Off to Brisbane!

May 02-03, 2016

Finally, 5 weeks of night ward call are over for the both of us! On to 5 weeks of holiday! Including getting married! Can you imagine how excited we were to embark on this adventure?!

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Thank you Yoni for picking us up when we landed in Brisbane, obviously so good to see you again! 😀

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We were so excited to enjoy a delicious Japanese lunch at our collective favourite – Wagaya – in Chinatown. Unfortunately, it was closed! Not sure why, but perhaps it was a holiday (May Day)?

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Instead, we had lunch at Thai Wi-Rat, with very cheap options off their lunch menu!

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Both Yoni and I got rice with roasted pork (approx $10). Rather than succulent pork with crispy skin, Thai Wi-Rat appears to further fry/bake their pork after chopping – which made it quite tough and dry 😦 I have also never liked the bland cooked vegetables that often accompany such meals – I would much prefer a dressed salad or a bit of stirfry, but I suppose it’s standard! My Thai iced tea was good though!

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Mike quite enjoyed his rice with roasted duck 🙂

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We then checked into our serviced apartment at the Meriton on Herschel Street. Beautiful view and a good value for the space – which is also perfect for entertaining some friends!

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Our amazing view – we missed Brisbane!

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I asked the Meriton to leave a note from me to Michael in our hotel prior to checking in. It wasn’t a problem and a welcomed surprise for him!

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Cheers to our holiday!!

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Night view was just as nice!

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In the evening, we caught up with one of our favourite gals – Fiona! Had some delicious Korean food including crispy chicken wings and bulgogi at another favourite – Maru!

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So good to see this one!

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Yoni dropped by after his evening shift to hang out with us some more – and he drove us to their airport the following morning, you’re the best!

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Gloomy morning before checking out!

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No problems with checking in for our flight and soon we were on our way to North America! First, Brisbane to Los Angeles with Qantas. Then, Los Angeles to Toronto to Ottawa with Air Canada!

I’ve always liked the better quality of food with Qantas airline!

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SOON… HOME SWEET HOME!

Flying to Brisbane!

February 23, 2015

The first 5 weeks of work passed by like a blink of an eye. Even so, we were already ready for a vacation, bring it on!

Hung out in the Qantas Lounge at the airport before flying back to Brisbane! Here’s the view!

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We picked up our rental car at the airport and checked in at our hotel – Riverside Hotel Southbank. Clean, modern, good size, and exactly what we needed! Had a daytime nap and rested in bed watching the Oscars.

So nice to being back in Brisbane! After resting, we had a lovely walk around South Bank, bought some Max Brenner chocolates for family, and stopped for a snack at Ahmet’s. Their dinner banquets are definitely worth trying friends!

Excited for food!

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Freshly baked Turkish bread glazed with butter and herbs ($5.50)

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With a side of Baba ghanoush ($4.90) – one of our favourite kinds of dip, made with roasted eggplant

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We also got some Mucver – Green zucchini fritters with tomato salsa, fresh mint & dill yoghurt ($11). Tasty, but much greasier than we personally like.

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Later that night, we went over to Matt and Kristen’s for dinner, joined by James and Kim! So, so nice to see and catch up with them! Felt like forever since spending time with them! Matt and Kristen made yummy chili con carne, James and Kim brought 2 kinds of cheesecake and we brought some wine. So delicious and filling, and in great company too! We miss you guys!

No pictures…sadface 😦

Malaya Corner and meeting for the first time

December 19, 2014

Dinner out with my family from Perth, and they were meeting Michael and his family for the first time!

Michael and I suggested Malaya Corner for dinner as it has a lots of seating, and tasty, generous dishes for a very reasonable price.

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Unfortunately, some of my family members really didn’t like their dishes and jokingly vowed never to return 😛

Some of our dishes

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Even though the food may not have been the best, the company sure was!

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I don’t remember the last time I had a meal out together with both my Ong Ba Ba and Ong Ba Ut, making memories for a lifetime!

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Glad Michael and his parents had the chance to meet some of my family as well!

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We walked over to King George Square after dinner to enjoy the Christmas Lights Spectacular show

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Then walked my family back to their apartment. It was getting late and everyone was ready to call it a night.

We did, however, take a few more family photos!

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Thank you to Ong Ba Ba for treating us to our first family meal out together! ❤

Family arrives from Perth!

Around close to midnight on December 18, 2014, my mom and I greeted our family arriving from Perth. Welcome to Brisbane!

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My great aunt (grandma’s sister) and uncle Ut (Ong Ba Ut), my great uncle (grandma’s brother) and aunt Ba (Ong Ba Ba), and my Aunt Loan (Ong Ba’s daughter). Who’ve traveled to Brisbane in order to celebrate our graduation with us!

I helped them rent a 2 bedroom serviced apartment at Lexicon Oaks in the city, which they were really happy with. Spacious, had all the amenities, a gorgeous city view, and in great location. Consistently good customer service as well, would highly recommend if you’re looking for a place to stay in the city!

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It was already so late by the time we got back to their apartment, we called it a night with plans to catch up the next day.


December 19, 2014

How good is it to catch up with family?

Ong Ba has Alzheimer’s disease. Although he may have difficulties remembering the conversations we just had (sometimes starting with, “Who are you again?” haha), he is such a delight with his humour and stories! Although he doesn’t remember me as he wasn’t around when I was growing up, he fondly remembers my mom! And my grandparents, aunts and uncles back in Canada.

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My Ba Ut, who has always supported me and my decision to come to Australia to study. She is eerily similar to my grandma in some ways – especially her cadence 😛

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Us with Ong Ba Ba – Ba Ba is well known in the family for her style and loud hospitality with guests

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My mom made a very simple (yet delicious) lunch of pumpkin soup and ginger chicken with rice. It was really nice to have a large sit down, family meal which conversing in Viet – something I’ve missed!

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Family photo 🙂 The only person I haven’t mentioned yet, Ong Ut! Always ready with a joke and a laugh!

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With full tummies after lunch, it was decided that we would go out for dinner later that day, to officially meet Michael and his parents… dun dun dun 🙂

A tasty catch Breakfast at Chouquette

December 17, 2014

It’s silly that it’s taken me so many months to share such a gem – but here it is! Now that we are living in Rockhampton, I can only daydream of having delicious French pastries again soon!

Founded and managed by Lara Sample, Chouquette opened in 2006… I didn’t visit until 2014, what a shame! At least we got a few visits in before moving away.

With the skills of French-born and trained bakers and pastry chefs, alongside Australian staff, Chouquette consistently produces authentic and high quality delights. It’s easy to see why customers return again and again.

In 2013, Chouquette’s sister business, Crust & Co, opened in Wilston as a wholesale business that also caters to the public. If you know me, then I’ve definitely told you how much we love Crust & Co! Chouquette is no different, with the bonus of more options and atmosphere!

The small bakery in New Farm opens at 6:30am Weds-Sunday. Get in early for the best selection of goodies, as well as a seat! There are a handle of seats indoors and a few more outside on the sidewalk. Definitely not a place to set up shop and study for the day, but a bite to eat and catch up with friends is perfect! You will also notice a consistent stream of customers come in for take away goodies through out the day.

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The variety makes the selection process difficult. Do I want cakes? Or pastries? Or bread? It often ends with, “I’ll have a bit of everything!”

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Service has always been fantastic and one of the few opportunities I’ve had to hear and speak French since moving to Australia!

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Prices are definitely on the higher side than what I’m used to, especially compared to back in Canada. But once in a while is definitely worth it 😉

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One of my favourite breakfast options are their filled baguettes! Fresh, delicious, crispy baguette with a variety of toppings. They are max $9.00 and one of my favourites is salami, provolone, basil, lettuce and tomato.

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We love all the pastries, although haven’t had the opportunity to try many of their cakes yet.

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Here a few yums!

Mille feuille – good cream but the pastry is a little too dark.

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Canele – beautiful and tasty! Although the ones we’ve had at Macarons et Madeleines in Ottawa will always be the best!

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Good coffees

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And of course, can’t forget to mention the good company! 😉

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Definitely worth a visit, I know I’ll be coming back when I have the chance!

Chouquette Patisserie & Café on Urbanspoon

Abigail’s Baptism

December 14, 2014

A special day for a very special girl.

Abigail was baptised on December 14, 2014 at St John’s Cathedral surrounded by her family. Baptised alongside a few other young children, the ceremony was performed by The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt (Dean of Brisbane), The Reverend Dr Ann Solari, and The Reverend Canon Dr Nigel Leaves.

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Michael and I were incredibly honoured when Kristen and Matt asked us to be Abigail’s godparents. We were thrilled to accept… to love her, guide her, and be a part of her life. Just a little sad that we are now living in Rockhampton so not able to see and spend time with the Gibson family as often!

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Abigail was dressed in a super cute white dress with her hair clipped back. Shoes eventually became non-mandatory as she was more comfortable barefoot.

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With a love for water, Abigail waited as patiently as she could to be baptised…

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But see how incredibly happy she was to be blessed!

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She even made the congregation chuckle as she found a friend with a similar interest in water

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Unfortunately, our camera died so we don’t have many photos to share!

Happy and proud parents!

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Bright outside, and hungry!

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Abigail’s baptism was followed by lunch with Matt and Kristen’s families, as well as Christine and her mom, at Il Centro.

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Tried their infamous sand crab lasagne with creamed crustacean sauce – so rich and delicious!

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And also enjoyed the potato gnocchiette with seared scallops and roasted chestnuts – yum!

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It was also really nice to meet and spend time with both sides of their family 🙂 Thank you so much Matt and Kristen for not only letting us be a part of Abigail’s special day, but also her life!

Breakfast at Pig ‘N’ Whistle

October 18, 2014

After a failed attempt to have breakfast at a (what we learned to be very) popular bakery in New Farm, we decided to instead enjoy a meal at the new Pig ‘N’ Whistle in Fortitude Valley.

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Taken from their website:

Opened in mid 2014, the Brunswick Street venue is the newest addition to the iconic Pig ‘N’ Whistle family.

Situated in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane’s main entertainment hub, this venue has prime position in the heart of the city’s most popular nightlife spots. Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick Street boasts two outdoor beer gardens, stunning high ceilings and exposed brick heritage listed architecture – all combined to make it a celebrated venue for local residents and visitors to Brisbane.

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Downstairs, the venue has a large and open modern kitchen, which focuses on local produce and simple and delicious pub food. Local craft beer and British ales frequent the many taps throughout the venue and are complemented by an extensive wine list. Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick Street is the newest offering in Brisbane’s nightlife and the ultimate ‘local’ for people looking for a great, non-pretentious, atmosphere and good quality food and beverages.

It was a quiet Saturday morning with a few other patrons scattered across the different dining areas.

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After placing our orders, we opted to sit outside. Really liked the accent mirrors on the old brick walls!

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Our orders came out quickly which was great because we were starving!

