Category Archive for Food + Theme Restaurants
Tokyo Halloween themed food: pumpkin burgers at Grand Hyatt, Oak Door! Pastel pink hair color, Attitude Clothing.
Trick or treat! I now have pastel pink hair, with blue and purple highlights. Are you surprised to see this new color?
I’m overjoyed because it’s the best time of the year — Halloween. To celebrate, I’ll show you photos from Japan, where locals celebrate the season big-time.
We’ll kick things off with my fairy-hair, and then chow down on Halloween-themed cuisine in Tokyo, including skull cocktails and bat pastries at the Grand Hyatt’s Oak Door restaurant.
First, let’s take a look at the latest additions to my fall wardrobe. I’m wearing wooden designer sunglasses by Moat House, my favorite independent eyewear designer.
These artisans craft all their frames by hand in their Derbyshire, England workshop. The Moat House team sent me these gorgeous Godiva frames in Brazilian purple heart and oak, with a violet mirror lens. The cat eye shape is as flattering as it gets, and the frames are lightweight — so I can wear them with comfort all winter.
I’m a big supporter of Moat House‘s artisinal approach, and encourage you to support indie, sustainable brands like them. (They have all styles of wood glasses for both men and women, which you can see on their website.)
Attitude Clothing (an online shop with an amazing selection of dark fashion) sent me some designs by a Thailand designer, Morph8ne. Their dresses seem to be made for Wednesday Addams and Nancy of The Craft (especially their plaid schoolgirl dress).
I’m wearing the Charlotte dress, which has ultra long sleeves and a doll-like lace up corset back. I love the details such as the keyhole closure in the back, and the Morph8ne logo in a heart on the front.
Isn’t this witch-baby dress perfect for the Halloween season? (Shop more fashion by this brand from Attitude Clothing, and by clicking below…)
How would you describe my new mermaid hair: My Little Pony? Cotton candy pastels? It also looks a bit like the asymmetrical cut and color of Final Fantasy’s Lightning character.
I always go to hair stylist Stephanie Hoy at Sugar Skull Studio, in Gastown (#300-68 Water Street, Vancouver BC). Her work is magic: I went from grey-green to layers of light pink, baby blue and lavender. Stephanie is amazing at alternative dyes, but does all types of cuts: ask for her!
As the weather gets colder, I’ve been reaching for these new gold skull tights from Gal Stern. Based in Israel, she designs luxury legwear and just released a new Halloween collection that is perfection.
The nude hosiery is the softest, highest quality (it won’t tear or run) and how wonderful are the Day of the Dead golden skulls printed over the knees!
I’ve been keeping warm with my Long Clothing beanie, also from Attitude Clothing (they carry all my favorite brands). There’s a skeleton skull and chain version of this knit cap as well — or tuque, as we say in Canada.
Now, let’s take a look at the cute Halloween food you can currently find in Tokyo! The October holiday gets bigger every year in Japan, and you’ll find spooky-themed dishes all over the city.
Nobody does it better than The Oak Door restaurant, located at The Grand Hyatt hotel in Roppongi Hills. This American steakhouse released a masterful Halloween menu, complete with kabocha pumpkin burgers.
Pick your poison: the Oak Door Bar is also offering creative cocktails that feature skull glasses and syringes. All are beautifully mixed and presented, and available only for a limited time.
Above, I sipped on a Deadly Rose with pomegranate syrup, apple brandy, silver tequila and lime juice — with dry ice added for a ghostly touch. In the middle, the V-Blood pays tribute to vampires. The Trick or Treat on the right is an unusual and delicious concoction of vodka, melon and pineapple juice.
The “Dr Frankenstein” behind these drinks is Seyeram Anagbonu, bartender of The Oak Door. He takes a playful approach to his creations, and showed us how he made “brain sludge” out of vodka, lime juice and cranberry jelly.
Then, Chef de Cuisine Adam Noffsinger came in with these mouthwatering burgers… which look exactly like Halloween pumpkins!
I’ve never seen a burger bun as creatively executed: the bread is made from pumpkin puree and baked in the shape of the squash. Delicious, and all-naturally flavored and colored. Inside, there’s a juicy patty (The Oak Door is known for its beef), Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced Japanese kabocha and classic fillings. Paired with sweet potato fries and spiced aioli, this turned out to be the most “spooktacular” meal I’ve ever had.
