Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I caught up for dinner with Rodna & Jill again last night, we joked that because Caroline is now in London we had to invite Sarah along as a 'stand in Caroline'. We chose to stay close to home and decided on Zippos at Blakehurst (actually we plan our dinners weeks in advance and booked a little while ago).

This restaurant is run by Home and Away's Ada Nicodemou's fiance Chris Xipolitas and funny enough you may have seen them talk about this place on the news just the day before after a rowdy bucks night. We were just talking about this when Rodna spotted Ada sitting in the corner 2 tables behind us having her dinner.

Located right near the water and tucked away amongst beautiful houses this place was not the easiest place to find. We got lost going down the wrong street but I think that was because we were a little distracted when we drove past the park where Sarah and I had all our primary school sports carnivals. Ahh the memories.......we started to get a little nostalgic (I was Captain of Red and she was School Captain).

A Bottle of Pepper Tree white from the Hunter Valley to start $32. This is a lovely lovely verdelho easy to drink and great with seafood.


Mezethes Plate Tzatziki & taramosalata dips, olives, fetta, dolmades, octopus vinaigrette, pitta bread $19.50


Linguini with moreton bay bugs, w.a. scampi, tiger prawns, calamari, mussels, vongoli, roquette, garlic & pink peppercorns $26.5 (for the entree size)

Same dish just looks a little different here, the seafood that came with the linguini was excellent it had a nice smokey bbq/grilled flavour. The pasta was a little bit plain (once you finished the seafood) and could do with more garlic or a stronger sauce perhaps.

Potato gnocchi with creamed blue cheese sauce, roasted pumpkin, pinenuts & herbs $22.50

Very nice but very rich!

Grain fed rib eye fillet
with field mushroom, wilted spinach & shiraz jus $28.5

Not the best photo because I didn't use the flash...but we thought the steak looked like it was wearing a big hat and had a laugh over it. The service here is excellent and the waiter (who was Ada's brother or brother in-law) was very friendly and gave us the low-down on what REALLY happened at the buck's night.

Last time I got in trouble from the girls for posting only photos of food and not of us - so here you go! We had such a good night we kept giggling and laughing like idiots (we all need a bit of that now and then). Just before dessert we asked the waiter to take a few shots. After the first one Jill told him that we all bought new glasses that day and asked if he wanted to see them. He said yes.....

...So we showed him......(I'm going to get in trouble for putting this photo up aren't I?)

White Chocolate Mousse with rocky road $12.50

Mixed Dessert tasting platter (sticky date pudding with King Island Cream, Strawberry sorbet, Lemon tart, banana mousse?) $16.50

Overall entrees and mains were average for the price but desserts were YumO!

Club Blakehurst
12 Merriman St
Kyle Bay NSW 2221
Phone: (02) 9547 3797

Monday, January 29, 2007

Garden Bar @ The Establishment

If you work in the city do you ever get that feeling where you are surrounded by restaurants and cafes but have no where to go? I felt a bit like that today. I had arranged to catch up with Ivan for lunch weeks ago but totally forgot to have a look at places to go. It had to be somewhere within walking distance from Circular Quay and Martin Place where the food came out relatively quickly. With no places in mind we settled on the Garden Bar at the Establishment.
The thing that I like most about this place is the variety. They have an Australian menu, a Thai menu, the Chef's specials and Bar snacks all under the one roof. If your preference is for a liquid lunch they have a wide variety to choose from there as well. Prices start at $12 and average $14 a dish which is very reasonable.
Now for those who have only been here for Friday and Saturday night drinks this place is totally different during the day. The area is bright and open and a great location to catch up. Ivan even commented at how surprised he was that the place could scrub up so nicely after the weekend.

Thai beef salad: bbq beef served with kaffir lime, lemon grass, and dressed with chili and lime juice $13.50

The salad also comes with a bowl of white rice and I watched with amusement as Ivan tipped a whole dish of chilli sauce into it before consumption. I guess now I know who to ask to come with me when I have the really hot chilli hot pots in winter.

Pad thai chicken: fried rice noodle with egg, peanuts, and sprouts $13.5

I thought that the pad thai was made pretty well (not too oily and not too dry). They were generous with their chicken pieces and the food came out super quick!

Garden Bar
252 George Street Sydney 2000
Phone 02 9240 3000
Monday - Friday 11.00am till late
Saturday 6pm till late

Kitchen Hours
Monday - Friday for lunch 12 - 3
Monday - Wednesday for dinner 6 - 9
Thursday - Saturday for bar snacks 6 - 10

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I've jumped on the bandwagon

After months of looking at the different beads and trying it on at work, I finally caved in and bought a Pandora bracelet and 4 beads (3 silver, 1 glass). If you haven't heard about Pandora or seen their ads will.