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Mike ordered the Eggs Royale – Tasmanian smoked salmon, poached eggs, spinach, avocado, sourdough toast ($16) and a flat white ($3.70). Today was the day I learned the difference between Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royale… they’re the same, except Eggs Royale uses salmon in place of ham. Eggs were nicely poached, generous amount of decent smoked salmon with a nice Hollandaise sauce. Coffee was good too!

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A softie for Haloumi cheese, I decided on the Greek Breakfast – Grilled haloumi, eggs your way, mushroom, tomato, avocado, spinach, sourdough toast ($18). As you can see from the photo, Mike’s poached eggs and mine were like night and day. Mine were a stringy hot mess, with nearly naked yolks and the whites tasting too vinegary. If this were my restaurant, I would be upset if someone served those eggs to customers. Good quality (not too salty) Haloumi and nicely ripened, buttery avocadoes partly made up for my failed eggs.

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We had good service and really liked the day time atmosphere of Pig ‘N’ Whistle but think the night vibe would be even better. The food (aside from my eggs) was better than anticipated. Would definitely return at night to check out the bar and non-breakfast menu!

Romantic evening at Baguette Bistrot & Bar

October 13, 2014

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Our first experience dining at Baguette Bistrot & Bar on Racecourse Rd in Ascot! Greeted by a cozy bar at the front, we were directed to the dining area which exuded great ambiance with a variety of seating arrangements and dimmed, romantic lighting.

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“Are you celebrating your anniversary?” Ricky asked as he showed us to our table.

No, we weren’t 🙂 But we certainly love a nice evening out! And our 50% Dimmi Special reservation was just a prelude to a lovely night!

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We were seated at a spacious table for 2, given menus, and left alone to peruse.

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Even though it was only Monday night, we gleefully decided to share a bottle of wine. Uncharacteristic of us as we normally only have a glass. We picked out a bottle of 2009 Leeuwin Prelude Cabernet Merlot ($58.80). Unfortunately, I’m writing this over a month after our visit so other than remembering we really enjoyed it, I can’t tell you for exactly what reasons… 😛

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After having a look at the menu, Mike and I decided to order a number of entrees to share instead of going the typical route of entree, main, and dessert.

First up, Handmade artisan French sour dough baguette, salted butter (for two) $7.80. Love the simple but different presentation. A nicely warmed, crispy baguette with good quality butter – one of our favourites!

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Scallop carpaccio, shaved fennel, finger lime, citrus dressing (gf) $22.00. Scallop carpaccio (raw scallops) was a first for the both of us. Scallops were sweet and although we would’ve liked more acidity (even with the slices of blood orange) this dish definitely met our expectations.

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Escargots à la provençale, sour dough bread $20.00. We love escargots but have never tried them this way. Cooked perfectly, not chewy at all, these were delicious! Nicely seasoned and the garlic really shone through the tomato base without being overpowering. Adding a slice or two more bread would be perfect.

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Ricky and the other staff checked on us through out the meal and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. Ricky tried more than once to convince us that a second (and even third) bottle of wine could only make our evening better but we really couldn’t handle it! 😛

Pepper mill steak tartare, quail egg, fresh truffle (gf) $25.00. Steak tartare is a dish Michael only recently discovered (and really liked) so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try another version. Loved the presentation with the quail egg served in its shell and being able to pour it over the tartare ourselves. Although I’m not a fan of the consistency of raw egg whites and would’ve preferred just the egg yolk. The tartare was really nice in flavour and texture, we only wish there had been some frites/crisps/bread as an accompaniment!

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Twice baked fromage – soufflé (v) $18.00. Mmm, this dish was so delicious. Super fragrant and fluffy, I want some now as I’m writing this! When we ordered souffle, we expected to see something tall and risen, so the plating seemed a little… flat – literally! Nevertheless, tasted amazing.

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Triple cooked potatoes, truffle aïoli, parmesan (gf) $9.00. These were sinfully delicious. First of all, they are cooked in duck fat. If you haven’t had duck fat potatoes before, you are missing out. You just can’t get the same great flavours using oils! When we asked how they were triple cooked, we were told first steamed, then twice fried. Yum! The truffle aioli and parmesan topped it off really well.

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Despite getting pretty full, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity for dessert. Especially when the option of Jasmine tea crème brûlée with spiced lychees (gf) $16.00 doesn’t leave your brain. A nice generous portion served in a tea cup, how appropriate! The delicate jasmine flavour came through really nicely and the dessert was not overly sweet. The lychees were indeed spiced and an added treat!

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The other creme brulee flavour that night was tonka bean, which sounded very intriguing as we have never tasted that flavour before – described to us as somewhat similar to burnt caramel. We’ll definitely have to try it next time!

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We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Baguette. Not only were the atmosphere and service great, the food was spectacular. We tried a variety of dishes, each one offering unique flavours and textures. Special thanks to Ricky for his sense of humour and service throughout our meal! We’d definitely recommend a visit to Baguette Bistrot & Bar, especially for a special occasion or romantic night out – albeit on the pricier side at regular price! 🙂

Baguette Bistrot + Bar on Urbanspoon

Catching up with friends at Bread & Meat Co

October 10, 2014

After months of hearing about not only the amazing sandwiches served at Bread & Meat Co, but the fact that they served Canadian poutine, Michael and I were super excited to suggest a visit to this eatery for a catch up with our friends.

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We were told that most of their sales occur by early afternoon and were pleasantly surprised to find the place not packed with seating available on a Friday evening.

Bright and rustic, loved that everything was on display and open to our viewing.

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With the 5 of us, we made sure to try all 3 regular sandwiches as well as their weekly special.

Beef Brisket Dip – 36 hour roasted beef brisket topped with Swiss cheese, horseradish aioli, and a side of jus for dipping ($9.50). Packed to the brim with brisket and perfect with the jus, it’s easy to see why this is a favourite among customers.

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Corned Beef Sandwich – New York style corned beef with gherkin aioli, topped with poached cabbage and a side of spicy dijon mustard ($8.50). A tad on the salty side but goes well with the dijon mustard! Those who ordered this sandwich thought pickled cabbage or sauerkraut would make a better condiment in flavour and texture over poached cabbage.

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BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich – Smoked pulled porked with a BBQ hickory sauce, topped with fresh coleslaw on 2 toasted brioche slider buns ($8.50). This was my order, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The pork melts in your mouth, good crunch from the coleslaw and the brioche held together nicely. I did, however, find the BBQ sauce a bit too sweet and overpowering the smokiness of the pork.

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Xuan and Alexis

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Lastly, the weekly special Porchetta – Juicy pork loin with an herb stuffing, crispy crackling, topped with a salsa verde on a warm ciabatta roll ($9.50). Porchetta is something I learned for the first time tonight and it was true to its name – fatty and moist, boneless pork roast.

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Cool salt and pepper shakers

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And of course, how could we pass up the opportunity for a taste from home – Canadian Poutine with golden fries, fresh curd cheese smothered in hot gravy ($6). The good news is, the gravy was well seasoned and not crazy salty as some of our friends who’ve already visited warned us. The sad news is, this is not real poutine. The salty, squeaky cheese curds of real Canadian poutine is irreplaceable. And unfortunately, the chopped up bocconcini served at Bread & Meat Co is an admirable replacement, but simply not good enough.

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We wouldn’t order the poutine again. Instead, we look forward to trying their Sweet Potato Parm Fries ($6) or their Chili Cheese Fries ($7) next time.

The sandwiches were all delicious and massively filling. Look forward to visiting again and would definitely recommend to our friends. They even offer free weekday lunch delivery in the CBD for orders more than $18, how awesome is that?

Good to see you guys!

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Catch up soon Sarah!

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Bread & Meat Co on Urbanspoon

2014 Korean Cultural Festival in Brisbane

October 4, 2014

By complete chance, Mike and I passed through King George Square before heading to the cinemas to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. As a result, we stumbled upon the 2014 Korean Cultural Festival while it was in full swing.

Numerous stalls lined the square, many offering different Korean street foods, which pulled us in immediately.

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We started off with two kinds of vegetarian dumplings ($5) – yum!

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The stall we found most enticing, Korean hot dogs! For $2 each, we had delicious battered and deep fried hot dogs with a sprinkle of sugar and tomato sauce…

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Yum!

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Delicious Soboru Pan ($2, Korean peanut butter crumbled bread) – which was moist and delicious! Reminded me of a pineapple bun with a more decadent topping.

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I’m not a fan of red bean, but Mike loved this donut with red bean filling ($2)!

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We were also invited inside the City Hall’s main auditorium for a variety of performances including traditional music and dance. Unfortunately, we had a movie to catch!

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What an unexpected and pleasant surprise! 🙂

Great Korean food at Maru with friends!

Sarah (who’s Korean!) had suggested I try Maru, one of her favourite Korean restaurants, so I made it the last stop of our Food Adventure Day with Yoni on June 29, 2014.

We had just finished watching Edge of Tomorrow in the city, and even though we weren’t really hungry because all we had done that day was eat, we just couldn’t skip dinner. Maru is located on Elizabeth St just beside Malaya Corner, on the 2nd floor.

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Full house on a Sunday evening, luckily, we were able to get a table without reservations and waiting!

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My adventure partner for the day! We also picked up some bubble tea at Hazel Tea Shop just down the street before heading in 🙂

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The menu is extensive, with lots of options including rice dishes, soups, noodle dishes, and BBQ – something to suit everyone! Prices were slightly higher compared to Madtongsan II down the road, but definitely worth the quantity and quality of food!

Loved the side dishes: kimchi, seaweed salad with mayo dressing and fish cakes

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I decided on Omurice with chicken curry – delicious! Loved the crispy chicken and the subtle (not salty!) curry. Extremely generous serving size, I could only finish half and saved the rest for dinner the next day – heated up nicely!

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Yoni got a rice in a stone bowl and meat, possibly pork or bulgogi. Unfortunately, it’s been so long now that we can’t remember and they don’t have an online menu to refer to!

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With a great first impression, both Sarah and I recommended Maru on July 11th when we had dinner with Amanda, Xuan and Mabel!

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Xuan ordered Beef Rib Soup that came with rice on the side, he found it a little bland unfortunately.

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I can’t remember the name of this dish that Mabel ordered, but it was spicy and tasty!

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Both Sarah and Amanda ordered one of the ‘ziggle’ plates – the Korean word for sizzle! They got the Ziggle Spicy Pork which was delicious.

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I got the Ziggle Dadak Beef, which was marinated minced beef sizzling in a pan, also served with rice. Very tasty but I was glad I had friends to share it with because it’s a lot of meat!

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Portions again, were very generous, we were definitely stuffed afterwards!

Also enjoyed some Black Raspberry wine. I’ve only had raspberry wine once before but I really enjoy the berry sweetness! $20 for a bottle shared between 4 people.

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Fast and friendly service with generous servings of delicious food and tasty side dishes (not always the case at Korean restaurants) at extremely reasonable prices – I think I’ve found a new favourite Korean restaurant. Will definitely be back!

