Monday, 18 August 2014


A quickie but a goodie

Exchange Registration: Paid
Paperwork: Complete

Done diggity, someone's going to be in Beijing for some time this year!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cultural Awakenings

It's quite bizarre to think that I had to turn eighteen to become so interested in my culture. Growing up with memories of wanting to have been born a different colour, of thinking that in order to be 'cool' I should try to associate myself with Anglo-Saxon caucasians as much as possible is a somewhat embarrassing recall. 

I've always thought it was petty and useless to try and direct yourself towards a certain specific end-goal; so all I can really say is right here right now all I really want is reconnect with my heritage. I used to barely speak any coherent Chinese at home, but now it's all I try to do. My watch list is full of Chinese serials (hello Voice of China) and movies, I find myself enjoying my brutally accelerated Chinese course at uni... 

Don't get me wrong, plunging myself into things like this is somewhat cruel (cue self-pity), but I think au bout du compte it's been a long time coming.

PS. I had to snitch the above photo of maybe my second-favourite place in the world, check out the photographer's flickr feed though (living vicariously through photos is probably the only thing I can manage right now)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Elie Saab

Sorry for the lack of anything new here - there are a couple of things on Joe and a couple of drafts to be finished but Sem 2 is killing me slowly.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Aroma Festival and Back to Uni

Last day before the hell of uni begins again, Nat and I stumbled upon the Aroma Festival at The Rocks in the late hours of the morning when crowds were in full force.

Given I was hanging around the area to have high tea with the usual high tea gang and I had already downed a grande soy chai latte, I initially had no plans to buy anything or try anything (particularly as lines are not very attractive and I'm not exactly a coffee snob - who am I kidding, my coffee order is a soy chai latte need I say more?); but after seeing copious amounts of people weave in and out through the crowd clutching hot dogs with impressive weiners that fragrantly left a trail of caramelised onions behind them; Nat and I (against my better judgement) decided to share one.
Check out the bite Nat uncontrollably took before I could whip out Joe!
With some superb luck, we accidentally cut into the line discovered a new line right near the front and ordered the giant thuringer sausage (10).

Although the sausage itself was quite juicy, the spices could've done with more of a kick and the flavour itself was a bit bland. The bun was a bit too sugary and the onion could have been caramelised more. There was also something a bit off about the BBQ sauce, it wasn't tangy enough, in fact it was quite acidic.

Don't get me wrong, by no means was the sausage bad, it's just that given the lines, the hype and the amount of people cradling the take away box, we were a tad disappointed.

In extension I tend to find this is generally what happens when I (rarely) decide to venture out to food festivals completely unprepared. I feel like these festivals need to be enjoyed with leisurely strolls all day with a coin purse full of loose change and a whole group of people to try a large variety of things. But in all honest my god I hate the lines so much. I remember one time mum and I went to the night noodle markets and instead of waiting the absurd 2 hours lines to get a glimpse at the offerings of restaurants such as Chat Thai, we travelled to Chat Thai itself and dined there that night.

Anyway, in addition to the tangents I'm taking, let us take a moment to mourn these last few hours of my holiday. Setting out for a holiday of savings, working and revising content; instead I spent my entire holiday earnings under a week, worked six days a week and revised 0 content (hello cramming in this first week of sem 2).

Excellent stuff. Saving is overrated to begin with (said no one ever).

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dessert at Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst

Following dinner at Mad Pizza e Bar in Newtown, we journeyed to Kings Cross/Darlinghurst on a Monday night to consume the Masterchef-featured cone.
Choc Top: salted caramel gelato soft serve, Italian meringue, gianduja ganache, amoretti biscuits and a sugar cone
Not visibly available on any of the signage, should you want one of these delicious cones of joy, you need to pop round to the cake section of Messina at Darlinghurst, and ask if they had any choc top cones available, to which they respond yes/no and if it's the former, choc tops begin appearing out of a magical fridge.

What can I even say about this icecream. The salted caramel gelato soft serve is to die for. I would eat buckets and buckets of this stuff if I could. The salted caramel taste of the salted caramel is lovely and distinct, saving the gelato from tasting too overly sweet. The amoretti biscuits were a bit damp and the cone itself wasn't immensely crispy but there's nothing much that can be done about that given the icecream within the cone has made it damp in its storage (and I cant really propose any solution at all to this given they take 45 minutes - 1 hour to make). 

At 10$ a pop, they're far from the cheapest ordinary choc tops you can get from Hungry Jacks. But oh so worth it.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it was because of the sugar or the general stupidity of the adventure, but from Messina onwards, these two lovely ladies became sober-drunk (0% alcohol consumed, 100% acted like they were drunk), repeatedly voicing the syllables of Wolloomooloo and demanding we take a 'scenic route' of Kings Cross, then promptly telling R and I that they were lost.

Whatever the reason, I'll miss you Sammie HAVE FUN IN UCLA, I will most definitely take you up on my request your offer and crash in your dorm at some point in the next four years; and here's hoping for more psych shenanigans with C and R in the next sem xx

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Gelato Messina on Urbanspoon

Dinner at Mad Pizza e Bar, Newtown

Adventuring into the night for what turned out to be a completely sober, bizarre reunion amongst PSYC1001 kiddies; our adventures with food led us to eat dinner at Newtown, catch a taxi to Gelato Messina at Darlinghurst; and proceed to realise that the same pizza place where we had eaten at Newtown was no more than 50m away from Messina.
Tuscano: shredded lamb shanks from Victoria, baby spinach, red onion, garden peas, mint, fetta, garlic & lemon
Ordering three pizzas and a pasta to share between four, we opted for the tuscano, funghi and primavera pizzas.

