Adelaide: Day 1 – The Lewingtons & Adelaide Night Noodle Markets

September 26, 2015

With a bit of help from our lovely colleagues, both Michael and I were able to swap some shifts to have 5-6 days off together.

Mike’s best friend, Matt, his wife Laura, and their daughter Isabelle had recently moved to Adelaide to live and work for the year. As promised, we were able to find some time for a short visit!

We left on Saturday morning from Rockhampton to Brisbane to Adelaide. Perks of being a Qantas Club Member – priority check in and lounge access… which means food if you’re hungry! ;) And a comfortable place to hang out during your layovers!


I wish we had more time in Brisbane to see some friends and visit some of our favourite restaurants, but maybe next time!

We landed in Adelaide around 6pm – thank you to the Lewingtons for picking us up and being such wonderful friends and hosts during our stay!

Our visit in Adelaide started with the well timed Adelaide Noodle Markets, in association with OzAsia Festival (Sept 24 – Oct 4) where the city’s Festival Centre precinct was transformed to an Asian hawker-style market. Loved it.


After being in Rockhampton for a long while, so good to see such a gathering of good Asian food! You can click HERE to see a map of all the vendors and the dishes they offered!


Best buddies reunited!


Isabelle being very independent, as usual! :)


The Lewingtons! Plus Baby #2 in Laura’s belly!


We enjoyed a number of tasty dishes including:

  • BBQ pork buns from Let’s Do Yum Cha
  • Chili Crab Bao from Baotime
  • Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) from Zagyoza – The Home of Gyoza
  • Vegetarian samosas and pad se-iew from SpanThai
  • Banana fritters with ice cream from Shallot Thai

Would have loved to enjoy more delicious Asian food for days! ;)

Ended the night catching up with Matt and Laura. We even got to be happy taste testers for Laura who made her first, quite successful, pavlova! Topped with custard, whipped cream, and fruit – yum!


Birthday dinner at Tsuruya

September 22, 2015

Celebrating Michael’s 36th birthday with a special night out! After much anticipation, we drove down to Capricorn Resort Yeppoon for our 6:30pm dinner reservation at Tsuruya Japanese Restaurant.

From their website:

Indulge yourself in the authentic, personalised interactive table cooking and tradition of the exquisite and delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine. Tsuruya also features a Sushi Bar for made to order sushi rolls and the freshest local seafood sashimi prepared right in front of your eyes.

We were greeted at the entrance on arrival and shown to our table. Happy to find that they had given us a table in a corner by the window, a little quieter and more private. The female servers were dressed in nice kimonos which added to the ambiance of the restaurant.

How cute are the place settings? The kimono napkins were a nice touch!


The birthday boy!


Didn’t expect the restaurant to be very busy on a Tuesday night during down season, but surprisingly it was! Lots of families with young children throughout the evening.



Chef at the sushi bar, keeping an eye out on his guests :P


After perusing the menu, we finally decided on some sets.

Michael chose Sushi (C) Course ($69.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Steak ‘Japanese style’
  • Assorted Sushi

I decided on Sushi (B) Course ($59.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Ebi Shinjoh Age
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Chawan Mushi
  • Yakitori
  • Assorted Sushi

Our appetiser Gyu Sashimi – Raw beef thinly sliced and served cold with a vinegar flavoured soy. We had never had anything like this before, very refreshing taste!


With the above appetiser, I also received my Ebi Shinjoh Age – Deep fried prawn & fish cake. Nice that there were 2 pieces so I could could share one with Mike! A little on the dark side from frying but good flavours and a nice chewy texture.


Sitting by the window, we saw a kangaroo come by for a graze on the lawn!


Our next course – soups!


Both Michael and I received Dobin Mushi – Seafood, chicken and mushrooms in a clear soup served in a traditional Japanese pot. Absolutely loved the presentation. Served in a teapot, we were instructed to add a bit of lemon juice and pour the broth into the teacup to slowly enjoy. The broth was clear and so incredibly intense in flavour! Also lovely to eat all the morsels of seafood at the bottom of your pot as well.


