Discover Bali’s unique culinary culture
Balinese cuisine's unique blend of aromatic local ingredients, traditional cooking styles and western influences make it a must-visit culinary destination for food lovers. A vibrant bounty In the cool dawn at Ubud morning market in Bali, farmers sit encircled by baskets brimming with glossy, indigo-hued eggplants, brilliant-green beans, and sunny yellow bananas. Calls ring out spruiking exotic produce of hairy rambutans, bubbly-skinned gourds and bunches of longans.   This daily buffet of ingredients catches the eye of passing locals, tourists and chefs as they meander through the vibrant market. Much of this bounty will end up at Bali’s restaurants and warungs (eateries) that have become part of the island’s happening food scene – a scene that beautifully fuses both local and western ingredients and cooking styles.   From the beach to the rice fields, you’ll find fine dining restaurants dishing up internationally inspired plates beside traditional Balinese fare and hip, health-conscious eateries. It’s a flavour-packed balance that makes Bali an enviable culinary destination. [caption id="attachment_48921" align="alignnone" width="600"] The dish of nasi campur gives you rice and a taster of delicious local specialties.[/caption] The real taste of Bali An excursion to Ubud’s market is a good place to start, but it’s just a small amuse-bouche of what’s on offer. While you’re in the rice paddy-fringed town, sample some truly local fare, such as the Balinese specialty of spit-roasted pig, or babi guling. This robust meal, served with crunchy crackling and a tangy side salad, is cooked over an open fire-pit then dished out at warungs. It’s a food-lover’s paradise.   For a real taste of Bali’s food scene, you can also take a cooking class. In the island’s north-east you’ll find Bali Asli: surrounded by serene rice fields with uninterrupted views of Mount Agung, you can learn how to cook over fire, plant rice and enjoy typical Balinese cuisine. Alternatively, head north to Les Village to visit Chef Yudi, at Dapur Bali Mula, a part-time chef and Hindu priest, who’ll teach you the art of Balinese barbecue with a side order of Hindu prayer.   Of course, Bali isn’t all rice fields. The beachside towns of Seminyak and Canggu draw travellers for their lively energy and world-class restaurants. Make a shortlist of the best on offer and tick them off during your stay. You might start with one of Seminyak’s many sleek, design-led eateries such as Sarong and Bambu Bali, experience Balinese cuisine culture on a plate at Canggu’s Tugu Bali restaurant with 14th-century Indonesian heritage cuisine, or head to Bingin Beach for a toes-in-sand fish barbecue at Lucky Fish.   However you choose to eat your way around Indonesia’s culinary island, you certainly won’t leave hungry. [caption id="attachment_48922" align="alignnone" width="600"] The burst of colour and flavour added by local favourite dragonfruit and a curl of fresh cinnamon bark.[/caption] Our top 10 restaurants Sarong, Seminyak Bambu Bali, Seminyak The Plantation Grill, Seminyak Bali Asli, Karangasem Candi Beach Resort and Spa, Candi Dasa Chef Yudi, Les Village The Octagon Beachclub by Plataran, West Bali National Park Pachamama, Gili Air Bebek Bengil, Ubud Laut Biru Bar and Restaurant, Lombok   To find out more or to plan your adventure in Bali, visit
Visit Oregon USA
Happy Trails: Escape to Oregon, USA
Finding your happy place may be as easy as a short flight from LA, taking you deep into the heartland of American foodie culture and stunning natural wonder: Oregon, USA. Planning an adventure to the USA? You can hop on a super comfy 787-9 Dreamliner daily from Sydney to Los Angeles with American Airlines – but that’s only the beginning. Those flights connect to Oregon 11 times daily, so you can immerse yourself in this naturally blessed, outdoors-loving state in a mere 2.5 hours more. Why Oregon? Think skiing, fishing, rafting, hiking amongst stunning snow-capped mountains, deep scenic gorges, sweeping high deserts and majestic Pacific coastline. And that’s not even counting Oregon’s popular hub, Portland - one of the hippest places to base yourself if you love great local brews and food.   Beyond the city, three brand new self-drive Food Trails will take you deep into produce country – this just may be the most delicious way to travel. [caption id="attachment_48739" align="alignnone" width="800"] The region has a growing reputation as an excellent American culinary hotspot.[/caption] Wild Rivers Enjoy bellyfuls of berries, forage for mussels or feast on fresh-as-anything Pacific rockfish, rab and clams. Sample made-from-scratch bagels and sourdoughs, then take a hayride by a blooming pumpkin patch.   Getting there: the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail covers 134 miles of pristine coastline on Highway 101, starting in Reedsport and finishing in Brookings.   What's on the trail: stop at over 18 specialty farms and markets, 14 restaurants and seafood markets and a range of local breweries and distilleries.   Don’t miss: the cranberry rum at Stillwagon Distillery. East Gorge Historic orchards, wineries and restaurants take you from geological marvels, antique-filled farms and historic towns to small-batch ciders and beers, pick-your-own stonefruits and The Dalles Farmers’ Market (June to Oct).   Getting there: start the East Gorge Food Trail in the picturesque village of Mosier, tucked into the cliff line of the Columbia River Gorge, before taking the Historic Columbia River Highway to The Dalles and moseying your way south to Dufur.   What's on the trail: charming communities and unique experiences at working fruit farms, orchards, wineries and cideries.   Don’t miss: the cherry ice-cream at Baldwin Saloon. [caption id="attachment_48741" align="alignnone" width="667"] Enjoy a top drop at one of numerous local craft breweries.[/caption] Great Umpqua Hike and drive amongst the curve and rush of two mighty rivers, then refresh yourself with the distinctive wines of this mountainous coastal area. Dine farm-to-table, view herds of elk, breathe the ocean air and fall in love.   Getting there: anchored in Roseburg, Southern Oregon’s Great Umpqua Food Trail has three sections to explore: Reedsport along Highway 138, around Roseburg and Winston and along the North Umpqua River to Idleyld Park.   What's on the trail: incredible farm-to-table food experiences celebrating the very best of the region's bounty.   Don’t miss: the jerky from North Buffalo Ranch. Fly the American Way You can start your Oregon-style foodie adventure as soon as you leave Sydney on American Airlines; the menu in American Flagship Business class is designed by celebrity chef Sean Connolly, using grassroots ingredients and an award-winning wine list curated by sommelier Bobby Stuckey. [caption id="attachment_48736" align="alignnone" width="800"] Make your journey the most comfortable one possible with a flight on AA.[/caption] Flagship Business also features all-aisle, lie-flat seats, a Bose noise-reducing headset, a set of Casper premium sleep-technology bedding, plus amenity kits designed by the famed leather accessory company This is Ground with skincare products from Allies of Skin. In every class on board, you’ve got a carefully curated entertainment library, international and domestic wi-fi and power outlets and USB ports at every seat.   For more information and to book, visit and
Raising the bar: Bali’s hottest bars
Impossibly beautiful scenery, laidback vibes and an Indonesian twist on the art of aperitivo are all the ingredients necessary to make the bars in Bali enviable the world over. With the rattle of a Boston shaker and the melodic clink of ice, here are the best bars in Bali from Ubud to Uluwatu and beyond. Ubud A spiritual heartland, Ubud is the cultural centre for all things Balinese, but it also knows how to unwind. Appreciate flavours of the island at The Night Rooster Cocktail Bar. Here, drinks are prepared by local ‘alchemist’, Raka, using local ingredients and his homemade bitters.   To take in Ubud’s lush scenery, head to the rooftop at Copper Kitchen and Bar where views of Batukaru and Mt Agung will impress as you sip ethically sourced tipples under festooned lights. [caption id="attachment_48938" align="alignnone" width="600"] The trendy interiors at Copper Kitchen and Bar are almost as nice as the views.[/caption] Uluwatu On Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu’s dramatic cliffs are bejewelled with luxury resorts and villas. But you needn’t be a glamorous guest to enjoy the bar scene here.   Begin at Sundays Beach Club, where you can intersperse complete relaxation with bursts of energy. Glide onto the water from the club in a kayak and work up an appetite for your next stop: Cire at Alila Villas. Truly feel you’re at the end of the earth here as you gaze out to the horizon between sips of your cocktail. [caption id="attachment_48940" align="alignnone" width="600"] Enjoy panoramic ocean views and a tantalising menu at Cire at Alilia Villas.[/caption] Lombok Island Bali's neighbouring island is a surfer’s nirvana, but come ashore and you’ll find this island knows how to mix a good tipple. Start with the attention-seeking view at Aura Lounge and Bar, but tear your eyes away from the glittering vista of Selong Belanak beach long enough to order from their sustainably driven menu. [caption id="attachment_48942" align="alignnone" width="600"] Aura Lounge and Bar is South Lombok's best kept secret.[/caption] If you still haven’t had enough sea-gazing, settle in at The Kliff at Katamaran in Senggigi for sunset drinks. Prolong your session here with something from the fresh seafood grill. Canggu Bali’s hipster surf haven, Canggu is always down for a good time. Try boho art bar Ji Terrace by the Sea. With panoramic ocean views, it's a favourite of the design set. Named after a local break, there’s nothing old-fashioned about Old Man's. This colourful club has a focus on healthy, fresh flavours. Come evening, the place to party is cool, grungy surf-and-skate bar, Pretty Poison, complete with its own skate bowl. Seminyak This beachside-style enclave is a hot spot for sleek bars. A good start is Mrs Sippy, where the mantra is ‘sip, swim, sunbake, repeat’. [caption id="attachment_48943" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bali's largest saltwater pool haven, there's a reason Mrs Sippy is Seminyak's holiday hotspot.[/caption] For something a little more laid-back, head to Akademi Bar at Katamama. One for serious cocktail enthusiasts, this is more than a bar; it's also a classroom, where you can take tutelage in mixology and local ingredients.   To find out more or to plan your own bar-hopping adventure in Bali and beyond, visit
Tokyo is packed with world-class dining experiences revolving around sushi and ramen.
