Friday, August 28, 2015

Party-Behind the Scenes

so just before i post about the actual night...needed to just get this out...

i originally wasn't going to hold a 21st, and was just going to save it up for travelling. events like this isn't cheap, i'll just say a few thousands...but since some of my relatives were going to come over, i decided to hold one anyway for the memories :)

i've always wanted to hold something at The Grounds because i love their food and atmosphere (although i'm told the food there isn't as great anymore). however, that was way out of my budget, at least $10k for the indoor one, and at min $20k for outdoor exclusive hire. the outdoor daytime patio was reasonably priced, but a pax of 30. well, they are currently renovating so that location wasn't an option.

also wanted a place with decent food. i wanted people not feel bad for having to pay for present/cake/dinner, rather just have a good time. didn't want a kind of dinner w/ cheaper asian food...wanted a canapé style event, but not too fancy and more on the small side.

emailed/researched a few other places, and each place was so, so expensive. around $100pp. nice weddings these days cost $200pp, decent $150, and ok/cheap are about $100, but i wasn't going to spend that much when i wasn't even planning to hold an event in the first place.

so finally i settled on Haven Cafe. again, they charge for pp.

deciding who to invite would always be tricky because i don't have many friends, but once you invite friends you sometimes only talk to, then you have to invite everyone. i wasn't going to invite church people, but ended up inviting some. also, some people commented about how there were no guys invited lel. i have no guy friends #foreveralone. no but if i just invite 1/2, it'll be awkward for them (apart from those plus ones), so then i would have had to invite a whole bunch, and the number of people would just blow my budget since in terms of family/relo there are at least 10 of even though some invited me before, i couldn't invite them back ):

which brings me to the main rant. invited people even though they didn't invite me to their 21st. then other's who didn't hold a 21st yet i still invited them. then 2 hours before the event, they're like 'oh, dad's coming back from overseas, soz can't come' or 'something came up tonight-can't come'. whatttttt. as if you didn't know your dad was coming back that date. why did you tell me you're coming then not come. the place is charging me pp. then there was someone who had a reasonable issue the night before, and someone who really wanted to come but bf's mum got sick...but those other last minute ones...really shows how even Christians can be 'two-faced'. does stuff at church, but then don't have the common courtesy to even give advanced notice, or doesn't want to come so they don't have to bring a gift. like you went on a month trip to europe and gave gifts to other people in front of me without acknowledging me

even those who came empty handed...yeah, i did risk asking people for a monetary gift for something in a few months...but even if you didn't contribute, at least a card would be nice. sometime there parents may feel that we owe them something 10yrs ago and they feel that no giving something back repays it. yes, church/some people are complicated. ended up having 5 people i counted for not coming...which is almost the equivalent amount of my birthday cake wasted...hence the extra if i had known those 2 people (whom i've known since i was a toddler) never had the intention of coming, then i could have invited more guys...

only invited them since mum told me to...but i regret not inviting others, which now post-event, people are holding a grudge on you since you didn't invite them even though we kind of talk, or i've asked them for favours before, and people secretly hate on you for not inviting them...

yes, that's one of the main reason why i didn't want to hold an event apart from the money side, people distancing them from you if you didn't invite them. 

i should have been like another friend who boldly stated that the place is charging pp, so click if you're going (or else i feel that if you don't go, you'll have to pay up)

but i'm thankful that i still have friends that i can rely on (and don't judge me if i ask for stuff)

sorry, that was bubbling inside my head for the past 2 weeks (along with diseases).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

to say today's exam as hard is an understatement.

completely bombed out on it, even though i did all the readings/online lectures. going to get less than 20% this time, since i literally guessed every single question (and i have bad guessing skills). the rare questions which sounded familiar but you're left w/ 2 options and end up guessing on the 'easier' questions. not even enough time to read/analyse the graphs/results in questions within the 1min per mark. asking us to read the question, write 4 diagnosis within one min, even if i knew them, i wouldn't be able to write that in 1 min let along read the question within a min.

gg. if i don't improve in the next module test (which clashes with another 40% mid sem) going to actually fail diseases. last sem failed mid sem but was able to scrape finals. this sem failed the first one, going to continue to fail the other exams, and no way i can just scrape finals to get even a pass mark in the end. if i fail, going to book a ticket straight overseas. yolo work.

as a friend mentioned, disease is so self-centred. it's so true. everything is always about diseases, all our time is dedicated both at uni and at home, yet we still can't manage to pass. all the other subjects have not been touched...

my heart is hearing from diseases. how to even get over 50%? ))))))))):

here is a photo of cake to break the disease rant.

Black Star Pastry Watermelon and Strawberries cake for friend's birthday (and as a pick-me-up from post disease exam depression)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

fortnightly going-to-die from diseases post.

when almost half the cohort failed the first exam (and stuff at the beginning of sem is supposed to be easier), then you know tmr is going to be even worse. and when the group quiz averages dropped, then the individual tests tmr is going to be so bad. how to remember everything? ))))): the only reason why i didn't get the lowest mark last time was because some people didn't turn up to the exam. but have another feeling going to fail this week's one as well D= even though they're not worth much, all together they're still worth a substantial amount...

last sem diseases was all route learning. this sem you have to find your own stuff to remember/ sounds beneficial in the long run, but right now i feel like we're all drowning...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Yum Cha at Crystal Seafood

The previous yum cha here in Carlingford Court lasted for pretty long (compared to the one in Carlingford Village which has had quite a few name/owner changes), and was quite decent.