My set came with a second soup – Chawan Mushi – seafood, chicken and vegetables cooked in a hot savory egg custard. Extremely delicate, silky and delicious, never had anything like it!


Onto our meat dishes!

For me, Yakitori – pieces of chicken and onion on bamboo skewers with homemade BBQ sauce. Chicken was super tender and well flavoured. Loved this! Again, the portion was large enough to share with Michael, which was nice!


Michael’s steak came with a hot stone that allowed him to further cook the steak at his seat, it also came with a light dipping sauce. The steak was tender but served a little overcooked (to his liking) since you’re supposed to cook it more, and a little under seasoned, even with the dipping sauce.


And finally, our assorted sushi box! Beautifully presented with a mix of scallop, prawn, eel, and fish – with a side of ginger and wasabi. We have heard raves of how fresh the fish is at Tsuruya, but unfortunately for us, we didn’t find the same that night. Some pieces were better than others, but certainly not the buttery textures we were expecting!


Overall a lovely night out for the birthday boy with some incredibly tasty food! (Except for the sushi unfortunately…) Also great value for money and we look forward to coming back to try the lunch menu :)

Michael’s 36th Birthday!

September 21, 2015

Happiest of birthdays to you my love!


Due to the fact that I was working and also preparing for my job interview on Michael’s birthday, we decided to hold off on celebrating until the following day.

Instead, we had a low key night at home. I made him one of his favourites – bacon and mushroom risotto – for dinner.


September 22, 2015

The following morning, I had my job interview, which was over quite quickly (more about that in a separate post) and I soon found myself back home with Mike!

Luckily, he had the day off as well and we had planned a dinner date/celebration at Tsuruya – a well known Japanese restaurant at the Capricorn Resort in Yeppoon.

We still had the whole day to ourselves though! Always nice to relax at home together on the our days off, catching up with TV shows and just enjoying each other’s company.

Made another special for Michael – shrimp toast for lunch.


I spent the majority of the morning making the components of Mike’s birthday cake. He requested a ‘German Chocolate Cake‘ because he’d had it before and it was so richly chocolate and decadent. I had never made a German Chocolate Cake before, and after reading its description, insisted that he was mistaken. But the birthday boy was insistent that’s what he wanted! ;)

We headed out to Yeppoon in the early evening for a stroll on the beach and to enjoy the sunset before dinner. Beautiful as always!




Sculpture on Yeppoon beach front against the sunset




Gorgeous sunset colours


One last photo together before heading to dinner!


I will talk about our awesome dinner at Tsuruya in the next post!

We saved room for dessert, birthday cake! It doesn’t look the prettiest, but I tell you, it was tasty! Turns out German Chocolate Cake is not German at all! Invented in the US by a man with the last name German. Chocolate cake topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Despite the discovery of a new delicious cake, Michael eventually conceded that what he had in mind was, in fact, Belgian chocolate cake, the silly man!


I also finally gave Michael his birthday present… a scavenger hunt with 20 clues, each one with money inside. It didn’t take him too long to solve all the clues but he loved it, yay!



Got himself a nice golf club (60deg wedge) with extra birthday money leftover for other enjoyments! Happy birthday my dearest! Here’s to many more to come!

Capricorn Food & Wine Festival 2015

The Capricorn Food & Wine Festival 2015 took place over September 18-20th against the backdrop of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton. A 3 day, fun-(celebrity chef)-filled weekend with activities such as the Candlelit Gala Dinner, Fitzroy Food Court, Wine Pavillon, Bundaberg Distillatorium, High Tea, etc!

With the way our schedules worked, we were able to take part in the Friday evening festivities. Unfortunately, Michael was working Friday-Sunday and couldn’t come along!


