Tulip Time @ Corbett Gardens, Bowral, NSW

[Pops out from behind wall  👻]…BOOH-YEAH! It’s been a seriously long time. Thanks for sticking around even though I seem to have died for the last few months… I have been kept very occupied in Malaysia, but I’ve also been fortunate to go back to Sydney for a quick break where I met my Beau! 

Date:  October 3 2015

Since Beau and I had nothing planned for the October long weekend, Beau suggested that we drive to the Bowral to see the tulips exhibition while at the same time show me  where he spent most of his school holidays as a boy.

The tulip exhibition is in Corbett Gardens. Entrance fee is $10 per person, which I later found out is the only week that entrance fee is charged. Never mind that!  The seas of tulips were stunning! 🌷🌷🌷

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The rows and ROWS of tulips…in an amazing assortment of colours…

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Different varietals of tulips were exhibited.  Flaming Parrot is by far my favourite amongst the various varietals.

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Flaming Parrot

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Tulip with frayed edges

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I am able to recall that black tulips were all the rage over a decade ago (if you can remember that, then you are old too!😜) – a single stem costs up to $100 – an obscene amount of money…

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Black Tulip

 

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Beau said that this cherry blossom tree is a century old.  He could remember having picnics under that tree.

Some light entertainment under the rotunda…

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Jazz under the Rotunda

As with all public fairs, there were several stalls selling fast food, drinks and gourmet produces.

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1st Hotdog for Spring!😋

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Poffertjes with maple syrup

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Cider that we both enjoyed, which is also available at B&W liquor shops

We spent around an hour and a half in the Gardens, then continued with our road trip to Kangaroo Valley

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We stopped at Cambewarra Mountain Lookout for a quick break.  This lookout is 678m above sea level.  Some notable landmarks can be seen: Seven-mile Beach, Jervis Bay, Nowra bridge, Shoalhaven River mouth, St Georges head, St Gerges Basin, etc…

Cambewarra Mountain Lookout

We proceeded to drive back to Sydney on the Grand Pacific Drive via Kiama…

Expedition To Canberra

Date of Visit:  April 18 2015

A quick pictorial post of my visit to the capital of Australia, which is not Sydney but Canberra.  I made this trip primarily to see James Turrell’s Retrospective at the National Art Gallery in Canberra (my post on his Skyspace installation here).  It was also the first time that an art tour in the buff was introduced in the NGA (here)

Unfortunately I can’t post any pictures from the exhibition because photography was prohibited.  However, I do remember, that I was quite blown away by the surreal experience of immersing myself in the lights, fully clothed – so those in the nude would have had an out-of-this-world experience!  In any regards, if you are interested, do check out Artsy’s James Turrell page for more in-depth information on the artist.

I met a friend of mine attached to the Foreign Affairs, so he took me for a walking tour of Canberra.

Trees are especially pretty in autumn, one of the ideas for the design of the ‘Garden City’ is to promote a distinctive European feel…And walking by the artificial lake was very relaxing.

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Hues of Gold

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Hues of Reds

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Flags of all countries with an embassy in Canberra

Canberra is a geometric city with radials and axis… The direct axis from Parliament House to War Memorial

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Parliament House

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War Memorial

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The National Carillon on Aspen Island

A walk on Anzac Parade with many sculptural memorials…

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A hike up Mount Ainslie – the highest point in Canberra

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Panorama of Canberra

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Note the distinctive axis

I stayed at Hotel-Hotel, the newest and coolest hotel in Australia at the moment…

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Entrance

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Rear of Hotel-Hotel linking to cinema, offices and alternative exit to the street

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Small, tight hotel reception

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Restaurant/ Cafe

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A play on linear-planes using recycled timber

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My room

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Artwork on walls

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External artwork – more bikes

We had a good dinner at the hotel.  Prices are comparable to Sydney.

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Octopus with smoked curd (?)

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Duck breast with figs and cherries

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Apple crumble

This breakfast cost $14.50!  Very steep for 2 crumpets – and a cup of Long Black! Totally not worth the $$! 😓

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2 small crumpets, honey and butter

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Cute salt container

External of the hotel at the back…

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Facade treatment at the back, sun-shades and vertical gardens…

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Origami facade at the frontIMG_2586

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The art gallery outside the hotel (at the back)

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More artworks… an eagle crafted from metal

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Overall, I enjoyed Canberra and look forward to visiting it again – although my friend told me that it’s small and dull! 😉

Sunset @ La Perouse & Bare Island, Sydney

Date:  April 2015

La Perouse is a suburb in the south Eastern suburbs of Sydney with one of the most magical sunset and sunrise views in Sydney.  I was there to practice my photography and here are some pictures I took… enjoy!