Where to find the best Japanese food in Tokyo
It has been said that it is difficult to have a bad meal in Tokyo. But with an estimated 160,000 restaurants in the city, there is an overwhelming choice. Michael Ryan of Provenance Restaurant in Victoria brings us his expert opinion on the best places to wine and dine. Arriving in Tokyo We arrive in Tokyo early February. This is one of my favourite times to visit; certainly better than being here in summer when the heat and humidity can be somewhat oppressive. It is not overly cold with maximum temperatures reaching about 10°C during the day. The first few hours in Tokyo are always so exhilarating to me, especially coming from Beechworth in Victoria. The crowds, the noise, the smells – both good and bad – and the press of humanity. I travel to Japan at least twice a year, eating my way through the diverse and wonderful restaurant scene, particularly to gain inspiration for the food at my own restaurant.   How to find the best Japanese food in Tokyo   Just winging it and heading out into the street to choose a restaurant at random has certainly supplied me with some great restaurant finds. But this trip, there were hopefully to be no duds.   Through a mixture of internet research, recommendations from friends, other chefs and even some of my customers, I created a list covering a broad spectrum of the restaurants available in Tokyo; some ramen (noodles), kaiseki (a traditional multi-course, highly refined meal), yakitori (skewered chicken), sushi, izakaya (a drinking establishment) and European.   It was going to be tough, but I knew that my years of practice at dining out would see me through. [caption id="attachment_1545" align="alignnone" width="1000"] For those who go to Japan with authentic food in mind[/caption] Ramen Ivan Ramen Generally in Tokyo there is good ramen and then there is great ramen. Our first lunch at Ivan Ramen was definitely of the second variety. Owner, Ivan Orkin, is an American living in Tokyo who, against all odds, opened a ramen shop in an area where non-Japanese chefs usually don’t exist.   With training and experience in high-end restaurants, he transformed this street food into a sought-after delicacy. All stocks are made from scratch and all noodles are handmade.   Yes, there are certainly other ramen shops doing this, but it was Orkin’s ‘outsider’ approach that really differentiated his noodles. A prime example would be his use of rye flour in some of his ramen noodles, which is unheard of in Japan – until now. But all this experimentation would be for naught if the ramen didn’t taste good. It does.   We are actually at Ivan Ramen Plus, his second store and home to his most experimental ramen. Take for example ago-dashi ramen, made with dried flying fish, dried shrimp and scallops (a deep, complex broth served with slightly chewy noodles), or his very rich garlic shoyu abu ramen.   The most unusual ramen was the cheese mazemen which, in the wrong hands, could easily be one step too far. Bonito (dried fish flakes), shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and kombu (seaweed) combined with their Western umami cohorts, tomato and cheese (four kinds).   Again, another rich ramen, counter balanced with some pickled bean shoots – like an Italian-inspired noodle dish with Japanese accents… or a Japanese ramen with Italian accents.   Ivan Ramen Plus is a great example of how cheaply you can eat your way around this city, with dishes from just $7-10.   The one oddity about this eatery, though, is the only beer available is XXXX. While it is not really that different from the simple inoffensive Japanese beers like Asahi and Kirin; in Japan I guess it is exotic, and context is everything. Strangely, the same ramen in Sydney would set you back closer to $17.   Address: Tanbaya Building 1F, 2-3-8, Kyodo, Setagaya-ku, +81 364131140 Ippudo in Ginza We also visit an international ramen chain, Ippudo in Ginza. It is a surprisingly homely looking place considering its reputation and the ramen is very good. Ramen is not the sort of meal you have for a long leisurely lunch – we are in and out in under 30 minutes.   Address: Zhongshan second building, 3-11-14, Ginza, Chuo-ku, +81 335471010 Kaiseki One thing you notice when dining out in Toyko, particularly when dining at more serious restaurants, is the quality and beauty of the crockery that your meals are presented on.   Stunning, individual, handmade pieces always complement the food and, in some cases, outshine it. Kozue Kozue at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku is a perfect example of this. Served in kaiseki-style, the chef has a choice of 4000 ceramic bowls, cups and plates, valued at more than one million dollars. But luckily, chef Kenichiro Ooe’s food matches the beauty of the ceramics. His food, traditional in format, has creative twists throughout.   The highlight for me is the shirako (cod’s milt, aka sperm, a challenging delicacy in Japan) tofu with tomburi and grated daikon – a delicate yet full-flavoured appetiser, and probably a very good introduction to those not au fait with the idea of eating cod’s sperm. The restaurant mirrors the Park Hyatt itself – subtle, elegant and not at all glitzy like so many large hotels.   If I had a wealthy, very stylish aunt, this is how I would imagine her house would look.   Address: Park Hyatt, 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, +81 353233460   Ginza Okuda Ginza Okuda is a big-ticket restaurant and is the second restaurant for chef Tooru Okuda, his first being the highly regarded three Michelin star Kojyu.   Prices are around $220 per head plus drinks but, as with many of the high-end Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo, lunch can be a heavily discounted version of their dinner menu. The set lunch menu is around $110 per head, plus drinks. And so, we dine for lunch.   The restaurant is classic kaiseki-style, with a small counter seating seven people, as well as some private dining rooms to the side. But the counter is the place to be – it is where you can see all the chef action. I counted at least eight chefs in the very shiny, immaculately clean kitchen and at least three staff on the floor – for a restaurant that seats no more than 20 customers, that’s a very high staff to customer ratio.   The food, under the charge of Shun Miyahara, is refined, elegant and seasonally driven. The young Miyahara is very talented using traditional kaiseki techniques, with some subtle, modern touches throughout, and he is more than happy to help with English translations of the dishes presented.   His dish of seared lobster – still raw in the centre – with apple, a soft broken vinegar jelly and small dices of a firmer nori jelly is delicate, flavoursome and refreshing.   Address: Carioca Building, B1, 5-4-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, +81 355373338 Ishikawa Ishikawa, a more traditional kaiseki restaurant, is another fabulous meal for dinner – and known as a sanctuary hidden amongst the hectic streets of the city. The most prominent feature of this restaurant is the calm, authority figure of chef and owner Hideki Ishikawa.   He spends most of the service overseeing the counter, slicing the sashimi, practising quality control. Repeatedly throughout the evening, his many chefs will bring a small ladle of dashi (traditional Japanese cooking broth) for him to test.   With minimal words and movements, he tells the chefs what adjustments are to be made and the chef returns minutes later with the corrected broth. A small nod of the head from Ishikawa is the only indication given that perfection has been achieved. The menu features some fantastic ingredient combinations, like monkfish liver (surely the foie gras of the seafood world), sansai (mountain vegetables), snow crab and wild boar finished with an incredibly decadent uni (sea urchin) rice bowl. Stunning.   Address: 5-3-7 Kagurazaka Shinjuku, Tokyo, +81 352250173 Jimbocho Den Our third kaiseki-style restaurant, Jimbocho Den, is such a wonderful surprise; the place has an energy and sense of humour that belies the traditional formal set-up of the restaurant. Run by a young husband-and-wife-team, the menu format is of traditional style but the dishes are both creative and modern, without losing sight of tradition.   Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa’s first dish for the night, foie gras miso wafer, is a very good indication of where the meal is headed, his Dentucky Fried Chicken dish (a chicken wing stuffed with rice and vegetables, served in a Kentucky Fried Chicken box full of hay) sums up the experience: cheeky, quirky and backed up by some very skilful cooking. And it is with dessert that Hasegawa shows his most modern thinking. A tromp l’oeil creation – plated food designed to look like something it is not – of mouldy looking puffballs, served on garden trowels in a bed of leaf mulch, is actually delicate choux puffs with green tea on a bed of roasted brown tea leaves.   And the garden gloves you are requested to wear when eating the dessert adds to the theatrical experience. Jimbocho Den is quite popular now and getting a booking can be difficult, but persevere, it will be worth it.   