There was a $10 entrance fee, which included a lovely etched wine glass. With said wine glass, you can visit the Wine Pavillon at your leisure for wine tastings. And for any wine that tickles your fancy, drink tickets can be purchased for $2.50 each. Most glasses of wine cost 2 drink tickets.



The purpose of our visit is, of course, to eat and drink! Numerous food stalls made up the Fitzroy Food Court – yum! “Sample a great range of gourmet food stalls, local produce, cheese platters, pastries, nibbles and more. Shop a range of home and kitchen wares, gourmet food to take home and enjoy”

Many food stalls to choose from, sweet to savoury, catering for all tastes!

We enjoyed a number of dishes including savoury deep fried flat bread from Hungarian Langos and refreshing iced teas from Too Teaz.


We also had this great combo platter from The Smokin’ Yak which included beef ribs, pulled pork, sausage and the collective favourite – Brahman hump – all with a side of drippings, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and homemade pickled cucumber and onions… delicious!


Great night out with friends! So many laughs.


The above was a shot taken while we were reminiscing the best of all ‘Cinnamon Challenge’ videos… this one :P No explanation needed.

The event was immensely popular as you can see! Packed with people enjoying themselves :)


Jess and Jin looking at some photos


The cute Kon & Amanda! :)


Definitely looking forward to the Food & Wine festival next year! Hopefully our work schedules will allow us to experience more activities – until next time!

Triple birthday dinner at The Ranch

September 12, 2015

Thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate our September babies – Garrett, Jess and Michael! I was amazed at the number of attendees on such late notice – you guys rock!

We decided on dinner at The Ranch Bar and Grill for a few reasons:

  • Very recently opened, so none of us had visited yet
  • Numerous good reviews
  • Convenient location for everyone!

The Ranch had just recently opened, so some hiccups were expected, but we luckily didn’t encounter too many! We initially made a reservation for 12 people at 8pm. However, because our friends are awesome and more people responded than anticipated, we had to change our reservation last minute to 16. The staff were lovely and more than accommodating with our request, however it did take quite a bit of time to set up. By the time we were seated, it was almost 9pm and we had to rush to get our orders in before the kitchen closed.


I called in advance to make sure it would be okay with me bringing a cake. Yes, and they were more happy to keep our cake in the fridge – thank you! Made a banana chocolate raspberry cake with Nutella icing :)


They have a bar area (room to sit and stand), which was great while we waited to be seated, perfect to mingle and talk. A variety of beers on tap and a couple of special cocktails. For some reason, we weren’t able to order other bar drinks (ie. gin & tonic) – wasn’t sure why, but we didn’t push it!


Did we mention there was live music? Yep! I have to admit, our group was more busy catching up with one another than tuning into the music, but the other patrons were certainly enjoying it!



The menu looked great and everyone was happy with their meals! The portions were also generous and the food freshly cooked!

Both tables ordered the Wagon Train – Entree Combination Platter ($32 for 2 and $48 for 4) – Let’s just say… if you’re ordering the platter, you don’t need a main meal! A mix of potato skins, chicken tenders, stuffed jalapenos, and spicy chicken wings – a great value!


2 of our birthday boys


Everyone was quite happy with their steaks, which were cooked medium-rare. Unfortunately, due to the rush, they weren’t allowed to rest for the appropriate amount of time so all the juices ran out on the plate as soon as the steak was cut. Hand cut chips in the mini pails were a cute touch!


Birthday girl, pretty in red!



A terrible photo but my San Antonio Chicken Burger ($17.90) was yum! The succulent, crispy chicken really makes the burger!


It was getting late by the time we were finished dinner and ready to move on to cake cutting. The staff were wonderful! They insisted it wouldn’t be too much trouble and even insisted on finding us enough matching tableware for the cake cutting/eating.



Thank you so much! It worked out much better than taking the cake away and having to all head over to someone else’s house to eat it.