Maru Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Post exam catch up at Bonsai Botanika

July 11, 2014

3rd rotation finally over! I was quite excited to be flying back to Canada the next morning, but first, a catch up with friends! 🙂

We wanted to find a coffee shop to sit and chat before dinner and Bonsai Botanika seemed perfect. The decor and ambiance is very alluring from the street, I remember Michael and I walking by many times and telling ourselves that we needed to come back and check it out.

The theme and decor is hard to describe, very rustic yet quirky – does that make sense? I’ve never seen anything like it before, it’s really neat!

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Once inside, however, it becomes quite confusing. The cafe is 3 levels high. Non alcoholic beverages like coffees and teas, as well as their iconic flourless cakes can be ordered on the first floor. If you are looking for real food though (apparently it’s also a ramen restaurant), you need to head up to the second floor. There are no signs that direct you, which can make it a haphazard first experience.

Noticed that the service left a lot to be desired – staff were impatient and didn’t take the opportunity to provide suggestions off the menu to new customers. The cake cabinet was also in disarray, with many empty slates left dirty and uncleared. The ones that were available did look delicious though. No prices were displayed, and I was appalled to later find out a small slice was over $8.

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We ordered our drinks before heading upstairs to find a seat. Lots of room for small and larger groups. We quickly glanced at the food menu at the unmanned bar – damn, expensive!

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It took quite a while for our drinks to arrive, and they also came quite staggered. Perhaps she was new, but the staff member who brought my order was so confused when I pointed out that the drink she was calling green tea was supposed to be a piece of green tea cake. It later turned out that that drink was a juice ordered by someone else at our table. How can you work at a place and not know what your drinks are by looking at them?

Mabel and I got two different kinds of their hot chocolate. Very interesting and unique presentation, as well as delicious! We only wish it had been hotter, much hotter than the temperature it was served at.

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The green tea flourless cake was quite tasty and rich, served with some whip cream and fresh rosemary that added an interesting flavour. It is too overpriced for me though, I wouldn’t get it again.

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Xuan got a cappuccino. The double walled glass mugs are quite cute!

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Sarah and Amanda both got juices that were tasty and refreshing.

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At the time of our visit, the 3rd level was closed so I don’t know what is up there. Perhaps we can check it out during our next visit.

Once you get past the confusing set up and so-so service, Bonsai Botanika is quite a quirky and interesting place to grab a drink and catch up with friends. The drinks are nice although I do think the food is very overpriced. I don’t know if I would ever come here to try a meal unless someone I knew said the food was really good. Definitely worth another visit, even if just for the interior design!

Bonsai Botanika on Urbanspoon

Vegetarian dinner at Kuan Yin Tea House

Mike and I have been wanting to try out Kuan Yin Tea House for a while now as we often seen how highly rated it is in Brisbane for its vegetarian cuisine.

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Had the opportunity to try it out with the lovely Amanda over dinner one night. We were famished and the menu looked well priced and quite appealing!

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We immediately noticed the fantastic service provided by all the staff which was friendly and accommodating. We arrived for dinner around 7pm on a Friday and were surprised to be told the restaurant was out of rice, although the staff were apologetic and happy to offer a substitution.

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The meals at Kuan Yin are very affordable. We ended up ordering 2 appetizers and 2 main dishes to share, as well as a bubble tea each. Note to self and others, that is a lot of food for only 2 people, as warned by the staff! 😛 However, we were hungry and wanted to try as many dishes as possible, taking away leftovers is always an option too! 😉

My lovely date!

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Peking Duck Rolls. Interesting concept but shouldn’t be called a peking duck roll when it’s nothing like the original dish which normally only has additional spring onions and a sweet bean sauce. Very sour and overpowering pickles and the vegetarian duck skin didn’t seem to have seasoning.

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Sweet Potato Wedges. These were delicious! Not sure what the secret to the seasoning is, but we definitely tasted salt and cinnamon. Yum!

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Because Mike couldn’t join us… we made him feel included! How convenient to have such beautiful photos 😉

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I chose the sweet and sour pork bento box. Since they didn’t have any rice left, they offered a tofu substitute instead. Also came with a few side dishes including veggies and a fruit salad. Overall, this dish was satisfactory. Filling but I wouldn’t get it again.

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Last dish, Sour Spicy Dumpling Soup. Huge serving, lots of dumplings but we didn’t find the broth spicy or sour enough!

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Overall, had a great time, however, more due to the company than the food. I’ve been quite privileged to have extremely good Asian styled vegetarian food in my life, which may have set my expectations a little too high 😛 With that being said, I would definitely come back for another visit and try different dishes, even if it’s just for those sweet potato wedges alone!

Kuan-Yin Tea House on Urbanspoon

Jamroc Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Second stop on Food Adventure Day with Yoni was Jamroc Jamaican Jerk Chicken. With a 90% rating on Urbanspoon and having never tried jerk chicken, we were looking forward to it.

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What is jerk chicken? From their website, “Infused with a secret blend of herbs and spices, our chicken is marinated for 24 hours and char-grilled to succulent perfection.”

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Jamroc is convenient to get to but doesn’t really have a dine in atmosphere. There are probably less than 15 seats scattered indoors and along a bench outdoors, so not really convenient for grabbing a bite with friends and hanging out.

Service was friendly and the staff was happy to provide suggestions. We opted out of a combo, going to for a burger/wrap + drink instead.

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I chose the Rasta Wrap with marinated chicken breast pieces, garlic mayo, tomato, onion & lettuce. Super fresh wrap and vegetables. The chicken was indeed succulent and nicely char grilled, however, I found the garlic mayo overpowered the seasoning of the chicken. For the level of spiciness, I chose “Chilled Out (Mild)” which was way too mild, I didn’t taste a hint of heat. Would definitely go at least one step up next time to “Traditional Spice (Medium)”

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Yoni got the Negril Burger with marinated chicken breast, smokey BBQ sauce, tomato, cheese, onion and lettuce. Nice bun, toppings and chicken, but he too felt the sauce overpowered the chicken and not enough spiciness.

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We also grabbed some yummy tropical fruit juices ($2.50 each), mainly because I missed having soursop… and we were thirsty.

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Personally, I find the prices comparable to Grill’d and the (chicken) burgers overall tastier. I would definitely return but only if I’m with no more than a few friends due to lack of dining space. And definitely up the level of spiciness on my chicken. Until next time!

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Jamroc Jamaican Jerk Chicken on Urbanspoon

Quick meal at Golden BBQ

Golden BBQ was on our list of cheap eateries to try during Food Adventure with Yoni day a few weeks back. Roasted pork and BBQ’d duck are 2 of my favourite dishes, so I was really looking forward to a quick but delicious bite, especially considering the 88% rating on Urbanspoon.

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We arrived around lunch time on the weekend, busy but a few empty tables so we didn’t have to wait. There is no real decor or ambiance in this restaurant, which is fine! More of an in-and-out kind of stop.

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The plan was to be out eating for the entire day so Yoni and I decided to share a combo plate – $14.50 for a choice of two meats with steamed rice (or noodles for an extra $0.50). Of course, we chose the BBQ pork and duck.

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Every portion comes with a complimentary soup of the day. I don’t know if the type of soup changes often, but it was pumpkin or squash for us. Very dilute but warm and inviting nonetheless.

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There is hardly a wait for your food at Golden BBQ and our food came out within minutes of ordering. Portion size generous, served with a side of boiled or steamed napa cabbage. Unfortunately, both meats were served at room temperature and as a result, the pork skin was not nearly as crispy as it should be. Should be served piping hot so it was a disappointment. They do have great prices for a quick and easy meal out so I can see why people love returning.

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I’ve been spoiled growing up when it comes to roasted duck and pork. My honest opinion, the ones offered at Golden BBQ are definitely not as good and flavourful as they should be. If you’re having a barbecued meat craving or want to serve something nice for dinner, I would recommend picking up the meats at Burlington BBQ (a whole duck for around $25-30 and serves a whole family) just a few shops away, as their meats are tastier. It also ends up being much cheaper when you take it home and make up your own rice and side dishes!

Golden Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Consistently delicious food at Mon’s Thai Rarnaharn

We have eaten at Mon’s Thai Rarnaharn a number of times now, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to blog about it!

Dining in at Mon’s Thai is always a pleasure with good ambiance, friendly staff and great service. There is the option of dining indoors or outdoors (sheltered and of course, with heat), which is nice! Also fully licensed with BYO bottled wine.

The prices here are slightly more expensive than what you might expect compared to other Thai restaurants, but the quality of food is consistently great and the portions generous. We have also ordered take out a number of times – quick preparation times and piping hot – they even offer home delivery. Sometimes we find takeaway portions can be smaller than what is offered dining in, but certainly not at this restaurant!

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My last visit was on June 14th with Tan and Christine. The restaurant was packed for a Saturday night, with both small and large groups. After browsing through the menu, we decided on one of the banquet options as the dishes were appealing and it seemed like a good deal.

We chose the Phuket Banquet option (minimum 2 people) at $29.90 per person. This included:

  • An appetizer for each person. Either Mixed Entree (1 springroll, 1 chicken satay skewer, 1 curry puff) or Tom Kha Gai
  • 1 main dish per person. Choices were Mussamun Beef, Green Curry Chicken, Beef or Chicken Stir Fried with Oyster Sauce.
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Ice cream with chocolate/caramel/strawberry topping
  • Tea or Coffee 

We were unorthodox, had our tea and coffee before the meal because Tan and Christine were falling asleep despite being hungry. Jasmine green tea for me and decent cappuccinos for them!

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I now apologise, we were so excited to eat that I forgot to take photos of our appetizers until we were halfway through, here’s a curry puff for your viewing pleasure.

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And half of my bowl of Tom Kha Gai. For those who don’t know, it is a delicious coconut milk based soup with strong aromas of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal – yum! I was first introduced to this dish in Bangkok and this definitely brought back memories!

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We were then served the jasmine rice and our mains.

Green curry chicken. We opted for the mild-medium level of spiciness with extra chillies on the side, I’m glad! Tender chicken, flavoursome broth and crisp vegetables.

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Beef Massumun (beef curry) was delicious and melted in your mouth. I am also a fan of the cashews! This dish reminded me of the Vietnamese dish ‘Bo Kho’ due to the texture of the meat and spices in the sauce.

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For the third main, we decided on Stir Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce. Whenever I order dishes in restaurants with stir fried beef, I always wonder if it will come out dry or awfully chewy. This was definitely not the case! Beef was easy to bite into and vegetables still had a crunch, simple dish but yum!

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For dessert, we were expecting one scoop of ice cream each. Boy were we wrong. 3 scoops of nice vanilla ice cream! Luckily, there is a second stomach for dessert but we seriously struggled to finish this meal. Banquet option was definitely a bargain!

