Bar Food From Around the World

Friday, January 30, 2015

For my first collaborative post I have a couple of lovely guests chatting about bar food from Australia and Denmark, and I'll be sharing typical bar food from Yunnan Province, China.

Taking us to  Brisbane, Australia is Emily from Eat All Over the World. She says that drinking is a way of life in Australia and that Australians like to take drinking and the accompanied eating slowly. There isn't a typical bar food, but Emily says that a bar will not last unless it has incredible food that sets the bar apart. Wow - this sounds like high drinking standards to me! Emily's favorite bar with the best food is the Breakfast Creek Hotel, which she says "is one of the best steak houses and rum bars in Brisbane. The food melts in your mouth, the beer is served out of wood barrels, and the amount of rum is the most I have ever seen."

Chatting about Denmark is Maria from Maria says that food culture has changed in Denmark over the last 10 years but that the Danes love for Smørrebrød or opened faced sandwiches with beer or snaps has remained constant. Maria says "these today are a highly regarded art and I have attached a picture of one of the more modern versions. After the bar you would head immediately for the nearest Pølsemand or hot dog stand for a red sausage with bread, or just a sausage if you didn't have much money. A so called Kradser (scratcher), as without the bread to wash it down it "scratched" your throat. Incidentally the red sausage is so bad for you that it is now illegal in several countries :)"

To research Danish bar food further, Maria decided to take it upon herself to visit one of her tour stops the "Nørrebro Bryghus, a famous microbrewery and restaurant which was opened in 2003 by the former chief brewer at Carlsberg. So impeccable pedigree for any information on bar food. Here I discovered to my joy that the snack menu at the bar also offered the very traditional flæskesvær (best translated to pork rinds I think). In Denmark one of our biggest products and exports is pork. This has been the case for over 100 years. Hence most traditional Danish food products will involve pork in one way or another. The pork rinds are made from the fried or deep fried skin of the pig and are salted. Each butcher has his own way of making them and no visit to a butcher is complete without a bag to take home. My grandfather would go on Saturday mornings and come back with a large chunk of them still attached to the fat and dripping. Food for the gods."

Now lets travel to southern China where late night beers are almost always accompanied by late night barbecue called shao kao. Shao kao entails ordering numerous skewers of raw meat, vegetables, or seafood, which is then cooked over a large open grill and served with thousands years tofu sauce and chili powder. Personally, I skip the thousands years tofu sauce but pile on the chili powder. I'm a big fan of the grilled lamb skewers and the grilled zucchini skewers. Yum!

Thanks to my contributors! I loved learning about the typical bar food of Australia and Denmark. Now, I think I need to go get myself a snack.

What would you like to see for the next collaborative post? Do you like collaborative posts?

Saving Extra Money for Travel

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So, J and I are a primarily one income family, but we have decided to make travel a priority for our family. We live as cheaply as we can (Hello two room apartment!) and we generally don't spend money on stuff we don't need. To contribute to saving for travel I have picked up a few tutoring students on the side of my normal part-time job and that money goes directly into a bucket that I designated a travel fund.

If you remember my post about Places I'd Love to Visit in 2015, you'll know that Greece is really high up on that list. I'm thinking April vacation on some sunny island in Greece. To make this dream a reality I'm been dropping all of the extra money I earn into a box that I've decorated with an image of Greece.

I know this is absolutely not rocket science nor a fabulous budgeting trick - and is pretty much the same as a piggy bank - but it works. Having the simple feedback of seeing an image of where I want to go and stashing my money in a jar (actually a chocolate container) works wonders. I've seen a few awesome versions of a money saving jar on Pinterest and have collected my favorites on a Pinterest board here.

Check out my non-arts and crafty handiwork...

Do you have any simple tips you use to save money for travel? Where are you saving to visit?

Hotel Review: Rome

Monday, January 26, 2015

Just over two weeks ago I hopped a Ryan Air flight to Rome to visit my parents who were in Rome for work. My parents were put up at the Hotel Commodore at the St. Maria Maggorie Church, where I promptly booked a room. 

The single room was very clean and simply furnished. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, even providing nearby restaurant suggestions. Additionally, the hotel was located across the street from the beautiful St. Maria Maggorie Church and only about a 5 block walk away from the Colosseum. The hotel is also about three blocks away from the Rome Termini Train Station, which makes it easy to get to and from the hotel and the airports. You can even see the St. Maria Maggorie from the breakfast room. I loved the area that this hotel was in and have no major complaints about my hotel stay.

My only minor critiques were that both online and advertised in the hotel was a bar that served drinks and snacks in the evenings. Unfortunately, this was not open during our stay - perhaps because it was the off season? Additionally, I got very bored of the free breakfast very quickly. I'm a pretty simple breakfast eater (cereal and milk or toast) but I found the bread a bit to crusty to eat and the milk was warmed (yuck). These critiques were so minor that I would stay at this hotel again and recommend it to a friend.

Hotel Details: Hotel Commodore at the St. Maria Maggorie located on Via Torino 1. Single Rooms: about 50 Euro per night.


Where do you suggest staying in Rome?

Hungry in Hungary

Friday, January 23, 2015

While J and I didn't eat out a whole lot in Budapest , we did find a few gems that I'd like to share and several places that I think you should add to your must visit list.

New York Cafe

Eating at the New York Cafe on the afternoon of Christmas Eve was a highlight of my visit to Budapest. Both the interior and exterior of the New York Cafe was stunning (especially because it was decked out for Christmas), the staff was friendly, and the food was incredible. J and I shared a full tea for two menu, which was surprisingly filling. *sorry for the low quality phone photos - there was a sign that clearly said no photos but I did a little rule breaking (so did everyone else in there!).

