Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a yam yam education

Further to our receiving a Yam Yam at Sushi Samurai after dinner, here are the "fun words" as promised on the outside of the pack. My personal favourite? "Stag Beetle... love it". Love what? Love stag beetles? I am often partial to yelling out "love it" (particularly after a few drinks...), so it was particularly pleasant to find this as a "fun word" inside. Of course, I love "Cat... Say Meow". But that goes without saying.

On another note, it appears that each pack of Yam Yam contains 2 servings, each packing 160 calories. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten all the "Starfish... Star + Fish" in one go... (and why does "Golden Egg" not have a matching phrase? I should write to Meiji Seika (S) Pte Ltd and ask).

For those who know me personally, don't worry! I cleaned my desk before laying the biscuit sticks out in random order.

blog review: hong kong and two honourable mentions

You may have noticed that a large section of my "directory (not food)" is dedicated to the tiny Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. I'm from there originally (came to Australia when I was 5) and have only recently discovered its fantastic goodness (this may have coincided with my first visit there without the parents... sorry Mum and Dad!)

The recent discovery of HK's fantastic goodness may help to explain my obsession with the following sites:

Miss Fong in Hong Kong - Miss Fong, can you please update more often? You are Canadian (which I also claim to be, but only by birthplace) and oh-so-witty (which may go without saying, as all Canadians are witty, right?)

Lola in Hong Kong - the adventures of Lola, whose New Years Resolution every year is "to ooze the sex appeal of Marilyn Monroe at all times". What better place to do this than HK??

Sketches from the Other Side - the rugby references remind me of my best friend from high school, who still plays in a regular women's comp back in our hometown.

You may have noticed the above 3 blogs are all written by women. Never fear, there are male-written HK blogs too!

Hongkie Town - which I like for its slightly technical bend

Big White Guy - the title says it all really

Asian Correspondent: Living in Hong Kong - very informative and comprehensive

In fact, if you're looking for a HK blog to read, there's no better place to start than here, at the aptly named Hong Kong Blogs Review. You could also start on this post though (which evidently you may have done, since now you've read to the end of this post. Presuming that you read from the beginning of an article to the end. There's no hard and fast rule saying that you must do this.)

As for the two honourable mentions, they are going to be specific posts from food blogs that I read that have recently covered HK. Firstly, this post from the catty life had me drooling at my desk (not a good look, but completely justified).

Secondly, he needs food has written this fantastic series of posts which I have diligently printed out and highlighted for my next trip back in August.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

sushi samurai, pyrmont

After being thwarted by massive lines in our initial plans to go to Sizzler at Kogarah (I thought I was the only one obsessed with this place! I haven't been there since my childhood and have always planned to return... mmm... cheesy bread) and by the closure of Sushi on Steroids aka Sushi Tengoku (because of the public holiday? Or does it always close on Mondays?), we headed to Sushi Samauri at Pyrmont for a late dinner.

Agedashi tofu. We love this stuff.

So much so that we also got the agedashi eggplant (from the specials menu). I've never had anything but tofu in agedashi style before. This was nice.

Sushi and sashimi platter ($39.80). Pretty good value considering the massiveness of the serve. I would've liked more ginger though (I'm sure we could've asked for some more, we just didn't get around to it).

Hello, nostalgia! We actually noticed trays of these in the kitchen and wondered that maybe the staff had them as snacks. In fact, they hand them out as complimentary desserts. Sweet! I used to have the strawberry flavoured ones all the time as a child. Now it seems they've turned educational, with "fun words" printed on the biscuits!

Sushi Samurai
Shop 1/16-30 Bunn Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009

(02) 9518 8852

Open 7 days for lunch and dinner - last order for lunch is 3pm, last order for dinner 10pm

More information available here

south coast odyssey part two: bodalla, mogo and berry

We woke up on Monday morning to this:

Tee hee! I think the family in the campsite near us had sprinkled some bread around. But they were very friendly, especially the curious one in the first photograph!

A quick shout out re our accommodation - we stayed at the Island View Beach Resort which is in fact a caravan park, which you definitely can't tell from the name! I was a little trepidatious about staying at a caravan park for the first time in my sheltered life, but we had a great time. We stayed for 2 nights in a cabin with an ensuite, and found it very handy to have a kitchen. We'd actually tried to book at Easts Narooma but got a call saying that it was in fact fully booked (despite the online booking system accepting the booking). I was glad in the end that we stayed at Island View because it's a little bit (approximately 3km) out of Narooma - all the more peaceful and relaxing, while Easts was in fact in the middle of town.