The Grand Hyatt also debuted a Halloween afternoon tea, and we got to try a sampling of dark desserts. The bat-shaped chocolate cookies, crème brûlée, tarts and creamy roll cakes (all pumpkin flavored) are made in-house by the award winning patissiers.
They’re masterpieces: not overly sweet, with pleasing combinations of natural flavors, and expert decoration (check out the intricate swirls on the tarts).
Head pastry chef Goto Junichi is highly regarded, and deservedly so. His Halloween desserts showcase his fine French training, fused with a Japanese sensibility and touch of kawaii.
You can find his sweets at Fiorentina Pastry Boutique at The Grand Hyatt hotel, and I hope you’ll come to The Oak Door for a kabocha burger and Gothic cocktail before the season ends. (Above food photos by John S.)
As you may have seen on my social media, I was in Tokyo for the start of my JRailPass train journey. I found lots of Halloween-themed snacks all over the city, and took photos for you. If only I could eat them all…
At Krispy Kreme Japan, there’s a “sweet monster show” donut box available.
You can buy the Krispy Kreme donuts individually, or get a dozen in a graveyard-decorated box. I spy a melon soda monster, spider chocolate custard puff, grinning caramel pumpkin jack, and a purple mummy with sweet potato icing!
The Mr Donut franchise also gets into the Halloween spirit, with spooky Snoopy donuts.
Mister Donut has donuts shaped like the Peanuts puppy, in white chocolate and chestnut glaze. The seasonal packaging makes it look like Snoopy is wearing a witch’s hat. This chain is also selling chocolate spider and pumpkin ring donuts at the moment.
The cute cafe La Petite Mercerie celebrates with these adorable cakes: a Halloween shortcake and pumpkin gateau chocolat.
Their smiling Jack-o-lanterns with highlighted cheeks are the definition of spooky-cute.
Cozy Cafe is offering a Disney Villains special. There’s a Mickey Mouse pumpkin cream cake, with chocolate 3D facial decor. Cozy Cafe also has gift boxes and other sweets themed like Maleficent, Ursula and other baddies.
If you want to buy Halloween snacks to take home, don’t despair. You’ll find plenty of items in gift stores all over Tokyo.
For these sweets, Snoopy transforms into a vampire, and peers out of a coffin.
At Don Quixote (the discount general store), you can find all sorts of inexpensive themed snacks during this season. I found anime biscuits and Halloween Pocky, as well as many others for under $5.
Japan rocks at packaging design. The Halloween mascots are always kawaii, with bright colors and simple shapes.
At Tables bakery, I was tempted to buy a Jack-o-lantern demitasse cupcake. There’s also one that looks like Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas.
How cute are these bite-sized purple pumpkin and ghost mini cupcakes?
In Harajuku, I swung by Nicolas House, a cafe with a bunny theme. All the custards and sundaes have rabbit ears and smiling faces. For the time being, there’e an orange pumpkin Bunnicula.
Nicolas House did a Miffy collaboration last year, decorating all the sweets to look like the Dutch character.
Even the savory dishes have a cute bunny theme.
Finally, I popped into the Kawaii Monster theme cafe in Harajuku. The restaurant is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu meets an acid trip: there’s a cyber mushroom disco inside, and a giant sofa that looks like a cat. Everything is rainbow-colored, even the food — such as primary colored pasta, served on an artist’s palette.
I didn’t go inside or eat a meal here, but you can get the gist of it from these photos of the exterior. Kawaii Monster Cafe is open all year round, so you can get a taste of the rainbow at any time.
I leave you with this anatomical dish on display at Okadaya (the Shinjuku craft store).
What do you think of the Halloween treats in Japan, and my newly pink hair color?
PS: If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, I’m selling many of my favorite cosplay outfits on my Depop shop! I’ve also put up more Japanese Goth and Lolita fashion for sale including Banana Fish, h.Naoto, Peace Now, and much more.
Come see all the listings here, then email email@example.com and let me know what interests you. I’ll do bundle discounts, and all items come with a photo and personal note. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Travel guide to visiting Lake Bled, Slovenia! Romantic castle & island near Ljubljana, Slovenian cuisine at Tito’s Palace.
I’ve been asked: as a travel blogger, do I get jaded about traveling? Does going to new countries become boring at some point?
