Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Mr Westwood!

No we weren't trying to embarrass you, I'm sure the people at the restaurant weren't staring at you...they were just errr... admiring your cake.

Good times...

Topped off with fried ice cream & chocolate sauce.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wendy's 25th

When: Saturday 26 May, 2007
What: Wendy's 25th
Where: Allan's
During the week I received an invite from Allan for a surprise birthday party for Wendy, I hadn't seen his new apartment so I was quite excited to check it out + catch up with people.

I thought that the party would be KFC or steam boat but boy was I in for a surprise....Master Chef Allan had put together a 12 course sit down menu. I've known this guy since I was 16 who knew he could cook!??!

I have no idea what the names of the different courses were so I'll just make it up - ha!

Salmon sashimi marinated in an onion and vinegar dressing, finished with 2 slices of ginger

Fresh Tasmanian? Oyster with a slice of lemon

The dressing that Allan made for the salmon sashimi was spectacular! He could give some of the fancy restaurants a run for their money.

Phyllis' 'Wendy' salad mixed with a Japanese dressing (own creation) and topped with the all important Japanese Mayo.

Salmon and Tuna sashimi

I am going to get Phyllis' dressing recipe off tasted really good, similar to the one they make at Masuya that is on the salmon and avacado salad.

Prawn toast

Soba Noodles served with shallots and a Japanese soup

Prawn and vegetable tempura

Crumbed potato and mince balls

Frozen Sake granita with a hint of lime
I didn't get to stay for the last two courses because I had to rush out to the city for Dinner and the ballet. I have volunteered to host the next get together but Allan has well and truly set the bar for the next time we eat.
Happy Birthday Wendeeeee!

Joel's 25th

Friday 25, May 2007 - Joel's 25th @ Crystal Bar

The night started at Privilege Bar where I bumped into people I hadn't seen in over 8 years, it was a bit of a shock to the system because the crowd was very different to those who frequent Opera Bar. After a couple of drinks I headed over to Crystal Bar on Martin Place to Celebrate Joel's 25th.
The place is stunning but very loud so it's hard to talk over the music.

Happy Birthday! Hope that you had a great night!
It was a massive turn out and there are around 200 photos on Joel's Facebook (Facebook is taking over the world!), the photos got funnier as the night progressed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

All the fun stuff

I tried on this dress by Pronovias tonight, I think it's safe to put this photo up because I don't think this is going to be 'the one' (the dress is too big and makes me look like I have no waist, the beading and lace would also make it a nightmare to take in), it was a lot of fun trying though.
I think after this post I'll keep the rest of the photos etc on my wedding blog (which I will lock to only allow certain email addresses to login, if you visit the site already give me your gmail so I can add you), will need to keep some things a surprise =P

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trying on wedding gowns for the first time

I think for starters I need to thank Sarah, Viv and Belinda for allowing me to bombard them with wedding talk and flooding their inbox with photos of wedding dresses that I like. A few weeks ago I went to try on wedding dresses for the very first time and for me it was one of those experiences that evoked the strangest feeling from somewhere inside.

The whole process is overwhelming; there is just so much choice and prices range anywhere from $600 to over $10,000. Then there are things like colour (who knew there were so many shades of ‘white’), the style of the dress, lace?(if so China or French), no lace, crystal, no crystal, boof, no boof and so on. After a while all the dresses start to look the same, what looks good on the long bodies of the 180cm models in the magazine isn’t necessarily going to look good on me (I’m just under 170cm without shoes and 175cm with heels).

So there I was on a Friday afternoon with my Mum standing at Abbey Bridal in the Dymocks building looking at gowns by Maggie Sottero. I had no idea what would suit my figure so I picked out 1 design that I liked. It's not as easy as grabbing the gown and putting it on, you pretty much need to strip to your underwear as the consultant goes into the change room to help you put it on.

Once the dress was laced up she led me to the mirror where I just stood there a little speechless…speechless because it felt so weird! She asked me what I thought and I ended up doing this goldfish thing where I opened my mouth to say something and quickly closed it again because my mind was just blank. My Mum finally spoke up and said ‘I think it’s too big’, which was actually very true.

After trying on another 2 dresses I had enough (it’s extremely tiring) and the consultants can be a little pushy. I am going to take my time to shop around, you can find some good deals - it's just time consuming.
I’m off to try a Pronovias dress tomorrow and I'm actually looking forward to it.

random dress

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oh Calcutta

After a year over in London, Belinda returned with cravings for Indian Cuisine (curry is extremely popular over there). After hearing great reviews for Oh Calcutta we decided to check it out. I first read about this place in the SMH Good Food Guide where it had been awarded 'Best Indian restaurant' for a few years in a row.

The service here made our experience an interesting one, we were served by 3 different people throughout the night. The first lady was as sweet as pie and extremely helpful and passionate about the food. When it came time to order we were served by a different lady who we found a little rude. The duck curry that we wanted had sold out and she tried really hard to sell us the prawn curry (despite one of the girls telling her that she was allergic).

At one point she realised that our table had not been given the specials menu and she quickly rattled them off the top of her head. When we asked her to repeat what she said you could clearly see how annoyed she was, when she repeated the menu to us we found her tone really patronizing.

Just when we were ready to give this place a big thumbs down, the owner popped by to check on us; he was quite a character. He was really loud and full of energy (he kind of took us all a bit by surprise), he knew a few words of Greek and cracked jokes at my Greek friend for most of the night. It's really hard to describe what the atmosphere is like here because it was so different depending on who served you.