Address: 2-2-32 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, +81 332223978 Sushi You can’t go to Tokyo without eating sushi at least once. Isana We eat it twice at two very different but both very good sushi restaurants. Isana, just down from Roppongi Crossing, was only recently opened by chef Junichi Onuki who had spent a good part of his career cooking in London.   It is a very intimate restaurant, seating only 15 patrons. We start with some raw baby Conger eel, tempura fukinoto (flowering shoots of butterbur) and grilled whelk – an impressive starter.   And the sushi that followed was of a very high quality particularly for the price. The meal, with plenty of sake, came to about $160 per head.   Address: Hotel & Residence Roppongi 1F 1-11-6 Nishi-Azasbu, Minato-ku,+81 364349194   Sushi SORA The other sushi restaurant we visit is a rather different affair. Sushi SORA at the Mandarin Oriental is a much grander and sleeker dining experience.   The restaurant, located on the 38th floor of the hotel, seats just eight at the sushi counter and offers stunning views of the Tokyo skyline. The sushi is refined and very precise. Chef Yuji Imaizumi’s style is very theatrical, with complex movements and loud clapping of the hands involved in the production of each piece of sushi.   The sommelier, Kaoru Izuha, who previously won the ‘Sake Sommelier of the Year’ title at the Kikisake-shi World Championship, expertly guides us through some great sake and wine to match our meals.   Address: 38th Floor Mandarin Oriental, 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, +81 332708800 Yakitori Another very popular dining style in Japan is yakitori, which is often associated with ‘salaryman’ or ‘suits’ dining – they are casual, smoky joints serving beer and sake, and every part of a chicken on skewers, grilled over charcoal.   They have a reputation for drinking and eating at izakaya and casual yakitori. Torishiki But Torishiki, a yakitori place in Kami-Osaki, breaks this mould. There is only counter seating in this restaurant – 18 seats in a U-shape around the kitchen. Unusually, this place is non-smoking and the room is elegant and understated.   Chef Yoshiteru Ikegawa is a yakitori maestro and stands in front of his yakitori grill, for the whole night, with an intense focus on his face. He is also the lone griller, and it’s for this reason the maximum number of guests he will take in one group at the counter is three.   If any country could lay claim to be the king of ‘nose to tail cooking’, it is Japan.   Torishiki’s signature yakitori dish named cochin (meaning lantern) is a perfect example. It is the unformed egg, the oviduct (or egg delivery tube) and some liver, skewered together and grilled. It is meant to be eaten in one bite and, trust me, is delicious.   Another confronting dish often seen at yakitori restaurants is just seared chicken – almost raw. To a Western palate, raw chicken is pretty much synonymous with death. But to a yakitori chef, it is just another of the many ways to prepare chicken.   Obviously the chicken needs to be super fresh, and for the very good yakitori places like Torishiki, this is a given.   Address: 2-14-12 Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, +81 334407656   Travelling to Tokyo soon? Read our guide to everything you need to know about Japan’s capital city.  
Los Angeles Hollywood Sign
13 of the best film locations you can visit in Los Angeles
Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood by visiting the bars, hotels, restaurants and precincts featured in 2019's most talked about films and television shows. Los Angeles is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world. It has served as the backdrop to countless award-winning films and television shows since Hollywood first became the central hub of the emerging U.S film industry in the early 1900s. This makes L.A. the perfect destination for film and television buffs looking to experience the locations featured in the most talked about films and shows of 2019. [caption id="attachment_46929" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Virgil features in A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.[/caption] A Star Is Born Could there be a more perfect location for a film about a love story between a rock star and aspiring singer than the city where dreams are made? Locals and visitors to Los Angeles can find the locations of some of their favourite scenes in the movie. [caption id="attachment_46930" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Virgil is the set for first time Jackson watches Alley sing.[/caption] The Virgil – The popular East Hollywood bar is the location where Jackson first watches Ally perform La Vie en Rose at the drag show.   Address: 4519 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46931" align="alignnone" width="600"] Ally perform La Vie en Rose at the drag show at Los Angeles' Virgil bar.[/caption] Greek Theatre – Jack attempts to convince Ally to come with her to his next concert at none other than the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. Ally decides to take a risk, quits her job and flies to the Greek where Jack convinces her to sing Shallow on stage.   Address: 2700 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46932" align="alignnone" width="600"] A cosier side to The Virgil that we didn't see as much of in the film.[/caption] Chateau Marmont – Ally and Jackson share a moment in their hotel room, filmed at the Chateau Marmont, just before the launch of her album while looking out at her billboard on Sunset Boulevard.   Address: 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46933" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Chateau Marmont is the setting for the scent in A Star Is Born when Ally and Jackson look out over her billboard just before her album launch.[/caption] This Is Us The award-winning television show may be set in Pittsburgh and the New York tri-state area but it is filmed in the City of Angels. You can find the locations of the show's most heartwarming and tear-jerking scenes throughout Los Angeles. [caption id="attachment_46935" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner in Downtown Los Angeles serves up some mouthwatering sweets.[/caption] Godmother's Saloon – 'Froggy's' may be the name of Rebecca and Jack's local Pittsburgh hangout in the show, but Godmother's Saloon, located in San Pedro, is the actual filming location.   Address: 302 West 7th, San Pedro [caption id="attachment_46936" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner also happens to be the very diner that Kevin and Sophie share their first kiss in This Is Us.[/caption] Nickel Diner –Downtown Los Angeles's Nickel Diner is the place where Sophie and Kevin had their first kiss and where Kevin attempts to win Sophie back in season one of the show. Customers will be transported back to the 1940s in this vintage-style restaurant.   Address: 524S Main Street, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46937" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner is also the same diner Kevin tries to win Sophie back in season one of This Is Us.[/caption] Hotel Café –It is the location of Rebecca's Valentine's Day show in season one and the venue is a Los Angeles musical landmark in Hollywood. Some of the Hotel Café's most notable performers include Coldplay's Chris Martin, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and John Mayer.   Address: 1623 ½ North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46938" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Hotel Café is the location of Rebecca's Valentine's Day show.[/caption] Insecure [caption id="attachment_46941" align="alignnone" width="600"] Openaire is located on the LINE Hotel's rooftop in Koreatown.[/caption] The HBO hit series has received countless accolades for depicting a more positive side to life in South Los Angeles than what viewers generally see in mainstream television shows or films. The majority of scenes are filmed in the South L.A. neighbourhood but there are a few hangouts for Issa and friends sprinkled throughout the city. [caption id="attachment_46940" align="alignnone" width="600"] The restaurant was the location of Molly and Issa's brunch in season two of Insecure.[/caption] Mavericks Flat –The location of where Issa runs into Daniel in the very first episode of Insecure. Artists such as the Temptations and Marvin Gaye performed at this Leimert Park landmark, and it was once known as the 'Apollo of the West' during the '60s and '70s when it was one of the foremost jazz, soul and R&B venues in the city.   Address: 4225 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46942" align="alignnone" width="600"] Openaire is Josiah Citrin's new restaurant (formerly known as The Commissary).[/caption] Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant – The city's oldest Ethiopian restaurant plays host to Issa's birthday party in another episode, starring in a scene between Molly and Issa. Located in Los Angeles's Little Ethiopia district, this intimate establishment is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal.   