Photo Blog Update

Finally, an update on my photo blog since July 2012!

Almost 50 photos added πŸ˜€ Some will be familiar! I invite you to check them out HERE (or click in the side bar)

Thanks and have a great night!

Congratulations Little Sister!

Big congratulations to my little sister, Jenni, for being accepted into grad school!

She applied to the Master of Occupational Therapy program at 5 schools in Canada and was accepted to every one… so proud!

Come September, she will be a Thunderbird at her first choice school – University of British Columbia!

And of course, Mike and I will now be stopping over in Vancouver to visit her on the way back home this year πŸ˜›

What I’m most excited about, is after years of nagging her to have a blog of her own, and not including her humorous blog (Ain’t Nobody Got Time For This) with our cousin Janet, she finally has one! Please visit Thunderbird Time to follow her adventures in becoming an OT student and eventually an OT!

Our mom is probably already sad that our family home will soon be further dwindling down, from an original 5 to 2 – but hopefully this blog will help keep her connected to everyone back home πŸ™‚

Mission Complete: The Bun Mobile

I saw The Bun Mobile being at the top Urbanspoon Brisbane’s ‘Talk of the Town’ list for months and months and thought to myself, “We’ve really got to try this.”

But we could never find the time to go for lunch because we were in clinic/hospital full time (with one failed attempt to go for lunch with a couple of the doctors). Dinner was hard because we often finished late, were tired, and the truck was never parked on our end of town.

But finally… we were on vacation! A glorious week (May 13-17) of no plans except one mission: Locate the Bun Mobile to feast and taste these wonderful buns for ourselves.

When Harry and Christine (finally) came back from their 2 week adventure-vacation-in-the-states-scoping-out-food-trucks, we were already approaching the end of our one week vacation.

But no worries! On Friday, May 17, we traveled 40 minutes to their dinner location: Southside Tea Room at 639 Wynnum Rd in Morningside.

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Dinner service opened at 5:30pm and we arrived at 5:40pm, there were already a couple of people in line. Service was extremely friendly and because we had already scoped out the menu and the daily special,Β  deciding what to get was easy. One each of the 3 regular buns ($8 each) and one of the special ($10). We held off getting the dessert bun ($10 – fresh banana with caramel sauce and salted peanut praline) because we weren’t sure we’d be able to eat it all.

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As we waited for our buns, the line got longer and longer… so great timing for us!

We didn’t have to wait long and soon our order was called. Oh, the excitement. As the truck is parked on the side of the road, there is no formal seating area for the Bun Mobile customers to sit and eat. Mike and I decided to walk back to a park nearby but after walking a block, we thought, “Screw it, we are going to sit at this bus stop and eat our buns while they’re nice and hot!”

And so, there we were, 2 of us sitting in darkness (wish the sun didn’t go down so early!) sharing 4 savoury buns between us with not a care in the world.

The first thing we noticed, the buns came in sturdy paper containers packed in a brown paper bag. Brownie points for environmental friendliness as everything could go into the recycle bin.

Sorry in advance, but taking pictures of food in the dark with a camera flash is not very flattering for food! The buns were amazeballs though!

The first bun we tried was the daily special: Pork Belly braised in Death Sauce, pickled cucumbers, fresh lettuce & coriander, Taiwanese red sugar & crushed peanuts. Delicious! Our favourite of the night.

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Next was the Twice cooked pork with hoisin sauce, Sakura pickled cucumber and shallot batons. Another winner. The pork was oh so tender!

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Then the Char grilled teriyaki chicken with slaw with julienne carrot and mint, Japanese mayo and hoisin sauce. Loved the slaw! I’m usually not a fan of mint but I couldn’t imagine this bun without it.

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Last, we had the Slow cooked Wagyu beef with butter lettuce, soy pickled shitake mushrooms and red dragon sauce. I have never had pickled shitake mushrooms before, it was quite interesting. Normally they have a very pungent flavour that people either love or hate. Pickling it cut the flavour without eliminating it. Although quite good, this was my least favourite bun of the night because I found it too salty for my tastes.

