Australia

Lucky Bay in Esperance Lucky Bay in Esperance

YOU GUYS. I have the craziest news ever!! I am going to AUSTRALIA!!!! More specifically, Western Australia, the country’s largest state which includes the Margaret River region (more on that in a minute!), responsible for over a quarter of Australia’s premium wine production. It’s also what is referred to as a “biodiversity hotspot,” which basically means its rich soils are home to an abundance of produce and wildlife found nowhere else on earth. Which, to you and me, means food. Good food, and lots of it. Marron (better know to us as lobster!), finger limes, pearl meat…it all sounds so exotic and I can’t wait to try them all and share what real Australian cuisine is – fresh, local, sustainable and prepared in ways to make the pristine nature of the ingredients shine. Oh- another fun fact- the capital city of Western Australia, Perth, is the sunniest capital city in all of Australia, and where I’ll be starting my journey when I visit.

I am literally beside myself. I’ve always DREAMED of going to Australia, but I never imagined it would be anytime soon! But I’m going, this August. Just a few short months away. It will be winter there!!

Beachside Table on Rottnest Island Beachside Table on Rottnest Island

FIRST, I want to hear all your recommendations. Where should I go, what should I do, where should I EAT? :) Do I have any readers that live in Australia?? :)

Second, because you guys are AWESOME, I want one of YOU to go to Australia, too!

Vasse Felix Winery Vasse Felix Winery

 

The Giveaway

Tourism Western Australia, Virgin Australia, and Down Under Answers are hosting the Say G’day to Gourmet sweepstakes!

One lucky winner will receive a trip for two to Australia AND get to attend the Margaret River Gourmet Escape!!

The Margaret River Gourmet Escape is an annual food and wine festival in Western Australia that celebrates the extraordinary culinary offerings of the Margaret River. World-class chefs and award-winning wineries all come together for a 3-day festival in the breathtaking Margaret River region.

Past years’ events have included world-renowned chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Tony Howell, Matt Stone and many more, and this year’s event will once again feature an all-star lineup that will be announced in June.

Here’s what’s all included in the Say G’day to Gourmet prize:

  • Two roundtrip, economy tickets flying Virgin Australia from Los Angeles to Perth, Western Australia
  • Four-night stay for two at Pullman Bunker Bay, Margaret River in a Studio Villa including breakfast
  • Four-day car rental with unlimited mileage with Avis Car Rental
  • Two tickets to one day of the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape
  • Two tickets to the signature Gourmet Beach Barbecue at Margaret River Gourmet Escape
  • A Ngilgi Cave Twilight Tour for two with Koomal Dreaming
  • Two-night stay for two at the Crown Metropol, Perth in a Luxe King Room including breakfast
  • Dinner for two at Rockpool Perth to the value of AU$500

 

How to Enter

Enter to win HERE.

The sweepstakes runs from Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. PDT through Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. PDT.

For a complete list of sweepstakes rules, visit www.westernaustralia.com/gdaytogourmet.

GOOD LUCK, friends!!

 

The Village at Margaret River Gourmet Escape The Village at Margaret River Gourmet Escape. All photos copyright Tourism Western Australia.


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New recipe on Kevin & Amanda Recipes today! :)

A whole meal in one pan! This Ham & Cheese Tortellini is creamy, cheesy, deliciousness in every bite! Make it in 15 minutes and everything cooks in one pan, so you only have one dish to wash. The perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!!

This Ham & Cheese Tortellini is like grown-up Mac & Cheese. The ultimate cheesy pasta perfection!! Get the recipe below!! :)

A whole meal in one pan! This Ham & Cheese Tortellini is creamy, cheesy, deliciousness in every bite! Make it in 15 minutes and everything cooks in one pan, so you only have one dish to wash. The perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!!

Click the title below to get the recipe:

Ham & Cheese Tortellini

Enjoy!! :)


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Jerusalem

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

On Sunday morning I stood at the Sea of Galilee, with my toes in the water and my face in the early morning sun. I washed my hands and face in the sea where Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Our last two days in Israel were spent near the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of my Israel Trip here.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Later Sunday morning we arrived at the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and fed the 5,000 with the fishes and the loaves.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Can you imagine this view over the Sea of Galilee while listening to Jesus teach?