Happy birthday you three!! Thank you to the staff at The Ranch! And of course, to all our friends for coming out to celebrate!




We will definitely be coming back for more meals in the future!

Triple Birthday Dinner

September 12, 2015

We had 3 lovely people celebrating their birthdays within 1 week:

  • Garrett – Sept 14
  • Jessamine – Sept 18
  • Michael – Sept 21

So it made perfect sense to me to organise a birthday celebration for the September babies!

Started the day with a late morning picnic gathering at the beach. The initial plan was Rosalyn Bay Beach but it was incredibly windy so we opted for Lammermoor Beach instead. Thank you David, Farrah, Pei Yee, Amanda, Bryan, Usama for coming out! Unfortunately, both Jess and Jin were working during the day, so it was just for Garrett and Mike.

We drove to Keppel Bay Marina for a late lunch at The Waterline Restaurant. Beautiful views and delicious food! The lunch specials are great and they’ve got Brewhouse specials that are definitely worth checking out!

Can’t be a birthday celebration without a good dinner! More about that in the next post :)

Hiking up Mt Archer

September 06, 2015

After our outing at Capricorn Caves the day prior, our weekend was not yet over. Instead of the suggested 14km Zamia Walk (Grade: Difficult) DOWN Mt Archer (604m above sea level), our locum consultant, Neil, suggested we should take on the challenge and hike UP.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wonderful… and let me tell you, there were moments of regret! But we conquered!

To play it smart, you should do the following 5 things:

  1. Drive to Mt Archer in 2 vehicles. Whether you decide to hike up or down Mt Archer, park one vehicle at the top and one at the bottom. That way, you keep it a one-way 14km hike. Because trust me, you won’t want to double back.
  2. Bring enough water! It will take 3-5hrs depending on your speed and you want to stay well hydrated.
  3. Bring snacks. Because food makes everyone happy.
  4. Wear good shoes. And be sun smart of course!
  5. Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Neil has a very interesting background and is incredibly fit for his age. While Jess, Jin and I struggled to keep his pace, he powered on without seemingly breaking a sweat.

Some of our views along the way up!



The trails vary in terrain as you go up but the tracks are well developed so you can’t get lost! This photo was taken at the bottom of the hill heading towards the start of the Zamia trail.


Nearby views on the way up!



There are always a few fires going on around Mt Archer :P



Neil, always ahead of us!


Did I mention Jin was doing this hike on his birthday? Yep, how admirable! If anything, I would be as lazy as I could on my birthday!


After much huffing and puffing, we finally made it to the summit around 4 hours!


Woo hoo!


Was it worth it? Yes! Even if only to say we did it ;) And surprisingly, we weren’t sore the following day!


August 2, 2015

But what if you don’t want to hike that far? Don’t fret! Mt Archer offers something for everyone! You can drive to the top of Mt Archer and enjoy hanging out in the picnic areas. From there you can also choose the Walking Track Circuit (500m) or the Bracken Fern Way (1.4km return), both easy-grade with incredible views!

Here are some photos from our visit earlier in August with Jess, Jin and their dog Cookie!

The Walking Track Circuit – pretty easy as you can see!


And the views you can enjoy on the Walking Track Circuit






Cookie, the fluff ball, enjoyed the walks as well!





We also walked the Bracken Fern Way trail – definitely worth it! It’s a little bit more difficult in terms of terrain, but still pretty easy!

Lots of little things to see and enjoy on this trail :)


Don’t want to be bothering this!


Numerous interesting plants I’ve never seen before


If you stop to listen and look, you will see so many busy bees!





Never seen this insect before… I imagine a type of wasp?




Doesn’t take long to reach the lookout :)


There’s even an area to sit, rest, and enjoy the view – which we did of course!




Gorgeous views!






Whether you’re in the mood for some nice walks with great views or up for a more challenging hike – Mt Archer is definitely worth visiting! And don’t forget to drive up at night to enjoy the pretty city views as well!