Showing posts from 2011

The Past Year

A Gift from Six year old Tom "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - a classic saying from Ralph Waldo Emerson Meaning and Purpose - Sea Turtle Bowl from Fiji "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after" by Henry David Thoreau "Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.“ – Brene Brown Enjoying The Ride Along the Way - Starting the Day at Balgownie “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” from John Lennon "LIFE: Love, Intelligence, Fun, Evolution - in that order." from Vanna Bont…

Tea'Se Me Tea Emporium, Wollongong CBD

One of the more invigorating quick breakfasts I have had recently lately was at the Tea'Se Me Tea Emporium, along Keira Street in Wollongong CBD. I loved the bernaise sauce offered to accompany a bacon and egg toasted bagel special (image above) - it was absolutely delicious! The surroundings are homely and modern (picture below), with shelves of tea drinking contraptions, containers and variety.
Open weekdays from breakfast time till 5pm, and also for half a day on Saturdays, the emporium offers more than tea. There is a good selection of lunch snacks involving pide and more, with a good blend of cooking reminiscent of regional snacks and beach side practicality. There is the all day breakfast menu available. It is attractive for a gathering of mates as well as or the casual office crowd. To me it was a delightful discovery to have such a choice in contrast to the neighbouring Asian food outlets. This is recommended as a restful stop for shoppers visiting the nearby Crown …

Magic Moments - 19 December 2011


Street Food, Sydney CBD

There is always a crowd and a queue at Ichiban Boshi, a ramen and udon cafe on the same level as the Kinokinuya Bookshop at Galleries Victoria in Sydney's CBD. This Japanese noodle chain also operates on the Gold Coast in Queensland and at Bondi Junction in Sydney's eastern suburbs. On a recent drop by in Galleries Victoria, I had the Tantan cold noodles served with a rather spicy and salty stock soup garnished by a half hard boiled egg, garlic, minced pork and two cherry tomatoes. So packed the place was that we had to share a round table with a Japanese executive, a Hong Kong career lady, a student and a gay couple. Perhaps the proof of the pudding, so to say, in selecting the best of what a cafe provides is to note what the other lunchers are having. I noticed that popular orders were the ramen soup, either spicy or the Tokyo version, with either beef or pork cutlets.
An easy going and quick option for a snack or a no-fuss meal, either before going to enjoy a casual ev…

Scenes from Sydney

The largest metropolis in any nation is bound to be special, controversial and unique. Several British colonies around the Australian coast vied for the honour and title of going to be the most important, the most productive and the most nurturing city. One may speculate about the harbour with many bays, or the more benign climate between the tropics and the temperate, but Sydney turned out to be ahead of other locations, even those with more viable hinterlands. A city may be great, but it is the people who live there - and enjoy the best of its opportunities or suffer the worst of its excesses - who count and matter. A sprawling urban congregation may thrive on the benefits of business and economic advantage, but the final judgement of a meaningful place to call home is its heart, its degree of organisation and the quality of its environs. Above image (credit to Torsten Blackwood / AP/ Getty Images) encapsulates the view of a beggar on a city street pavement, in a country with…

Sydney - Louis Vuitton George Street Maison

Louis Vuitton, the harbinger of expensive but potentially rewarding experiences, the symbol of quality and elegance, and an European tradition hallowed by many of the new rich in rising China and India economies, has opened a flagship outlet at the corner of King and George Streets in Sydney CBD. Officially it is known as the Louis Vuitton George Street Maison, opened on 2 December 2011. This follows the opening of another maison in Singapore's Marina Bay precinct. Its neighbour in Sydney is the second largest Apple store in the world. Its staff attending to clients on the floor are minimally university graduates. On the morning of my visit, the scene could be summed up by Indian sales staff taking care of mostly China buyers. There was no rush at the entrance, but two well dressed staff members controlled the flow of visitors by opening and closing doors. When you enter the three level delight, you first notice the high backlit ceilings, sense the buzz of eager buyers (mostly wom…

Festive Holidays - What do They Mean?

A small but characteristic church (above picture) can be seen along George Street, Sydney CBD, for Christmas. Liz, the person I also enjoy chattering to at my local petrol pump, mentioned about having to prepare so much in time and effort, ostensibly just for an apparent one hour gathering with family at Christmas time. I mused about this whilst sipping Absolut vodka and orange juice in the glow that happens on the eve of the festive holidays. After the so-called season is over, each of us gets back to so-called routine and regime, or better still, embark on new adventures and initiatives.
Jews light the candles in commemoration of the successful retaking over of a significant temple and this occasion is still faithfully recalled in Hannukah. Most of human festivals recall the triumph over challenges and difficult times, many celebrate charismatic figures and often relate so much to the turning of the planet Earth and its impact on its denizens. Modern day festivities may sometime…

The Backstreet Cafe, Wollongong CBD

It can be special and rare when I get to enjoy authentic food, prepared in the same way as still being done in the source country. Australian multiculturalism can also mean fusion in implementaion, especially when it comes to realistically attracting local diners. Whilst fusion in cuisine can also be exciting and inspiring, there is also room for transplanted communities to serve traditional styles of preparation. This authencity was experienced by me recently when Wills suggested trying out the Backstreet Cafe, a modest outfit beside an unassuming lane located off the pedestrian mall of Crown Street in Wollongong's city centre. The cafe specialises in northern Chinese noodles, both stir-fried or in soup, but also offers other choices in ramen and dishes from other parts of China and south-east Asia. Above image, hand made noodles in rich stock soup accompanied by katsu battered chicken.
Wills and I had an entree of Korean-styled kimchi (image above), which had a zip and kick…

Albee's Kitchen, Campsie, Sydney

Albee's Kitchen is located in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the main strip in Campsie, sited south-west of Sydney CBD. (282 Beamish Street, on the same side as the shopping centre with K Mart). This suburb has emerged as a very good example of multi-culturalism, a product of over thirty years of open minded Australian government policy and implementation in freeing up immigration from sources hitherto unthought of before 1980. The operators of Albee's Kitchen come from Sarawak, a state on the Borneo side of Malaysia, but they provide a variety of beloved street foods from Peninsular Malaysia, unique dishes of south-east Asia and reflecting the three main ethnic groups that still reside in Malaysia today. Above image - the most delightful curry puffs, with a half portion of hard boiled egg in each, together with a most appetising curry mixture.

The day of my most recent visit to Albee's had their tables fully occupied, with access to behind the kitchen seating areas …