Address: 1036 ½ Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles   Openaire – Josiah Citrin's new restaurant (formerly known as The Commissary) is located on the LINE Hotel's rooftop in Koreatown. The restaurant's distinctive greenhouse decor makes it instantly recognisable as the location of Molly and Issa's brunch in season two.   Address: 3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles   GLOW Netflix's original comedy pays homage to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling variety show of the 1980s that was originally set in Las Vegas. Netflix decided to move the show's location to Los Angeles and as a result it gives us a look into the city's colourful history.   The Pink Motel – To prepare for the show the ladies of GLOW are sent to live at the Dusty Spur, which is actually the Pink Motel in Sun Valley. The retro hotel has also appeared on shows such as Dexter and Drive, and while it is closed for business you can still get an outside look at the location before popping in next door to Cadillac Jack’s Cafe, another popular filming location for GLOW.   Address: 9457 San Fernando Road, Sun Valley [caption id="attachment_46947" align="alignnone" width="600"] Ruth and Sam stopped in at the Mayan in Downtown L.A. in GLOW, but you'll also recognise it from scenes in The Bodyguard and A Night at the Roxbury.[/caption] The Mayan – When scouting for locations to shoot GLOW, Ruth and Sam stopped in at the Mayan in Downtown L.A. The historic theatre is intricately designed with Aztec features and has also appeared in The Bodyguard and A Night at the Roxbury. It now operates as a nightclub.   Address: 1038 South Hill Street, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46948" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Hollywood Palladium's interior is used as the fictional Hayworth Hotel in GLOW.[/caption] Hollywood Palladium – The women of GLOW decide to film the first episode at the fictional Hayworth Hotel, which uses the interior of the Hollywood Palladium. The exterior of the Palladium was also used in a different episode of the show as a movie theatre screening Back to the Future.   Address: 6215 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood [caption id="attachment_46949" align="alignnone" width="600"] The exterior of the Palladium was also used in a different episode of the show as a movie theatre screening Back to the Future.[/caption] Bird Box Sandra Bullock stars in the chilling Netflix movie Bird Box. The 2019 film has taken over Australia’s screens (and memes!) and travellers will be pleased to learn they can visit the Monrovia home from the film, which is located in Los Angeles County. Monrovia House – Monrovia is located 32 kilometres north of Los Angeles, and this seven-bedroom property is the home of Sandra Bullock and her children in Bird Box. The suburb is also the location of numerous other iconic films, including Legally Blonde, American Pie and Never Been Kissed.   Address: 304 North Canyon Boulevard, Monrovia Travelling to Los Angeles? Here is how you can spend a perfect 48 hours solo in the City of Angels.
5 secret bars in London and how to find them
Hidden in London’s rabbit warren of streets – between the old pubs and office buildings, trendy cafes and quirky shops – are some stellar secret cocktail bars to get acquainted with. The Blind Pig Hidden above Michelin-star restaurant Social Eating House in Soho is the American underworld-themed bar The Blind Pig. Named after American slang for a drinking den during the Prohibition, this has strong whiskey and cigar vibes reminiscent of 1920s New York.   All dim lighting and mahogany trim, this establishment is decked out with vintage fittings, an antique mirrored ceiling, reclaimed wooden chairs and a copper-topped bar. Boasting cosy leather bar stools and booths, and a drinks menu of strong spirits, quality cocktails and craft beer, this is the perfect London hideout.   Cocktails are also named after your favourite childhood tales: think The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 5 a Day (Patron Silver tequila, lime cordial, apple, pears, plums, strawberries and oranges); Harry Potter’s Best Bottle Butter Bitter (Scotch whisky, beer, butterscotch, bitters, thyme and citrus); and Jemima Puddle-Duck’s Fowl Play (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, blood orange, honey, herbs and spices). The menu is an artwork in itself, with each cocktail description paired with a gorgeous illustration to feast your eyes on.   Finding this gem of a bar, from street level, is a challenge. Look for the vintage, neon red and white ‘Optician’ sign, and below you will find a brass, blindfolded pig doorknocker. Once you find this, you’re in. Just don’t tell anyone.   Address: 58 Poland Street, London W1F 7NR Discount Suit Company Named after the tailor’s shop that was based at this spot, and whose sign is still (mostly) mounted on the brick corner of the old building, the Discount Suit Company is an underground bar with the best of everything: in the heart of London, very intimate and home to the best exotic and classic cocktails. [caption id="attachment_46741" align="alignleft" width="600"] With the original sign (somewhat) in tact, the Discount Suit Company holds plenty of history[/caption] With exposed brick interior walls, wood furnishings and ambient lighting, this bar blends romance with a touch of grunge. The dressmaker’s mannequin in the corner of the bar is a true tribute to the bar’s former life, but I am very sure the space is happy with this new breath of life.   Nibble on artisanal cheeses from London’s own Neal’s Yard Dairy as you sip your Wooly Back (pisco, white Port, coconut, jasmine, citrus and vitamin C) or your classic Piña Fumada (mezcal, Velvet Falernum, pineapple, lemon, honey and club soda).   Locating the entrance is tricky, and once you do, watch your head on the steep descent into the basement (and be even more careful on your way out, half intoxicated).   Address: 29a Wentworth Street, London E1 7TB Experimental Cocktail Club Found in the depths of bustling Chinatown behind an old door with peeling paint, the ECC is an easy one to walk past on first go, but a hard to resist once you’ve found it.   Spread over three storeys, the establishment’s industrial bones – pressed-metal ceilings and exposed bricks – are offset by minimalist interior design, mirrored walls and blackout curtains to atmospheric effect. It’s the perfect combination of lively and intimate, but make sure you book in advance – this is a popular spot. [caption id="attachment_46742" align="alignleft" width="600"] Brooding interiors at The Experimental Cocktail Club[/caption] Experimental cocktails include the Stockholm Syndrome (Ketel 1 vodka infused with cumin and dill, Linie Aquavit, lemon juice, syrup, pink Himalayan rock salt and bitters) and the Grandaddy (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cynar, lemon and grapefruit juice and rosemary-infused honey). Classics are also on the menu, with a choice of 50s, 60s or 70s gin in your vintage martini.   Address: 13a Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PS Milk & Honey A member’s bar with a yearly fee, this is an upper-class club with a lot of sass. Serving a bunch of house rules with their amazing cocktails, you are expected to dress a certain way and act a certain way as a condition of entry.   As a non-member, you can still frequent the bar if you book a table in advance, preferably earlier in the week. There are non-member specific spots in the three-storey establishment, housing chesterfield couches, low lighting (aided by candles scattered through the bar), and pressed-metal ceilings. Just stepping in this exclusive bar makes you feel like a politician, a movie star or a someone who plays golf on a weekday.   The Bumblebee cocktail is divine, with dark rum, honey, lemon and angostura, and Satin Sheets tastes like it sounds, with a combination of tequila, falernum and lime. Of course, this bar also serves a range of fancy Champagne and wines, and a grazing menu worthy of kings. Try the homemade tuna samosas, the buttermilk-fried chicken bun or the cured meat board.   With no signs, the big metal door is the only signifier that Milk & Honey really exists. Check left and right, make sure no one is looking, and then enter. Voilà, you’re in!   Address: 61 Poland Street, London W1F 7NR King’s Head Members Club Positioned in the hip East End suburb of Hoxton, this bar is hidden behind the facade of a rundown British pub – but don’t be fooled: inside is another story. Its opulent and eclectic interiors are characterised by a startling collection of exotic taxidermied animals, including a cheetah standing atop an antique cabinet.   Thousands of butterflies line the dining room and peacocks are scattered around the bar; an assortment of antique furniture, much of it lined with red velvet, create a luxurious ambience. [caption id="attachment_46743" align="alignleft" width="600"] Unexpected interiors at The Kings Head[/caption] The King’s Head is another private member club and non-members need to score a spot on the guest list to gain entry – whether that’s to the bar or one of the club’s many events, from life drawing to burlesque shows. Emailing in advance to scope out what’s on is your best bet for getting in.   The club is home to some knock-out cocktails including the Goose Lemonade (Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, fresh raspberries topped with lemonade) and Aviation (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Maraschino liqueur, crème de violette and lemon juice).   Great drinks, an eccentric theme and unique events make for a marvellous time at this exclusive and secret London bar.   Address: 257 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AS