Pandora does all types of jewellery but they are particularly famous for their bracelets and charms, they have a unique screw system where the beads are screwed on (so that you will never lose another charm again). When I first saw these I thought they were pretty ordinary and expensive! But over time they started to really grow on me. The beads come in silver, birth stones, gold and glass and you can slowly build a bracelet to suit you over time.

The silver bracelets start at $75 and each bead starts at $27 (glasses beads starts at $39). You can imagine that a full bracelet will cost well over $600 (especially if you choose some of the fancy beads on offer). You would think that the cost alone would mean that people wouldn't buy it, but at Baku we can't keep up with the demand with everything now on backorder.

We have people from everywhere seeking us out because they saw that we were listed as a stockist. I'm a bit stupid where if I see everyone excited over something I will be too. My bracelet so far would have cost me $195...eek! There's no way I would have paid that, especially with all the jewellery I already own. But lucky for me I had 'Baku Cash' (i.e. Vouchers given to staff when the store makes budget). I'm not sure when I'll get another voucher but I think it's going to take me a very long time till I complete my bracelet.

I only had enough vouchers for 3 beads, the glass one I paid for. I chose a rooster because it is my Chinese zodiac sign, the blue glass bead because blue is my favourite colour & to add a bit of colour to my life, the dice to symbolise luck & chance and the turtle to represent health & long life (plus I thought it was cute).

This is really a post about nothing (I'm sure that you have realised that by now) I'm just excited and wanted to share. My wrist is also running out of space I now wear 3 bangles (have done so for years) and a bracelet all on my right wrist. Meanwhile I have all my good stuff locked away and rarely worn...go figure.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


What better way to celebrate Australia Day and Australia's food diversity than to enjoy breakfast at Balmain at a restaurant that contains the flavours from Morocco, North Africa & the Middle East.

Kazbah is one of those places where you need to book, we have failed to do so in the past and left disappointed. For those familiar with Balmain, Kazbah is located on Darling Street right opposite the town hall. You could easily walk past mistaking it for just another cafe on the busy strip, but once you stop to peek inside you will feel the urge to explore this place further. This middle Eastern themed restaurant decorated with their array of Moroccan lanterns, urns and other added features, boasts an ambiance that you will not find elsewhere.

We started with some fresh juices

Pineapple, lemon & Mint and watermelon & ginger - very healthy.
They provide you with crayons and you can draw on the paper table cloths creating your own master piece whilst you wait for your food. I challenged Lisa to a game of noughts and crosses.

Complimentary water with fresh Mint, Lemon & Rose Water frappe

I had never seen a breakfast menu quite like this one, the choices extended well beyond the usual scrambled eggs on toast. Instead I was choosing between Sweet Couscous, Mixed Nuts, Dried Fruit, Stewed Rhubarb, Cardamom Milk $15, Chakchouka Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Salmon, Turkish Toast $16 and I was introduced to the Breakfast Tagine for the very first time.
Warm Rice Pudding, Saffron Poached Pear, Hazelnuts $15

Feta Potato Cake, Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Red Wine Onion Marmalade $19.5

Lamb Tagine: Lamb Mince, Sucuk, Feta, Spinach, Capsicum, Caramelised Onion, Tomato, Eggs $17 per person.

When this dish came out it looked absolutely amazing, it was still sizzling in the pot and the smell coming from it was just overwhelming! It screamed 'Eat me Now!!'. Our noisy group of 6 suddenly became very silent and all your could hear was content mumbles of '...MMmMMmmm..."

The detail that you find in this restaurant is impressive, the plates were bursting with colour and added to the whole dining experience. I can't wait to come again! (Yes this mean you Helen, I know we've been meaning to go and if we can gather a group of 8 people we can sample their set breakfast menu).

Before you visit Kazbah, I recommend that you check that they are serving the menu that you want as I was told that certain menus are served on certain days.

Breakfast - Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 9am - 3pm
Lunch - Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 12pm - 3pm
Dinner - Wednesday to Saturday 6pm - Late

Kazbah on Darling
379 Darling Street
Balmain, 2041
Sydney - Australia
Phone (02) 9555 7067

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Watching the Game

I went to watch my guys compete in the inter-firm clerk bball comp last night. They won =) In fact they've only lost 1 out of 5 games! I must say, I am so impressed (and a little surprised)because when this competition started the odds were pretty much against us. Most firms have over 40 clerks to make a team from, we started off with 3 and had to peer pressure convince the others to 'give it a go!'. Out of the 10 or so that signed up only 2 had ever played.
They have come such a long way compared to the first game where one of the girls stood there and screamed when someone threw the ball to her. We don't actually expect to win the competition but it really doesn't matter. It's been hilarious hearing the stories, and it's great to see them put 100% effort into everything they participate in (and not take themselves too seriously).
When you have bad days at work, things like this make it good.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Canberra Office

Tuesday 16 January, 6:30am - the cab arrives just in time to take me to the airport for my 7:30am flight to Canberra. As I jump in the cab I get a little annoyed at myself for forgetting to grab some cab charges from the office the day before. I then remembered that I now have a corporate amex - problem solved. I finally stopped being lazy and got approval for one after having to charge $400 lunches and $1000 dinners on my own credit card, I could claim it all back but I kept feeling broke every time I looked at my account.

