We separate travel experiences by category on this website: do, stay, drink and eat. Level 8 probably ticks all four of these boxes, and then some.
It’s the new behemoth that has transformed downtown Los Angeles.
It’s sprawled across 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space on level 8 of the brand new Moxy Hotel and AC Downtown Hotel, right across the road from where the Lakers play.
It’s a labyrinth that includes a Japanese restaurant, a South American restaurant, burlesque, an opulent poolside party area that looks like a modern Great Gatsby scene, and a luxurious Mexican church-themed bar that includes a confessional booth, which you’ll surely need to visit more than once. There’s even a 24 hour supermarket downstairs.
The cool thing about Level 8 is that it’s everything you need in one – a night out from dinner to a raucous party, to a filthy club boogie and right through to kick ons – without ever leaving the building.
A Venn diagram, with Japanese food as a circle on one side and trains on the other, and you’re in the crossover in the middle.
We’ve tried to simplify this complex, intricate relationship in the diagram below:
The Rokumon is the crossover; a classic style of Japanese train that travels from the quaint city of Karuizawa to Nagano City, a total of two hours, and serves genuinely mouth-watering fare – easily the best food get lost has ever had on a train.
The train is stunning, and there’s a big local vibe coursing through the carriages. For instance, it utilizes timber sourced locally and classic Japanese furnishings which give a luxurious, exclusive feeling, whichever of the three classes you’re in.
It serves local beers, and gets it’s wines from the Nagano area too; it doesn’t get much better than drinking a wine in your own private little booth as you amble past the vineyards where the grapes in that wine were grown.
But then they bring out the food, and it does get better! In an 11 (11!) course meal, get lost were served things like tateshina pork and Shinshu mushrooms, paprika mousse and Shinshu salmon, roast beef, plus a fruit compote which we genuinely think we could get addicted to.
If you’re travelling from Kariuzawa to Nagano, the Tasty Train is the only way to do it.
One of the many underrated things about Bali is it’s food, and brand new opening Tickled Pink has only added to that.
The Melbourne-born café juggernaut has brought its “good food, good drinks and good vibes” ethos with it to Canggu, serving up a western-fusion menu that incorporates the best of two food-loving locations.
It’s like a little slice of Melbourne in another country. Craving a good coffee? Say no more fam.
“Indonesia is a beautiful country with a rich culture, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring Melbourne’s unique epicurean culture, especially its coffee, to this stunning island,” said Rashid Alshak co-founder of Tickled Pink. “Our fusion of these two hospitality worlds will deliver a unique experience for tourists and the local community.”
There’s outdoor seating overlooking a typically tranquil rice field landscape, and private cabanas by a pool. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and at night, the vibes are super chill, offering a super chill atmosphere at night. It’s the perfect place to relax on a night in between nights at Potato Head or Finns, or at the end of a bender.
Laos last week completely reopened its borders to foreigners, paving the way for the travellers to return to this small, extraordinary South-East Asian nation.
This is a country that has long been the ideal destination for those wanting something a little different to the traditional South-East Asian experience. Gorgeous waterways wind their way through dense forests like arteries throughout, with rope swings and bars abundant on the water’s edge. Long gone are the booze and narcotic filled tubing days of the early 2010s, but a slightly toned-down tubing experience is definitely still possible, and worth it.
Kuang Si Waterfall
Adventure isn’t hard to find here. Trekking through paddy fields and jungles, zip-lining from tree to tree. It’s also a place at the intersection of a heap other Asian countries, meaning not only is it easy to go and visit those places, but there’s a patchwork of different people and cultures you’re unlikely to come across anywhere else.
As well as being a bit different to other countries in terms of experience, Laos does things a little differently in terms of food as well. Although there are some influences owed to a 60-year French occupation, Lao cuisine is much more similar to Thai, although with a greater love for sticky rice.
Saengthong Douangdara of Saeng’s Kitchen is a celebrity Lao chef who describes Lao cuisine as “aggressive…really spicy, really funky and really delicious.” Just another
Laab is the national dish of Laos, and there’s a heap of different variations of it – see below as Saeng runs us through how to make Laab Diib. We can definitely see ourselves smashing a bowl of this in a little street-side stall in Luang Prabang some time soon…
If you’ve never heard of Paik Jong-won, you clearly haven’t been to South Korea.
The celebrity chef has an extraordinary 5.5 million subscribers, and about 3,000 stores worldwide. But you don’t have to go to Korea to experience this man’s brilliance – he’s opened up a couple of stores down the road from each other in Melbourne.
Tucked away almost secretly down Little Lonsdale Street alongside some other excellent Korean restaurants, Paik’s Noodles and Paik’s BBQ Grill are only about 100 metres from each other. get lost took on the Noodle restaurant but if the queue is too long (and it gets pretty long) then head up the road to the Grill.
The first thing you notice about Paik’s is the size of the man’s thumb on the cartoon sign that you walk under as you go in. We’re unsure if this is to scale (see below, you be the judge) or if it would help him in the kitchen, but one things for sure – the people in this kitchen know their stuff.
Plate after plate of delicious, flavoursome cuisine fills the table – from delectable deep-fried pork to spicy noodles laced with oyster sauce that are cut with noodle scissors prior to eating, and a dazzling array of fresh vegetable dishes.
