Accidentally Loving Hot Chocolate.

I’ve never been a hot chocolate lover per se. My theory is if you drink coffee but are in the mood  for a hot chocolate then just pour some chocolate powder on top of your coffee. I can only really remember having hot chocolates during my younger sister’s soccer games growing up, those ones from the kiosk that were a sorry excuse for anything with the word chocolate in its title. They didn’t cut it for me.

But I have some news! I am now a hot chocolate lover! I want to shout it from the rooftop of your house, but I guess this post will do! This new revelation is all thanks to the stylings of Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia. My taste buds, brain and heart could not believe what was happening as I took my first small sip.

I think it had to do with how they served it. Those geniuses put four pieces of milk chocolate in my mug and gave me a pouring cup with the steaming hot chocolate inside of it. I get it. You pour hot chocolate into more chocolate and voila!

It was the most drinkable hot chocolate I’ve ever had, there’s no other way to explain it.

We were lucky to have had it because hot chocolate for lunch was not our intention. We were starving so, without looking at the menu, we sat down at the first place we saw, Guylian. Because of prices food was no longer an option, the hot chocolate was $8.50 so that would have to do. I actually left grateful for their out of reality prices.

Do me a favor; next time you’re in Sydney splurge on the yumminess that is a Guylian’s Hot Chocolate. Not liking milk chocolate is no excuse as there are plenty of different chocolates to choose from. I’ll be trying to white chocolate next time, it’s risky I know. Not wanting a hot drink is also not a good excuse, Jack got the chocolate milkshake and could not stop raving about it. For about 30 minutes we were five-year olds in chocolate paradise, doesn’t that sound fun?

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe 

91 George Street, The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000

Room 10 in Sydney, Australia

Jack and I were lucky enough to have free accommodation, an amazing apartment in Potts Point, on a recent trip to Sydney, Australia. I think the greatest thing about free accommodation is the free food recommendations that come with it (free as in you don’t waste time doing research). We were strongly encouraged, basically ordered, to go to Room 10 in Llankelly Place.

With three step directions we found it in a matter of minutes. We probably would have walked right by it had it not been for the crowd of people waiting to be seated or their take away coffee. Since there was a wait to sit inside and they offered blankets we sat on the tiny wooden tables outside.

Room 10 is very small but super busy; this made the atmosphere fun and exciting for a giddy tourist like me. I couldn’t stop smiling, people around me couldn’t understand it especially since the weather had turned to shit. Jack was embarrassed. But no one could stop me, I was ready to order without even looking at the menu, “Oh, yes we’re ready. The BREAKFAST RICE, please!” Those same people would have probably been relieved I was a local had it not been for my american accent and the lack of color in my wardrobe.

My strong flat white was placed on the table a few minutes later and following almost immediately came my plate. If I could buy you this meal and spoon feed it to you I would because a) I will not do it any justice and b) you deserve it.

With each bite came every texture, flavor and color I had not predicted. I’m talking about brown rice, yoghurt, warm milk, banana, strawberry, sugar, pistachios, rose-water and rhubarb. I was in the healthy side of breakfast heaven while Jack was lost and deep in the unhealthy side, ripping away his Panini. I almost suggested we go back the next morning so I could have my own Panini or repeat my breakfast rice, but that’s breaking a food and travel rule I’m sure is documented somewhere.

I want to say that I’ll attempt to make this breakfast rice at home one day, because it seems possible, but I don’t want to promise myself such glamorous things.

Room 10 

10 Llankelly Place, Potts Point NSW 2011 

Nespresso and Me.

I’ve been having a strictly online romantic relationship with Nespresso for years, and we finally met in person. Let me explain.

I have taken a picture in front of every Nespresso store I strolled past in every city I’ve ever visited. I have always, always been a big fan of the Nespresso brand; I could not tell you the reason for this fascination, but I can share the alarming fact that up until this week I had never stepped foot inside a Nespresso store. Why you ask? I’m intimidated. It’s a whole other world in there.