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Other dishes I’ve had in the past and love include their Pad Thai and Pad See Eiw, definitely give those a try as well!

Definitely recommend Mon’s Thai for some of the most delicious Thai food in Brisbane!

Mon's Thai Rarnaharn on Urbanspoon

Ethio-African cuisine at Yeshi Buna

May 09, 2014

To celebrate finishing exams, Christine suggested we have dinner at Yeshi Buna. She had been very recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. And I, having never tasted Ethiopian food before, didn’t hesitate before saying yes.

Brightly decorated, the restaurant’s atmosphere was immediately inviting and the owner (?) warmly welcomed us.

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After sitting down, he asked if we had ever been to the restaurant before, to which Michael and I replied that it was our first visit. He handed us not only the menu, but also a page to explain terms that may be unfamiliar to those new to Ethio-African cuisine.

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Words like ‘injera’ the tiniest cereal in the world that is ground and fermented for days to make the flat, slightly sour, bubbly ‘bread’ that is a staple of many dishes.

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It didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted the Meat & Vegetarian Combination Dish ($48 for 3 people).

We were pretty hungry, and pretty excited. When the dish came, we were even shown how to eat with our hands and use pieces of the injera to scoop

The combo dish contained the following: Ye Beg Alicha, Doro Wott, Tibs Wott, Minchet Abish, Gomen Be Siga, Atikilt Wott, Kik Alicha, Fassolia, Missir Wott, and mixed salad. (Wott = hot stew, Alicha = mild stew, Tibs = sautéed meat)

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Looks are deceiving but there was quite a bit of food and we were all struggling to polish off the plate towards the end. But we did it!

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My first time experiencing Ethiopian food was great! Something I’d certainly have again. Well-priced, delicious food with great service and wonderful ambiance – I would highly recommend Yeshi Buna!

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Yeshi Buna Ethio African on Urbanspoon

April moments

During my Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation, I was often leaving the house before 6am in order to be at the hospital in time for 8am. It was a drag, but some things made it worth it. The fact that I got a bit more exercise, since I was walking approximately 7km everyday to and from the train stations. Rediscovering all my favourite songs on my iPod. Since most of my travel is with Michael, I always preferred chatting in his company rather than listening to music. Walking by myself was actually quite a nice and relaxing change of scenery, something I used to know so well but had become unfamiliar to in the last few years.

And little moments with nature you experience. Like this possum carrying her young one across an electric wire:

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And beautiful skies like these over my head

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On April 11, we attended The Dashounds’ Kids Again EP launch at The Hideaway. The Dashounds consist of our two friends James Fielding and Pete Dixon, as well as Bas Pelly and Steve Ceccato.

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A Brisbane based, indie/pop/acoustic band, here is a quick blurb from their Facebook page:

The Dashounds have supported Josh Pyke,The Resin Dogs, and shared Festival stages with Regurgitator, Boy and Bear and many more. They played at the Caxton Seafood Fest and the Red Deer Music Fest in 2010, ’11 and ’12 to packed audiences of happy tail waggin’, raindropping fans. The ‘Hounds have recorded two EPs (available on iTunes). They are best known for their vibrant multi-layered vocal harmonies, dynamic acoustic pop anthems, and quirky lyrics about girls, dogs and their beloved home town of Brisbane.

A really fun and great night with amazing performances by the guys.

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CLICK HERE to visit triple j Unearthed and check out some of their tracks, even download! You are missing out though, because the recordings simply cannot capture the sound and energy of their live performances!

Bought a hardcopy, can you see the outfit similarities? 😉

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Despite a busy rotation, we did get out once in a while! About to head out for some yummy dim sum at New Shanghai with Yoni and Xuan in this photo.

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This was also the night we discovered a dish called “Deep fried calamari coated with salted egg yolk” Deliciously crunchy, rich and salty dish that was extremely well received by all of us!

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Girls day out with Christine, Fiona, Kristen and the cute Abigail on April 13th!

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Started with a lovely breakfast at Samson and Sophie Cafe in Teneriffe, followed by a walk along the river that ended with a drizzle and left us at the Old Museum enjoying tea and each other’s company for a little while longer… oh no! 😉

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As babies often command, and being as cute as Abbey is, she was definitely the centre of attention!

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Not often are the 4 of us in the same place at the same time, so it was lovely seeing them all and catching up!

And my sad attempt at photographing the Blood Moon night of April 15th. 😛

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Delectable dinner @ Moda Restaurant

April 9, 2014

Thank you to Aunt Patsy and Uncle Dan for treating us to this special night out in celebration of our engagement, from across the world in Canada!

We had a fantastic dining experience at Moda! Even today, Michael and I still talk about the amazing food we experienced that night with Javier’s Table Experience ($85.00/person), at the strong suggestion of Trent, our server for the evening. Thank you again, we are so glad to have listened to you!

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I know, you’re probably wondering what is this Javier’s Table Experience? It is a rustic degustation consisting of 3 courses with signature dishes from the menu and dishes created from fresh seasonal produces selected by the chef for the entire table.

(Some of the dishes we received are not listed on the menu, so I apologise in advance if our recall of descriptions are not accurate!)

Our first course consisted of 5 different appetizers. I know, how amazing is that.

Top left: Fresh ceviche that was light with lovely aromas
Top right: Amazingly tender WA octopus with tropical flavours
Bottom left: Crispy chicken croquettes with Romesco sauce
Bottom right: Manolete chorizo sausage with Spanish peppers

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And also sardines! They have never been our favourite but went well with tomato salsa underneath.

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I sipped a lychee martini throughout the meal while Michael thoroughly enjoyed a couple glasses of Spanish red (Viña Tobia and Manso).

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Next were 3 amazing main courses.

Even though I asked for the name of this dish twice, I can now only remember that it was red snapper, I’m sorry! Delicious with little clams and a rich sauce containing hearty peas.

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To the left was the daily special of suckling pig with goat cheese gnocchi and ginger essence. It was hard to say which dish was our favourite of the night but probably this one. So tasty with the crackling of the pig and the soft fluffy gnocchi – yum!

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And to the right: Fowl on a bed of purple potato mash and a side of chanterelle mushrooms (I think). Meat was moist, potato mash the perfect consistency and very nicely done mushrooms. This dish was easily our second favourite!

And lastly, dessert! From left to right: spiced ice cream (similar to gingerbread), chocolate mousse and Spanish creme caramel. All 3 desserts were lovely treats to end such a filling and wonderful meal!

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Could not fault the amazing and delicious food with Javier’s Table Experience. Thank you again to Trent and the staff at Moda for such an enjoyable dinner experience!

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(Note: Our dinner reservations were made with a 50% off Dimmi special, we couldn’t pass up such a great deal to revisit Moda for a second time. You can read about our previous visit here

Moda Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Quick lunch @ Peony Asian Fusion

March 24, 2014

I had been running errands in the city all morning and hungry for some good food. Mike was also joining me for lunch as well so I did a quick search to see what was good in the area. In the mood for asian cuisine and based on Urbanspoon ratings, we chose Peony Asian Fusion.

Seating areas available both indoors and outdoors, with ordering at the counter made for a simple dining experience. The menu is limited but carries enough variety, with the majority of items under $10 – very affordable.

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We ordered BBQ pork buns ($4.50 for 2) which were unfortunately very bland with crumbly dough consistency. Tasted like poor quality store bought frozen buns that had been steaming for too long.

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Mike ordered a Chicken Karaage Don ($7.95) that was simple and tasty.

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I ordered Omurice, Japanese style prawn fried rice with ketchup ($12.95). A generous portion with tasty rice. Unfortunately, the omelette wrapping the rice was very cold and chewy, most likely pre-made well in advance. Also, many large prawns but very flavourless, wish they had been marinated in at least some salt, pepper and garlic beforehand!

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Peony Asian Fusion is a good stop for cheap, quick and no-fuss meals. The quality of food although decent, is below par. For a little bit more money, we definitely prefer Jackpot Dining next door.

Peony Asian Fusion on Urbanspoon

Fun at galleries and goodbye to new friends

Saturday, March 08, 2014 

After a yummy and severely filling lunch at Malaya Corner, we decided to check out the Gallery of Modern Art.

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Yoni had been before so it was Michael’s and my first visit!

Although I quite enjoyed my time and found many pieces to be very artistic and talented, I found myself wondering if I was being trolled throughout the visit.

Like music, food, dance, and other forms of art, I understand that everyone has their own taste, some of which are cultured, developed and acquired while others are innate. I certainly don’t like all types of music or food but can understand if others enjoy them.

However, when it comes to modern art, I can’t help but wonder if there are hidden cameras around. Recording people’s ridicule or attempts to be appreciative and/or sophisticated with certain art pieces. A 3-hour video of two brothers chewing the same piece gum and passing it back and forth to each other. A grown man, on video for 45 minutes, dancing the twist with gold tassels hanging from his nipples.

Sometimes I just don’t get it. And the museum pays for these art pieces! We all joked that we just needed some time, money and a ridiculous idea in order to be displayed in a museum as well. That’s seriously how some of the pieces made us feel.

This was another art piece – Gold tinsel being blown from behind by a pivoting fan. Needless to say, we didn’t understand it but still had fun.

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A few more silly moments

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Posed so well he hid the original

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Shadow boys

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Yoni’s food baby!

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Taking a rest and enjoying the view out the window

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Entrace to Cai Guo-Qiang – Falling Back to Earth exhibit that you need to pay for entrance Yoni wasn’t really interested but Mike and I will come back another time to check it out.

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We also walked through the Queensland Art Gallery although I didn’t take many photos

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Richard Long’s Ring of Stones (1982)

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We then headed to the Sciencentre, which is always my favourite. Here are a few random photos.

Jelly fish made of plastic

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Coincidentally, we ran into Dan and Prasan at the Sciencentre. They are both 3rd year med students on exchange from Queen’s University (Canada) and completed their Paediatrics Rotation with us these past 2 months. We had discussed grabbing a drink before they flew out later that night, so off we went!

Enjoyed the extensive beer menu at The Burrow. Mike’s new find – Kwak (8% Seductive malt character. Rich, satisfying Belgian experience)

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Prasan was my silly group member, he will be missed!

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Group photo! Lovely getting to know you guys, safe trip home and all the best with your studies!

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Lunch at Malaya Corner

Saturday, March 08, 2014

With exams completed yesterday and Yoni in town, we decided to go out for lunch! Michael and I have passed by Malaya Corner multiple times and now were finally going to check it out.

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First impression on entering: Malaya Corner is much more spacious than it looks on the outside. Brightly lit with plenty of dining room, I imagine it would be feasible to quickly get a table even during peak busy hours.

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Started with drinks. Mike got a green tea bubble tea while I got a cold teh tarik. Both drinks were delicious although in hindsight, we probably didn’t need them alongside the massive amount of food.

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Michael and I really enjoyed our Malaysian meals in Singapore and were looking forward to re-experiencing those delicious foods.

