Thursday, August 28, 2014

Imperial Peking-Yum Cha

i technically don't have uni on thursdays for half the semester, but i still go to uni since thursday mornings is the only time when the room to practice in. ended up going on to yum cha spontaneously at Imperial Peking, which is about a 15min walk from uni and you don't have to become a member to go in. places like castle hill rsl you have to become a member to have their yum cha etc.

food wasn't that great, and wasn't cheap either, but it was close to uni. i wasn't really craving yum cha, but i guess it's those times when company matters more than food.

some snapshots of the food and prices:

it came to a total of $78pp, so about $20 each. would have liked to spent a bit less. they kept pushing us to eat more dishes, and trying to make us poor uni kids to fork out more...

my mum is going hk tomorrow for about 2 weeks for my grandpa's 90th big birthday bash. they're organising so much for his 90th, with 1 homemade cake w/ 90n candles, then 2 nice western cakes, three big tables in a restaurant. and not an ordinary chinese restaurant in hong kong, they're hiring a bus to drive people there, about 30ish min from hong kong. and then we all (including grand children, and great grand children) had to pitch in to buy this gold piece of gold for him. all he wants is money tbh, but they decided since he's 90 to give him gold. all the children had to pitch in for the dinner. which makes my family more "ripped off" since only my mum is paying 1/9 of the price, but she's the only one eating from our family...but my uncle and his friend are shouting them all drinks...also, there was this massive convo beforehand for 2 months deciding on where to eat, and had to be at a "higher class" place. wish i could be there though, all that food an celebration!

and she's going over there for my cousin's wedding reception. he actually lives in canada so would have his wedding there, but reception in hk since that's where most of the family is. actually, his mum is more worse off, since she also had to pay her portion of the dinner, but won't even attend the 90th birthday dinner since that's when her son is getting married. then again, she has heaps of other children/grand children which are taking her place to "eat". it's actually quite complicated...i have another cousin getting married in november, and he asked if my mum would come, we're not THAT rich. as if my mum would go nz, then hk, then go hk in nov, and we planned already to go america and hk. that's some serious flying...why couldn't he planned his wedding 1 month later in december when we could be there instead of november? 

 no idea how we're going to survive since i get home pretty late, dad has work, and my bro likes to go library to study and gets home late. mum's cooking meals ant putting it in the freezer, but then there's stuff like fresh produce and washing etc that needs t be done. i don't have time to cook (not that i can properly...) and if i did time then there's also washing all the pans and stuff. but food wise i think we'll be ok since we do have 4 fridges....and i'll probably end up wearing the same things for two weeks. first time mum going away overseas with any of us...she's going there with my cousin, but coming back, not sure if she can even make her way back from the airport...she has a horrible sense of direction. and because my lazy ass brother is too lady to learn to drive (seriously, i got my P's in yr 11), i have to drive him home from tutoring etc since dad might have work, and some buses don't run that late. and mid sems are next week already, and it is essential i don't get any supps this sem, so this is turning out to be so argh. wasting an hour each time just because he can't drive. 

duck from the other night (:

thought i would show you guys what dilated pupils looked like. when you go unsw to get your eyes tested, they do every single possible test, unlike your normal optometrist. so last year we had a compulsory visit, and same as this year, and it included get drops put in. these ones make your pupil super big so people can use other instruments to look in it, so it's super helpful for the clinician, but as the patient your D= that morning i went it was full raining but after the eye exam it was full sunny! so i had to walk down main walkway with my eyes closed since i forgot to bring my sunnies, and with dilated pupils its a horrible experience (obviously you don't tell your patients that). your eyes are just very light sensitive and you can't see things close up, and have to hold your phone at arms length. and can't do any writing etc since everything is blurry for a few hours. that is all (:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet Spot Patisserie

back in week 2, when i still had time, during a 3hour break i went with 2 other friends spontaneously to eat cake for lunch. (i actually brought lunch with me, so i had my lunch for arvo tea...)

we were at upper campus, so this place was 2 bus stops away, or about a 10 minute walk. since it's really close to uni (on Randwick side), i've seen heaps of these cake photos before, and this place wasn't on my list to go, but i guess it's the company that matters (:

four cakes between 3 people. each cake is $7.50

i really like the colour theme and decor od this shop, and the prices are alright and quite big servings. we were soo full from this. 