The lamb on the tuscano was lovely and juicy and the assorted toppings of vegetables were fresh and crisp. The provided lemon was a welcome relief to the fragrant spices of what I assume the lamb had been marinated in and the pizza base was perfect.
Funghi: Fat field mushrooms, rosemary, fetta & rocket leaves w/ shaved Parmesan & virgin oil
Being the mushroom fiend I am, I can find no fault with the funghi pizza. The field mushrooms were indeed fat and succulent, the rocket a lovely bitter crunch, the virgin oil dripping everywhere... I will say that for an additional 4$ the virgin oil could be replaced by truffle oil but I completely forgot about this when we were ordering. But no regrets there will always be next time (especially because this is only really a short walk from uni)
Primavera: Crisp cooked base w/ rocket leaves, diced tomatoes, shaved parmesan & sliced South Aust prosciutto
The primavera was exactly how a prosciutto pizza should taste. Although the tomato chunks look a tad too big, they were actually just the right size to create a burst of freshness in your mouth. Rocket, proscuitto and cheese could never fail anything.

Siciliano: Rigatoni pasta w/ Qld prawns, fresh tomato, Garlic, chilli, basil & pangrattato
And finally the siciliano pasta. In all honesty I can't comment much about this beyond the fact that it was pretty good. It was quite spicy though (I completely overlooked the word chilli in the menu) and I didn't end up eating much, particularly because I was inhaling my pizza slices and by the time I got to the pasta I was already pretty damn full.

I loved the vibe of this place, and the cute customer service we received on the quiet Monday night we decided to go in on. All the pizzas were gobsmackingly delicious and I'm interested to see if there are any real differences between all the different other locations dotted around city of what seems to be this pizza "franchise".

Verdict: Will be back

Mad Pizza e Bar on Urbanspoon

Part 2 of this night's adventure continues here!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Sample Sales and Lunch at Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills

On a day planned for frantic errand running around the city, mum and I spent the late morning navigating the Jac + Jack sample sale which was conveniently located in the same place as Paramount Coffee Project.
First off, the sample sale was amazing. Rarely do I go to sample sales purely because I never find anything I really love (here's to you, all the Ladakh and One Teaspoon sample sales), or anything that still has my size. The Jac + Jack one however was full of excellent stock, had plenty of XS's dotted around and as we were paying cash we skipped an absurdly long line and probably spent only an hour or so in racks of heavenly cashmere and basics goodness.
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Moving onto lunch, we were graciously welcomed to sit on the bar table where our lovely waiter asked if we would like to start off with some coffee. Upon ordering a soy latte, we were then informed that the Paramount Coffee Project makes their own almond milk; which is excellent given I prefer almond over soy any day. 
Almond Milk Mocha
Mum's almond milk mocha was what she regarded the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate; personally I prefer a tad more chocolate but mum absolutely loved it and quote her, "the more you drink the better it gets"
Almond Milk Latte
My almond milk latte was excellent as well (but in all honesty I'm not really a coffee snob and I have no idea what I'm talking about generally because my previous coffee order was a decaf soy mocha - lame I know - and I now drink a soy chai latte - not much better eh? -) so I can't really say much.

Sorry for the quality of the below two photos, I used my phone instead because Joe wasn't focussing and in all honesty I was irritated and hungry and really keen for food.
Baked eggs: chorizo, cannelini beans, toast
The baked eggs with chorizo, cannelini beans and toast was absolutely delicious. For this dish alone I will walk the not very long walk to this part of Surry Hills any day. The combination of the fresh and acidic tomatoes, the perfectly spiced chorizo and, surprisingly, the the beans (which I usually hate) made the dish mouthwateringly good. My only pet peeves? The yolk of the egg could've been a bit runnier, the yolk itself was for some reason very salty, and I wish there was more buttered toast! The toast is a delicious way to scrape up the rest of the tomato-y sauce a la baked beans on toast style; albeit in a fancier and more flavoursome way.
Crab Po Boy: soft shell crab, house slaw, ranch sauce, milk bun w/ onion rings
After seeing nearly every Urbanspoon reviewer choose this, I felt more than sure that this would be a good order. Temporarily forgetting that I don't even like soft shell crab (how does one even forget this?), I ordered this regardless. In all honesty I didn't hate it. I liked it very much but it is an incredibly intense dish. The flavour can be quite heavy on the palette and I think I needed a more acidic or fruity drink to offset the rich taste of the soft shell crab and the beautifully creamy sauce. The onion rings were also great, but not going to lie, in retrospect they're a bit on the pricey side given they are at $1 per onion ring.

The vibe of the cafe is like that of most Surry Hills restaurants. A diverse mix of yuppies, hipsters, new mothers, old friends, first dates and bloggers; the minimalist interior and excellent service is something that is probably why people come back and back again. Not going to lie, I'm going to be back just for the atmosphere (and the baked eggs).

The Paramount Coffee Project on Urbanspoon