Thursday, May 9, 2013

Must Love... Chocolateria Sun Churro

Chocolate. It's pretty much the best thing in the world. Am I right? Amiright? 

If I am, logic would say a place dedicated to making chocolate must be one of the best places in the world. Chocolateria Sun Churro is one such place; where chocolate is consumed by the bowl full and usually accompanied by a churro (a crispy, golden, deep-fried Spanish doughnut). 

Despite the name, these icing sugar covered treats aren't all that Sun Churro serve. Their taste plates are also a favourite of mine. I mean who could say no to chocolate fondue and a selection of seasonal fruits, choc brownies, nougat, nuts, pretzels and marshmallows to dip in?  They also make amazing hot chocolates, shakes and coffees for those who love liquid desserts. 

You can find Sun Churro in South Bank (move over, Max Brenner) or in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Plaza on the Sunshine Coast.

Popcorn x

Churros with milk chocolate and caramel sauces

Taste plate

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Must Love... Vance Joy

If you haven't heard Riptide by Vance Joy yet you are failing at life. Once again, I am OBSESSED with this cute, quirky track and can't seem to unselect the repeat button on my iTunes.

Vance Joy is a Melbourne singer-songwriter who has just brought out his debut EP God Loves You When You're Dancing. While Riptide is a clear favourite, the other four songs on the album are definitely worth a listen or two or three or - you get it.

Even more exciting is the news that he is playing in Brisbane at the Black Bear Lodge on Wednesday 24 April for less than $14 (no, that's not a typo!). I am dying to go, anybody want to take me up on the offer?

Popcorn x

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Must Love... Born Ruffians

I wanted to share this little tune because I am currently OBSESSED. It is so funky, completely catchy but unpredictable. I also picked up a bit of a Jinja Safari vibe, which can only be a good thing.

The song is called Needle and is by Canadian band Born Ruffians. Their album Birthmarks comes out on April 16, 2013 and there is a fair chance I will be purchasing!

Popcorn x

Monday, April 1, 2013

Must Love... Wearable Planters

It seems as if everyone with an Instagram account, a blog and even the magazine industry has gone plant mad. My feed is overflowing with pretty succulents, and I can't flick through my favourite monthlies without seeing a plant wall or those upside pots hipsters everywhere are obsessed with. I'm not complaining, I'm just a little jealous seeing as I live in an apartment and can't join in on this green craze.

These amazing inventions by Etsy store A Wearable Planter are a very unique take on the trend. If I had a bike these would be my next purchase.

 All images via A Wearable Planter Etsy store

Popcorn x

Must Love... Musical Covers

I'm always partial to a musical cover done well, and just good music in general. Here's a few that are spending a lot of time in the "Recently Played" section of my iTunes. The first song had to be included in this post because every time I hear it I'm reminded of a beautiful day spent at a waterhole in Central Queensland with two of my best friends.

Happy listening!

Ritual Union (Little Dragon cover) - Electric Guest

Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye cover) - Ben Harper

The Wilhelm Scream (James Blake cover) - The Bamboos feat Megan Washington

Feel Good Inc (Gorillaz cover) - Skye

Tessellate (Alt-J cover) - Emma Louise

Does anyone have any suggestions of covers I should listen to?

Popcorn x

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Must Love... Kirra Jamison

Kirra Jamison is an Australian artist doing amazing things with colour, pattern and whimsical images. 

I think I'll let the art speak for itself.

All images via

Popcorn x

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Must Love... Gillian's Garden Cafe

Gillian's Garden Cafe in East Brisbane certainly has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Also part antique store, florist, plant nursery and boutique; this eclectic eatery could never be accused of being normal.

The cafe itself is strewn with plants and greenery and contrasted with decadent chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The walls are covered in paintings and the air is filled with the sweet smells of their sugary treats.

The menu is full of french inspiration and sounds delicious. I'm not sure I would go back for lunch, as my avocado and prawn roulade was a little lacking, but it looks as if there are greener pastures over at the breakfast menu.

The inner dining area (image via Gillian's Garden Cafe website)

Avocado and Prawn roulade
Popcorn x

Must Love... Bungalow 4171

To say there is an abundance of "shabby chic" cafes in Brisbane would be an understatement. But it makes a visit to Bungalow 4171 in Hawthorne all the more refreshing. This little breakfast and lunch spot still has the kitschy element that is so on trend at the moment, but with a vintage glamour twist. I fell in love with the emerald green wallpaper, the beautiful old wooden chairs and the counter covered in scones, muffins and glass jars full of homemade muesli. 

My coffee was creamy and smooth, and my breakfast bagel of avocado, tomato, red onion and basil was deliciously fresh. I relished every mouthful.

