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Paris: Let Them Eat Cake

Kate has been craving some French delicacies! Read about her top tips for finding the best pastries in Paris….

It is super easy to get really fat in Paris. When there are sweet smells coming from every bakery you come across then it is rather hard to resist. With a sweet tooth like mine, I always ended up finding myself frequenting bakeries quite often in order to try all of the delicious items they have on offer. French patisserie is the best in the world. In my unbiased opinion. The do everything, from gorgeously savoury bread that is perfect for cheese to sticky pastries that feel like your calorie consumption for a whole week, they really know how to do it all! Therefore I have complied a short list of some of the bakeries you should try out when peckish in Paris.

23805442_1944531472229075_762222432_nPain Pain: If you make it up all of the steps of Montmartre to see the Sacré Coeur then you will need a little pick me up on your way back down to reality. Funky wallpaper, great coffee and even better desserts make Pain Pain on Rue des Martyrs a great little spot to take the weight off you in. I had only ever walked past at night until just a few months ago and I must admit it definitely did not disappoint!

Pierre Hermé: I think I’ve told this story before but it’s a good one so I will tell it again. In my first few months here I received a strange message from Mum telling me to go to a certain address after a particular time. It turned out she had ordered some breakfast treats for me to ease the awkward first few months of living alone in a foreign country. I seem to recall the croissant being my favourite item in the care package. Weirdly, I’m not the biggest fan of croissants as they can be too flaky and messy for me but this one was top notch.

Aki : Yuzu flavoured écalir? Why not?! A Japanese/French bakery in the heart of the 2nd arrondissement, Aki is a great local treasure. If you want katsu curry followed by a green tea mille-feuille then you need look no further. The hustle and bustle of this shop adds to its atmosphere and they get through customers at an astonishing rate by serving you at lightening speeds. 

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 Maison Privat: Now we come to the pièce de la résistance of French baked goods. This one won’t be in the travel guides but by all accounts it should be. Try everything. No seriously, you have to. I lived around the corner for over a year and I made a jolly good stab at trying to eat my way around the counter. The Kouig’ Aman (a Breton pastry that is basically sugar and puff) is to die for but impossible to pronounce and their pissaladière with anchovies, onions and olives is incredible. The efficiency of such an immaculate establishment is only bettered by the warm, delectable baguettes they have on offer. Don’t expect to just walk in though, there is always a queue. 

23804438_1944532498895639_1639440202_nThere are many more spectacular boulangeries and bakeries in Paris, I have no doubt about that. However, these just happen to be a few of my favourites. There is something quite personal about patisseries and bread in France. Everyone likes something different. Some people ask for a well cooked baguette, others like their pain de campagne sliced. I pretty much just like it all, but I will never pass up an opportunity to eat chouquettes! I’m feeling rather hungry now that I’ve written that. Anyone for cake?

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Travel, Uncategorized

Seattle, Washington: Brunchin’

Here at More Native Than The Natives we love to brunch! So when Kelly from The Tour Seattle contributed this post we just had to publish it…

Brunch is huge in Seattle. Whether you’re looking for comfort food, bottomless mimosas, 24/7 pancakes, I guarantee you’ll be able to find a place that suits you. My two favorite spots are Beth’s Café and Portage Bay Café, which I will cover in this post. Two additional popular spots are: Tilikum Place Café and Lowell’s Restaurant.

Beth’s Café

thumbnail_Boozy Brunch (2)Atmosphere

Beth’s has an almost dive-y diner feel and is covered top to bottom in drawings created by its (sometimes not so) talented customers. There are pinball machines and other arcade games in a separate room for your entertainment in case there’s a wait.

What Makes it Unique

Beth’s has been open 24/7 since its opening in 1954. It’s most famous for its 6 and 12 egg omelettes. Pictured below is a six egg omelette.

Favorite Menu Item

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The Northwestern Exposure. This omelette comes with smoked salmon, creamed cheese, and green onions. It’s hearty, delicious, and absolutely loaded. Beth’s clearly doesn’t skimp on the eggs, but they don’t skimp on anything else either. There are pictures of customers comparing their babies to the size of their omelettes! This omelette comes with toast and unlimited hash browns (not that you’ll be hungry enough to request a second serving).