Now the food, the flavours here is nothing like your Indian take away at your local Westfields. The curry is less heavy, not as oily and you can really taste the different spices, this isn't necessarily better or worse - just different. The dishes do look small when they come out but at the end of it you will feel very full. The bill came to $200 which was $40 per person (which included tip + soft drink).

Entree - baby eggplant with roasted poppy seeds, tamarind and chilli, served with puris $4.90

Garlic Naan $4.00 Rice - Pilau with saffron $2.50pp

Maachi Chola $26.90
Kingfish with chickpeas, tomato, roasted cumin seeds and chaat masala

Murgh Muntaj $24.90
Chicken fillets marinated in tandoori spices, grilled in the tandoor, then sauteed lightly in a creamy cashew and butter sauce

Bakri Gosht $24.90
Milk-fed goat curry with coconut and ginger

Oh Calcutta
251 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Tel: (02) 9360-3650
Fax: (02) 9331-3701

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jilly! Jilly! Jilly!

Our tradition of eating out together every 2 months or so started about 7 years ago with Jill, Rodna, Caroline and I. After many eating adventures (unfortunately many without photos!) Caz left us for London.

We continued without her and our first visit as a trio was to Emma's on Liberty. When Sarah came back from Israel we asked if she wanted to join us and joked that she was Caz's replacement (not that we love you any less Caz!).

Dinner at Rise this week would probably be the last dinner for some time with this group, as Jill is also moving to London. At these dinners we often talk about our dreams and it's amazing to finally watch everyone live them.

We welcomed Belinda to the group and vowed that one day the people that you see in this photo + Caroline will all be eating together somewhere in London (maybe Paris even?).

So watch this space.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rise - Mother's Day Dinner 2007

I have a whole list of restaurants that I want to try and Rise Restaurant has been on the list for as long as I remember. Because Darlinghurst is not as easy to get to as some City restaurants I’ve put off making a visit to this place until now.

Mum is a big fan of Japanese food so I wanted to take her to somewhere a little different for Mother’s day. After some googling I realised that Rise Restaurant has a 30% discount for their Omakase 7 Course Degustation Menu on Sundays, making that $42 per person – perfect!

I was dead tired after work, the store was really busy with people buying last minute mother's day gifts. I was looking forward to dinner all day long, and my shift couldn't end soon enough!

The restaurant is really small and exudes a feeling of comfort and intimacy. The service is amazing and it’s really exciting to watch the chef prepare the dishes on the bench top near by. The only source of light came from small tea light candles, as a result it was extremely hard to get good photos (I usually turn off the flash as I don’t like to interrupt other people who are enjoying a quiet meal).

Appetizer -prawn & grapefruit salad on cauliflower mousse with sweet chilli sauce

The portions are small but the flavours are powerful and is just enough to leave you craving for more.

Soup - clear soup lemongrass, oyster tempura & tofu

The fried oyster in this soup is just sensational!

Sashimi - assorted fresh market sashimi,

We also ordered some hot Sake $12 for 180ml and a few Asahi beers $7 to have with our meal

Seasonal plate - spicy tuna tartare in wonton cup, soft shell crab sushi roll, cured salmon with spiced mayo

Pasta dish - grilled scaloop & bucatini pasta with coconut cream sauce

Main course - chicken confit, sauteed potatoes, mushroom & bacon with soy red wine jus

My chicken was succulent and moist, if I had any criticism it would be that the chicken was a little on the salty side, but once you eat it with a bit of rice it's not too bad.

Dessert - pannacotta with persimmon compote & granita

I'm back here again with a few of the girls on Wednesday for our bi-monthly dinner, sadly it will also be our farewell dinner to Jill. Hopefully I can get a good shot of the food preparation by the chef when we come next.
23 Craigend St.
Darlinghurst NSW
PH: 02-9357-1755 

Omakase Degustation Menu (30 % discount, Tue, Wed & Sun Only -$42/per person)
A la carte on other days

I know it's suppose to be mother's day and all, but some how I ended coming home with all these gifts that Mum had bought for me at a sale. A pair of Sass & Bide jeans, a dress by H&M, Estee Lauder Lip gloss & Skin care set, a Bobbi brown make up travel brush and a new winter suit from Events.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Meat Pie Pizza

Who says that advertising doesn't work? After watching it featured in a TV commercial Jacky has been bugging me for weeks to try the new Domino's meat pie pizza . I like meat pies and I like pizza but the idea of the two together just sounded a little bit too unhealthy.

I finally gave in today, I was in no mood to cook after getting a flu shot in my arm. When I opened the box I was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually did look like the one featured on tv.

Gravy, cheese, mince, diced tomatoes, peas covered with a square of pastry and a swirl of tomato sauce.

Verdict: Jacky was disappointed, I think he was literally expecting a greasy meat pie on a pizza base (this pizza is quite clean to eat & not so greasy - which I like). While I didn't mind the pizza I don't think that I liked it enough to buy it again. Ultimately I think that they got the flavour wrong, the gravy is way too sweet and as a result it tastes nothing like a meat pie. This pizza has potential so I hope that Dominos play around with the flavours a little bit more.

If you think that a meat pie pizza sounds a bit crazy check this out, when my friend Wendy went on a holiday this is what the boys made for dinner.

A cheese burger pizza!! Topped with french fries and rashers of bacon (click to enlarge). I think this is where I draw the line.