It's not until you look back on a year's worth of posts, that you realise exactly how well you've eaten. 2014 was a pretty massive year for Grab Your Fork. It was the year I celebrated ten years of blogging - crazy, I know! - and where I experienced the most intense three weeks of travel that took in Dubai, Melbourne and Hong Kong in back-to-back trips. I'm not complaining.
This is my 79th post for the year - not a bad feat squeezed in between full-time work (oh yes, the day job that actually pays my mortgage) and 2am bed-times. I won't even bother to count the number of photos posted this year. I'm really good at taking lots of photos (ask anyone who I eat or travel with) but terrible at culling them. Every article I read tells me to write shorter posts with less photos but I can't do it. I'm old skool. And I'm all about value for money :)
Al Mahara, meaning The Oyster with its seawater aquarium
Dubai Fish Market
But there's another side to the glitz and glamour of Dubai. In the old city, you can find rewarding treasures like the fish market, filled with locals who are more than happy to pose for a photo or two.
Now that's what I call a giant prawn
Freshly baked sangak Persian bread
Joining a Frying Pan Adventure food tour led us on a melting pot of deliciousness that included foods from Jordan, Persia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.
Business Class meals at the Emirates Flight Catering facility
We also scored a tour of the Emirates Flight Catering facility, an impressive display of mass logistics. I'd always wondered how airplane food is made. The idea of processing 150,000 meals every day makes me appreciate that fruit salad on my food tray even more.
Pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini
The day after flying home from Dubai, I was back in the air as a guest of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. It was a packed itinerary but meeting pastry extraordinaire, Johnny Iuzinni, was definitely a highlight.
V60 pourovers at Proud Mary
The need to power on was probably why I ended up drinking so much coffee on that four-day trip, culminating in my post on seven of Melbourne's best cafes. No, I didn't get the jitters!
Seafood for sale at a Hong Kong wet market in Central
Five days after returning from Melbourne I was back at the airport and flying to Hong Kong. This was such a last minute trip that was booked on my first night in Melbourne, but an offer for a food tour of Hong Kong by ex-pats Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin' was far too good to refuse.
Inside the baked barbecue pork bun
I finally got to try the famous baked barbecue pork bun at Tim Ho Wan and we ate a ton of suckling pig and roast goose.
Tea preparation at Lin Heung Tea House
My highlight of that Hong Kong trip, however, was definitely yum cha at the old skool Lin Heung Tea House. It's filled with old people reading newspapers and drinking tea. It's the closest you'll get to yesteryear in Hong Kong. And yes, I still have more posts on Hong Kong to come.
I did manage to completely clear my Spain backlog though. I started with my guide to eating in Barcelona;
Percebes with and without its shell
Octopus in Santiaga de Compostela
journeyed to Santiago de Compostela where I ate so much seafood including the most tender boiled octopus ever;
and ate my body weight in iberico jamon and churros in Madrid.
Pheasant's Tears 2011 Khisi orange wine produced in Kakheti, Georgia
There was so much to do locally this year too. We spent all day at the second ever Rootstock festival celebrating artisan products, sustainability and community.
Simon Cancio, head baker and co-creator of Brickfields
Indoor heated 25m swimming pool at Solar Springs, Bundanoon.
I ended up at a health retreat.
View from the balcony of Jonah's, Whale Beach
And I had the surreal experience of being chauffeured to Jonah's Whale Beach in a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead, one of only 14 in Australia.
Astroboy and Princess Peach at 8Bit Burgers
There was the bingefest we embarked on during a whirlwind weekend in Melbourne with fellow crazies. We're still reminiscing about the fried chicken and waffles from Belle's Hot Chicken and the Double Dragon burger from 8Bit.
Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2014
And suddenly it was the end of the year again, with 74 food bloggers attending our annual Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic.
Chocolate crackles with parfait at Pinbone, Woollahra
The Sydney restaurant scene has had a tough year which makes me want to cherish the diamonds even more. Pinbone has churned out so many tasty snacks, including the kiddie-treat-meets-adult-delight, chocolate crackles with parfait.
Popcorn fairyfloss at Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst
Cafe Paci's degustation journey was wild and wonderful, especially the chocolate-coated pork crackling.
Prawn jang at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Wasabi spring onion chicken at Sparrow's Mill
and the fried chicken at Sparrow's Mill - the spring onion and the snow cheese.
Mitch Orr at ACME
ACME was one of my favourite new restaurant openings. The pigs head macaroni is crazy tasty.
Beef short rib at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Yakitori at Chaco Bar, Darlinghurst
Burger Experiment: The Swiney Chook at Pub Life Kitchen in Ultimo
De Dee Lava tom yum soup for Do Dee Paidang
But my favourite cheap eat right now is Do Dee Paidang. The tom yum noodle soup is amazing.
Pink ombre cake with lychee jasmine cream
And I made a cake! Who knew ombre petal icing would be such a test of patience!
Thank you for sharing the year with me. It's been a blast. Here's to everyone basking in an even better year with unparalleled deliciousness. Happy New Year and bring on 2015!
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12/30/2014 05:50:00 pm