3 Days in Sydney

Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess



Sydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney Fish Market // The Pancake Princess
Sydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSSydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess

Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Bondi Beach // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess

Sydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney, Australia // The Pancake Princess
Sydney kicked off the start of my month-long solo trip, and it was the best beginning of a trip I could imagined. From meeting the absolute friendliest and fun people in my hostel to exhausting myself walking 12+ miles a day to see gorgeous, iconic sites of Sydney (hi, Opera House and gorgeous beach cliffs) and eating ALL THE DELICIOUS THINGS…I had a great time, and you definitely will too if you ever go.

I wanted to share what I did in Sydney to shed some insight on how I spent my solo time there and perhaps provide inspiration if you ever plan to go! This is obviously not a comprehensive three-day itinerary of all the things to do in Sydney, just a little glimpse into what I did and what I hope to do when I go back someday. (Yes, my to-eat list is a mile-long…but like really, what did you expect?)

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Australia!

Sydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessSydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessIMG_0263IMG_0351Australia // The Pancake PrincessIMG_0407IMG_0410Sydney, Australia // The Pancake PrincessMelbourne // The Pancake PrincessMelbourne // The Pancake PrincessMelbourne // The Pancake PrincessMelbourne // The Pancake Princess

OH HELLO.

I apologize for disappearing for over a month with pretty much no explanation. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, however, you would have quickly realized there is, in fact, a legitimate explanation: after graduating from my MBA program in mid-May, I packed up and ran away to the land of koalas and kangaroos and bleached surfer dudes (and also Thailand) for a month. In the whirlwind of planning and packing before the trip, I didn’t manage to update the blog…but I’m about to make up for it in the form of major trip recap posts!

–okay pause for a second–I’m going to not talk about food for a hot minute and go on a mini rant about how much I LOVE SOLO TRAVEL, please excuse the digression of a post–

I actually didn’t set out with the intention of a solo trip but when plans suddenly didn’t line up with a friend I was hoping to travel with, I booked my tickets anyway since this was really my last chance to do some significant travel before starting work.

I was lucky enough to travel solo once before for a three-week independent study in Paris as a sophomore in college, but this time around–maybe because I was older, maybe because it was farther–it felt different. It was almost spiritual in the transformative effect it had on me and has completely converted me into a solo travel believer and lover. Not only does solo travel open you up to more opportunities than you thought possible to meet tons of friendly, interesting, fun people that you might never otherwise meet, but it also allows you to basically do whatever you want according to your own whims and schedule. It’s exhausting, wonderful, stimulating, terrifying, exhilarating, challenging and was, overall, a complete growth experience.

I chose Australia and Thailand because (1) they were about as far away from the U.S. I could get, (2) I love the beach and (3a) a surf camp opportunity in Australia and (3b) Thai food!!–but more on Thailand later.

Suffice it to say I have major heart eyes for Australia, and I’m just bursting to share my experiences because I think it’s just an amazing country and travel opportunity for anyone interested. So if you hate travel posts, I am so sorry and don’t worry, we will be back to (ir)regularly scheduled food posts soon!

TRIP RECAPS

3 Days in Sydney
3 Days in Melbourne (coming soon!)
Surf Camp + Bryon Bay + Brisbane (coming soon!)

Momofuku Strawberry Lemon Cake

I made a LOT of mistakes with this cake, but it still turned out, well, as Momofuku cakes do. Multiple layers of cake, frosting, jam and cookie-like crumbles never turn out that terribly bad.

momofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake PrincessMomofuku Strawberry Lemon Cake // The Pancake PrincessI made this for my classmate’s bachelorette party (wine tasting and lake housing off a lake near Austin). Although I love her, she’s the type who loves lemon, prefers fruit over chocolate (*suspicious side eye*). After much brainstorming, I thought this cake would be a good fit with its layers of cheesecake, strawberry jam, vanilla cake, graham cracker crumbs, and lemon curd. Overall, even though it got slightly mashed up in the freezer, it went over well–the texture of those crumbly, salty-sweet graham cracker crumbs against the creamy cheesecake, uber-silky lemon curd and dense cake, UGH. Feed me.

Also, KIND OF BIG NEWS. I graduated!!!!!!!!!!

From my MBA program!!!!!!!!

Wait what? Didn’t I just start?

That’s how I’m feeling too. It’s unreal. But I am now a for real, 100% genuine real person miraculously holding a pretty cool job in product marketing who gets to add three big, fat letters to her resume.

