In search of Cherry Blossom – Part One

Hello lovely readers, the Spoon You Fork Me team is once again on route to Japan!

I’m so excited about this trip! We’re really hoping we’ve come at the right time to see the Cherry Blossom and although the Japanese can normally pinpoint the time of bloom generally, it’s not a guarantee that we’ll see it. Hubby and I are only here for a week!


We barely slept last night. The night seemed to go on forever. I kept waking up and checking the time. Finally it was time to get up and before we knew it we were flying high.


First leg of our trip was to Cairns and then another seven hours flight time to reach Osaka.
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I’m pretty sure that no one in the world gets more excited about plane meals than I do. It’s not that the food is so good because often it’s a disappointment. I think it’s just knowing that something is going to break up the boredom of the flight. As I write this, the food is coming!! Yay!!


As expected, it was mediocre at best and not enough for my greedy guts but it was better than nothing so although it seems I’m complaining, I’m really not.
We also got some croissants later in the flight. My hips could have done without that but I can’t say no.

One thing about travelling with hubby is that he is always most eager to talk the minute I put headphones in to listen to a podcast. Uncanny. All of a sudden I urgently need to know inconsequential things.

By the time we got to Osaka it was after 7.30pm and already dark. We spent time trying to find an ATM then trying to work out what train to catch. Luckily, the Japanese people really do bend over backwards to try to help. Honestly, the rest of the world could learn a lesson or two from these people!!

As an example, we were trying to get our bearings once we got off the train. I couldn’t quite work out the map I’d printed and we didn’t have internet yet so I couldn’t get google maps to help. We decided to go ino the nearby Mos Burger and one of the guys behind the counter saw us frowning over this map and asked if he could help (in his limited broken English)
I pointed to where we were trying to go and not only did he show us a better way to get there, BUT he also insisted on giving us a couple of umbrellas (it was raining) Honestly, these people!!

We finally made it to our aparatment and got a second wind. Doesn’t matter that we’ve been awake for almost twenty four hours…
What do you think the first thing we did after getting settled?
We went straight back out to the Life Supermarket that was around the corner. Super excited to find out that it closes at 2am!! I just love the supermarkets here. So many weird and wonderful things. I don’t know what half of them are. It’s a mystery!!!
Food that I think should be refrigerated is just sitting out on tables. Here’s a few pics from tonights supermarket run..

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We can’t tell what half the products are!!

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Personally, I find this gross…. Not big on seafood.

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I wish I’d taken a photo of something else next to these pieces of cheese for perspective. They were tiny and quite expensive for the amount you were getting. I just thought it was funny to see such a small piece of cheese for sale like that.

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Lots of pasta for sale on the unrefrigerated benches.

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Chicken too… also on an unrefrigerated bench.

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Noodle roll anyone??

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Well that’s just rude.

I’m hoping we get to Osaka Castle tomorrow in full Cherry Blossom bloom!!!

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part One

As you can tell from my title I’m completely delirious.
These next series of entries will be mostly about our current travels but I will try to keep them food related!
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Hubby and I woke up bright and early this morning to board our flight to Cairns. We’re headed to the wonderful country of Japan again but decided to spend a day in Cairns to break up our flying time.

I think the plane was lacking oxygen as hubby and I had a few strange exchanges on the way over…
Hubby : No boobs but you make up for it with your nice back. Baby got back
Me: You got the boobs in our relationship (and I then proceeded to squeeze his chest while saying “honk honk”)

We’re very classy….

Cairns was just as lovely as ever and after getting our hire car, we went straight to the beach and walked around admiring our favourite spots while having a heated discussion about Gay Marriage. Never a dull moment…


We were pretty hungry and decided to stop in at a past favourite, “Rattle and Hum” 
There’s just something about this place we like….
We were a bit naughty with our food selections….

Very delicious!!
And from where we sat we could see lots of food going out. There were a lot of burgers that’s for sure.
The pic on the left is of a steak sandwich and that meat was just so tender!!! It was really lovely and sooooo sinful to eat!

