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

AYCE buffet at Eclipse Asian Cuisine

December 16, 2013

At my mum’s friend’s recommendation, our family decided to have AYCE buffet lunch at Eclipse Asian Cuisine.

A reasonable, $12.95/person + tax/tip for weekday lunch.

Our first impression of Eclipse was, “Holy, heavy doors!” But we did appreciate the eclipse decor pattern on the glass.

Joking aside, the restaurant is large with 2 main seating areas, offering both tables and booths. We were greeted at the door and immediately shown to a booth. Recommendation: hooks by the booths to hang up coats!

The decor is nice and tasteful with wood and brown furniture against purple walls with circular white and yellow accents.

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We arrived shortly after 11:30am for lunch so it was not surprising that there were only a few other patrons in the restaurant. However, there was a steady flow of diners as we headed into lunch hours.

Before grabbing food, I walked around to take a look at all the dishes available and take a few pictures. I was quite taken aback when an employee, I assume the manager/owner as he was in a dress shirt and tie, saw me and harshly asked, “Why are you taking pictures?!” When I replied that I like to blog and was planning to write a review, and asked if taking pictures would be okay, he gave a curt nod of his head and walked away. Isn’t it easier to be friendly?

Anyway, I quite liked the set up of the food. A symmetrical, semi-circular area with an island at the centre and 2 smaller areas off to each side.

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The presentation of the food was elegant, smaller portions cleanly plated on white square dishes. However, I believe this also allowed the dishes to cool a little quickly.

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There are many meat dishes (vegetarians will have a hard time here) and a number of seafood ones to choose from. Many of the classics (dumplings, General Tao’s chicken, egg rolls, stir-fries, etc) are available along with a selection of sushi, salads, soups, and desserts.

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Hungry for food!

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I found my mum’s side profile funny

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My plate. Trying to get a bite of many dishes…

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Unfortunately, my tiny, sesame ball with red bean filling was still raw on the inside.

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And 2 of us had big chunks of fat in one of our pork dishes, not a fan. Fat is the closest piece, pork behind it.

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Overall, the food and selection is good. Of course, the variety doesn’t match Emerald Buffet, but Eclipse still offers something for everyone in a nicer environment. Some dishes are cooked and taste better than others. I especially liked the salmon Teriyaki and salt and pepper shrimp. The sushi is decent, although if you are looking for sushi, I would definitely recommend going down the street for AYCE at Sushi Kan.

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Desserts were definitely disappointing, with a small selection of fruits, jello, ice cream and pre-bought desserts. Unfortunately, many pastries/cakes were dry as they are left open to the air. Would’ve loved to see some Asian desserts as well!

With reasonable prices and food, I’m sure we will find ourselves back when craving Chinese buffet!

Eclipse Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Long overdue catch up with Sareda at Art Is In!

December 14, 2013

By long overdue, I mean three years. Really.

Needless to say, it was great to see her and finally catch up. So much can happen in such little time, you easily don’t realize it until actually sitting down and having a chat.

For lunch, Sareda chose Art Is In Boulangerie. What a delight! And thanks again for the treat my dear!

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Unit #112 of the industrial loading bay at City Centre Ave, Art Is In has a very unique atmosphere. You walk through a black door to be greeted by high ceilings, minimal decor, shared seating in a large open space. And surprisingly, it’s very warm, inviting and cosy.

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Being first time visitors, we appreciated that there wasn’t too much of a line when we arrived shortly after 12pm on a Saturday. We had the opportunity to ask questions regarding what was available and take a moment longer to make up our minds. I really liked how there was an employee taking our ‘hot food’ orders while we waited in line. By the time we got to the front of the line, ordered any additional pastries, breads, or other items from the bakery, paid and sat down at a table, the food took only a few more moments to arrive.

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We both decided on a sandwich and a pastry.

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Sareda chose the Thai chicken with apple, curry mayo, and havarti sandwich ($10.95)

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I got the Buttermilk brined chicken caesar sandwich ($10.95, tender chicken pieces with bacon, havarti, tomatoes, arugula and our homemade Caesar dressing. Served on our Dynamite Cheddar, jalapeno & chive bread).

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Both sandwiches were delicious, served such amazing crusty bread and filled with fresh vegetables and flavourful meat – yum! Although they were great, they are not the biggest sandwiches and I wish for the price, they came with a small side. Even if it was just a few greens.

For dessert, a danish with lemon curd and berries (I believe) for Sareda

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And a Chocolate Almond Croissant ($2.95) for me!

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Again, both extremely tasty! We each saved half to share with Sareda’s partner, Calvin, later.

We were definitely impressed with our first visit and left making plans to each come back in the future, yay!

December 17, 2013

And so, when Mike came up to Ottawa, I took him there for lunch!

He couldn’t pass up the same sandwich I got last time and ordered the chicken caesar, along with a coffee.

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We also bought 2 pastries to try:

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Sticky Bun with Pecans, Raisin & Caramel ($3.25). Delicious but extremely rich, especially as it is not technically a bun but more of a croissant. It is quite sweet, although the caramel is hardened, would’ve been nicer if it was slightly warmed!