And though everyone has been congratulating me all weekend (as normal people do), I feel like I should be passing on the credit to the small country of people who helped me through the program: my parents, who heavily encouraged me to go in the first place, my classmates, who  tried countless times to explain LIFO and FIFO accounting to me, cool new friends who commiserated with me and assured me that feeling 100% lost actually means you’re doing it right, old bosses, new bosses, certain ex-boyfriends who tutored me through introductory Finance, siblings who provided encouragement and giggles, friends who boosted my confidence and lifted me up when I didn’t think I could.

I’m leaving my program a very different person from where I started, and I can’t begin to cover how I’m feeling, doing graduation second time around. So I’ll leave it for another time, but in the meantime, I also want to thank YOU, every single blog reader who has stuck with me for the past two years–I know my posting schedule has been slow and erratic, but thank you for reading and being here. I wish I could feed you this cake in appreciation.

momofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princess

 

 

 

 

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Easy Tofu Oyakodon

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess

***Psst Houstonians! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a really exciting giveaway!***

By all accounts, only taking three classes this term should make this my easiest, most relaxed few weeks of school ever. Yet working part-time, freelancing some articles, traveling, planning more travel, and making cake for fun bachelorette weekends has made for week after hectic (but enjoyable) week, requiring quick and basic comfort–and preferably healthy–food. Functional food. But most preferably delicious. This oyakodon is pretty much literally a miracle 5-ingredient, one-pan weeknight dinner that fulfills all the above requirements. Five ingredients!

My interest in oyakodon was piqued over winter break when my mom and sister ordered oyakodon at a tiny Japanese corner store in Japantown. Since they only offered the traditional chicken and rice bowl, I shared a tempura shrimp rice bowl with my brother while eyeing their delicious-looking mess of egg and rice and soy sauce. When Cynthia shared her version of oyakodon right after New Years, it couldn’t have been better timing. I’ve made it seven times since and I’d like to believe this is more a testament to the dish’s delicious qualities over my lack of creativity due to brain-sucking distractions.

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessTofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessAfter making this so many times–and getting subsequently lazier and lazier and leaving out ingredient after ingredient, I ended up with this boiled down version that I keep coming back to–I think it’s just as tasty, and maybe somehow tastes better with just five ingredients and about 15 minutes of cook time? It yields a custardy pan full of a double dose of protein with soft eggs seeping into the crevices of crumbled tofu, laced with silky onions braised in a salty miso broth that goes most excellently on slightly charred toast. It’s just salty and satisfying and SO EASY.

Even though oyakdon is traditionally a rice bowl served with a chicken and egg mixture on top, I figured if I was deviating with tofu, why not deviate from the rice too? I ate this atop rice for dinner the first few times, but after discovering the combination of chilled, straight-from-the-fridge leftovers on sizzling hot toast, it’s become a toasty, savoy breakfast staple as well.

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess
Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess
Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessTofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessPS: Enter my giveaway!

For those of you in Houston looking for something fun to do on Tuesday night, enter my giveaway on Instagram to win a pair of tickets to Houston Press’ Annual Menu of Menus Extravaganza! It’s a seriously fun night full of all-you-can-eat food + drinks from restaurants across Houston. All you have to do is tag a friend in the comments!

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Andie Mitchell’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Today, we’re celebrating one of my favorite people on the internet: Andie Mitchell (and her brand-new cookbook that was just released today)!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

I adore Andie. After finding her blog years ago, I fell in love with her heartfelt, funny, eloquent, deep and empathetic writings about food, a 135-pound weight loss, love, life and balance; it’s one of the blogs that I’ve always returned to over the years. Then she did a Ted Talk (#obsessed) and came out with a memoir (this has a permanent spot on my nightstand partly because I need to clean my room but mostly because I’m #obsessed), and followed up her memoir with a cookbook that is, no lie, utterly gorgeous. Even though email exchanges, it’s clear that she is one of the loveliest, most warm and open humans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. If you don’t know her, you should.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

Andie’s thing is all about finding balance with food and happiness. In both her memoir and cookbook, she talks about not only the struggle of losing weight, but the fear that came in the weight loss aftermath: how to maintain the weight, deal with temptation, stray from the dieting life in a non-destructive way—how to live in moderation. I often find her writing heartbreakingly relatable—though I’ve never been at an unhealthy BMI, I grew up with a bit of a fat image complex. Never as thin as I would like, I’ve waffled up and down a range of 15 or so pounds since college and it’s led to bouts of destructive eating and exercise patterns. In the world of food blogging, I worry that this is a more common behind-the-scenes trend that appears on the surface.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

“But you can find a way to live your life where you’re not constantly battling food and your body. You can learn to practice balance every day.”

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