After checking out we headed back north. First stop, Bodalla Dairy Shed which features in NotQuiteNigella's twin posts on the South Coast (which of course I'd printed off as reference material before our trip - thanks NQN!):

We sat out on the back deck where I noted home decorating idea number one:

And here is home decorating idea number two:

In fact, the table top was made out of an old door! Yes, we I do plan to have small plastic animals scattered about our home.
All that being a plastic animal is thirsty work! And who could resist a butterscotch milkshake in an old school milkshake cup? I slurped mine up so quickly (and noisily!) that the waitress asked, "would you like another one?"

There was a slight mix-up with our order but in the end we did receive one traditional scone with jam and cream and one cheese scone. No photos as I was too distressed at not receiving two traditional scones as we had ordered (can you tell I really love scones? They're in fact just a vehicle for jam and cream in my opinion. The cheese scone was still quite nice - reminded me of the vegetarian muffins that I used to get from Muffin Break during their end-of-day buy one get one free promotions. Now it's buy two get one free. I'm showing my stingy side here...)

After this delicious morning tea, we headed north to Mogo, where I had my heart set on going to the zoo. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and well-maintained Mogo Zoo was. We went to Taronga Zoo last year for the Roar and Snore, and I have to say I was a little distressed at the behind-the-scenes tours where I honestly found the conditions, particuarly for the chimpanzees, a bit too crowded and bare for my liking. The animals at Mogo all seemed fairly content, with plenty of room to play:

Look at that little darling face. Chapflap said that I wasn't allowed to have one, unfortunately (I'm not sure it would've got on that well with catflap anyway!)

Meerkat getting annoyed at the fact chapflap was taunting it with a bag of kangaroo/deer feed.

The village of Mogo was also lovely for those into trinkets and crafty things (i.e. me and not chapflap). I spent a bit of time pottering particularly around Jellybeads and Amanda's of Mogo, picking up enough supplies to keep me occupied for a little while. By the time I finished, it was late afternoon and the lunch places around Mogo were a bit empty for our liking. We ended up heading to Ulladulla where we picked up some take-away which we ate here:

Anything would taste good with a view like this! Although saying that, our fish burger, hamburger with the lot and scallops were very fresh and tasty. Perfect holiday food (along with oysters and gelato!)

We passed Hayden's Pies on the way through Ulladulla, which we worked out we'd actually tried before on a previous trip down the South Coast. So much for threatening chapflap with the prospect of camel pie! They mustn't have had camel that time, because we do remember having the rabbit pie.

Speaking of perfect holiday food, this is pretty much the perfect pick-me-up spot on the drive back north - particularly for the bargain basement price of $1 each? (6 for $5.50! Not that we got 6, as that would pretty much mean heart attacks for both of us)

With our oil levels satisfyingly elevated, it was left to chapflap to endure the end-of-long-weekend traffic jam while I blissfully snoozed. This is the life...

Island View Beach Resort
7323 Princes Highway (approximately 3km south of Narooma)
Narooma NSW 2546

Information and bookings here

Bodalla Dairy Shed
52 Princes Highway (on the right hand side of the road as you head north)
Bodalla NSW 2545

More information available here

Mogo Zoo
222 Tomakin Road (approximately 2km off the Princes Highway, just before Mogo as you head north)
Mogo NSW 2536

Recently featured in SMH. We in fact first heard about it on Getaway

Berry Donut Van
Princes Highway
Berry NSW 2535

Cute article about the van here

road trippin with my one favourite ally: bermagui and narooma

The Anzac Day long weekend saw chapflap and I heading down the coast to Narooma, approximately a further 2 hours south of Batemans Bay from Sydney.

First stop was the sleepy town of Bermagui, where one of my workmates had suggested we head to the "fab gelato and coffee place". Her directions? "It is in a street just off the main drag. Ask people - it is well known. There is a petrol station on the corner of the street it is on. There is a Mitre 10 or Bunnings or something like that hardware store almost next to it." Her directions were spot on! There is a Mitre 10 almost next door. For even easier identification, the Bermagui Visitors Centre (where you can pick up as many free maps as you want and get the assistance of lovely volunteers) is across the road.