One of our newer favourite dishes is laksa, which is what Mike ordered – Malaysian Laksa ($16.90) hokkien noodles & vermicelli with fish cake, prawns, calamari, bean sprouts in coconut curry soup.

A humongous portion that was packed full of seafood in a delicious coconut based broth. He found it odd that there were 2 types of noodles and preferred the hokkien noodles. Although not a laksa connoisseur, he found it delicious and always brings back the good memories of having it for the first time in Singapore.

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The other dish we’ve tried in the past is Nasi Lemak ($12.90), which is what Yoni chose. His dish consisted of Malaysian coconut rice with curry chicken, beef rendang, anchovies, egg, and pickled veggies. He found all the components of his dish quite tasty (except onions, because he’s not a fan of them) and finished his entire dish.

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I got the Penang Char Keow Teow ($11.90) – stir fried ho-fun with prawns, calamari, fish cake, chinese sausage and bean sprouts. I’m a sucker when it comes to stir-fried broad, thick rice noodles. This was delicious generous amounts of seafood. However, I did find the noodles slightly overdone and the dish overall too greasy.

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We thought it would be a good idea to get a 4th dish to share: Yeung Chow fried rice ($10.90) with shrimp, BBQ pork, chinese sausage, and egg.

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Yummy! But overall bad idea. It was actually really tasty but there was so much food! One common denominator to all 4 dishes: the monstrous portions.  So many leftovers to take home, haha!

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Friendly service, great menu including many drinks, delicious food with enormous portions – would definitely return with more friends!

Malaya Corner (City) on Urbanspoon

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!

Today (Jan 31) is Tet or Vietnamese New Year! (Also known as Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year)

Happy new year everyone! I wish you all health, good fortune, and prosperity!

Last year, Mike and I had went out for a Chinese New Year banquet and then to check out some of the festivities with Christine and Tan. This year, we didn’t really celebrate as we are pretty stressed out with studying for the MCCEE.

But we had to at least go out for food. So a quick Japanese dinner at one of our favourite places, Wagaya in Fortitude Valley.

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Our favourite dishes:

The chicken karaage bento box for Michael

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And tonkotsu ramen for me… which was way too much for me, especially as upset tummy recently. But delicious as always!

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The lion dancing had just started when we were done and heading home so we paused to watch for a few minutes. Didn’t stay for very long but it looked like many people were enjoying the show!

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Look at this cute gift my grandparents gave Michael and I before leaving Canada. Can you guess what was inside? Lucky red envelopes for both of us! Thank you Ong Ba Ngoai, from the both of us!

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And lucky pockets from my mum before we left as well! I actually forgot she gave us these until she reminded me and had to go find them! 😛

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Thank you also to my Aunt and Uncle 2 for a red pocket before I left, I almost forgot! 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Have a safe and great time!

Happy Holidays

Hello friends!

I hope each and everyone of you had wonderful holiday celebrations with your loved ones! And may this new year bless you with much laughter, surround you with love, and leave you with unforgettable moments of happiness!

I felt very lucky not only to be able to spend Christmas and New Years home in Ottawa but also because it was filled with so much love and generosity from family and friends.

Unfortunately, my laptop has died on me, and even though my brother and I have been trying very hard… I don’t think we’ll be able to salvage it.

And so, I was already behind on blogging and posting photos but now it is even worse because well… I don’t have a computer at the moment!

What’s going on in the next few days?

– My sister is flying back to Vancouver this evening. She is starting a placement in Victoria on Monday so will have very little time to pack up and fly out to her next destination.

– Mike and I are flying out Tuesday night, Jan 7th. The holidays have flown by and although we are excited to begin our final year of med school, we have not been able to study for our Canadian exam (MCCEE) as much as we have wanted. And that exam is at the end of February. Starting to freak out a little.

– Need to finish packing.

– Hopefully see some friends but time is running out and still so busy.

– Back in Brisbane on the 10th. Have the weekend to settle in and get ready for a busy year ahead starting Monday.

Will try to keep you updated more, thanks for reading! 🙂

Post-Medicine rotation gathering!

November 15, 2013

(I know, I’m now writing out of order too, sorry! :P)

In celebration of our time together throughout our Medicine rotation AND the fact that we finished our last exams of third year – we had to celebrate… with food, of course!

Very happy that most of us were able to meet for dinner Friday evening, hurray!

After some discussion, we decided on New Shanghai as they have many yummy and generous sized dishes to share. In particular, dumplings. Need I say more?

Credit to Sarah for the photos!

The ones who couldn’t make it: Clarence, Yung Howe, Tomas, Joseph, Mustak, Manisha, and Sunny

Adi, Kee Ping, Sarah & Daniel

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Me, Mike, Xuan & Christine

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Sarah & Daniel

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Mike & Xuan

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Daniel & I

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Love this picture 🙂

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For dessert, it didn’t take much convincing for everyone to join for some frozen yoghurt, yum!

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Thanks for the good times guys, have a great holiday!

Last night in Brisbane: Eat Street Markets!

November 16, 2013

Continuing on with my previous post!

I know, I’m so behind.

After Kristen’s baby shower earlier in the day, we decided to meet up at Eat Street Markets later for dinner – also a last chance for me to hang out with everyone before going home to Canada!

Unfortunately, Michael wasn’t a part of this gathering because he had to stay home to sell his iPad, and the girl never showed up! How annoying! At least Yoni was over so he didn’t have to spend his night in Brisbane alone, haha.

Christine picked me up at 6pm and we got there in time to meet Kristen, Matt, Fiona and her friend Amy for dinner – yum!

What is Eat Street Markets? I didn’t know either!

It’s a newly opened (and hopefully permanent) night market at the old decommissioned Hamilton Wharf. Around 80 shipping containers, although I suspect more will be added as time goes by, have been transformed to bright and alluring stalls selling food from all over the world, textiles, art, fresh produce, jewellery, and more!

You can read more about it at The Weekend Edition and at Must Do Brisbane.

One of the entrances to the market

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Two huge ‘starry night’ tents lined entirely with amazing food stalls. Very reasonable prices too!

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Yum, food and friends 🙂

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And plenty other stalls!

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Chitty Banh Banh stall by Jake and Elle from My Kitchen Rules

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Sending our love to a friend who wasn’t able to make it.

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Lovely atmosphere and as with any market, plenty of unique things to see!

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There were even fireworks at the end of the night, although I’m pretty sure they were unrelated to Eat Street Markets.

Had a great night, especially hanging out with everyone! Hopefully Mike will have a chance to go when we are back in Brisbane!

Day trip to Maroochydore!

Had a super lovely Saturday with James and Kim yesterday, thanks so much you two! 🙂

Earlier this week, James suggested we drive up north to Maroochydore to go to the beach. How could we possibly disagree?

Turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day! The current was quite strong so Kim and I didn’t go “swimming” but water was still super refreshing 🙂

Photo cred: Kim

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We then went to visit Harrison, who’s at a hospital nearby and is amazingly living out this rotation in a beach resort/village. Beautiful house with great views and access to a private beach, kayaks, swimming pools, etc.

We even went kayaking, which totally made Kim’s day ^_^

A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without beers, fish and chips for lunch!

And could only be better with a beautiful sunset 🙂

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James and Kim, you guys are adorable.

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Group photos!

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We were treated to an absolutely lovely, home-cooked/BBQ dinner by Harrison and his housemate, Pam. And of course, any get together is always more fun with boardgames! In this case, Cards Against Humanity and Mafia/Werewolves. Definitely made me think of the friends back in Canada! Was also nice to meet the other housemates, Richard (again) and Dara 😀

You guys are all awesome, thank you so much for such a wonderful day!

Evening catch up with friends @ The Burrow

Finally had a catch up this past Friday with Kee Ping, Amanda and Xuan at The Burrow.

With a great drinks menu and nice atmosphere, The Burrow was an easy choice and luckily we could make reservations so didn’t have to wait in line for a table.

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Beers for everyone! And of course, food. We got a few dishes to share:

Unfortunately, some of these dishes are part of their Oktoberfest menu which isn’t online so I can’t give you the full dish name and all its components.

Pretzels with Pepe Saya butter. I love Pepe Saya butter but the pretzels were unfortunately quite tough and definitely not worth $7/each.

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Main component of this dish was the crispy pork belly, which was lovely! Also had roasted peaches and something-I-can’t remember wrapped in filo pastry. Tasty dish!

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Dip-ah-dee-do-dah – A selection of fresh house dips, crisp bread, ciabatta, zattar and flavoured oils. The selection was different than what Mike and I have had before but still very tasty! Very generous portions of dips, and so would do with a bit more breads!

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This dish’s main component was slow cooked venison with spätzle, apple and berries. When we asked what spätzle was, our server said her best description would be “similar to gnocchi”. Unfortunately, although the venison was tender and nice, the spätzle (that we were all trying for the first time) tasted more like stale deep fried batter. We’re still unsure if it was meant to taste that way, or if we just got a bad batch… And why make the pieces so tiny? So difficult to eat when they just roll around on your fork and then onto the table.

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We also got some Gnarly fries (curly fries) and Chips Ahoy! (beer battered fries) with aioli sauce. On a good note, the fries never disappoint.

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We’ve been to The Burrow many times and love the service, drinks selection and quality of food. Unfortunately, we found our food hit and miss tonight but will still be back again in the future 🙂

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

Santos GLNG City of Lights with Christine!

Christine had never seen the light show since coming to Brisbane so of course we had to take her!

[Check out 2011’s post HERE and 2012’s post HERE]

We had a tasty selection of kiosk food (including deep fried ice cream!) before settling down and enjoying the show. It was even more impressive than last year as there were people mounted on flexible poles, dancing under the waterfall, as part of the show!

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Had a great night!

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Dinner with friends @ Epicurean

This is posted late, but I wanted to tell you about a delicious dinner we had at Epicurean (official restaurant of Inchcolm Hotel) back on September 17, 2013 🙂

Thanks to a weekly Dimmi Special, we were able to enjoy this restaurant for the first time at 50% off the food bill, drinks not included.

With dinner reservations for 7pm, we were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our table. It was a quiet Tuesday night with not many other patrons except for a few I presume were staying at Incholm Hotel.

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Service was really great throughout the night, thank you especially to Richard for explaining the dishes and continuously checking in on us!

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We started off with wine and warm delicious bread.

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Next came the entrees which we shared between us.

Lamb Tenderloin, Pistachio Dukkah, Smoked Eggplant, Sumac Yoghurt, Lemon. Lamb was extremely tender and I especially loved it combined with the dukkah and yoghurt!

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½ Shell Hervey Bay Scallops, Salt Baked Apple & Onion Puree, Radish, Dill Oil. The scallops were sweet but I wish they had been seared (had absolutely no colour) and were accompanied by ingredients with a stronger flavour profile.

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Hot Smoked NZ King Salmon Salad, Charred Potatoes, Candied Spec, Green Beans, 62˚C Egg. Smoked salmon was delicious and an interesting combination with the egg as well.

