Saturday, January 26, 2013

30s and weighing up your choices.. single or attached?

I've always thought I would travel around the world, hopping from country to country, free as the wind and have no care for the world and a lover at every port.

On the other hand, I've always thought I'll be married by the time I reached 30 and have children by the time I'm 33.

Things never work out the way you plan it, no matter how hard you try to plan your future. Fantasy and reality are two very different things.

I'm also at the age where people around me are having children with their partners or divorcing or beginning new relationships with a new partner, children in tow.

I'm slightly envious of those who have children, those gorgeous and lovable creatures but then my toes will curl up in distaste when I see spoilt, badly behaved children and tired and disillusioned parents. Then I laughed silently at them but at the same time, feel slightly sad. For them or myself I'm never truly sure.

My single friends? They have either jobs or careers and footloose and fancy free. You ring them at anytime of the day and know they that they should be free to catchup for dinner or coffee or have getaways with just the girls. But then I know how truly lonely they usually are.

People with kids? Their timetable mostly consist around their children's - nap time, feeding time, cleaning time and play dates, followed soon by school and after school activities - from ballet to swimming and piano lessons. When do they even have time to take a breather?

Are you in your 30s? Which path are you heading on now and which path would you rather follow? Thoughts?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Summer dream..

Under the stars I lay,
In the evening summer breeze

Across the sky,
A shooting star falls

Brightening the sky,
With starlight showers

Across the field,
The crickets chirp,

Awakening the silence,
With it's singing choir

For just a moment I was at peace,
Just me and nature's beauty

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stupid whore!

Lingering look,
... A second too long,
Lingering touch,
... A second too long,

Beautiful love..
Did I imagine it all?
Wistful wishes..
Is it all in my head?

Oh anguish love,
Why do you break my heart?
Oh cruel fate,
Why do you mock my love?

I know,
He is not mine,
He will never be mine,
But... was he ever mine?

All it took was "hello beautiful",
And I've fallen like a tonne of brick,
Spread myself like a dirty whore,
While he filled my every hole

To be used again and again,
and discarded like a dirty rag,
I'm just a stupid whore,
A lusty stupid whore!

Love at first sight...

Tick.. Tick.. Tick..
It takes but 3 seconds...

You'll know for..
.. your heart will skip a beat..

Just a glimpse of him,
... The sudden flow of joy,
The uncontrollable smile,
The butterflies fluttering in the stomach,
The sudden weakness of the knees,

I know not of his existence,
I can't get him out of my thoughts..

Will he..
.. return..
.. my feelings.. too?..

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ladies High Tea at Le Jardin, Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast

I've been dying for proper high tea in Brisbane and I noticed there's quite a few places for high tea around ranging from $35 onwards.  I read online that Stamford Hotel offers one and reading their description it sounds pretty promising, but after searching around, I noticed there weren't that many good reviews about it and most people I know advised to give it a miss as the view is fabulous, but food wise it was quite pathetic.

A friend then suggested checking out high tea at Versace in the Gold Coast (as the decor is quite stunning) and we decided to organise with some ladies in Brisbane to head out for some dainty sandwiches and pastries.  There were two other girls who have also lived in London for a couple of years and this was a great way to catch up and reminisce about good ol' London.  We ended with 5 ladies attending the High Tea on a Saturday afternoon..

What makes a good high tea is the atmosphere.  I love watching ladies all dressed up in pretty dresses and heels, nibbling on dainty sandwiches and all the lovely fine china used.

Le Jardin @ Palazzo Versace

Main Beach
94 Seaworld Dr 
Main BeachQLD  4217

07 5509 8000 or

(High Tea is from 11am - 5pm.  No booking necessary but if there's 8 people or more, you'll need to make a booking.  They'll also require your credit card if there are more than 12 people)

Cost is $45 per person for their Fashionista High Tea (which includes tea or coffee and it could be either cold or hot.  Please note there is no refill and ice tea is $7.50 while hot tea is $7.00 per serving). I think it's $55 if you have it with champagne.

The decors are truly gorgeous and they used lovely china & silverware, but unfortunately I thought the waitress serving us were rather unfriendly and as it's an open sitting, and not just serving high tea, there were lots of people walking and eating in the restaurant in very casual wear e.g. thongs and shorts...  I truly could not get use to how 'casual' Queenslander dressed.. =((((  I'm really sorry to say this, but they do not have any sort of fashion sense here.  Perhaps it's the hot weather which does not allow one to get all dressed up.  Melbourne and Sydney people definitely are better dressers!!

