Railay and Tonsai, Thailand- Rock Climbing Paradise

View of Tonsai beach from the top of a climbing route.

If you are a serious rock climber, then the Railay / Tonsai area in Thailand needs to be extremely high on your “must-visit” travel list. A unique climbing culture with an awesome vibe, beautiful scenery, and forty crags ranging from a three to a thirty minute walk from where you’re staying, all make this a veritable heaven on earth for climbers.

Continue reading “Railay and Tonsai, Thailand- Rock Climbing Paradise”

Tea, Hiking, and Ice Cream in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The Place: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Must Do: Hiking and Tea Plantations
Must Eat Ice Cream: Mr. Aisu

If you’re traveling around the Malaysian Peninsula, the Cameron Highlands is a nice and somewhat less touristy spot between Kuala Lumpur and Penang.  I spent a few days there and was very happy I did, it has some nice nature and tea plantations that was a nice break from the larger cities in Malaysia.  I was also lucky enough to encounter the best ice cream I found in Malaysia, Mr. Aisu.

Cameron Highlands Attractions

View looking out on the Boh Tea Plantation.
Continue reading “Tea, Hiking, and Ice Cream in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia”

Where to get the best Cendol in Southeast Asia

This is the best cendol we had.

What on earth is Cendol?

Cendol (sometimes spelled Chendol) is a shaved ice dessert covered in jelly-like colorful toppings, coconut milk, and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup).  Wikipedia feels the need to clarify that it contains “worm-like green rice flour jelly”, but we think the description sounds better without that detail.  Although it is not inaccurate.

Which part of the world can you find Cendol?

Continue reading “Where to get the best Cendol in Southeast Asia”

Gelato Messina Review: Best Gelato Outside of Italy

The Shop: Gelato Messina
Locations: Various locations around Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and Canberra

Two triples from Gelato Messina. No sharing required 🙂

I was spending the day sightseeing around Sydney, Australia with a good friend.  Naturally, the agenda included the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and delicious ice cream.  Now, we’re just friends, but a guy and a girl walking around- we looked like a couple, though she’s very beautiful and way out of my league 🙂  We headed over to Gelato Messina and were awestruck by 40 delicious looking and sounding flavors.

“Do you want to share?” I asked.

“No” was the frank reply.

I was surprised, (girls always want to share and then eat more than half, don’t they?) but I wasn’t complaining!  Not only did we not share, but we each ordered triples- I got Salted Caramel White Chocolate, Malted Vanilla, and Tiramisu, and she got Salted Caramel, Pistachio Praline, and Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa.

We sat down outside, hurriedly took pictures, and dug in.  As we started to dig in, the husband of the couple across from us turned to his wife and said, “See? They don’t have to share.”

Gelato Messina: so good, you won’t want to share.

Continue reading “Gelato Messina Review: Best Gelato Outside of Italy”

Aqua S Review: Beautiful Soft Serve

The Shop: Aqua S
Locations: Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Auckland, NZ; Houston, TX, USA, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Our first stop in Australia was Melbourne, ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 to 2017.  It reminded us a lot of Seattle with a very cool vibe, great arts scene, super walkable and bikeable, and terrible weather.

Continue reading “Aqua S Review: Beautiful Soft Serve”

Puhoi Valley Cafe Review- Award Winning Ice Cream and Cheese

Puhoi Valley Cafe Ice Cream
The ice cream! Sour Lemon Sorbet (incredible, and sour!!!) and Chai Latte Ice Cream (good).

The Shop: Puhoi Valley Cafe
Location: Puhoi, New Zealand (45 minute drive north of Auckland)

We visited the Puhoi Valley Cafe, about a 45 minute drive north of Auckland, since they had won the “Supreme Award for Boutique Manufacturer” award in New Zealand three years in a row from 2015-2017, most recently winning for their Chai Latte Ice Cream.  We thought the ice cream was great and we liked the ambience. We wouldn’t make a special trip from Auckland just for the ice cream, but we’d definitely recommend going if you’re in the area.

Continue reading “Puhoi Valley Cafe Review- Award Winning Ice Cream and Cheese”

Penguino Ice Cream Cafe Review

The Shop: Penguino Ice Cream Cafe
Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Penguino Ice Cream Cafe Ice Cream
Coffee cream and kawakawa ice cream at Penguino Ice Cream Cafe.

Today we were in Nelson, a city in the north of New Zealand’s South Island.  Nelson has a nice small-town feel, some delicious food, and a beach that is walkable from downtown.  Claiming to be the sunniest city in New Zealand, it’s actually the Craft Beer Capital of New Zealand because it’s the only place in New Zealand where hops are grown (stay tuned for our next blog, Craft Beer International!).  Naturally, because of all the sunshine, Nelson is definitely a good place to get ice cream. We went to Penguino Ice Cream Cafe, a cute penguin-themed cafe which is the only shop in Nelson that received gold and silver awards at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards.

Continue reading “Penguino Ice Cream Cafe Review”

Giapo Ice Cream Review- Coolest Cones Ever!

The "selfie cones", which are made by hand with rice paper and took two years to create.
The “selfie cones”, which are made by hand with rice paper and took two years to create.

The Shop: Giapo Ice Cream
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Our first stop on our trip around the world is New Zealand! We went to New Zealand for the hiking and for the nature, but there’s no better reward after hiking than a well-deserved cone of ice cream. Though we have to admit, we got ice cream before we did any hiking. The first ice cream shop we went to was Giapo Ice Cream in Auckland, a place with incredible flavors and even more incredible cones. Continue reading “Giapo Ice Cream Review- Coolest Cones Ever!”

Salt & Straw Review: Best Ice Cream I’ve had in my Life

The Shop: Salt & Straw
Location: Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA (with more coming soon)

Salt and Straw Honey Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream
My favorite flavor, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper. (Instagram photo credit: @mattyfromdisney)

You taste the large ice cream sample that the smiling staff has handed you. The first sensation is a deliciously creamy strawberry ice cream, with a subtle but perfect hint of balsamic vinegar. This taste is followed with a richer, sweeter strawberry jam swirl. Salt & Straw’s “Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper” is literally the best ice cream flavor you’ve ever had in your life. But now, the most difficult question you’ll face today: “What flavor should I pair with this?”
Continue reading “Salt & Straw Review: Best Ice Cream I’ve had in my Life”

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Review: A Must-Try Seattle Classic

The Shop: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Molly Moon's Ice Cream Store Front
Exterior of Molly Moon’s with the adorable logo modeled after Molly’s dog. Instagram photo credit: @mirey__2

Probably the most iconic shop in the Seattle area, especially because of the adorable dog logo, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream is a definite crowd pleaser.

The most popular, and my favorite, flavor, Salted Caramel, sits alongside other locally-inspired flavors. Melted Chocolate is made with Theo’s Chocolate, a local Seattle chocolate maker (we recommend stopping by their factory in Fremont where you can sample all 20 or so flavors). The Union Coffee flavor, Continue reading “Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Review: A Must-Try Seattle Classic”