Post engagement shoot dinner at MUST

May 06, 2016

Still feeling romantic after our engagement photo shoot with Kim Ing and taking advantage of the fact that we looked pretty spiffy – Michael and I ended the busy day with a dinner date.

We didn’t have a particular place in mind but knew there would be plenty of good dinner options around Byward Market.

A short walk later, we decided on MUST – Kitchen & Wine Bar. Warmly greeted, we were shown to a table upstairs. Given it was Friday evening, we were happy they had room without making reservations! The restaurant atmosphere was quite cosy – dimly lit with cobblestone walls and live music.

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Unfortunately, I can no longer remember our drinks selection but I certainly enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc option at the time and Michael was very happy with his tasting flight of reds! Thank you to the waiter for his suggestions!

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Luckily, we are both fans of sharing tapas dishes when the option is available at restaurants – gives us a chance to try multiple different options!

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This was the menu available at the time – the current one can be found HERE

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We had the 3 selections Charcuterie Platter which came with crostinis paired with a selection of terrine, pate and cured meats ($18). All were delicious, especially the terrine which paired very nicely with the house pickles and fruit jelly!

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Pretty happy and excited! Not just about date night, but soon getting married!

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My handsome soon to be husband!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night: Bison tartare with gerkin, anchovy and lime aioli, stilton, crispy capers, and crushed walnuts served with grilled baguette ($18). We love tartare but find it’s often a one dimensional dish in terms of texture – not this one! Loved the contrasting textures – soft tender bison with the added crunch of the other elements of the dish. We would’ve never thought of adding blue cheese but the pungent saltiness really worked beautifully!

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Seared foie gras with sweet confit persimmon, ash rind goats brie, crispy onion, and maple siracha served with baguette ($18). Extremely generous portion for a tapas dish – flavours worked well to create a very rich and indulgent plate! I wouldn’t say it was served with baguette though, especially given the previous dish – they were crostinis – and certainly not enough for the portion size!

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Baked brie and halloumi – phyllo wrapped baked brie, black currant cream, brown butter seared halloumi, honey caramel, and pistachios served with crostinis ($17). We absolutely love halloumi and baked brie… so couldn’t resist ordering this dish. It was rich, sweet and salty, how could you possibly go wrong with a cheese dish like this? Both halloumi and brie are mild in flavour and we found the added flavours of berries and nuts did not over power the cheese – yum!

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The crostinis were appearing across many dishes – we wished there was a little more variety to the vessels upon which many of these delicious elements were being served on! The presentation was lovely though.

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The serving size of MUST’s tapas dishes are definitely more generous than we are used to. I’m glad we only ordered so many dishes as they were not only delicious, but very rich and filling. No room for dessert!

We had a great time. Food was delicious and reasonably priced, nice live music, great service, good location, and lovely atmosphere! Would definitely recommend trying it out and we look forward to the opportunity to go back!

Must Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Poutine Festival

May 05, 2016

After running around all day meeting with our some of our wedding vendors, we ended the night with a highly anticipated event – World of Poutine – Ottawa PoutineFest!

Michael and I have never had the pleasure in participating in a poutine event, and living in Australia for the last 5 years has certainly deprived us!

Ottawa PoutineFest took place over May 5-8, 2016 and included things like:

  • An incredible selection of poutine fused with flavours from around the world – including lobster, Donair, and Thai!
  • Making the world’s largest poutine while fundraising for charity
  • Craft Beer Garden from Broadhead Brewery
  • Live entertainment
  • Food demos
  • Old fashioned lemonade, churros, blooming onions, and more!

Located by Ottawa City Hall, we were joined by my siblings and our cousins. More people meant more variety, which is perfect because we ate… so much. It was worth it!

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My sister Jenni and cousin Janet – so nice all being in town together!

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Tons of poutine trucks to choose from!

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What happens when you attend a poutine festival with a bunch of people… you get to try so many things!

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And when even more people join!

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The Upper Deck had one of our favourite poutines – the Classic Halifax Donair!

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Getting full!

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What goes perfect as dessert to poutine? Beavertails of course! Another iconic Canadian food! That meant a short walk from City Hall to the Byward Market. View of downtown Ottawa at dusk – gorgeous!

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Mmm, what is better than ending your meal with a soft, chewy, fluffy pastry dipped in cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with lemon juice?! Kilaloe Sunrise is my favourite beavertail option on the menu!

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So much cholesterol was consumed this night 🙂 So happy! Thanks everyone for hanging out with us!

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If you have the chance, don’t miss out! This year’s Ottawa PoutineFest is May 4-7, 2017!

WEDDING FOOD

May 05, 2016

Today was the exciting day we (finally) did our menu tasting! Being the week before our wedding, we were incredibly lucky that our caterer – Distinction by Sodexo – allowed us to do our menu tasting so last minute (usually done 1-2 months prior).

By this date, we had already confirmed our menu selection and the wine had also been selected ahead of time by the Distinction Sommelier. That meant although our menu was set, we could make recommendations for adjustments if the dishes didn’t suit our taste.

At the time of our booking, we chose the Symphony option. It was the most expensive at $125/person excluding 17% service charge and 14.975% taxes (cheapest option $85/pp). Despite it being pricey, it really had everything we wanted. Our #1 wedding priority was food (the more the better) so that’s where a majority of our budget went.

The Symphony Package included the following:

  • 1 glass of sparkling wine per person during cocktail hour
  • Passed canapés based on 3 pieces per person (choice of 4) during cocktail hour
  • Fresh rolls and butter
  • 5 course meal with a choice of soup, salad, granité, main course and dessert
  • 2 glasses of upgraded wine per person during dinner (selected by Distinction Sommelier)
  • Cake cutting service served after dinner with coffee and tea station
  • Late night snack
  • Colored tablecloth, napkins and choice of white or black chair covers
  • Votive candles, china and glassware, table numbers and stands

Below was the menu available to us at the time, with our selections in bold

Canape Selections:

  • Smoked Salmon on Cucumber Medallion
  • Turkey Tenderloin with Applewood Smoked Bacon Skewer
  • Beetroot Hummus on Crostini topped with Goat Cheese
  • Vegetable Spring roll with Chive Plum Sauce
  • Herb Risotto Lollipop with Pesto Sauce
  • Canadian Coast to Coast mixed Crab Cake topped with Ponzu Aioli
  • Bison Meat Ball Mini Fork with Berry Jelly
  • Watermelon with Aged Balsamic and Mint Leaf

Soup selections:

  • Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Coriander and Carrot Soup, Chive Oil
  • Parsnip Root Soup, Apple Infused Sour Cream Crostini Garnish
  • Braised Curry Chicken and Coconut Kaffir Lime Leaf Chowder, Basil Oil

Salad selections:

  • Grilled Cortland Apple and Parmigianino Shavings, Arugula, Trebbiano Grape Acidulated Fig Dressing
  • Mixed Young Greens, Shaved Pickled Red Radish, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil Dressing
    and Powdered Balsamic Vinegar
  • Arugula Greens with Crumbled Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberry and a Raspberry
    Vinaigrette
  • Kale Caesar Salad with Grated Parmesan, Spicy Lemon Garlic Roasted Croutons,
    Crumbled Free Range Egg and Topped with Pickled Crispy Capers

Chef’s selection of granite – which ended up being a refreshing palate cleanser similar to sorbet!

For Mains, we paid an extra $4/pp for guests to have a choice between 2 proteins. A vegan/GF/LF alternative is also offered at no additional costs.

  • Pan Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast, Mushroom Herb Cream Sauce served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
  • Maple and Sichuan Peppercorn Salmon over a Panko Crusted Risotto Cake served with Market Vegetables
  • Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni topped with a Roasted Tomato and Pesto Cream  Sauce
  • Pan Seared 6oz Canadian Beef Tenderloin topped with a Thyme and Roasted Shallot Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
  • Pheasant Breast Stuffed with Thyme and Niagara Apple topped with a Port Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
  • Pan Seared Veal Chop and Veal Jus infused with Star Anis served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
  • Alternate Dish (vegan, gluten free, lactose free): Vegetable, Tofu and Portobello Stacker on a bed of Risotto and Roasted Tomato Coulis

Dessert selections:

  • Cheese Cake with Raspberry Compote and topped with Ginger Sour Cream and Honey Powder
  • Soften Half Baked Double Chocolate Brownie topped with Sichuan Peppercorn
    Raspberry and Whipped Cream
  • Salted Caramel Square with Mini Upside Down Coffee Mousse Cone and Whipped
    Cream
  • Lemon and chives crusted tilapia with a white wine cream sauce

Kid’s Meal included veggies and dip, chicken fingers and fries, chef’s dessert and juices/soft drinks.

The late night snack option was too easy: Poutine with fries, cheese curds, and gravy! (Or Sliced Canadian Deli Meats and Canadian Cheeses, Mustards and Basket of Mini Ciabatta Buns)

For alcohol, we decided to have an Open Bar/Host Bar – luckily for us, our guests didn’t drink nearly as much as we estimated and we ended up getting a partial refund!


The Tasting:

Josee Pilon (josee.pilon@sodexo.com) is the catering representative and met us for our tasting. It was our first time meeting her (used to be someone else when we first signed our contract). She was friendly and easy to get along with, which was great!

The tasting also took place in the Panorama Lounge, which was the upstairs venue we had booked as our backup indoor rainy day option so it gave us the opportunity to scope it out some more 🙂

They also had the table set up so we could appreciate what the settings would look like. Of course, it would look slightly different with our own centrepieces, napkin arrangements, menus and wedding favours!

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Josee stayed with us through out the tasting to make notes of our feedback and finalise reception details. We initially thought it would be weird to have someone watch us eat, but surprisingly, it was pleasant and not awkward at all!

We were also surprised to find out we’d be having full servings! It was explained to us that that way, we could appreciate the presentation and serving size of each dish – definitely not expected but well appreciated!

Bread rolls and butter

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First course was Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds which was warming and delicious. We were definitely off to a good start.

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Then came the Grilled Cortland Apple and Parmigianino Shavings, Arugula, Trebbiano Grape Acidulated Fig Dressing.  We wanted to choose a non traditional salad that would still appeal to a majority of guests and were very happy with how nicely the sweetness of apples worked so well with the saltiness of the cheese and the acidity of the dressing!

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We also got to taste the red wine that would be served – Domaine Houchart, Côtes de Provence, France. Unfortunately, the white (Flying Solo, Grenache Blanc – Viognier, France) was not available to taste on the day! We quite enjoyed the red and wish it was sold here in Australia so we could buy some!

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Michael and I shared the 3 mains, thank goodness!

First was the Maple and Sichuan Peppercorn Salmon over a Panko Crusted Risotto Cake served with Market Vegetables. The salmon was seasoned and cooked beautifully and we especially liked the risotto cake which was moist and very flavourful with hints of citrus.

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Pan Seared 6oz Canadian Beef Tenderloin topped with a Thyme and Roasted Shallot Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables. Beef was cooked medium rare and was nice and tender. The only comment we had was the reduction was just a little too salty for our tastes – which was noted.

