Lilianfels, Blue Mountains

Lilianfels is located about a two minute drive from the Three Sisters. It is a hotel that also offers high tea.

Front entrance to the hotel

There is also a back entrance and it seems like guests and diners can wonder freely through the lobby and dining area.

Behind the hotel

Although there was lovely outdoor seating, it was far too cold to do anything but take a seat in the plush indoor seating.

Outdoor seating - would be perfect in the spring and summertime

Indoor dining area - high back soft chairs and grandma-type couches - much better for the chilly autumn weather!

The dining part of the hotel is called The Lounge.


Given that we had just eaten lunch about forty minutes ago, suddenly my stomach wasn't sure if it could handle an entire high tea.

Hence I was pleased to see that aside from the high tea, you could order scones by themselves.

We ordered a high tea to share, and two sets of scones.

Home made scones with clotted cream and jam ($15 for 2 pieces, including choice of tea)

I was very pleased indeed when the scones arrived! They were warm and nicely rounded, dusted with flour on top. The servings of jam and cream were generous - don't you hate it when you constantly run out of jam and cream, having to ask for more? This is coming from someone who loves to slather jam and cream onto their scones.

The price was a highlight as well - two large scones, jam, cream AND choice of tea for only $15?

I'm sold.

I'm even more sold when the tea is presented in such a cute manner.

Hot water, tea and milk

Each of us was given our own serving plate for the tea which meant that we had to get another table because it wouldn't fit!

High tea - $45 per person
(serving for one person in the picture)

There were two tiers to the high tea for one person.

Savoury tier

Sweet tier (four sweet treats and the jam/cream for the scone)

I had a few items to taste. The lemon meringue tart was delicious - the pastry short and crumbly.

We were all absolutely stuffed by the end of it.

I would definitely visit Lilianfels again, just for those scones!

Whisk & Pin, Medlow Bath

I haven't visited the Blue Mountains since I was a kid so when my friends suggested a spontaneous road trip, I was all for it.

We carefully planned two meals for the day - lunch and afternoon tea, with some scenery in between.

Lunch was at Whisk & Pin in Medlow Bath, a great little cafe/store located near the Medlow Bath train station.

Entry to the cafe

We were greeted warmly and took a seat at one of the tables inside.

They have an open kitchen near the entrance so you can see your food being prepared.

The open kitchen

The interior had a cosy feel to it. A row of shelves lined the side wall, filled with various condiments, muesli, dressings etc available for purchase. It reminded me of the stock that you find at DJs food hall! I spied Tetsuya's stocks, Bitton's jams, plus they had their own homemade jams. Made for great browsing while waiting for the food to arrive.

We were all quite hungry yet also aware of the fact that we planned to have afternoon tea in about an hour!

The lunch menu (click to enlarge)

There were also specials written up on a blackboard (including some drool-worthy sounding desserts) but we ended up ordering from the laminated menu card and decided to share.

It took about fifteen minutes for the food to come out, during which we browsed to our heart's content in the store.

Pumpkin and Pepita fritters with a couscous, date and pistachio salad ($17)

These tasted lovely, in a subtle, organic way. The fritters were deceptively filling and the salad was a nice accompaniment.

Classic Fish Pie with smoked cod, barramundi and creamy mash ($19.50)

I was disappointed that the pie was served in a small dish without any pastry. The mash was very creamy and the inside had generous servings of fish but when combined together, it was a bit salty and some pastry would have really balanced it out.

Smoked salmon with crunchy potato cakes, fresh cream and greens ($19.50)

The crunchy potato cakes were a winner, like small hash browns that went well with the smoked salmon.

As you can see, the prices are a teeny bit higher than what you might normally pay for lunch in Sydney (depending on where you go, of course) but the atmosphere was great and the ingredients were fresh. If we weren't going to eat again very shortly, I would have had a coffee and dessert as well!

After all that browsing, it seemed inevitable that we would leave with purchases. I bought a jar of Blue M passion butter (which I have since used to make icing for a sponge cake = yum!), and was delighted with the bag that it came in. I love cute store bags, even though I shove them in a corner when I get home - into the bag pile - never to use again until I randomly need a bag for something.

Anyway, here is the delightful bag:

Cute, right?


Dragon Beard Candy, Chinatown Night Markets

Dragon what candy? Dragon beard candy! Duh...

Or maybe, if you are anything like me, you wouldn't have heard of dragon beard candy before.

While walking through the Chinatown night markets, the stall caught my eye.

There was a small crowd of people standing around the store but they weren't lining up - they were gawking at the production process.

Two fast workers seemed to be kneading and stretching some form of noodle-like strips, dusting it, and kneading it into small elongated shapes, ready for consumption.