I like how you can just use the touch screens to check in and get boarding passes for your return flight all in the one go.

Qantas in flight snack - ahhh the memories....

Did you know that Jacky and I worked at Ansett in-flight catering for just over 2.5 years during high school? I was a workaholic (I guess I've always been...but I am trying to change that now!) even 2 weeks before my HSC I was working.

It was a physically tough job but it paid well and the people were fabulous. I found out that I lost my job when I turned on the TV that night and heard that Ansett went under. It was pretty sad, it was so unexpected and I never got to say good bye. I still wonder how everyone is and when I'm on the plane I always try peer out of the windows to see if I recognise anyone on the tar mac.

The Canberra office

Canberra is very quiet and the streets looked rather empty. The last time I went to Canberra was when I was in yr 6 and it pretty much looks the same. The people are really easy going and down to earth (which was nice). I caught up with some Partners, did 3 interviews, checked up on my Canberra Grads and flew home.

The End.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Inter-Firm Trivia Night

10:46pm and I've just come home for the Inter-Law firm trivia night where 291 people attended. My Clerks won best dressed!! I'm SO proud of them....such an awesome effort. I'll post more photos when I get the chance.
Theme: What use to be Cool...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of course!
I asked them to do it as a joke and they actually did it, my clerks are such a great bunch.

Donatello, Splinter, April, Leonardo, (err HR didn't need to dress up), Michelangelo, Donatello again, Shredder, Raphel x 2

They even made shells! and as the clerks kept saying ..."Shell yeh!"

Great Job Guys!

Album Here


My Old comments provider enetations decided to work again after 12 months of being broken and reappeared on my blog yesterday. They also restored all the comments left from all the posts back in 2003. I'm not sure if I will keep it there or what I will do with it, but please use the blogger comment box if leaving a comment (i.e. the 2nd comments link).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

She's Back!

For the last 2-3 months I have been keeping a secret. Our best bud Sarah has been living in Israel for what seems like forever! She did visit us briefly in June last year for Roula's wedding, but at that stage we weren't sure if she was ever coming back.
A few months ago Sarah told me that she was finally coming home...I couldn't believe it. Sarah is also my maid of honour so it was a bonus to have her back early. I found Sarah's mum a job with our catering team last year so I always see her around work. Every time I went looking for biscuits in the kitchen, I would get lectured by her mum "you should tell Sarah to come home! get her away from her ex! Israel isn't safe!...etc. etc." and I would have to say something like "yeah but she's happy there, we want her to be happy!". It was hard keeping up the act but Sarah wanted me to so that it would be an even bigger surprise when she came back.
Planning the Surprise
With everyone working it's pretty hard to get people together on a weeknight, especially for the girls who work crazy hours at Mac Bank. We thought about a surprise over lunch or a dinner after work, but some people couldn't get out till after 9:00pm. The hardest part was looking for an excuse where no one would pull out despite how tired they were after work. On Monday I sent this email out:
From: Emily
Sent: Monday, 15 January 2007 9:38 AM
Subject: Tomorrow night

Morning Girls,

Something has happened which I need to tell you guys about over dinner tomorrow. I have dinner with Jacky's family tonight and to be honest I don't really want to talk or think about it till then. I would really appreciate it if you guys could be there but understand if you are working.

How about Dinner at either 6:30 or 7pm?

Then maybe dessert or tea back at my place depending on time.

Please let me know if you can make it.

The people I consulted when writing the email thought that it sounded like we were eloping or announcing that we're moving overseas; but my friends all thought that I was pregnant!?!?! (You got to be kidding me!) So I then had to spend the rest of Monday and Tuesday avoiding all phone calls and questions. Lucky for me I was in the Canberra office all Tuesday so it wasn't that bad.
Tuesday Afternoon
Things didn't go quite according to plan. The twins were suppose to call me before they came so that we knew they were coming. Sarah would come early to leave her stuff before going to buy dinner. Once the twins were at my place I was suppose to suggest to the them to order take-away and when the 'delivery person' arrived the twins would get the door and there would be Sarah standing there (Kat would join us later in the night).
Sarah had only just arrived at my place when my mobile rang...the twins were at the front gate...there was no way that Sarah could exit my place with out passing them. We needed a plan B and quick!
Plan B: Sarah to hide upstairs. Get the twins to sit down in the kitchen then tell them I couldn't start till Jacky was here. When I yelled for Jacky to come down Sarah would follow.
Once again things didn't quite go according to plan, but when Sarah appeared the look on their faces was priceless! There was this moment of silence (the twins are never silent) when you could see that they were having trouble processing what they were seeing.