Came here earlier in the year to try it out after my mum said they finally built a new lift rather than elderly people walking up stairs to get to the main floor on the 2nd level.

Excuse the snap chat with randoms...

dim sum :)

more foood

Straight up I would say it's below average, worse than the previous owners. Even though the new black theme decor makes it look classy, the food isn't that great. On a Saturday lunch, there was hardly any variety, and the things which came out kept on going round and round. No new stuff. We asked for things to be ordered, but waited so long since it never came. This place is pretty price as well. For 5 people it cost well over $100, and we weren't super full. The quality wasn't that good, like the har gaos had quite a thick skin and prawns weren't big, plump or juicy. 

Service was pretty bad. Asking a guy to refill the water for our tea, and he's like, 'refill in this one?' Well obviously, what else is there to refill? Only this tea pot already had the lid taken off and placed at the edge of the table, what other tea pot is there? Also, the others wanted some chilli sauce, but had to ask the guy literally 4 times for it. It felt like he didn't even want to work there.

No more decent and cheap yum cha around me anymore ):

(Posting things which have been in my draft for well over a month. Too much food posts for August, probs have to wait till mid sem break)

Click to add a blog post for Crystal Seafood  Restaurant on Zomato

Thursday, August 20, 2015

KitKat Studio

Didn't go on the opening night, but went this week around 2.30ish to avoid the lines at Westfield Sydney. They're here till the end of the month. Still had to wait about 30mins. These are one of those things which are mainly for novelty. The special flavours sold out early in the morning.


production line

personalised packaging (:

top: dark choc w/ dried mango, hazelnuts and salted caramel popcorn
bottom: dark choc w/ rose petals, almonds and salted caramel popcorn
8 kit kats for $9


I thought they would be the small kit lat size, but it was actually quite a long stick of kit lat, a lot longer than the mini ones/normal ones in shops/Japanese ones.

I was going to get caramelised meringues, but realised my flavour combination was too similar to the Design you own Magnum a while ago, so decided to have some nuts for some texture. Love the rose petals with the colour and fragrance. Salted caramel in the popcorn was very subtle. Tried the other chocolate, and the dried mango was very subtle. There were also quite a few designs that you could choose for the packaging, tried to avoid the boring red ones. You then choose the description of Kit Kats and type in a name. Overall, although I'm not a chocolate fan, still not too excessively expensive, and it's a one off just for fun (:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sushi Hotaru

The only day where I end uni early is Fridays, and with relatives over, it was the perfect timing to go out for sushi train and catch up with my cousin and uncle. I've walked past this place in The Galeries countless times, but never actually had anything from there. It used to be $2 a plate, last Friday when we went was the last day for $3 a plate. From 15th Aug it's $3.30.

Everything is so fresh and made to order, if you're ordering off the iPad. The stuff on the conveyor belt is also freshly made. The belt at the far end stopped at around 1.30pm, so we just ordered off the iPad. Here's some snap shots of some of the food, and some highlights.

Sushi train! Haven't been in over a year. Too expensive in Aus, last time was in HK. This place is actually pretty cheap

Hand rolls are also $3 each. Soft sill crab at the back :)

Depp fried crumbed oyster with some aioli (I think). Oyster was so creamy and melted in your mouth, and still piping hot inside.

green tea late w/ red bean ice cream, green tea latte, black sesame latte-$5.50

Pretty decent latte, would have preferred it to be a bit milkier. The ice cream was super hard, so don't try to scoop it once the drink arrives...

eating action shot hehe.

My favourites from there were the seared scallops which were ever so plump, seared salmon which just had so much flavour in that tiny strip. Also the eel with cream cheese hand roll-the right amount of creaminess, and we all ended our eating adventures with that since the cream cheese was super filling.

24 plates

So we did spend more than the average lunch price, total of around $88.50, but we were crazily full, and hardly had any dinner that night. We actually didn't have any of the normal sushi...Definitely recommend for a quick and fresh Jap fix :)

Click to add a blog post for Sushi Hotaru on Zomato

Monday, August 17, 2015

Elisa's 21st

thanks for coming everyone! hope you enjoyed the night with delicious food :)

i was originally not going to hold a party just to save my travel money, but money is earned to be spent and memories are to be made. i've had a party for most of the 'important' stages in life, or parties just for fun, and with relatives over, I guess it was a good decision, and one that i don't regret.

organising everything from the start to finish, to arranging cakes, decorations (thanks Dandelion and Happy Apple), spending hours packing party bags, games, extra presents-it was pretty much a solo effect and if i say so myself, it went alright. didn't bother to really make the place fancy, couldn't take photos myself or photos of food (relying on you guys!) and no time to arrange music, and definitely some stuff could be changed, but not bad for a first attempt. one event (apart from a wedding) is stressful enough to organise by yourself, in between studying for exams, uni work etc. it was fun, but i now understand why event planners exist.

