Mid 30s. My first trip overseas starts in one month and a bit.

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Glass on the MurrayReally?!? Are you serious?!? This is the usual reaction to me telling people I’ve never been overseas. I’m 34. I’ll be 35 by the time I head overseas for the first time next month.

Why haven’t I been overseas? So many reasons/excuses. I’ve loved my life up to this point and wouldn’t change a thing. Have I sacrificed overseas travel to change careers at regular intervals? Sure thing. But am I ludicrously excited to head to DC, NYC, New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago? Damn straight.

I’m going to watch the Yankees. I’m going to watch the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. I’m going to eat and drink at places I’ve only dreamed of. I’m visiting Sun Studios. The birthplace of Jazz. Travelling the same route Louis Armstrong took bringing a new art form to the world. Would I have done these things at 21? No. Have I missed out on some of the amazing experiences I would have had when younger? Sure. But that’s cool. For every missed experience I could name three that I’ve had experiencing the people and the places across this amazing land.

September 8, 2014. On a big jet plane. Look forward to sharing a little of my excitement.

Need to get back into it

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Need to get back into it

Time to resurrect this bad boy.

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July.

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Vintage Blue // Boutique Aussie wine specialists.

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Vintage Blue // Boutique Aussie wine specialists.

Love this place in the Sydney CBD, stocks loads of great small Aussie producers.

Path and How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

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Path 2.0:

While the first iteration of Path was confusing and poorly executed, they’ve definitely stumbled on something special with v2.0. Think of it as part Twitter, part Facebook with decent privacy settings, part Instagram and part Fourquare. for your social world. Wait, it’s not that confusing. It’s really two things. It’s a place where you can share important moments with friends (limited to 150, more than enough for anyone using it as intended). I share a different bunch of images and updates due to the more intimate nature of the audience. The interface is intuitive and it has some great features (photos/music/location) that borrow from other apps you may be more familiar with (Instagram image filters being the most easily recognisable).

But it also does something else really well. My favourite feature of Path however is the ability to easily share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Foursquare. Take a photo, decide who you want to share it with and it’s done. Share a post with just your Path friends. or your Facebook friends, or your Twitter followers, or all of them. It’s quickly become my social hub, the place from which the majority of my personal [non-work] social communication originates. I’m a music tragic, so having the ability to share what I’m listening to is a freaking great feature. Apologies to my friends and followers if I’ve been abusing this feature! But in terms of connecting with like minded people (which for me is a lot of what social is about) music reduces the barriers to true connection faster than posts, photos and check ins.

Anyways, if you love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Foursquare, I think you’ll enjoy Path. it’s available via https://path.com/

How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston:

You may be thinking, “What a strange book title.” Agreed, it is a strange title, but it’s a brilliant book. Why? Because it talks about important issues in a way that removes all of the bullshit and pretence. It allows you to discover your true opinions about race. Sometimes you’ll pat yourself on the back for being so open-minded and progressive. Other times you’ll be lulled into a false security before being slammed in the face with the reality that we could all be a little more accepting. Not just accepting of different races, but accepting of differences. For me, it bought into stark relief my often cruel and completely unecessary disrespect of those without basic wine knowledge. Before reading the book I knew there was a little disdain there, bubbling under the surface. But what How to be Black did was incisively show me the stupidity of this. How to be Black is hilarious, heartfelt, insightful and intelligent. Any book that can cause me to reflect on my own behaviour in a positive and affecting manner is truly special. highly, highly recommended.

Baratunde Thurston Bio:

Baratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He serves as Director of Digital for The Onion and co-founded Jack & Jill Politics. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over 30 years experience being black. His first book, How To Be Black, is available now. Published by Harper Collins, it is very good, and if you don’t buy it, you’re a racist. http://howtobeblack.me/

[photos] Transition. And a Magical Wine experience.

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Time to stay hungry, stay foolish and share the love

Favourite Cellar Doors, Restaurants, Wine Events, Wine Reviews

(First off, apologies to all the haters for the Steve Jobs/Apple references littering this blog post. But he was an inspiration to me, anyone with that much passion has to be respected for relentlessly pursuing his dreams.)

Now, I’ll admit it. I’ve been terrible at blogging for way too long. I love blogging, love writing about wine, food, restaurants, wineries, cellar doors and living the good life. I love working in the wine industry and working with some of the most brilliant, passionate and talented people I’ve met anywhere. But since November last year, I’ve been focused on pursuing my dreams. Now, I’ve got my dream job (stage one), I’ve helped launch some amazing websites, I’m moving into Potts Point in Sydney (something I’ve wanted to do since age 12) and I’m full of energy to give back the love to the people, places, food, wines and ideas that I respect and have to share with the world.

Thanks to my friends, family, workmates and all those on Twitter and Facebook whose support, friendship and inspiration has given me strength in pursuing my dreams. And I’d especially like to thank those who’ve shown me how not to live my life. Pettiness, negativity and holding grudges won’t get you anywhere. Defining what you are really passionate about and relentlessly pursuing it no matter what others say will always bring positive and lasting change. I look forward to sharing the journey with you all.

Adelaide: What do I have to do before I leave?

Favourite Cellar Doors, Music, Restaurants

So, I’m moving to Sydney in a bit. I love Adelaide, grown up here (apart from an early stint in Port Augusta), spent most of my life here… So, what are the things I’m going to miss the most? The wineries. While I’m excited to explore the Hunter Valley, Canberra, Orange, Mudgee and more I am surely going to miss lazy weekends in the Clare Valley, regular pilgrimages to Seppeltsfield and days discovering the secrets of the Adelaide Hills. To help prevent withdrawals I’ll be visiting as many of my favorites over the next month or so, starting with Ashton Hills, The Lane and Shaw and Smith this weekend. What else will I miss? Gouger St and the Central Markets. Places that have melted even the coldest, most jaded hearts of Sydneysiders. The food, the people, pho, Haiananese Chicken Rice, the meats at Feast, the cheeses, Lucia’s… Damn, I’m getting a little emotional writing that down!

But I’ll be fine… Thoughts of Chinatown, wine bars, sailing on the harbour quickly tempers any lingering sadness…

So now, a question? If you were leaving your home town, what would you have to do before you left?

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Pho Nam: No frills Vietnamese in Kensington

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Pho Nam dumplings

Apologies in advance for typos, spelling errors, brevity and the like with this post. Tapping out this post on an iPhone while flying from Adelaide to Sydney might not be ideal but hey, you’ve got to use every available moment! Just a quick post about a little suburban restaurant that I’ve been visiting a lot recently. It’s called Pho Nam and it’s on Kensington Road, just a couple of doors down from the iconic Chelsea cinema. Pho Nam is run by the original owner of Pho Shack in Chinatown. I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese food. It’s fresh and vibrant, with great flavors, textures and restorative properties.

Pho Nam is housed ever so simply in an old shopfront. Crummy decor, many tables without condiments and a noisy tiled floor don’t make for the best first impressions but stay with it. Pho Nam is all about the food. And really, which restaurants aren’t all about the food? Hog’s Breath, Hooter’s and the like aren’t but that’s really my point.

And the food at Pho Nam is good. Entrees like Pork Belly Salad combine the delicious fatty goodness of Pork Belly with the fresh, crisp and clean flavours of a top quality Vietnamese noodle salad. The Pho itself is damn good, great depth of flavour and a great introduction to one of the worlds great dishes for those who haven’t yet succumbed to the powers of Pho.

Other dishes include Ginger Poached Guinea Fowl (amazing) and a Duck dish that blows the vast majority of the renditions passed off by lesser suburban restaurants. The wine list is minimal but solid. Corkage is $5. Most dishes on the menu are well under $20. Awesome. Get on it before word gets out and it gets busier than The Funky Drummer.