Bungalow 4171 should be a part of every East-sider's (and those who are willing to travel in pursuit of a good breakfast) staple breakfast rotation. 

Popcorn x

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Must Love... Busy Weekends

As I get older I don't mind admitting I would rather go out for dinner than to a club. I'd take a breakfast date over a booze cruise. A lunch outing trumps taking shots and dancing on tables.

So when my out of town besties visit me in Brisbane every few months (I love that they're here every excuse they can get!) we make the most of our weekend. Our last rendezvous was especially jammed packed as the girls flew in on the Thursday night to start the weekend early.

We started with cocktails at the Press Club in the Valley, which quickly turned into our new favourite bar. The live music was a strange-but-great mix of reggae, jazz and rap and set a really cool scene. We ordered our first round from the menu, and were wondering what to indulge in next when the bartender asked me to hand over the cocktail list. I obliged and he said "you don't need that" as he dramatically flung it across the room. It was the highlight of our night. He then asked what spirits and flavours we liked and created us each individual cocktails to taste.

The next morning we headed to Alimentari on Adelaide for breakfast where all three of us ordered the smashed avocado and feta, with fresh basil on ciabatta ($9.00!). This simple but flavoursome Italian meal was the perfect start to the day. Blink 182 provided the perfect ending.

Saturday morning was spent at Buzz in the Emporium, a breakfast spot I would highly recommend. I had an amazing juice - the Tickled Pink (strawberry, apple, watermelon and mint, $6.50) and the best ricotta hotcakes I've had for a very long time, topped with strawberries, crispy bacon, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream ($15.50). Delish!

Each time the girls visit we pick one really nice place and treat ourselves to dinner (past visits have been spent at ARIA and the Gunshop Cafe in West End). Écco in the city was the venue of choice this time as after reading the menu it seemed we couldn't go past it! I had the lamb rump with olive tapenade, white polenta, ratatouille and eggplant crisps ($42.50). The meal was nice, but I don't think it quite lived up to the price tag. Maybe we have been spoiled by ARIA, where everything was absolutely impeccable.

We then moved on to a couple of great bars in the Valley. First up was Kerbside - just look down a backstreet for the roller door and mismatched furniture. I always seem to love the playlist and the fact they don't have a cocktail menu (it's all made to order per your requests) keeps things interesting. The real winner is the decor, it's always a fight as to who gets the garden love seat swing.

The next stop on the list was Sky Room. As you probably guessed, this bar is located a few levels up from the busy streets below and has an open balcony area with the perfect view of the surrounding high rises and bright city lights. The cocktail menu is a new twist on all the old faithfuls, a favourite of ours was the Sky Room Martini: vodka shaken with lemon juice, vanilla sugar and a signature violet liqueur and finished with peach foam and orange sherbet ($16). This concoction doesn't look or taste like anything I've ever seen - it's a must try!

We finished the weekend off with Sunday brunch at Salt in Rosalie, you can read my post about that here.
Cocktails at the Press Club in Fortitude Valley
Ricotta Hotcakes at Buzz
Kerbside (images via Kerbside website)

Popcorn x

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Must Love... The Phoncurves

Listening to a song by The Phoncurves is the equivalent of wearing your oldest, comfiest sweater while sipping tea in the winter months, or relaxing on a deck as you bask in the sunlight during summer. It feels as if you've been listening to the beautiful voices of Abbie Roberts and Naomi Burrell forever, but that's not to say their sound is tired. It's a welcome wave of nostalgia with enough uniqueness to be excited by their eclectic style. 

I saw them play at Black Bear Lodge a couple of weeks ago and their live vocals are disarming. They have a humble, endearing stage presence that instantly draws you in. It's easy to connect with them because these girls could easily be your friends, your neighbours or next to you in your uni class. 

The Phoncurves now have an EP out, and you can like them on fb here

The Phoncurves (image via The Phoncurves website)

Popcorn x

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Must Love... Vanuatu

After three and a half months of uni holidays, boredom started to sink in and I found myself actually looking forward to the return of note-taking in lectures. Now my education is back in full swing, assignments are piling up and I have a slight heart attack each time I remember I'll be finished in 3 months, my mind has started to drift back to fonder times. Namely my mini vacay to the beautiful island of Efate, Vanuatu.

In February I spent five days in the sleepy, coastal town of Port Vila. We were lucky enough to visit a few months before the busy period, and were rewarded with a relaxed, small town vibe. Efate was one of the most scenically beautiful places I have seen, and the people were always welcoming and friendly.

Vanuatu is made up of 83 islands, each with it's own culture and languages. There are three main islands for tourists to visit: Santo, Tanna and Efate. There are many sights to see, but due to the size of the islands you don't need a whole lot of time. This makes it the perfect destination for a chilled out beach holiday.