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Last of the mains was our alternate dish Vegetable, Tofu and Portobello Stacker on a bed of Risotto and Roasted Tomato Coulis. Although we definitely preferred the previous 2 dishes, we appreciated that this dish was quite substantial and filling. Not your typical salad/pasta vegetarian option.

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And finally, dessert Cheese Cake with Raspberry Compote and topped with Ginger Sour Cream and Honey Powder. Ginger sour cream is a flavour we’ve never had before and it was definitely a winner!

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If our guests ate the same meal we did (which will also include a granite and canapes we didn’t have the chance to try) – surely they will be happily stuffed! 🙂 We left the tasting incredibly happy with our choices!


On the Day:

Michael and I had to take family photos and did not have the chance to try the canapes! 😦 We hope everyone else enjoyed them on our behalf.

The soup and salad were just as good as we remembered it. I’ve been told that the beef was cooked nicely and wasn’t overly salty. Unfortunately, myself and a few others who had the salmon did find it overcooked and slightly dry. In particular, I was disappointed with the risotto cake which was dry and lacked the punch of flavour that impressed me so much at our tasting. Otherwise we had no complaints with our food!

Everyone loved the poutine bar! Despite it was gauged at 4oz/pp there was heaps for anyone who wanted seconds, even thirds! The best part? Real cheese curds!

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We cut our cake during dinner service, which was later put out for guests to enjoy. Our package was meant to include ‘cake cutting service.’ The tiers of our cake were separated (top tier saved) and set on the table for guests to self serve – which was fine as they could help themselves to whatever they wanted.

None of our guests brought up any concerns at the wedding reception. It seemed like everyone had a good time and were happy with the service and the food.

There were a few stand out/feedback moments for us:

  • Despite providing a seating plan with everyone’s meal option, my husband and I personally witnessed 2 (of 5) vegetarian guests served the wrong dish – one who was a groomsman at the head table! It was eventually sorted out but surely a simple “I’ve got a vegetarian dish for so-and-so?” should’ve been easy?
  • Dry salmon and bland risotto as mentioned previously
  • My mother told me after the wedding that a server had been incredibly rude towards my grandma for using cutlery in the wrong order. Apparently she had used her main knife and fork for her entree and was rudely told she shouldn’t have done that when the table was being cleared.
  • The lack of announcement that poutine and/or cake was being served meant that those too busy on the dance floor/photo booth didn’t realise food was available! Especially since our cake was brought out to our ‘gifts table’ closer to the entrance of the venue, even we didn’t realise it! Our suggestion would be for the staff to ask the DJ/emcee/another guest to make an annoucement when late night food and/or cake is available so everyone has the chance to enjoy!
  • Would have been nice for guests to have a bar menu to know what was available to order. We were told this would be provided but unfortunately it wasn’t to be seen!
  • A minor detail that doesn’t change anything but it was a little disappointing to see our napkin placement was not as we had wanted – for such a simple design too!

This was the photo we had provided, loved the wide and long hanging napkin design that would give us a nice pop of colour as we planned to place a menu and wedding favour on top.

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Our setting on at the wedding reception – the napkin was placed much higher on the table. As a result, less colour seen and less flow of napkin into the tablecloth!

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Overall…

Aside from the few glitches above, we were very happy with our wedding reception and the all encompassing catering service!

We would definitely recommend the Museum of History and Distinction by Sodexo to any of our friends looking for a beautiful wedding/reception venue that includes everything from set up to tear down for your peace of mind 🙂

The wedding packages offered by Distinction by Sodexo at the Museum of History seem to have undergone an overhaul since our booking. You can view their current options HERE. The packages appear more expensive now and do not include the same amount of options that we had.

Their most expensive package is now called Distinctly Unique ($150/pp) and has the following differences: less options to choose from for every course, 3 instead of 4 chosen canapes, 3 and not 5 course meal, no upgraded wine at dinner, no glass of champagne included with canapes, late night snack not included (poutine bar an extra $10/pp).

Man are we glad wedding planning is officially behind us… weddings are expensive!

FIRST SUSHI BACK IN OTTAWA

May 4, 2016

Our second day back in Ottawa and the day my sister Jenni (maid of honour) arrives from Vancouver! We had a long list of things we wanted to eat and of course, sushi was on that list!

Family reunion lunch at 168 Sushi Buffet!

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We ate, and ate, and ate. It was not the BEST sushi, but it was still pretty darn good! Especially for Michael and I, who’ve been living in Rockhampton with absolutely no decent sushi!

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Always a fav – seaweed salad

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My brother Andy LOVES his grilled eel! If you’ve never tried, please do! It’s tasty!

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Tempura and rolls

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Edamame

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We went shopping after lunch and I thought this was worth sharing. A store called Marshalls (similar to Winners) was selling this Fendi purse/clutch… FOR $2199! 1) It was dang ugly. 2) Who in their right minds (even if filthy rich) would ever buy this?

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Anyway, a good second day back in Ottawa with family! Tomorrow begins the hectic wedding meetings!

Back in Ottawa!

May 03, 2016

You know you’re back in Canada when…

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Bagels, timbits, and Tim Horton’s coffee – who doesn’t make a pit stop as soon as your plane lands? We certainly did once we arrived in Toronto! Landed in Ottawa and was so incredibly happy to be greeted not only by my mom and brother, but also my grandparents and my Uncle 2 (Cau Hai)! Despite how late it was (midnight!) they insisted on a meal – so we ended up at Pho Ba Ga La in Chinatown!

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I’ve never been out so late with my grandparents! 😉

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It was a good time with the family, but you know me, no Vietnamese restaurant beats homemade food and I still stand by it!

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Thank you to my wonderful family – so happy to be back in Canada!

In case you were wondering where Michael’s family was – they live in Kingston so it’s a drive to Ottawa! Since Michael was planning on staying in Ottawa for the coming couple of weeks for wedding planning, it made sense for them not to drive up but we would see them soon!

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!

Degani @ Rockhampton Post Office

April 16, 2016

After a LONG night at work, Michael picked me up in the morning and took me out for a much needed meal. Our first visit to Degani at the Rockhampton Post Office – and certainly won’t be our last!

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It was 8am in the morning, but I had not had anything to eat all shift and was ravenous. Luckily, the staff were great – they didn’t blink an eye when I requested a burger and fries for breakfast – and it was also not a problem for the kitchen!

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I chose the Works Burger with hamburger patty, salad, egg, bacon, pineapple & cheese ($15.80). Everything was fresh and the burger was so big, I had to use a knife and fork to slowly hack away at it 😉 Chips were nice as well!

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And of course… I got this. Because who doesn’t need chocolate first thing in the morning?

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Mike was much more breakfast-appropriate, having Eggs Benedict Degani Style with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, shaved ham and toast ($15.40).

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We finished everything, had a great morning catching up, and a good night’s sleep once we got home – thanks Degani! See you again in the future!

Workshop Cafe

April 12, 2016

I previously mentioned that working night shifts gave us an opportunity to enjoy many more breakfast dates!

One of the more unique places for breakfast (or anytime snack) in town is the Workshop Rockhampton Coffee & Crêpe Bar on East St! I have previously mentioned East St Markets at The Workshop, which is also definitely worth checking out!

The Tokyo-styled cafe is partnered with Coffee Roasters and serve their signature Samurai Blend. Apparently, the coffee is always good. Food wise – a delicious selection of sweet and savory crepes! They also serve galettes (buckwheat crepes), waffles, toasties, baked treats and soups of the day – yum!

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Both their cold and hot matcha drinks come unsweetened – so you’ll have to add some sugar if you prefer it sweeter like me!

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My tired date 🙂

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Not on the current menu, Mike got the Fancy Pants with crisp apples, prosciutto, double brie, baby spinach, Moscato glaze ($11.70)

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I quite enjoyed my Protein Hit with a 2 egg omelette, truffle salt, Otafuku sauce, and cheddar cheese ($8.70). The combination of Otafuku sauce, truffle and mayo flavours was a win!

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I have also tried one of the galettes – Fun Guy with mushrooms, cauliflower cream and spinach. I absolutely love mushrooms but unfortunately found the galette to be overall very bland. It was also an odd texture due to the grainy cauliflower cream that also made the galette very mushy. I would definitely recommend trying one of the others on the menu!

During one of our visits, the soup of the day was Pumpkin Soup – creamy and delicious with chunks of ham – definitely try it if you have the chance! Hearty and soul warming 🙂

Looking forward to another visit for the sweet crepes and waffles. Happy visiting!

Comforts!

April 6, 2016

When you’ve got some time on your hands, nothing beats some homemade comfort foods.

My first time making tomato soup – fresh, tangy, healthy, yummy! As a kid growing up, I loved having the Campbell’s tomato soup with Premium Plus crackers. Now I know, homemade soup is on a whole different level!

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Cheese and Biscuits Cafe

March 31, 2016

Cheese and Biscuits Cafe is one of our favourite places in Rockhampton! Which makes it the perfect visit for a breakfast date.

They offer a simple menu revolving around delicious toasted paninis, baguettes, and sandwiches, as well as a variety of drinks, and a display cabinet full of tantalizing sweets. The service is always quick and friendly. Laid back atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. A testament to their service and food is the familiarity between customers and the staff – obvious frequent customers.

The cafe is also loved by the community for proudly being a breast feeding friendly establishment, making the news in May 2015, which you can read about HERE.

We have yet to try all the sandwiches, but these 2 are definitely our favourite (all of them are super tasty though!)

Bonnie Loch ($12.50) with smoked salmon, red onion, dill creamed cheese

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The Dlough’y ($12.50) with BBQ pulled pork, cheese and coleslaw.

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Toasted to perfection with perfect flavour combinations – they never disappoint!

Coffee is tasty and they also offer a selection of (huge) smoothies ($6.90) which are subtle in flavour and not too sweet – made with greek yoghurt, skim milk and ice.

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We also never pass up an opportunity to grab something sweet – like this black forest cake – to have for later! We keep hearing about how amazing their caramel tarts are but haven’t yet had the chance to try!

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Definitely recommend a visit – any food choice you make, you won’t regret it! Wish I had taken more photos to share 🙂

 

 

Breakfast Date at The 2 Professors

March 29, 2016

Around this time, Michael and I were both working night ward call, alternating each other’s schedule… so when I was off, Mike was working and vice versa. Luckily, with only a little bit of difficulty, we successfully inverted our schedules. That meant, we were consistent night owls and slept during the day (12pm-9pm… ish)

That also meant, the opportunity for so many breakfast dates! Which never happens!

Finally had the opportunity to try out The Two Professors – a local favourite joint.

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Great open space with nice decor and variety of seating options. Order at the counter and grab your own seat.

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Michael (and many people we know) said the coffee was fantastic.