Pistachio and Panna Cotta: layer of almond sponge, pistachio panna cotta and fresh raspberries

chose this one since it was interesting to have panna cotta in cake. would have liked more pistachio flavour, but this had a nice acidity to it (similar to the layer of raspberry gel in Zumbo's cakes) to cut through the panna cotta. the panna cotta wasn't as creamy it it should be.

Caprioska: lemon lime mousse, lychee and vanilla sponge

got this because it's so pretty! subtle hints of lemon and lime, would have preferred my lychee flavour, but then again it would have made it taste artificial.  has a short bread base at the bottom, but it was thin and easy to cut into.

Baked ricotta cheesecake

i liked how it wasn't as heavy as cream cheese.

red velvet

we all had a slight red velvet craving. it was ok, but not great.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ippudo Sydney

this post is exactly 2 weeks overdue.

went up to meet with some friends the day before my bray-thanks for coming guys (: i actually ate a lot during the day, so i was surprised i could fit in a bowl of ramen. then again, i had ramen cravings (and currently have ramen cravings right now).

free froyo!

just made it to the line before they cut it off, and only waited 15mins which is pretty good. haven't had free froyo in a while. mine's the ugly one of the right. i did a blog post about how to maximise space, but when it's raining and you're holding other stuff, it's hard to create it delicately. the one of the left is nancy's pro froyo skills.

ended up sitting outside at Ippudo...but at least the lighting was good (:

Ippudo Pork Bun: Steamed bun with braised pork and Ippudo original sauce-$4

i remember seeing them at the Good Food and Wine Show where they had a food truck, but they sold it for $5/ was convenient, but i decided to wait to get it at the restaurant since it's a bit cheaper. these buns are so soft unlike your Chinese buns, and the meat is just so yum

Akamaru Shinaji: IPPUDO original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin noodles, pork belly, black mushroom and shallots. $16

i would say this is slightly pricey compared to other places, but it was just so good. the broth is rich in flavour and the pork is so tender. the ramen itself was also enjoyable to eat (: i don't think i need to add anything else.

Kurogoma Panna Cotta: Black sesame custard with creamy sauce $8

shared this between 4 people, since we were all super full. i used to hate black sesame as a kid, but this is really nice. not too creamy, and it was different in that it had a slightly icier texture on top.

too other news, since Cathay Pacific was awarded top airline or something again, they had a massive "Fan Fare" i.e. cheap tickets for premium econ and business class for only $100HK! that is super duper crazily cheap, only around $14AU for business class!!! it excludes taxes, which i'm guess is probs about $300AU since HK taxes seem to be a bit cheaper...but there's a limited amount of tickets, and apparently there were 130 000 people trying to fight for super limited number of tickets. my relatives were quite disappointed they didn't manage to get any. it reminded me of unsw timetable servers. but the difference here is that for these airline tickets, you need to restart your router before you purchase them, and you need to keep refreshing. my uncle's friend managed to get ticket's to Kaula Lumpur, and apparently last year he got ticket from Hk to Italy for only $50HK, which is only around $7AU! how people have such luck with internet servers, i do not understand...

had work training and skipped dancing yday. quite regret it since yday felt like a lecture, with 'lecture' notes printed out. at least it was in colour.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

20. Elisa's Birthday Free Food

this post is long overdue. so behind on uni already and we've only had 4 weeks. 

this year i decided to be more "economical" in terms of stomach space, decided to spread my free food birthday hauls throughout the week, so this year was definitely birthday week. getting so old now ): don't think i can stomach as much food in as you used to, yet getting more fat despite eating a bit less than when i was young ): at least i don't look old. well, it's not much of an advantage now, but it will be in the future...


