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My Canberra – Ingrid Jonach

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Last year, we introduced the “My Canberra” series, prompted by the HerCan Team’s observation that all too often, we don’t play ‘tourist’ enough in our own hometowns. We get caught up in our neighbourhood favourites that we don’t explore too far afield…we don’t uncover all this city has to offer. The little boutiques, the fabulous coffee shops and providores, the great little secret gems that too few people know about.

So, ”My Canberra” is a chance for Canberra women to share their favourite places to eat, drink and shop, and their favourite things to do. It’s about encouraging us all to try new things and to see our town through fresh eyes.

This week, we introduce you to Ingrid Jonach, a local author who writes books for kids and teens. Her debut young adult novel When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is due out in September 2013 by global imprint Strange Chemistry.

She is also the author of the picture book A Lot of Things and the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan Australia.

This is Ingrid’s Canberra…

Favourite watering hole

Call me old-fashioned, but I love being able to talk over a drink, which means also being able to sit down. For that reason, I like to go somewhere with plenty of seating like King O’Malleys. For a night out though, you will generally find me at either The Kennedy Room in Kingston or Public Bar in Manuka. I highly recommend the pie floater from Public (below…yum) if you also want a bite to eat (or you can make your own using Public’s recipe!)

Favourite reading nook

I love the intoxicating scent when you walk into Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka (below), a mixture of books and the wooden bookshelves. I also held two of my book launches there, so it holds a special place in my heart. I found my favourite coffee table book in Paperchain Bookstore, which is Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book; written by Terry Jones (Monty Python).

I am also a huge advocate of Libraries ACT.

Favorite writing nook

When writing in the wild, I yo-yo between Civic Library and The Pancake Parlour (below). Both have brilliant nooks that I can hide away in, as well as free WIFI (which can also be a distraction!)

Favourite fancy eats

I used to love Alto Restaurant, which unfortunately closed recently. I think the kid in me liked the novelty of a revolving restaurant. My next pick would be Water’s Edge Restaurant (restaurant and food below). Both restaurants get extra points for their beautiful views.

I am also a big fan of Grazing in Gundaroo. Technically in New South Wales, it is worth the drive out, particularly in winter when the open fireplaces are roaring.

Favourite mid-range eats

Belluci’s (Manuka restaurant seen below). I know I am not the only one to pick this as my favourite mid-range restaurant. My friends recently threw a surprise birthday dinner at Belluci’s Woden, just so that I could have my favourite dish – the Gnocchi Di Agnello, which is hand made potato gnocchi with braised lamb, baby beetroot, confit garlic and horseradish cream. Yum!

I should also mention Knuckles German Restaurant at the Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah. Their pork knuckles and schnitzels are delicious.

Favourite cheap and cheerful eats

ZambreroThis is my go-to for lunch (below) during the week. I love their vegetarian burritos in a bowl. In fact, I think I have only ever had their vegetarian options, because I am a sucker for refried beans (a hangover from my six years as a vegetarian). Occasionally, I will mix it up with a pie stack from Pie Face in the Canberra Centre.

Favourite side of the city

I started my Canberra life as a Northsider, living on campus at The University of Canberra. But after a short stint in O’Connor, I defected to the South.

Favourite spot to shop

Canberra Centre, in particular Zara, David Jones and Myer – for clothes at least. For everything else it is Lonsdale Street Traders in Braddon or Shop Handmade (below) in Civic. These places are treasure troves of some of the most unique and beautiful products in Canberra.

Favourite stops on the tourist trail

The Australian War Memorial is by far my favourite national institution. I can spend hours wandering through its different galleries and absorbing its history. I also love taking visitors on a road trip out to Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery Door and Café near Thredbo (below).

Favourite places to reminisce

I love Old Parliament House (below), because it was where I got married. It is such a beautiful venue and has such a rich history. The University of Canberra also contains many memories from my first few years in Canberra, when I lived on campus.

You can find out more about Ingrid at www.ingridjonach.comfollow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

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