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We were incredibly excited that they offered REAL bagels! So you know what we had…

We both had Benny’s in Detention ($16.50)

Michael enjoyed smoked salmon with sauteed spinach and poached eggs with house made hollandaise

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I had the Italian sausage patty, bacon, poached eggs and sauteed spinach with house made hollandaise

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We both agreed that the bagels were great – dense and chewy. However, my Italian sausage was not flavourful and terribly salty. In addition, it was a very long wait for our food.

Didn’t deter us from returning, as we soon came back for another breakfast. Again, there was quite a long wait for food. This time, I had the Cherry Ripe Pancakes – ricotta coconut pancakes with house made nutella chocolate syrup and black forest cherry ice cream ($15.50). A generous serving, however, I must not be a fan of coconut pancakes. In addition, the main reason I ordered this dish was the promise of ‘black forest cherry ice cream.’ Unfortunately, they served plain vanilla ice cream and when I inquired, the server didn’t even know if that was normally served. I was later told that it is the combination of the berry compote and vanilla ice cream that makes up ‘black forest’ Just a little underwhelming!

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Despite that, I would still recommend The 2 Professors to those looking for a new place to visit for breakfast. However, I will wait until my next bagel craving! 😉

The Two Professors Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New joint in town – Burger Urge

March 26, 2016

For those who don’t know, a new eating area has opened at Stockland Rockhampton. The Terrace now houses a number of familiar names including Max Brenner and Guzman Y Gomes. My favourite? Burger Urge

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Not the first time we’ve been, check out this visit to a Brisbane location years ago!

Always bustling! But you are quickly served and the staff are nothing but friendly and attentive.

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Our company for the night 😉

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Burger Urge is licensed which is great if you want a drink with your meal!

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Have a look at the menu for the variety of burgers (beef, chicken, lamb, vege) available. If not, you could have a salad or po boy sandwiches.

This is the Natural Born Griller ($12.50) with beef, grilled field mushroom, melted American style cheddar, truffle mayo, aioli & salad – yum!

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New Yorker ($12.50) with beef, crispy maple bacon, pickles, melted American style cheddar, hickory BBQ sauce, aioli & salad

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Our favourite at Burger Urge, which we never fail to order, is the Share Plate ($13) with thick cut fries, sweet potato chips & onion rings served with trio of dips (truffle mayo, aioli & ranch). Crispy, well seasoned and oh so generous, perfect for sharing between 2… or more!

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We have been back a number of times already, each time we have left satisfied with both the quality of food and service. Some people aren’t a fan of the beef patties as they appear to have quite a significant amount of filler in them. We don’t disagree… but still like! 😉

March Moments

March 3, 2016

Second year post graduation and now practicing medicine without restrictions. You know what that means… we can finally apply for Australian permanent residency! The downfall? It’s SO EXPENSIVE. Like, thousands of dollars. Not including the few hundreds of dollars we had to pay additionally for the mandatory health check (and a 1.5 hour drive)!

At least we got fancy disposable gowns for our chest x-rays and nice bandages for our bloods tests 😛

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And that evening, we enjoyed some good BBQ from Up In Smoke!

4 options available: beef brisket ($18), pork ribs ($17), pulled pork ($15) and mini sliders ($16). Each are served with 2 of the following sides: creamed corn, coleslaw and roasted sweet potatoes.

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Our favourite was the beef brisket – tender and moist with good flavour. The pork ribs were unfortunately just too dry and didn’t fall off the bone. The sides, as you can see, were nothing spectacular – particularly the sweet potato which were quite wet!

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With that being said, good value for the price! And yes, we would come back and try again!

March 5, 2016

For all you who say, “No you’re not!” whenever I say I’m literally going bald… believe me now? It’s for real!

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March 8, 2016

Jess & Jin treated us to something we’ve been meaning to try for a while – 3 in 1 Kitchen. In particular, trying out their Vietnamese subs ($5.90) and fruit smoothies ($5.90-6.90).

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As promised, their smoothies were fresh and delicious. You have the option of picking up to 4 fruits and the staff are happy to offer suggestions.

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Some of my readers might know, but my mom and aunt used to run THE BEST Vietnamese sub shop in Ottawa. With real, freshl, daily baked crusty Parisian baguettes and every single ingredient (all the meats, garlic mayo, pate, pickles, etc) homemade – 3 in 1 subs just doesn’t compare. I’ve been way too spoiled my entire life. However, for the option of having Viet subs in Rockhampton – these are not bad! They are just no where close to being the best Viet submarines have to offer 😉

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Would definitely come back to try their other Asian options including hot curries and noodles!

March 17, 2016

Homemade burgers at Chez Jin’s! Yummy yummy in our tummy 🙂

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For dessert – gelato at the newly opened Gelatissimo at The Terrace! No complaints here!

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March 19, 2016

Drove down to Gladstone today for my first wedding dress fitting! Who would’ve thought a size 0 (zero!) would be too small for me!? Needed to have it taken in more at the waist and of course, hemmed for my height! I mentioned previously, but will be doing an entire wedding series to share my wedding planning experiences and reviews of my vendors – tell you more then!

Kitchen Moments of February & March 2016

February 21, 2016

Roasted Japanese eggplant!

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February 27, 2016

A nice batch of homemade kimchi – using mom’s famous recipe and my favourite – sugarloaf cabbage!

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And I have perfected a new favourite in this Canadian household – Butter pecan tarts! Now we don’t have to crave them anymore!

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March 2, 2016

I made one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes – Bun Rieu Cua – vermicelli served in a crab infused tomato broth with crab cakes, tomatoes, tofu, mushrooms and greens. A frequent request from Michael! Had Jess, Jin and Richard over to enjoy as well – the had seconds, I think that’s a good sign!

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March 5, 2016

A homemade Vietnamese classic – rice topped with fish sauce and scallion oil served with BBQ pork!

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Classic banana fritters

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March 6, 2016

I made an apple pie from scratch… for the first time! After a few goes, I think I’ve got my pastry recipe down. My crust looks laughable, but dang, it was good!

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March 19, 2016

Butternut squash on sale = making one of my favourite soups = perfection on a cool day

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March 22, 2016

An easy, but impressive favourite, crispy skin duck roast! Served with salad and golden roasted potatoes

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March 30, 2016

Somehow, I realised I had the right combination of ingredients in the fridge – pork mince, Chinese sausage, eggs, peas, onions, garlic, etc… for my mom’s traditional ‘banh bao’ or ‘steam bun’ However, I had also been craving her famous pate chaud. So we made the best of both worlds – puffed delights filled with the comforting flavours of steam buns.

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It was a kitchen day – also made a ton of my favourite white choc cranberry cookies for the O&G staff! The end of the first rotation of the year already, can you believe it?

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Lightbox

February 7, 2016

3 months before our wedding, I finally found and ordered my wedding dress! And actually, Jess did too (unexpectantly)! Thank you to Gladstone Bridal for everything… which I will share more about in another blog post 😉

After our dress adventure, we met up with Michael (who was killing time waiting around for us and Mike R to catch up over dinner. Both Mike R and Kon were in Gladstone doing an Emergency rotation, but unfortunately, Kon was working the evening shift.

Michael has been to lightbox for tapas dinner in the past and loved it. We have also all enjoyed an awesome breakfast there previously… check out this lightbox breakfast with eggs your way, bacon, sausage, roasted roma tomato, mushroom, baked beans and sourdough ($24).

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Given our previous good experiences, it was a no brainer to meet up at lightbox for dinner!

Service was impeccable as always. We arrived a little early for dinner but the place was packed later in the evening.

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We enjoyed a number of tapas dishes including the following:

Leek & manchego croquette with spicy mayonnaise ($9)

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Crispy Moroccan wings with lime aioli and lemon ($14)

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Lemon pepper calamari with tartare and lemon ($12)

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Sweet potato wedges with sweet chili mayonnaise ($8)

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Bruschetta with mushrooms and savoury schurros with cheese (sorry, I can’t remember exact name and price, and they are no longer listed on the menu)

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All the dishes were nice and as stated in the menu. Good serving size for price and I always appreciate generous servings of sauce! Great food, day and night, always friendly service and a changing menu. Would love to go back for dinner and try their main dishes! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Gladstone!

Lightbox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

East St Markets

February 6, 2016

Michael and I dropped into The Workshop earlier in the evening to leisurely savour all the food stalls of East St Market before meeting up with hospital gang for a hang out night 😉

From their website:

Real foodies with real passion put happiness on a plate every Friday and Saturday night til 10pm. Many foodies are in fact chefs!  Live entertainment from 7.00pm- check our What’s On page for who’s playing next. Indoor pop-ups, art classes and in-house Barber add to the unique, ever-changing experience.

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Look who we ran into! Daniel and his partner finishing up their dinner 🙂

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We had Okonomiyaki (Savoury pancakes) & Gyoza dumplings from Izakaya @ Workshop – both yum with extremely friendly service!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night (came back for seconds!) came from Taste of Everest – Cumin potato curry with fried rice bread for $5! They have a number of other all vegetarian dishes to try! Wonderful service too!

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We also tried a couple of dishes from Bulgogi House – bulgogi (of course) and some mini savoury pancakes. The bulgogi was great but we wouldn’t get the pancakes again as they were bland.

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Dishes are around $15 maximum and there are always a number of stalls to choose from. And don’t forget the live music, bar, and company of friends! A good venue to unwind and have a good time with friends 🙂

Moments in January 2016

January 24, 2016

Date night with Michael at Ribs and Rumps! Once in a while, I have cravings for ribs and Michael indulges me 🙂

We shared the Signature Pork Ribs  – 1/2 rack for $39 – so expensive, I know! Always good though…

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And we also ordered the Entree Platter for Two – with boerewors sausage, honey bbq glazed buffalo wings, & seasoned panko crumbed calamari with nam jim dipping sauce ($29). Good value and tasty – would recommend the platter for sure!

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January 26, 2016

Hang out day with Jess & Jin! Started with breakfast at their place – we brought over stuff to make pancakes 🙂

Cookie wanting a share of pancakes as well…

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Chilled

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And then decided to go watch The Hateful Eight. As this empty movie theatre can tell you, don’t waste your time. All 5 of us couldn’t stop fidgeting and agreed the movie was a waste of time.

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For dinner, back and J&J’s for a delicious baked snapper – thanks guys!

January 30, 2016

A day to be hoity-toity with the girls – Jess, Sabrina, Rachel and Micah. Thanks for hosting the High Tea Jess!

Impressive display of homemade goodies and tea sets 🙂

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Sabrina made a Japanese styled cheesecake, Rachel made lemon squares. There were finger sandwiches and savoury pastry bites – yum! I went a little crazy for Jess and made carrot muffins, apple tarts, lemon rosemary scones, and cinnamon rolls.

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Needless to say, there was enough food and tea to keep us filled and last us hours of good conversation 😉 And we still had enough food to share with the boys who went out and enjoyed a round of golf!

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And again, Cookie always wanting a part 😉

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 31, 2015

New Years Eve was going to be a quiet night with board games. Somehow, we became the ‘cool kids’ and people wanted to hang out at our place. Of course we didn’t say no!

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Beers and board games for everyone! Rang in the new year with new friends and old… happy new year!

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There were even confetti poppers… I don’t even remember where they came from!

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I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and so kind of them to help clean up before heading home. Look at us starting the new year with this sparkling house!

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January 01, 2016

In reference to my previous post about Malaysia House, we spent a quiet first day of the new year with delicious takeaway! Pad Thai, Beef Rendang and Golden Sands prawns with leftovers for another meal… mmm!

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January 02, 2016

How lucky, still off work!

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We went to Yeppoon – Rosslyn Bay

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So you know it, we had a picnic and I got to bust out my brand new wicker picnic basket – I love it!

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Wine, croissants, biscuits, and more. Perfect food for perfect weather!

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I remember we toasted to the new year and all the excitement lined up… including moving up from interns to Junior House Officers, vacation, and getting married! Happy new year!

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Malaysia House

December 29, 2015

More recently opened in Rockhampton, we highly recommend visiting Malaysia House for some tasty food!

It’s just a little more expensive than other Asian restaurants, but definitely good value and the food is always delicious. With a drinks menu, lots of seating room, and friendly service,  we have never left Malaysia House dissatisfied.

We have frequented the restaurant a number of times, including for takeaway – here are a few dishes from our visit with friends shortly after Christmas!

Laksa – Malaysian style curry, coconut mil, vegetables and rice noodles ($13.80-18.80)
Has been one of favourite noodle dishes since first trying it in Singapore – and this dish does it justice!

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Golden Sands – deep fired in batter made from duck egg yolks ($20.80-24.80). This is my favourite dish at Malaysia House and I always recommend it to anyone who asks for suggestions. Salty, crunchy, and decadent, try both chicken and king prawn!

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Along with Amanda, Farrah, and Pei Yee, we had these two with us at dinner!

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Assam Dish – fish or king prawn cooked in tangy tamarind sauce with fresh tomatoes, okra and onions ($20.80-22.80). I didn’t have this dish, but was told it wasn’t bad!

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Angel hair king prawns – crispy king prawns in buttery egg floss and fresh curry leaves ($23.80) Tasty, but I still like Golden Sands more!

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Roti Canai – traditional flat bread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with curry dip and sambal paste ($3.00)

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Char Kway Teow – wok fried flat rice noodles in spicy sambal and bean sprouts ($14.80) Love the wok flavour and never overdone!

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Some of our other favourite regular dishes:

  • Curry puffs (3 for $7.80)
  • Rendang beef ($17.80)
  • Homemade BBQ duck ($25.80)
  • Salt and pepper silken tofu ($15.80)
  • Pad Thai ($14.80)
  • Nasi Lemak ($14.80)

They also have a Lunch Special menu, each dish less than $15! If you’re craving Asian food, looking for new place to try, stop by Malaysia House!

Malaysia House  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas Festivities

December 24, 2015

A quiet Christmas Eve together at home. And of course, Michael can’t do Christmas without some eggnog, rum and cinnamon!

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Also spent the night baking some of my favourite white chocolate & cranberry cookies to share on Christmas.

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December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We slept in, which was glorious. And then we opened presents together… our 5th Christmas together, how I love this man!

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We agreed not to spend too much on each other for Christmas presents this year (around $150)… gotta save up for the wedding!

Some stocking stuffers from Mike – I think he got me the Toblerone because it’s his favourite and he knew I would share 😉

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A card from Michael’s parents

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Some of Michael’s stocking stuffers

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The Paediatric Ward did a Secret Santa gift exchange… I got some beautiful earrings and a notebook – thank you Santa!

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Gifts from my sister… all the way from Canada, thank you so much!

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Michael was so incredibly proud of his Christmas presents to me, and to be honest, I was amazed! He got me so many great things at such incredible deals, he stayed within the budget!

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I’ve always wanted a wicker picnic basket, and this one had 4 complete sets of stainless steel dinnerware and cutlery! And now that we have a beautiful island to visit, he’s bought me some fins to complete my snorkel gear. And a ground pad and inflatable pillow for camping (after getting me a sleeping bag earlier in the year!) And a girl can never have too many underwear – thank you so much my love!

Some of my gifts for Michael. Friends made fun of me for getting him a textbook but I thought as this is his current, most serious, decision in life – it would never hurt to have a good (recommended) reference book

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This was our first year away from family at Christmas, a little sad! But so kind of Nerissa to invite us to join for lunch with her parents (Aunt Neetha and Uncle Danny) visiting from Brisbane. We had a great time and it felt like having a family away from home 🙂

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Old man Jin helping with lunch

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Started with a fresh watermelon and prawn salad with feta, mint and proscuitto

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We were treated to a full home cooked dinner complete with a turkey! And even got to try a different styled stuffing with a base from chicken liver, something tasty we’ve never had before!

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We had no idea, but there was even a gift exchange, which was so lovely! Thank you so much to everyone for including us two Christmas Orphans!

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How cute are these two?

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Garrett mugs for everyone!

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A Corelle set from Jess & Jin, mug from Garrett, Spa kit + men’s set from Aunt & Uncle… thank you so much guys!

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Love you guys!

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Dessert

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With these avid fishers, once the topic of fishing came up… it didn’t stop 😉 Not only did they go down to fish in the evening, they also made plans to go fishing bright and early the following day 😛

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Thank you so much to our friends for a warm and beautiful Aussie Christmas celebration!

December 26, 2015

Family Christmas get together in Ottawa! Got to skype the g-parents the join the fam jam 😉

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Even from afar they think of us too ❤

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These two!

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A beautiful Christmas gift from Amanda – diffuser with mood lighting

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A few days later, a package came in the mail for us – from Michael’s parents!

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So many delicious goodies!

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And some beautiful Christmas cards from our friends ❤

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Moments in December 2015

December was a busy work month, but also lots of fun moments!

December 4, 2015

Boat cruise to the Keppel Islands with the gen surg + ortho crew! Sail, eat, relax, and swim for an entire day in beautiful weather – does it get better?

We went on The Grace with Sail Capricornia – which was great and we highly recommend! Especially if you have a group of friends and want to rent it out for a private day!

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Group photo courtesy of Sail Capricornia – check them out!

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December 6, 2015

Breakfast date, checking out the Sizzler’s breakfast – not too shabby for less than $20! Easy fans, we have since been back a few times! I always enjoy some hot food including eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and hash browns before moving on to the sweet pastries, fruit, and of course, ice cream.

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December 10, 2015

The Great Debate: Interns vs Registrars. An annual tradition debating silly topics. This year, ‘Are clothes pins best left on the clothesline?’

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The interns (Jin, Marco and Chuan) debated yes while the registratrs were against the argument. Anyone would common sense would know you should always take the pins off the line: it’s more effort leaving them on and having to shuffle them and take them off each time to hang new laundry, they erode/get dirty/crack in the sun, and spiders!

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Unfortunately, the registrars were doomed to fail as the winning argument was decided by the volume of cheer awarded. Given it was a room full of interns… well you know what happened.

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The Paediatric Unit put in so much effort to decorate the ward for Christmas (Theme: Beach). Every year, there is a hospital wide contest, but unfortunately, we didn’t place first!

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The AMAZING stone fruit available this time of year. So good and so cheap! Can never get enough

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And also on December 10th, we had dinner with the Paediatric team at Stonegrill Restaurant (Ascot Hotel)! A chance to spend some quality time with colleagues outside of work.

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I’d read good reviews about the restaurant, but unfortunately, didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

Because we were a large group and they served everyone’s stonegrill at once, the ones prepared first were pretty much already cooked to nearly well done by the time they reached the table. I was one of them, which was sad because it really defeated the purpose of cooking my own steak, to my own liking.

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The service was really good though. The owner (?) spent time explaining the types of meat available and the proper way to cut and cook our steaks on the stonegrill – unfortunately, a few of us had to eat our food as quick as possible before it turned into a tough chewy mess. There were very few chips and they (as you can probably see from the photo) were soggy! The sauce was also very dilute and flavourless. For $30+/person – unfortunately left disappointed! I don’t often say this, but I would lean towards not coming back unless I had no other new restaurants to try 😦

Stonegrill Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


December 11, 2015

Michael and I made a delicious home cooked meal with slow cooked pulled pork, sweet potato mash, summer salad, cauliflower gratin and cinnamon buns! To share in the yumminess, we invited Amanda, Kon, Mike R, and Farrah over to join us for an early Christmas dinner!

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Thai Taste

November 24, 2015

Starving after a long day of work, Pei Yee, Amanda, and I dug in and caught up with each other over a delicious meal at Thai Taste.

One of the most popular Thai restaurants in Rockhampton, this was only my first time visiting.

The restaurant is pretty spacious, maybe even seating approximately 100 people and was decently busy for weekday night.

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For starters, we had Todmun Pla – Thai spicy fish cakes served with sweet chili sauce ($8.50). Good chewy texture!

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We also had some Tom Kha Gai – Chicken coconut milk soup with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and mushroom ($10.90). This is my favourite Thai soup, with has so much depth of flavour is always belly warming!

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We shared a few main dishes, including Chicken Pad Thai – stir fried noodles with egg, carrot and topped with peanuts ($16.90). The flavour of this dish was really good, however, the noodles were too saucy for our liking.

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Tamarind Prawns – slowly cooked with special curry sauce, cashew nuts, and vegetables ($20.90). As you can see, this dish is the furthest thing from being aesthetically pleasing, which could explain why the other girls didn’t quite like it. I’m unsure, but think the odd texture is due to scrambled eggs? Although not terrible, we would not order this dish again.

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And lastly, Crispy Chicken ($16.90) which is self explanatory and very hard to go wrong 😉

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Overall, we had a lovely time and would definitely be back to try more dishes, especially the curries as we didn’t have any this visit. Service was great and the prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity of food served!

There was an article recently published – the owners of Thai Taste will be opening a second restaurant on the South side of Rockhampton – yay, closer to my house!

Thai Taste Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Must-stop in Yeppoon: Afishionados

October 15, 2015

Michael and I were in Yeppoon for a day and had been craving fish and chips for a while! We’d heard many good things about Afishionados by the coast and finally decided to visit – we were not disappointed!

It was a very late lunch/early dinner for us – so not many other patrons, most of them takeaway.

The shop was very spacious, clean and bright. We liked the simplicity of decor and the mix of both private and communal seating.

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Fresh flowers at each table is always a stunning and appreciated touch.

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Some shops can be stingy on condiments, napkins, etc, not this place with their tidy self-serve area!

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A very uncomplicated menu, but something for everyone.

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One of the us had the Fishermans Basket with battered flathead, crumbed whiting, calamari, prawns, scallops, oyster, served, with chips, lemon, cocktail & tartare sauce ($18)

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The Local Snapper served with chips, fresh dressed salad, lemon & tartare sauce ($17) was not available but another fresh local fish was available. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name, but the flesh was white, dense, and flavourful – a really good choice!

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The panko crumbed option is the best in my opinion. Perfect crunch 😉 Some fish and chips are greasy, soggy and taste fishy. Ours was light, crispy and fresh – everything fish and chips should be! The presentation was also beautiful. Generous amounts of sauces served on oyster shells and food served on ‘modern’ newspaper lining – specifically printed on special paper for the store.

We don’t make it down to Yeppoon often, but would definitely visit here again because our food was fantastic 🙂

I note that as of March 2016 – Afishionados is under new management. Their menu now includes specials like fish burgers, seafood chowder, seafood skewers, and more! Would definitely want to go back and check out the new menu – sounds delicious!

Afishionados Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Catch up dinner at Park Avenue Hotel

October 25, 2015

A restaurant initially chosen for its convenient location close to Jess & Jin’s house – we left Park Avenue Hotel pleased!

The ambiance is bright with ample seating room. We didn’t have reservations but were seated promptly in a booth that allowed more privacy.

For starters, we shared a trio of dips with grilled ciabatta bread ($10) – the dips of the day included balsamic & olive oil, olive tapenade, and pesto. Very generous servings of dips, we wish they served it with more bread so they wouldn’t go to waste!

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Our dinner dates!

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2 of us had the fish of the day. If I remember correctly, it was salmon on roasted asparagus and kipler potatoes with chardonnay cream and topped with crumbed scallops ($28)

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Crumbed fish, prawns & scallops served with coleslaw, beer battered chips & tartare sauce ($29). With a craving for fish and chips, – these hit the spot! The prawns and scallops were small though!

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Lastly, I got the Chicken schnitzel topped with bacon, bbq sauce & grilled swiss cheese topped with tomato & onion salsa, served with beer battered chips & salad ($23). The schnitzel was well cooked but I think a few tweaks to the dish would make it better. There should’ve been more quantity of BBQ sauce and salsa for flavour, and the bacon should be served as a diced and crispy topping, rather than a whole piece of soggy bacon.

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We enjoyed our time at the PA Hotel and have been meaning to go back for their ‘Put Pork on your Fork’ Thursday special – slow roasted pork belly on crushed honey and black pepper roasted sweet potato with wilted spinach & roasted garlic jus. Includes a glass of house wine or pot of beer or soft drink for $20! You know me, I love roasted pork and crackling more! Keep seeing rave reviews so hope to go sometime soon!

Dinner is a tad on the expensive side, but they also have a great looking lunch menu with $15 specials. Would definitely recommend checking them out if looking for a nice place to eat with good customer service and food!

Park Avenue Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MOMENTS OF OCTOBER 2015

A look back at some fun times!

On October 3rd, Amanda and Pei Yee hosted a Malaysian Night for us! They cooked a number of Malaysian dishes for the guests to enjoy including Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang. All the guests also brought food to share and it was overall an incredible feast! Mike and I brought coconut sticky rice with jackfruit and some carrot cupcakes 😉

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October 15 was date day with Michael! As per his wishes, we went golfing at Emu Park. The course was green, the sky was blue and we had a great day out together.

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Unfortunately, I suffer incredible reactions to insect bites and lived in agony from tiny sandflies bites over the next week 😦

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Very surprisingly, my favourite rotation of 2015 was Surgery. Me, of all people! I had an incredible time with the surgical team, enjoyed the work and the cases, felt supported and was constantly learning. We had a lovely farewell dinner with the consultants and registrars on October 22 at The Spice Route. Thank you everyone for a great time on Surgery – I definitely miss it!

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The following night was the Hospital Masquerade Ball, held at the Leichardt Hotel. The food was terrible but luckily the band was good and the company better. Would we pay that much to go again next year? Probably not to be honest!

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Having a photo booth was fun!

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This gorgeous couple – nearly ready to meet their little one!

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And my handsome man 🙂

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More to come for the month of October!

(I know, please bear with me. It’s April and I’m back blogging for October. But it’s because I want a record of my memories!)

ADELAIDE: DAY 4 – CENTRAL MARKET, RUNDLE MALL, ETC

September 29, 2016

Our last ful day in Adelaide! How quick time flew by!

We started off the morning going to Central Market with the Lewington Family – so much good food! Michael and I have always loved markets and this was certainly one filled with lots of sights and smells.

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We enjoyed a few snacks for breakfast/lunch including sandwiches, and this kim chi and sweet potato fritter from Let Them Eat!

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We forgot to take some photos but we most definitely also bought cakes/pastries from this wonderful shop! Don’t have anything like this in Rockhampton so definitely had to take advantage 😉

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And who could resist this delectable baklava? Best I’ve had in years!

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We also picked up a snack to enjoy back home – Mushroom Pate from Little Acre McLaren Vale – yum, it was as delicious as it sounds.

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Matt then left for work while the rest of went to see more of the city.

Took a nice walk down to Rundle Mall

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Rundle Mall reminds us of Queen St Plaza in Brisbane

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Caught the end of a street performance with floating glass balls/orbs

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Isabelle had a ton of fun running around in the open and playing by the water fountains

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‘The Mall’s Balls’

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Coffee stop!

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Lots of photos of Isabelle!

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Stopping for coffee gave a chance to people watch…

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The dilemma of having too many choices of board games…

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That evening, we went to Star House for a dim sum dinner with Matt. For the first time in my very short professional career, I had the opportunity to identify myself as a doctor in public. Right as our food was being served, a very intoxicated woman fell to the ground in front of the cash register beside our table. She was conscious and fine, but traveling alone, so we stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. Food was good though!

Spent the rest of the night and the next morning with the Lewingtons before heading to the airport and back to the real world!

Thank you so much to Matt, Laura and Isabelle for letting us stay with them, so great to spend time with you and seeing Adelaide together!

Adelaide: Day 3 – Dinner at The Moseley

September 28, 2015

After a wander down Jetty Rd, we decided to have dinner at The Moseley Bar & Kitchen. They have a sit down restaurant on the first floor and a bar restaurant upstairs.

As we have never been to The Moseley, based on the menu alone, we decided to eat in their downstairs restaurant.

Lovely lighting and what a welcoming view! Bright, uniquely furnished, warm, spacious, and casual – just what we were looking for.

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We had not made reservations but did not have any issues. We were shown to some couches and coffee table as our dining area. Interesting wall beside us filled with old window panels.

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Eye drawing and installed at the front of the restaurant are comfy hanging white wicker chairs. We couldn’t resist a swing after dinner 😉

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Our lovely company for the night!

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Started off the evening with some fresh bread!

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Isabelle and I still working on our selfie game 😉

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Matt and Laura decided on the same dish – Ricotta Gnocchi with kale, broccolini & almonds ($25) which they both enjoyed!

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Michael and I were interested in trying a few of the entrees!

Pork Belly Japanese ramen broth with shaved bug tails and wheat noodles ($15). We both thought this dish could’ve been much better, it just needed actual hot broth! When we first tasted the dish, the pork belly was unfortunately dry, but the egg was nicely cooked, flavour of the broth and texture of the noodles were good. The broth, however, was lukewarm and as a result, the bug tails weren’t fully cooked, not to mention it’s odd eating a ramen dish that was neither hot nor cold. We asked the staff if this dish was meant to be room temperature and she happily offered to ask the kitchen to make us a fresh bowl. Sadly, the second bowl came out at the same temperature! If you are not serving noodles in a cold broth, it should come out steaming hot!

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Aside from the above mentioned fluke, the rest of the food was good!

We had Chicken, leek & truffle pithivier with frisée, bacon & croutons ($16). We learned a new word that night. Normally a sweet dish, a Pithivier is a round, enclosed pie usually made by baking two disks of puff pastry, with filling stuffed in between.

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Twice baked gruyere souffle with apple & walnut salad, Waldorf sorbet, & quince paste ($15). As you can imagine, all the components worked really well together. The sorbet was refreshing but we still don’t know what flavours Waldorf sorbet entails – totally forgot to ask!

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Last, but definitely our favourite of the night, Duck liver pate with goji berry jelly & charred house made bread ($15). Indulgent, and a really nice balance of savoury and sweet. We weren’t expecting the jelly to be a layer overtop the pate but it was great! We couldn’t get enough of the charred bread as well – it should come with more to prolong the enjoyment of the pate 😉

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Enjoyable evening with great service and a welcoming atmosphere. We would love to come back if we lived in Adelaide and definitely recommend a visit!

The Moseley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Adelaide: Day 3 – Lunch at the Haus

September 28, 2015

Spending a relaxing morning exploring Hahndorf still worked up quite an appetite! We had walked by the Haus earlier in the day and really liked their spacious outdoor tables and large menu selection, which made the decision easy. But if you’d prefer to sit indoors, there is plenty of seating as well!

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Lots of room for Isabelle to enjoy herself

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Laura enjoyed a light lunch comprising of Soup of the Day $10.90 with Ciabatta bread. She couldn’t remember exactly what type of soup, but it was rustic, definitely made of root vegetables and delicious!

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Isabelle enjoyed a Little Peoples meal of Ham, Cheese & Pineapple Pizza ($9.90) that Laura eventually helped her with as well. Decent sized, cheesy and tasty!

We also enjoyed a side of Haus Beer Battered Chips with Garlic Aioli ($6.90) – yum!

Now this is definitely something we would recommend to another visitor – the Beer Tasting Paddle with your choice of 4 Beers/Cider on tap with Local Nuts/Jerky ($15). Definitely ask for the bartender’s suggestions and be adventurous, this is a great deal!

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Michael and I shared the Trio of Wursts – Chef’s selection of German specialty sausages: Bockwurst, Bratwurst & Cheese Kransky with creamy mustard potato bake, sauerkraut, red wine sauce & German mustards ($29.90). Filling and delicious! The favourite between us was definitely the Bratwurst, but we really enjoyed them all.

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Our disappointment in this meal were the Organic Pretzels ($4 each). Perhaps we are used to the soft, chewy, buttery soft pretzels in North America but these ones were unfortunately quite tough and almost dry. We wouldn’t get these again next time.

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Overall a lovely lunch with great food! The service was fantastic and they have quite an extensive menu with something for everyone. We would definitely come back for another meal to try out more of their food selection if we are ever back in Hahndorf. Check it out if you’re visiting!

The Haus Hahndorf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Triple birthday dinner at The Ranch

September 12, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2 of our birthday boys

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

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Birthday girl, pretty in red!

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

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

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

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

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

Triple Birthday Dinner

September 12, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cafe Bliss – definitely worth a visit!

One of the most popular breakfast destinations in Rockhampton, Cafe Bliss made the perfect choice for our visiting friends, Josiah and Danya, from Bundaberg. 🙂

And, with a stroke of luck, we were able to grab seating for 4 on a late Sunday morning without reservations!