Anyhow, I digress..  The food was very filling and fresh, but I have to say I was quite disappointed with the service.  For $45 per person, I expected a bit of pampering and spot on service.  Our waitress was a sour puss and we had to continuously asked for a refill for cold water.

Beautiful chandelier when you enter the hotel
Gorgeous setting and looking out into their pool
Pretty ain't it?!

Most of us ordered the iced tea,  Ginger Lemonade(sparkling) which was really refreshing!  Don't forget to stir it as the syrup is all at the bottom! ;)  One person ordered the hot chai latte and it was beautiful presented in silverware..

Beautiful presented.  This serving is for 3 people.  Might not look like much, but they are really filling
Top:  dainty triple layered sandwiches.  3 pieces per person (1.  cheese, ham & pesto chicken 2. whole grain salmon w/ cream cheese & cucumber w/cream cheese 3. alfafa!! (was the most unpopular lot ;)) there's also thinly sliced crispy like bread (kinda reminded me of plain biscotti) with dip (2 per person).  Bottom:  fresh mini plain and raisin scones (2 each) and  2 pieces of tiny quiche and a tiny piece of sausage roll which were fresh and warm.  
 I thought having 2 quiches and a sausage roll for 3 people were... a bit of a tightass.  I believe the other two ladies had to share a quiche between them.  They really should have let each person have one, or just provide 3 pieces of quiches.  On the other hand, the sausage rolls and quiche were just really delicious.  The pastry were flakey.. yum!  The scones were also warm and so fresh.  Eaten with strawberry, cherry and apricot jam (which we had to ask for as they forgot to bring them out for us) with clotted cream.  Double yum!!

This 2 person serve is exactly like ours (for 3 people) - 6 pieces of dainty pastries and 2 macarons (except we got 3) and 2 cake pops (we had 3).  Not too keen on the cake pops, they were pretty to look at but too sickly sweet inside.  The other pastries had rave review as well.. From Top Left:  mini cupcake, lamington, lemon meringue tart, coffee cream in a chocolate cup, fruit tart, cake pops, chocolate eclair and of course the macarons (which we couldn't figure out what the flavour is as the middle chocolate filling overpowered the taste) 
Had a lovely time catching up with the girls but am slightly disappointed... It's still good I guess but I can't wait to go back to London for proper high tea again!

Speaking of which, I'll need to start packing soon.... 


p/s  Driving from Brisbane to the coast on that Saturday was a nightmare.  What bad traffic!  Took us an extra 1/2 hour longer to get there!

Le Jardin on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chilli Crabs in Darra, Brisbane - Cam Ranh

I still remembered Cam Ranh from High School (in the 90s)...  This was a popular joint where when we talked about this eatery, we called it the 'My Friend' restaurant due to the owner who was really energetic and calls everyone 'My Friend' and 'See you tomorrow!'  Used to make people laugh so much and crabs and  pho were the most popular dishes.  The place is kind of dirty but dirt cheap!  During the weekend, there's loads of people queuing to get in.  I remembered the owner was still quite young and rumour had it, he was just a lackey at the shop, but when the original owner left, he bought the restaurant and got his young wife as well... ;)

We haven't been to this place (name still hasn't changed) since 'My Friend' left years ago... Afterall, I moved to Melbourne and came back to Brisbane only once a year or so and then I was away overseas for so many years.  The owner has since left and sold the business and he's now working around Darra in different restaurants.  Poor guy had a hard life due to his wife's gambling habits..  But enough about all these gossips and let's talk about the food here!

Cam Ranh
23 Railway Parade 
DarraQLD 4076

Had dinner here tonight with two other ladies.  Nothing really much have changed inside, but it does look a bit cleaner and there's now a fresh tank filled with life fish and when you order crabs, they actually bring out the live crabs to show you.  There's an older woman (whom I presume has to be the owner?) and a young surly man who were both working there.  The young man has the surliest face and looks really unhappy to be there.  I guess it's Friday night afterall!

