As promised, here is the second portion of our Australian adventure. This part is my own personal favorite part. If I could pack up and move to Brisbane tomorrow, I would, but you know… travel restrictions and such. We actually stayed in Surfers Paradise (on the Gold Coast- doesn’t Australia have the best names for things?), but we went up to Brisbane several times for activities. Honestly, I fell in love with the place. Ian had to practically force me back onto the plane. Same as last time, I am going to hit the foodie highlights and then spend some time talking about the special activities we did. I will likely talk about the activities in deeper detail, as I crossed off the number one thing on my Bucket List. More to come on that later! (See what I did there? Are you hooked now?)
Ok this is cream of the crop for the trip for me. It is basically like a rest station, BUT, all different pies. Meat pies, sweet pies, hand pies, you name it. I just went a little Bubba Blue there on you, huh? This was probably my favorite meal of the trip. Meat pies filled with mashed potatoes and mushy peas, and then a good old side of gravy. We also enjoyed chicken Schmaltz fries with gravy. For dessert, we had THE BEST PAVLOVA everrrr. Oh man, the sweet cream, melty meringue, and sweet fruit. So simple, but so amazing. My mouth is watering as we speak. Or I write. Whatever, you know what I mean. Dang, I wonder if they will ship to the USA?
Ian Note – Yeah. Best of the trip. We wanted meat pies. We got meat pies. ‘Nuff said.
One evening we decided to split up into our own groups (perhaps we were needing a break from one another) and explore different parts of Surfer’s Paradise as couples. After walking around for what seems like ages, Ian and I found…ok I’m embarrassed, I cannot remember the name of the Korean restaurant Ian and I enjoyed. However, it was the perfect little authentic hole-in-the-wall spot. Tiny restaurant, plastic tables, that kind of feel. I enjoyed an awesome, hearty Bi Bim Bap. Ian enjoyed some Bulgogi beef. The Bi Bim Bap is fresh, exciting, and flavorful. The Bulgogi beef was perfectly cooked and swimming in a delicious salty sweet spicy sauce. It’s fun to mix it all together and enjoy each bite.
JUSTIN LANE ESTABLISHMENT
Ready for a shocker? This restaurant is what we may consider to be some of the best pizza we have ever shared. Not just in Australia, in the world! I got simply the most mouth-watering mushroom pizza in existence. It had a drizzle of porcini oil on it that honestly changed my life. I am obsessed with mushrooms now. I eat them very, very often. Ian and Sean also split a couple of yummy pizzas. Ian went for the classic meat heavy type of pie, with meatballs and sage. It was a meaty man’s dream. He split that with Sean’s salami, prosciutto, basil, garlic creation. None of us could figure out who ordered right because it was all so good. We also enjoyed some Arancini and caramelized onion flatbreads. Oh I almost forgot! It was located in a really cool neighborhood called Burleigh Heads. Right on the beach, full of restaurants, dessert places, bars, probably where I would choose to live in Australia!
2 Zing is what many would call a sleeper hit. It is a no frills, easy cafe right across from our hotel in Surfers Paradise. We ate breakfast there almost every day (I’m talking like at least five days). They had the best eggs with the richest yolks- almost orange in color. Much better than what we usually get here. The toast was thick and fluffy, crisped perfectly on the outside but soft in the middle. When you ordered bacon, you got a mound of it Australian style, which is somewhere in the middle of ham, canadian bacon, and our own bacon. One day we switched it up and tried the sausage, and yes…that was the ticket. The sausage was absolutely incredible! Not so much like our sage-heavy breakfast sausage, it’s its own thing. Hard to explain, you’ll just have to go. Give a nudge and wink to the owners and they’ll give you both bacon and sausage (after five days we earned it). The tea was warm and comforting, and I believe the first Iced tea with Lemon they ever served was made for Don Bassett. It was just simple and grounding. The owners were the sweetest couple and we really enjoyed talking to them. We miss them!
Ian Note- Australians, similar to Europeans, love their flat whites, long whites, short whites, etc. If you’re in the area – embrace it! Their coffee drinks are tasty with a velvet mouthfeel. At 2 Zing you could get your drinks with different flavors. Once we did that we were toast. Caramel, white chocolate, lavender, etc. So much better than hotel coffee. Oh, and why so much 2 Zing? The prices were unbeatable. Hotel breakfasts at resorts in Australia are for the deepest of pockets, lucky us we had 2 Zing to enjoy!
Ok, this is just a general category, but man we had some good cocktails in Brisbane/Surfers Paradise. My personal favorite included my Pavlova martini (topped with a mini pavlova) and my Platform 9 ¾ drink complete with dry ice and a Golden Snitch! Ian got a very fun breakfast one topped with candy eggs. It essentially was a fun bourbon cocktail that had all the sweet, smoky, and savory notes you get from a good breakfast.
Ok so, onto the fun activities! Man, we did so much in Brisbane. We went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (and took a nice river cruise to get there) and pet koalas and kangaroos until our hands were sore (and very dirty). Side note, kangaroos are my new favorite animals. (Side-side note: Arielle is jealous that I am a kangaroo-whisperer. They loved me. Video and pictures to back it up). We hung out by the lagoon pool at our hotel and drank lots of drinks. We rode bikes down the boardwalk. We saw glow worms and huntsman spiders on a night hike adventure. Ok, I’m teasing you a little. Drawing out the suspense. Would you like to know the number one thing on my Bucket List? The one I have now checked off?
Ok, here it is.
We went to the Australia Zoo. Home of the late and great, Steve Irwin. AKA my personal hero. Did I cry for like three hours? Yes. I was a big emotional bowl of pudding. We even got to see Bindi and Chandler host the crocodile show! Even Steve’s right-hand man Wes was there, and that tugged at all of our heart strings. It was a great day. Top five of my life. Thank you to the Bassett family for making it happen! And for not laughing at me as I cried like a little baby girl. We all “donated” to the zoo’s gift shop heavily, with Ian, Sean, and myself splitting the entire Croc Hunter DVD set to bring home.
That concludes our once in a lifetime trip to Australia. If you ever find yourself in a position to go, please do. Have a meat pie and some potato wedges (with sour cream and sweet chili sauce) for me!