People dancing with drummers
The other side of Washington, DC you need to know about
Known for being the capital of the states and a cultural centre; there are few cities in the States where history, diverse cultures and eclectic neighbourhoods intersect the way they do here. Forget politics – here’s the real buzz you need to know about in Washington, DC. Neighbourhoods: the lay of the land There are a couple of dozen neighbourhoods patchworking together the map of DC, each with a very distinct feel. Once you’ve walked the chic streets of Downtown, get your shop on in the endless boutiques of cobblestoned Georgetown, spurred on by its exquisite landscape of historic houses, fine art galleries and waterfront. [caption id="attachment_46572" align="alignnone" width="600"] Relax with a sunset kayak on the lake.[/caption] Get funky (and foodie) in left-of-centre Shaw, stay up late on U Street, and of course, get your walking shoes to tour infamous massive monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, on the National Mall. And don’t miss nightly free shows at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, set amongst the green space of university area Foggy Bottom. People & culture: get immersed Washington, DC’s mere 700,000-odd residents enjoy neighbourhood after neighbourhood of cosmopolitan facilities and a depth of culture born of thriving artistic communities and multicultural traditions. One must-see, in the eclectic, once-industrial NoMa district, is the mid-century food hall-turned-hip centre Union Market; stroll amongst the street art, craft distilleries and vintage clothing stalls and fall in love. [caption id="attachment_46570" align="alignnone" width="600"] Wander through the markets and discover local artists.[/caption] Then head over the Penn Quarter and Chinatown and catch a basketball game – the Washington Wizards and Mystics teams both call Capital One Arena home, with the surrounding streets filled with sophisticated eats and a neverending neighbourhood buzz. Insider’s secret Scope out historical and mural-lined Blagden alley for bars and restaurants beloved of locals. Culinary experiences: the must-eat list Things can get a bit spicy in a town like DC, sure, and that includes the food. Run, don’t walk, to Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, take a leaf from the book of Barack Obama himself and order a half-smoke; it’s DC’s signature sausage, smoked then grilled, and served up hot-dog style with onions, cheese and chili sauce. [caption id="attachment_46574" align="alignnone" width="600"] Don't miss the trendy Maydan eatery and bar.[/caption] At the more rarefied end of the scale, there are no less than 16 DC eateries sporting Michelin stars; for the full three-star experience, hand over your wallet and your heart at the impeccable The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.   To experience your own Washington, DC, call Qantas Holidays on 1300 443 485 or visit
Botswana Butchery Queenstown
A foodie’s guide to Queenstown
There’s more to New Zealand’s adventure capital than just adrenaline. Surrounded by striking mountains on one side and a serene deep, blue lake on the other, Queenstown has got to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities. And while most tourists visit to raise their heart rate on the slopes, with around 150 bars and cafes in the Queenstown region, there’s a pretty impressive foodie scene to be explored as well. Breakfast Bites The Bathhouse What better way to start the day than with a hot, locally brewed coffee at The Bathhouse (38 Marine Parade). This cute wooden building overlooks the beach with spectacular views of the lake and lots of deck chairs outside, and it serves up a mean breakfast as well. The Bathouse Special Breakfast is recommended. If you like it, come back at lunch and try its famous seafood chowder with a local beer. Ivy & Lola’s Kitchen and Bar [caption id="attachment_46277" align="alignnone" width="600"] For breakfast or lunch with a view, you can't go past Ivy & Lola Kitchen and Bar.[/caption] Ivy & Lola’s Kitchen and Bar (88 Beach Street) on the Queenstown Pier is a little more formal, but still offers uninterrupted views of the lake. Although the menu does change, and is a little eclectic, dishes like the Southern fried chicken 'n' waffles with jalapeño chutney, bacon and maple syrup keeps regulars coming back for more. VuDu Cafe & Larder [caption id="attachment_46282" align="alignnone" width="600"] Stop for a coffee and a sweet treat at VuDu Cafe & Larder.[/caption] If you’re about to hop on a ferry or head up to the snow, the busy VuDu Cafe & Larder (16 Rees Street) in the centre of town serves up great coffee and pastries. It also does a fantastic eggs benedict and if you want to break the breakfast rules, the carrot cake is ridiculously tasty. Lunch munches Fergburger You may have heard of the famous Fergburger (42 Shotover Street) – make sure you try its namesake burger – but did you know the team behind it also offers golden baked pies and crispy pastries at Fergbaker and the delicious gelato at Mrs Ferg as well? You’ll find both of them next door to Fergburger, just follow the smells (and the lines). Winnie’s Pizza For a quick bite between bungee jumps, Winnie’s Pizza (7–9 The Mall) is right in the centre of town. Choose a table outside so you can people watch and make sure you order the cheesy garlic bread to start. It’s addictive. The thin and crispy wood-fired pizzas that are served up here come dripping with toppings and they make for a filling lunch. Not a pizza person? Try their ribs or spaghetti bolognaise. Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan [caption id="attachment_46275" align="alignnone" width="600"] Have a relaxing cellar door lunch at Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan just outside of Queenstown.[/caption] If you’re looking for a more rustic lunch with views, Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan (265 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road) is a relaxing cellar door just outside of Queenstown. Featuring its Central Otago wines and local produce, the cafe is set in a garden courtyard sheltered from the summer sun. It’s a short drive away from the busy Queenstown streets and can offer a little relief from the crowds. Dinner Dates The Lodge Bar [caption id="attachment_46281" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Lodge is the place to go for seafood, cocktails and beer.[/caption] Start the evening with a cocktail or crisp beer at The Lodge Bar (2 Rees Street). A good choice is the Sage Advice cocktails – sage-infused tequila, blackberry purée and lime juice – drunk at the bar, on a booth or near the big, inviting double windows. If you get peckish, order the oysters, clams or prawns and enjoy fresh seafood over looking the lake. Rātā [caption id="attachment_46278" align="alignnone" width="600"] You can't leave Queenstown before you enjoy a meal at Rātā.[/caption] One of Queenstown’s most impressive restaurants is the elegant Rātā (43 Ballarat Street), opened by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett and local restaurateur Fleur Caulton. With rich slow-cooked dishes, such as beef rib with parmesan gnocchi and buttered leek, to suit Queenstown’s cooler climate, there’s a reason this intimate venue is so popular. Enjoy your meal at the bar, in the formal restaurant or outside in the sunny courtyard. [caption id="attachment_46279" align="alignnone" width="600"] Warm up with any of hearty, slow-cooked meals on the menu at Rātā.[/caption] Botswana Butchery [caption id="attachment_46276" align="alignnone" width="600"] Enjoy an exquisite meal beside a roaring log fire at Botswana Butchery.[/caption] To celebrate a special night, book a table at the Botswana Butchery (17 Marine Parade), in the pretty little historic Archer’s Cottage. Despite the name, under Hong Kong-born head chef Vicky Wong you’ll find dishes such as Singapore soft shell crab and Botswana Peking Duck. It’s not cheap but the quality of the food is worth the coin. The Bunker [caption id="attachment_46280" align="alignnone" width="600"] A night in at The Bunker is well worth the effort it takes to find it.[/caption] For a post-dinner nightcap, head to the hard-to-find speakeasy, The Bunker (14 Cow Lane). Although it also serves dinner with paired wines in its restaurant, this hidden bar is the place to be for a late-night pinot noir or single malt. Don’t be fooled by the uneventful laneway you’ll find it in, this little Queenstown gem is atmospheric, welcoming and cosy on cool, New Zealand nights.   Planning a trip to Queenstown? Read our New Zealand guide to find out everything the country has to offer before you go.
Azamara Pursuit Cruise Ship
7 reasons to take a trip aboard the Azamara Pursuit
Not your average mode of transportation between Ol’ Blighty and marvellous France, but as I learnt, climbing aboard the Azamara Pursuit is absolutely the best way to do it, and there are a few reasons why… It should be made clear before you read another word, that I, Olivia Mackinnon love cruising.   It’s in my DNA, you see. My parents actually met while working on board what they called, ‘The Love Boat’, but I suspect it was just a regular boat, with no links to TV cruising royalty whatsoever.   So for as long as I can remember, I have been wooed by the incredible grandness of cruise ships, and up until recently, I’d never been lucky enough to board one in the Azamara fleet.   The brand new Azamara Pursuit was setting off for her maiden voyage, and I had been invited on the two-night journey to experience all she had to offer… Grand is an understatement [caption id="attachment_46070" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Azamara Pursuit is grand in scale[/caption] Landing in London and then travelling to Southampton, UK, I was instantly desperate to climb aboard Azamara’s newest ship, Pursuit as soon as I clapped eyes on her. One of my favourite things to do aboard a ship is familiarise myself with the facilities: ‘Where is the restaurant, how far is my cabin from the pool, where is the spa?!’ I’m simply not satisfied until these questions are answered. However, aboard Pursuit I was enamoured with the luxury feel of the ship. The detail in every hand rail and piece of art. As a small-time cruiser, I simply didn’t feel worthy.   The common areas were furnished with incredible plush chairs, decorated with velvet trimmings and chic finishes, while the restaurant took the whole ‘white tablecloth’ dining experience to a new level with a sense of European style I haven’t ever seen on board a ship before. [caption id="attachment_46073" align="alignnone" width="600"] Spending time in the common areas was a joy thanks to this stunning and comfortable arrangement[/caption] The cabin The feeling of luxury was extended down the hall of the starboard side – as I’m sure it was on port side – and all the way inside my cabin. The bathrooms had more sink space than I was accustomed to. There was an established seating area, a roomy balcony and a beyond-comfortable bed. In fact, with the deluxe sheets combined with the gentle sway of Southampton’s River Itchen, I don’t know if I’ve ever slept so soundly.   I was particularly fond of the colour palette used in the cabins, a mix of moody greys, deep woods and a touch of blush. The marble finishes added a chic cherry to an already delectable cake.   Also, the shower pressure was near-normal – maybe even on par with what you’d get at home. Anyone who has ever cruised before will understand what a big deal that is. A Titanic experience, minus the tragedy What excited me about this trip was that I was going to get the chance to arrive in an entirely different country by the time I woke up in the morning. Yep, we were en route to Cherbourg, a port city in France where you could delight in both French naval history and quality croissants for the day. I also learned that this was the place the Titanic made its final stop on its fateful journey to America – but I tried not to focus on that as I disembarked. [caption id="attachment_46074" align="alignnone" width="600"] The furnishings were elegant, comfortable and luxurious[/caption] If that sounds appealing to you, visitors to Cherbourg are encouraged to visit Cité de la Mer, one of the port’s main tourist attractions, where you can find out more about the infamous ship’s final visit. The on (and off) board delicacies The Pursuit frequents many European ports during its varied itineraries, which means the food always complements your destinations. During my day in Cherbourg I was treated to fresh crepes, soft cheese, macarons and sparkling wine. I pretty much had to roll back to the ship. [caption id="attachment_46071" align="alignnone" width="600"] There are many sights to take in and they aren't all experienced from the ship's deck[/caption] Back on board, passengers celebrated the ship’s maiden voyage with a decadent oyster and Champagne buffet dinner. Chefs were ready and waiting at a personalised pasta station, ready to combine fettuccine with pesto, or spaghetti with carbonara sauce if your heart so desired. It’s differences like these that showcase the level of care – and luxury – you can expect to experience on board an Azamara ship – and from what I hear, the Pursuit’s elegance is certainly no exception to its sister ships: Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey. The pool Despite being August, the weather was a little cooler during our short cruise, and I’m almost certain that I was the only guest to brave the ship’s water amenities. I swam not only in the pool’s accompanying spa on the main deck, but also in the larger spa provided to guests before their scheduled treatment, as an indulgent precursor to what is already guaranteed to be a ‘cloud nine’ level of pampering.   Due to the lack of company in the spas, I felt there was more than ample room – my only gripe would be that they could be made a little warmer – however on a standard August day in Europe I imagine the cooler temperature would ordinarily be ideal. Destination Immersion experiences [caption id="attachment_46072" align="alignnone" width="600"] Just because you're on a cruise ship doesn't mean you don't get to experience the culture of the ports you travel to and from[/caption] The thing that makes the Azamara fleet different to regular luxury cruises is its desire to get passengers off the ship at port and truly immerse them in the activities and culture of that destination. This is what they call their ‘Destination Immersion’ programming.   For example, during my time in Cherbourg on the Pursuit’s maiden voyage, in addition to being treated to iconic French delicacies, we were also wowed by a side-splitting performance by a French dance ensemble. The short itinerary meant that while a full-day of exploration wasn’t an option, Azamara brought a taste of Cherbourg’s culture to us at port – and we loved every second of it.   Sailings with longer itineraries can expect even more incredible immersive experiences. From a three-day/two-night stargazing experience in Chile’s Atacama Desert, to exploring the inside of a volcano in Iceland, they somehow manage to make it about guaranteeing you have as great of a time off the ship as you will on board. They get around, a lot As of 2019, Azamara’s very first Melbourne departure will take place – and the list of destinations worked into their itineraries is longer than ever. This year, the ships will visit a record 250 ports across 69 countries with 94 overnight stays and 145 late-night stays – meaning you get the most out of the places you want to visit. Plus, this year marks the first visit to Alaska – yippee!