The short answer is no. Every time I visit a destination, especially one I know little about, I end up finding unexpected gems.
This was exactly my experience at Lake Bled in Slovenia. Who knew that this unassuming country would have a lake and castle straight out of a fairytale?
Photos of Lake Bled are stunning enough, but the views are even more impressive in the flesh.
It’s the definition of picture perfect: a tiny island with a white church, in the center of an emerald lake. The isle surrounded by the lush green Julian Alps, and Medieval-era Bled Castle.
You’ll recall from my introduction post that Slovenia is a tiny country, which makes it easy to travel around. From the capital of Ljubljana, it’s less than an hour’s drive to Lake Bled.
That day, I wore my new blue tie-dye dress by Disturbia, the Goth and alternative fashion label that is one of my favorites.
My sheer Sailor Moon jacket is perfect for warm weather. I got it in Hong Kong, and love how the color is neutral, and the wands and crescent moons are subtle (but Sailor Moon fans will understand the references!)
Shop more fashion from Disturbia by clicking the pictures below
Bled Castle is the oldest in Slovenia, and one of the country’s proudest attractions. Since it’s easy to access Bled from Ljubljana (there are also buses and trains), many visitors take a day trip to the lake.
I walked around the towers of Bled Castle, imagining that I was a European princess. Inside, I saw the silver armor of knights, spooky bones and other relics from the Middle Ages.
There’s a crazy Medieval toilet in one room: the hole is a precarious drop down below, like the Vale’s Moon Door in Game of Thrones.
Bring your camera. There are outstanding views of Slovenia, from the castle windows and terrace.
It’s obvious why Lake Bled is a favorite destination for romantics. The location also leads into Triglav National Park, where you can take part in all types of outdoor adventures.
Time to explore the little island on Lake Bled. The traditional way to get here is by pletna, or a gondola with paddles.
As you can see, it takes a lot of muscle to row, row, row the boat!
The Church of the Assumption is the focal point of island. Excavations revealed a chapel that dates back to 9 AD, but the current one was built in 1698. Inside, there’s a “wishing bell”: you pull on a long rope, and it rings the bell at the top of the steeple.
Lake Bled is not one of Europe’s most known attractions, and this is a good thing. You’ll feel as if you stepped into the olden days, and the experience doesn’t feel commercialised.
The same well-muscled fellow took us back to the shores. He does hundreds of back-and-forth rows per day – what a workout!
I was glad to have the pletna to myself. We shot a 360 degree virtual reality video on the boat, which we will release soon.
I looked back, and the island faded into the distance. Many Slovenians get married here. According to local tradition, if a husband carries his new bride up the 99 steps to the church, then a happy marriage is guaranteed!
But even if he crashes and burns, romance is in the air, with pink flowers and picturesque frames like this.
Even though I didn’t do any rowing, I was ready for lunch. At Lake Bled, dining comes with a 5-star view.
Our guide Ales took us to Vila Bled, which used to be Tito’s palace. President Josip Broz Tito lived here, during Slovenia’s time in Yugoslavia. He was known as a “benevolent dictator”… perhaps the beauty of Lake Bled kept him from harsh ruling!
We walked through Tito’s decadent palace. One of the rooms had a giant Soviet-style mural, featuring hardy workers waving red star flags and sickles.
We sat down at a table in his courtyard — you can’t beat a view like this. My filmmakers and I started with fresh juices, asparagus soup, and a feta and vegetable souffle. Even the simple brown bread, dipped in Slovenia’s best olive oil, was beyond this world.
As I mentioned in my Portoroz post, there are lots of Mediterranean influences in the local cooking. This starter, a ravioli with parmesan, was executed with as much finesse as anything I’ve eaten in Italy.
If you’ve been following me on Snapchat (@lacarmina), I’m sure you were drooling at the food we ate that day. Trout is outstanding in Slovenia, and I ordered it multiple times during my journey. As you can see from the stamp above, Vila Bled’s version was moist and colorfully presented with fresh vegetables.
Everywhere we went, Slovenian food was outstanding. At Gostilna pri Mari in Piran, an older local couple brought out plate after plate of incredible seafood. We started with octopus and squid carpaccio, moving on to squid ink risotto and penne with cuttlefish, and an entire grilled seabass.