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As we sat there and wolfed all 4 buns down in record time – it’s goes without saying that they were delicious! The buns were actually bigger than we expected and despite being soft, held the filling well and didn’t fall apart. Eating these buns was a lot less messier than we had anticipated! I especially loved the fact that combination of flavours was so familiar to me (Asian/Vietnamese cuisine) but were combined and presented in ways I’d never experienced before.

Best meal we had in a while! Left super pleased with full bellies and already looking forward to the next time we are back!

Dear the Bun Mobile: Could you look into parking close to the RBWH for lunch/dinner occasionally? Pretty please?

The Bun Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Introducing: Dayspring Candle Company

Hi everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to our friends’, Mike and Tina’s, new online store: Dayspring Candle Company (DCC).

They are a husband and wife team based out of Dayspring, Nova Scotia, and their company offers a selection of unique (sometimes antique!) oil-burning candles and supplies.

“We pride oil candles for 3 main reasons… a brighter flame – long burn time – reusability. An oil candle doesn’t need to be thrown away, just refilled.”

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

 

“The standard Dayspring Candles, which come in a number of shapes and sizes, are a great way to add a warm ambiance to any room. They can be incorporated easily into craft projects and interior decorating.”

Rain Drop Glass Candle

Rain Drop Glass Candle

 

“If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, our ever changing collection of unique and one-of-a-kind candles are sure to delight. Being situated in such a historic and eclectic part of the world, our access to unique candle bases is excellent. This is the most enjoyable part for us. Our rolling supply is rarely ever the same twice! Check back often for new products or be notified in other ways!”

Striped Amber Glass Candle

Striped Amber Glass Candle

 

Not only do they have a beautiful selection of bottles (some very limited!) – they even ship worldwide… what could be more perfect?

A discount! That’s right, they have a GRAND OPENING SPECIAL: 25% off store wide until June 30th, 2013!

Please give them some of your time and check out their website HERE – you might find something you love or a perfect gift for someone else!

And don’t forget to LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK πŸ˜‰

Breakfast at Caffe di Vita

Since being introduced by our friend Fiona last year, di Vita has been one our favourite places, that’s close to home, to have breakfast with friends.

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It was only natural that we suggested to Josiah and Danya that we meet up there for breakfast and to catch up 2 Fridays ago on May 17th.

As Mike and I were walking towards di Vita, we realized it was completely void of patrons. On the other hand, Alcove Deli & Cafe, the establishment across the street that opened since our last visit in Wilston, was buzzing with people.

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I guess it could’ve been a sign, but since we had always been happy with the food and service in the past, we opted to stick to our original plans and stay at di Vita.

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We were soon joined by Jos and Danya and after some catching up, proceeded to place our orders for food and drinks.

The cute couple!

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From observation, there was only one staff member on duty out front and it was clear she had more on her plate than she could handle – especially since a number of additional customers had stopped to dine by this time.

I don’t know if there’s been a change in kitchen staff but the food that eventually came out was a little sub par compared to the number of times we’ve had in the past.

Josiah had French toasted brioche with apple & rhubard compote & an orange & honey yoghurt. I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to comment on this dish. Although it tasted good, it did not look very appetizing!

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Danya had the simple Eggs and bacon with toast. She noted the herbed butter on the toast – unexpected but nice flavour.

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Mike quite enjoyed his Eggs Benedict with ham.

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And I had the wild mushrooms sauteed in butter, thyme & garlic on toasted turkish bread with grilled haloumi, english spinach salad, a rocket & basil pesto & shaved parmesan. Very generous amount of mushrooms and nicely toasted bread but lacking the flavour of thyme and garlic.

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Unfortunately, due to being understaffed, the coffees also took very long to come out… too long. Danya’s coffee actually arrived after she was done her meal.

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It was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and grab a bite, however, I will be slower to suggest di Vita next time. Perhaps we will give Alcove across the street a try – especially when it was so popular, their menu was appealing and their prices cheaper!

Caffe di Vita on Urbanspoon

Surgery: A New Experience

I think I was expecting to be in a perpetual state of fear and not knowing anything for my surgery rotation but I am quite enjoying it so far.