I decided to walk to the Nando's further away, not the one in Westfield I find that everyone in west field food court is stingy with their freebies. like once for a boost challenge, i had to do so much extra to get a free boost, whilst the other places for the same challenge didn't care how much effort you put into it. other times like getting michel's patisserie free coffees last year, they fully questioned the print out and have you dirties etcetc. hence i would rather walk further for better service, and indeed it was

supremo burger w/lemon herb sauce, juice, reg chips-$16.70

on the terms and conditions, it says only classic burger, wraps and something else which were only worth $8ish were allowed, but this guy let me choose a fancier burger. they were all really nice and the guy who came out with my order even smiled at me, even though i'm getting it for free. the chips were quite fresh, and i'm surprised since i hot this in the arvo around fish, and usually they just re-heat/re-fry them. burger was ok, would not pay for it though. you can get nando's a week after you receive the email.

day before birthday i got my free boost. i think i've tried all the flavours except for the lemon ones and the new $9 fancy ones, so i got a Green Tea Mango Mantra (: you can get boost 2 days before or after your birthday.

Lowenbrau Keller
i feel like this place has become my annual free birthday lunch place. third time here and it's still really good (: they allowed me to choose anything for my free birthday meal, unlike last time on my Mum's birthday on a Saturday, only the cheaper one was free. i didn't choose the most expensive thing on the menu this time, since i had it last time, so decided to get something i hadn't had for a while.

Gerösteter Schweinebauch: Crackling Roast Pork Belly, Sautéed Potatoes, Red Cabbage & Bier Jus 32

it was really good pork crackling. not the best melt-in-your-mouth cracking, but it did have a good crunch and not as fatty as other places. i think the sides were a bit smaller than usual, but for my it was a good size since i had to leave room for sweet street desserts. i though there wasn't enough jus, but turns out it was the perfect amount since my plate was quite clean at the end.

Pork and Kraut Sandwich-$8

this is probably the first time we ordered a sandwich outside since we can make sandwiches at home, but my mum wasn't very hungry and this was "cheap". actually, normal club sandwiches around 15, and other sandwiches on this menu are around 20, and this place is the rocks, so it actually is cheap(ish). it was massive though, and heaps of pork and greens inside as well. quite refreshing. loved the tiny bits of speck for texture.

after bought something for Mimco since they give you $30. found something i liked and ended up paying $10. also got an iPhone case at Kikki K and turned out free since they give you $10 on your bday (:

i'm probably the said individual who takes a photo of their subway. after posting this, going to delete the photo since it's a waste of space, haha.
6 inch Subway Melt (ham, turkey, bacon) with honey oat bread and coke
don't know how much this costs. feeling ripped off since this flavour is on their "specials" flavours, and not making the most out of it..nothing special to subway, just a free lunch

San Churros
passed by darling harbour to pick up my cake at the Star and decided to get this. i am so, so glad i listened to my mum telling me to not eat this before Sweet Street. i was so full that night that i had to take food home, so if i ate this deep fried "junk" then i would have limited space to eat classier desserts. 
churros for two w/ white choc and dark choc-$14.95

this experience was a lot better than last time! i asked if i could get churros for one then something else since i wouldn't finish churros for two. the guy said i could have one here then take away the other three, did not know they did take away. since i'm not supposed to eat chocolate (and i tried milk/dark choc last year), i went for white choc. it was surprisingly not too sweet, more milky/creaminess to cut down the sweetness. the churros were so good looking and not doughy/overly deep fried. the ones i took home had a bit more colour, but i like it lighter. btw, the chocolate solidified by the time i got back home, so we had to end up heating it.

Baskin Robbins
since the darling harbour on had bad service, i decided to go towers on the weekend. the person at least smiled and said hi. didn't bother trying some flavours
Turkish Delight-$5ish

new flavour on the menu and tasted like turkish delight. also had some bit of it inside. i quite like turkish delight, just had it in cadbury chocolate. yay for ice cream (:

Bondi Pizza
once again, went to Bondi Junction to get free pizza. there was a lot more people this time compared to last time (earlier in the year). it was pouring outside, so i guess everyone decided to do some shopping.
Peking Duck 12 inch-$26.95

it's customary for my birthday that my parents buy me duck for my birthday dinner at home (i lovee duck), but since this year i wasn't home for dinner, i didn't have my share of duck (apparently we have 2 ducks in the freezer). so decided to try the new flavour: Peking Duck! it smelt so good with their Hoi Sin glaze when they came with it the hoi sin was lighter in colour, kind of like sweet chilli but not as orange. it was really refreshing with the cucumber and coriander. i wonder what they do with the insides of the cucumber...decent bits of duck. only thing is i don't think this pizza was hot enough when it came to me (temperature wise compared to last time..) actually it's not worth $27 even if it is the most expensive flavour, since they do lunch time special of $20 any pizza plus drink. so not fully maximising my voucher...

definitely have over eaten this past month, and "cheated" multiple times with free birthday food, but i can't resist free food! uni that week wasn't as busy, but now i'm drowning in notes and readings and assignments and have yet to start studying for anything =/

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Green Velvet Cake

first time not having a birthday cake on my birthday. it's actually really hard to find a fancy cake which isn't chocolate and able to still put candles in it. hence, i chose a Zumbo Green Velvet Cake. nothing too big or fancy but with a flat surface and something a bit different. also, not supposed to have chocolate/berries etc, so apple is perfect (:

 Luscious green velvet sponge, apple gel with a hint of lime, surrounded by a silky cinnamon and sable cream cheese with notes of a fresh green apple pie

all 20 candles just fit!

those layers (:

for this price and it's weight, i think it's considered "cheap" these days. the only problem i had was that i thought the cream cheese was too thick. luckily it's not as heavy as your normal cream cheese frosting, and it takes like apple pie! the apple deco had quite a detailed stalk/leaf, and the green part was sticky to touch. it coated the white choc and inside was a puree of green apple. tasted exactly like green apple but different texture. would have liked more sponge as it has a nice apple flavour (: the inside layer of apple puree gel reminded me of the apple maple cheesecake. this layer was sour, but luckily it's there to cut through the outer cream cheese layer. still love how the flavours balance each other out (:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sweet Street by Anna Polyviou & Friends-Not Your Average Birthday

i was looking forward to this event the whole week, a lot more exciting than turning 20. so glad i spent my birthday night here (: was really worth my money, with Australia's top pastry chefs all at the one place. go to Shirley's blog (if you haven't already) for full description of what we ate (:

really loved the idea of tokens, a lot better than paying on the spot, since you've already paid for the ticket and don't have to worry about money. quite a lot of people came. i would have liked if there was more table/seating, but that's just something minor.

goodie bags-free sparkling water and Callebaut dark choc

i ended up taking home 3 bottles of sparkling water...i already have 2 bottles in my fridge from good food wine show a while ago...don't really like it, but not sure why i was bothered to take it home...

first in!

N2 Gelato and Lux Bite-Lolly Bag Burger

the "lolly bag cake" featured a Masterchef a while ago, but it was so beautiful and a memorable pressure test! i think it's pretty smart how they combined a sweets into cake into gelato. so glad we got this first up, since this line was the longest, and continued to be throughout the night. i like how they replaced the spearmint from the cake with eucalyptus, since it wasn't too minty but was very refreshing. oddly enough, the mandarin also complemented it. i would have liked a stronger musk stick flavour from the whipped cream (i really like musk sticks).  oh, i also love red skins as well, so the syringe filled redskin ganache added a fun and delicious element. quite messy to eat, but was so good (:

Lux Bite Tarts!

photo not in focus =/ these tarts were so lovely. good shortcrust pastry without having a buttery mouthful, and so many flavours in the one tart which didn't over power each other. loved the lime with meringue-sooo soft, i could eat it all day. see so many of lux bite's stuff on instagram... can't wait till they open in Sydney! i know which cake i will be getting for my next birthday! fingers crossed their melbourne menu will be similar to sydney's

eclairs from Cacao Lab

i haven't had an eclair for so long! can't remember the last tie i bought one from a patisserie, but i am so, so satisfied with these ones! please come to Sydney! the one with the syringe had alcohol in it, but i accidentally squirted it too hard, not sure if it squirted on the floor or onto the eclair itself so it stuck to the top and blended in. either way, couldn't see where the alcohol went, but the little bit of alcohol remaining was interesting to have with this lime-ish eclair.

loved this one mainly because of the novelty of it. even the chocolate inside has the texture/look of a real sausage. the peanut butter cheesecake one and chocolate with pop rocks were amazing.

finally a photo with Zumbo

i have waited a long time for this! didn't end up getting any Zumbarons since it was 1 token for 2 mcacarons. 1 token=$5.50, and normally it's $2.50 per macaron, also they looked a bit smaller than normal...but his stand sold out very quickly, i think mainly because it can be easily taken away since people are too full from everything else.

