SEE | FARMERS MARKETS (Portland, US)

Strolling to the Portland Farmers Markets in the blistering cold, hoodies on and hands scrambling for warmth in pockets, had me wishing our Portland adventure was in spring. The markets would be brimming with sunflowers, brightly hued vegetables and stall after stall would be abuzz.

Instead, the cold snap which brought snow the following day, had us hopping around to shake off the morning chill. The markets are open all year round. Located in the perfectly American surrounds of Portland's State University with the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Portland Art Museum close by. Whilst the stalls were a little slim, many local food vendors and artisans braved the cold to keep us warm from the inside out.  

Mandy King is the creator of Money Bowl, a food stall dishing up SW Chinese Remedies. A cure for the frozen with hot rice noodle bowls, Sichuan hot pot veggie bowl and sticky rice balls on the menu. 

Easily one of my favourite meals on our Portland trip was Money Bowl's Char Shao rice ball. BBQ pork, dried radish, woods ear mushroom and spices hidden in the centre with a Special tea egg. Only $5.50! 

Get your hands on hot tamales at Salvador Molly's. At the restaurant the Molly's mob delve into South American eats and pop up with steamed tamales. The artichoke and gotija cheese tamale delivered.  

A New Mexico style breakfast burrito was a hit at Enchanted Sun Burritos. Crammed with scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, NM green chile and Tillamook cheddar cheese in a warm flour tortilla with mandatory bacon or sausage. 

EAT | ONIGIRI (🍙) + PURPLE PEANUTS (Tokyo + Melbourne)

It wasn't until our Tokyo adventure that I understood the sheer importance of this emoticon: 🍙. Light bulb moment! So much happiness... so much packaging. 

Onigiri (🍙) are little parcels of rice, stuffed with salty or sour ingredients like umeboshi (plum), tuna, pickles or salmon, and wrapped in nori. 'Wait, so you mean like sushi right?' Oh heck no.. this little guy is a Japanese specialty in its own right. You will find the convenience store fridges heaving with these perfectly wrapped parcels all over Japan.

Each morning we would grab an onigiri or two (forever restrained from grabbing three) for the road. The ultimate snack to tide you over until breakfast. Onigiri fuelled many a hunt for a decent flat white or batch brew through the streets of Tokyo.  

I stumbled across Purple Peanuts on Collins Street during my last trip to Melbourne, conjuring memories of Tokyo. This little Japanese cafe has been going strong since 2011 and championed the brown rice sushi explosion. You'll find a range of traditional eats including Tsuke Don, salmon sashimi marinated in mirin, sake, sesame and soy, and perfectly wrapped 🍙🍙 on the counter.   

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

🍫🍫 | BETA5 (Vancouver)

In the belly of industrial Vancouver you'll find internationally revered chocolate and pastry creators/innovators/wizards, BETA5. An absolute MUST on any trip to Van City. You're only an Insta-stalk away from realising why. 

I somehow managed (so what if I ran to to the counter) to nab the last Douglas Fir cream. Sold out sticker triumphantly displayed above... glory moment! Limited edition sh*t gets me every time.

Douglas Fir: infused custard 72% dark chocolate mousse | 72% dark chocolate cremeux | pistachio sponge cake | dark chocolate mushroom. 

Beta5 Chocolate

Each season BETA5 release a new collection. Fall 2015 ensemble: roasted beet - ginger, porcini, pear - gingerbread, salted milk chocolate, spiced pumpkin and sage.

Beta5 Chocolate

Don't leave without a box of BETA5's signature collection of award-winning chocolates. Smash hits are Fisherman's Friend, the Whole Cherry, Bay Leaf, Tropical Crunch and Imperial Stout. With added extras and house favourites Jasmine Tea,Caramelised Banana and Salted Chocolate Caramels. 

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413 Industrial Avenue, Vancouver. BC
V6A 2P8, V6B 2L3  map
Located in the purple-peach building
beta-5.com Facebook Instagram
☎️ 604.669.3336 info@beta-5.com
Tues – Fri 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sat – Sun 10am – 5pm

TRAVEL GUIDE | VANCOUVER, CANADA 🇨🇦

Stunning vistas and walkable neighbours, coupled with a dynamic culinary scene and flourishing focus on craft producers, Vancouver has all the attributes of a great city. 

Our Vancouver holiday was over the Christmas break and we had a quick trip to Whistler spending time with family. We stayed at Westin Bayside located in Downtown. It was comfortable, a little dated but what to expect of big chain corporate hotels. The views overlooking Stanley Park and Dead Man’s Island were beautiful and it was a leisurely walk into town along the Vancouver Harbour. If I had my chance again, I’d choose an AirBNB in the cobbled old-town Gastown where we spent most of our time. 