We came here for crab and crab we ordered.  Crabs were $45 per kg and the young guy insisted we couldn't order just 1kg of crab as we need to order more.  So, we ended up with 3 dishes with rice and a dessert (3 colour drinks) each which brings the total to $106 for the 3 of us.  I guess it's no longer cheap but I was pretty happy with the quality of food (except for the service)

Cam Ranh Tofu ($15.80)  - This is fresh and so delicious and is homemade and apparently their specialty.  The tofu is a whole piece and crispy on the outside and so soft and creamy inside.  The sauce is eggy and made with pieces of seafood such as prawns and scallops and pieces of carrots and greens.   Yummy!
Kangkung Belacan $12.80 -  Can't go wrong with this.  A Malaysian specialty, fresh morning glory stir fried with Malaysian chilli shrimp paste!  Veggies were fresh and crispy!
Chilli Crab ($45/kg)  I think this was slightly over 1kg and they were still wriggling when she showed it to us..  Cooked with onions, carrots, capsicum etc and chilli sauce.  I'm not really a crab lover.. I just love eating sauce with rice and love the body with the eggy and fleshy bits =)
Another shot of all the delicious goodness!
Our dinner with rice for 3 ladies..  I guess we could eat!
3 Coloured drink (approx $4.50) - bottom to top - Red beans, mung beans, green jelly with shaved coconut ice and sprinkled with whole peanuts.  You have to mix them up thoroughly and then scoop to enjoy!
The quality is definitely good, but I think we could get cheaper crabs around Darra.  But seriously, if you want great service, Darra is definitely not the place for you.  I guess cheap good eats are now hard to find in Brisbane.

Cam Ranh on Urbanspoon


Monday, January 14, 2013

Izakaya Den, Melbourne - Japanese Tapas

Looking through my pictures from Melbourne, I realised I've taken a lot of photos, majority of them being food..  So, please bear with me while I blog about them.

I think there will be loads of food blogging here while I'm in Australia, unless I can find more interesting things to distract myself ;)

On our first night in Melbourne (fresh from Singapore), we did a group meetup with a few of S's mates at this Japanese tapas in the city.  I have to say, like most of Melbourne's good bars which are well hidden, Izakaya Den was definitely hard to find, as we had people getting lost trying to find this place.  Thankfully there's people in the group who have actually been to this place.  I just followed them blindly! ;)

Izakaya Den
114 Russell St

Melbourne Victoria 3000
Area: Melbourne
You have to go down some steps to get to the restaurant.  The place is dimly lit and we were led past the bar till the end of the room where our large group of people settled down at a canteen like table and benches (brings me back to high school in Malaysia =) )

The dishes true to tapas style are small but delicious, so, you will have to order quite a bit to fill satisfied.  I have my favourites and I have a few which I weren't too keen on.  As the place is quite dimly lit, my pictures didn't turn out too well ;(

L - R:  Pickled veggies, Den Fried Chicken ($10) - crispy and quite nice,  Sweet Corn 'Kaki'-age ($7) - big and chunky, oily and sweet.  Not too sure I was too keen on deep fried corn.  I can't remember what the right dish is.  I thought they were big sized spring rolls.. but I can't remember now.
Kingfish Sashimi with Asian style dressing ($17) - Absolutely delicious.  So fresh and tasty.  I believe I tasted sesame oil 
Ox Tongue with Spring Onions ($15) - This is definitely the bees knees!! I was in orgasmic heaven when I had this.  Absolutely tasty and so tender.  I think we ordered a few of these!
Salmon Sashmi with yuzu vinaigrette ($16)

Poached duck breast with plum sauce (mushroom & pickles).  Was quite tasty
Kurobuta Pork Belly ($19) - Grilled and slightly too salty but still very tasty.  I made the mistake of dipping my already salty pork into the salt.  Whoops!
Gotzinger Berkshire Pork Sausages with seeded mustard ($14) - Not too keen as they taste like German sausage... and it's too weird for me as we are at a Japanese eatery.
Unfortunately, if I remembered correctly, we ordered more dishes than what I have taken photos of.  The dishes were small and we were hungry and people were eating too quickly and we had to order more.  After the 2nd lot of order came out, I was too busy fighting for food, that all thoughts of taking pictures went out the window =)

Price wise, I think it's quite steep but I guess it's now pretty average Melbourne standard and when you add a few glasses of alcohol, it really becomes an expensive night out.  Overall the food is fresh and tasty, but you really do need to order quite a few dishes if you were hungry like us.  But definitely a great place to hang out after work (especially on a Friday night), order a few dishes and have a few glasses of alcohol.  Great place to unwind to kickstart your weekend!

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Japanese at Southport - Maruya Japanese Restaurant =D

When we were at the coast last week, we dropped by at a Japanese Restaurant in Southport, where I was told the meal was really tasty as there's been review that the tempura is fresh and light and the sashimi is so fresh, you could taste the sweet salty sea water still on the seafood.. hmmm..

Maruya Japanese Restaurant
  • 15 Davenport Street
  • Southport, QLD 4215
  • Hours:  Mon - Thu: 10:00 - 21:00
  •             Fri :  10:00 - 23:59
Beautiful sweet and fresh salmon sashimi slices presented on oyster shells in a boat, to be shared by all - around $23
Wagyu beef slices on salad (& mayo) with loads of rice underneath + free miso soup.  The beef pieces were sooooo tender and tasty!!  Definitely the highlight for me
Our meals, L - R (clockwise):  Beef slices with rice (sukiyaki), seafood & veg tempura and salad, sashimi slices and wagyu beef slices on salad with mayo and rice underneath.  The whole meal + drinks cost us $76.50 (for 3 adults and 1 child)
Definitely a tasty meal, and I love love the dish I ordered.  The beef slices (sukiyaki) on the left were just too salty for me.  The sashimi were definitely fresh!  But I thought $76.50 for 3 adults and 1 child were definitely quite expensive...

Maruya Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hakataya Ramen, Sunnybank, Brisbane. Deeeelicious!!

I know my post lately are mostly about food.. But heck, this is Brisbane and I'm running out of things to do.. And I'm mighty pleased that my family loves going out to eat and finding cheap eats! Hehe

This time we ventured to Hakataya Ramen at Sunnybank, which everyone has been raving about. I believe they have Hakataya in Sydney as well as in the Gold Coast.

Hakataya Ramen
Shop 27b Sunnybank Plaza Cnr Mains Rd & McCullough St
Sunnybank, 4109

I used to pass by the shop a lot, but always during lunch time and the queue is ridiculously long.. Which shows how popular this little joint is. The shop is quite small with some sitting inside and some just outside.

As it's Sunday, we actually rocked up at 10.30am, just to beat the queue and had it for brunch instead ;) it was ridiculously hot unfortunately and no air conditioning ;( but still ... =)

There's only 4 noodle dishes in their menu and we all had the 1st dish, Nagahama Ramen, Japanese Pork Noodle soup. The soup is boiled with pork bone and simmered for 39 hours. Not surprisingly, the stock is very tasty. From reading their FaceBook page, they use specially selected bones from Australian pork. It seems they are also free from chemical seasonings and preservatives.

While having your bowl of noodle soup, you can also order another helping of noodles - which is called 'Kaedama'. Score!!!  It's like having 2 serve of noodles for just $10!!

The first bowl of noodle is actually quite filling, but my 6 year old niece could finish 1 1/2 serving of noodles!

The noodle also comes with a little side spicy pickled Chinese vegetable.. Which is quite salty on its own, but goes really well in with the soup.

Pork ramen with a side of spicy pickled veggies
An extra serving of noodles for FREE!

Have to say it was really yummy, but slightly too salty and with the hot weather I was really thirsty ;( they do offer complimentary pickled ginger and water which you can help yourself!!

There's also sesame (which you can grind into your soup) on the tables - Definitely adds extra flavour to your already tasty ramen!


Hakataya Ramen on Urbanspoon


Friday, January 11, 2013

Obaltan - Korean BBQ Cuisine, Brisbane

Coming back to Brisbane always mean watching lots of Korean Drama with mum.  From watching all the shows, I tend to salivate over the food they keep eating.  All those abundance of kim chi and their instant noodles!  *slurps!*  and of course Korean BBQ... *drools!*

I have to say, one of my favourite food is Korean BBQ, where you order different types of meat (pork, beef, chicken etc) and seafood and vegetables and put them onto the BBQ griller.  Then dip them in all assortments of sauces and savour them...  Unfortunately, you do tend to come out from the restaurant reeking of BBQ smoke.  Your hair, clothes.. so, my advise when visiting any Korean restaurants?  Wear your most shabbiest clothes unless you plan to wash all your clothes and you will need to wash your hair after as well.  Because those smoke is pretty potent, and even if you are just ordering normal individual meals, the smoke from the other diners' BBQ grills will seep into your every pore ;)

So, when meeting up with Miss Am for dinner(We have eaten our way nearly across the globe.. London, Greek Islands (Santorini, Crete etc), Singapore, Melbourne & Brisbane), I was jumping up and down determining I wanted Korean food, but unfortunately, she wasn't up to eating too much meat.. *frowns*  but any type of Korean food is still pretty good for me, as Korean food in Stockholm is so ridiculously priced, especially for dinner.

