Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Feet, Big Tummy - Our Food Diary

Somebody told me, "Asians take their foods seriously" and I can't argue with that. In my 8-year long of romantic relationship with my now fiance, we probably spent 80% of our dates eating. Cheap, expensive, sweet, savoury, anything, as long as we keep eating. Remember, happy tummy leads to happy life. And that's another reason we are growing BIGGER each year.

So, we did the same things when he visited me here in Sydney.

I am logging some of the foods that we enjoyed here during his visit in May. These are just some of many foods that we had.

1. Schnitz

I believe the name is taken from chicken schnitzel which is very popular here although it is originated from Austria. Schnitz is a food chain that has many outlets across Australia. I am not the fan of its chicken schnitzel but hey, the fries are awesomely good.

"Diamond cut & beet battered Tasmanian Russet potatoes cooked in 100% cholesterol-free vegetable oil and lightly sprinkled with Tom's secret seasoning," said the menu. Voila, we are sold.

2. Mappen Noodle Restaurant

A Japanese restaurant in Sydney CBD featuring udon and soba, in soup or dry version. There are many types of broth and sauce as well as the variety of tempura to choose.

The first time having it, I was so impressed with the tastiness. But after the second and the third visit, it feels kind of boring to the tongue. No matter what, that's a tasty bowl of noodle.

3. Uncle Tetsu

It's the famous Japanese cheese cakes that come in a few flavours. Other than the spongy cheese cakes, Uncle Tetsu also sells cheese tart and madeleines. Located in the same building as Mappen in Regent Place Shopping Centre, one can easily spot this shop by looking at the queue. People queue like crazy for the cheese cake.

If you are not buying the whole box or you want to taste as much flavours as possible, just head down to the cafe at the basement level. The price of the sliced cheese cakes are not much pricier.

My favourite is matcha cheese cake!

4. Guilty

We decided to try this out due to multiple shared posts we saw in Facebook. Everybody seems to rave about this mi goreng chicken burger, so we decided to give it a go.This innovation can be found in Guilty, a burger bar located in Darlinghurst. It's not an easy area to reach but we made our way. 

The burger consists of burger bun, mie goreng coated fried chicken and pickled vegetables. I think it's a nice twist pairing the fried chicken with the pickled veggie, you can still taste the MSG from the mi goreng and get a little bit of sourness from the pickles. However, the mi goreng are not fully coating the chicken as expected.

This famous establishment is probably one of the MUST VISIT for tourists in Sydney. It is jammed packed during weekends and it is even more packed as the sun goes further up.

We did not even try to get into the cafe. We just walked around (which was absolutely difficult) and had the coffee and the sweets.

The coffee from The Grounds is kind of my favourite in Sydney. Sipping the awesome coffee and taking a bite of the delicious fried donut, life is suddenly more colourful than it used to be.

6. Speedo's Cafe

Located in North Bondi and overlooking the famous Bondi Beach, Speedo's Cafe serves foods for the health conscious, the say-no-to-skinny-food and the one in between. No matter who you are, Speedo's offers whatever you need in delicious way.

I imagined it to be a place where I could listen to the sea breeze but apparently it's just a place full of buzzing sound of people chatting. The place is cramp, the alley way is too small, there are too many people sitting, there are too many people waiting to be seated, there are too many people picking up takeaway.

No matter what, I am in love with the banana pancake!

7. Brickfields

This brick-walled cafe at the corner of Cleveland Street and Balfour Street serves pastries and coffees as well as the great backdrop for your Instagram posts.

We ordered frangi pani tart, ham & cheese quiche and two cups of coffee. The tart was too sweet and the quiche was too salty. I am not a big fan but I got really nice pictures here. So, no regret.

8. Medan Ciak

A well-known place that serves Indonesian food in Surry Hills. Medan Ciak serves traditional Indonesian food like nasi padang, lontong sayur and nasi lemak as well as Medan-Chinese foods such as roasted pork rice and dumpling noodle. From time to time, it serves limited edition menu.

We tried out the lontong sayur which essentially has the same ingredients as the nasi padang, with rice cake and coconut curry broth instead of rice. I am not a fan of milky soup but the elements inside are so great. I love the chili sauce and the crispy potato crackers especially.

9. Bourke Street Bakery

Bourke Street Bakery is a cafe chain that serves many delightful pastries, from sweet to savoury. The outlet that I always visit is located at Barangaroo Avenue, just at the back of my apartment. Lucky me!

This is great breakfast spot if you are looking for a place to chill around Barangaroo. I love the red wine beef brisket pie and the mushroom & spinach quiche so much. This cafe serves terrific ice coffee too.

10. I Cook Too

As a bonus, I cooked too. Simple home-cooked meal for my most favourite person on this earth.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Gold Coast Trip - Escape to Byron Bay

A trip to Byron Bay is kind of unplanned. We initially thought visiting Brisbane would be a better choice, to see the hustle and bustle of the capital of Queensland. But after consulting with a dear friend who's living there, she convinced me that Brisbane would not give us extraordinary experience. Besides, parking cost a fortune in Brisbane.

So we decided to change the steering wheel towards the south.

Byron Bay it was.

When I asked that friend what to expect from Byron Bay. She said, "The beach, the lighthouse, or simply just the vibe of the town."

Byron Bay is a coastal town in the northern part of New South Wales. Located in the north coast, Byron Bay is attractive for its beaches, scuba diving sites, bushwalking trails, coastal trails, as well as the town itself.

Our first stop was 61 km away from Gold Coast. The Farm is a 34 hectare establishment of community farm. Young farmers who are not able to purchase a land can grow their own produce by leasing a small patch of land within the area. The Farm is also open to public to enjoy the scenery of the farm or to introduce some farm-related knowledge to the kids. There are restaurants, stores, workshops and farm tours for the visitors.

The Farm Byron Bay

The sign post
The children playground

Three Blue Duck Restaurant

With a little produce store at the end

Breads by The Bread Social

What a pleasing sight to the eye


Time to be spent with people that you love

Sheds and barns

A bright smile for the bright day

Thanks, The Farm! What an enjoyable few hours spent here

We continued our journey to the town of Byron Bay to have lunch and to stretch our legs. At the end of the town, there is a strip of beach with picnic area by the sides. It was a warm autumn day and many people were out sunbathing even though it's a weekday. Aussies really know how to enjoy life!

The road towards Byron Bay Town

One of the restaurant

The main road is full of cafes, restaurants and shops

A small alley towards our Fish and Chips

My Cutie Pie

Feros Arcade

The crowded beach even it's a Tuesday


The beach is good for surfing

More people sunbathing

But this guy's dabbing

The main attraction of Byron Bay is probably Cape Byron Lighthouse. It sits at Australia most easterly point. It was built to protect the ships passing the area since the 19th century and it is still operational up until this very day.

The lower ground of the lighthouse is occupied by Byron Bay Maritime Museum where visitors can learn about the shipwrecks and other maritime stories.

Driving uphill about 15 minutes, we reached the car park of Cape Byron Lighthouse. After paying AUD 8 (~SGD10) admission/parking fee, we secured our spot and started exploring. The view from up top is magnificent but sadly we arrived when the museum is 5 minutes to closing time.

The view of Byron Bay down there

The rest area with small cafe

Enjoying the view

The guardian of Byron Bay

The view of parking area from the top

By the cliff of South Pacific Ocean

It's pretty scary, isn't it?

There is a walking track at the back of the light house that can lead the visitors to the most easterly point of Australia. The walking track continues to Wategos Beach and Little Wategos Beach. If one is persistent enough, he can walk all the way back to the town.

I planned to walk all the the way down to Little Wategos Beach but my nephew kept telling he his legs were gonna get broken. So, we U-turn after 10 minute walk.

The walking track

This little guy made his way to the most easterly point of Australia

The magnificent view of the ocean

Cape Byron (Can you spot someone trying to recreate the view on to a canvas?)

It's time to drive back to Gold Coast for our flight back to Sydney. Since it was not the time for boarding yet, we added an unexpected stop to Coolangata Beach before going to the airport. I had checked everyone in, what could go wrong?

Coolangata Beach, how I love the sky

The two lovebirds

And the two playful grown babies

We reached the airport about 1 hour before the flight. To our surprise, we were told that the flight was cancelled due to bad weather in Sydney. We were given replacement flight either from Gold Coast Airport or Brisbane Airport for the next day. However, morning flight from Gold Coast was all taken and we were left with 4pm flight.

It was apparently to late to catch any public transport to Brisbane. Hiring taxi or car would cost a fortune. And we should still get an accommodation for the night. Nothing was covered by Jetstar except the replacement flight.

That's the most stressful one hour of my life.

Finally I've decided to get a refund and purchase a Qantas flight for the next morning (that cost $$$$$$) so that I could get to work. My cousin and her family decided to spend another day in Coolangata.

So, moral of the story, it's very risky to travel within Australia as the weather is so unpredictable. Take the morning flight, if possible, so you have more room to breathe should anything happens.

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

Gold Coast Trip - end