Each morning we would kickstart out day with coffee from Revolver then find a breakfast joint before venturing off to explore the neighbourhoods. Gastown was definitely a highlight and the majority of my recommendations below are in this ‘hood. I wish we had gone to seaside town of Kitsilano and spent more time in Chinatown. Be careful at night in the troubled neighbourhood of East Hastings as it’s a little scary and the homeless situation and drug-use is sadly very dire.

The dining scene is absolutely incredible and we managed to tick lots off our list. I hope this travel guide gives you some highlights on your adventure in Vancouver.  

Vancouver

SEE | DIGITAL ORCA
📍 Convention Centre West Building, 1055 Canada Place

A breathtaking vista that makes you pause, Digital Orca is a 2009 sculpture by Douglas Coupland. The perfect backdrop for your orca selfie and mandatory 'sucked in we are on holidays' snap.

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Revolver Gastown Vancouver

☕️☕️ | REVOLVER
📍325 Cambie Street

Revolver is founded on two things; coffee and the ultimate experience. The crew here live and breathe the bean. Top of my list by a long shot for your daily caffeine fix. Hell, next time I'd book an AirBNB close by just to ensure I could grab a Revolver coffee every morning. 

Check out my blog post

Revolver Coffee Vancouver Gastown

EAT | MEDINA
📍 780 Richards Street

A brunch time institution in Van City. Take a trip to sunnier shores with Medina's Mediterranean style brunch.  Favourites include spicy Moroccan lamb meatballs, tagine and paella. Interesting cocktails and waffles take breakfast to the next level. Head in early to avoid the lines. Check out my blog post.

Taco Fino Vancouver

EAT | TACO FINO
📍 15W Cordova Street

From humble food truck beginnings to bricks and mortar in four locations, Taco Fino has been slinging Mexican eats to taco lovers. Casual eats with swagger so order up big so you can try the everything on the menu. Check out my blog post.

Taco Fino
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DETOX | KROKODILE PEAR
📍 Plenty of locations around Vancouver. 

Holidays should be about balance right? Get a vitamin dose with a side of detox from cold pressed juice legends Krokodile Pear. You'll see their fresh juices pop up all over the city.   

 

Nelson & The Seagull

EAT | NELSON & THE SEAGULL
📍315 Carrall Street, Gastown

Craving a no-fuss breakfast and 🥑 on toast? Then this place is for you. Check out my blog post

Nelson & The Seagull

🍩🍩 | CARTEMS DONUTERIE
📍534 W Pender Street

New York has Underwest and Dough, Portland has Blue Star and Vancouver has Cartems. Artisanal doughnuts galore! Including glazed, cake, raised-yeast and huzzahhhh gluten-free! I loved the gluten-free cake version of Honey Parmasen and the seasonal Christmas beauties. Check out my blog post.

SEE | THE STEAM CLOCK
📍 305 Water Street

 

Steam Clock Vancouver

🍫🍫 | BETA5
📍413 Industrial Ave

Chocolate lovers! Attention please!

BETA5 was everything I'd dreamed of. Taking chocolates and those smashable cream puffs to the next level. Absolutely blown away with the attention to detail and love that goes into every morsel. Check out my blog post here.

Old Faithful Shop Gastown

SHOP | OLD FAITHFUL SHOP
📍 320 W Cordova Street

Stumbled upon this gorgeous homewares store on Cordova Street in Gastown. Full to the brim of locally made goods. Don't leave without a bottle of Bourbon Maple Syrup by Noble, handcrafted from fine Quebec tapped maple orchard. Stash a few baby bottles in your luggage as presents for the fam and avoid the tourist traps.

Noble Maple Syrup
Vancouver Travel Guide
Meat & Bread Cambie

EAT | MEAT & BREAD
📍370 Cambie Street

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a Porchetta. An absolute must for food adventures!

Sandwich lords Meat & Bread have been dishing out the good stuff for over six years now and still have a line out the door. 

Check out my blog post here.

 

L'ABATTOIR
📍217 Carrall Street

L’Abattoir is located in the center of Gastown between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley. The restaurant was built in the 19th century and is the site of Vancouver’s first jail. Originally buttressed to the city’s main butchery and meat packing district, the name L’Abattoir pays homage to the neighbourhood’s colourful past.

