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“The Big Game” was a few weeks ago.  No, I’m not talking the Superbowl.  I’m talking about the AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks.  If you’re an avid reader of our blog it won’t be hard to guess what team we barracked for as you’ll have seen several previous posts about the Hawks.

We had a small get together at our place where we shared some Superbowl munchies like puppy chow (so sinful!) and party pinwheels.  One of our friends brought over a delicious trifle and another friend brought over these lovely cupcakes for the event.

We did a bit of betting on the quarter-scores and unintentionally, Ryan and I came out on top.  Nothing says “hospitality” like the host and hostess taking everyone’s money, right?   There’s really no need to go into who won the match.  HINT: If Ryan’s team had won, he would’ve done a blog post immediately instead of sulking in the corner.  That aside, it was still a lovely afternoon with friends, food, and footy!

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Both of us have gone on and on about our magical visit to the Daintree Rainforest but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention where we stayed our two nights.  We spent two nights and three days at the idyllic Cockatoo Hill Retreat. The retreat has five beautiful little luxury huts.

Our room was full of windows giving us an interrupted view of the rainforest.  The pic below was our view over-looking Alexandra Bay of the Coral Sea.  Each morning we awoke to bird songs and the mist creeping out of the rainforest.

Our host, Carmen, was amazing.  I know we rave about all our B&B stays (or at least the ones we post here) but our stay at Carmen’s was special.  She was so welcoming and genuine.  I can’t say enough about her except to say that she’ll forever be a treasured part of our memories of the Daintree.

Another reason we loved our stay at Carmen’s is because of her focus on eating local, wholesome, and natural.  Brekkies at Cockatoo Hill consisted of fresh tropical fruit (kiwis, grapefruit, two types of papaya, and two types of banana below) served with bio-dynamic bush honey yogurt from Mungalli Creek Dairy.   She is the reason we went home and immediately bought some bio-dynamic yogurt and whipped up some homemade muesli (granola).

After fruit Carmen served toasted croissants and bread with her homemade jams; Pineapple Ginger, Soursop with  Passionfruit, and Mixed Berry with papaya and banana.  WOW.

I mentioned in my post about the rainforest that the rainforest needs our help.  The Daintree area is remote and Cockatoo Hill is even further north towards Cape Tribulation so not many tourists get there.  The village is suffering.  I should correct myself and say, many people come in for a day trip and don’t bother to stay overnight.  If there’s one part of the trip we’d never change it would be staying up in the Daintree.  You simply cannot get a good sense of the rainforest by doing the few well-traveled boardwalks or a short guided tour.  You have to see and hear the rainforest at night, in the morning, and throughout the day to fully appreciate what you’re experiencing.  Please visit.   Stay overnight (at least) at Cockatoo Hill.  Book a tour with Neil at Cooper Creek.

And now to step off my soapbox…

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Our Australia Announcement

Guilt is a terrible thing and right now we have heaps of it.  First, we feel guilty for being away from the blog for so long.  Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging.   Ha, maybe I should make that into a bumper sticker.

And more importantly, we have a big announcement…[drum roll]…

We have decided to stay in Australia for another year! Insert smiley face.  Insert frown face.  We are thrilled to be staying a second year in Melbourne.  We have loved our experiences so far and each week we find new things to love about our host city and country.

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But there’s guilt too.  Guilt for being away from family and friends, especially over the holidays.  Guilt for missing important events in our loved ones’ lives.

I guess the fact is that there are trade-offs in all things in life.  If not in all things, then I’d say all things worth doing.  So we’re officially settling in for another 12 months or so and are already planning our trips for the remainder of our time.  There’s so much to see and we’ve really only just begun…

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Before our visit I heard that Singapore is good for shopping and eating.  Shopping doesn’t even make the top 5 of my favorite past-times but eating…well, let’s just say I’m all about it.

While in Singapore we tried a few dishes that would be, to me, Singapore signature dishes or experiences.  My favorite was probably Long Beach Seafood  where we shared a famous Chili Crab.

While I saw the servers asking others if they needed help with their crab, our waitress astutely identified us as helpless tourists so she didn’t even ask us before she expertly began breaking open the crab and replacing its contents into the shell dish for us to eat.

The crab is served in a wonderful sweet, slightly spicy sauce which can be (and was) lapped up with gorgeous fried bread.  YUM!

We went to the Food Opera at the ION Orchard which is basically an upmarket food court/hawker spot, but contrary to the typical food court in the US, the Food Opera featured fabulous and famous dishes, including Scotts Beef Noodles ($5!).  I ordered mine dry and enjoyed every last bite, from the not-too-salty gravy to the tender beef.

We did a DIY teppanyaki at Sho Teppan where we fried up our own chicken fried rice.  Ok, ok, so this is not Singaporean but was still a different dining ritual than we’re used to.   I enjoyed the experience so much that I went twice.  (I refer you to my comment above about my love of eating.)

And finally, we HAD to go to Din Tai Fung.  Also not a traditional Singapore experience (the restaurant originates in Taipei)  but “an experience” nonetheless.  We were fascinated watching the little army of chefs at their stations, expertly and efficiently crafting the dumplings.

The steamed pork dumplings were bite-sized bits of heaven.

We enjoyed everything at Din Tai Fung — from the sesame buns to the jasmine tea — that I wish we had time to make it back.  Oddly enough, we may have to grab our next Din Tai Fung experience on our next visit to Sydney, Seattle, or Los Angeles.

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Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Our blog is being followed by peeps on Bloglovin’.  Does this mean we’ve made it? 🙂

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