Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sydney Food and Wine Fair 2007

We came back just in time for the 2007 Sydney Food & Wine fair, good food, good weather and a good cause.

$110 worth of vouchers ($60 for JC & I and $50 for Mum and Sophia), the man at the stall looked at me and asked "are they all for you?".

I'm such a creature of habit, my first stop each year is always at the Australian Mushroom Growers for their burgers with aioli mayo. I've missed out on the almond tart with berries and cream from The Bather's Pavilion for 2 years in a row! Not this year though...I was the second person to buy one (yes I was rather pleased with myself).

Cupcakes from Pink Salt

Tandori salad from Flavour of India Edgecliff, Lemon tarts from Sweet Infinity Bakery

Ho Mok from Spice I am, High Tea from the Tea room

Lamb cutlets from Zinc? Rhubarb tarts from Bourke St Bakery

The pork belly bites with apple compote and dark bier pineapple sauerkraut from the Bavarian Bier Cafe was all sorts of yum.

Lucio's Marinated bbq quail, sorry not sure where we got the next one from.

We were prepared this year...picnic mat and all, the truth is it gave me a place to lie down after eating too much.

The Restaurant - Art Gallery of NSW had the spicy prawn salad with lemon grass.

Asian glazed prawns on a bed of Vietnamese topped with tomato mango salsa from Eurest

Anyone feeling a little hungry now? Till next year happy eating!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Back in May this year we booked a trip to the Whitsundays, this time last year Jacky & I went to Ettalong (yes it's been a whole year already!). I always book a trip around this time of the year because I know how busy work gets and how important it is to have a break to maintain my own sanity.

Day 1

The empty trolley

Our flight wasn't till 6pm so we arrived at the Whitsundays at night at around 8pm. Sarah chatted up a friendly limo driver who agreed to take us to our apartment for the same price it was to catch a taxi (score!). We waited for a while for our bags to come out and when everyone had left Sarah's bag was no where to be seen, we weren't sure at this stage if it was stolen or lost in transit. After a few calls by the airport staff they located the bag in Sydney, the worst thing was that they were not sure when they would be able to bring the bag up as there were no flights coming up the next day.

Traveling in style

We dropped our bags off at the apartment and met up with Anya and Rachanoo who checked in for everyone earlier that morning. By now it was 9:30pm and everyone was starving, we stopped at Mangrove Jacks located on the main road of Airlie Beach.

Thai beef salad $14, Spaghetti Marinara $18

Chicken Caesar $16 (no chicken $13)

Jacky and I shared a Caesar and Pasta, I thought the food was alright (but now I think it was because I was starving!) Rach and Anya gave the Thai beef salad the thumbs up but Rodna and Sarah gave their caesar's the thumbs down.

Our Apartment - Grand Mercure Azure Sea Apartments

The apartment was amazing! We got the 3 bedroom penthouse (2 bathrooms, 3 toilets, laundry, kitchen, dining area, a massive balcony and pool & gym facilities) which cost us each $180 for the 3 nights.

I loved the high ceilings.

Day 2

The girls bought some groceries at the local supermarket and we each took turns at making breakfast each morning. Everyone chipped in with the cleaning up and because everyone was so laid back we all had an amazing time.

We booked a day cruise with Mantaray Charters for $130 this included: pick up from our apartment, Snorkeling and Diving at Luncheon bay, lunch, finished with a visit to Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet. From the photos you can see that the weather looked pretty awful in the morning so the water was a little rough. Jacky got pretty sea sick as did some of the other girls (our tip to anyone who does this in the future is to always go for the bigger cruise boats). By about 11am the weather had cleared up really nicely for us.

In this photo Rodna, Rach and I had just climbed back onto the boat after 30 mins of snorkeling on the reef, the coral was really beautiful and there was a lot of fish. I was pretty scared at first (getting the hang of a snorkel is harder than it looks!), we also had to wear stinger suits as it was stinger season (they were everywhere and I was terrified that they would come sting me on my face).