My lilli pilli gelato. The fact it's almost exactly the same colour as my recently acquired wallet has nothing to do with the fact I chose this! I washed this down with a long black from...

Possibly the world's coolest coffee machine. We must get to Italy sometime soon!

Chapflap's triple: mango, macadmia nut and pineapple/feijoa. He initially asked for it in a cone, to which the (rather handsome, not that I said that to chapflap at the time!) shop assistant said, "usually we do triples in a container, as it melts rather quickly". Delicious (the gelato, of course, nothing else...)

After a wander around the Bermagui country markets (on every last Sunday of the month) and the lookouts around the area, we headed back to Narooma for lunch. A dozen local oysters...

And half a lobster made it really hit home that we were on holidays! (As we do often eat gelato while we aren't on holidays. Maybe me moreso than chapflap).

After the lunch, we hopped back in the car and headed to another one of my workmate's recommendations - Mystery Bay. Utterly gorgeous, with clear, clear water - a bit too cold this weekend for a swim, but I can imagine that it'd be the perfect spot in summer!

Look at that water!

After a fair bit of splashing around (from chapflap) and squealing (from me), we headed back to Narooma. "Look, a fish auction!" we said as we spotted this sign near the visitors' centre. "Would that be like the auctions at Tsukiji in Tokyo?"

I won't post the photos here of our haul, as they are a little confronting for non-fish eaters. It turned out that the fish auction was in fact a reverse auction, as in 3 men stood on the back of a truck with trays filled with salmon, blackfish, morwongs, leather jackets and various other fishies (some described by the particularly colourful fishmonger as "slippery fish" or "pointy nose fish"). We ended up with about 6 different types of fish (2 salmon for $6! And big salmon too, not little weeny ones) for less than $30 all up. This is probably what cemented our plans to return, and soon! Here, fishy fishy...

After that wonderful day, it was time to head back to our accommodation to cook dinner. 2 dozen oysters in one day... my kind of holiday!

Bermagui Gelato Clinic
Lamont Street
Bermagui NSW 2546

Another food blogger beat me to it - see here

Narooma is approximately a 5 hour drive south from Sydney along the Princes Highway. Bermagui is a further half an hour or so south, and Mystery Bay about half way in between Bermagui and Narooma.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

l'etoile, paddington

Our friend organised a dinner at this lovely French restaurant on a Friday night. We were eventually let in after a little bit of confusion about what the name was booked under (why Anglicise your name for? I must confess I change my name on occasion, like when ordering coffee. It does make things easier. And I don't even have that unusual or foreign of a name. It's a tricky one). Apart from that, the service was seamless and friendly, with constant top-ups of wine and prompt attention to taking orders/ bringing orders/ bringing dessert menus.

The constant top-ups of wine may have had an effect on the quality of the following photos (combined with the effect of an early release from work because of the long weekend and therefore inevitable drinks, this time at the East Sydney)...

Ok, if I was had a photo editing program I would obviously bring the lighting right up on this shot. But I'm not hard core enough to do any sort of editing on my photos so this is what you get. This was my lamb saddle main, which was delicious. We had side orders of real French fries (yum!) and beans. Amongst the other orders... there was the pork, the kingfish, the steak and... another steak?

Complimentary watermelon and champagne granita palate cleansers. Refreshingly clean flavours, but not for those with sensitive teeth!

My creme brulee. A huge serve with a satisfyingly crunchy top. Not too thick in terms of toffee either. Doesn't the accompanying biscuit look like a Pringle? You'll be pleased to know it was definitely sweet rather than savoury (now I have a craving for those fluoro orange cheese flavoured Pringles. Gross). Amongst the other dessert orders - two chocolate mousses, another creme brluee, a poached pear and... another poached pear? It must've been a repeat because there are only 4 dessert choices, one of them being apple pie, and I know that no one had that.

All in all a great night - good food, good wine and most importantly, good company (I'm not just saying this because I know that the organiser of the night reads this blog... bwhahaha). We walked away with our wallets only $75 each lighter, which I think was quite reasonable considering the quality of the food (so... rich...) and the service. The setting was nice too, we were seated outside (but my friend did see a cockroach. Aaaah well, we were in the great outdoors, I don't think this reflects on the cleanliness or otherwise of the restaurant). Recommended.