Kirsten Tibballs!

so beautiful

1 token gave us 3 chocolates, they are pretty amazing, full of chocolate flavour not sugar, and so soft inside, but retains it shape and didn't melt.

Anna Polyviou! she has so much style

she's the executive pastry chef at shangri-la, and she has had a few dessert degustations which all look amazing, but with a $100+ price tag, i would rather save up for another degustation. although dessert degustations would be to die for! 

terrine like desserts in a little glass.

i think i liked the middle one the best, it's banana flavoured which had this texture like a mix of puree and custard. the panna cotta wasn't too creamy, but i guess that's a good thing since all we've been eating was sugar. the passionfruit one i thought it tasted like yoghurt, but more refined. herbs are so refreshing!

took home these donuts since we were so full already. so glad i didn't have free san churros before since i would have been unnecessary stomach space wasted. i feel that when i get older, i can't eat as much as i used to (but still gain more weight...(

strawberry yoghurt and salted caramel popcorn Mag'Annas

strawberry one tasted like strawberry yogurt, with the chocolate on the outside not too sweet even though it was a tad thick. i loved the salted caramel popcorn, could taste the butteriness and salty caramely goodness.


this was the savoury corner, where they had roast pig and skewers with salads. this is the only thing which is made fresh on the night. i noticed that within a 15minute period, i saw 2 pigs come out from the kitchens. took the meats and salad home as well, since we were THAT full. 

they had a "cat walk" of the chefs w/ their desserts

won a kitchen aid! highlight of the night, and a birthday myself i guess, haha.

 it's a hand blender not hand mixer, but it's worth $250 so i can't complain. hand mixers are only worth $100. probably a bit more useful for me than a hand blender, but anything kitchen aid is good (: story behind this: near the end of the night they started asking people to come up for a dance off/dance with this dance crew who performed throughout the night. initially i was a bit skeptical, until they actually started bringing out the prizes! i saw about 3 boxes carried out onto stage, since there wasn't heapsss of people compared to about an hour ago, the stage still had a lot of their dance crew but not a lot of volunteers so you could be "covered", and also i do dance (and after all that thinking the prizes were still being waved in the air), i decided to go up #noshame. and yeah, just danced and then they have me one (: 

too bad uni is going to go cray next week, already behind on lectures, so no time to try it out. the first thing i thought after getting this (and reading the label on the box said blender not mixer ) was that i could make pastry! as if my Breville blender can blitz up flour and butter, it can't even blend dates properly, and can't make frozen bananas into a smooth ice cream. with this, i can achieve it! (too bad bananas are on my list of stuff i'm not supposed to eat...) i will try making short crust pastry in the holidays. found some vegan options as well (: i guess it doesn't feel as if all hope is lost in obtaining a hand mixer since this comes with a whisk attachment, so i can actually whip up egg whites quickly! (unlike my current hand mixer which overheats). possibly whisk cake mix as well. the other attachments can puree stuff and also froth milk (i guess i didn't have to buy a milk frother...but then again, this can't heat things).  it can blend smoothies as well, and blends is a lot more powerful to blend ice to a smooth consistency (unlike my current blender), but i'm not sure what's easier to wash. with these attachments, the actual blade is inside the bell guard, so you need something to scrub it, but the jug is easy to wash. i guess the blades will never be completely clean, since you actually can't reach into it to clean normal blender has just the jug to wash, but it's also hard to reach under the blades...should be fun to use (when i have time) nevertheless. now i just have to find a place to put it in the meantime. i don't understand how people with smaller kitchens than mine fit so many different appliances...