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White Rabbit & Mustard Fruit Rillettes, Moreton Bay Prawn Salad, Herb Brioche. I was worried, but the rabbit was tender and moist! The brioche, however, was too dry!

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Onto the lovely mains

I got the East Coast Gold Band Snapper, Roasted Peach, Sorrel & Green Peppercorn Cream which was absolutely lovely. The peach and peppercorn cream was a fantastic combination with the fish, which was perfectly cooked.

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Mike got the Pork Sirloin, Red Cabbage, Ricotta & Jamon Dumpling, Pear & Sage Emulsion which he said was, “deeelicious.”

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Kageen chose the Free Range Chicken (Breast & Leg), Pickled Ratatouille, Sweet & Sour Tomato Coulis, Fried Capers that she quite enjoyed.

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And finally, Xuan got King Reef Barramundi, Sand Crab, Tomato & Chive Mash, Sauce Nero with an additional side of Dutch Cream Potato Mash,Truffle Oil to share. The dish was good and it was interesting to try a squid ink sauce for the first time!

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Fortunately, with all of that, we still had room to try some of the desserts!

Mike and I shared the Belgian Milk Chocolate Mousse, Gin & Strawberry Gelee, Vanilla Crumble, Seasonal Berries. Beautifully decadent! The only thing we would point out is that the mousse was quite thick, more air would’ve been perfect but still delicious!

Kageen chose the Fruit Salad Compression, Crème de Framboise, Granita, Hazelnut Gelato as she had not compressed fruit before and found it quite refreshing. Her gelato had slipped off the starfruit in this picture.

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Xuan decided on the Classic Lemon Tart, Spiced Marmalade, Lime Crème that looked delicious!

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Thank you Epicurean for a great dinner with delicious food and wonderful service! We will definitely try to come back and visit again soon!

Group photo!

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Epicurean on Urbanspoon

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 01

September 18, 2013

During this vacation, I did something I’ve never done before: I went camping!

Big thanks to Mike for the awesome first experience! Being an avid camper, he had everything we needed to make the trip as smooth as possible 😀

Our destination had long been recommended by numerous friends and boy were we glad we finally went! STRADBROKE ISLAND – definitely would visit again!

Getting to the island was incredibly easy and convenient, making us both really wished we’d gone earlier. Take the train out to Cleveland, hop on the complimentary bus out to the dock and on to the ferry! Ferry price is $15 return for students, pretty good! Once we arrived on the island (Dunwich), the island bus was waiting and it cost an additional $2.50 to get to our camping ground, too easy!

On the way there!

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Here is a map of Stradbroke Island so you can see the places I have mentioned and will be talking about in this post.

NSI-Map

We decided to camp at an unpowered site at Adder Rock for $28/night. Being low season, we got our pick of camping sites and decided to camp along Flinders Beach. Camping on the beach, what could be better right? They even had all the amenities we could need, including cooking and toilet facilities. From Adder Rock, we hiked East along the coast, scampering over rocks and walking through kilometers of pristine beaches all the way to Main Beach.

Setting up camp

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Done! Our home for the next 2 days

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… with the awesome beach view

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Settled in and having lunch! Yes, Mike has a portable stove, pots and pans, and everything! Sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, strawberries… yum!

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First selfie of the trip!

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After lunch we headed out to explore North Stradbroke Island.

We started with walking along the roads where we passed by a skatepark.

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We sooned turned off the road to walk along the beach instead. First up, Home Beach (refer to map above!)

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Beaches were pretty much empty except for a few families scattered here and there

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We’ve reached Cylinder Beach! One of the few places to swim with lifeguards.

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Beautiful Cylinder Beach

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Leaving Cylinder Beach…

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Mike taking a break

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Looking back at Cylinder Beach

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Looking ahead to Deadman’s Beach

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We saw a manta ray cruising underwater while taking a break!

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Deadman’s Beach

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Really interesting to the see the variations in volcanic rock formations and colours as you go from beach to beach.

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Frenchman’s Bay!

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Heading up to the road because you couldn’t really continue onward by the beach

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Looking back down at Frenchman’s Bay

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As we walked along the road to the Gorge Walk, we saw humpback whales! Unfortunately, they were really far out!

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The beautiful Gorge Walk!

Breathtaking North Gorge

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We really kept our eye out for dolphins and sharks, but only saw sea turtles and manta rays unfortunately. Still amazing though!

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View of South Gorge and further ahead, Main Beach!

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Endless Main Beach as far as the eye can see!

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We didn’t swim at all today. Decided that we would hike the coast again tomorrow and go swimming and visit Main Beach then. With that we headed back, returning to Adder Rock just missing the sunset! Boo, but that’s okay, we’ll make sure to catch it tomorrow!

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Getting a fire going… just because 🙂

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Smoked out a huntsman spider!

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Easy dinner! With wine, fruit and other snacks on the side.

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We retired to our tent early with our headlamps and spent the night playing Monopoly Deal Card Game (thanks for that Vy!) and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. Good end to our first day.

Hiking @ Noosa National Park (Part 1)

Finally went hiking at Noosa National Park yesterday!

After a long drive, we were greeted with such gorgeous weather that it was definitely going to an awesome day for hiking.

Noosa map

We started with the Noosa Hill track (#3 in yellow), a 2.4 km that climbed steadily up through open eucalypt woodlands and shrublands to the top of Noosa Hill.

Pictures of course! 🙂

Heading in!

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Once in a while you can glimpse the blue waters just through the thick vegetation

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Pretty remnants of once green leaves

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Colourful lichen

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Last bit of elevation before reaching the top of Noosa Hill

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Do you see a horse too?

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I think we added a good foot to the “official” height of Noosa Hill

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Then made our way back down…

Lots of interesting textures to see

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Xuan found his special place in a tree

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Markings made by the larvae of the Scribbly Gum moth! You see these tracks all over the Scribby Gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma) and according to Wiki: Eggs are laid between layers of old and new bark. The larvae burrow into the new bark and, as the old bark falls away, the trails are revealed. The diameters of the tunnels increase as the larvae grow, and the ends of the tracks are where the larvae stopped to pupate.

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Gorgeous red crystalized sap on the Scribbly Gums

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We eventually reached the end of the Noosa Hill track and continued on another 2.8km via the Tanglewood track (#2 in orange), a meandering trail through cool rainforest.

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Found a turkey! We unfortunately didn’t see much wildlife except for turkeys and birds!

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Found the Eye of Sauron

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The trail eventually gave way to woodlands…

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… as we reached our much anticipated destination: Alexandria Bay.

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One word: Stunning.

Stay tuned to see more of this gorgeous place!

Breakfast Date @ Gunshop Cafe

After a lovely breakfast with Fiona, Kristen and Christine at Gunshop Cafe a number of weeks back, I promised that I would take Michael on my return 🙂

Earlier this year, we had dinner at the Gunshop Cafe with Mike’s sister, Meaghan, that ended as a so-so experience. Because they are well known for breakfast, we vowed to come back and try and we both finally did!

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Friendly, attentive service and delicious food!

Mike tried the Tasmanian smoked salmon, poached eggs, traditional kettle boiled bagel, hollandaise with greens – $18.50. What a treat to have a bagel again since being in Canada! Delicious and very satisfying!

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A pleased customer!

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I struggled with choosing between either a sweet or savoury dish, our server convinced to go sweet and decadent and I did not regret! Canadian brioche French toast, double smoked bacon, caramelised banana, candied pecans, maple syrup – $18.50. Uh-mazing. Fluffy brioche drowned in maple syrup and pecans… I love pecans! The crispy bacon really did the trick, whole combination was so tasty!

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Good to the last bite!

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We had a great time and even got some studying and discussion done. Having breakfast at the Gunshop Cafe is definitely a treat (read: expensive!) and we look forward to visiting again soon! 🙂

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Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

Recent Randoms

Some pictures from random moments these past few days!

Thing (from Addams Family) awkwardly on Michael’s shoulder 😉

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The Water Dragon that kept running at Nuangi, Mike and I while we were studying in Roma Parklands the other day!

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Absolutely delicious Mentai Tonkotsu Ramen (pork bone broth with roe, bamboo, soft boiled egg, sliced pork) with dumplings and Takikomi (fragrant Japanese styled rice)… lunch set for $15.50 at Wagaya! Yummy!

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Mike with a monster!

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Was in the city studying today…

Super busy Post Office Square

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Less busy Anzac Square just beside, settled here instead!

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It was a beautiful day!

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Heading back to the train when we saw the WWI & WWII Shrine of Memories, a crypt in the lower section of the Shrine of Remembrance.

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Whoa… all the pictures are in portrait orientation, weird! Well, until next time! 🙂

Lunch @ Dumpling Up

August 26, 2013

Got off early from the hospital, woo hoo!

Hungry and in time for lunch, how lucky 😛

Dumpling Up not only has a restaurant but a little kiosk next door where they sell dumplings and steam buns to go. After enjoying their buns-to-go a number of times, we decided to check out their restaurant for lunch.

A friendly staff member stood at the door introducing the lunch specials (on display in the window) to interested patrons.

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We were interested and promptly shown inside. Two words: lovely decor! Unfortunately, the restaurant was almost empty. A shame considering this restaurant opened only a few weeks ago at that time.

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They had appealing $10 lunch sets (rice with a main, 3 dumplings and green tea) but we decided on the a-la-carte menu instead in order to try more items.

All dishes were only $2.90 – amazing! We chose a variety of dishes…

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Started off with BBQ pork steam buns (2 per plate) – tasty as usual!

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Silly face!

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Deep fried pork and shrimp dumplings (3 per plate) – fillings tasted very similarly, decent but not a stand out.

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Edamame – overcooked with too much oil and salt.

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We also tried a few sushi options, all of which came with 3 pieces per plate.

Salmon roll (salmon, avocado & cucumber)

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Dragon roll (salmon, prawn & pickle)

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Spider roll (fried soft shell crab, pickle & cucumber)

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It’s a good thing we didn’t order too many because the sushi was not very good. Rice was overcooked, as you can probably see in the pictures. And the ingredients (tempura prawn and soft shell crab) were cold and not freshly made.

The price was great but the food did not match in quality. It was disappointing to see a large beautiful restaurant, with plenty of seating space, so empty in the middle of lunch time. And such a small menu that didn’t live up to expectations.

Service, however, was great and hopefully they will soon work out the kinks with the food – when you offer a limited menu, it should dazzle! Or maybe it was just a fluke in the kitchen the day we visited 😀 It is a lovely restaurant (with a bar and even private rooms) with good prices and we will be back in the near future to check it out again!

Dumpling Up on Urbanspoon

50% off Korean BBQ dinner @ Hong Depot

An opportunity through Dimmi for 50% off food (not including drinks or desserts) at Hong Depot, a Korean BBQ restaurant in West End. With an 82% rating on Urbanspoon and being somewhere we’ve never tried before – how could we resist?