There’s also poktanju, where you drop a shot of soju into a beer and drink it quickly, like a Korean Jager bomb. It’s not too potent…unless you drink heaps of it.
Paik’s is an epic spot for dinner, a date, late-ish eats and more, and it’s pretty affordable too – a little more than a tenner will get you a dish. Just get there early – there’s often a queue out the front during busy times.
If you’re looking for a decadently tasty daydream to drool to, we’ve got just the ticket.
The Maldives has long been the leader in luxury resorts, and Soneva Fushi has long been right up the top of the list. And sure, there’s a bunch of breathtaking overwater retreats, but where Soneva has taken it to a new level in recent times is its dining options.
Soneva has added Out of the Sea to it’s list of restaraunts, the appropriately restaurant sitting literally on the water, where you can probably spot some of tomorrow’s seafood swimming beneath you. You literally can’t get any fresher than that.
The restaurant, like other offerings at the resort, features award-winning chefs serving mainly Mediterranean flavours, wok-fried dishes and tapas-inspired light bites. There’s also an intimate, rustic style of luxury that makes you comfortable straight away.
The restaurant has recently opened, and adds to the 11 other tasty dining experiences on offer at the resort. We’ve selected our five favourites – check them out below:
Soneva Fushi, Maldives top five dining experiences
Anjum Anand is a British/Indian chef, writer, entrepreneur and TV presenter who knows her way around a curry.
The Hindu festival Holi (March 17 & 18 in 2022) marks the beginning of the spring season. It is also known as the festival of colours and is famous for people rubbing coloured powder into one another.
Anand, who has been dubbed the ‘Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine’, says food is right at the centre of Holi, as well as colour.
“Street food is very much at the forefront of Holi celebrations as people roam the streets of India celebrating the day,” she says.
“Some of my favourites are pakoras, samoas, dahi bhallas (which are a lentil dumpling smothered in seasoned yoghurt and served with a chutney)…depending on which region you are in, the food will vary slightly.”
Ananad has for a few absolutely DELISH looking prawn curry you might see if you’re going to a Holi celebration so that you can have a go yourself, and do not quite as well as the pros:
Anjum Annad’s Prawn Curry
SERVE SIZE:Serves 2-3
PREP TIME:10 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
“Prawn curry in Goa is one of the regions favourite dishes, a spicy, flavourful curry with the base of coconut and soured with tamarind to elevate the succulent local prawns – but you don’t have to be in Goa to enjoy the flavours!”
1 pack The Spice Tailor Keralan Coconut Curry
360g king prawns, shelled and cleaned
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
¾-1 tsp tamarind paste
1-2 tbsp veg oil
Goan Spice Mix
1-2 dried red chillies, soaked – Including the one from the pack
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
Grind all the spices into a smooth powder. Then, add the chillies and a little water to help.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry this paste for 1-2 minutes, and add the tomato purée and stir for another minute.
Pour in the Keralan Coconut Curry from the pouch, stir and add a splash of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add the tamarind paste and king prawns.
Cook for 2 minutes until the prawns are just cooked.
Smalls Deli, a small, chic-looking Potts Point-based deli, are arguably making Sydney’s best sandwiches right now.
Smalls opened at the inopportune time of January 2020, a few weeks before the pandemic began. Not ideal, but it is then a testament to the deliciousness of their sangas that they have bounced back so impressively.
Nearby Iggy’s make the bread, but it’s what’s on the inside counts. You want to order the Croque Monsuier: double-smoked ham, liquid gruyère and comte cheeses, bechamel sauce and tangy dijon mustard all jammed inside a couple of the legendary baker’s sourdough. On top is sprinkled a light amount of another sort of cheese, in case there wasn’t enough on the inside.
Small’s is a place for all occasions: whether you’re catching up with some mates, desperately need a hangover cure or you’re going on a date – you can’t go wrong.
Just bring a calculator…for those delicious carbs.
When you exit the U-Bahn at Schlesisches Tor station, in Berlin’s uber-cool Kreuzberg area (they’re all uber-cool, right?) and walk across the road, you will find a fairly elementary looking public toilet.
And if it is between the hours of 11am and midnight, any day of the week, you will find a queue of around 50 people lining up at this public toilet.
No, the people of Kreuzberg are not particularly weak-bladdered people, nor is this some sort of secret Berlin nightclub (the latter easily the more likely of the two).
This is Burgermeister, an institution for travellers and Berliners alike since 2006. And I shit you not: The best burger I have ever (and I mean ever) eaten came from this toilet.
According to the original Burgermeister-er, he found the toilet in 2003, disused for several decades, and saw something special in it. I can genuinely say I have never felt the same way about a loo, but then this is why I am an ordinary man, and not the burger magician that the Burgermeister-er is.
This is no gimmick: the long lines are not there purely to capitalise on some sort of deliberately perverse tourism opportunity, to say that they ordered a burger from a toilet. They are there because the burgers are god-damn delicious.
The toilet people make their own buns, make their own meat patties, and produce their own fries – all fresh. This is unusual in itself for a fast-food restaurant, a trait they clearly aren’t scared of.
After a particularly big couple of nights that may well have been a week, a friend and I queued at Burgermeister for what seemed like another week, looking for sustenance and keen to see if this famous burger was worth the hype.