20th birthday-time well spent with dessert for dinner (:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Roaring Megs Restaurant

we really wanted to have NZ lamb, which we did at the buffet, but we wanted to have lamb cutlets. after another google search, this restaurant won an award last year for the best lamb in this region. we already had the burgers and drinks beforehand, so we asked the person is it ok to share a dish between 2, since this place is considered 'fine dining' for Queenstown. the person then gave us the option of combining two of their lamb dishes for $60. i guess business at these places are hard to come by, since it's on the 2nd level, and i think any opportunity for business, well they'll try to accommodate their customers to get business. we were still full from the burgers, and just wanted to try stuff, so even though this is the most expensive meal in terms of quantities, it's really just the experience of trying stuff here.

Confit of Lamb Shoulder with Lamb Jus & Herb Crusted 
Canterbury Lamb Cutlets, roasted and served with Gratin Potato 
and Seasonal Vegetables -$38 2013 winning dish
Herb Crusted Rack of Canterbury Lamb, roasted & served with 
Orange & Mint Sauce, Gratin Potato and Seasonal Vegetables-$48

for $60, we got both the shoulder and an extra rack of lamb, normally it's 3 but we got 6 since we were sharing, and one set of sides.

i guess it's good they only gave us one set of sides and replaced it with 3 more cutlets since we weren't really hungry but wanted to have this lamb. nz lamb is generally small, as we saw on the bus tour. loved the mint sauce as it had a slight sweetness. orange sauce balanced it out nicely. the itself was medium rare and cooked to perfection. there is a difference to australian lamb, it's just hard to describe. i have had nz lamb at home/restaurants in aus before, but it's obviously imported and not as fresh. here, the lamb farms are just about an hour or two away. the shoulders was so tender, but i would have liked more jew with it. sides were alright, but both the lamb were the highlight.

the service was really good, and it was dinner by candlelight. there weren't many people that night, but everyone ordered the lamb. we were in and out in 45mins, from discussing the ordering options, waiting for it to cook, then eating. probably the most rushed customers they've had. we shopped for too long in between the bar experience and this dinner, and then had to make it back to the  free shuttle bus, so had to rush eating, but it was still enjoyable.

Below Zero Ice Bar

bought cheaper tickets through the Book Me NZ website. came here after the burgers. first ice bar experience! now this place is cold: -5degrees. it's apparently the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere but it wasn't as big as i was hoping it to be. it has an ice fireplace, but they didn't turn it on. i think melb has one, but sydney doesn't, so i guess this was worth the money. discounted to $15 entrance, with a cocktail drink. i asked the person if i could get 2 mocktails instead of 1 cocktail, but she said no, so i whipped out my phone and showed her the email from another staff saying they could give 2 mocktails, hence that mobile data is worth the money! one drink isn't cheap, from memory, a cocktail is $10, a mocktail is $7.50

i asked how long you could stay in for, the person said "as long as you want' shortly after i understood why

it's really pretty inside. there's a few animals, ice tables/seat, Photo Booth and even air hockey!



bear friend

drinks w/ glasses made of ice

so i got a cocktail, and my mum got 2 mocktails, but we shared them between us. pro tip: drink your drinks asap. i wanted to make it last longer by having a few sips and taking photos, but you know how things freeze at 0 degrees? well, our drinks started to freeze, and so we couldn't drink the last bit/bottom of wonder why the other people in there chugged down their drinks. the person who made you the drinks left the room after, so we had the room to ourselves-more photo taking opportunities! more photos on fb, but even then, i selected only a few.

they gave you special gloves so you would also get a grip on your ice cups. at the end you could smash them (: i quite liked their jackets. it came past your butt, so when you lean against the ice, it protects your clothing. then again, the ice is solid and not melting, so you didn't have to worry about your clothes getting wet.

the room


i managed to stay in for 1 hour before it was wayyy too cold-even for my standards. my mum left a bit earlier than me, but the other people in there who were quite big/tall, they only lasted in their for 20mins. the record is 5 hours, not sure how they survived that in -5 degrees...

really fun and relaxing experience (: