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 / jalapeño / 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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Evening catch up with friends @ The Burrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

Post-hike AYCE dinner @ Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ

Famished once we got back into Brisbane post-hike at Noosa National Park, we were grateful that Xuan had suggested all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Midam!

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At a very reasonable price of $28/person (remember, no tax no tip here), you got an unlimited amount (self-service) of a variety of meats that included: pork belly, marinated pork, marinated beef, marinated chicken, etc!

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Also included in the dinner was rice and a variety of sides that included kimchi, fishcake, sweet mashed potatoes and salad.

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Dinner was extremely good! The meats were tender and well marinated, and the side dishes were tasty. I also loved the dipping sauces! I assume some people are turned off by a time limit, but I think the maximum of 2 hours is definitely more than enough to walk away really satisfied!

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Cooking at the grill at our table was extremely easy and the overhead fan had good suction. Certainly didn’t walk away reeking of food!

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Good food with good company, what else could you ask for?

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The restaurant was super busy with quick service, separated seating areas and a common buffet section. And loved the overhead lights!

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Would definitely recommend a visit! If it wasn’t so hard for us to get to Sunnybank via public transportation, we’d be back sooner!

Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ 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.” 🙂

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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

Thanksgiving lunch at Mario’s

October 14, 2012

Mario invited a bunch of us over to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving… it was amazing 😀 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 😉

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!