The rotation is mostly structured as we are placed in different units every 1-2 weeks, with additional scheduled tutorials and clinics. This is what my 8 weeks in surgery looks like:

  • Week 1 & 2 – Upper GI (General Surgery)
  • Week 3 & 4 – Colorectal (General Surgery)
  • Week 5 – Trauma
  • Week 6 – Acute Surgery
  • Week 7 – Burns Unit
  • Week 8 – Urology

There are other units I will unfortunately not have the opportunity to work in: Breast/Endocrine, Hepato/Pancreatic, Plastics and Vascular.

We also have scheduled sessions in multiple clinics that include: Breast Clinic, Breast Screening Clinic, Burns Outpatient Department, Colonoscopy Clinic, Endoscopy Clinic, and Minor-Ops Clinic.

Despite being more structured than in previous rotations, there are lots of opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills, depending on your willingness and your comfort level. Always take advantage of those opportunities! My partner and I have had the chance to see our own patients in the Gastroenterology Clinic and I finally got to put in my first IV canula – hurray!

And of course, being in surgery, we’ve gone in to the operating theatre (OT) to observe 2 surgeries so far. Both patients were from our surgical team. Patient 1 had a complete closure of an enormous abdominal hernia. He already had a surgery to repair the hernia months ago but suffered major complications with a wound that didn’t heal. Patient 2 had a distal gastrectomy (part of stomach removed) due to early stomach cancer.

Perhaps the most important thing in viewing operations: Know who your patients are, what operation they are having and why. Otherwise, not only do you look stupid if the doctors ask you any questions, but you will have no idea what’s going on and not be able to appreciate what you are observing.

If you have the chance to see patients in the ward or in the pre-admission clinic, take the opportunity to talk to them – get a history, do an examination, review their investigations, and read their file so you get the complete story. After surgery, follow the patient’s progress πŸ™‚

We haven’t scrubbed in yet, which I think was a smart thing to do because it gave us the opportunity to walk around and get to know the staff (ie. nurses, anaesthesiologists, etc), and more importantly, stand back and observe how the team works and how the OT functions. Perhaps next time we will ask to scrub in!

[I wrote such a long post, but unfortunately half of it got deleted when I tried to publish and now I’m too lazy to rewrite it all… this is all for now]

Some food firsts

Since my last cooking update, I have made a number of ‘first dishes’ all of which I have been so very happy with. Today, I finally stop being lazy and share them with you!

After making risotto for the first time and having leftovers, it was only natural to try making arancini for the first time too! Arancini are rice balls that have been coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

The assembly line ready to go!

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I pan-fried instead of deep frying them so they turned out a little lopsided. Didn’t matter because THEY WERE DELICIOUS!

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This is actually the second time I’ve made this dish: rosemary butternut squash and feta cheese dip. Great with our homemade baguette crisps or pita chips!

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Potato bake. Potato tossed with (a very moderate amount of each) sour cream, white cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Also mixed in some sauteed onion and cooked bacon. Topped with mozerella and into the oven!

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Michael made cinnamon buns – I ate too many. Because they were delicious.

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After a couple of attempts, I have perfected a new recipe. Pear cupcakes… fluffy, fruity and moist! My own recipe created by my own brain. Who would’ve thought.

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I missed ‘nem nuong’ (Vietnamese BBQ’d ground pork). I finally made some for the first time since coming to Australia and… it tasted like mommy’s cooking back home. ❀ I only wished I had a BBQ!

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That wasabi lime mayonnaise we tried at Burger Urge definitely made a lasting impression. We had all the ingredients in the house so of course, we made crispy our own sweet potato chips with wasabi lime mayonnaise – delish!

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And that’s it for now! πŸ™‚

Surgery: Groan

We are starting our 3rd rotation – Surgery, next week! I’m already scared just thinking about it.

Received the following email today:

Dear Rotation 3 Students,

Welcome to your Surgery rotation.

Your rotation commences on Monday 20th of May. You will be required to attend a 6.45am Scrub, Gown and Glove session at the RBWH before your orientation. Please report to Madonna Cameron and or Tina Boric on the 4th Floor Reception, Operating Theatres RBWH at 6.45am.Β 

6:45… in the am. My body is already crying. Thank goodness we live 5 minutes away by bus.

Oh well, have to start getting used to it! Surgery rounds (where the team will go around and see all their patients) start at 7am apparently.