Milan Piazza Duomo
How to live la dolce vita in Milan
Discover the unforgettable treasures and simple pleasures of Italy’s cultural capital. While Rome is the historical heart of Italy and Florence is home to its artistic soul, Milan is the cultural capital where all the good things meet; fashion, food and the arts. Its treasures aren’t as obvious as those of other Italian cities, you have to dig a little deeper to discover them – but that makes them all the more satisfying. Shop like you mean it [caption id="attachment_46052" align="alignnone" width="600"] For the best of Milan's high street shopping you'll want to head to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II[/caption] If you fancy a designer bag or three, Via Montenapoleone is where it’s at. This narrow street houses all the luxury brands in one handy location. Visit for the window shopping and people watching alone.   Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is also a designer haven and the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is where to find all the high street brands. [caption id="attachment_46051" align="alignnone" width="600"] Inside the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II[/caption] La Rinascente is a luxe department store stretching over 10 floors while 10 Corso Como offers a tightly edited mix of designer fashion and art. Think Milan’s version of Paris’ famed, now closed, Colette boutique.   For a designer bargain, the top of Via Manzoni towards Archi di Porta Nuova is where you’ll find designer outlet stores such as DMag. Wander the Navigli [caption id="attachment_46050" align="alignnone" width="600"] Explore the canals of Naviglio Grande.[/caption] Venice isn’t the only Italian city with canals. A 10-minute metro ride from the centre of Milan to Porta Genova will take you to the Navigli, a set of intersecting canals which were once the city’s main trading routes with Europe.   These canals were fed by two different lakes, Maggiore and Como, so the water levels weren't even. Enter Leonardo da Vinci who designed chiusuras, or dams, so the boats could travel along them.   You can take boat rides along the canals or simply spend the day strolling beside them and soak up the charm of the area’s boutiques and bars. At night, it’s a buzzing hub of people taking aperitivo by the water. Discover Brera The boho artists that called Brera home have made their stamp on this little corner of the city and it’s still an art hub. As well as cool independent galleries you’ll find the impressive Brera Art Gallery or the Pinacoteca di Brera, which displays one of the most comprehensive collections of Italian art.   There are also chic boutiques, upscale restaurants and picture-perfect cobblestone pedestrian streets such as via Fiori Chiari. Peruse the work of Leonardo da Vinci [caption id="attachment_46049" align="alignnone" width="600"] Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is on display within the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie[/caption] His most famous artwork, The Last Supper, is a mural in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Seeing it in a book doesn’t do it justice. Stand up close and let the details slowly reveal themselves to you; the folds in the tablecloth, the veins on the hands of the apostles, the use of light to tell the story of good and evil.   Book ahead. Numbers are limited to protect the priceless piece and if you turn up on the day, you might miss out.   The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana also pays homage to Da Vinci. It’s the caretaker of the Atlantic Codex, over 1000 pages of his notes and sketches. The display, which changes every three months, showcases about 10 pages at a time and can cover anything from his theories on soundwaves and music to the optic nerve and how sight works.   His notes are hard to decipher, until you learn that he was a lefty who wrote from right to left in mirror script. It’s an intimate insight into the great man’s mind. Visit La Scala The sumptuous red velvet and gilded gold interiors of this iconic opera house are enough to make you swoon, even if you’re not a fan of the theatre. But if you are, it’s worth splurging for a ticket to the opera or ballet. Then there’s the more-affordable behind-the-scenes tours. [caption id="attachment_46048" align="alignnone" width="600"] Experience one of the opera at Milan's iconic La Scala.[/caption] Composer Giuseppe Verdi’s operas Otello and Falstaff premiered here and the stage has hosted performances by the greatest opera singers such as Maria Callas and ballet stars including Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Fondazione Prada Miuccia Prada is considered the most intellectual woman in fashion and this sprawling contemporary art museum may be a bigger legacy than decades of shaping how we dress. Housed in a former gin distillery, the privately-funded collection is open to the public and is more a cultural compound than regular museum.   In addition to the 13,000 square metres of exhibition space, there are cinemas, bars and a new restaurant Torre, which opened in 2018 and has sweeping views over Milan. Indulge in aperitivo The Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks and snacks originated in Milan thanks to the popularity of the bitter liqueur Campari, which was distilled nearby. The idea being that it whets the tastebuds and gets the digestive juices flowing.   From about 5pm till 8pm you’ll see people sitting outside enjoying a spritz or negroni with a few nibbles before they head off to dinner.   Order a negroni at Officina 12, a hip gin bar in Navigli, head to the top floor of the Rinascente department store and enjoy an aperitivo while overlooking the spires of the Duomo or hang with the locals at Morgan’s, a dive bar in the historic centre just off Via Lanzone. Eat up [caption id="attachment_46047" align="alignnone" width="600"] Rovello 18 serves up their own inspired version of risotto Milanese al salto.[/caption] The city’s most famous dish is the saffron-hued risotto Milanese, served on its own as a primo or with ossobuco as a secondo. For something a little different, try risotto Milanese al salto, where the risotto is cooked then fried so the outer edges of the rice cake crisp up. At Rovello 18, it’s served in little patties while Antica Trattoria della Pesa does a giant disk as big as the plate.   You’ll find fabulous seafood at El Brellin and Langosteria if budget permits, or the more accessible Langosteria Café.   For a taste of luxury, Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco opened Ristorante Cracco inside the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II earlier this year.   For something truly dolce, the original Marchesi Pasticceria has been satisfying sweet tooths since 1824. Sleep with the stars Fancy staying in the same room as composer Giuseppe Verdi, singer Maria Callas or author Ernest Hemingway? They were all famous guests at the five-star Grand Hotel et de Milan and the suites they called home all have a personal touch: from the desk Verdi wrote at to a copy of Hemingway’s visa framed on the wall. [caption id="attachment_46046" align="alignnone" width="600"] Follow in the footsteps of some of history's biggest names and spend a night at the Grand Hotel et de Milan[/caption] This family-owned property is part of the Leading Hotels of the World Group and has an unbeatable location just a block from La Scala and a stone’s throw from the start of the shopping mecca, Via Montenapoleone. More information Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milano   La Rinascente, Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 88521 La Rinascente   10 Corso Como, Corso Como 10, 20124 Milano   DMag Outlet, Via Alessandro Manzoni, 44, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 3651 4365   Pinacoteca di Brera, Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano Pinacoteca di Brera   Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano   Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano Phone: +39 02 806921   Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano   Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco, 2, 20139 Milano Phone: +39 02 5666 2611   Officina 12, Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 12, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 8942 2261   Morgan's Milano, Via Novati 02, 20123 Milano Phone: +39 02 867694   Rovello 18, Via Tivoli, 2, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 7209 3709   Antica Trattoria della Pesa, Viale Pasubio, 10, 20154 Milano Phone: +39 02 655 5741   El Brellin, Vicolo dei Lavandai, Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 14, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 5810 1351   Langosteria, Via Savona, 10, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 5811 1649   Cracco, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 20121 Milano MI Phone: +39 02 876774   Marchesi Pasticceri, Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11/a, 20123 Milano   Grand Hotel et de Milan, Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 723141
Raw Egg on Rice with Natto
7+ unusual foods you should try in Japan