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

At the top of the mountain is a Roman Catholic chapel known as The Church of the Beatitudes.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Our final full day in Israel was spent in Jerusalem.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

We started with a panoramic overlook of the city from Mount Scopus, near The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Next we went to the Mount of Olives. Several key events in the life of Jesus took place on the Mount of Olives. Scripture describes the Mount of Olives as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

At the bottom of the mountain is the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed to the Father hours before his crucifixion.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

We then made our way to the Via Dolorosa.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

This is the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

The Via Dolorosa has 14 stations. It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and travels through busy streets lined with shops.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

We started at stations 1-4, where Jesus is condemned by Pontius Pilate, where He took up his cross, and where Mary watched her son go by with the cross.

Station 5, pictured here, is where Simon of Cyrene was forced by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry his cross.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus stumbled and rested his hand upon the wall to keep his balance. Many pilgrims to the Via Dolorosa over the years have made a smooth imprint deep into the stone.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Station 7 is where Jesus fell for the second time.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Stations 10-14 are located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Stations 10-11 are located upstairs. Jesus is stripped and nailed to the cross.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Station 12 represents where Jesus died on the cross.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

And Station 14 represents where Jesus was laid in the tomb, and rose from the grave 3 days later.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

After an introspective morning, we took to the markets of Jerusalem for lunch.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

When in Israel, you must get a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice! This was my second one of the trip. I fell in love!

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

We honestly had some of the most unforgettable dining experiences in Israel. Since we were with a group, we never ordered anywhere we went. They would just bring plate after plate and we ate together family-style. The first night, before we knew what to expect, they brought out so much food, and when there was a break, we thought the dinner was finally over. Then they started bringing out more plates. “Is there more food??” we asked. “Oh yes,” they smiled. “That was just the appetizers.” We ate good in Israel.

One of The Best Things I Ever Ate was at our final dinner together in Jerusalem, at Chakra. Above is the Spicy Tuna Bruschetta & Aioli. If you are ever, ever in Jerusalem, please find a way to go to Chakra and order this Spicy Tuna Bruschetta & Aioli!! I had to ask them to bring out a second plate, because I ate the entire first one myself that was supposed to be for the whole table.

The last time I had such a strong reaction to a dish was 10 months ago in New Orleans.

Click here for the must-see Most Holy Places in Jerusalem, including The Sea of Galilee, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tips for Traveling to Israel + Where to Eat and Where to Stay in Jerusalem.

Here’s a peek at some of the fun desserts we had from Chakra.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this quick glimpse from my time in Israel. I loved sharing it with you guys. I definitely hope to go again someday soon and spend more time there.

When in Israel…

If you ever find yourself in Israel, here are my recommendations for where to eat and where to stay. :)

MUST Eat

Ha’achim, Tel Aviv. Authentic Israeli dinner. Great atmosphere. Mediterranean menu. Lots of options. Great for sharing lots of appetizers.

The Blue Rooster, Tel Aviv. Decadent pastas and fun desserts.

Chakra, Jerusalem. Small plates with lots of options. Great for sharing. Recommended: Spicy Tuna Bruschetta & Aioli.

HaChatzer, Jerusalem. Modern Israeli cuisine. Recommended: Meze platter and Halva Ice Cream.

MUST Stay

David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv. Right across the street from the beach, gorgeous sunset view over the Mediterranean, has an American outlet in the room.

Rimonim Galei Kinneret Hotel, Tiberias. Located right on the Sea of Galilee, with a beautiful pool, spa, and beach access to the Sea of Galilee.

Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem. Incredible 5-star hotel. Luscious beds. Amazing breakfast. American outlets in the room.

*If your hotel doesn’t have American outlets, (or you need more than the 1 or 2 American outlets they have in the room) here are the type of adapters you’ll need to make your plugs fit: Israel (Type H) Adapters.


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