On to a new adventure guys! Starting to set my alarm early (7:30am tomorrow) to lessen the shock when I will have to wake up and it’s still dark outside. πŸ˜›

Yummy burgers located: Burger Urge

We’ve never had a really good burger in Brisbane, so when the opportunity came up, Mike bought a deal: $18 for 2 burgers and 2 small chips at Burger Urge.

We took advantage of this week’s vacation to go try it out and having never been by the place before, we didn’t know what to expect.

Burger Urge (in Fortitude Valley) is a small, edgy restaurant with modest seating areas indoors and outdoors. They are a local establishment (with 4 other locations) and use what I love to see: fresh local ingredients.

Taken from their website:

  • There are no preservatives or stabilizers in our sauces.
  • All produce is fresh – We go to the Rocklea Markets 3 times a week.
  • All produce is sourced from local vendors.
  • We use free range eggs and bacon.
  • All meat comes from farms and barns – not cages!

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A friendly smile greeted us as we approached the counter.

It did not take long for me to make up my mind. The lamb and haloumi cheese combination was irresistible so I got Zorba the Greek (An unbeatable combination of prime ground Australian lamb topped with fresh onion jam, haloumi cheese, whole-egg mayonnaise, and pesto on a bed of cos lettuce and tomato). I also upgraded my chips to sweet potato fries with a garlic aioli mayonnaise.

Mike took longer to decide, but eventually settled on the Primal Urge (Prime ground Australian beef topped with beetroot, pineapple, free range egg, tasty cheddar cheese, homemade tomato chutney, and whole-egg mayo on a bed of cos lettuce, tomato and white onion). He also upgraded to sweet potato fries with a wasabi lime mayonnaise.

Grabbed a drink and took a seat outside. We liked that the seating area was sheltered and was pleasantly surprised at the random decor overhead – colourful suspended bikes. Definitely unique and something we’ve never seen before.

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It wasn’t long before our meals arrived and boy did they look yummy!

I apologize now. We were really hungry and just wanted to get on with eating… I didn’t realize how terrible these photos were – they do not do the burgers any justice!

The burgers were arranged and skewered in a way that kept the burger open so you could see everything inside.

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My burger had a huge amount of pesto which I thought would be overpowering but that was not the case at all, especially because the patty was nice and thick. The onion jam was sweet and delicious with a generous amount of haloumi. Flavours worked great, there was definitely no leftover burger on my plate.

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Mike tried to eat the burger with his hands but quickly admitted defeat as the first bite released a gush of egg yolk. No worries, that’s what the fork and knife are for! The combination of egg, beetroot and pineapple wasn’t something we saw until coming to Australia – but so good!

The one thing I would change about the burgers: cutting off the oxidized edges of lettuce. It would make the burgers even more appealing!

The sweet potato fries came in really cute small baskets. I’ve seen this at other restaurants but still think it’s great to go that extra little step for presentation of chips. The chips were crispy, had great flavour (spicy Urge seasoning) and were delicious. The best thing? Trying the wasabi lime mayonnaise – definitely a hit with us! We’ve always made a curry mayo for sweet potato at home but we loved this! It will definitely be something we make from now on!

Awesome food! We’ll definitely be back whenever we’re in the mood for some seriously good burgers!

Burger Urge - Fortitude Valley on Urbanspoon

Guess who got their N95 mask fitting?

We did!

Glad we got this done during the break because it would have been hard to get it done during business hours while on rotation again.

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What am I talking about?

From the FDA website: An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. In addition to blocking splashes, sprays and large droplets, the respirator is also designed to prevent the wearer from breathing in very small particles that may be in the air.

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Why did we have an N95 mask fitting done? Because it’s one of compulsory requirements for medical electives back in Canada. πŸ™‚ As they come in different sizes, it is important to have a fitting done in order to know which one to use if they’re ever needed. If fitted properly, they can filter a minimum 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. We got to keep our 2 masks for reference/practice purposes. Let me tell you, it is not comfortable wearing a mask!

For any of our friends who need to get it done in Brisbane:

Contact Brian or Terry (Occupational Hygiene Advisers) at the Occupational Health & Safety office on St Lucia campus! You can get their contact information HERE.

Lunch Date at The Villager

Mike and I decided we would need to wind down a little after our written GP exam last Wednesday. We booked a 50% off lunch deal for Gastrobar at The Villager Hotel ahead of time and were seriously looking forward to checking out a new place and having some good food.

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We showed up nearly 40 minutes before our reservation time but were happily shown to our seats and given menus.

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For drinks, Mike tried a 4 Pines Pale Ale for the first time that he was quite happy with.

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I got a Lychee Lime Mint Frappe. Refreshing, although lychee flavour was completely overpowered by the lime and mint. I ordered this drink specifically for the lychee so it was a little sad not to taste it at all!

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We shared a plate of Crisp Pork Belly cooked in a sticky caramel, orange & chili sauce. Although the pork belly had a nice crisp and the sauce was sticky and delicious – I dont think the meat was actually cooked in the sauce (rather tossed in it once cooked) because the flavours were not infused into the meat.

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BIG Bad Boy Chips were piping hot, crispy and delicious with the jalapeno aioli

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For mains, Mike ordered the Lamb Cutlets with chunky potato gems, smoked aubergine, yoghurt & spinach leaves. Lamb was nicely cooked although way too much sprinkled salt. His mouth was burning a little by the time he finished his meal. He also wasn’t a fan of the potato gems, they were chewy/starchy and had such an odd texture!

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I got the Morcilla & Manchego Kiev – stuffed chicken breast served on king brown mushrooms with chunky pumpkin & mushroom puree. Chicken was perfectly cooked and I loved the perfect crisp. I wish there was more of the black pudding and cheese stuffing though, I could barely taste them. The pumpkin was delicious and the mushroom puree was thick and full of flavour. Would’ve liked more mushrooms than 3 little slivers though, especially when the menu says, “served on king brown mushrooms.” πŸ™‚

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Gastrobar invites you in with a relaxing atmosphere and a great selection at the bar. Definitely the kind of place we would revisit with friends for drinks to unwind after a long day. Food was overall delicious with great presentation but a little pricey at regular price (ie. $9 for side of chips).

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The only negative aspect of our visit: We were overcharged around $15 and lucky had a receipt to prove it. When we returned a few minutes later to ask for the difference, an employee who just started her shift wouldn’t listen to our explanation and kept interrupting, insisting the bill was correct until the 3rd or 4th attempt at pointing out the mistake. Everything was completely fine in the end, but it just left us with a slight sour taste in our mouth.

The Villager on Urbanspoon

The end of GP and 1 week holiday

GP Rotation is finally over after a multiple choice exam last Wednesday and 2 oral exams on Friday.

How did I do? Only time will tell. I always find it hard to gauge my performance, especially during oral exams because I can always think of things I could’ve said or things I could’ve managed better. All I can say is I hope I didn’t fail!

Ended my GP rotation performing a wedge resection of an ingrown toenail – sounds gross but I was pretty excited!

We have this week off before starting our Surgery Rotation next week. No plans to go anywhere or do anything in particular but time is flying. It’s already Monday!

I miss the GP Clinic already, it was such a wonderful place to learn. Thinking of starting a new rotation next week makes me nervous already…

Krispy Kreme – Realizing a month long dream

The first thing I ate when I arrived in Australia back in January 2011 was a Krispy Kreme donut at the Sydney Airport.

Since then, it has become a little bit of a tradition (now shared with Mike as well) to get one every time I pass through Sydney.

We have been meaning to break that tradition for over a month now (since even before Meaghan’s visit) because there is a Krispy Kreme store in the city. So after a long wait and one failed visit – closing time and no donuts left – we finally did it!

We bought a pack of 6 donuts for $12.95 . So expensive compared to Tim Hortons at home, I know!

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We got from left to right: Original Glazed, Caramel Latte, Raspberry Glazed, Choc Caramel Fudge, Apple Custard Crumble and Kookies & Kreme.

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Verdict? The donuts are delicious. But they’re all made from the same batter with different toppings and fillings. Gets boring pretty fast. I miss the donut selection back home from Tim Horton’s with its different textures, consistencies and flavours.

The Choc Caramel Fudge was tasty but both Mike and I think it would’ve tasted much better if the flavours were reversed – caramel/butterscotch filling with a chocolate glaze on top instead πŸ™‚

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Kookies & Kreme – yummy filling!

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Apple Custard Crumble – our favourite of the lot.

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Would we buy these again? Yes, but definitely not more than 1 per person per visit. The donuts are good, but like I said, the dough is the exact same for every donut so excitement is quickly lost. Not to mention how terrible these are for your health πŸ˜›

Sandra & Sandor

One of our favourite places to study is at The Edge, right beside the State Library of Queensland.

Window bays overlooking the Brisbane River with comfy benches, free wifi, projectors, etc – everything you could possibly need for a good study session. Did I mention there’s also a little shop to buy drinks and snacks? What more do you need?

You can book a maximum of 2 sessions (2 hours each) per day. Laughed when we came in and saw this sign, thought someone couldn’t write my name down twice. Turns out, just a coincidence that a Sandor was using the bay after us!

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Michael hard at work

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Mike, Christine Q, and I had a good 4 hour study session. On the way out the bus stop, we realized Buddha Birth Day Birthday Festival (largest annual Buddhist Birth Day Festival in the world) was going on in South Bank and decided to drop by and have a look. We didn’t stay for long (too much studying to do!), decided to only browse the food kiosks. Lots of food being sold, although I was disappointed there wasn’t any “mon an chay” (vegetarian dishes) that are normally sold at pagodas during special occassions – oh well! πŸ™‚

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We’re MURDERERS!

By accident! Never intentional!

We came home yesterday, and as Michael was opening our front door, I gave a yelp and covered my mouth. My eyes bulged out of my head while squeaking, “Oh my god, we’ve killed him!”

A large gecko, squashed in our door frame. We don’t even know how long it’s been there but it was dried out and even looked mummified.

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We didn’t mean to do it! We’re sorry!

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge

Mike and I had big plans last Saturday:

  • We were going to wake up and study
  • Then off to South Bank, we were going to go back to Beastie Burgers and eat their delicious wedges
  • Then we were going to watch Iron Man 3 in all its glory in 3D
  • And then end the night getting fat and eating delicious waffles at Gelare.

Our plans were slightly foiled when we arrived over an hour early to book tickets for the 2:30pm show – they were already sold out. Oh no!

But that was alright, we bought tickets for the 6:00pm show instead ($8 – so cheap!). But now it left us with an extra, unplanned 5 hours of time.

We had passed by Theobroma Chocolate Lounge on the way to the movie theater and made a note to come back someday. Turned out today would be the day!

Greeted by friendly staff as we walked in and offered our choice of seats. We decided to sit inside by the open windows. Although I adore Max Brenner, I dislike how there’s always a huge line and the place is always packed. Theobroma was quiet, definitely more inviting especially because we were thinking doing some studying.

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The mirrored wall gave the illusion of an extra spacious lounge. And comfy chairs! Another good sign this would be a nice place to settle for a couple of hours.

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A very extensive menu that offered not only chocolatey deliciousness in all forms but there were savoury food items as well. A little something for everyone. Because we already had plans to eat elsewhere later, Mike and I opted for drinks only.

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Mike got a flat white. The coffee was just okay, unfortunately not much love was put into this coffee. I think he plans to stick with chocolate drinks from now on.

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And I can’t remember the exact name of my drink – and it’s not listed on the menu online. It was along the lines of an iced mint chocolate. There’s a choice of white, milk, or dark chocolate – I chose dark and it was delicious! I also liked the fact that it wasn’t too rich, especially because it was quite a large drink. The chocolate design on the inside of the glass was an additional nice touch. Not to mention I could scrape and eat it as well. πŸ˜›

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We studied for a few hours and never felt pressured to leave – thanks Theobroma!

They also have an impressive display of chocolates (approximately $2-3/each) at the counter.

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We bought 2 on the way out: Pineapple caramel and Creme Brule. Could not taste any pineapple or caramel flavour of the first one. The chocolate was also dry which made us think it had been sitting around for too long. The creme brulee, however, was super tasty.