A small A4 piece of paper was tacked onto the stall front, explaining what dragon beard candy is.

It is a form of Chinese candy, made from spun sugar that is turned into threads and wrapped around a filling of nuts and sesame seeds.

My friend purchased a small box of three, for $6.50.

Upon opening the box, we discovered the candy, nestled like large silkworms side by side.

I couldn't resist giving one a poke and it was soft and squidgy. By this stage, I had sort of grossed myself out with all kind of maggot/silkworm imagery.

But my stomach is fairly adventurous and after all, it was candy!

So I picked one up and took a bite.

Spillage! Spillage! The nut filling began to collapse from the bottom but the candy was melt-in-mouth soft. You could feel the texture of the threads in your mouth.

They were quite nice and I would definitely try them again, although they are a bit pricey so they might become a 'once-in-a-while' treat!

PS. I just visited their website ( and saw that Manu Feildel has visited their stall - cool!


Food from overseas (Part 4)

This is the fourth and final instalment of my 'Food from overseas' series!

For the last part of my trip, I spent a month in the United States travelling across New York, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans and San Francisco.

While there were some things that I absolutely had to try (Philly cheesesteak anyone?), for the most part, I was happy to eat anything.

It's true what people say about American serving sizes compared to Australia. They're huge! And you don't have to look far to find the most unusual, greasiest combinations of food that you can find.

For example, one night in New York, we went to Chelsea to find this ribs place that was highly rated in my friend's travel guide. Firstly, the place was hilarious. Genuine redneck dining.

I ordered an obscene amount of food for myself - ribs, coleslaw, some other form of meat and huge serving of fries - which came out on a tray, on baking paper.

But that wasn't enough, we went an extra mile and got a huge baked potato stuffed with cheese - with melted cheese on top.

Look - it's McDonald's cheese orange!

New York also has lots of great Cuban food.

That yellow rice was yummy!

We also discovered the wonder of IHOP - International House of Pancakes, which serves all kinds of food round the clock!

IHOP - inside

Of course I had to take advantage of the crazy and ordered something from their dinner menu for breakfast.

Roast chicken, mushrooms, garlic bread and veggies....for breakfast, yum

We also discovered another amazing American chain - The Cheesecake Factory!!!! It was one place that I really wanted to eat at, but unfortunately we didn't come across any of their restaurants during our trip...................until our last stop at San Francisco!

There is a Cheesecake Factory in the Macys building and we ate there three or four times - which is a high number of times when we were only there for a week, and you also know the food blogger curse of wanting to try different things.

But their menu is huge and their portions are GINORMOUS. It is not uncommon for people to doggie bag the remains of their meal, despite the fact that it is a proper restaurant.

Pulled pork sandwich combo from the Cheesecake Factory - the plate was twice the size of my head

Fish tacos from the Cheesecake Factory - sorry for the dark picture, we were sitting in a low lighting booth

Another Cheesecake Factory dish - one third is chicken, there is a small mountain range of mashed potato in the middle and the right hand side is prawns!

San Francisco is famous for its Fisherman's Wharf. When we went down to the wharf, we walked past the Boudin Bakery where they bake their bread on premises and the scent of bread wafts onto the street.

Obviously we were lured in.

Crab chowder in a bread bowl

The bread bowl is a great invention. Can we bring that to Australia please?

Lastly, I want to show you guys some food from New Orleans. I had been looking forward to eating in New Orleans due to its exotic blend of French Cajun with Southern-style cooking and it did not disappoint.

All the locals insisted that you couldn't visit New Orleans without trying the beignets from Cafe du Monde, located at the edge of Jacksons's Square.


And you had to wash them down with their signature cafe latte.

The beignets were a mess to eat but I think that's half the fun of it! As for the taste, they tasted like deep fried doughnuts....which I guess would just be doughnuts fried a second time?

Some more random New Orleans pics...

Cool olive oil bottle

Candy covered toffee apples - if only I was 15 years younger...

Chocolate bread pudding - oh my god. Heart attack inducing chocolate goodness. Bread pudding was on the dessert menu of 95% of the New Orleans restaurants but this place put a whole new spin on it. The two upturned ramekins on the left side of the picture contained the chocolate sauce which the waitress drizzled over the pudding.

Louisiana oysters - really smooth and different from the oysters we get in Australia!

A 'po-boy' - blackened chicken sandwich roll

Lots of crazy cocktails on Bourbon St - this one was named after Lake Ponchartrain, a huge body of water just on the outs

One more thing - we ate Chinese food once in the US. It was in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Isn't it nice to see that Chinese fast food is the same across the world?

Fried rice, battered prawns with sweet and sour sauce, and mongolian beef

Okay, that's it for the food from overseas! Regular programming to resume soon :)

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