211 Glenmore Road
Paddington NSW 2021

(02) 9332 1577

Lunch Fridays to Sundays only
Dinner 7 nights a week

Street parking nearby, alternatively buses such as the 389 and 380 stop nearby. A cab from William Street, East Sydney will cost around $10.

You can find menus etc here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the empire of cotton on?

After spotting Typo at Greenwood Plaza on my recent wanderings around North Sydney, I headed back there today with bag space and carrying capacity. Not too much though, mind you, as that would just be dangerous - in fact I was laden down with 2 packs of snap-closure food storage containers (currently 50% off at Woolworths! Get them along with your 99c cup-a-soups). Couldn't resist this gorgeous pack of labels though for $29.95 (that's only 3c a label! Fantastic value for money. Anything to convince myself that yes, I was completely justified in making that purchase). I wish my workplace would be an appropriate place for using the bulldog clips with swear words on them.

The homewares I saw in Typo remind me a bit of the things I lust over at modcloth, so at least I'm saving on shipping, right? In the meantime, this, this and this will remain firmly entrenched in my wishlist. Not to mention this and this too! (For those out there who actually know me personally and who would be tempted to rush out and buy these things for me, please don't! Knowing my lack of willpower, I will have already purchased all these things by the time you go onto the site. Although having 2 sets of each thing wouldn't be bad... tee hee. I joke. Please don't.)

As I was departing Greenwood, I saw a shoe store called Rubi which had a slogan on the wall that matched a cup that I'd eyed off in Typo - "Shoes make me happy. I'm superficial. Whatever" (not for myself mind you, but one of my workmates actually! Not that she's superficial in a bad way at all! Am I just digging myself into a hole here?) Now that I've got home, it appears that Rubi is yet another offshoot of the juggernaut that is Cotton On.

Also in North Sydney, I spotted a sandwich place called Big Bite on Walker (can't find the exact address, it's near Cibo Espresso which is at 71 Walker Street and on that same side of the road) - is it any relation to Big Bite on Pitt? If so, all you North Sydney office workers, go there now! :) My friend of the Chat Thai deliciousness also tells me that her two favourite places for Hainanese chicken rice are in North Sydney -To's Malaysian Gourmet (3/169 Miller Street) and one in a shop at the food court below 100 Walker Street.

And on that note, here's my first use of my lovely new labels:

All together now - naaaawwwwww!

If you like the labels, you can find a full range of Sukie products here. Sydney readers, I have spotted this before at everyone's favourite mega-bookshop, Kinokuniya (not mega in terms of the number of stores of it around, but in terms of its actual size - I have to say though that I don't like buying books from there because I find it a bit disorganised). Luckily for my wallet, it appears that Chronicle Books doesn't currently ship to Australia (but you can contact their Australia distributor, Hardie Grant Books, to discuss options). I've also just noticed a disclaimer on the little slip of paper that came with the box of labels - "no part of this box may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher." Sukie Ltd, would you really come and pick on little ole me? If so, I will take the photos down. But it'll be your loss really!)

Oooh, stop press! Have just found Australian online source of Sukie goodness :) Plus they offer free shipping for orders of $50! Now I don't have to do battle with the city shopping crowds

recent food obsessions

  • cup-a-soup (why must you contain 26% of my daily recommended intake on sodium?)
  • sourdough bread
  • vegetable juice (so then I don't have to make the effort of actually cooking vegetables for dinner, right?)
  • Hokkaido milk loaf from a bakery on Burwood Road, Burwood - as my cousin says it goes well with cup-a-soup. Must make it there to get a loaf before I finish my multiple packets of cup-a-soup (Woolworths, why do you make them 99c a box containing 2 packets? That's just plain evil. My sodium levels are currently through the roof). I've had the loaf before and it is delicious, I'm just not sure how it'd go with cup-a-soup!

balloonaway, broadmeadow (newcastle)

During high school, there were 2 regular types of gifts given by friends to each other - flowers and balloons. Obviously they are fairly predictable choices for gifts, particularly between teenage girls of limited income, made even more attractive by the high visibility of the gifts as they were carried around by the birthday girl.

The fact that Balloonaway and Belflora were about 10 minutes walk away from our school didn't hurt either.