Xuan, Mike and I had reservations for 5:30pm but showed up a bit early due to the timing of buses. No problems though! We were invited to our table and ordered drinks to start while waiting for the kitchen to open. The boys enjoyed Heineken beer while I got a glass of Black Raspberry Wine – sweet but so tasty!

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The restaurant is quirky but homey, does that make sense?

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Check out the plastic gloves filled with water, hanging all over the restaurant. Nope… still haven’t been able to figure it out 😛

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We were soon ready to place our order and eagerly awaiting our food.

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As with many Korean restaurants, there are always free unlimited refills of side dishes. The ones offered at Hong Depot were sliced fish cake, kim chi, and seaweed salad. All were very good! Never had seaweed salad as a slaw before but the crunchy texture really makes it!

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The dishes soon started flowing out at a very good pace. First dish, Rice Balls ($7 for 4 pcs – mixed with rice, yellow radish, seaweed, sesame and mayo) – very good! I especially liked the added texture of the red rice.

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Mandu ($9 for 8 pcs)! Korean dumplings with vegetable filling.

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Large Kimchi Pancake ($16). Crispy, filled with nice and spicy kimchi.

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When we finished our tapas, the staff set up fiery coals to barbecue our meats…

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Rice with dipping sauces

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We got 4 servings of meat, each 200g: Beef Galbi ($21 – marinated short beef rib), Spicy Beef Bulgogi ($18.80 – marinated thin slices of prime beef), Spicy Pork Bulgogi ($19.50 – marinated thin slices of prime pork) and Jumuluck ($21 – marinated boneless short beef rib). All of the meats were tender and well marinated.

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Loved being able to BBQ the meat to our liking and thank goodness for the table suction fan. Otherwise, we’d be reeking of BBQ on the way home!

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And even though we were getting full, ice cream was just too tempting. Xuan and Mike each got a scoop of Green Tea and I got Black Sesame ($6 each) – creamy and delicious! A very generous portion as well, no complaints!

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With the 50% discount, our bill for 3 people came to approximately $105 – great value! The dinner was great and everything was delicious 🙂 The staff were also extremely friendly and accommodating, despite the restaurant being very busy later in the evening. We left extremely satisfied but would be hesitant to return soon because at regular price, the food is quite pricey for the portion size. Would definitely recommend trying at least once though!

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Hong Depot on Urbanspoon

Being tourists on the Wheel of Brisbane

After Monty’s Chocolates, Mike and I walked over to South Bank to be tourists and ride the Wheel of Brisbane.

It’s something that we’ve been wanting to do and when we saw vouchers on sale ($6/person compared to regular price $15/pp), we had to buy!

It was much busier than we thought, who knew the Wheel was the place to be on a Friday night!

Waiting in line!

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Just loaded into our gondola! See the tourist excitement on our faces?

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Oh my gosh, we’re moving!!

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There is a recording that plays through out your ride, pointing out all the different locations that you can follow along with the booklet they give you. There’s even volume control and A/C control.

Derpy faces 😛

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View from the top!

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Premature sad faces after the second round and thinking the ride was already over.

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We were wrong! The ride was closer to 6 loops! Definitely worth the money 😛

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Ended the night with yummy Korean food at Madtongsan II with Xuan Ping. Lovely Friday night!

Indulgence at Monty’s Chocolates

Michael and I FINALLY had the opportunity to visit Monty’s Chocolates on Friday. We had purchased an Ultimate Chocolate Indulgence for 2 ($15) voucher a while back and were extremely excited check it out.

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The shop is quaint and quiet, slightly tucked away from the bustling sidewalk. Superior chocolates from all around the world line both walls, a guarantee you can find a little something for anyone. There’s a coffee cart at the door for those in a hurry, as well as a stocked counter at the back for more options.

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Seating area is adorable with basic decor but cute character.

The chocolate indulgence included a coffee each or a pot of tea to share. Mike and I decided on sharing a cleansing pot of green tea.

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We had the opportunity to savour a small hot chocolate each and share 6 salted caramels as well as 4 handmade European chocolates.

The 4 chocolates we received were (from left to right) Macadamia Brittle, Lavender & Wildberry, Strawberry & Marscapone, and Vanilla Delight.

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The hot chocolate was dark, thick and decadent. The best part was that it was not overly sweet – yum!

The salted caramels by Artison du Chocolat were so delicious! Like nothing I’ve ever tried. A crisp dark chocolate shell, covered in cocoa with an explosive burst of liquid salted caramel inside – amazing!

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The Macadamia Brittle was creamy, light, and subtle.

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Although I’ve never been a fan of floral flavours, the lavender flavour in the next chocolate was not overpowering and I loved the tartness of the wildberry. The Vanilla Delight tasted exactly like its name.

Michael’s face of happiness 😛

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Strawberry & Marscapone was our favourite!

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We enjoyed everything we tried, and would’ve tried more if we didn’t already have dinner plans 😉

Steve, the owner, was present and introduced all his customers to little samples of chocolate. We got to try a little bit of dark chocolate from Madagascar (should’ve asked what percentage!). Although Mike and I were happy to be left to ourselves (not often we get to ‘go on dates’ in surgery), I’m sure Steve would’ve been more than happy to share his knowledge and answer any questions we might have.

This really cute elderly gentleman came in shortly before we left. I had to grab a picture!

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Monty’s Chocolates is a wonderful little shop with amazing chocolate from all over the world. Service is welcoming and It’s a great place to catch up with friends over some tasty chocolate, or even grab something on the go. We’ll definitely be back and I know exactly where to go when I’m looking for a gift of truly special chocolates!

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Thanks Monty’s Chocolates for a lovely beginning to the weekend after a long a week 🙂

Monty's Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Visiting Fi in Toowoomba!

Kristen, Christine and I went to visit Fiona in Toowoomba last Sunday! What a lovely opportunity to catch up with the girls, how I’ve missed them!

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Fi, our very lovely (and free!) tour guide, took us on a ride around town and we eventually drove up to Preston Peak Wines for lunch. Fun and friendly wine tasting but a limited lunch menu. The location was beautiful and peaceful, it’s too bad the sun wasn’t out for very long!

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The day was short and soon we were on our way back to Brisbane. With exams coming up, we left with the promise to be back for a hiking and boardgames day – looking forward to it!

Until then, surgery study time!

The “REALLY COOL” car we saw during the drive home:

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Picked up a little something for Michael, a bottle of fortified wine. Golden Gleam – Fortified pristine White Muscat juice. Lychee and marmalade characteristics; a very fruity wine. 🙂

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Night out with friends @ Moda Restaurant

Xuan and Amanda joined us for a 50% Dimmi special at Moda Restaurant this past Wednesday. We had looked at the menu before arriving and were certainly excited to try many of the delicious sounding dishes.

We were immediately greeted and shown to our table. I was a little skeptical to be sitting outside on a cold breezy evening but it was surprisingly nice and warm! Francois, the front of house host, also came by to check up on us multiple times through out the evening.

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Our server (I’m sorry I didn’t get his name!) was extremely friendly and pleasant, recommending dishes and answering our questions.

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We started with bread ($3/pp, homemade Ciabatta) and house olives ($5). Good conversation starter and I liked having the small bottle of olive oil at our table.

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We soon decided on a share plate (5 items) for 4 – $78. The dishes all came out to be enjoyed at once. (I’ve taken the menu items straight from the website, but I think some of the menu may have changed the night we were there)

Black pudding (blood sausage) with white onion puree. Tasty but did not stand out by the end of the night.

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White anchovies with heirloom tomatoes. Personally, I’m not a fan of anchovies and found the pickled taste overpowering but everyone else really enjoyed them!

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Reef fish ceviche with rose water and berries. Lovely combination of flavours with the sweetness of the pineapple and tartness of the blueberries. The roe added a pop of flavour but the texture of the fish was quite stringy/chewy which I thought was odd when it was supposed to be raw and fresh.

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WA Octopus with persimmon and passion fruit. Easily the favourite at our table. Tender grilled octopus on slices of fresh persimmon – one of my favourite fruits. So yummy!

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Half shell scallops with cauliflower & saffron and jamon. These were delicious and the second favourite dish between us. The cauliflower added a nice creaminess and the jamon was thin, crisp and flavourful – such a treat!

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It was only afterwards that I realized the prices: $78 for a tasting plate of 5 dishes ($15.60 each) or $16 to order them individually – not really sure why there’s this option when you end up saving only $2. The portions were also quite small, especially the scallops – there were only 2…

We then moved on to mains:

Mike got the Beef cheek with horseradish mash and King Brown mushrooms ($35). He found no fault with this dish, the cheek was so tender it fell apart in your mouth. I think he wanted more 😉

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Xuan got the Angel hair pasta with scallops, clams, prawn and aioli ($37). He was pretty disappointed with this dish, which he found similar to fried noodles and the aioli sauce an odd combination.

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Amanda decided on the John Dory with pancetta, potatoes, rosemary and garlic ($39). I remember she said this dish was okay, a 7/10

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And after changing my mind a few times, I settled for Venison Pie with persimmon and Goat’s curd ($36). The best thing I put in my mouth that night. The flavour combination was so unique and delicious to me, I just wish it hadn’t been SO TINY. Really… the pie should’ve been at least double the size!

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Because almost all the portions were tiny, we had plenty of room for dessert. There were 4 options on the menu which made the decision easy – one of each.

Spanish creme caramel with mini meringues and lemon sauce ($17). None of us were expecting such a… texture. It was very thick with a strong flavour of egg yolk and sweet like condensed milk. Interesting but I wouldn’t order it myself again.

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Creme catalana with white raspberries and honey comb ($18). I’ve never had creme catalana before, and when I looked it up, Google tells me it’s also known as creme brulee. That was certainly not what we were served but it was my favourite dessert of the night. A glass of foamy, delicious, spicy creaminess with a nice crunch and sweetness from the honey comb. There was also some sherry (made into a jelly) at the bottom of the glass which added nicely to the dessert.

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Valhrona Chocolate Fondant with orange marmalade ice cream ($19). Like molten lava cake… it’s hard to go wrong with this decision! 😉

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And lastly, Rice pudding with poached pear and vanilla bean ice cream ($18). I am not a fan of anything porridge like, whether sweet or savoury. I found the texture of rice a little too hard for a pudding, made me think of a sweet risotto, haha! The others enjoyed it though! I forgot to take a picture of this dish – haha, sorry!

Service was easily the best out of all the places we visited so far this year. We were lucky to have been able to dine here for 50% off our food. Despite the good experience, we all found it too expensive to return here (at least anytime soon as poor international students) at regular prices. Additionally, the portions were quite small when compared to the prices and our expectations. With that being said, the ambiance is fantastic (although I wish the lighting had been better for pictures) and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to others looking for a special night out.

Moda Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Local sushi fix at Sakura Sushi

It’s about time I write about Sakura Sushi – we’ve been here enough!

