Friday, 21 September 2007
After shopping, Myles and I had to eat and we were hoping that something warm in our stomachs would just, maybe, ease the discomfort of our hangovers.
Where better to go than Marigold for yum cha/dim sum?! It was not far from our last (and only) shopping stop and it's my favourite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.
Loads of people (including local big-name chefs) rave about Golden Century (another restaurant down the street) but to me, every item on their menu seem to taste the same, like they were all made using the same base stock or sauce. Marigold, on the other hand, might not be as famous or popular but the chefs there sure know their Cantonese cuisine. Every meal that I've had there, be it yum cha or dinner from the a la carte menu, have been faultlessly delicious. And today was no exception.
It's such a pain to go out for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night in this town without a reservation. My fault, really. We wanted to take Myles to one of our "locals" but with the hangover and the little nanna nap back home after lunch, I left it too late - Bistrode was all booked-out, a 45-minute wait at Bodega, La Brasserie said they were full...
The only place that could take us (but only if we "arrived in the next 10 minutes") was good ol' Bird Cow Fish. Still not feeling 100%, all three of us were looking forward to the comfort food that the restaurant is known for - warm wholesome dishes made from the choicest of ingredients and cooked in the simplest way possible to bring out their flavours.
For entrees, Myles had a goat's cheese souffle, the boyfriend had the prawn gnocchi (very comforting!) and I had the cod brandade.
For mains, the boys both had the hanger steak, I had the spiced barramundi and a big bowl of fries to share. Maybe it was the hangover but I found the spices a little too overpowering and simply couldn't finish the fish. It's really no fault of the restaurant (their food and service have never failed us each time that we've been), it's me - while the boys polished off a bottle of red between them, I barely touched the glass of white they ordered for me, and it's the first time in a long long time that I've not been able to stomach dessert after a meal.
So off we trundled to Incu, one of my favourite stores in Sydney. Myles was in no state to shop so he left the "important" decisions to me. Our top picks:-
The first thing that caught my eye in the shop. A 2K t-shirt by Mike Joyce of Stereotype Design. We love movies and trivia and I'm a sucker for typography. Plus the movie review blurb made me laugh. Guess the movie. The answer is at the end of the post.
#2 -Another by Mike Joyce. One of my favourite all-time movies.
#3 - Yet another Mike Joyce number.
#4-I actually picked this cool watch by Michael Young for myself but Myles wanted it so being the ever-gracious hostess, I let my guest have first dibs.
Answers: #1 - Back To The Future/#2 - The Breakfast Club/#3 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Thursday, 20 September 2007
This is Myles. He's visiting from Singapore. Love his pistachio green Addidas Stan Smiths and Paul Frank Rock Scurvy t-shirt! He's now a stylin' man, our Myles. A long way from when we first met years ago - perched on a bar stool, alone, in a loud Hawaiian shirt and receding hairline pulled back into a wispy ponytail (both remnants of his neo-hippie days in San Francisco). I'd like to think that I played a part in his transformation by telling him that night that I'd take him shopping if he shaves his head.
What a difference good company makes.
This is Myles' customised bicycle - a fixed-gear, or "fixie" for short. It is his latest fixation besides Kenzo shirts (for play) and made-to-measure shirts (for work) by his bespoke tailor.
Monday, 17 September 2007
Even if you're not after one of their fabulous creations, their site is worth a good nosey-round for handmade accessories that bring out the best in your favourite crispy whites, talented women whom Mr Rose has worked with and admire, and pretty things that inspire Mr Rose.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
But tonight, where I dined really mattered (I thank my lucky stars I picked Assiette, a fantastic restaurant!) because the company was not so hot.
I was meant to be meeting a friend (from cooking school days) for one of our regular let's-go-try-this-place-out-and-also-catch-up dinners. It's usually just the two of us foodies but occasionally, she gets some of her friends to come along for a bigger girly night-out. Now, these girls are great fun and are thoroughly nice and genuine so when my friend said she's got three of "the girls" to join us, I simply assumed they were the same.
I arrived early at the restaurant and was shown to our table by a really surly-looking (whatever happened to service with a smile?) wait staff only to find an unfamiliar face already seated. We introduced ourselves, made small talk and ordered some wine while waiting for the rest to arrive. Unfamiliar face #2 walked in and sat down, followed by a slightly more familiar face - someone I've met twice and both times at my friend's last two birthday dinner/drinks. One last chair to be filled and I think it's really rude of my friend not to have told me beforehand to expect strangers but she really topped her impoliteness by being the last one to arrive - 15 minutes late.
I'm the friendliest person and I can chat to almost anyone about almost anything but I have to be in the mood and my mood for the night was to catch up people that I haven't seen for a while, not make small talk with strangers that I'd most probably not meet again. With good company and the conversations that come naturally with it out of the equation, I was still pretty determined to have a good time with what's left - the fine food and wine.
We could choose to order a la carte or have the good-value-for-money ten-course degustation. I was sorely tempted to go for the works but the rest weren't and it would be rude if I made them wait while I eat seven courses more than them. So a la carte it was.
To start, we were served an amuse bouche of warm and comforting sweet corn soup with basil oil in a demitasse cup. Just what I needed before my entree of panfried scallops with cauliflower puree and beignets with a Pedro Ximenez reduction - the classic pairing of the cooked-just-right mollusc with the silky cauliflower puree was delicious but predictable until I had them with one of the crunchy beignets (fritters) made from the same vegetable - a texture-play party in my mouth. And the PX reduction...oh!..I love a good glass of the sweet dark sherry and to have it cooked down to a gummy consistency where the flavour is intensified, wow!
I love my seafood so naturally, my main course was yet another seafood dish - roasted fillet of barramundi with parsnip, sauce matelot, smoked eel cromeski and horseradish. It was such a well-conceived dish! The skin on the fish was roasted to perfection - crispy and slightly charred - with the meat still beautifully moist within. The matelote, a fish-based sauce, that the barra was swimming in simply added yet more flavours-of-the-sea which was kept at a good balance by the earthiness of the creamy parsnip veloute and the horseradish. But the star of this dish and of the whole meal was the tiny cromeski - little bits of smoked eel (I so love them slimy fish!), crumbed and deepfried. The fish and chips meal of my dream would be chunks of those cromeskis with the veloute as a tartare sauce substitute.
For pre-dessert, a shot glass of vanilla pannacotta with strawberry jelly and strawberry and mint salad was served. A fitting prelude to my dessert of a Napoleon of vanilla parfait, figs and port reduction - a stack of crunchy, creamy, fruity goodness.
Assiette and Warren Turnbull's food certainly made my night tonight. I'm definitely booking another table soon. With the right company, of course.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
If you ever listen to "Do The Bambi", look here for oh-so-cute accompanying visuals.
Worth a big mention and a good listen-to is the opening act "I Y Hiroshima" with their un-pigeonhole-able sound. The music that this three-piece - two guitarists (no bass), a drummer and shared singing duties - make is super-refreshing on the current "indie" musical landscape where most bands seem to want to sound like the last and are a little scared/not talented enough/lazy to break out of the formulaic mould to define themselves and their music.
Monday, 10 September 2007
I love (and practically live in) jeans and from years of buying and wearing them, I have somehow learnt to tell how they will fit by just looking at them hanging on the racks. When I saw this pair of Infinity, I knew I wouldn't be wasting my time going into the fitting room, getting undressed and trying them on (which can be a drag on days, like today, when I wasn't fully switched-on to my shopping-for-myself mode - was out looking for pwetty pwessies for a likkle girl who's turning two).
Heavy gauge denim... the right shade of indigo... the slight puff at the hips (which would normally put me off but worked really well here)... the legs-lengthening effect...It was pretty close to a done deal the moment I buttoned the last of the six buttons on the front panel!
And looking at my suddenly un-flat rear (thanks to the brilliant cut and position of the "V" on the thick waist band) in the mirror sealed it.
It was of course too long for me and I hate lopping big chunks of denim off just in case I ever change my mind about the length (which happens pretty often) so I got home and excitedly did what I usually do - a bit of folding, pressing and sewing -> cuffs with no denim sacrificed in the process. I was also toying with the idea of elasticise-ing the legs but that would take a bit more effort so it'll have to wait.
I now feel sorry for my Gorman New Violin Pants - a pair of high-waisted wide-legged jeans in lightweight denim - that I bought not too long ago. I know wide legs are all the rage now but the Infinity's are so much more flattering and will therefore get more wear. The poor Violin's will now have to content with playing second fiddle.