O Bal Tan - Korean BBQ Cuisine
91 Elizabeth Street
Brisbane QLD  4000
Opens 7 days a week from 11am - 1am

There's actually quite a few Korean restaurants popping all across town and we decided to try this new restaurant rather than frequent the regular Korean place just right next door.

The restaurant definitely looks slightly nicer than our regular joint and just as popular.

Assortment of Bachan that should always be free and kept replenished when you require.  Unfortunately, wasn't too impressed with these lot.  (broccoli?  That ain't very Korean, no??) I love my bean sprouts =P

I ordered spicy beef stew with potato noodles soup which comes with rice, while Miss Am ordered her usual kim chi and pork soup.  Both our dishes were $12 each

My soup is true to colour.  There's pulled beef, tofu, vegetables and potato noodles with lots and lots of chilli!

Seriously soooo full of flavour and soooo tasty!!  The soup was quite spicy though, hence eating with the rice will help soothe your burning tongue.  I was sitting on the throne straight after returning home =((( tee he he.. Too much info, no? ;)

Definitely would be coming back!

Obaltan Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fat Noodle @ the Treasury Casino, Brisbane

I first heard of Luke Nguyen when I came back to Australia back in 2011 and I had a friend who taped every episode of his Luke Nguyen's Vietnam - where he traveled, eat, drink, cook his way around Vietnam.  I loved his show and I love vietnamese food where the ingredients are always consisting of fresh herbs.

So, coming back to Brisbane this month, when my parents suggested we should give his new restaurant, Fat Noodle a try, I jumped at the chance.  Dad was raving about the celebrity chef while mum was less than impressed where she continuously compared his food to those you could get from Inala or Darra (cheap viet eats in Brisbane!)

Located in the Treasury Casino, this of course spelled out fine dining.  Walking into their restaurant, you will notice that all the staff are asian.  Not one single white person working either at the bar or the floor...  Interesting enough, most of the customers were caucasian ;)

As we were there during lunch time, the whole place was buzzing with people and there were no space for us at the proper dining area.  We were then led to the end side, close to their bar, where we had to perch on the high chairs.  I'm OK with it, but not so much for my dad as he was complaining about sore back and how the chair is not very comfortable.

Loving the very oriental feel to the place...  We sat just opposite the bar and I love the shadows cast by the bottles and lions displays just above the bar..
After being led to our high chairs, we were then offered complimentary green tea.  I love the heavy cast pot and how fragrant the tea was ( you will not get this kind of service in either Inala or Darra!!).  There's also a couple of chilli condiments in the middle where you could just help yourself
Our placemat/menu.  The left side consist of food and the right drinks.  The prices were pretty reasonable for fine dining experience..  Entree prices start from $9 - $16 (the sizes looked pretty reasonable.. I peeked at my neighbour's dishes), mains were $15 - $19.  There's a small selection of noodle soup, rice and stir fries..  
Dad being vegetarian had to stick with the Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles $16 (the only vegetarian dish) which consist of pumpkin, shitake mushroom and asian greens (I think this was the dish my mum was least impressed with saying there's not much ingredient in it).  Dad was pretty happy with it, declaring it's tasty albeit slightly oily

with dad's suggestion, who kept insisting I choose the signature dish - Fat Pho Noodles - his signature beef broth, thinly sliced Sir Loin & Brisket, thin rice noodle with a side of fresh bean sprouts and a tiny sprig of thai basil.  You just dump all the bean sprout and pinch the basil leaves into your bowl and then squeeze the lemon juice into it.
I have to say my pho was quite generous, the broth was ... ok... (they are a lot more flavoursome at most of the proper vietnamese eateries.. probably more MSG there though ;) ).  The rice noodles were chopped into too fine short pieces and I could have just used my spoon to eat, which was a disappointment to me, as being a typical asian, I love to slurrrrp my noodles with my chopsticks..

Overall a pretty good experience.  Dad's dish came out pretty quickly, but mine took slightly longer, which was surprising, as usually soup noodles are a lot quicker to prepare compared to stir fry...

I wouldn't mind returning here as I saw a few dishes that caught my eye (e.g. Grilled Pork Neck Skewer and Chicken and Abalone congee.. ) yum yum..

Fat Noodle on Urbanspoon