Erzsebet Krt. 9-11. Budapest.


Located in Gozsdu Court - the bar and restaurant hub in the Jewish District - was Kolor. I had a delicious bowl of Hungarian goulash (though I can't judge how authentic it was) and an amazing salad. I'd suggest checking out this area if you are in search of popular restaurants and bars.

*Note we stayed in an AirBnB apartment in Gozsdu Court. Though the area is excellent and there are numerous restaurants I would strongly suggest not staying there. It is really loud all day and night.

Kiraly Utca 13. Budapest (look for a small road - no cars allowed - off of Kiraly Utca. The entrance has the sign Gozsdu Udvar).

The Budapest Cat Cafe

We happened upon the Cat Cafe in Budapest and decided that we must stop for a coffee to check it out. This Cat Cafe was giant - I'm talking two floors full of tables, cats, toys, and a giant cat climbing wall. Did I mention that there were 11 cats and that several of them were pretty gigantic?

Revay Utca 3 near St. Stephen's Basilica.

Gelarto Rosa

I had seen numerous reviews of Gelarto Rosa prior to heading to Budapest, so for me it became a must visit. I'm really glad that I had put visiting Gelarto Rosa so high on my list because boy was it incredible. The gelato was smooth and the flavors were so fresh - not to mention the gelato was served shaped like a rose! My favorite flavors were pistachio and lemon basil. I could just imagine eating a cone of refreshing lemon basil gelato on a hot summer day - yum! Really though, if you are visiting Budapest you should do yourself the favor of visiting Gelarto Rosa at least once.

Szent Istvan ter 3 - near the St. Stephen's Basilica.

Koleves Vendeglo

Koleves Vendeglo is a Jewish restaurant that serves incredible food in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.  Their menu is extensive and everything sounds so mouth watering. J and I had an appetizer of sweet potatoes and yummy spreads for bread, matzo ball soup, sweet potato pasta, and a surprisingly good Asian fusion dish. Everything really delicious and I'd recommend adding this restaurant to your must visit in Budapest list. One problem we did have was with the opening hours. Both the sign on the door and online stated that they were open from 8 am to 1 pm, but when we arrived at about 11:30 we were turned away and told they don't open until 12. Confusing!

Kazinczy Utca 37-41.

I'm linking up with the Sunday Traveler.

Where else would you recommend eating in Budapest? What local specialities are your favorite?

Beautiful Street Art in Budapest

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Just a little reminder before I start chatting about the cool street art in Budapest- If you'd like to share typical bar food from around the world please send photos and a description of the food to me ( by this weekend. The more the merrier!

There was a lot of incredible street art in Budapest that really beautified the disused buildings. Many of the murals were the size of whole buildings and I loved the bold colors that were used. My favorite is the beautiful sky filled with hot air balloons near the children's playground. Such a perfect location for such a lovely piece!

What is your favorite piece of street art from this group? 

10 Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hi everyone! I'm back from my week off blogging and happy to be posting again. I had a lovely trip in Rome visiting my parents and I'll start chatting about that soon, but for now I'm going to keep re-capping my Christmas trip in Budapest.

Budapest has a great number of things to do and see - and we weren't even to do it all because of the scheduling with Christmas. Also, Budapest is pretty inexpensive and for any travelers on a budget many of the 10 things in my list below are free!

1) See the Parliament Building from Buda

As you can see from the photograph below, the view of the Parliament building from Buda is absolutely stunning. (Free!)

2) See the Shoes on the Danube Memorial

The Shoes on the Danube River is a memorial for Jewish people that were killed on the river bank during WWII. There are 60 pairs of shoes made from iron in this memorial. I thought that the position of the shoes and the details on the shoe sculptures made this an incredibly moving memorial. This memorial is located on the Pest side of the Danube River near the Parliament building. (Free!)

3) Walk to the Citadel to see the views of Buda and Pest

The Citadel is a large fortress on Gelert Hill in Pest that you can see from the whole city. The walk to the top looks slightly daunting, but do it - the view is incredible! (Free!)

4) Visit the Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church

During our visit in Budapest we were only able to visit the outside of Matthias Church as a church service happened to be taking place; however the outside is incredible. Look at that roof and those details! I couldn't get over how amazing this place was from the outside. And the Fisherman's Bastion is just incredible. (parts of the Fisherman's Bastion are free!)

5) Stroll over the Danube River

The bridges over the Danube River are stunning - but my absolute favorite was the Margrit Hid (Margaret Bridge). It is the second oldest bridge in Budapest (the Chain Bridge is the oldest) and it connects Buda and Pest with Margaret Island. (Free!)

6) Enjoy the Street Art

Budapest had a surprising amount of awesome street art decorating sides of buildings. (Free!)

7) Go Vintage Shopping

There were numerous vintage and vintage-like (stores that re-worked old clothes or made clothes that looked vintage) throughout the city. Many of these stores weren't open over the holidays; however, we were able to visit two really excellent vintage shops.

8) Relax in the Baths

Following Adelina's tips from Pack Me To, I headed to the Szechenyi Baths for a relaxing afternoon. It was absolutely wonderful and if you go to Budapest you must try it!

9) Visit St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica is absolutely stunning, both inside and out. It is incredibly ornate and does not cost very much to enter (200 HUF). Even J commented that is the prettiest church he has seen since the Vatican!

10) Tour the Dohany Street Synagogue 

The Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest remaining synagogue in Europe. They offer tours of the inside of the Synagogue and the Jewish Quarter of the city, but the hours are limited in the winter so be sure to arrive early- but not too early.

What else would you add to this list?