I rang Balloonaway this morning to arrange a delivery for my friend's engagement party on Saturday. There were a fair few places I found on the internet that don't deliver on Saturdays, so I had my fingers crossed that they would. Michelle who answered the phone was super helpful and recommended a "Engagement bouquet" which could be delivered to the house on Saturday for a flat delivery fee of $20. The bouquet (featuring a Congratulations foil balloon, a collection of "Happy Engagement" balloons - who knew they'd have something so specific - and apparently some other helium balloons) sounds like just what I was looking for (and here's the part I'm hoping my friend doesn't read this blog) and only cost the princely sum of $48. Considering that I was looking at getting a hamper delivered which would cost upwards of $100 (plus they didn't turn out to deliver on Saturdays, but this is actually another Hunter Region service I would recommend as they did a great job with a friend's birthday the other year - Hobby Hampers), I was chuffed.

Hopefully it'll turn out nicely. The part I'm most worried about is how the message will turn out on the card, considering some of these specimens on Cakewrecks.

100 - 102 Bunker Road
Adamstown NSW 2289

(02) 4969 2244

You can find more information here

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

chat thai, haymarket

Fish and chips? A chiko roll? Or an even more cliche take-away?

My friend Z and I met up today for lunch at one of my old haunts, the food court below Woolworths at Park Street. I used to work in a building nearby, and the beef noodles are just as I remember. As is the minimalist setting of what my old workmates used to call the place - "Salmonella City". In all the times I've eaten there, I have to say I've never got sick. Touch wood that that isn't about to change now!

After finishing lunch, my friend said, "let's get dessert!" I responded with predictable enthusiasm, and we started heading towards Mizuya where they have 50c green tea ice cream cones at lunchtimes (at least they did about a month ago, can someone confirm if they still do?) Then, suddenly, my friend said, "what about Chat Thai?"

That girl is a genius.

I've been to Chat Thai once before (after making a booking) and it was very good. So packed though. We tried to go once more (without a booking) and decided not even to try waiting it out. I still remember my soup-based dessert from the first (and until today, only) visit though - utterly delicious. I know one of my regular commenters here (in fact the only commenter!) loves soup-based desserts, but unfortunately for her I can't remember exactly what was in it. Tee hee.

Now, my friend had her heart initially set on some sort of fried dough to be dipped into kaya (coconut jam), which she said she'd thought about getting once before when she was by herself, but had decided it was too big for one person and got an egg tart from Ho's Kitchen Dim Sum instead. This is where I beg to differ from my friend - how can one dessert ever be too big for one person?? :)). But it turned out they only sell those between 10am to 12 noon. We got there at around 1:30pm so had a choice of about 5 different desserts (which change again at 4pm! So make sure you turn up at the right time to get your choice!). It appears that the website menu doesn't include desserts, so I can only give you the number of what we eventually chose - this is the number 2 dessert on the 12 noon to 4pm  dessert menu, which was described as some sort of coconut dessert crisped up on a griddle. It cost us $6 for a box of 8 and came packed in the cute little box as above.

"Can you smell it?" my friend asked as we squeezed our way out of the restaurant onto the street. "Mmm, coconut..." I responded. We opened the box up and it struck me that they looked a lot like ้›ž่›‹ไป” but slightly larger and in separate pieces. Then we each took one and bit into little pieces of heaven. Imagine smooth, silky coconut cream encased in crispy, crunchy shells of slightly charred goodness.

Only problem?

"Hot! So hot!" We made our way back towards my friend's workplace waving our hands in front of our mouths as the coconut cream scalded our tounges. But it was so worth it. It's good I don't work any closer, otherwise I can imagine ducking out at 10am every morning to get a dessert from the 10am to 12 noon selection, then dropping in again at 12 noon to try something from the 12 noon to 4pm selection, then just after 4pm for something for afternoon tea. Despite the distance, Chat Thai, and your slightly distracted waitstaff (we asked the waitress at the counter about 3 times to place our order... but to their credit as soon as they actually acknowledged it, our order came very quickly), I'll sacrifice my work hour (and my waistline!) for you.

Chat Thai
20 Campbell Street
Haymarket NSW 2000

Also at Galeries Victoria (where chapflap said he once got dessert from, but it wasn't as good as the Haymarket one), Randwick and Manly

You can find more information here, but there don't seem to be dessert menus unfortunately

We saw a sign there that said it was going to be 20% off on Monday 26 April I think because it's their 20 year anniversary. So get prepared for it to be even more packed (if that's even possible?!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

northside produce markets (again), north sydney

My loot, featuring:

1. Marshmallows from Sweetness the Patisserie ($15). Gena, the owner, was there and lovely and friendly as usual. We actually first discovered Sweetness during a trip to the Rouse Hill Markets (which Gena said no longer run, which is a shame - just like the Cook and Phillip Park markets no longer run! And that was part of the reason I chose to go to where I work at the moment, haha!), then we saw her again at our first trip to the Northside Produce Markets, and then we made a pilgrimage to Epping. So soft, so fruity, so yum! On another note, why not combine a trip to Epping for marshmallows with a visit to Sam's Cafe? We've been there once after chapflap went to the Croydon one ages ago, and it was good fun. Obscure location though!!

2. 2 packs of macadamia nuts from Jelbonleigh Estate ($15 each or $28 for 2). Unfortunately the honey roasted ones turned out to be "best before March 2010" but they still taste alright

3. 2 smoked rainbow trout from Snowy Mountains Trout ($20 altogether). I asked the guy whether they have anything to do with Eucumbene Trout Farm as it's on my list of places to visit (we went trout fishing in Adelaide and had a great time) and he said that they get their trout from there.

4. 1 tub of Over the Moon creme fraiche for making rillettes with ($6)

5. 1 pack of Italian flatbread from Casa Mia Biscotti for eating the rillettes with

6. A pumpkin loaf ($6.50) from La Tartine - one of those delicious breads that you can eat on its own

7. A tayberry pie ($10) from Rowan Farm ((02) 4887 7307) - a tayberry was described to me as "a cross between a raspberry and a boysenberry"

8. 2 punnet of grape tomatoes ($5 altogether or $3 a punnet) from J & S Zammit. I've been known to eat entire punnets of grape tomatoes in one sitting. Yum.

9. 1 small tub of passionfruit and mango yoghurt from Gourmet Goodies (20 Patterson St, Ermington - phone (02 9638 0014) for $4.

The total damage? All the cash I had left in my wallet after a big night featuring Star Bar (where I got ID'd for the first time in ages! Score!), Harts Pub and Greenbox...

On the way home through Greenwood Plaza I spotted a new stationery shop called Typo. It's like kikki.k/smiggle on crack! Bulldog clips featuring swear words (perfect for the office!), acerbic greeting cards and retro clocks. So tempted, but was already struggling to get home with the above loot (plus an additional bottle of wine and 6 pack of beer for a dinner we're going to tomorrow night!) My research now shows that Typo is an offshoot of the Cotton On clothing chain. You can find one (Typo that is, not Cotton on) near you here.

Northside Produce Markets
Held 3rd Sunday of each month
8am to 12 noon
Miller Street (between Ridge and McLaren Streets, near Stanton Library and the Council)
North Sydney NSW 2060

Thursday, April 15, 2010

bar 333, city

Had a triple-decker toasted sandwich tonight (Thursday) with my friend who induces me into eating hot dogs.

I think it was missing that essential club sandwich ingredient which makes them taste so great (and which brings me back to childhood days in HK) - mayonnaise.

I could've stolen some off my friend, who had chips with mayonnaise (which is basically aioli minus the garlic).

Worth popping in though considering its convenient location and $10 cocktails (tonight they had lychee martinis, something with apple, the "Ni How Ma" featuring watermelon and ginger and a passionfruit caprioska, which was very nice) on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Bar 333
333 George Street (near cnr Martin Place)
Sydney NSW 2000

recent happenings

I've recently re-discovered origami.

I blame it on this acquisition from our last trip to HK. I've been consulting Pangu's source in preparation for further acquisitions during my next trip in August.

Now, I'm working on flowers that you can learn to make too here.

Otherwise, we had this lovely orange and fig cake from Black Star Pastry which I dragged chapflap to after reading this. $36 and utterly delicious, we'll have to head back another time for the watermelon cake and the ginger ninjas. The garden gnome chair featured in NQN's post is also still there. I would recommend taking the train there though as the parking there is a bit hair-raising, with cars parked on both side of very narrow streets so that they are effectively turned into one-way thoroughfares. Definitely worth a visit, both for the sweet treats and the writing on the wall on a wooden fence back from Black Star admonishing passer-bys that it's not a trough.