After lunch we walked some more and did a bit of window shopping. We talked a lot about our trip to Japan… I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow….

I’m not quite sure what to say about our Air BnB experience in Cairns, suffice to say that if you’re not a people person, you probably shouldn’t book rooms in other people’s houses.
But it’s all good!! We have somewhere nice and clean to spend the night and will come back with lots of stories!

An hour or so later…

I really don’t want to say anything against our Air BNB host as she was… well she was herself and unfortunately it didn’t really mix with who we are.
We spent a couple of hours in that room in her apartment then decided we’d probably be happier if we were in a hotel room so, we moved.
I can’t explain the relief.
I can’t explain in this post what we didn’t like as I’d hate for anything to get back to our host. In her way, she tried her best, it was just not for us.

Back to food….
After a day of travelling,
lots of  walking,
dealing with the anxiety of wondering where we were going to sleep,
wondering if anyone would walk into our bedroom while we were sleeping,
(or into the bathroom while we were showering)
physical and mental exhaustion took it’s toll and made us not want to leave our hotel room.

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After recouping in our hotel room, we walked to a nearby Woolies and got a couple of baguettes, some deli meats, sundried tomatos, olives, cucumbers and other goodies and made a jumbo size roll!!!
It was magnificent and really really hit the spot!!!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Japan where I’m sure I’ll have a bit of food anxiety but that doesn’t matter, that’s what being in a new culture is all about!

Mata chikaiuchini o ai shimashou! (Blame Google translate if that doesn’t make sense!!)

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Villa Romana – Cairns

Today on The Dining Diaries,

A bruschetta dish suffers an identify crisis while bacon plays hide and seek (and wins)
Pizza dough so light we barely thought about the calories and,
A restaurant so noisy and bustling, we were spared having to make polite conversation.

photo-4.jpgThe Spoon You Fork Me team were in Cairns back in February and Villa Romana was a place we had walked past at least once a day.
We always intended to try it out but it just never worked out that way.

Four months later and we were back in Cairns and this time, we were going to stop in!
This place seems to be perpetually full of people and it was no different tonight with a triathlon on this weekend. Every restaurant in Cairns was exceptionally busy and so was Villa Romana.

When hubby and I walked by, there were no tables available and our host gave us the option of waiting at the bar but we decided to come back later.

Thirty minutes later and this three hundred plus seat restaurant was still completely full but we decided to wait and it wasn’t too long before we were shown to a table.
The menu was typically Italian although I did spot an interesting salad I wanted to try.

We ordered the Capricciosa Pizza, a Bruschetta and Insalata di Spinaci which was a salad of baby spinach, sliced apple, roasted walnuts, crispy bacon and zesty lemon dressing.

Surprisingly, although the restaurant was full, food was coming out quite quickly.

The table behind us ordered a calzone and it looked enormous as it was brought to the table. When it was cut into, it soon deflated however I could still see lots of cheese and filling in there.
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Our food came and I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed when I saw my bruschetta.
It was on pizza dough.

The menu didn’t say it would be on pizza dough.
I was expecting it on toasted continental bread.
If I’d wanted a pizza, I would have ordered one!

The only difference between hubby’s pizza and my bruschetta were the shape and the toppings…

However, the dough was SOOOO fresh and light. They have wood ovens at Villa Romano and you can taste that wood oven taste in their pizza’s. Smoky, crisp and delicately light, topped with quality toppings.

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This place knows how to do pizza!
My bruschetta was good. I got over the disappointment of how it was made. I really love basil pesto and that was prominent on this bruschetta however in places it was heavily salted and that was a bit disappointing too.

IMG_6379The salad was exceptional and definitely my favourite. Such a wonderful combination of foods!!
I had to read the menu again though as I was sure it had said crispy bacon but I couldn’t taste any. It was either so subtle I couldn’t taste it, or not in there at all.

I’m not a bacon lover though so it didn’t disappoint me that there was potentially no bacon. I really loved this salad. The spinach was fresh, the walnuts were crunchy and the apple brought a delicious sweetness. Everything worked so well together.