It’s the creme de la creme, the pick of the crop, the best of the best of coffee heavens. I’m not talking about coffee for the sake of getting rid of your headache in the morning before going to work. I’m talking about the luxurious side of coffee, where pleasure is taken in simply smelling the coffee as it’s placed on the small table in front of you. I’m talking about feeling in control over what you’re drinking, you pick the style, the aroma, the intensity: the espresso. I am romanticizing it a bit, but it’s only because I feel they’ve done such a great job of providing a feeling of exclusivity, they make you feel as if you’re getting the ultimate coffee experience.

I ordered an iced macchiato from the Indriya from India variety. I’m not sure  what that really meant, but I knew I wanted maximum intensity (10) and an aroma categorized under spicy; That is what I got.

I’m not saying I would ever make Nespresso my go to coffee joint or join the Nespresso Club. What I’m saying is that the next time I have a free Sunday and I feel I’ve earned the right to treat myself I’ll head over to Nespresso, walk in confidently, take one of the best seats, order a $7+ dollar coffee and read an entire novel.

Home Away from Home… In My Belly

In the US, by the time most people have graduated college they are living away from their parents and are not coming back. I am no exception. I was working in NYC for 2 years before moving to Melbourne, Australia to work and holiday with the best of them! Since I’m in a completely different time zone it seems okay to feel a little hint of homesickness.

I not only miss US/NY type of things like, say, Hulu, Spodify, Netflix, driving, Broadway, I also miss the food. Mostly, my favorite restaurants in New York. I will now name a few: Meatball Shop, Bianca, Freeman’s, Crif Dogs, Westville, Grey Dogs, Caracas*, Clinton Street Bakery, Eataly, Socarrat, the fried chicken and bread pudding at Blue Ribbon Bakery. I could go on forever but I won’t because you’ll get bored and I’ll get hungry. The good news is that there is an abundance of delicious restaurants in Melbourne to keep me occupied and not wondering how long the line at Shake Shack is right now.

I’ve been a wanderer since I was 14 and have lived away from my family for some time now so I couldn’t figure out why this trip to Australia was different than all the others. There was something that was keeping my home sickness alive and present to the point where I’d lay in fetal position to speak on the phone with parents or send my sister pictures of everything in sight, begging for some in return.

See, I grew up eating Venezuelan food: Arepas, tequenos, empanadas, caphapas, flan, tres leches. I found a few “Venezuelan” restaurants here, but they were liars. It wasn’t the same at all. They have no idea what they were doing and I’d just leave angry every time! I didn’t throw anything but I was definitely at that level. Then one day the skies split in two, a bright light came down and landed directly on a Venezuelan flag swaying beautifully in the wind in front of an Cruzao Arepa Bar down Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. I walked in and heard the music my mom use to play in the kitchen while cooking, I didn’t hear it metaphorically, this is literal. I looked around as if I were the host of a cooking show on the verge of giving my verdict! It was almost the spitting image of what it should have been. Big, messy plates of food, arepas overflowing with different meats, avocado and beans, cheese perfectly melting out of the side of the cachapa, juices offered in every color a crayon comes in. I felt my heart smile. I was home, in the form of food.

I think the problem was I’d never gone longer than a few weeks without eating Venezuelan food, the food I so easily associate with my  family. Now, I’m not saying that the complete reason for feeling home sick was not eating a certain type of food. No. What I’m saying is that eating Venezuelan food, took the sick away from home sick and made me happy. I felt normal again.

That is one of the main reasons why I’ve always loved food. I think it’s a clear representation of different cultures and helps keep memories alive. Food is not only essential in every day life; it’s the best way to connect with others. As cheesy as it may sound, having a bite of that arepa took me on a 30-hour plane ride back to Florida, straight to my parents house.

Do you have certain meal or type of food that you associate with home or family?

*If you’re in NYC/Brooklyn, please go to Caracas and try anything. It’s brilliant Venezuelan food.