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Some of the first thoughts that went through our minds

  • Welcoming service
  • This place is very cute. It’s actually the most girly restaurant we have ever been to – which is not meant to be an insult! Splashes of pink everywhere!
  • Very bright with lots of windows and seating distant enough to give patrons a sense of privacy
  • The location of the display cabinet immediately draws your attention, and filled with lots of goodies!

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Look at the menu… hand made scrap books! I have never seen this at another restaurant. Obviously a lot of effort have gone into these menus, a unique pop of character!

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I could not resist ordering the Breakfast Bagel ($15.50). Toasted Bagel with crispy bacon, fried eggs, wilted spinach & Swiss cheese drizzled with outback BBQ sauce and a side of hollandaise. Alright, as a Canadian, this bagel isn’t fooling anyone. It has the consistency of a dinner roll – super light, soft, and fluffy – certainly not a real bagel. However, it looks charming and the perfectly positioned egg yolk is a nice touch. Not to mention, It was delicious and incredibly filling! I would definitely order this dish again 😉

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Both Michael and Josiah share the same code: Always order Eggs Benedict ($15.50) when trying a new restaurant. Why? Because that’s the benchmark against which their other dishes can be measured. Poached eggs, served on a bed of wilted baby spinach & your choice of ham, smoked salmon or bacon set on a toasted English muffin with fresh hollandaise. They weren’t disappointed! Generous salmon and the hollandaise sauce had the perfect consistency and right amount of zing.

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Thanks so much for visiting guys! We hope you have the chance to pop by again soon!

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Unfortunately, my second visit at Cafe Bliss was a lot more disappointing. Came for lunch with a friend and got Chicken Flat Bread Sandwich ($16.50). Premium chicken breast, fresh avocado, crispy bacon, baby cos lettuce, Swiss cheese & garlic aioli on home-made flat bread with beer battered fries. Unfortunately, as you might be able to imagine from the photo, the flat bread was incredibly greasy, tough and chewy. In addition, my chicken breast was under (or not) seasoned and was too overcooked, leaving it bland and dry. The fries were great and crisp though!

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I am hoping that my lunch meal was a fluke, and it certainly won’t deter us from visiting again soon!

We are especially looking forward to a dinner visit with finer dining: Bliss By Night. Their dinner menu looks tantalising and we continue to see good feedback online. Check out their menu HERE.

If you’re thinking of a place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – would definitely recommend visiting Cafe Bliss!

Click to add a blog post for Cafe Bliss on Zomato

Great Chinese food from Dragon Gallery

We definitely have a weak spot for Chinese food and were glad to find an establishment in Rockhampton to satisfy our cravings.

Dragon Gallery is located at 1/295 Richardson Rd – next to the Asian grocery store Food Sing Trading.

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A small, simply decorated restaurant with limited seating so don’t forget to call and make reservations to ensure a spot! While dining in, we also noticed a very steady stream of customers coming in to pick up their takeaway orders. And speaking from experience, perfect for a night in!

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There may be a wait for food if it’s a busy night, but service is always good with frequent checking in to make sure you’re enjoying your meal.

(Menus provided by Dragon Gallery)

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At our first visit with a few friends, we decided on one of the banquet options for value and variety.

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We decided on the $32/head option and were not disappointed!

Mixed entrees – mini spring rolls, fried dim sims, and fried mashed prawn with sesame on toast.

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The spring rolls were large and delicious with the perfect hint of five-spice seasoning, something I’ve never seen before. Dim sims were also great. The prawn toast, however, had so little prawn they seemed more like fried sesame bread. I’m a huge fan of prawn toast and make it quite often at home slathered to the brim with prawn paste so it made me a little sad.

Pork with vegetables in oyster sauce. The pork was tender, vegetables still crisp and the sauce not too overpowering or salty!

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Boneless crispy chicken in lemon sauce. Piping hot and crisp with a delicious sweet and sour lemon sauce – always a favourite.

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All the dishes were served with generous portions of Fried Rice. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab a photo but it was simple and delicious.

Mongolian Beef – Sizzling hot, incredibly tender and not overpowered with onions.

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Honey prawns. This dish is always a treat. Perfect when they’re fresh out of the fryer with a delicate crisp batter coating and tossed in a sweet honey concoction… delicious!

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Included in the banquet is the option of dessert – banana fritter with ice cream or deep fried ice cream. We chose deep fried ice cream that came on a bed of canned fruit. The batter was interesting… coconut based and crumbly. I think we would choose to try the banana fritters next time.

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We prefer dining in as the food is piping hot and fresh but takeaway is a great option as well – we love the family options! Your food is often ready in the time frame given when you place your order. The only disappointment involved with takeaway is having to get the food home before you can eat it. And in that time, crispy dishes can get soggy from the steam!

Head in to Dragon Gallery for some delicious Chinese food! You won’t leave dissatisfied! 🙂

Moments back in Ottawa

We had a few goals this time back in Ottawa:

  1. Spend time with family
  2. Plan our wedding
  3. Relax

Did we obtain our goals? Yes!

One of the things I was most excited about was seeing my grandfather. As some of you may know, my grandfather has been deaf my entire life. He had sudden loss of hearing shortly before I was born – I suspect the hearing loss was precipitated by a viral illness. He had contemplated a cochlear implant at that time but decided against it… until last year.

With the suggestion, help, and support of the family, my grandfather proceeded with a cochlear implant surgery on November 4, 2015. My mom sent me photo updates, including some very cute ones of my grandpa bundled up on the hospital bed before going into surgery. Unfortunately, I do not have those photos at this time.

I’m sure he was feeling quite anxious at the time, but what was even more prominent in his facial expression was optimism!

Yes, we are THAT family when a family member is at the hospital.

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Here are some photos of my grandpa after coming out of surgery – smiling and hopeful 🙂 And aside from ugly stitches, he experienced no complications!

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After a month of healing, his implant was then activated, tests were completed, and he started (and still continues) his audiological training, with help from my uncles. What started off as indiscriminate clicking noises and echoes eventually became recognisable sounds and words, yay!

Of course, there were frustrations. My grandpa described not being able to set the perfect program for his implant, often returning from his appointments with more background noise than before, sometimes feeling dejected and unwilling to train. The annoyance of having the external transmitter continuously fall off – the magnet is not as strong as you think! He has tried different methods of securing the transmitter but it remains an inconvenience.

Upon coming home, for the first in my life, I had (mostly) a verbal conversation with my grandfather! By speaking slower, enunciating well, and using shorter sentences, I was able to freely converse with him! My entire life I have always spoken to him via notes (piles of paper and books have amassed over my lifetime) which take considerable time to write – what a change! My written Vietnamese is at the higher level it is today thanks to the dedication of my grandparents to teach me and the numerous opportunities to put it to use when speaking with my grandpa. I am also quite lucky because my grandpa said my voice is easier for him to understand compared to other family members. Now we can just sit and talk, with an occasional written note, how awesome is that?

I’m surprised at the lack of photos from our trip back to Canada this time… but here are a few fun moments back in Canada!

Note: From March 05-12th, we went to Turks & Caicos for a one week vacation. It was amazing and will be have its own post!

Target was having their liquidation sales during our time home. The sales were actually terrible and the cash registers were always freezing. Here we are waiting in line forever!

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We came home just after lunar new year. One of my favourite Vietnamese new year’s treats is Banh Tet (savoury glutinous rice with mung bean + pork or sweet banana filling, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed). One of the best things to do with leftovers is panfry the savoury mung bean and pork ones until its nice and crispy… thanks mom for the treat!

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And belated new year red pockets from the family, thank you!

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Having this little one so very excited every time you walk in the door. And constantly following you around and begging you for food at every opportunity. I miss Benny!

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Forgetting how dry Canada is! Cracked, itchy, stinging skin even with moisturizer!

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Enjoying some things you can only get in Canada, like ketchup chips, one of my favourites!

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They have even come out with ketchup Doritos… although I am not a fan.

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Regular stops at my favourite shop – Tim Hortons. I don’t drink coffee but dang do I miss the cheap, delicious, variety of donuts, pastries, and bagels. Now I want a bagel…

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And of course, with Tim Hortons comes Rolllll up the rim to win! Probably one of the most Canadian photos I’ve ever taken…

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Visiting my favourite bakery in Ottawa, Macarons et Madeleines, now at a new location! The best croissants, caneles, and macarons in town. Expensive, but delicious!

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Officially asking these wonderful ladies to be a part of my bridal party!

When my sister agreed to be my maid of honour 🙂

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Had to ask my cousin Janet over Skype because she’s studying in London

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Catching up over food and having 2 of my best friends say yes to being my bridesmaids!

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My sister went to Japan over her Christmas holidays and was kind to bring back some Japanese chocolates for us to try!

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Limited free time but still catching up with friends! Sushi at Kiko Sushi Bar – expensive but tasty!

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A visit to another favourite with Mike and Julia – Art Is In – where my brother now works! Amazing food and great atmosphere!

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Ruixi took me to a hole in the wall (Hung Sum Restaurant) for the best dim sum I’ve ever had in Ottawa – literally!

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Visiting my dad at Beechwood Cemetery for the first time in a long time!

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My sister had bought my dad these ornamental dog figurines (representing us) for his garden when he was alive. We brought them out to his grave years ago and although a little faded, they are still around!

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While planning a wedding, still making time to go on dates with my love! We did get a bunch of wedding planning finalised, but I will save that for another post!

A skate on the Rideau Canal for the first time in many years, all 16km – how we’ve missed it!

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Waiting in line at one of these huts…

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For some Beavertails and hot chocolate – not a visit on the canal until you’ve had this!

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Of course, we had to have a lunch date at Play, one of our favourite restaurants in Ottawa.

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Mike’s newfound love for beef tartare meant he had to have it at Play!

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The food and service almost never disappoints!

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Lots of silly moments with my family

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Quality time with the family… delicious onion ring poutine and burgers at The Works!

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Mom’s Com Hen (basket clam rice) – delicious broth, eaten with rice, ginger, shallots, alfalfa, pineapple, peppers, starfruit, mango, and basket clams!

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My favourite brand (President’s Choice) of hors d’oeuvres! Just cannot find anything like that here

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Can’t visit home without a trip to all you can eat sushi – a family favourite!

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We didn’t have any family events when I was back home, but I did get a chance to stop by and see my Uncle 2’s family!

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I also had the chance to see most of my other family members at different opportunities, which was nice!

A weekend out on Buck Lake to be with Mike’s family… always indulgent and fun!

Focus of attention on the newest member of the Brown family – Rinoa

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She look like a doll or what?

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But their cat… their cat is always trying to kill me. One day, I will need an epipen…

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A last meal out with Mike’s parents, introducing them to play!

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Our last photo together at the airport heading back to Australia – unfortunately my brother felt unwell and stayed in the car! 😦

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Looking back now… what an unbelievably short trip 😦 Until next year!

Anytime at the Giddy Goat

Giddy Goat Cafe & Bar is a favourite for many in Rocky and the perfect place to head with your family or friends at any time. Breakfast, lunch, midday coffee and snack, dinner, and late night drinks.

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With an expansion upstairs open Wednesday – Sunday, lots of room for everyone!

Not to mention they also have attractive specials including:

  • $5 steaks on Thursdays with $1 sides (coleslaw, corn, caesar salad, mashed potatoes, onion rings)
  • $2 tacos on Wednesdays (chicken, beef, fish, falafel)
  • Well priced drinks and daily special menus

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We have visited a number of times now, including on Thursday for the $5 steak special. Incredibly good deal, although you cannot expect an amazing quality steak 😉

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We have also stopped by during the day for coffee and cakes to catch up with friends.

Decent quality cakes available in the cabinet with numerous options and fair prices!

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The coffees ($3.50-4.80) aren’t bad and the slushies ($3-4.50) are tasty, although a tad on the sweet side.

There are also some pretty tasty lunch items including gourmet burgers and healthier options!

I was fooled. Ordered the Salmon, lettuce, avocado, red onion, feta and aioli ($14) thinking it was a fish burger – but it was smoked salmon! Still pretty tasty!

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My favourite type of roasted pork is the old school Asian styled. But this Crispy Pork Belly Salad with mixed lettuce, green beans, coriander, crispy noodles and honey soy dressing ($16) puts a nice spin on my traditional favourite!

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After numerous visits to the Giddy Goat, we have yet to be disappointed by the wait times for food and drinks. The service has also been impeccable – friendly and prompt. Now that we are settled in Rocky, will continue being a regular for sure!

Giddy Goat Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

Flour – Our new favourite cafe

It was a pleasure that one of the first cafes we dined at upon moving to Rockhampton, Flour, has become our favourite 🙂 Thank you for the recommendation Amanda!

Yes, it is a 25 minute drive away in Yeppoon, but definitely worth it! And considering we used to take public transport in Brisbane for longer periods of time when going out to eat, how could we possibly complain?

Immediate sign of a good cafe – it’s always buzzing! Which can sometimes concern you, “Am I going to have to wait forever for a table?” But the wait has never been too long for us. And they take reservations, which is even better.

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The second good sign – familiarity between customers and staff. Frequent diners! People don’t keep returning if they’re not happy right?

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The furniture and decor are mismatched and cute, giving off a fun, relaxed vibe.

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Sit down and look at the menu, but certainly don’t forget to check out the baked goods at the counter and in the fridges! Don’t be like me during my first visit and not leave room for cakes and pastries. For breakfast? Of course!

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I don’t drink coffee, but if Mike’s happy with his, then you’d be too!

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The menu is small but tantalizing and Michael, of course, must always try the Eggs Benedict. It sets the ‘food standard’ bar for him.

Eggs Benedict on ciabatta bread with smoked salmon, baby spinach, and hollandaise sauce ($17.50). Eggs beautifully poached, sauce delicious, with loads of salmon – worth it.

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I have a weakness for pumpkin (and haloumi cheese) when it comes to a breakfast menu… or any menu for that matter. So my choice was obvious: Spicy pumpkin fritters topped with baby spinach, poached eggs and bacon served with house made hollandaise ($17.50). Can you say a generous serving? I was stuffed! Not to mention it was delicious and definitely the kind of dish I would spend extra time trying to duplicate at home for a special weekend breakfast.

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And because you can’t see the pumpkin fritters from the above angle. I have had fritters at other restaurants where they have been soggy and/or dripping oil – not in this case!

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We have now visited a number of times and service has always been impeccable – friendly and efficient. Could not fault their food nor their service.

And yes, we most certainly have tried some of their cakes! Fresh, decadent, and delicious – there is definitely enough variety available on a daily basis to suit all sorts of sweet teeth!

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So far, our favourite ‘getaway’ cafe for breakfast or even just a drink and snack. Would definitely recommend Flour to everyone who’s stopping in Yeppoon! Don’t forget to share your experience 🙂

Flour on Urbanspoon

Saying farewell to our parents

December 27, 2014

Forever grateful for the time our parents spent in Australia with us…

Our time together can summed into a few words – family, fun, laughter, and delicious food.

Some more moments of our time together…

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One of my new favourite meals to prepare – grilled fish with tropical salad – delicious and healthy!

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It was a bittersweet farewell. But we were pretty excited. Excited to start preparing for our move to Rockhampton and beginning our careers as doctors in the new year. Sad to say good bye to our parents but we would be back in Canada in Feb-March for our holidays!

No time to diddle daddle, lots to do!

Early Christmas Dinner with the family

December 23, 2014

My family from Perth were staying in Brisbane until Christmas Eve evening. That meant we definitely had to take the opportunity to have an early Christmas dinner with everyone present.

If you know my family, food is a priority. You will never attend a family event with us and leave hungry. NEVER. EVER.

Visiting another city and living in a serviced apartment? No problem! The Nguyens always deliver!

Preparing the food is all part of the fun!

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Sneaking in some more views from their apartment

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The… Christmas tree?

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Some of the food dishes… all homemade!

Inari – aburaage (deep fried tofu) bags filled with rice. Our addition – topped with seaweed – yum!

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Variety of sushi rolls

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Vietnamese cold meat – thit nguoi – one of the traditional meats seen in Viet subs

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Roasted leg of lamb

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Shrimp cocktail ring with traditional Viet garlic mayo. So much better than marinara sauce!

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Curry egg salad

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Couscous salad

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Ong Ba Ba!

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Michael and his mom

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Ong Ba Ut

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My future parents-in-law 🙂

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Ba Ut and I

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View of the spread

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And as always, family photos before eating!

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She who cooks, carves

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Self serve buffet

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He’s so cute.

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The following day, December 24, 2014, was all about relaxation and spending our last day together. We ate Christmas leftovers and hung out at the apartment. Michael and his parents climbed Mt Ngungun during the day and joined us at the apartment in the afternoon to see my family off.

Love my family! Don’t know when I’ll see them next 😦 Thank you so much for everything, can’t wait to see you again! ❤

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! ❤

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

SIN/KL 2014: Dinner at Gardens by Bay

December 01, 2014

After our visit to the domes at Gardens by the Bay, we walked around and enjoyed the nearby sights, including the Supertrees in daytime.

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Here are a few facts regarding the Supertrees, taken from the Gardens by the Bay website:

  • These unique trees of up to 16 storeys in height can be found all around the Gardens – twelve at the Supertree Grove, while the remaining six are placed in clusters of threes at the Golden and Silver Gardens.
  • 11 Supertrees are embedded with environmentally sustainable functions like photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy.
  • Supertrees are made of four parts: reinforcement concrete core, trunk, planting panels of the living skin, and canopy.
  • Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on the Supertrees.
  • Garden Rhapsody – When night falls, watch as the Supertrees come alive with a dazzling myriad of light displays bursting across the sky.

At 6pm, we met with my Aunt Tam at Supertree Dining for a casual dinner and catching up! Aunt Tam grew up in Australia and is currently working in Singapore. Michael and I have been lucky, this is now the second time we’ve been able to meet up with her in Singapore!

We decided on dinner at Hill Street Coffee Shop, one of the numerous options within Supertree Dining. Other options include: American diner food, Italian and even Texas Chicken.

A simple but tasty dinner of satay, laksa and nasi lemak. Even better was the company 🙂

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With Aunt Tam!

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After dinner, we enjoyed the lit up Supertrees and there was even fake snow (in the form of little soap foam bubbles) within the large lit up castle-like structure! Everyone was loving and it was be the closest thing to snow we would enjoy this year 😛

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Our timing was great and we got to sit and enjoy the Garden Rhapsody light show!

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t hang out too late. Aunt Tam had work the next morning, and we had an overnight train to catch to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

SIN/KL 2014: Cheese & Chocolate Bar at Marina Bay Sands

November 30, 2014

[Note: Sorry everyone, I’ve come to learn that the Chocolate & Cheese Bar is now closed until January 5th when it will reopen at Tower 2 on Level 55. It’s too bad because you won’t have the opportunity to visit the rooftop as part of your dining experience :(]

We highly recommend booking yourselves an indulging late night buffet at The Cheese & Chocolate Bar on the top (57th) floor of Marina Bay Sands Hotel if you have time during your visit to Singapore. Yes, it is pricey ($48/person + service charge and without wine pairings) but is a great experience! Mike and I went last year when it was still only a chocolate buffet, imagine our excitement not only for the opportunity to take my mom, but that it’s now also a cheese buffet!

On arrival to Marina Bay Sands, you need to see the hostess of RISE Restaurant in the lobby to get your pass up to the 57th floor. You need this pass not to use the elevator but to be let onto the roof terrace once you reach the top. As you walk towards the restaurant, don’t forget to take your time and enjoy the amazing unobstructed night view of Singapore and the renowned infinity pool.

We were warmly greeted at the entrance and escorted into the restaurant. The wonderful aroma of chocolate welcomes you as you enter the dining area and shown to your table. You can request to sit inside where it’s air conditioned or outside to enjoy the view. The ambiance is warm, the decor rich in shades of brown, and service friendly.

You can have optional wine pairings which are an additional $19 or $27, we opted for just teas and coffees, which were quite good! No time was wasted and we were quickly checking out the tasty delights and filling our plates.

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The set up is quite compact and small, however, lots of different presentations of chocolate on every bench.

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There is also a manned station with its featured dish made to order. Last visit, they were chocolate donuts with your choice of flavoured sugars. This time it was a chocolate banana gallette with vanilla ice cream.

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Mike and I have a system. We share one item between the two of us – that way, we don’t eat as much and get to try as many dishes as possible 😉 As you can see and imagine, there were lots of delectables!

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Such a wonderful variety of flavours, textures and presentations, really something for everyone. There were too many good ones to choose a favourite!

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These were our only 2 misses: ginger chocolate poached pear with a flake of gold on top (ou, fancy) and macarons. The macarons looked good, but had a terrible texture to them, not at all what they should be like.

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We started with chocolate, but don’t forget this is also a cheese buffet! From their info page, “The newly added cheese buffet offers 12 types of the finest cheese brought in from France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. Cheese lovers will be treated to a spread of hard cheese, soft cheese, blue cheese and goat cheese along with accompaniments. Round up the evening from a selection of six wines specially paired with each type of cheese for a divine experience.”

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Accompaniments included a range of breads, crackers, crisps, chutneys, honeys, nuts and dried fruit.

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A great selection of blue cheeses to Michael’s enjoyment! I’m trying to acquire a taste for blue cheese, but I think I need a lot more work 😛

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Dress up, come hungry and enjoy a great night out above the city of Singapore.

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Also, don’t forget to take in the views! My pretty mom enjoyed it!

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The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, as well as the Supertree grove of Gardens by the Bay.

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Looking out from the infinity pool on the other side of Marina Bay Sands is Singapore’s skyline – beautiful!

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After dinner, enjoy a walk around Marina Bay Sands, take in the decor, enjoy the views and maybe even watch the light show! Until next time! 🙂

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SIN/KL 2014: On a plane to Singapore!

November 29, 2014

See these excited faces? Off to Singapore!

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An uneventful flight with Scoot, followed by a short day in Singapore. Getting to Moon Hotel (stopping at Tekka Market in Little India for food on the way), resting and having a late but delicious dim sum dinner at Swee Choon!

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My mom finally had a taste of Swee Choon’s amazing Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns that we’ve been raving about. Other favourites definitely included the Portugese Egg Tarts and Red Bean Paste Pancake.

Now I’m really craving dim sum…

SIN/KL 2014: Vietnamese dinner at From Bac to Nam

November 28, 2014

Across the street from Outrigger Resort, as part of Burleigh Gold Coast Motel, was Bac to Nam Vietnamese Dining.

It had been a very long time since the three of us visited a Viet restaurant (nothing beats home cooked food right?), but we were all intrigued and decided to give it a try.

The first thing we liked about the restaurant was its unique name. Bac to Nam means ‘North to South’, alluding to a menu that includes items from North, Central and South Vietnam.

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Upon entering, the restaurant was dimly lit with nice ambiance and lovely, traditional décor. Resembling a hut with wooden tables and benches, with simplistic containers for utensils and napkins.

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Around the walls were canvases of scenes from Vietnam, some of which we have even personally visited.

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Mom got Vietnamese Prawn Fried Rice ($16) – generous amount of prawns and well seasoned. Good Vietnamese iced coffee too!

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Michael chose Chili pork with rice ($17) that he really enjoyed.

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And I got Pork belly with homemade sauce and rice ($18). The pork belly tasted homemade, succulent with crispy crackling and accompanied by a subtle sauce.

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Portions smaller than expected, but good home-style food, not to expect anything fancy or extravagant. We had an enjoyable night but did find the menu to be quite a bit more expensive compared to Vietnamese restaurants in Brisbane. They are licensed now as well so you can enjoy a beer with your food!

Bac To Nam Vietnamese Dining on Urbanspoon

Having friends over for dinner!

October 24, 2014

After so many months of talking about getting together for a catch up, we finally did it! Bing came over for dinner and we agreed on preparing a 3 course meal between the three of us. Unfortunately, I, of all people, forgot to take a group photo! 😦 Instead, I only have photos of our meal.

Bing prepared the entree – Perfectly cooked mussels in beer with Asian flavours. We prepared the main dish (Banh Tam Xiu Mai) as well as the dessert – Vietnamese Flan. My first time making flan with over-the-phone-directions from my mum, turned out way better than expected!

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Felt like we could’ve kept talking through the night. Had a great time and can’t wait to do it again!


October 27, 2014

Being able to get to know Sam over this year was definitely a treat, especially during our Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation. Lots of laughs and assistance with keeping sanity were provided on his end. I was lucky, I even got to hear stories of his relationship, including his plan to propose! If you know me, you know I get super duper excited for other people when it comes to things like this. Both Mike and I were very happy to learn of their engagement while we were back in Canada! Unfortunately, we didn’t attend Sam & Kim’s engagement party. But… we finally got the chance to catch up and more importantly, meet Kim!

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We invited them over for dinner and without thinking, decided to make Thai green curry with rice for dinner on a super hot day. The heat and spice may have been a little overwhelming, our bad! Sam & Kim brought equipment over to make hotcakes for dessert. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know ahead of time is our microwave is broken and can only run for a total of 4.5 minutes before it dies. These hotcakes that were meant to be a simple dessert because they were prepared in advance and only needed cooking in the microwave ended up having to be steamed over the stove. Sorry guys!

Delicious though! Full of citrus flavours with a dollop of cream balancing out the sweetness.

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Thanks for coming guys!

Dinner with friends at Capri Bar Cafe

October 19, 2014

With a very pleasant previous experience at Capri Bar Cafe in Emporium in the past, we invited a few friends to join us for a revisit. A 50% off special was being offered through Dimmi at our time of booking, which made the experience more worthwhile.

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We were a group of 5 and similar to our previous visit, service was excellent. Staff were attentive, friendly, and happy to accommodate any requests – thank you!

For wine, we ordered a bottle of 2009 Solar Viejo Tempranillo from Rioja Spain ($49). It was the first time any of us had tried a Tempranillo, a black grape variety, and quite enjoyed it.

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Our friend Xuan decided to try out two main dishes while the remaining 4 of us decided to order a variety of entrees to share. This worked out really nicely as the share plates were perfectly sized and portioned.

Our share plates!

Mediterranean Bruschetta – House made olive tapanade with roasted pumpkin and grilled haloumi ($13). Really tasty and definitely an easy inspirational dish to try out at home!

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Mediterranean Koftas – Mediterranean lamb koftas served with a chick pea and rocket salad, tzatziki and Turkish bread ($17). These were moist, flavourful and delicious! Loved the freshness of the tzatziki sauce as well.

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Chicken & Haloumi – Grilled chicken served with roasted beetroot and rocket salad finished with grilled haloumi ($16.50). Salad was nicely dressed but as you can guess from this photo, the chicken was a little dry and unfortunately not very seasoned.

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Arancini – Baked beetroot and walnut arancini, served with a rocket salad and a side of marinated fetta ($16). One of our favourites. In addition to the taste, the colour from the beetroot really makes this dish stand out!

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Chicken Fritters – Oven baked sweet potato and zucchini fritters, with grilled chicken strips and house made tahini yoghurt ($18). The fritters (and the sauce) were great, another dish I’d love to try and recreate at home, especially when they’re baked and not fried. Unfortunately, this dish also contained the same unexciting chicken strips!

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Capri Pizza – Air dried beef rib fillet, semi dried tomatoes, olives and roasted eggplant with mozzarella and fetta cheese ($24). With all our food coming out at once, the pizza was a little cooled by the time we got to it but still good! Thin crispy crust and a good mixture of ingredients, would’ve never thought to add roasted eggplant to any pizza but it works well!

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Xuan’s first main was Prawn & Calamari Spaghetti – Local prawns and baby calamari, marinated in chilli and garlic with Italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil ($28.50). Nicely balanced dish with a flavourful sauce and good quality seafood, although perhaps frozen as opposed to fresh prawns.

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His second dish was NT Barramundi – Grilled Barramundi fillet served on sweet potato Roman gnocchi with parmesan roasted cauliflower and avocado salsa ($33). The fish was fresh and nicely cooked but he didn’t find the ingredients worked well together which made the dish overall not memorable.

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Sharing small dishes is great because it leaves room for dessert 😉

Xuan and Yung Howe had a slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake – Warm flourless chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache, berry coulis and vanilla gelato ($13) – mmm yummy!

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Yoni really enjoyed a Macadamia Brownie – Dark chocolate, roasted macadamia brownie served with white chocolate ganache and vanilla gelato ($13).

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We all agreed that plating of the previous 2 desserts, in particular the sauces, a little… tacky 🙂

Mike and I had an exceptional Sticky Date Pudding – Banana sticky date with butterscotch sauce and vanilla gelato ($13) – the perfect hot and cold, salty and sweet dessert combination!

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We had a great dinner, with many more hits with our food than misses. Lots of fun catching up and sharing stories and the night ended on a high note with a surprise – some port on the house! Thanks to the staff at Capri Bar Cafe for their awesome service and good food! Total bill came to $150 which was definitely a steal! Looking forward to visiting again 🙂

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Capri Cafe Bar on Urbanspoon

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

Thanksgiving brunch

October 11, 2014

A tradition since moving to Australia, Mario hosted the Canadian Thanksgiving meal yet again this year. Interestingly, most attendees were Australian but who can resist a get together that revolves around delicious food and over indulgence?

The Canadian crew with Mario, Stacy, Yoni and Mike

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Selfies!

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Some of the food spread:

Tender and fragrant roasted leg of lamb with creme fraiche, courtesy of Mario

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Butternut squash soup and chicken pesto salad from Mike and I

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Yoni made savoury beef filled crepes

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The rest of the food including: scalloped potatoes, pumpkin, beet and quinoa salad, mini quiches, and tacos. There was an array of desserts including sticky date pudding, pumpkin pie, and chocolate cake.

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Didn’t take too many photos of food or people but good meal nonetheless! Likely our last Thanksgiving meal at Mario’s since we will be moving away in January. Happy to have held on a small aspect of home but it has never been the same celebrating Thanksgiving without family (and a stuffed turkey).

A quick return to Stradbroke Island

October 6, 2014

On March 12th of this year, Michael proposed to me during a wonderful vacation on Stradbroke Island. One of our favourite places turned into a very special place that day, and we will always look forward to the opportunity for a visit.

With beautiful forecasted weather, we took advantage of the Labour Day long weekend to spend a day on the island.

Started our day sharing a delicious breakfast at Tillers Cafe Pantry, a restaurant attached to Allure Resort, where we stayed back in March. The last time we were here, it was our first meal out as an engaged couple and my first time wearing my ring in public. I remember not being able to help but continuously glance down at my ring, as it was so sparkly in the natural light 😛

We enjoyed Whole dressed avocado served with sourdough bread, grilled haloumi cheese, lime & dressing of olive oil and balsamic ($12), which was just as delicious as last visit!

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We also shared a slice of berry white chocolate cheese cake accompanied with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. The cake had really good texture with interesting crunchiness from white chocolate within the cheesecake.

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We strolled along the beaches after breakfast, even coming across this sand mermaid who has seen better days

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Blue skies, sunshine, warm sand for lounging and refreshing ocean swims! Love him 🙂

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Coming up to high tide by the time we passed Deadman’s Beach and headed into Frenchman’s Beach, but here is where he proposed! At the tall boulder just slipping out of the sun… 🙂

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A perfect day, Stradbroke Island will always be one of my favourites places ❤

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Breakfast at Cafe Auchenflower

October 5, 2014

After months of being away, we finally caught up with James and Kim over breakfast at Cafe Auchenflower.

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With a cute and homely atmosphere, Cafe Auchenflower invites you in with friendly service and a steady stream of customers.

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A small menu that offers both sweet and savoury items, something for everyone.

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We started off with drinks, including a nice flat white, freshly brewed tea and iced coffee with ice cream

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I ordered an iced chocolate, which was a little disappointing. Simply milk with chocolate syrup, not overly cold and certainly not iced.

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James and Kim decided on poached eggs on sourdough bread ($13) with a couple of sides, each around $3 (avocado, fritters, bacon).

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Michael couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pass up Benedict Eggs on toasted sourdough with bacon ($17).

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Everyone received consistent beautifully poached eggs and quite enjoyed their breakfast.

I ordered the Breaky Wrap with bacon, egg, greens, corn salsa & chipotle mayo ($17). Grilled to perfection with a generous amount of greens and bacon, although eggs a little overcooked.

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And don’t forget to check out the cabinet on your way out, tasty treats to pick up!

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A lovely breakfast with great company! However, despite a good visit and food, Michael and I did find the menu overpriced and won’t be too hasty to return.

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