Portage Bay Café

Atmosphere

The Portage Bay Café has a very different vibe from Beth’s. It’s nice but cozy and in some locations features communal tables. There is often a wait, especially on the weekends, so reservations are recommended.

thumbnail_Boozy Brunch (3)What Makes it Unique

Portage Bay has a phenomenal breakfast bar. No, I don’t mean some type of breakfast buffet. This is a bar full of fresh berries, whipped cream, syrup, butter, candied pecans, and anything else you might want to smother your french toast and pancakes in. You’ll have unlimited access to the bar, which is dangerous but appreciated. Be warned though: not every menu item can be taken through the bar. I recommend that you order something from that section of the menu your first time visiting!

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Any french toast item. The classic french toast is always a safe bet but the bananas foster and oatmeal cobbler french toasts are also ridiculously sublime. There is a new french toast item that I haven’t tried yet, which is the carrot cake oven baked french toast. I’m sure it’s delicious. Portage Bay makes its french toast with thick slices of challah bread. They also provide a gluten-free option. Most importantly: all of these french toast items can be taken to the breakfast bar and thus loaded with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Follow more of Kelly’s travels over on her blog and social media!

Twitter: @thetourseattle
Instagram: @the_tour_
Facebook: @thetourseattle
Travel, Uncategorized

Penang, Malaysia: Laugh, Taste and Enjoy the Culture and Chaos at the Wet Markets

When magazine writer Cimeron Morrissey moved to Malaysia, she immersed herself in
the culture and history of this exotic island and is now sharing her funny and
fascinating finds with More Native Than the Natives.
Travel sites always describe the tropical urban island of Penang, Malaysia as a vibrant,
historic destination, home to a quaint colonial UNESCO World Heritage site, trishaws,
and colorful festivals. But having lived here for nearly 3 years, I’ve searched
beyond its tourist attractions to discover some quirky, funny and unique things
about Penang that have made me fall in love with this island. And some of my
favorite experiences have been at Penang’s wet markets.

Hey Cimeron, do you know a place where I can buy both an eel and a bra, eat
breakfast, make new friends and stock up on stinky durian fruit?” asked no one,
ever. Prepare yourself for the magical glory of the wet market. Found in every
neighborhood throughout Malaysia, they’re open-air morning-markets that blend
shopping, dining, socializing and sometimes monkeys hanging from the rafters. This
controlled chaos is the center of everyday life for most Malaysians, and it’s an
incredibly fun, tasty and perplexing thing to experience in person.

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Wet markets are named for the live (or once-live) goods they sell, like tropical fruits, veggies and fish. Most also sell coconut milk that’s been freshly pressed in a device that looks like a low-tech mammogram machine (which might make your coconuts hurt to watch). And outside most wet markets are stalls that sell the most random and entertaining assortment of goods. You can find bustiers printed with puppies
who have beaver-feet for paws, t-shirts with hilariously incomprehensible
“Malaynglish” phrases, lacy underwear, “Prado” sunglasses and everything in
between.

Hawker stalls are the beating heart of every wet market. (And at some stalls, you might just see the still-beating heart of a barely-dead chicken.) Each vendor has
his/her own specialty, and many are incredibly delicious. Be sure to try local favorites, like roti cenai, char kuey teow, mee goreng, and laksa and do note that when the vendors ask if you want chili on your dish, it’s actually molten lava that’s
magically shape-shifted into tiny pepper pieces. thumbnail_wet market 6

Breakfast here is a community gathering where people don’t stare at their phones
while eating: they have actual, real-live conversations. (Gasp!) The tables ringed by the hawker stalls are often all taken. Don’t be shy – just walk up to people and ask if you can join them at their table, which is what locals do. People here are super friendly and welcoming, and I guarantee you’ll meet some of the nicest, funniest people that you’d otherwise probably never get to meet. Plus you’ll get to learn  some great local slang, like “You’re so chee chon fan!” which according to a
hysterically funny elderly Chinese guy named Po who sat with me one morning, this
translates to “you have the vigor of a limp penis.” (Note: chee chon fan is a very
tasty, giant rolled rice noodle covered with sweet soy sauce, which you will never be
able to eat now because when you see it, you’ll only be able to think of flaccid
wieners. Sorry.)

After a couple of trips to wet markets, you’ll grow to love it and the chaos will start
to make sense. And yes, there may even come a time when you notice that your
shopping bags contain both an eel and a bra, and at that moment, you’ll realize that
Malaysia’s wet market are the weirdest and greatest places on earth.

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Where:

There are wet markets in all big neighborhoods around Penang. Some of the most
bustling markets are:

Pasar Chowrasta, located in Georgetown around the intersection of Jalan Chowrasta
and Jalan Penang.