Although you rarely hear of Slovenian wines, the local varietals are as complex and delicious as the ones produced in neighboring Italy and Croatia. I’m holding one of their dry, white wines from the Littoral region.
From Bled, we drove to Vila Podvin in the village of Mošnje Radovljica. This was a bed and breakfast inn to remember: the owners are proud of their heritage, and display Slovenian crafts in the lobby. We relaxed in clean and quaint rooms, then went downstairs to the garden — to experience their award-winning Slovenian restaurant.
At Vila Podvin, the dishes are “New Slovene” masterworks by Chef Uroš Šteflin. He reawakens forgotten Slovenian recipes, with modern and creative techniques. We started with a unique soft boiled egg appetiser, followed by either lamb or trout in nuanced, naturally-flavored foam. One of the best meals of our entire trip.
We even woke up early for the breakfast at Vila Podvin, a mix of homemade thick yogurt, fruits, farm eggs and other European delicacies.
Like Elaine on Seinfeld, I don’t like to use the word “breathtaking”… but for Lake Bled, I’ll make a happy exception! Although my film team and I have been to many beautiful places around the world, this under-the-radar destination took our breath away… awayyy…
(All photos by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann of Borderless Media).
I wave goodbye with the national flag of Slovenia. The coat of arms is a shield with the image of Mount Triglav, the country’s highest peak. Below are two wavy blue lines representing the Adriatic Sea and local rivers, and the colors go back to Medieval times — like the castle where I’m standing.
Had you heard of Lake Bled? Wouldn’t you like to visit?
PS: Shopbop is having a major sale right now – only til Oct 14th at midnight Pacific time! You can just enter code “MAINEVENT16″ for up to 30% off. My favorites are above: a leopard skull sweater, Goth skull print leggings, and this bat sweatshirt that is perfect for fall.
PPS: If you like what I’m wearing, shop more Nu Gothic fashion from the same brand (Disturbia) with a click below. And I’ve added new items to my online shop, including h.Naoto, Banana Fish, rocking horse Lolita shoes. Come see it here.
Eero Aarnio furniture exhibition in Helsinki, Finland! Moomin stores, Loyly sauna restaurant, Design Museo.
A dark, cute welcome from Helsinki, Finland! Land of death metal and modern interior design. I think I’ll fit in quite nicely, don’t you agree?
On my first day in Finlandia, I went to the Design District and saw a groovy Eero Aarnio exhibit (he’s the inventor of the Ball Chair). I stopped by the Moomin and Marimekko shops, and ended up at a restaurant/sauna overlooking the waters, sipping herbal gin and tonics.
But first, coffee… and the outfit of the day. The “Noir” sign behind me happened to match my look.
– I’m wearing a pentagram dress by Black Milk (who also make this Game of Thrones dress).
– My striped platform shoes are by Le Babe, who also makes these black pumps. My kawaii bag looks like a Totoro sprite, but it’s by Mini Cream in Hong Kong.
Click below for these clothes and more from Disturbia:
This kawaii character gives you a hint at my next destination… To find out where I’ll be, read on to the end of this post.
From our suite at Scandic Hotels, it was a easy walk to the major districts of Helsinki. I found a park with tall tombstones under grey skies. This city seems to be made for Goths!
The Finns are known for their modern interior design and architecture. My filmmakers and I had brunch at Block by Dylan, a perfect example of the hip, minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic that we saw all over the city.
We sat by the huge windows that overlook the harbor and Old Market Hall. I smiled at the graphic artwork that peeked out from the layered woodblock walls.
Block by Dylan serves breakfast, lunch and brunch buffet-style. This gave me a chance to try a bite of everything. I am still dreaming of the Finnish berries, tiny and rich in antioxidants, which I ate on top of mango quark. Nordic Europe’s dark breads and smoked salmon are also beyond compare.
The friendly manager surprised us fizzy glasses of gin and tonics. I’m holding one of the best (and prettiest) G&Ts you’ll ever get to try. The cocktail is made with Napue, a world-famous local gin infused with botanicals, and garnished with cranberries.
Our good mood got even better when we arived at DesignMuseo, Helsinki’s design museum. They’ve gathered the most extensive collection of Eero Aarnio works, and put them on display in a playful space. (The exhibit ends on til Sept 25, so I hope you’ll catch it if you’re in town.)