Hubby had no complaints about his pizza. I tried a bit and yes, his dough was definitely the same taste as mine.

FullSizeRender (34)All in all we had a nice time here. It was good to be in a busy, bustling place but it was hard if you wanted to actually have a conversation because it was just soooo noisy! I’d hate to be here on a first date.

Hubby and I ended up people watching and communicating the way most people who have been together many years do, with minimal conversation.
Next time we’re in Cairns I want to try their breakfast buffet as that has caught my eye once or twice in the past!

Have you been to Villa Romano’s?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments below!
Till next we chow…

Hogs BreathCafe – Cairns

CairnsToday on the Dining Diaries..

An old favourite is revisited,
Wait staff serve their customers with permanent smiles on their faces and
we leave our mark on the walls!

0508894ade6cbccaa72f9095b1d05b1d.jpgToday the Spoon You Fork Me team are at Hogs Breath Cafe in Cairns.
While most of Australia is suffering through horrendous Winter weather, Cairns is basking in sunshine. I feel like I don’t want to leave this place!!

You may remember we reviewed Hogs Breath Cafe once before but that was the restaurant at Glenelg. I was interested to see if our experience would be any different.

Once again, as we enter we just feel happy. There’s something about that place that makes you expect to have a good time.
A gentlman greeted us at the door and gave us some pleasant small talk, took us to a table and told us someone would be along shortly.
Within a minute a waitress came smiling from ear to ear like she was our best friend. It’s not a criticism, it’s a good thing. It makes you feel like you’re in a place people want to be.
In fact I watched the wait and kitchen staff and they all seemed happy to be doing their jobs even when out of sight of diners.

FullSizeRender (33)I love the atmosphere in this place and the way it’s decorated which seems to be the same Australia wide. Although I took these pictures in relatively empty corners of the restaurant, there were quite a few people in there all having a nice relaxing time.

The inital gentleman who greeted us and the waitress both asked if we’d dined their before making sure we knew what food they offered and how to order.
Our waitress then told us about the special – Steak parmigiana with grilled capsicum and mozzarella cheese on top. That sounded yummy to hubby so he ordered that one. I went for an old favourite that I haven’t had for a while, grilled steak sandwich.

While waiting for the food, I looked around trying to see other people’s food, and another waitress, not the one serving our table, came up to me thinking I was wanting help or wanting to order something else or ask another question. It was things like that that really elevated our experience here.

FullSizeRender (32)My steak sandwich came with sweet potato wedges. I know these are the in things right now but I just find they don’t crisp up like potato wedges do. Still, they tasted nice once I added a bit more salt. The grilled steak sandwich was superb!!
In my experience, some places try to add too many sauces to this type of  meal making it almost impossible to eat without getting it all down your hands. This sandwich had just the perfect amount and the steak was gloriously tender and thick. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had this type of food for a while but I was super impressed!

FullSizeRender (31)Hubby was happy with his too. I was curious to know what the grilled capsicum was like on top as I don’t normally associate that with a parmigiana but he said it was really tasty and went well. He said his meat was cooked and seasoned well. I tried some of his veggies and there was just no salt on them. They were just plain boiled veggies.
I know you can’t presume to know how much salt to put on veggies but no salt and no seasoning?  Makes me wonder why bother to have them at all! But that’s only a very small criticism as we enjoyed our meal here and felt pretty full when we walked out!

I also loved how the waitress came to check how our meals were a few minutes after we’d got them. That doesn’t happen as much as it should and sometimes things aren’t quite right and I don’t like to make a scene so I don’t say anything. If someone were to ask me however, I might have the courage to mention it and I liked that we were asked and the waitress was not just expecting a stock answer but genuinely wanting to make sure all was ok.

Hogs Breath Cairns is not really in an area frequented by a lot of foot traffic which is shame. I’m sure they do get their fair share of customers but if you ever do find yourself in Cairns, I would recommend a ten minute walk from the Esplanade to visit Hogs Breath.

Have you been here?
What was your experience?
Let me know in the comments below…

Till next we chow…