While standing on shore at the car park, I watched the cargo boats pulling in…

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…to the oil refinery at Port Botany

IMG_2801La Perouse is also a popular spot for bridal photos because it provides a unique and dramatic backdrop,  I spotted 7 bridal parties photographing around the cliffs.  Can you spot the ladies in white?

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Trying my hand at candid wedding photography.

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Bare Island is the only island in Botany Bay and it’s also home to a historically significant fort that was built in 1885 to protect the area from an expected Russian invasion.  A guided tour ($10) is available on Sundays.  If you think that it looks familiar, you are right! Bare Island had been in Mission Impossible 2 with Tom Cruise.😜

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Bare Island

On Bare Island, I took a walk around the cliff. There were many people taking pictures. The grounds are slippery in part, but some people seem to be able to walk and jump off the ledges in flip-flops!  The landscape is pretty –  the weathering of the rock has created a sort of alcove with striking strata of colours.

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More dramatic sunset on its way – cotton pink clouds and golden orange cliffs…

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…and the ‘blue hour’ is not to be missed.

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The oil refinery at Botany Bay

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Dramatic sunset

La Perouse is also a great spot to watch the planes come in to land at Kingsford Smith Airport.

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Planes descending towards Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport

Task accomplished… then off to dinner at The Grounds, Alexandria.

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Lamb cutlets

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Ping Pong Chicken served in a pot

A 4-hours Drive Up North To Watch SBS??

Date of Visit:  Aril 3-6 2015

This Easter past, a friend and I went up north to Camden Haven for a 4D3N break.  Our plan was to do some hikes around the Greater Port Macquarie area – and Laurieton, being quite central, became our base.  We stayed at the ground floor of a river-front apartment.

Lakes and rivers are a feature of the locale, thus explaining the number of boats and fishing activities.  If we had known that the weather will be so gloomy, we would have brought along our fishing rods!

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Aspire Pelican H2O Apartments

Gloomy skies greeted us for the first 3 days we were there…

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Dark grey sky and fog passing for winter scenes in Scandinavia!

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Fog covered the North Brother Mountain

Fortunately, on our very last night, the sky cleared.  We got an awesome sunset – and some colours at last!  😊

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With the rain subsiding, we did not want to lose the opportunity to walk off the chocolate easter eggs and chips we had indulged, so we did a brisk walk around the track nearby before it gets too dark… Seems that the local residents have the same idea!

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Mangrove

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Mangrove

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One of the many fishing boats in the area

Views of the lake, glowing in gold!

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Breathtaking sunset

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Pretty picture taken by my friend on her iPhone

Happy with our short ‘hike’, once we returned to our rental, we switched on TV to watch news on SBS (ethnic TV station)  … there really are not many TV channels in small country-towns.. but nevertheless, we were happy with our vacay!

Why Malaysians Have Zits On Their Faces 😜@Mamak, Chatswood

Date of Visit: August 21 2014

When one made the decision to embark on a fitness competition – yeah, I engaged the Número Uno Fitness Competition Coach in Australia for a 6-weeks foundation prep while I’m back in Sydney for a bikini fitness competition sometime in March or May next year (haven’t decided on the competition yet) – ethnic food DOES NOT sound appetising at all! 😰

But since my friend ‘…really, REALLY want nasi lemak (sic)‘ (to quote her) and I’ve not met her for a long time, I gave in…  We met at Mamak Malaysian Cuisine in Chatswood, a suburb in North Sydney.

On the menu… Carbs, carbs and more carbs with loads of sugar to edge off the hot spicy chili…

I couldn’t find anything lesser in carbs (or sugar)  content, so I settled for a half dozen beef satays.

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Beef Satay (A$9 for half-dozen or A$16 for a dozen).