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And the Maple Dipped Old Fashioned Potato Donut ($3.25). The donut had very lovely texture but otherwise quite bland, which is not technically a bad thing depending on what you are looking for! Or it could be because our taste buds were overwhelmed by the sticky bun πŸ˜›

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❀ him!

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During the second visit, there were a few minor things I noticed that could be improved.

Although I don’t drink, directions for where to get self-serve coffee would be useful. There was confusion as nothing was labelled and wasn’t sure if the big dispensers contained other beverages like tea or hot chocolate.

Additionally, you are given pastries you order at the cash to take back to your table. Hot foods arrive when they are ready. However, there is no self-serve cutlery for those who would like to enjoy their pastries first or while they wait. A stash cutlery where the self-serve drinks are would be great and save the trouble of bothering an employee! πŸ™‚

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Otherwise, the food is delicious on many levels. The atmosphere is great with a variety of clientele including families, elderly couples, and those on break from work. Turnover is quick and although it was quite busy both times I’ve visited, we never had trouble finding space to share and dine with others. Service is quick and friendly. My only regret is not buying some fresh loaves of bread to go! I guess that means I will just have to return soon… πŸ˜€

Art Is in Bakery on Urbanspoon

No excuse for not blogging!

Hi friends!

Yes, I have no excuse for not blogging, I am on vacation after all!

How is everyone doing? Getting excited for the holidays yet?

For once, I am (mostly) on top of Christmas preparations! That even includes putting up the Christmas tree by myself at the beginning of December, yay! Not to mention all my presents have been wrapped… which normally never happens until the night of the 23rd or 24th.

Here are a few scattered moments since my last blog post:

Remember when I said I was digitizing all our old photos? Well, I finished! But I have not yet organised them T_T

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Mum made delicious guacamole!

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Got the tree up and this was my first present wrapped!

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Grilled cheese on a panini grill

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Snacking

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Made some macarons with the bro. They were successful in that they had feet, but failed in smoothness and texture – overbaked and way too crispy! We’ll try again soon…

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One of my favourite fruit snacks – pineapple with salt and pepper, yummy!

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Don’t know what made my mom think this would be good – smoked oysters (from China) in a can by Clover. Needless to say, she tasted one and didn’t get further.

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A little bit of a lot going on in this photo

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It snowed so hard on Dec 15! 😦

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Which was also the day my sister came home for the holidays from Vancouver. Thank god my uncle (Cau Hai) drove us to pick her up… or we would’ve died on the road.

The flight was, of course, delayed. Our poor grandparents had to chill at the airport until close to 3am when Jenni finally arrived!

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December 16 – day after my sister came home. And Michael came up, finally! ❀ We went to see the Ottawa Senators vs St Louis Blues hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre!

My sister, the biggest Toronto Maple Leafs fan… forced to wear a Sens jersey

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One of the most exciting games I’ve been to with the winning goal scored by Ceci in the last minute of overtime, yay! Note: I dislike hockey and have not watched many games in person.

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My brother “studying” before we left for the game.

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December 17 – breakfast with mum at Cora’s before driving her to work! Cora’s food was a disappointment, this is my 4th or 5th time going and it just… never wins me over.

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And homemade jajangmyun (Korean noodles with black bean sauce) that night! Mmm!

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Of course, Michael couldn’t visit Ottawa without having lunch at Play! Love the current menu options, although they have since increased the pricefrom 2 plates for $20 last year to $22. Still a great deal though!

Started off with house bread and frites with aioli sauce.

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Our first plates. beef laab / hoisin / jalapeΓ±o / daikon / romaine / ginger for Michael. So fragrant and delicious! Great contrast of flavours and textures, definitely a favourite.

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I enjoyed the pappardelle / chorizo / duck / celeriac / winter squash / shallot. Also very tasty! The pappardelle (broad pasta noodles) was cooked just with with really nice flavours but way too oily for me.

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Onto our second plates! rabbit meatballs / pork / cornbread / eggplant agrodolce for Mike. Tender and moist meatballs against fluffly cornbread made for a very hearty meal.

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I chose the pork belly/edamame/Thai sauce/apricot/red bell pepper/onion. The flavours danced across my tongue… easily our favourite dish of the day! Crispy pork belly on a bed of wonderful delights with a good amount of heat. Unfortunately, the sauce in this dish was too oily, which was worse than my pappardelle because the pork belly is already so fatty. Still a delight though!

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And finally, guess who!

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Seeing the girls again!

December 08, 2013

Reunion with the girls, finally! We were just missing Sophie 😦 who’s still studying in San Fran… but we’ll catch up with her sooner or later!

We congregated at Julia’s house (thanks Hue for picking Atong and I up!) to make delicious food and of course, to feast!

Julia taught us how to make gnocchi, who knew it was such an easy dish to make from scratch too!

Baking and letting the potatoes dry out.