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Good prices, friendly service, quiet ambiance, and lots of choices to choose from off the menu. We will be back! … But not for the coffee πŸ˜›

And the rest of the day went exactly as planned. What a great day!

PS: If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet… watch it. You won’t be disappointed πŸ˜‰

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge on Urbanspoon

Recent culinary delights

I have been lazy, but I have still been cooking!

Thinly sliced firm tofu marinated in homemade bulgogi (Korean grilled marinated beef) sauce. Mmm, vegetarian dinner!

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I made risotto for the first time, with arborio rice. It was a lot more time consuming than I expected but no crunchy rice – success! Michael gave his stamp of approval for my bacon mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese.

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I saw this on Imgur. It looked too cool, I had to try it too. πŸ˜› Next time, MOAR CHEESE.

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French toast made with currant bread, topped with real maple syrup and kiwis on the side. Delicious breakfast to start a day of studying!

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Choya Umeshu

Mike and I finally opened the bottle of Umeshu we picked up at duty free coming home from Singapore – yay! Choya is one of the most famous brands of umeshu and we bought the Royal Honey version – with added royal jelly (secretion from honey bees) and sweetened with honey rather than sugar.

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Umeshu is commonly known as Japanese “plum wine” or “plum liqueur”. It is made from steeping green, unripe ume fruits in alcohol and sugar/honey. Although widely referred to as plums, ume fruit is more closely related to the apricot. The alcohol used is ShōchΕ«, typically distilled from barley, sweet potatoes or rice.

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With a 15% alcohol content, umeshu is rich, distinctively fruity while being both sweet and sour. It can also be served a variety of ways at different temperatures (iced, room temperature, even hot). We enjoyed our drinks on the rocks, although it can be also mixed as cocktails or simply with tonic or soda. In a colder climate, it can even be mixed with green tea or water and enjoyed hot!

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New Shanghai – A return visit

Mike had been craving Xiao Long Bao (steamed dumplings filled with soup) for ages. Naturally, we were both excited to hear about the opening of New Shanghai and were eager to try it.

When it first opened, Mike and i stopped by two evenings but quickly left because of the huge line at the door. Last month, we decided on a whim to have lunch there, ran into a friend and took him along as well. Luckily there was no line up and the food was tasty with good service. Decided we would definitely return.

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Recent dumpling cravings got the best of us which marked our second visit last Wednesday. Fortunately, the line wasn’t too long. We wrote down a table for 2, grabbed a number and waited to be called. Mike and I grabbed seats in front of the display window and passed the time watching workers make different kinds of dumplings.

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Our number was soon called and we were seated in the middle of a bench between 2 other groups, which was fine with us.

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Staring at the menu πŸ˜›

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A little wasteful, but I do like how the menus double as place mats. They soak up all the soya sauce we drip, haha!

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We weren’t checked on after being seated but had no trouble hailing the server a few times to place our order, get some water, and getting little bowls for our sauces. They have soya sauce and vinegar at the table, but we both really wished they had some chili as well!

The food came out quickly and staggered, which was appreciated as there wasn’t much room at our seats.

New Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Buns (8pcs). Soft fluffy pastry with a crisp golden bottom. Inside, a nicely flavoured pork filling and a burst of hot soup – delicious!

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Pan Fried Pork Dumplings (8pcs). These ones are similar to the Xiao Long Bao as they have the same pork and soup filling but I like them better because of the thicker skin and crispy pan fried goodness!

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Lastly, we had Shepherd’s Purse & Pork Wonton Tossed with Sesame Butter, Red Chilli Oil & Spice (10 pcs). Wontons were nicely cooked and we loved the flavour combination sesame butter and red chili – will definitely be trying this at home! I also had no idea what Shepherd’s purse (green-spinach-looking component of the wonton filling) is but now I know it’s a plant also called Capsella bursa-pastoris.

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Food was great and we even ended up taking home leftovers. Prices are very good for the quality and number of dumplings you receive. We stuck to the dim sum menu but maybe next time we’ll try some of the mains. Need to come with a handful of friends though, that way we can try more things!

Also, I loved the decor, especially the mirrors on the walls, the stone floors and the wooden window and door designs.

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Restaurant was still bustling when we left, with an even longer line of people outside waiting to be seated.

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