Showing posts from December, 2010

A Time to Re-gather

The views from the Panaroma House, as you approach Wollongong City from the escarpment top highway, are stunning. The generously sized car park can host a circus tent. The 360 degree experience that envelopes you, as you stand above verdant slopes, the ocean horizon and what seem to be be toy-like houses and container ships, does provide a sensational perspective of geography, psychology and priority. Sharon and I downed our red wine, I thought more could be done for this place and we let our cares of the world go away.

Inside the restaurant, a most smiling little boy of Italian background was carried by his older brother on the arms, followed by a sister and nanna. The youngest sibling exuded the spirit of the season, obviously embracing the company of his family and relishing in the innocence of his age. This was despite the child having a stump of a left arm. He did not draw attention to it and I did not not notice it until after a while. I admire his spirit, especially the glow fr…

A Bloke's Feast

When you hang out with your blokey mates, pizza often turns up. A week before Christmas 2010, I had the opportunity to join some fellas in letting our hair down and chill into the Saturday night. A thirty dollar package at Swiss Quattro in Sydney's southern suburbs offered several menu items, including pizza wedges, bruschetta, Swiss fondue, various types of pasta, salads, whole large pizzas and coffee. There were family groups, couples and just mates all over the tables, with a stream of teens and twenty-somethings ordering and collecting their takeaways at the entrance.

This was not the first time that my group had enjoyed this rather generous meal. Rob had remarked, on the Monday after that evening, he felt rather more than full up after this session at Quattro - and this was opined as the majority vote. There was lamb on pizza Cyprus style, followed by prawns and capsicum and satisfying wine. Frank kept up on the Ashes scores through his IPhone and Murph, as always, provided g…

Memories Are Made of These, Too

As another new year rolls in, and yet another decade changes, what do I recall best with a smile and fondness? Here is just but a sampling.

I am reminded with a glow in my heart of things Austrian - from table settings under a glass house
patio through a variety of pork selections to German inspired beer - at Kaiser Stub'n, tucked away in a forest setting at Terry Hills, NSW. The fact that one can request - and obtain- chili condiments to accompany your duck confit or fish in an Euro setting cannot be taken for granted.

Volunteerism is alive and kicking in Australia, as a practice, a mindset and a powerful driver to get things done and faster, when the normal course would be too late and too little. This essentially nationally pervasive spirit, thoroughly exemplified and utilised at the Sydney Olympics, thrives on in little heralded corners and causes. Above, Ryan and Gary, who otherwise are based at their fire fighting stations in Nowra and the Campbelltown regions of New South Wale…

Christmas Lights in Surbubia

A fortnight before Christmas, Sydney's northern suburb of Ryde already showed the spirit of the festive and holiday season.Two residential streets, Stephen and Cutler, had houses glowing in positive merriment community spirit. The tinkles, the bulbs, the glitter and the ideas behind the decorations did not tell the full extent of dedication, thoughtfulness and work that went into preparing such outdoor lights. There were even house owners with their families and mates sitting in their gardens, whilst outsiders and visitors looked in awe at the displays.

There were no rules, except to delight and fascinate. Some kept it streamlined, others maintained simple effects and yet there were always pockets of concentrated happiness and glow. The quarter moon hung above it all like a sentry on duty - and not fazed by all this possibly competing brightness below.

There were different themes to pick out, and I enjoyed the Santa sliding down a long rope crossing over the abyss of the lawn below.…

The Haberfield Post Restaurant, NSW

The waiter was most attentive and smiling, offering suggestions and dish details with a patience and countenance of being interested. We took up his confirmation of zucchini flowers as an entree after Joyce had proposed it from the menu. We had no regrets. The former Il Goloso occupies a former real post office building, and instead of stamps and cards, it now serves as an unusual setting for Italian inspired traditions in cuisine.

Indoors at the Haberfield Post, it was an overall impression of white. Outdoors, it was more casual and more befitting a lazy evening after a long day for me in the north west corner of the larger Sydney area.

I had made a quick dash around the Windsor markets earlier in the morning, and amazingly (to me) found nothing to purchase there. Haha, maybe it was that rude lady stall market holder who put me off, by behaving as if I could not speak English and did not want me to approach her stall with my Iphone. She made me honestly think instead that she was mute…

The Dragon Peking, Parramatta NSW

My cousin Sooi Lin and her hubby Joseph introduced me to this northern Chinese restaurant, located along Parramatta's bustling food street section of Church Street. It is not difficult to find it if you turn out from Westfield and follow the crowds going for Asian grocery shopping. Northern Chinese can be a catch-all term for the variety of cooking styles from Beijing to Shandong. This cuisine seems to be spreading over the greater Sydney area, even with an outlet in Wollongong CBD.

For Sunday lunch starters, we had a traditional cold dish, comprising of jellyfish stir mixed with cooked chicken strips and garnished with a chili aftertaste. It was just the perfect thing for a hot Australian summer's day.

Joseph chose the above dish of Beijing egg rolls. I found it a bit over the top in saltiness, but otherwise it was a crunchy bite into the ingredients wrapped inside - bean sprouts, minced pork and veg all fused with a delicious gravy.

I found the above pictured hotpot, tofu brais…

Christmas In The City

City bells, city sights, you know it's Christmas time in the city......these are selections from across the greater Sydney area in 2010.

A simple but elegant Christmas wreath hangs above a walkway at the Rocks Village (above) while
more decorations surround the Santa photograph opportunity corner at Bankstown's Centro shopping centre (below).

Sydney Town Hall at night (above) and Dora The Explorer performed for children and their parents at Wollongong's Crown Street shopping mall (below).

Lower East Cafe, Crown Street, Wollongong CBD

The very name provides the clue as to where to locate this place - lower east side, towards the ocean, of the straddling Crown Street in Wollongong CBD. Blake runs an outfit that can only be described as very Bondi, with lots of offerings on sourdough and with an understated kind of atmosphere to suit relaxing breakfasts and non-fussy lunches. Detail can be appreciated in the line-up of drink bottle varieties on an upper shelf, together with the choice of seating arrangements inside or outside and in the placement around the cafe of various types of coffee culture icons and utilities.

My choice of smoked salmon slices and slices of hard boiled eggs on toasted sour dough (above) complemented well with the coffee on brunch with mates on a lazy Saturday morning.

There are alternatives in cosy wood based decor (above) for regulars, but my attention was diverted to the

espresso machine (below) that serves as a much loved part of the household. When you finish your meal, you turn right to he…

A NSW South Coast Spring

Jeannie and Grant Hemphill brought their children Jasmine and Joel to spend a few days in the Wollongong area in late October 2010. They saw and soaked in a world so different form north-west Sydney, where they reside, and here are some of the captured impressions, covering Austinmer Beach, the UOW Wollongong Campus and the Wollongong Botanical Gardens.