Pulau Tikus Wet Market, located at the intersection of Jalan Pasar and Jalan
Moulmein.

Tanjung Bunga Wet Market, located off Jalan Tanjung Bungah behind the Rapid
Penang Tanjung Bungah Bus Depot

When:

Every morning from about 7am-11am, depending on the market.

thumbnail_Cimeron headshot

Cimeron Morrissey is a professional magazine writer and creator of
OhMYExpatLife.com. When she moved from San Francisco to Malaysia, she envisioned
that she’d have a monkey on her head 24/7, which hasn’t quite been the case, but she
can definitely tell you where to find curious ones who are more than happy to rest
their testicles on your shoulder. To learn more about Malaysia, amazing adventures in
SE Asia, and where to find monkeys, follow Cimeron at:

www.OhMYExpatLife.com
instagram.com/ohmyexpatlife/
facebook.com/OhMyExpatLife/

Travel, Uncategorized

Austin, Texas: Swim Like a Local

Tori take us on a tour of Texas! Grab you towel and take the plunge as she helps us to explore the Austin swimming scene…

In case you haven’t heard, the weather in Texas is hot. I’m talking above 90 degrees (32
Celsius) during the day for a third of the year, and not much cooler at night. It’s common for the temperatures to break 100 degrees (38 Celsius) for the entire summer. As you might expect, swimming is a very popular pastime here in Austin. Due to our close proximity to the Colorado River and it’s system of underground aquifers and natural springs, Austin has a unique quantity of natural swimming holes, especially for Texas.

Unfortunately, because this is Texas, and Texas tends to have long periods of drought, many of those watering holes periodically go dry. However, there are plenty of ways to work around this problem. I’m going to give you some insider tips and tricks for avoiding drought and finding great swimming in Austin so you can swim here like a
local.

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The Greenbelt, in my opinion, is the best local place to go swimming in Austin. The
Greenbelt refers to the long park which runs alongside Barton Creek, north-south against the western edge of Austin. Where exactly the Greenbelt is, and how exactly to access it, can be confusing, even for locals, but there are plenty of guides available online that can help you. It’s kind of a nebulous concept because there are so many offshoots and unmarked access points, but the most popular spots are searchable on Google Maps. Just know that the entire thing is one giant waterway, and you can swim anywhere you can find water, including access points like Gus Fruh, Lost Creek, Spyglass, and Twin Falls. Just find your nearest access point, walk down to the creek until you find deep clear running water, and hop in.

That said, the Greenbelt is extremely fickle. One week it will be seven feet deep, and the
next, it will be bone dry. Sometimes the water is deep, but warm and muddy. Other days it’s clear and cool, but only a foot deep. Sometimes one part of the Greenbelt will be flowing, and the other part won’t. You never know what you’re going to get. But there are some great tricks you can use to help you know beforehand. For one, there is actually a facebook group called “Does the Greenbelt Have Water?” where people post updates on the Greenbelt’s water conditions. Another great technique is to search instagram for #austingreenbelt, #spyglass, #austin, etc… Look at pictures from the last several days, and see if the poster mentioned where they are and how the water is, or if you can see running water in the picture. You could even try investigating Twitter, or any other platform that uses locations and hashtags, to find a good spot.

There’s apparently even an app for this now, but I’ve yet to need it. My last suggestion, and I can’t stress this enough, would be to bring a floaty. A full size reclining one. A floaty can turn any swampy puddle into a relaxing oasis. I can’t tell you how many disappointing Greenbelt excursions have been saved by the presence of a floaty. It’s an
essential Austin item, in my eyes.

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Now, I understand that some people are a little hesitant about swimming in nature, and I
totally get it. I’m no expert, but I’ve never got sick from swimming outside. However, I try to avoid warm, stagnant water, and I suggest you do the same. I also try not to swim right after a big rain because, according to city officials, that’s when bacteria levels are at their highest. Also, just be smart and don’t do anything risky. Rushing water is a force to be reckoned with, and people have been seriously injured and even killed on the Greenbelt. As long as you are reasonably cautious, there isn’t anything to worry about.