I’m a longtime fan of Eero Aarnio, a Finnish designer known for his mod furniture designs from the 1960s onward. Above, I’m sure you have seen his Puppy chair design.
To fit the “Swinging Sixties” feeling, DesignMuseo put his works on giant Roombas! These platforms spin around and move across the room, reacting to your movements. (You’ve got to see this in action, so here’s a video of me walking through the exhibit.)
Do you recognize the space-age Ball Chair above? It also comes in a swing version (which I later got to sit in).
Eero Aarnio became an international sensation with the release of the Ball chair, in the mid 1960s. I personally always wanted one of his Pony Chairs, which kind of looks like a bear.
Eero Aarnio broke conventions about how furniture should look and feel. His mod designs are all about curves, fun and imagination.
For the first time, I got to see his rare original sketches, and retro images such as this girl sitting in his Pastil Chair.
One of the rooms highlighted the production process, and how he molds materials into geometric forms. To this day, Eero Aarnio continues to create new designs from his studio, including toys and furniture for children.
(I’d go on a ride on his Pony Chair, any day!)
I walked through the other floors of the Design Museo: there was a feature on innovative interiors, and a permanent gallery of Scandinavian furniture and home objects throughout the years.
The gift shop is a must-see. Eero Aarnio brings his signature aesthetic to everything from licorice boxes to watering cans. (His furniture is available for sale worldwide; browse below to learn more.)
The museum is located in Helsinki’s Design District, which is a joy to explore. I encourage you to walk around and pop into the various local stores, to admire the avantgarde furniture.
And you can’t miss Marimekko, the famous Finnish designer with locations all over the city.
This large Marimekko store is in Esplanadi, a central esplanade and park.
Like Eero Aarnio, this Finnish home furnishings and fashion company made waves in the 1960s. Marimekko’s bright, simple designs — often featuring stripes and flowers — are recognizable worldwide.
But Finland’s cutest character… is beloved Moomin! Finnish illustrator/writer Tove Jansson created the Mumintroll, a white hippo-like creature that lives in the Moominvalley with equally adorable friends.
When I saw this pastel-colored store near Esplanadi, I couldn’t resist going in and giving Moomin a hug. I later visited the mascot’s store in the Forum shopping complex, and picked up some souvenirs.
The Moomin store in Helsinki’s Forum Mall has a wide selection of goods, guarded by the mischevious Mymble’s daughter.
Don’t worry — if you aren’t anywhere near Scandinavia, you can still get Mumintroll goods online. Check it out below:
We were in Finland in August, meaning that the sun didn’t set until 10pm!
This gave us plenty of time to relax over dinner at Löyly, a recently-opened restaurant and sauna. There’s a huge patio, giving an Viking view of the waters.
Saunas are big in Finland. It’s part of the culture and lifestyle: a way to unwind, with family and friends.
Loyly is an all-in-one destination, encased in this contemporary geometric wood structure. You can sweat it out in a traditional smoke or wood-burning sauna, and cool off by diving into the waters below. Then, head to the restaurant section for a hearty meal and drinks.
The cocktails once again specialize in gin and herbal mixtures. Loyly’s menu takes an environmentally-conscious approach: all the meats are local, and free-range or game. We tried the reindeer meatballs with lingonberry jam, and a creamy salmon soup: magnificent.
At Loyly, it’s easy to pretend you are a Viking, with these epic views from the terrace that stretches out over the sea.
What did you think of my “noir” adventures in Helsinki so far? (All photos by Borderless Media.)
Finally, here’s a peek-a-boo from my new Line Friends Brown bear lamp, by the Dutch designers MrMaria!
They also make the Miffy lamp that I own, as well as other cute animal and character lights (see the full collection on Mr Maria’s site).
As you know, I’m a long time fan of Brown, the poker-faced bear from the Line Friends app. (Remember when I visited the giant Brown in the Harajuku store?)
I can’t help but smile when I look at MrMaria’s latest lamp. They’re a playful design studio based in the Netherlands, specialising in modern, minimal and kawaii home decor. (It’s no surprise that I love their works.)
The small Brown lamp is perfect for my side table, and will match well with my XL Miffy Lamp.
As you can see, the perfectly round head and details are impeccable. This is top craftsmanship, with safe and warm dimmable LED lights, and options for international power connectors (so it can plug into any type of socket).