A brief guide to all of the weird and wonderful dishes you can try during a visit to Japan. Japan is undoubtedly a country that has a plethora of delicious foods to suit any taste.   Each prefecture boasts its own variety of rich local ramen and curry. Nationally, yakitori bars waft heady cedar-filled smoke down laneways and you can find the freshest sushi and sashimi everywhere, even on top of a mountain.   Japan is also infamous for its unusual food options. Foods that make a lot of westerners cringe or downright feel ill at the thought of.   Since variety is the spice of life, here are some of the ‘weirder’ foods you can tickle your taste buds with while travelling Japan.   Disclaimer: To reduce food-related health risks we recommend seeking out trusted restaurants and establishments that are serviced by qualified professionals. Avoid eating street food that has been sitting unattended or from a vendor with little trade. Ordering raw meat from restaurants that do not specialise in the cuisine is not recommended.   1. Torisashi (chicken sashimi) [caption id="attachment_45986" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Have you been served raw chicken in Japan? That would be Torisashi (chicken sashimi).[/caption] A dish that is guaranteed to evoke shock and horror from friends and family at home is chicken sashimi. With cries of “what about salmonella?” ringing in your ears, it can be a confronting first bite. Fresh chicken sashimi shouldn’t have an odour or strong taste about it at all. Where and when can I get it? A traditional dish of the Kagoshima prefecture, torisashi can be found in almost any izakaya in the region. However, it is gaining popularity in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo and can also be easily found in the Kyushu and Okayama regions. No matter where you get it due to the preparation required in serving non-fish sashimi (i.e. getting it fresh), it’s worthwhile to track down a restaurant that specialises in it rather than leaving it to chance. Pro tip It’s not just chicken breast that is available to eat raw. A restaurant with a chicken sashimi menu will also likely serve the organs as such. If you’re game. 2. Natto The easiest to find, and possibly the most divisive ‘unusual food’. Natto is a stringy, sticky and slimy fermented soybean dish that is most commonly eaten for breakfast. The odour is pungent (think stinky socks) and the flavour lands somewhere between off cottage cheese and salty rotten beans. [caption id="attachment_45972" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Natto is usually eaten for breakfast in Japan.[/caption] Where and when can I get it? Natto can be found year-round in most convenience stores (often in a hand roll or tub), in buffet breakfasts and many cafes all over Japan. Pro tip Natto on rice for breakfast, with a dash of soy, mustard and pickles, is a popular way to eat it. 3. Yakitori entrails [caption id="attachment_45989" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Swap your standard chicken breast skewer for a Yakitori intestine or liver.[/caption] The Japanese rarely waste any part of the animal and readily consume flavourful cuts of offal over the fillets that western cultures prefer. Yakitori liver, tongue, hearts, knee joints and intestine are offered alongside belly and breast and are grilled to perfection. Where and when can I get it? Yakitori bars are popular nationwide. It’s worthwhile trying them everywhere as variety and cuts differ from location and season. Pro tip Horumon (horumonyaki) made exclusively from beef or pork offal is available in dedicated restaurants and is considered good for stamina and energy in the bedroom. Wink wink. 4. Fugu (pufferfish) Fugu is a delicacy, and only available during the winter months. It is eaten for its delightfully unusual taste, high level of collagen and is considered great for anti-ageing. So long as the poisonous parts (mainly organs) aren’t consumed as they contain the deadly toxin ‘tetrodotoxin’, to which there is no known antidote. [caption id="attachment_47361" align="alignleft" width="600"] Wakasa blowfish or fugu thin fillet[/caption] Since 1958 chefs have been required to undergo a rigorous apprenticeship to obtain a license to prepare and sell fugu to the public. These days, cases of Fugu poisoning are rare (but not unheard of) with most occurring through amateur preparation. Where and when can I get it? Winter (end of December to March). Fugu is widely available however there are many restaurants in Kyoto that specialise in the dish. Pro tip There are many strange fishes available only in the winter months in Japan. Try to track down ‘Anko’ also known as Anglerfish in Tokyo and the seaside prefectures, it’s the deep sea fish with the light on its head to attract prey. 5. Batta or inago (grasshopper) The fact that grasshoppers symbolise good luck doesn’t stop them being fried and eaten. Considered pests that eat rice crops, they are a popular cooked in soy and eaten as an afternoon snack, where the crunchy texture pairs beautifully with an iced tea or beer. Where and when can I get it? The Nagano prefecture is considered mecca for finding edible insects however, rice grasshoppers are available widely at bars and restaurants. Pro tip Other popular insects to try are zazamushi (stonefly larvae), hachinoko (bee larvae) and inago no tsukudani (boiled locusts), mainly in Nagano. 6. Basashi (raw horse meat) High in vitamins and low in fat content, raw horse meat is usually served cold along with soy sauce, garlic, and wasabi or nigiri sushi style. It is considered a health food and has been eaten for more than 400 years. Where and when can I get it? Horsemeat is available both raw and cooked in barbecue, wagyu and sushi restaurants across the country – I stumbled across horse meat nigiri in a Tokyo sushi train. However, the regions of Nagano, Oita and Kumamoto are famed for their ‘basashi’ (raw sushi style); Kumamoto boasting a ‘cherry blossom’ basashi, named for its intense red colouring and flavour. Pro tip Such lean meat requires fine preparation so as not to become tough or chewy. Paper thin slices of sashimi delicately fall apart on the tongue and are the recommended dish to order. 7. Mystery Snacks [caption id="attachment_46010" align="alignnone" width="600"] Pick up a hot soup or coffee in the many vending machines around Japan.[/caption] With a store on almost every corner, it’s worth exploring the aisles or perusing vending machines for snacks to test your bravery. Along with chips, ice-creams and soft drinks you can find dried crabs, wasabi cheese and a lucky dip of mystery meats.   It’s hard to walk past the array of hot soups and energy coffees in vending machines without getting curious as to the (often surprising) taste. Where and when can I get it? Vending machines and convenience stores are everywhere. Even on the ski fields. You’re never far from a snack adventure.   Pro tip Don’t try to translate what’s on the packet. It’s far more fun to sip it and see if you can work out what you’re eating by taste!   It would be an extremely long list indeed to include all of the weird and wonderful foods available across Japan. These are a great starting point for extending your bravery and palate into the unusual.   If you're planning a trip to Japan make sure you check out our Japan travel guide, so you can read up on the very best the country has to offer!
Hawai‘i Foodie Guide: Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu
Nestled in between Ala Moana and Downtown Honolulu, Kaka‘ako is O‘ahu’s coolest neighbourhood with a buzzing food scene. Here is a snapshot of some of the best places to sate your appetite. Bevy Inspired by the speakeasies of the prohibition era, Bevy is a brooding little bar with a vintage industrial interior. The curated menu of crafted cocktails is the hero (created by award-winning mixologist Christian Self), with a European-style farm-to-table menu. See Piggy Smalls From the team behind Chinatown’s The Pig and The Lady, this playful spin-off located in Ward Village serves a menu inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine. The unique desserts are a must-try, such as the Hanoi-style egg coffee and seasonal slushies. See [caption id="attachment_45821" align="alignnone" width="600"] Piggy Smalls has got the Southeast Asian cuisine covered, you'll definitely be coming back for more![/caption] Butterfly Ice cream Be sure to stop by for a scoop of this artisanal small-batch ice-cream made using natural and seasonal ingredients. You can’t go past the Hawaiian flavours such as Kona coffee, Lehua honey and Poi banana bread. See [caption id="attachment_45820" align="alignnone" width="600"] Get your ice-cream fix and try some signature Hawaiian flavours[/caption] Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room Beer geeks and novices alike will get their kicks at Village, which stocks more than 500 craft beers from Hawai‘i and across the globe. It has 16 rotating taps for sampling on-site and oenophiles have a pick of eight wines on draft, too. See Arvo With a name like Arvo and a menu including flat whites and Vegemite toast, Aussies will feel right at home in this beautiful cafe. The interiors are bright and colourful (it shares its space with Paiko, a gorgeous botanicals and décor store) and takeaways are available at the little hole in the wall. See [caption id="attachment_45823" align="alignnone" width="600"] Needing your caffeine fix and American-style just won't do? Arvo serves up a range of Aussie coffees and flavours to keep you satisfied[/caption] Pow Wow Enough food? Be sure to hit the pavement and explore the cool and colourful artistic side to this urban hub. Thanks to artistic network Pow Wow, the streets of Kaka‘ako are adorned with some 50 vibrant murals, making it an Instagrammers’ playground. See [caption id="attachment_45822" align="alignnone" width="600"] When you need a walk after devouring your lunch, hit the streets of Kaka‘ako and check out some of the many vibrant murals[/caption] Eat the Street You’ll be spoilt for choice at this food truck event where more than 40 vendors cook up the likes of burgers, shrimp and tacos, as well as island-inspired cuisine such as plate lunch, shave ice and loco moco. This event takes place at Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park on the last Friday of every month, 4pm–9pm.

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