If ever there was a sign that we’re moving ever closer to Christmas and the party season, it’s this week’s fun and games at Romance HQ. We’ve begun the over-indulging in serious style with some excellent things to eat, drink and do.
We’ve also come up with some great inspiration for making your date nights a bit more seasonal with our top 7 Christmas date ideas.
Anyway, we hope you’re enjoying the last week of November (I know – I can’t believe it either) – here’s our latest IG Edition to help your week along.
Jim & Christina xx
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This evening we’re out with our awesome mate Steph from LipstickAndCake.com for a bite to eat and a bit of a chat. Steph’s been jetting around the States quite a bit recently and it’s been too long between our catch-ups.
We’ve come to the newly opened Tramsheds in Forest Lodge in Sydney’s Inner West. As the name suggests it’s on the site of the old tram depot right where the Harold Park Paceway dogs and trots racing track used to be.
It’s now an impressive collective of some very promising restaurants, cafes delis and wine shops. After a lot of indecision we’ve chosen the Butcher and Farmer, which offers a pretty good range paddock to plate options including an impressive selection of steaks.
These guys have only been open a bit over a month, and there are still some kinks for them to work out, but I think this place will become a solid choice for people looking for a fun meal out.
There’s also a Gelato Messina outlet here, which is a real deal maker. We’re big fans of what these guys do. Mrs Romance is a bit of a gelato nut. She’s even given her expert knowledge on the subject here – the difference between ice cream and gelato.
This morning, we’re at the absolutely stunning Chiswick in Woollahra for brunch with the head winemaker of the House of Arras from Tasmania. We’re here to experience their range of award-winning sparking wines and learn more about the winery.
Not only is the head winemaker Ed Carr a fascinating gent with an incredible bank of knowledge and experience he’s willing to share, the sparkling wine he’s made is superb. Head chef Tom Haynes has done a brilliant job matching the different sparkling wine to the 5 courses we’re enjoying.
It’s been an incredible meal – but then that’s what you’d expect from one of the restaurants in Matt Moran’s arsenal. The sparkling was sensational, and Chef Tom Haynes has done a brilliant job matching up the food – even Ed’s impressed. Here’s a quick run-down of the menu and the sparkling to show you that bubbles can really go with everything:
Canapés of oysters with lychee and smoked eggplant with black garlic and chickpea matched with the House of Arras Brut Elite NV Cuveé 901.
Entree of Tasmanian yellowtail kingfish sashimi, peach and almonds matched with the House of Arras Blanc de Blancs ’07.
Second course of roast duck, cherry and artichoke matched with the HoA Grand Vintage 2007 – this one’s my favourite and when we check later, we discover this is their most expensive in the range!
Main course of beautifully cooked sirloin steak with Aussie mushrooms and madeira (yes, steak with sparkling) matched with the House of Arras EJ Late Disgorged 2002.
Dessert is – as you can see – strawberries, lemon fromage blanc and black pepper on shortbread is matched with the House of Arras Rosé 2006. This wine just picked up the award for Best Sparkling at the National Wine Awards too. Impressive not to mention delicious!
What an amazing meal and a diverse selection of sparkling you’d never expect to go with so many different types of food. And the range of prices really make this brand a good option for most budgets. Plus it’s an Australian winery, which is something we’re so happy to support anyway.
We’ve actually written about matching champagne and sparkling wine here before – though not with this kind of detail. Find out more about how to pair bubbles with your dinner.
We’re totally stuffed after our meal, but we make our way to the Pyrmont ferry wharf (yes, those of you from Sydney will recognise this is an epic journey all the way from Woollahra, but there’s actually a bus that goes all the way) and stop in at the Gelato Messina at the Star.
I mean it’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it?!
This week, we’re starting our run-up to Christmas with a post about keeping everything sweet in the romance department while everyone around you is getting crazy about the build up to the silly season.
We’re back on the ferry again today, but this time we’re on our way to the airport. We’re really excited to be going up to Brisbane to see my brother and his lovely family. It’s been a while since our last visit, so I’ve got a feeling this is going to be good!
Hello Brisvegas! It’s good to be back in the riverside city. I’m sure we’ve got a weekend to remember ahead of us. I’m expecting lots of food, wine and relaxing chats in the sun!
First expectation: tick! This is actually Mrs Romance’s haloumi burger from Preece’s at the Jetty in Redcliffe. It even comes in a surprisingly tasty black charcoal bun. Well chosen, Mrs R!
And this is the jetty. This is actually full colour – the sun hasn’t really shown her face just yet, but I’m sure we’ll see some of her at some point.
I can’t really tell if that’s blue sky or just more storm clouds in the background, but the beach still looks pretty good, doesn’t it? It’s good to be back up in Queensland.
Throwbacks to our time in Cuba here in Redcliffe. There are regular car rallies here on this northern peninsular of the Brisbane suburbs and this is (probably) one of them. Then again it could just be a coincidence, right?
What an amazing weekend it’s been with the fam. As you can see, even more food and drink to enjoy this afternoon. I hope it’s not such a long wait between now and our next visit to these very special people.
And as you can see, the sun has finally come out for us too!
This week’s Travel Recap
Each week we go back in time over some of our favourite travel destinations using never-before-seen photos of our travels. Here’s where we’ve been looking back on this week.
At the end of our day’s drive from San Diego, we finally arrive at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. There’s not much better than rolling up in your cool Mustang to one of the funkiest hotels in a town known as Hollywood’s Playground!
Staying at the Ace Hotel is pretty much a must, but we’ve also written about our other favourite hotels in this quirky desert town still in love with that mid-century modern look. Here’s our Palm Springs hotel wrap-up.
How much does the camera love the bright red earth, the deep green of the vegetation and the crystal blue sky of Viñales, Cuba. This is prime tobacco farming country and where the very best Cuban cigars start their life. The barn is a tobacco drying hut where the harvested tobacco leaves are stored, dried and fermented before being sent to the cigar factories around the country.
We love Cuba and can’t wait to go back again. In the meantime, we’ve written a lot about our trip – here’s a link to our library of travelling to and around Cuba.
There’s nothing better than the feeling of sand between your toes!
I do love a palm tree! Coming from the UK it’s still feels unusual for me to see them everywhere here in my adopted home of Australia, but on sunny days, there’s nothing better than sitting under one!
Cheers! Is there anything better than a glass of bubbly at sunset with a view like this? We’re at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in Sydney – what a beautiful spot for a drink and dinner.
One of the many music and dance clubs in Havana, Cuba. Also very smoky – but what an amazing atmosphere! Although you get lots of hawkers telling you there’s a dance club – usually something around the Buena Vista Social Club title – in Havana, politely decline. The best way to find good music here in Cuba is to follow your ears. It’s never far round the next corner!
The old American cars in Cuba are so iconic and so fascinatingly well maintained. In comparison to the crumbling, mouldering walls of many of the old buildings – especially here in old town Havana, the cars from the ’40s and ’50s are in amazing condition.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s IG Edition. Have a great week. J & C x