We stayed in town at The Melanesian, it was newly renovated and I would recommend it, but if you're after a nice view I would look elsewhere. After talking to other visitors I would suggest The Grand (it's right on the water in the town centre) or staying on Iririki Island (a very short ferry ride away from the main land, complete with bungalows on the water).

When dining out my go-to places were Chill Restaurant and Bar, Waterfront Bar and Grill and Jill's cafe (be sure to try the Tanna coffee).

As far as things to do, it's a good idea to do a Round Island tour within the first couple of days as this gives you a feel for the island culture and if you're lucky enough to get a good guide you'll learn a lot! It only takes a few hours to drive around Efate, but you'll need to set aside a full day due to all the stops along the way. You'll stop in at a cultural village and meet the Chief, tour some beautiful gardens, swim in a private fresh water hole and see some amazing beaches.

A beautiful place for a day of relaxing or snorkeling is Hideaway Island. It's about 15 minutes from town and entry fees will cost around $10 per person (which includes the ferry ride over and back), but the water is crystal clear and it boasts the only underwater post office in the world.

Another highlight was going on a sunset cruise around the harbour. Seeing the sun set over the water, champagne in one hand and tapas in the other was bliss.

I'd have to say my favourite part of the trip was our helicopter ride, I'd never been on one before and it was an amazing experience. We chose a 20 minute Best of Efate flight, but there are choices to suit every budget.

As with every holiday there were a few things we didn't quite fit in. I would have loved to see the Blue Lagoon, as the pictures look breathtaking. Also, the adventuress in me wanted to see the jungle up close on the Zipline or take the flight to Tanna to explore an active volcano. Maybe there will be a next time.
The bungalows on Iririki Island
Hideaway Island's crystal clear ocean
Hideaway Island

My view on the sunset cruise

The private water hole on my Round Island tour
One of the beaches I visited on the Round Island tour
View of Efate harbour from the helicopter, Iririki Island is on the right 

Popcorn x

Friday, March 8, 2013

Must Love... How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well is the musical moniker of Tom Krell, who released his second album Total Loss in September 2012. This album has a way of drawing you in; binding you to the smooth flow of the sound as it works its way from slow, soothing waves to the addictive electro pop beats that infuse their way into your body, making it impossible to resist the urge to move along. Krell's soulful, melodic voice completes the seduction, urging you to feel your way through the entire collection of tracks so as not to break from this musical love affair.

Here's my favourite from the album, & It Was You:

Popcorn x

Must Love... Salt

Brunching in Rosalie on a Sunday morning can be a brutal game of wait-for-a-table. Timing is everything; get it right and you can slide straight in to a freshly cleared table, but get it wrong and you can spend the best part of half an hour standing on the sidewalk eyeing off diners who's skinny lattes seem never-ending.

On this particular day we experienced both sides of the spectrum - our first choice was booked out all morning (who knew you now have to book for breakfast!), and our second was a 15 minute wait. Being pretty peckish at this point, we decided to chance it and try another place just around the corner. It seems luck was on our side as we breezed into a booth, only to see the start of a steady line of hopeful patrons who were no doubt starting to curse their choice of uncomfortable footwear and experiencing early stages of caffeine withdrawals*.

Salt sets itself apart by offering up coffees in mugs the size of a small child**. The menu offers irresistibly sounding sweet and savoury options, but it seems our little brunch group couldn't go past the Haloumi Stack (with tomato, basil and a poached egg on Turkish pide) and we put in our order for four. Our chosen dish was $22.90, which is on the higher end of the scale when compared to most cafes in Brisbane, but it's the price tag that comes with this suburb.

*possibly an exaggeration
**slightly less of an exaggeration, as you can see in the photo below.

Our "mugs" of lattes and hot chocolate

Haloumi Stack

Popcorn x

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Must Love... A Calvin Harris & Dizzee Rascal Collab

Here's a little something to bust a move to; unless you're on public transport, then maybe just indulge in a little head bopping while you imagine the moves you would be pulling if you were home alone. To be honest they probably look better in your head anyway.

The result of two dance legends coming together:

Popcorn x

Must Love... Coffee & Chocolate

Anyone who participates in the sport that is shopping will tell you it. is. hard. work. Walking for hours on end, sometimes weighed down by a few kilos worth of purchases, will leave you peckish and in need of a caffeine boost. This is why the people responsible for putting a delicious coffee and chocolate spot in Queens Plaza in the Brisbane CBD are geniuses. 

The aptly named Coffee & Chocolate provides just that. A large selection of different types and flavours of chocolate, coffee and tea are available, alongside other tasty delights such as the in-vogue treat taking over Instagram: macaroons.

Choc-Mint latté with treats
Salted caramel macaroon 

Popcorn x