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia Street (just behind where the Newtown markets are held)
Newtown NSW 2042

(02) 9557 8656

You can possibly find more information here - as of the date of publishing this post the site was still under construction

Friday, April 02, 2010

a tale of two touch screen restaurants

Poor Mr Dickens must be turning in his grave right now.

One Saturday, I managed to make it to two touch screen restaurants - Takeru, Chatswood and I-Taiwan, Chinatown.

No photos from Takeru but I would highly recommend the bento boxes at the bargain basement price of $12.50. Other popular choices were the curries and pastas (I love Asian-style pasta). The other good thing is it's tucked away in the back corner of Victoria Plaza (next to Chatswood Chase), so it's not as packed as other more prominent eateries around the Chatswood shopping area. By the time we left though, people were writing their names on the queueing sheet commonly featured at popular Japanese eateries (Makoto and Ichi-ban Boshi spring to mind)

That night, we went to the new Taiwanese restaurant in the Chinatown pedestrian mall. I didn't even know what it was called, so told my friend that "it's the restaurant that's painted black outside, next to the CD shop, near the Goulburn Street end of Chinatown". These poor directions inevitably led to my friend calling me and us having one of those hilarious conversations where you're standing in close proximity, talking to each other on the phone -

F: "I'm in front of the Dixon Centre"
V: "Me too! But where? I can't see you?"
F: "ummm, just in the front?"

V and F turn around and it turns out they're within 5 metres of each other, just facing in opposite directions. Cue rolled eyes from chapflap and V's boyfriend.

We only discovered that the restaurant has touch screens upon entering, and that it has an upstairs seating section. The seating was very comfortable, with booths designed for chatting over pearl milk teas and shaved ice desserts. But main meals first, of which I only took one photo:

Mince pork noodles ($8). There are also sliced pork noodles. And lots of other types of soup noodles, in true Taiwanese style. They went down well with a serve of Taiwanese pickles ($4).

When you order the shaved ice dessert, they bring you a little order form to select your toppings. $5.30 for 3 toppings and only 50c more for another one, but I was afraid that my excess dessert consumption would disturb my enjoyment of the Joey Yung concert we were going to that night.

The result of my order - lychee, paw-paw and fig jelly. They put coloured sprinkles on the ice :) It was delish.

V forced (tee hee, ok, "encouraged") her boyfriend to order a hot drink just so we could look at the cute cup that they came in. This was the hot milk tea, which V's boyfriend said was very sweet. Before the meal, we also had various cold drinks which I can't remember now. All I know is that I had the cold milk tea with herbal jelly, having deprived myself of Chatime at Chatswood earlier that day on account of the queue.

I-Taiwan is a good option for catching up with friends and playing with touch screens, particularly if Wagaya is booked out (as it was that night, most likely with fellow Joey fans! Anyone else out there also in attendance? How cool was the Kowloon bus out the front of the Entertainment Centre?)

Shop 10, 369 Victoria Avenue (enter through the ground level and walk straight through to the back corner)
Chatswood NSW 2065

(02) 9412 1203

Open 7 days from noon to 7pm

Also in the city, but that didn't feature touch-screens the time we went (about 6 months ago)

52 Dixon Street (which is, as I described, next to the CD shop near the Goulburn Street end of the pedestrian mall. Good luck finding it with such directions!)
Haymarket NSW 2000

(02) 9212 2220

Not sure of opening hours

Thursday, April 01, 2010

taste baguette on market, city

I made it to this place after having my weekly massage and I am very glad I did.

The crispy tofu baguette ($6.20 take-away, all baguettes are $1 more for eat-in) was so delicious I devoured it on the way back to my office. Might also have had something to do with my long black consumption this morning. It also explains the lack of photo.

Baguettes are available in white, rye or wholemeal. You can get a plain baguette (as in a proper long one designed for carrying under your arm, not one of the pre-cut ones made for filling) for $4, which I might do next time (I have been known to eat 5 of those airy, fluffy rolls that you can get for $1 from Vietnamese hot bread shops in a single sitting).

They were very quick with my baguette too, which made me very happy indeed. In the words of the (now) Governator, "I'll be back".

Taste Baguette on Market
Corner of George and Market Streets (just in front of the entrance to Myer)
Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 9233 7778

Open 7am-5pm Mondays to Fridays, 8:30am-4pm Saturdays

Cash only

They also serve Campos coffee, and I would've had one had I not been so wound up from my long black this morning...