Brown comes in a large size as well. He’d look great in a child’s bedroom, or a minimal-modern apartment like mine.
Cheers to MrMaria for producing such delightful works, filled with heart and imagination! This new release is magnificent, and I can’t wait to see what they create next.
Line Friends originated in Japan… and you guessed it, that’s where I will be next! I’m so excited to travel all around Japan, with JRailPass. I have unlimited access to trains, so I’ll be in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Koyasan (Buddhist temple retreat!) and Osaka.
If you’re in Tokyo on Saturday, Sept 24 — I invite you to party with me at Midnight Mess, Tokyo’s longest running Goth night! Mistress Maya throws the best Goth parties in the city — as you may remember from past blog posts. The crowd is wonderfully inclusive, and you’ll recognize a lot of familiar faces from this blog.
Dance with me to EBM, Gothic, Industrial music at Bar Shifty in Shibuya, from 10:30pm to dawn. Find out more about the “Nightmare before the 14th Anniversary” event here, and hope to see you at Midnight Mess on Sept 24!
Stay tuned to my social media @lacarmina to see my train travels in Japan!
And more from Hell-Sinki to come… steampunk bars and pirate cafes await…
(If you enjoyed the fashion and design in this post, you can shop it below.)
Better Late Than Never, Hong Kong: travel TV show with William Shatner, Henry Winkler! Sydney Opera House.
Thank you for your fantastic response to the Hong Kong episode of Better Late Than Never, the new NBC show travel TV show!
It was a dream come true to hang with The Fonz, Henry Winkler (of Happy Days fame)…
… and William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek. That is indeed me, dancing with Shatner in the streets of Mongkok, for this travel TV shoot! (Thanks to Thomas for this epic shot — full photo credits below.)
I’m very happy that “Better Late Than Never” has been raising lots of laughs and positive reactions! I couldn’t believe it when the producers contacted me to be part of the series. I was flown to Hong Kong and got to take part in this second episode.
This hilarious travel-reality show stars Terry Bradshaw (quarterback and broadcaster), William Shatner (Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk), Henry Winkler (The Fonz on Happy Days) and George Foreman (boxer and grill-master). Along with comedian Jeff Dye, these funny guys travel around Asia in search of adventures and Zen, with lots of mishaps along the way.
Their journey throughout Asia includes Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I was thrilled to have them be in Hong Kong with me — my friends and family even got to join the big dance scene in Mongkok.
(My dress is Spider by Natalie Lam. I’m currently selling a lot of my personal wardrobe; let me know if you’re interested in any of my fashion/accessories! Take a look at my store listings here, and email me to let me know what you’d like.)
The weather was a little iffy that day, but the rain and clouds cleared in time for the big dance number. Believe it or not, we took over one of the busiest streets of Hong Kong!
The Fab Four arrived on the scene — Henry Winkler turned his camera on us for this shot. Terry Bradshaw whipped out a microphone and burst into song!
Then it was time to dance, dance, dance. I was impressed by their ability to pull off a choreographed number!
So much fun, to dance in the streets with Captain Kirk and Fonzie!
(All of the amazing photos above are by Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. Thank you for capturing this epic day.)
I was glad to have my local friends with me, to take part in the scene.
Chaos, color, song… that’s the spirit of Hong Kong! Can you see me dancing with William Shatner in the middle?
(Above two photos by K. Lau of Bright Production.)
I also filmed a scene on the minibus, where I talked about Hong Kong’s travel attractions and general awesomeness. (Love the V-fingers photobomb behind me.)
What a joy to joke and riff with Henry Winkler and George Foreman, for this TV scene. They’re truly kind and humble, and up for anything!
Here are more black and white images from Thomas Sandfield of Sandfield Productions. It was a genius idea to pair “culture and Zen” William Shatner with “let’s roughhouse and sing” Terry Bradshaw on a travel show!
We were dancing along to the Otis Day and the Knights song “Shout (You Make me Wanna).”
Above shots by Arthur Rash. Thanks to everyone who supported the TV shoot, and for watching NBC’s Better Late Than Never!
On that note… I never got around to posting about my travels in Sydney, Australia. But better late than never, right?
If you have me on your Snapchat (@lacarmina), then you’ll have glimpsed me taking selfies under Harbour Bridge, earlier this year. (Since many of you asked, I’m wearing Karen Walker sunglasses.)