What can I say??  The satays at Mamak were better than Malaysia Airlines’ –  although a bit tougher! I didn’t try the peanut sauce because I know it is very sweet. I gave to my friend who polished it off – along with the 4 extra serves of sambal with her nasi lemakl!  I can only look on – saying nothing – but totally astonished! Here is a skinny woman who is ALWAYS complaining that she is fat, yet wolfing down calorifically-laden junks –  at the same time explaining that she eats a lot (I can see that).  Still, complaining that she is fat;  in-between mouthfuls, when she is skinny, is totally not on!  😤 😤 😤

Peruvian Immersion For A Day @ National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Date of Visit: March 29 2014

If your much anticipated hiking trip to Peru is cancelled what would you do?  Well, Bestie and I made a road trip to Canberra to gawk at the exotic Inca treasures of the ancient Peruvian civilisation at the National Gallery of Art in Canberra – aptly called ‘Gold and The Incas: Lost World of Peru” (here).

The exhibition is a key component of Canberra’s centenary celebrations in 2013 and also significant in that it marks the 50th anniversary of Australian-Peruvian diplomatic relations, and is organised in co-operation with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.  As such, the works of art are lent by the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú and its fraternal collections, the Fundacion Museo Amano, the Museo Larco and the Museo Oro del Perú – museums that were on our trip’s agenda –  as well as the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Would it  surprise you that the Inca Empire lasted only 100 years?  This is a very short time for such a vast and famous enterprise!

In a nutshell:

“The Incas conquered all of Peru and much of Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador.  The state governed from the capital city of Cuzco by a system of duties, taxes and rewards.  20,000km of roads enabled efficient and speedy communication.

The Emperor was The Son of The Sun God and the pinnacle of an extremely hierarchical society.  The Inca state region demanded scarifices, human and animal – even textiles were burnt as offerings to the Gods.  Architecture, e.g. the famous World Heritage Site Machu Picchu, was the glory of the Inca culture (and still is!).  Temples, palaces, terraces and fortifications of huge stone blocks were fitted together, mostly without masonry.

Sadly, our knowledge of Inca society is filtered through the world view of Spanish chroniclers. The Inca state of at least 12 million people fell very rapidly, due to superior European military technology, civil war and new diseases, especially smallpox.  Perhaps 90% of the native population, more than 10 million people, was killed or died of disease and famine after the conquest.

Almost every artefact that survives – what we see at the exhibition today – was buried with their owners.  As the cult of the dead infers, both noble and common people were interred in different ways according to tiers of importance – from ruling lords, priests, military leaders and retainers – as exemplified by their respective accoutrements and placements in their graves.

A rather kooky rite is that adorned mummified Inca elites form part of annual postmortem ceremonies where their corpses were paraded around the city of Cuzco.”

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Poster Child of the Exhibition: Gold Relic of the Sun God

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Children’s’ Discovery Area where photography is permitted

In summary, this is a well-curated exhibition with over 200 objects showcasing  exemplary artefact from each period of the Peruvian civilisation  from gold regalia, intricate jewellery and striking vessels to elaborate embroidered and woven cloths.  So, don’t miss out!

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It is only appropriate to round up our excursion by having a Peruvian themed lunch at the Sculptural Garden Restaurant.

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‘Cones’ (Bert Flugelman, 1976/82) in polished stainless steel

Finding it needed a bit of detective work as it is located outside the gallery, tucked away to the side of the garden and in a tent by the Marsh Pond.

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Sculptural Garden Restaurant

In the Marsh Pond (part of the sculpture garden) is a powerful work by Dadang Christanto, an Indonesian artist based in Darwin.  The pond is filled with bronze heads with extra eeriness supported by the mist-maker.  His works speaks of victims of oppression and social injustice.  If I remember correctly, this piece, “Heads from the north’,  is about the genocide in East Timor.

(PS:  Would I want to hold a reception in the restaurant by a pond filled with heads?  Probably not!😰)

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‘Heads from the north’, Dadang Christanto (Photo credit: http://www.pbase.com)

For this special occasion in conjunction with the exhibition, the interior of the restaurant is styled by designer Megan Morton to play up combinations of colour, good times and of course, corn – to accentuate the joy of food and family that the Peruvian culture delights in!

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Interior of Restaurant

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Maize ‘Chandelier’

Only Set Lunch is served in the restaurant.

What we got for our 2-course Set Lunch at $35 per person

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Wholewheat Damper

ENTREE

Presented on a wooden paddle pan as is very fashionable now,  we have Ceviche of Salmon with Lime, Jumbo White Corn and Coriander.

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Ceviche of Salmon with Lime, Jumbo White Corn and Coriander (GF)

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Jumbo White Corn

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Quinoa: Baked quinoa toped with avocado wasabi cream and a rocket leaf. This is bourgeois peasant food!

MAIN COURSE

Sometimes, it is best not to heed recommendation of a fellow diner who you don’t know…

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Twice-cooked Beef Short Rib with Chimichurri and Huancaina Potatoes.

This is a plate of disappointment of sorts:  The beef was dry – yet full of fat!  The most obvious explanation is that it is not a good cut of meat which has been pre-(over)cooked and reheated thus rendering it very beef-jerky-like in texture.  The exotic sounding ‘huancaina’ is basically a spicy cream which is otherwise ‘meh’.

Check out my leftover plate of fat!

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FAT!! Fat-Die-Me! 😱 😱 😱

Not a very satisfying lunch, so a Diet Coke at the Gallery Cafe is in order…

QF127 From Sydney To Hong Kong

Date of Visit: April 5 2014

I am a regular at the Qantas Biz Lounge because it code-shares with Cathay Pacific. Thus far, I’ve yet to take pictures of the lounge simply because it looked rather ordinary and overdue for a freshening up.

For this trip to Hong Kong, I took Qantas because I wanted to use my flight credits from my cancelled Peru trip – THE trip that I’ve been anticipating for over a year.  Why am I not going?  Because the travel agent made a mistake with my name thereby ‘lost’ my Inca hiking trail permit!  Either that, or she left it to the very last minute (end of January) to book when in essence any hikers would know that the permit is released in the beginning of the year!  Needless to say, due to reasons unclear to me, and I’ll just leave it at that and happy to get a full refund!

Seeing Marc Newson design early in the morning – 6am – is entirely different under softly-litted illumination.  I’d say the design looked good!

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Qantas Business Lounge designed by Marc Newson

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Bar Area

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Bar Area

I had my usual fruit muesli and yoghurt for breakfast from the self-service buffet.  As for reading materials, there’s nothing of interest for me.  I managed to find 2 copies of Australian Bazaar and Australian Vogue – both in Chinese language, mind you.  Intriguing since this is my first time coming across Chinese-Australian fashion magazines.  I guess the world is awash with Renminbi $$$ with the Mainlanders as consummate consumers.

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Muesli and Chinese editions of Australian Bazaar and Vogue

Once on board the QF127, I was offered beverages – juice, water or champers.

Food on-board is designed by Neil Perry of Rockpool fame… and the wine list comprised of Australian wine hall of fame, enticing enough for me to switch to Qantas from now on!

For my aperitif, I chose 2012 Philip Shaw The Architect Chardonnay from Orange, NSW.  Apparently Philip Shaw is the architect of some of Australia’s greatest chardonnays.  I find it tight but with a good acidity.

I also got a Kate Spade amenities bag!  I find it more useful (larger) than the Agnes B that Cathay Pacific disperses.

Lunch service started with a choice of sourdough or rye bread and green salad.

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Salad of Garden Leaves with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Sour Dough

I switched to Gewurtztraminer for lunch.  At the back of mind, I  remembered traminers as uncousously sweet wines, but surprisingly Cargo Road was rather dry with with a good line of acidity with notes of lychee permeating through both the nose and palate!

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Tasting notes for the Gerwurztraminer

SMALL PLATES

Mild, not sweet which I liked. Beef is a bit like beef jerky – well seasoned but not too dry. Bits of red chilli pepper flakes to lift the notes to the otherwise bland/ tasteless vermicelli . Some shredded carrots and cucumbers for crunch and juice -and of course herbs because it’s Vietnamese!  I like! 👍

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Vietnamese Style Salad of Beef Brisket, Fresh Herbs and Nuoc Cham Dressing

With Qantas, the wine pours are very generous with lots of wine top-ups, unlike some Asians airlines…also the wine glasses for lunch is larger than the aperitifs! 😄

MAIN PLATES

I chose the Big Bowl of Soup because I like root vegetables.  It’s a light but filling course with rich beefy (vegemitey?) savoury broth with sweet aniseedy/ herbaceous notes.  Risoni, kale, chestnuts and parsnips went well with Getwurztraminer!

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Big Bowl of Braised Lamb, RoastChestnuts, Parsnips and Orzo Soup

DESSERT

To finish – Lemon Curd Tart or Cheese?I chose the Cheese selection of goat’s cheese and cheddar, with accompaniments of candied pear and fig.  I was also given a Varholna dark chocolate baton to go with my Long Black.

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Selection of Cheese, Valrhona Chocolate Baton and Long Black

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Selection of Cheese, Dried Fruits and Crackers

After lunch service, we were offered T2 Apple Tea, but no thanks – too full !

PRE-LANDING MEAL

I opted for the Shanghai noodles with stir-fried mushrooms and snow peas with lots of puffed tofu.  This came in a Chinese take-away paper container.  It was very salty…I finished since I’m not going to eat dinner when I get home tonight!😜

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Shanghai Noodles Stir-fried Mushrooms and Snow Peas

So here I am, back in Hongkers!

A Dieter Goes Lunching @ Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Date of Visit: November 14 2013

Dining out when one is on a pseudo-diet is kinda hard. How do one choose what to eat from the long list of deliciousness? E-A-S-Y! That is, if one has a checklist of what one can and cannot eat – i.e. a limiting factor as a guidance to make choosing off the menu a breeze.

Today I am going high protein, so no carbs for me… although I did cheat with a glass of buttery cold chard from Western Australia… c’mon, it’s been quite a stressful day, a glass can do not harm, right? 😉 Nevertheless, this is my survival story…

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Crusty sourdough for my eyes to feast on…

Sitting through Starters, watching and smelling one’s dining companions’ foods can be a torture, but with the right mindset, watching people enjoying their food and being able to participate albeit only by watching is priceless (no weight gain!) One can play the part of the interviewer querying, “How’s the food? How’s the taste? You like?”

The French Onion soufflé smelt very good, exactly like the french onion soup except in the pudding/ soufflé form and surrounded by grilled cheese. Totally decadent…mmm… but of course my mind started berating: “Do you want to jiggle like the soufflé?” My strategy was to satisfy my inner cravings by inhaling deeply …ommm, namaste!

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French Onion Soufflé

Same goes for my strategy on my other dining companion who had Chicken Liver Pate with the accompaniments of melba toasts and 3 cherries. I used the visualisation cue – imagination.. And that’s what I did, I imagined myself in my companion’s shoes, spreading the thick malleable creamy chicken liver over the charred melbas…

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Chicken Liver Pate

Finally, plates were cleared, our Mains arrived.

Sirloin steak and shoe string fries for the gentleman. Thank Heavens, I was busy with my own food that I did not even attempt to nick a fry! Good self-control by way of a pre-occupied mind! (See my dish below)

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Sirloin steak and shoe string fries

Salmon for the other lady companion. Now, remember, people are often very generous with their food and will offer you a tasting bite. Say: “NO! Thank You!”

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Salmon

Unfortunately, the translucent potato chip piqued my interest. Check out the ‘fossilised’ parsley! So, I let my guard down and took one… Anyway, no point in beating oneself over the gluttony, as the saying goes, “start afresh, tomorrow is another day!”

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Potato Chip

My ‘pre-occupation’ was in the form of the delectable Pork Belly & Pork Loin paired with baked apple, walnuts and braised savoy cabbage. I practised mindful eating at this point – slowly devouring and savouring each mouthful of the perfectly cooked and very succulent pork. You know what? Baked apples is so much more filling than apple sauce, and it was nice to be cutting up the apple and spreading it on the meat!

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Pork Belly & Pork Loin

Since I took a rather long time to polish off my meal. We were not tempted by the desserts – the limiting factor here was the 2 hour car parking – we did not want a ticket from the parking ranger!

As you can see, strategic planning by arming oneself with limiting factors such as what one can or cannot eat, not wanting a parking ticket; the right mindset; cueing with visualisation and eating mindfully played an important role over my lunch today. Practise it often, and one can survive a darn good lunch!

(Past visit at Bistro Moncur here)

Hot and Cold… Frozen and Crumbed @ Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Date of Visit: November 1 2013

Like most ambitious young chefs, Chef Tomislav Martinovic went abroad and worked in many kitchens including the highly esteemed Heston Blumenthal’s. So when my friend, Side-Kick Chica (she writes a travel blog here), said that she missed out on dining at Fat Duck when she was in UK recently. I told her we have a Fat Duck alumni here! No need to travel all the way to Bray in Berkshire county – a 50 minutes journey from London’s Paddington Station and why bother figuring out the logistics and lodging simply for dinner?! Duh!!

So a Saturday lunch at Tomislav was settled…

The restaurant is a leisurely 10-minutes walk from Kings Cross Station – one can also trek up William Street, if one is up to it – like we were going to, except it was a 30C Saturday…

We had the 4-course set lunch at $95 (no other options). We parked ourselves at a table for 4 on the balcony, enjoying a partial view of the Bridge and a partial view of the Coca-Cola sign blocked by the trees and the magpie that swooped in for a visit…but mostly entertained by the sound of traffic…

As we waited for our 1st course, we snacked on rice crackers with sea salt (+$10) which we spritzed vinegar from an atomiser – so deft! The rice crackers were apparently “simply brushed with egg white and deep-fried for two to three seconds, resulting in paper-thin scrunches that look like dropped hankies. They stay crisper than crisp even when sprayed with the little atomiser of vinegar, a move nicked straight out of Heston Blumenthal’s kitchen/laboratory” (much quoted sentences from food blogs).

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Rice crackers with sea salt and vinegar.

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Rice crackers

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Lemon, lime and bitters and Tap water

The affable Ann- Maree, looked after us well. We had house-churned butter and frozen chocolate presented on a granite plinth accompanies our complimentary sour dough. What a kooky idea to blend choc-ice with butter! Interesting chocolate bread idea, but I preferred picking and eating the choc-ice instead!

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Chocolate-ice and house-churned butter

Our Amuse Bouche was the triple cheeses onion toasties. The cheeses were marshmallow-ishly soft and tasted cheesey, accentuated with bits of caramelised onions and fragile crackers.

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Triple cheeses onion toasties

Course 1

My Choice (Kickass Chica): A light summery dish of thinly sliced Spanish mackerel carpaccio covered in finely chopped salad of burnett – the herbs tasted very fresh, reminiscent of cucumber – and when paired with celery sorbet makes a good transition to the crackers held in place by creamy mackerel mousse. Should I have broken the quail’s egg to mix with the carparccio? I am not sure since it is ALWAYS my habit to always eat the yolk whole without breaking it.

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Spanish mackerel carpaccio, salad burnette, mackerel mousse, prawn crackers

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Roast Kurobuta Pork Belly, anchovy juice, raw cauliflower, poached cuttlefish

Course 2

My Choice: A fan of offal and eggs, roast veal sweetbread with poached quail yolk – again? – foie gras was my ideal choice. I enjoyed the sweet caramelised sweetbread against the bitter charred pieces of spring onions. The frozen and crumbed foie gras was a novelty – creamy and smooth for me to smear over my sweetbread. The grilled mango was presented in the form of a streak on the plate – from my fading memory, I recalled popping candies of dehydrated cranberries and a couple of thinly sliced radishes as well, however, I may be proved wrong…

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Roast Veal Sweetbread, poached yolk, grilled mango, foie gras crumbs

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Butter poached scallops, peas shoots, broccoli cream, cyrstal bay prawns

Course 3

(Both Side-kick Chica and I had the same course).

The pairing of coconut pudding with the roasted Riverina lamb neck piqued my interest so I decided to order it to see how well they matches. Overly contrasting and perhaps mismatched, I can only describe the pairing as ‘interesting’. The lamb neck was faultless but I ate the coconut pudding – basically tapioca sago cooked in milky coconut – separately as dessert.

Hmm… we have another play of the ‘frozen and crumbed’, now in the form of frozen mustard.

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Roast Riverina Lamb neck, frozen mustard, pickled radishes, coconut pudding

Course 4

My Choice: I had the lemon cheesecake which Tomislav described as his perfected version of Wow Cow yoghurt. An interesting deconstructed cheesecake with lemon mousse studded with cheese on a sable base; a pink quenelle of strawberry sorbet sitting on the crumbed sable with salt; green frozen and crumbed mint on the yellow grilled pineapple – added a contrast of colours to the dish – oh, and not forgetting the 2 deep-ruby berry drops on the plate.

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Lemon cheesecake, mint crumbs, frozen yoghurt, grilled pineapple

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Chocolate and Caramel Cake, coconut ice, chocolate biscuit, roast apple ice cream

It was definitely a very technique-driven lunch of flavoured frozen crumbs on hot dishes. I am sure Chef Tomislav had made good use of his paco-jet machine to the delight of us all, his customers!

While browsing though my pictures, I was thinking how the choice of plates made for interesting and psychedelic plated dishes!

I also have to praise Ann-Maree for her fantastic hospitality which added to our luncheon enjoyment! 😘

At the time of posting, Tomislav scored 91% from 136 votes!

Tomislav on Urbanspoon

Value Dega @ Bishop Sessa, Surry Hills

Date of Visit: November 1 2013

Ever thought of naming your restaurant after your favourite game?  Well, Chef Paul Cooper did.  His restaurant at 527 Crown Street, Surry Hills is named after Sessa, the inventor of the game of Chaturanga, an ancient Indian strategy game which is the common ancestor of the board game of chess which he is fond of.

Tonight’s night-out was a 6-course dega meal ($69).   I did not opt for wine matching this time because I was on a ‘diet’. Nevertheless, dinner is not dinner unless there is a glass of wine, so lieu of 6 glasses of wines for wine matching (+$50), I ordered a Spanish white -Marques de Tezona Macabeo ($7.50) – which was rather dry and quite minerally.

Bread was served while we waited for our meal to start.  Since part of my diet was the minimise unnecessary grain and gluten intake, I only looked at it…

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Bread + Olive oil

Course 1

Albacore comes from the tuna family which has reached a fashionable status in regards to its sustainable status.  In Course 1, the delightful albacore tuna tartare was matched with  sweet pea puree and creme fraiche in a cute mason jar.  The pale pink tartare was sweet, clean and delicate on the palate.  The addition of cracker and crispy rice puffs added a crunchy mouthfeel – hmm… rice puffs are called woba in Shanghainese which remind us to one of our course – Scallop – at BO Innovation in Hong Kong (review here)

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Mooloolaba Albacore tartare, peas, fennel, creme fraiche, lemon

Course 2

Course 2 mimicry the arrival of summer with its appetisingly refreshing smell of fresh cucumber juice.  Creamy scallops and creamy avocado paired with icy cold ginger sorbet hidden under the wispy rice cracker.  I particularly enjoyed the sorbet for its Japanese-pickled-gingers-taste served at the sushi bar.  A very refreshing and neat dish that I simply had to lap up the cold cucumber juice.

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Scallop ceviche, cucumber,avocado, ginger beer sorbet

Course 3

The pork belly has to be the best pork belly we had ever eaten!  A hot fatty piece of meat with perfect crackling that literally melted in our mouths!  The pickled calamari sliced thin like fettucine was a palate cleanser with its pleasant acidity. The sweetness of corn kernels rounded out the flavoursome combination.

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Corned pork & local calamari, barbecued corn, lemon verbena crackling

While waiting for Course 4, we saw The NSW Mounted Police on their horses.  By the way, do you know that The New South Wales Mounted Police Unit is the oldest continuous operational mounted unit in the world?  Fancy that!  Check out their website (here) for free tours and museum visits every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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The New South Wales Mounted Police Unit

Let’s continue with dinner…

Course 4

We moved into the heavier French-inspired course 4 for our duck cooked 2 ways – roasted duck breast and confit duck sausage roll.    Whilst I enjoyed the duck breast paired with the orange & onion marmalade jam with slivers of orange peels, I found the duck in the puff pastry too gamey for my liking.  The roasted carrot in balsamic was interesting.

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Roasted Ayelsbury duck breast, confit duck sausage roll, orange & onion marmalade

Course 5

The Wagyu course had the same accompaniment as the duck course, which are sauteed silverbeet (cooked in balsamic reduction?) and pumpkin puree.  Unfortunately, very lackluster being overly sweet.  The ‘steak’ came packaged in biscuit-like potato pastry, it was bits of pulled beef seasoned in herbs, but liven up by the vinaigrette-y, mushroom pate.

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Potato wrapped slow cooked Wagyu, pumpkin, mushroom vinaigrette, silverbeet

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Potato wrapped slow cooked Wagyu, pumpkin, mushroom vinaigrette, silverbeet

Course 6

Dessert was a course I could – and should – do without!  But hey, it’s a Friday night – chillax – so I devoured chocolate mousse and brownie –  cleaned the milky ice-cream and the works!  I couldn’t recall anything special about this dessert except the marshmallow tasted weird in grainy sugary texture.

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Chocolate chip parfait, chocolate mousse, caramelised pop corn

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Chocolate chip parfait, chocolate mousse, caramelised pop corn

If you are looking for fine dining in the area, I will suggest Bishop Sessa.

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Bishop Sessa – more tables upstairs

At the time of posting, Bishop Sessa scored 90% out of  108 votes

Bishop Sessa on Urbanspoon