I have one more word of advice about swimming in nature. Please, for the love of God, bring your Whataburger picnic, your six pack of  Lone Star, and your American Spirits out with you when you exit the Greenbelt. Keep our beautiful creeks garbage free so we can all keep enjoying them, locals and visitors alike.
Follow her at http://www.torigalatro.com/ 

Travel, Uncategorized

Hamburg: A Local’s Guide

When travellers hear about Germany, they instantly think of Berlin with the “Berlin Wall” or Munich and the “Oktoberfest“. But there is another great city, that many tourists don’t really have on their itinerary – Hamburg. A city with spectacular sights, sweet insider spots and rich history.  In Hamburg we call our home town “die Schönste Stadt der Welt“, which means “the most beautiful city on the planet”. People from Hamburg always mean what they say, which is why this town has to be on the bucket list of cities to see in Germany.

According to CNN , Forbes and other known sources, Hamburg is currently ranked 10th place as one of the best cities to live in on earth. This makes it even more fascinating to me why so many tourists are still missing out on it. There are so many reasons for to visit this incredible city! Let’s start with a visit to the Landungsbrücken, which is where you can see the famour harbour. Hamburg’s port has the highest income in Europe, so you can probably imagine that it’s very impressive in size and as well as in looks. This part of Hamburg is to the city like the Colosseum is to Rome. Hamburg’s harbour is equally important as an identification for the locals as it is for the city’s history. Hamburg is a fishing town at its heart and it all began at the Elbe.

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So make a walk along the promenade a priority during your visit. Every year countless big tankers and cruise-liners like the AIDA and the Queen Mary 2 come to dock in the port. If you visit at the right time, you’ll be lucky to witness a spectacle. Get a typical fish roll with freshly caught herring or matie for a traditional snack! They are absolutely delicious. Also make sure to check out the Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego, which are both very old and interesting museum vessels.

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During your exploration of the harbour, you will also come along the famous fish market, where you can watch the vendors selling their products in a local manner and tone. It’s extremely entertaining, especially if you understand what they say. But even if you don’t, it will still be good fun.

The two biggest highlights along the port are the Speicherstadt, which is Germany’s largest warehouse district and the Elbphilharmonie, which is the new landmark of the city. It’s basically a massive opera house designed like a ship. Definitely an architectural highlight. In architectural terms, the Elbphilharmonie is pretty similar to the Opera House in Sydney. From the observation deck you have a wonderful view over the whole port.

Next on your list should be an exploration of the city centre. A proper walk along the outer Alster is a must do when visiting Hamburg. You’ll also stop by at the inner Alster from where you have an incomparable view onto some of the best hotels, shopping centers and restaurants in the city. Besides that, you can spot the peaks of all of the 7 main churches. Right next to the inner Alster is the town hall, which is maybe the most impressive building of the city besides the Elbphilharmonie. So many ornaments and details. A master piece! The whole area of the city centre has a very special charm. All the old brick stone buildings, pared with an ultra modern design make it one of the best parts of this town.

Also don’t forget to try out a Franzbrötchen. Hamburg is the only place in Germany where you can get one. A Franzbrötchen is a sweet and cinnamon bread roll, which tastes best when it comes straight out of the oven.

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A place that many citizens consider to be an insider spot for tourists is the Schanze. This is a very urban area filled with young and outspoken people. You’ll find a lot of graffiti and street art as well as bars and restaurants. It has a kind of a hipster, but very unique style to it. The Schanze is a good place to get in contact with some locals. Definitely worth a visit.

Another cool part to check out is the Stadtpark, which is Hamburg’s biggest park. Many locals come here for a walk, to relax or just to have a good time with some friends. You’ll see heaps of people playing football, listening to local bands or having a nice barbecue. If you also want to see the upper class neighbourhoods, then you should go to Eppendorf, Harvestedhude or Rotherbaum. These areas are full of colourful landmark buildings as well as elegant alleys with high-class boutiques and elite cafès. Great neighbourhoods to be in!

One of the best places to go to for young and old is St. Pauli. People from Hamburg name it their “Kiez“, which you can not find a proper translation for. St. Pauli is basically like the red light district in Amsterdam. You’ll find many dance clubs, bars, strip clubs, casinos and much more entertainment there. It’s very unique and a good place for a great night out. Whether you just want to party or a cultural night out, there is something to be found for everyone. St. Pauli is also the place where the world-famous Beatles started their career – just an awesome place to end a visit to one of the most livable cities on earth…

Christian “Volle” Vollmert is a German dude, who loves travelling and exciting adventures from bottom of his heart. He wants to inspire other people to get out of their comfort zones and to travel the world. Follow his travels via his social media channels:

https://volleontour.com/

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https://www.facebook.com/volleontour/

https://twitter.com/chris_vollmert

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