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Pressing the potatoes… takes effort! πŸ˜›

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Hue made a play on the well known appetizer Insalata Caprese – yummy with tomato, basil, and boccocini, dipped in a basalmic and olive oil vinagrette.

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Atong… just watching and waiting to eat, haha.

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I made some coconut basil tempura shrimp… never a let down!

Infusing the coconut cream

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Ready to feast!

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It had been a while since I had poutine, Julia made some with sweet potato too, yummy!

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The tempura shrimp!

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Can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of the gnocchi! It was so delicious with a rose sauce and bacon!

I also made some deep fried banana fritters, tasty!

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Group photo πŸ™‚

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Silly faces

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Such a lovely home

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Watching Masterchef as we eat πŸ˜›

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And with her lovely Christmas tree!

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And lastly, I just wanted to point out her table runner. How beautiful is that??

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Grandpa’s 80th Birthday lunch!

November 24, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA! CHUC MUNG SINH NHAT ONG NGOAI!

Background: Our whole family thought it would be lovely to throw my grandpa a surprise 80th birthday party! Tasks were divided up in order to get everything organised for the big day. Everyone put a lot of time into the event, which turned out successful, yay! We rented a smaller room at the St Laurent Complex with tables, chairs and a screen and projector to work with. I made a slideshow with old photos from each family as I knew my grandpa loved looking at them, especially those of his family. The chosen theme colours were royal blue and silver. A lot of work was put into not only the food, but also the decor! The cranes on the centrepieces were each folded, then spray painted before being strung onto the branches. In the vases, we also put ribbon and tulle that matched the theme colours. Thank you to everyone for their time, especially the grandchildren! Couldn’t have done it without you guys. ❀

I have so many photos, so will only share a select few to help me tell the story πŸ˜€

The grandchildren (my siblings + cousins) arrived 2 hours early to set everything up, yay us!

Making sure we sign the card before the adults arrive

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My brother Andy and Justin putting up the vinyl mural he made – a portrait of my grandpa!

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Closer look at the mural, pretty sweet.

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Due to the space, we decided on two long rows of tables on either side, as opposed to individual tables spread across the room, which worked well! We had an assembly line going as soon as the tablecloths and dinnerware arrived (we rented these),and things were laid out in no time!

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Dining area set up beautifully, ready to go!

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My sister, Jenni, also made party favours for everyone

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There were also 3 tables set up for all the delicious food! Everything but the roasted pig and bread rolls were hand-prepared by a family

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The 2 Family made: Fried wontons, crispy garlic chicken wings, steam buns, flan and also brought an assortment of other things like cucumber, bread rolls, and chocolate.

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The 3 Family made: A fruit platter, Vietnamese pork roll shaped into 80s, deviled eggs, and sweet egg desserts made with agar with a mung bean egg yolk. He also took care of a few vegetarian dishes for my grandma’s friends who attended, as well as the symbolic bowl of 80 clementines!

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The 4 Family made: Seafood soup, water and canned drinks

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The 5 Family made: A veggie platter and a sandwich platter, also bringing along coffee and tea for dessert.

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The 6 Family (us) made: Quinoa salad, pandan and Vietnamese coffee flavoured coconut jelly. I made cupcakes!

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It was a feast! Definitely lots of food leftover that we took home with us πŸ™‚

Grandchildren, assemble! In order to greet my grandpa when he walks in the door!

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We hope he was surprised, especially because my sister wasn’t supposed to be making it but eventually decided to fly in for the weekend!

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Some of my grandma’s guests

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Photo with all the grandchildren + Mike

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Photo with all five children

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We also took individual family photos, here is ours

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My grandma’s friends were not told in advance that the event was for my grandpa’s birthday. Here they are just apologizing for that and giving gifts anyway!

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Grandpa giving us a thank you speech before eating lunch, thank you grandpa!

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Soup assembly line, haha!

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Ready to eat

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Kids table

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Birthday cake! A nice, fluffy green, pandan flavoured cake

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Oh, don’t be shy grandpa

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Make a wish!

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Cutting the cake

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Check out the paparazzi!

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Being the one who made a special trip home for his birthday, Jenni had the honour of presenting the hand-made card!

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Giving our presents! In case you didn’t see in a previous post, our family got him a number of interesting goodies to try and share with family and friends πŸ™‚

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There are A LOT more photos, especially the ones including all the other families. I couldn’t possibly bore you with all of them! πŸ˜› PLEASE CLICK HERE if you would like to see the complete album.

Otherwise, our-what’s-now-becoming-a-tradition: Cousins’ Photoshoot

All 13 grandchildren lined up by age, with 2 outliers – Michael and Martin, an honourary grandchild for the day.

Gpas bday - 158I really like doing these group photos… πŸ˜›

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Quality’s not the best, but this one is my favourite!

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The serious, just got arrested look

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And lastly, a few family photos!

With Janet and her dad (part of the 5 Family)

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The girlies!

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Us!

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There will never be a family photo of us without a silly one first…

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Or two silly photos…

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Look how pretty the 5 Family looks!

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The afternoon passed by so quickly, it was soon time to start cleaning up in order to return the room.

I hope everyone had a great time and enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, especially my grandpa! I hope you enjoyed the slideshow too! Thank you again to the whole family for making this day possible! πŸ™‚

Happy birthday Fi!

September 28, 2013

A small BBQ gathering to catch up with friends and more importantly, celebrate Fiona’s birthday! She’s only turned “24” this year guys πŸ˜‰

Blowing out the candles! It took many laughs and a lot of effort πŸ˜›

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And a few random pictures! Sorry Christine and Mike, somehow I missed you guys!

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Happy birthday again!

Mike’s 34th Birthday!

Another long overdue post!

Mike turned 34 on September 21, 2013 – woo hoo! We had a quiet day at home with just the 2 of us… focused on food, haha!

Started the day by making us some mini blueberry and white chocolate pancakes for breakfast! πŸ™‚

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For lunch we went to our favourite local sushi restaurant, Sakura Sushi – they have new menu items! They keep improving every time we visit – highly recommended!

And a lovely homemade meal to celebrate for dinner πŸ™‚

At Mike’s request, Banh Tam Xiu Mai – one of his favourite Viet dishes!

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Also made some coconut basil shrimp, mmm so tasty!

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Happy birthday my love!

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And also at his request, Caramel infused chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. My best homemade cupcakes yet, huge stamp of approval from the birthday boy!

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And of course, presents!

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Wishing you many more happy birthdays to come my dear! ❀

Recent Randoms

Some pictures from random moments these past few days!

Thing (from Addams Family) awkwardly on Michael’s shoulder πŸ˜‰

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

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

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Mike with a monster!

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Was in the city studying today…

Super busy Post Office Square

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Less busy Anzac Square just beside, settled here instead!

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It was a beautiful day!

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

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

Lunch @ Dumpling Up

August 26, 2013

Got off early from the hospital, woo hoo!

Hungry and in time for lunch, how lucky πŸ˜›

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Silly face!

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

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Edamame – overcooked with too much oil and salt.

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

Salmon roll (salmon, avocado & cucumber)

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Dragon roll (salmon, prawn & pickle)

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

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

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

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

Dumpling Up on Urbanspoon

Morning tennis with friends & breakfast @ Ruby Cafe

August 3, 2013

Booked a tennis court at UQ for a morning of tennis with Xuan, Amanda and Yung!

There was a lot of ball chasing and annoying players in nearby courts that day… but all in good fun πŸ™‚

Some pictures!

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And, naturally, food must follow exercise.

We went for late breakfast/brunch at Ruby Cafe in Paddington, a delightful meal indeed!

The little tables we sat at outside had little red blankets to keep you warm, which was quite cute.

Both Amanda and I got the Torn lamb toastie with fontina cheese, green tomato relish and dill pickle, served with shoestring fries ($13). Sandwich was amazing, loved the tender melt-in-your-mouth lamb in combination with the green tomato relish. Fries were tasty with the only disappointment being… it was a gherkin not a dill pickle! You don’t understand the feeling of expecting a tasty dill pickle and getting a sweet gherkin instead… for real!

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Mike got the BLT with smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, house BBQ and ranch, served with shoestring fries ($13). He definitely enjoyed it, but we both agreed the lamb toastie was much better in flavour.

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And lastly (because Yung didn’t join us), Xuan had the scrambled eggs with tomato chili jam, sourdough and pork fennel & chili sausage ($15). Also very tasty but sausage was not nearly as spicy as expected.

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Didn’t step inside the restaurant so I can’t comment on the decor and ambiance but it was nice to sit outside. Service was just okay. There were multiple friendly staff members who served our table but none of them were on the ball. Request for water was forgotten as food was brought to the table and the second round of coffee never came. Eventually, we decided to just get the bill and they didn’t even realize the coffee order was never fulfilled. Maybe they were too busy, but that should never be an excuse, right?

All in all, food was definitely good enough to warrant another visit. Perhaps next time we’ll sit inside and be less forgotten! πŸ˜‰

Ruby Cafe on Urbanspoon

Day 06: Singapore – Delicious lunch @ Hill Street Coffee Shop

Thursday, July 18, 2013

[ARGH! I had just written this entire blog post when WordPress glitched on me and I lost the whole thing!]

Mike and I took a much needed break in between visiting the conservatories for some lunch!

After walking around and checking out all the eating establishments at Gardens by the Bay, we decided on Supertree Dining – a complex of restaurants offering a multitude of dishes from all over the world. Oh, and the view of the Supertrees while you’re dining is pretty nice too I must say!

This is a photo I took later in the day very close to where we ate to give you a view of what the Supertrees looked like!

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The dining space is quite lovely with softly glowing abstract Supertrees.

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After looking at all the options, we decided to dine at Hill Street Coffee Shop. It not only had enticing menu items but also a lunch special! 2 mains and 2 drinks for $15… not bad!

We were shown to our booth by the window where we sat, chatted, and wondered awkwardly when we would receive our menus. All the staff happened to be temporarily in the kitchen, so we picked up the newspapers on our table to pass the time.

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And then we laughed. Because the newspapers were the menus! Clever guys, very clever. And very neat.

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We soon made up our minds and placed our orders.

We started with drinks while waiting for our food to come out. The options we had were either kopi (coffee sweetened with condensed milk) or teh (tea sweetened with condensed milk). Mike enjoyed a kopi while I had a teh – reminiscent of all the Cha Yen (similar tea drink) I had in Bangkok.

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Mike decided on a dish we’ve been meaning to but haven’t tried yet, the Traditional Singapore Laksa – spicy curry and coconut milk based broth with thick vermicelli, cockles, prawns, fried tofu, chicken, bean sprouts, sliced egg and fish cake. Mmm, an instant favourite between us! Nom nom nom!

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I chose the Crispy Fried Lemongrass Marinated Chicken Nasi Lemak. Fragrant rice cooked with coconut cream and served on a banana leaf (and newspapers) with a number of sides: crispy fried chicken, roasted peanuts, sambal (hot spicy sauce), acar (pickled vegetables), cucumber slices, ikan bilis (small fried anchovies) and a pieces of seafood-flavoured-crisps I couldn’t identify. The chicken was delicately crispy, flavourful and so juicy! Combination of flavours and textures were excellent! We’d never had Nasi Lemak before, but it too became an instant favourite!

Edit: We actually did try nasi lemak a few days before at Bugis Market with Xuan… it wasn’t very good though. This was great!

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With happy bellies, we proceeded back to Cloud Forest to continue on our conservatory adventure!

Day 05: Bangkok – Pak Khlong Talat, Colours and Smells

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We took the Express Boat back towards the city and got off at Memorial Bridge Pier to visit… the Pak Khlong Talat, also known as, the flower market!

Once you leave the pier, take the first left and then right at the 7-11. After that, follow the colours and the smell of flowers! πŸ˜€

Unfortunately, the best time to check out Pak Khlong Talat is pre-dawn from around 3-4am. Needless to say, the market was a little sleepy and empty when we walked around. Still plenty of sights to take in though!

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Such reasonably priced (compared to Canada and Australia) flowers… a little something for everyone!

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We saw many phuang malai garlands being made will skilled hands and sold on the spot. These are used as offerings to images of Buddha inside temples or shrines at home, ancestor shrines, etc.

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Mike… enjoying a nice cold Singha (bought at a nearby 7-11 and opened for by the cashier) on the streets of Bangkok.

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On the way back to the pier, I saw these two sorting out a huge stock of chili peppers and asked if I could take some pictures. They happily waved me to go ahead. Notice the cell phone in the plastic bag – I guess I wouldn’t want chili juice all over my cell either!

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Memorial Bridge and its respective pier with someone fishing.

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Thanks to Mark Weins and his YouTube video about kuay tiew rua (boat noodles) at Victory Monument, we had to try!

Once you get off the BTS at Victory Monument station, stay within the overhead walkway and head towards the canal (keeping Victory Monument on your left).

The canals are now very dirty and polluted.

This is not the side you want to be on…

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You want to be on this side! Which is why it’s important to keep Victory Monument on your left hand side as you are walking through the pedestrian overpass. We didn’t know that and did an unnecessary full circle around Victory Monument.

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When you reach the canal and get down onto the road, there will be a number of boat noodle restaurants to choose from. We decided to follow the one Mark Weins visited in his video and were quite happy!

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So… what are boat noodles? They are called so because they were traditionally served from boats. Nowadays, you can sit in a restaurant and enjoy them instead. They are also sold in small portions that sit shallow in the bowl, to limit spillage due to rocking by the boat.

The noodles are first blanched in hot soup before being tossed into a bowl with a little bit of water spinach (Morning Glory), a pork meatball and a few slivers of either pork or beef. The most important ingredient in a bowl of boat noodles is fresh pig’s blood which cooks immediately once hot soup is poured in, thickening the broth and giving the dish its characteristic wholesome pork flavour.

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The restaurant staff did not speak much English but it wasn’t hard to get our requests across with English on the menu. All dishes cost 10 baht each and we proceeded to eat!

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We both started with one each of the “Noodles thicken soup with beef” and “Noodles thicken soup with pork” The staff also brought over a plate of “Fried dumplings” (fried wonton skins) and “Streaky pork with crispy crackling” (fried pork rinds), which we readily agreed to take.

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Thick chewy noodles in a little bit of really flavoursome porky broth. There was also sugar, fish sauce, chili flakes and vinegar chili sauce at the table so you can flavour the noodles to your liking.

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So tasty! And because the portions are so tiny, we definitely got in a few more orders before leaving satisfied πŸ™‚ I think the final bill came to 100-150 baht ($3-5). Would definitely come again if we ever visit Bangkok!

By now, it was late afternoon and so we headed back to the hotel to hang with Laura one last time. With a bit of relaxation and chatting by the pool, it wasn’t long before it was time for us to head to the airport!

Sooner than we realized, we were getting off the train and checking into our flight back to Singapore at 8pm.

Our short trip to Bangkok was finally (felt much longer) coming to an end.

A few shots inside the Suvarnabhumi Airport.

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End of our Bangkok trip! … And I guess by default, end of Day 05!

FULL ALBUM OF LAST PORTION IN BANGKOK HERE

Day 03: Bangkok – AFRIMS & Shopping

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our first morning in Bangkok!

After breakfast at the hotel, Laura met us around 9am in order to take us into work with her – say what? There’s a reason and don’t worry, it wasn’t because of free labour. Laura works at Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) and we all thought it would be interesting to visit her workplace and meet some of her colleagues. Additionally, Mike’s old PhD supervisor had spent many years doing Dengue Virus research at this facility and a lot of the tools Mike used during his PhD came from AFRIMS.

AFRIMS was only a short tuk tuk ride away, where we had the opportunity to meet with many of Laura’s colleagues and even got a tour of the facilities… complete with multiple mini presentations on the methods of research they used! Didn’t think I would be hearing about ELISA and Haemagglutination Inhibition Assays on vacation!

The visit ended with a wonderful lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant where we were introduced to our first bowl of Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut soup). Thank you again, Laura and all the staff we met at AFRIMS who gave us their time to not only welcome us but also to share with us the projects they’re working on!

After lunch (and a quick detour through the surrounding hospitals to exchange money courtesy of Laura), we headed to the Victory Monument sky train station. An opportunity to see Bangkok life and grab some pictures!

Victory Monument, one of the busiest transportation hubs in Bangkok.

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There are no pedestrian crossings in the traffic circle, instead people use overhead walkways.

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We decided today would be the day to check out the city and the shopping. But before that, we stopped quickly at our hotel to BATHE IN AIR CONDITIONING… and plan our shopping trip, of course.

Back alley to Abloom – remind you of Vietnam? There were many aspects of Bangkok that reminded us of Vietnam actually. From the construction of older parts of the city, to the food, to the people.

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I believe this was Sanam Pao sky train station, the one right by our hotel.

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Our first shopping stop was MBK Center, a massive 7-8 storey mall with absolutely everything you could possibly need.

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Unfortunately, what I haven’t told you is that Mike and I are terrible shoppers. We last for a few hours tops and get disheartened when our dreams of “really cheap bargains” don’t live up to expectations πŸ˜› Mike got a pair of pretty shoes though!

We then quickly walked through Siam Center… where I saw some cool sights.

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And of course, had to check out the swanky Siam Paragon.

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We finally got to settle our long-time craving for quality donuts! Yum!

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And then continued on foot down to Central World Plaza. Loved the huge open space, people passing by, art gallery, city backdrop, etc.

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More city views!

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We were going to check out Palladium World Shopping Mall, but got distracted by… SUPER C.

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We thought of all the wonderful foods we could buy and decided to go grocery shopping instead. It was a jackpot. We found Seaweed Pringles we couldn’t find last time in Vietnam, we stocked up on our favourite Kewpie salad dressings, found LARGE containers of Koh-Kae wasabi peanuts, Ice Cream flavoured Oreos, and we even got Strawberry, Vanilla, and Cappuccino TimTams (that’s right, they’re not even for legal sale in Australia). If you’re over at the right time, maybe we’ll share! πŸ˜‰

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With that, we called our shopping day a success and headed back to the hotel to drop off our loot and freshen up before meeting Laura for drinks followed by our most anticipated meal this trip – dinner at Gaggan.

More to come! πŸ™‚

Homemade Foods!

It’s been a while since my last food update!

We’ve been cooking a lot of the same dishes I’ve made in the past, but I have baked a few new things! And don’t worry, I only bake when I can give most of it away and share… we are not constantly eating desserts, I swear!

Rice with stir fried water spinach and pan fried tofu with hoisin based sauce and crushed peanuts

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English muffin with Vietnamese BBQ ground pork, homemade garlic mayo and cucumber

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We had many lemons so it only made sense that we make a lemon loaf with lemon glaze drizzled over the top

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Mini puff pastries with cinnamon cream cheese, whipped cream and cooked pear

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Chocolate chip cookies made without butter

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Nacho night πŸ™‚

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We bought this wonderful green tea with red bean cake at Bread Top, one of our favourite bakery chains. So tasty!

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Breakfast for dinner – something we haven’t made in a while – eggs benedict

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I made a small baked ricotta dip for the first time, pretty tasty!

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Weekend breakfast – lemony pancakes with maple syrup

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Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies sprinkled with sea salt

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Had a little bit of gouda so baked it with some pecans and cherry jam. It looks a lot bigger in this photo than it was in real life.

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Made cauliflower (with a little bit of bacon) soup for the first time. Tasty, definitely something we’ll make again!

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Breast of love πŸ˜›

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Rice, breaded chicken with a lemon fish sauce and garlic glaze

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And that’s all for now! πŸ™‚

Visiting Fi in Toowoomba!

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

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

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

Until then, surgery study time!

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

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

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Lunch Date with Mike @ Gyoza Bar ANN

On Friday, we were able to get out of the hospital earlier than usual. That meant an opportunity for a late lunch date!

Gyoza Bar Ann had been on our list of places to try, specifically for their dumplings. We arrived a little after 2pm, loudly greeted at the door by very friendly and hospitable staff.

My date!

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The lunch menu included Tower Lunch Boxes ($12 each), which of course, we each got. Each Lunch Box comes with steamed rice, a green salad and the choice of one out of 12 main dishes. 6 of the choices are gyoza (dumplings) and the other 6 vary from teriyaki, karaage, sashimi and tofu.

We missed the lunch rush πŸ™‚ Lovely restaurant almost all to ourselves!

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Without much deliberation, Mike chose the spicy gyoza (made with pork) and I chose the cheese gyoza (made with chicken).

And, since it was Friday, we got drinks! Asahi for Mike and a Chu-Hi Lychee cocktail for me πŸ™‚

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We didn’t have to wait long for the food, even though it says 10-15 minutes on the menu. Our dumplings came out on a sizzling hot plate with some onion and green beans. The staff brought over the gyoza sauce which we poured into the hotplate and let the flavours sizzle away for a minute more.

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Rice was slightly overcooked but good flavours. Salad was fresh with a lovely dressing.

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The dumplings were crisp with flavourful filling. My cheese gyoza also had tomato in it, added to the juiciness of the meat. Mike’s dumplings were oh-so-spicy – I couldn’t handle more than one.

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A really nice experience, we will definitely come back to try different dishes soon!

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Ann Gyoza Bar on Urbanspoon

Mission Complete: The Bun Mobile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bun Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Yummy burgers located: Burger Urge

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

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

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

Taken from their website:

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

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A friendly smile greeted us as we approached the counter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burger Urge - Fortitude Valley on Urbanspoon

Lunch Date at The Villager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Villager on Urbanspoon

New Shanghai – A return visit

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

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

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

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

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Staring at the menu πŸ˜›

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Beastie Burgers were not too Beastie

March 05, 2013

Two days before our Medicine in Society exam, we joined Nuangi for a long-awaited lunch date. We wanted to meet up in South Bank, and after a quick browse on Urbanspoon, it was decided that we’d try Beastie Burgers.

There was a nice variety of burgers on the menu and being pretty hungry, we were excited to receive our food. In addition to burgers, we also each ordered a side of either handcut chips with aioli and aged balsamic or onion rings with aioli.

Nuangi ordered the “Spice Route” without the bun – flame grilled beef burger with roast sweet potato, haloumi, chili jam, tomato relish & hommus.

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Yoni and I both ordered the “Cicciolina” – flamed grilled beef burger, roast eggplant, capsicum, haloumi, rocket & pesto. You can see why the burger is not “beastie.” It is simply a humongous bun with a normal sized patty, in this case, overcooked and dried out patty. The burger is also not constructed well, with everything haphazardly thrown onto the bun and smeared with a limited amount of sauce. The burger was simply “ok” and unfortunately not memorable in either taste or looks.

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After ordering, Mike was told they didn’t have any avocado (a shame, because it was the start of lunch service) so he had to change his original choice of the American in Noosa to the Swiss Miss – flamed grilled beef burger, lettuce, gherkin, gruyere cheese, tomato relish & homemade mayo.

The boys and their burgers

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Picture with Nuangi!

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The burgers were not impressive in any way, but their potato wedges were absolutely fantastic – best wedges I’ve ever had – for real. I will definitely visit again just to have these! The balsamic vinegar and aioli sauce were great flavours and worked very nice with the hot and super crispy wedges.

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With such few customers at the time we ordered, it took a disproportionate amount of time for our food to come out. Not only did it take long, our food also came out too staggered. We all started eating at different times and Michael was done his burger by the time his onion rings finally came out. With that being said, the server voluntarily took the onion rings off our bill, even though we didn’t voice any complaints. Much appreciated.

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A good time with good company but would we come back again? Maybe, but definitely not for the burgers – for the potato wedges! And perhaps next time we’ll try the milkshakes so many reviewers rave about as well. πŸ™‚

Beastie Burgers on Urbanspoon

Past to present

Alright, I’m going to go back now and catch up on blogging about everything from my last (not including Photo of the Day) post on December 16th!

Actually, before I do that, I need to share a few pictures from November 19th! My Cau Ba (third uncle) is off work on Mondays and he made “Vit Nau Chao” (Duck in soy bean based hotpot) for lunch with my grandparents and I was invited to join. Yum yum yum, thanks Cau Ba!

Mike was up visiting Dec 18-20 and of course, we had to go to Perkins for breakfast one day! We were pretty greedy and ordered not only huge breakfasts, but sweet potato fries as well.

We also contemplated trying their ‘Cake Pies’ but decided to spare our bodies and left it at that. Dinner that night? Shawarma of course!

November 21st: Down came the snow!!

It didn’t fall as snowflakes, it fell in huge clumps!

After clearing out the driveway, my sister and I headed out to run errands. We ended up at a Rexall pharmacy where they were providing flu shots. Guess who’s vaccinated this year? You should go get yours too!

I made baked gnocchi for dinner that night… thought it turned out okay! πŸ™‚

Photo #303: Tender Frog Legs

December 27, 2012

Mike came into town and we were heading back to his place for a few days. Decided to stop for lunch at our favourite restaurant in Ottawa before hitting the road. I’d only ever had frog legs done the “Asian” way (battered and deep fried, then tossed in salt, butter and sauteed garlic) so thought this would be a nice dish to try – the frog was so tender!

PBL 36 – Lunch at Mike & Sandra’s

October 23, 2012

PBL 36 came over for a potluck lunch today – so much fun and such great food!

Thank you so much to everyone for not only coming, but for putting the time and effort into making the lunch a success!

  • Drew – awesome fruit punch
  • Yoni – apple pie
  • Alex & Josiah – lovely cheese board with crackers and condiments
  • Randol – pinto beans and corn bread
  • Joseph – Singaporean noodles
  • Jasmine – salmon salad
  • Chen – Frankfurts wrapped in puff pastry
  • Christine – ‘Death by Chocolate’ trifle
  • Roger – mini chicken sandwiches
  • Mike & I – curried eggs, meatballs, cinnamon buns & chocolate treats

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a great time playing Articulate and hearing all your stories – I hope we get the chance to do it again soon!

Some of the spread!

Mmm… especially grilled haloumi!

Tasty chicken sandwiches!

Jasmine and Chen!

Mike and Christine

Hi Joseph πŸ™‚

Roger! Always so smiley

Hey boys! Randol, Rog, Jossy – you guys made it to my Photo of the Day!

The girls look good, the guys… a little silly…

Desserts! Apple pie with ‘PBL 36 +’

Mmm… death by chocolate

Cinnamon buns!

A wonderful Friday surprise

Last Friday (October 19), Mike and I decided to have lunch at The Coffee Club in West End after PBL. We had bought a voucher that was expiring within a few days – $25 for 2 breakfasts or lunches and 2 glasses of wine/juice, so had to use it!

After a delicious lunch, we did what we usually do when we go out for food: hang around for a few hours and study. During that time, I got a message from Joseph saying “OSCE marks are out!”

I told Michael excitedly and then with trembling hands and a pounding heart, we logged onto Blackboard to check our scores. I don’t know If you remember, but a few weeks ago I wrote a blog after the OSCEs detailing my experiences and the fear that I may have failed.

I held my breath and loaded the page:

Yay! I passed! Michael was slower and was even more nervous to load his page, but he passed too! Yay us!

I was unbelievably happy. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Michael and I booked our flights back to Ottawa for the second week after final exams in case we’d have to redo the exam but now we can have a real holiday in Australia before going home instead!

Headed out after studying and stopped in Bent Books – sooo many books! Loved it!

Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House on Urbanspoon

We then decided to stop at Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House for a slice of celebratory cake. πŸ˜€ Our friend Lauren introduced this lovely cafe to us last year. Although it has great ambiance, cozy indoor and breezy outdoor seating, their cakes are unfortunately quite average while overpriced. Nevertheless, fun times! And make sure to check out the decor if you stop by! All the different “See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil” monkeys really gives the cafe its name!

Kimono on Urbanspoon

Decided to call it a day and head home. But during the walk back to Cultural Centre bus stop, we passed by Kimono – a sushi train restaurant we’d never seen before. Sushi is our weakness… so we decided we had to give it a try!

We were loudly greeted by the chef as soon as we walked into the door and felt immediately welcomed. A server showed us to our seats and briefly outlined the dinner options, which included an AYCE buffet option! Alas, we weren’t hungry enough for that so we ordered a few rolls instead. They were made on the spot, well priced and all were quite yummy!

When we went to pay, the server commented that we didn’t eat much but we told her we’ll definitely be back!

What an amazingly happy day! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Thanksgiving lunch at Mario’s

October 14, 2012

Mario invited a bunch of us over to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving… it was amazing πŸ˜€ Everybody brought such delicious food… let’s see if I can remember everything:

  • Mario – roasted pork belly and duck fat potatoes
  • Mike & Sandra – Meatloaf and apple tarts
  • Yoni – Sweet potato salad
  • Janet & Ben – Mac&Cheese and green been salad
  • Stacy – Pumpkin pie
  • MyCo – Wings (& salad I believe)
  • Jen & Alex – Roast lamb
  • Lauren – Salad
  • Saji – Drinks
  • Ben – Pumpkin risotto
  • Sarah – Mezze board
  • Sarah & Max – White chocolate mud cake

Is that everyone? I hope so! I’m sure everybody had super happy bellies by the afternoon πŸ˜‰

I wish I had taken photos, but here are a few from Mario:

Setting up the tables with only some of the dishes

One of Sarah’s mezze boards and white chocolate mud cake – yum!

Shot of my apple tarts

Group photo!

And another group shot taken by MyCo

Thanks again to Mario and everyone else for a lovely lunch!