L'ABATTOIR VANCOUVER

Must try on the cocktail list is the Avocado Gimlet. A savoury take on the classic, 
rosemary and olive-infused Beefeater gin, fresh avocado, Apfelkorn schnapps, lime. 

Pull up a spot at the bar whilst you wait for a table. L'Abattoir is a hotspot and definitely one to book ahead. Missed out on weekend brunch, so check it out and report back!


EAT | ASK FOR LUIGI
📍305 Alexander Street

Ask for Luigi is a little off the beaten track in Downtown Eastside. Pasta is king in the buzzing little Italian joint. You will have to line up to nab your table. Handmade fresh pasta, Luigi's meatballs and olive oil cake are an absolute must. Check out my blog here.

Notturno

DRINK | NOTTURNO
📍280 Carroll Street - Sorry this is now closed 

This tiny bar serves seasonal Italian small plates, wine and excellent cocktails.  We popped in for a pre-dinner drink. Negroni and a Felice. This seasonal gem fired with grappa, lemon peel and coffee bean essence, Cinzano Rosso vermouth, red wine reduction, white truffle syrup and Aphrodite bitters.

EAT | MEAT & BREAD (Gastown, Vancouver)

Turducken; chicken stuffed in duck, then stuffed in turkey. It's like a babushka doll for birds that only comes out at Christmas. One year Mum cooked a next level turducken. With a spatchcock and quail added to the mix, it was easily the Kim Kardashian of turduckens.  That's a whole lot of butt stuffing. Impressive to behold but sadly the end result was super dry and lacked flavour (side note: but damn good in mum's turkey pies the following day). My next turkducken experience on the other hand was dammmmmn fine. 

Sandwich lords Meat & Bread have been in the meat and bread game for almost six years now boasting five locations. I'm pretty sure the line still wraps around the corner of Cambie Street at its flagship spot in Gastown each day. By some stroke of luck we snuck in just before they shut shop for the Christmas break.

With only four sandwiches on the menu, Meat & Bread serves three staples (Porchetta, Meatball & Grilled Cheese) and a changing daily special. I'm still kicking myself we didn't order the Porchetta just quietly. The Meatball + Turducken went down a treat, hands down worth the wait. 

If you spot the Chocolate Bar at the counter ask no questions, just hand over your bills and stuff as many as you can in your pockets. Local chocolate company Beta5 hooked up with Meat & Bread for a night of unbridled smoky bacon and maple passion to create this incredible little love child. If your friends visit Vancouver and don't bring you one back, it doesn't mean they weren't thinking of you ... they probably just ate it on the plane (yep, guilty). 

Oyama Sausage Co.'s applewood-smoked bacon in a maple caramel resting on a layer of roasted almond and milk chocolate nougat, coated in 63% dark chocolate and finished with smoked sea salt.

 

Meat And Bread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EAT | SARI ORGANIK (Ubud, Bali)

Its been a long time between blog posts, so I thought I would start with a tranquil stroll through the rice paddy fields of Ubud. At the tail-end of a girls' trip, I scheduled in a few days of solitude to unwind and rest the liver. Fuelled by the encouragement of my dear friend Andjelka of Life Curator, I found solace in dreamy Ubud bidding farewell to the bustling streets of Seminyak. 

I followed in my friend's footsteps; wandering the markets, slurping a PB&J smoothie at Alchemy, stocking up on coconut kefir and alkaline water, finding guidance at AmrtaSiddhi (an Ayurvedic Health Centre), and seeking out Sari Organik. Home to organic food and the best nasi campur of my life! Make sure you order a cold ginger tea and soak up the sunshine with a good book in hand.   

To discover soul nourishing adventures in this corner of the world, check out Curated Ubud: A Travel Guide With Soul.

Sari Organik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EAT | MOTHER'S BISTRO (Portland, Oregon)

Homely, hearty food just like Mom would make. Lisa Schroeder is at the helm of Mother's Bistro, a bright and cheery bistro on Stark Street. We sat at the bar and ordered a comforting breakfast with a mandatory Bloody Mary. You won't be blown away with culinary genius but sometimes a little simplicity and wholesome cooking is all you need.

Mother’s Famous Bloody Mary | house-infused pepper & jalapeño vodka with our secret bloody concoction

Mother’s Famous Bloody Mary | house-infused pepper & jalapeño vodka with our secret bloody concoction

Eggs benedict 

Eggs benedict 

Omelete de Jour

Omelete de Jour

Stuffed with seasonal vegetables

Stuffed with seasonal vegetables

Mother's Bistro & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato