The City, Sydney

It was a comedy of errors to get to Sailor’s Thai for a late lunch.  For some reason I thought it was the other way down George Street, and following the numbers I had to hike back to the Rocks (where I had just come from).  Can you say goofy tourist? I might as well be wearing a fanny pack.

I’m the only one on a very long communal table at Sailor’s Thai, and I just ate a rice paper salad roll of pork and tofu.

A young family with a baby just came in, and the chefs behind the counter are very enamoured with the baby.  They have taken the baby and are passing him around in the kitchen, over the counter, to each other – all the while cooing and obviously delighted by their special guest.  This makes me smile.  Then comes the stir fried rice noodles with peanuts, tofu and prawns, and I get both dishes tidily boxed up for later consumption in my hotel room, after dark when I lay low in the big city.

I amuse myself in the evenings in my hotel room by eating cold leftover lunches on my bed, and watching ‘Master Chef Australia’. I become thoroughly hooked on that show.

I picked a central hotel to stay in – a ’boutique’ hotel, although it is a strange cold place – reserved for celebrities and exclusive clients (and me).  There’s a swipe card to get access through any doors, and a three room bathroom, and a platform bed that I smash my shin on at night every time I get up to go to the washroom/toilet.  The bathtub is infinity style and spills over into the bedroom.  Once I discover Surry Hills, I realize I’ve chosen the wrong location for my accommodations.  I’d fit better in a real neighbourhood rather than the financial district.   But that’s ok.  Pre-planning does not avoid missteps.

evidence i really was in my hotel's bathroom at some point

My last day in Sydney was spent in Surry Hills, smartly termed the ‘Notting Hills’ of Australia by the Hungry Female.

At Bill’s for breakfast, I’m totally in my comfort zone.    Bill’s has simple decor – wood chairs and white walls with splashes of colour.  It is filled with tony-looking moms with their toddlers wearing sequined sunglasses and dudes with ties and cardigans.  The flat white is good but I’m certainly no expert of the flat white, am I?

My ricotta hotcakes are taking some time, but who cares?  I have all day.  A kind gentleman next to me gives me his newspaper and I amuse myself by trying to look like a local.

Ricotta pancakes with bananas and honeycomb butter arrive, and I carve and eat as much as I can.  They are fluffy but filling and I make a mental note to combine honey and butter for pancakes at home.  That’s a winner.

my sole photo of surry hills

I can tell I’m on day 10 of my trip and am getting tired and homesick.  My photo taking is waning considerably – I’m sorry Surry Hills.  I don’t do it the justice, as it is my favourite neighbourhood in central Sydney.  I thought it was Sydney’s Greenwich Village.  The Book Kitchen is especially lovely, and everybody is so gosh darn nice to me.  I buy a wine book and wander back downtown.

the eats at marigold

I somehow end up on Oxford Street, Sydney’s porn and tattoo central, and wind my way west to Chinatown to have ‘yum cha’, which to me means ‘dim sum’.  I pick the Marigold, which is on the fifth floor of a shopping building, and huge.  I am the only solo diner – I mean, who goes for dim sum by themselves?  I do.  I’m pleased with my haul of dumplings and buns that I can take back to my room and eat later tonight.  I feel like a squirrel, hoarding all this food.

Somewhere in there, I eat a peanut butter brittle banana tart from the Opera Kitchen, have a honey amaretto cocktail at their bar, and top off my Sydney eating with tempura and sushi for lunch before I catch my plane.

My favourite thing to do in Sydney central is to take a tour of the Sydney Opera House, which I almost did not do, but thankfully booked a tour just hours before I went to the airport.  This was very smart of me, and the tour was beautiful.  The inside of the Opera House is so stunning that it made me weep.  As the Danish architect, Jorn Utzon said – if you do something out of love, then it is art and not work.   The building took 16 years to build, instead of the planned three – so rare to put such heart into something artistic in this modern age.  It was finished in 1973.

And that, my friends, is my Australia adventure.  In short:  highly recommended, yes you can survive the flight, and I’ll be back – next time with my loved ones in tow.


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