Next stop was Whitehaven Beach...

Whitehaven beach rocked my world! It was sooooooo BEAUTIFUL!

I spent most of my time in the water (warm, blue and oh-so-clear) while the other girls caught up on their tanning. The sand here is so white and so so fine, you will never see anything like it anywhere else.

We're all still really white here because we had been covered up in stinger suits all day.

Whitehaven was a lot of fun, we laughed like idiots and for one reason or another started a dance off with moves we could use before we hit the pubs later that night (you know I'm kidding right?). Here Rachanoo was showing us some move called 'shit stirring' while Sarah and Anya compared notes on the booty shake.

This photo of Rachanoo (far left) cracks me up because by the next shot she falls right off the page!

I bought a strapless 2 piece to minimize tan lines.

Jump Rodna! Jump!

We got got back to out apartment at around 6pm and Sarah was over the moon to see that her suitcase had arrived. Lucky for Sarah there were 5 girls on this trip + JC so together we got her through the first night/day. We all got changed and walked down to Airlie Beach for some dinner, we were told by the locals that Capers at the beach bar and grill was supposedly the place to try if we wanted fine dining.

Entree: Bread with a variety of dips: liver pate, sun dried tomato and pumpkin $16

It was nice but the food was pretty ordinary for the prices we were paying. We also felt really rushed when the staff kept clearing our plates even before the meals were finished.

Left: Lamb, Right: Steak with Prawns

I'll let the pictures do the talking here but all the mains started at around $27 with steaks around the $38 mark.

Left: Barramundi, Right: Ocean Trout

Day 3
With a few people getting sick on the boat the day before we all just wanted a easy day on an Island somewhere doing nothing. We did a bit of research and decided that a day trip to Daydream Island was the way to go.

Jacky making brekkie, the view from our balcony.

We booked a cruise with Cruise Whitsundays to Daydream Island. For $90 this included: pick up from our apartment, return trip to Daydream Island, use of the islands facilities and lunch at Mermaids restaurant (to the value of $25 per person). This was a pretty good deal because a single one way to Daydream on the ferry would have been $49 on its own.

We were serenaded by these dudes when we got off.


We also took some time to admire the various aquariums and displays before planting ourselves on the deck chairs by the pool to sun bake and sip cocktails.

Why can't this be my life every day!?!? Why!?!?

Lunch was at Mermaids and we were joined by Anya's friend Vanessa. The food here was really good with most meals around the $14-18 mark.

Mediterranean salad with roasted capsicum, eggplant and fetta topped with prawns.
Calamari on a bed of Asian rice noodle and mixed green salad.

Stuffed chicken served with a tomato salsa.
Mediterranean salad with roasted capsicum, eggplant and fetta topped with smoked salmon.

Steak sandwich and wedges, burger with fries and salad.


We caught the last boat off the Island at 5:00pm and went back to Airlie Beach.

After some ice cream from Cold rock we decided that dinner that night would be Pizza and ribs.

Day 4
Our flight wasn't till 6:30pm but we had to check out by 11am, so we packed up and waved good bye to our lovely Penthouse apartment. From the photo the beach looks pretty far away but the walk is really no more than 10 mins.

There were dried cane toads all over the road, we found this one particularly amusing.

I tried to convince Sarah to kiss it as it might turn into a prince!

So that we didn't have to carry our luggage we left our bags in lockers and almost made the mistake of getting 2 lockers when you could squeeze them all into 1! Rodna demonstrates how you save $6...good job! (for the record we bought ice cream with the $6).

We did a bit of shopping and I bought some new Billabong board shorts for $55 for no particular reason and suffered from buyers guilt afterwards.

We spent the rest of the day at Airlie Beach Lagoon, which was actually really nice (and free).

Followed by lunch at Hogs Breath Cafe

At 6:40pm our Limo picked us up (because that's how we roll) and boarded our flight back to Sydney.
The End.