish without overpowering it with sugar.

Perhaps I ordered the wrong thing? The pancakes missed the mark, even though it has so much potential! Nonetheless, my disappointment with the raspberry pancakes hasn't persuaded me to stay away from Stimulatte; the people working there are lovely, the coffee is delicious and I love the space it provides. Not to mention the fact that they're consciously trying to be a more ethical and sustainable business, we seriously need more mindsets like this. Next time I visit, I'll just order something else!

Stimulatte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 5 September 2016

Thoughts on Ramen from a Vegetarian's Perspective: An Icon | Shin-Yokohama

If someone asked me if I liked ramen, my answer wouldn't be a short and simple yes or no. Generally, I stay away from it because I don't eat meat. But I remember when we went to Hokkaido two years ago during the winter (when I was a meat-eater), I relished my appetite in slurping long strands of perfectly cooked noodles, chowing down on melt in your mouth chashu and then consuming all of that delicious fatty broth and then regretting it later,  I distinctly remember feeling sorry for my clogged arteries. There's no doubt that ramen has attainted a cultural status not just in Japan, but everywhere in the world, not to mention the invention of instant ramen by Momofuku Ando in 1958 that made ramen known to every modern household, and the fact that there's a ramen emoji. I love ramen, I don't love eating it per se but I love what it represents and the feelings associated with it. To me, ramen represents those late nights in the big city, dark streets lit up with neon signs and lanterns, if in winter, a meal to warm you up, or in the summer, to make you sweat it out. There's a certain etiquette of eating ramen, an art form if you'd like, a certain place around the corner that's always tiny and usually devoid of chairs. It's fast and quick, and oh so satisfying in the moment. 


During my trip to Toyko in June, my friend and I were tossing up between visiting the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum or the Cup Noodle Museum, as we were pressed for time we had to choose one or the other. Since we wanted to eat ramen, we decided to venture out further to Shin-Yokohama and boy, we were not disappointed, the museum took the cult status of the humble bowl of noodles to another level. Walking downstairs, we were transported back in time to the period where ramen gained popularity, 1950's Tokyo. It was dim with vintage neon signs and posters, and within the two floors were nine different ramen shops offering ramen from different regions in Japan, as well as ramen that took influence from Italy and Germany. 


If you're wondering if I caved in and broke my non-meat eating habits, I didn't. Thankfully, some shops within the museum offered a vegetarian option. Also, I heard this from my mum who read it in the paper, apparently, the museum also offers a gluten-free option. Although, not seeing any mention of it in the pamphlet makes me think that they are yet to introduce the option. My friend and I settled on Kuromasaki that offered a tonkotsu based ramen from Kumamoto, Kyushu. Kumamoto's signature is roasted garlic chips that's crumbled on top, which made the ramen super fragrant. I love it when places come up with vegetarian versions of dishes that traditionally include meat, and the ramen I had at Kuromasaki was nothing short of amazing. The noodles were perfectly cooked, the broth was creamy and piping hot, and together with the toppings of menma (bamboo shoots), beansprouts, mock meat and seaweed made the ramen exactly what ramen is supposed to be, except without the animal fat. We spent a good two or so hours there wandering around the museum and eating our noodles. After our visit, I left with a new and heightened appreciation for the iconic bowl of noodles.