Just a couple of minutes walk down my street, Sakura offers fair priced, decent quality and freshly made sushi and other dishes. A sushi train takes up the majority of the restaurant while workers prepare the food within the track where you can watch.

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It has been the same friendly staff greeting us since we started visiting last year and service is always the same – prompt and happy.

There are 2 options when it comes to eating:

  1. There is a menu but you can choose from whatever is being made and put on the sushi train
  2. If you don’t see what you want, you can order it directly from the staff and they’ll make it on the spot

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Super tasty BBQ pork steam buns! And crab claws!

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Chicken and avocado wrapped in egg with a dollop of mayo

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Tempura prawn and vegetable (I forgot the name!)

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Tempura prawn and avocado

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Fried wontons

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One of our favourite: Grilled salmon

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Great value and we always leave with happy bellies!

Side note: There’s a bowl of assorted candy by the cash register. Every time we leave, I make an effort to pick a tasty candy while Michael randomly picks one. He always ends up with a delicious candy and I always get a gross one with weird texture. How?!

Sakura Sushi on Urbanspoon

Sono Japanese Restaurant for Amanda’s 22nd Birthday!

Thanks to Kee Ping for organising the surprise birthday party for Amanda on Saturday, June 16th! We had the private function room at Sono Japanese Restaurant with 17 people altogether.

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The privacy of the room was pretty nice, although I wish the 2 tables weren’t so segregated. Unfortunately, it was impossible to facilitate conversation between both tables at the same time. Service was very friendly, the servers wore lovely Kimino outfits and were very accommodating. Even though we were in a closed room, we weren’t forgotten and constantly checked upon.

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The food, however, was quite expensive and dishes were hit-or-miss. Some people were quite happy with their dishes but others found theirs lackluster.

Here were a handful of dishes at my table:

Ebi (prawn) Tempura. Delicious, but expensive at $15 for 3 prawns.

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Unagi (eel) Kabayaki ($28) – thick cuts and very flavourful!

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Soft Shell Crab with Shiso Salsa ($15) – Great dish with nice flavour and acidity. A little too much salsa than needed for the burst of flavour so the crab quickly got soft.

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Tenzaru Soba ($19) – This was my dish, which I chose because I had never had cold noodles before and wanted to try something new. The dish was quite bland if not for the tempura and unfortunately, I got really bad food poisoning later that night (the only one in our group who got sick and who had this dish). I’m almost sure it was from the cold noodles itself, probably Bacillus cereus, which is often associated with improperly stored starchy foods (ie. rice, noodles, pasta). Seriously the worst pain of my life, thank god it was over quickly.

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The most interesting, but unfortunately, the most disappointing dish of the night: Seafood Houbayaki ($26). Individually served and cooked at the table, rice is extra.

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Extremely bland! You can even see there seems to be no seasoning involved.

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Moving on to dessert and festivities with the birthday girl! 🙂

Amanda was puzzled, trying to guess who was the person who ordered the chocolate cake decorated with macarons. Turns out it was from her sister back home in Malaysia!

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Taking pictures!

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Many sweets! Chocolate cake from her sister, cheesecake from her friends and I made some pear cupcakes!

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All smiles! Happy birthday girl!

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Great night and got to meet some lovely people! 🙂

Would we come back to Sono? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic evening – service was great, with lovely traditional decor and great ambiance. However, most of the group agreed that it was too expensive for less than impressive food. It seemed like half the group really enjoyed their food and the other half (which included the 4 people who ordered the Seafood Houbayaki) simply thought, “Meh.” Also, the food poisoning was unfortunate and extremely unpleasant!

Sono Japanese City on Urbanspoon

Late breakfast at Eurovida

After tennis with the boys, Xuan drove us to Paddington for a late breakfast at Eurovida –  mmm, so hungry!

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There were no free tables when we first arrived so we were invited to sit at the bar and order drinks to start. Didn’t have to wait long and we were soon seated at a table by the window.

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Xuan and Kee Ping

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Re-hydrated with some water and then ordered some drinks for breakfast.

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Missing pictures, but a chocolate milkshake for Kee Ping which he said was not bad. Along with a cappuccino for Xuan and a flat white for Mike – coffees were apparently quite good!

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A house made iced tea for me. Refreshing and I liked the fresh mint.

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Loved the wooden chandeliers. Very rustic and would look great in a cottage by a lake.

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And then the wait for food… which took a lot longer than we expected. The service was very pleasant but luckily we weren’t starving and grumpy!

Simple Eats for Mike: 2 poached eggs, toasted sourdough bread, Italian sausage and grilled haloumi cheese. Tasty sausages although not spicy as expected!

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Simple Eats for Xuan as well: scrambled eggs with sourdough bread and grilled haloumi. Nice fluffy scrambled eggs and large side of not-too-salty haloumi!

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Kee Ping got one of the specials of the day: Belgium waffle with poached pear, maple syrup and cream. For $17, we all expected a much larger serving, with at least 2 waffles. The dish was also too sweet.

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I got the Grilled haloumi with poached eggs, sautèed spinach, beetroot relish, sourdough toast. Nicely poached eggs and interesting beetroot relish which had good texture but I wish it had been a little more flavourful! The spinach could use some seasoning too, a hint of garlic would’ve been very nice. Also, I love watercress salad and find it such a shame when it’s sprinkled haphazardly as garnish (as seen with all 3 of our savoury dishes). A little bit on the side with a spritz of vinaigrette would make the dish much more tasty!

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We also got a side of fries with aioli sauce to share. The cut and taste of fries reminded me of McDonald’s fries, although slightly healthier if that’s possible. Aioli sauce was nice and garlicky – yum!

On the way out, I saw these huge banana chocolate pecan muffins and had to get one for later. It was big and looked very appealing but unfortunately didn’t taste exceptional. Very tough consistency for a muffin and not strong in flavour. Oh well!

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Overall we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. We don’t live near Paddington but if it were more convenient, we would probably visit again.

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Eurovida on Urbanspoon

Savoyards: Phantom of the Opera

Mike and I had the pleasure of joining Christine and Fiona last night to watch Savoyards’ production of Phantom of the Opera at Iona Performing Arts Centre.

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The production opened on May 25, 2013 and it is not only the Queensland premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most popular work, but also the second amateur production of the musical in the world.”

What an amazing night! The show was 2.5 hours long with a 20 minutes intermission.

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“With a cast of 52 and a 27 piece orchestra, it is one of the largest productions Savoyards have ever mounted in their 52 year history and will play for 14 performances.”

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If not for our dear friend Roger playing the organ/keyboard in the orchestra (who did an awesome job by the way!), I wouldn’t have known or thought of attending.

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I had never seen Phantom of the Opera before and for others who don’t know the story:

“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, is a darkly romantic musical about a mysterious “Opera Ghost” who inspires a young singer, has become a legend, drawing standing-room audiences throughout the world.  With unforgettable songs such as “The Music of the Night”, All I Ask of You”, Masquerade” and of course, the title song, this will be a night at the theatre that you won’t easily forget.”

The main characters, Phantom and Christine Daae played by Lionel Theunissen and Monique Latemore, respectively, were definitely stars of the show. A wonderful, talented cast with great music, amazing costumes and beautiful sets.

Roger in the pit with the orchestra at the end of the show!

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What a great night out! Dressed up with awesome company, a delicious dinner at Absolute Thai, a night of amazing musical talent!

High Tea at Coffee & Chocolate

Christine Q invited me out for a high tea and study date at Coffee & Chocolate, how could I say no? 😉

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We met last Sunday at Queens Plaza with reservations for 12pm and were told we could each select any of the hot or cold beverages.

Christine chose a Callebaut Strawberry Hot Chocolate, which was served on a stylish dish with some marshmallows.

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I got a refreshing Mango, Guava & Lychee Frappe.

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We chose seats by the window and didn’t have to wait long for our high tea, which came out on 2 tiers – savoury on the bottom, sweets on the top.

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Pretty Christine with the goodies!

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Started off with the savoury goodies – chicken salad finger sandwiches, puff pastry triangles with a meat filling, mini quiche tarts, and bread rusks with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Quality of food was good, everything was tasty but presentation could use a bit of work!

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On to the sweets! Warm soft scones with jam, butter and whipped cream, chocolate cake, strawberry bar, macarons and mini muffins (blueberry and chocolate). The desserts were all average, nothing that wowed us but they were all enjoyed. The macarons were unfortunately undercooked and the turquoise one, despite the lovely colour, had no flavour.

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For $12 a person, we had a good time and left with happy bellies to get some studying done 😉

I have to say, I was a little concerned after seeing so many bad reviews on Urbanspoon, but I was glad to have been overall proven wrong. Decent food with prompt service, hurray! Would I come back? Well, I would like to give their chocolates a try, so maybe if I’m ever in the area?

Coffee & Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Yum Cha at King of Kings

Yoni was in town last weekend, and since Mike and I had been craving some yum cha (or dim sum), we convinced Yoni to come with us to King of Kings.

We arrived before the restaurant even opened for dinner, so an empty restaurant and plenty of seating to choose from. The staff were extremely friendly and service was great! I I also enjoyed the music – relaxing instrumental tracks (Muzak) of popular songs, both really old and really new. Nice when you have a headache! 😉

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The reason why we enjoy having Yum Cha at King of Kings is because it is available all day and is made to order. The menu was small with 16 items to choose from that cost around $7-8 each. It didn’t take us long to make up our minds, we went ahead and ordered 7 dishes. Although I just found out on their website that there’s a much more extensive menu available, we’ll have to find out when we can get those options.

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Our guest for the weekend, Yoni, with long hair.

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Deep fried squid tentacles. This dish was generous but not as good as we’ve had before, I wish the batter was lighter and crispier.

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Panfried pork bun. Tasty dumplings with large amounts of nicely seasoned pork filling.

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Steamed BBQ pork bun. These buns were just okay, the filling was very gelatinous – too much flour added as filler.

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Deep fried prawn dumplings. Nice and huge crispy dumplings with lots of flavoured shrimp filling. Would definitely get again. Really weird sauce… I don’t even know how to describe it.

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Pan fried pork buns. Good sized buns with a tasty pork filling.

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Deep fried glutinous buns. My favourite of the night, I always love these glutinous buns and these ones had a lovely savoury meat filling.

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Steamed custard bun. Although the flavour was nice, the texture of the custard was too clumpy and dry, not the delicious creamy filling I was expecting.

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We were given fortune cookies to end our meal. So whose fortune was better?

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Total cost: $52 between 3 people – not bad! The quality of King of Kings yum cha is decent, although everything tastes much better when you are starving. Some of the dishes were really good and others were sub par. Would we come back again? Probably, because it’s so convenient from our house (less than 10 min bus ride). Although we’ve heard from many that Sunnybank is the place to go for dim sum so we’ll have to make our way down there one day!

King of Kings on Urbanspoon

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,  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

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

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. 😛

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. 🙂 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.