I’m wearing a Black Milk top and skirt: this Great Wave maxi-skirt is one of my favorites (see me wearing it at New Zealand’s Hobbit Town). Blackmilk’s designs are fantastic for travel because they’re lightweight and don’t crease, and easy to pack in luggage. (And stylish, of course). My fuzzy purse is from Mercibeaucoup in Shinjuku.
I had never been to Australia, and had very little time to explore. However, it was worth the trip to go down under and at least see Sydney. I’ll have to come back soon to see the Gold Coast, Melbourne and more.
As a first-timer, I had to visit the Sydney Opera House. I took the subway to Circular Quay, and walked over.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also located here. Many travellers do the “bridge climb” where they walk on top of the structure for panoramic views. I’m not afraid of heights, but you aren’t allowed to take your own photos, and must wear a not-so-stylish jumpsuit… I’d prefer to pose below, wearing Black Milk!
Even from “down under” the bridge, you can’t beat these views of the harbor.
(My sunglasses are Karen Walker, similar to these round ones by her. More of her styles below.)
I don’t usually like to do “tourist” activities in cities, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney Opera House tour. This guided tour lets you go inside the concert halls and see Jorn Utzon’s masterful architecture up close.
I learned, for example, that the “white” sails of the roof are actually made over a million chevron tiles, in two shades of cream. Our guide spoke about the politics involved in the construction process, and how the Danish architect eventually left the project. (He’s never even been inside the completed structure, which opened in 1973.)
I had the opportunity to see Jørn Utzon’s room, defined by concrete structural beams and a 14 meter long tapestry of his own design. On the opposite end, giant windows overlook the harbour waters.
Our guide spoke about how Utzon solved design problems in innovative ways, such as by peeling an orange to see how the curved sails could fit together.
As you can tell, I learned so much from the multimedia Opera House tour. Anyone who is interested in modern architecture should check it out.
I selected the Tour and Tasting Plate, which ends with an al fresco meal underneath the sails.
At Opera Kitchen, I got to try a three-tiered lunch set with a range of finger foods: sushi, mini burgers, dumplings, salad and more.
The perfect lunch for sharing with a friend, especially when paired with Australian pinot noir. I got to enjoy the sunshine, and bask in this uninterrupted view of the Harbour Bridge and waters.
From Circular Quay, it’s a short walk to the Royal Botanic Garden. This large park is filled with different themed gardens, and has a pond and Asian pavilion.
It would be tragic if went to Sydney and skipped out on Bondi beach. I rode the subway to Bondi Junction, and then hopped on the bus that runs frequently to the beach. When you see this curving cove of sand, you’ve arrived.
This 1 km long beach is classic Sydney. I watched surfers ride the waves, and walked barefoot on Bondi’s warm and soft sand.
Time to chow down. I’ve heard that Sydney is famous for its breakfasts, and found this to be true. This salmon eggs Benedict, with an almond milk flat white, was as good as it looked on my Instagram.
I loved the breakfast at Ceru Restaurant so much that I came back for dinner. (I went to the Potts Point location, but the restaurant is currently moving to a new spot.)
I was accompanied by my friend Leanne, writer at Trashtastika. We were charmed by the Middle Eastern ceramics near the windows.
British chef Tom Kime launched Ceru as a celebration of Levantine cuisine. He incorporates flavors and recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean, infusing them with a modern interpretation.
We started by sharing a spread of mezzes and salads. Beetroot and chickpea purees, with cucumber sticks and pita — everything is organic, and the menu is vegan and gluten free friendly.
Fresh pomegranate, mint, and pistachio add dimension to this lamb dish. These Levant spices pair marvellously with Ceru’s craft cocktails and cold-pressed juices.
I’m still thinking about Ceru’s honeycomb baklava ice cream… with flavors of burnt caramel and roasted nut. Possibly the tastiest and most creative dessert I’ve had all year.
PS – you can find out more about Better Late Than Never on their website, including viewing times and clips.
I leave you with a few more scenes from this huge network shoot. There were so many moving parts, but the team pulled it off.
“We-eee-eeel…. / You know you make me wanna (Shout!) / Kick my heels up and (Shout!) / Throw my hands up and (Shout!)”
Have a happy weekend!