After Betty got over the shock she beat me up for not telling her, especially since I spent all Saturday with her.

(you must excuse my home clothes!)

We later sprung a similar surprise on Kat and stayed up talking till almost midnight. Welcome back! I'm so relieved that the cat is out of the bag!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Banks Thai

Last night Baku held a thank you dinner for the Sydney stores (QVB, The Strand, Myer, Chatswood and Parra) to thanks us for the hard work in 2006. About half of the sales girls attended and it finally just hit me that I have been with them for 6 years!

During Uni I use to manage the City stores, design stock and train all the new staff. Once I started full time work I wanted to let go of all my responsibility; and progressively I've now dropped to a weekend shift one day a week.

I think that we were suppose to go to the Thai restaurant at the Bank's Hotel in Newtown but somehow we ended up just down the road at Bank's Thai on Enmore Rd. I'm glad that there was the mix up because the last time we went to see a show at the Enmore Theatre, we weren't familiar with the surrounding restaurants and had no where to go. This proved to be a great little find and I know that we'll be back for pre-show dinners.
Unfortunately I didn't take photos of the food because I was so caught up with catching up with some of the girls. The prices of the mains ranged from $12.00 to 18.00 (depending on the choice of vegetables, chicken, beef, seafood or prawn). There is a large variety to choose from with some of the specialty dishes hitting the $22 - $25 mark but overall the prices were reasonable.

Belated X'mas gifts....what else but Baku jewellery!

My half eaten chicken chilli basil ($15), I consider myself someone that can eat a lot of chilli, but even I found my chilli Basil dish to be a bit too 'my tongue is burning hot!'. This may have been only a one off as I didn't have the same issue when I tasted some of the others who also ordered chilli basil.
The decor of the restaurant isn't particulary fancy, it was a really hot night and the only thing we had to keep us cool was cold drinks and a few fans around the place. We found the owner to be a little pushy at times (trying to get us to order more than we could eat) but not to the point that it would stop me from coming again.
Bank's Thai
91 Enmore Rd
Enmore NSW 2042
Phone (02) 9550 6840

Another Present

Sophia bought us a belated house warming gift today. Our knife set is complete - (for now anyway).

Thanks Sophia, here is to learning how to chop chickens the asian way!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Manly Phoenix

I adore Manly, I often catch myself day dreaming of what it would be like to live there. There's heaps of great restaurants but parking is always a nightmare. Tonight I went with my family to check out Manly Phoenix as a potential Wedding Reception location.

The decor here is modern and comfortable and the view of the water is extremely calming. By about 7:00pm the restaurant which seats about 180 people was packed out. We found it quite amusing that throughout the whole night we were the only 4 Asians at the restaurant, aside from the people that actually worked there.

Tea is not served on arrival, it must be ordered at a cost of $2.00 per person. There is also an absence of the usual complimentary soup and nibblies whilst you wait for your food.

Beef eye fillet with a honey and pepper sauce $21.80

Salted fish and diced chicken eggplant hot pot $16.80

The beef eye fillet was clearly the best dish of the night, the beef was tender and the sauce was done well (not overly salty or peppery). The eggplant hot pot was a huge disappointment, this is a dish we order and cook regularly as it goes so well with rice, but on this occasion the sauce was drenched in oil and tasted like tomato sauce without any hint of the usual spice.

Deep fried salt, pepper and chilli calamari and prawn $26.80

Pork ribs in a vinegar sauce $17.80

I would say that overall the food here is pretty good - different but good. The dishes are generally a lot sweeter than usual and you can tell that most of the traditional Asian dishes have been altered a little to suit the western tastes (which in fairness is their customer base).

Tsing Tao beer ($6.50) seemed to be the beverage of choice here, so I hopped on the band wagon. I liked it, it was easy to drink and I would describe it as a light beer with a slightly fruity flavour to it.

Dessert - Chinese 'Garden' brand fortune cookies. Here they do not serve the complimentary fruit or Chinese dessert common at most restaurants. The bill came to a total of $115.15 there was an extra $10% surcharge because it was a Sunday.

As for this place being a possible reception venue? I'll post details up on my wedding blog so I don't clog this blog with too much wedding talk.

Manly Phoenix
Shops 22-23 Manly Wharf
East Esplanade
Manly NSW 2095
T: (02) 9977 2988