have not done any uni work since my birthday las thursday, so I am actually ~10 hours behind in uni, and no idea how i'm going to catch up...

counted at least 4 other 21st parties that night. yay most people could make it.

photos and proper post soon (hopefully), after i catch up on stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


can't believe i'm 21 already. people ask me how i feel...old actually. after 21 you don't really reveal your age anymore lol.

skipped a lecture yday and this morning to study for diseases. a test every fortnight means it's likely your birthday will coincide with an exam. it was actually super hard. there were 4 exam options/papers, so the lecturer placed diff papers next to you, in front and behind you. he was like, even if you had your phone on you and wanted to look something up, you won't have time. dayum. 1 min per question, and some questions were longer than this paragraph, so took you almost minute to read let alone think about it. it was so, so hard ): i'll study harder for the next one in two weeks...really need to study in groups for diseases, at least 5 hours online videos, and another 5 contact hours doing exams/case presentations and testing us on that material, on top of other online quizzes at home and readings. no way you can do all the readings/study everything before the 2nd weekly test on top of the other 3 subjects. maybe it'll be doable with 2, but you defs won't have enough time on your own...

anyways, enough about diseases. so screwed even in wk 3.

i was actually super surprised my optom crew organised a cake even though we had an exam today. black star is still in the opposite direction to uni. first time having a slice from an actual cake (rather than slice). 
iconic strawberry and watermelon cake

yumm. an all time favourite. thank you! loved the vibrant colours in the winter sun (:

massive feast back at home. super big pizza, lamb cutlets, duck, salmon, prawns, scallops which mum opened herself (!), asian stuff-mushrooms, dried scallops, sea cucumber, veggies. definitely over ate...

Zumbo V8 Vanilla Cake


Layers: Vanilla chantilly, Toasted vanilla brûlée, Vanilla water gel, Vanilla macaron, Vanilla almond, crunch, Vanilla dacquoise, Vanilla ganache, Vanilla glaze

look at that gel!

I've wanted to try this cake for a long time, even before it featured on Masterchef 2010. The original one was chocolate (I think). this cake comes and goes, and finally it landed back in winter in time for my birthday! so many layers, so delicious. a bit on the sweet side, but the gel and the crunch helped the balanced the flavour. Was in a rush so didn't make a clean cut of the layers. yummm. yay for leftovers.

Birthday celebrations to continue!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cloud 9 Chocolate Cafe

After the pies, I suggested to go across the road for some dessert. I've seen this place online before, and decided to make the most of my time on this side of town.

This place is known for their 'Gelato Sliders'-gelato drizzled with chocolate sandwiched between cookies/banana bread/brownie. Again, there was a place I really wanted to try in NYC which had something like this, but I didn't have time ):

Gelato made on premises. The lady was spur nice, saying we could try as many flavours as we wanted to. 


Gelato Slider!

Macadamia crunch with caramel swirl gelato, vanilla choc chip and maple pecan cookie, dark choc sauce-$7

Most of the gelato flavours weren't super exciting like Messina. The gelato here was very smooth, but melted quicker than other places even though it was coldish that night. There were bits of the nut within the gelato and no too sweet. Another interesting flavour was donut w/ choc chip, but wanted to avoid choc ice cream...The strawberry cheesecake tasted a ting bit like artificial strawberries. I found the cookies very sweet once you have a bite of everything together. Picked 2 cookie flavours so they didn't sandwich properly...Once you cut it in half, it's even more difficult to eat, but they have serviettes/wet tissues there since they know it's going to be a bit messy. The cookies were actually hard once, so it gave structure to the slider, but it's hard to bite into it without squishing the gelato inside...

It's not on the cheap side, but it's one of those things where you try once for the novelty of it (:

Click to add a blog post for Cloud 9 Chocolate Cafe on Zomato

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

the disease lecturers are actually very efficient. group exams yday, marked and given back today, as well as reviewing our answers to our online quizzes. not sure how i'm going to pass on thurs...with no notes and only by myself...diseases is quite interesting, lots of effort and quite confusing, but hopefully rewarding. my group has yet to be picked-thank you random number generator. 19 groups, so had around 14 groups have been picked. most likely will have to present the next fortnight...

relatives here are distracting and exciting (:

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Pie Tin

I've actually been wanting to go to this place since 1st yr uni, so I was super excited to go with Happy Apple for a long overdue catch up :) So lovely seeing you! Newtown is quite a trek from UNSW. Well not really, but in peak traffic a bus ride takes over 30min, and it's quite a detour compared to Surry Hills/Darlinghurst where all the buses normally pass through back to the CBD.

savoury pies

noo, I thought I uploaded the sweet pies onto my blog and then deleted it off my phone since my phone is constantly running on only 100mb of space, but obviously I didn't upload it ):
'insert dessert pie photo'

dessert pie cabinet is on the left, but too far to see here ):

There were a lot of chocolate options to choose from, but they didn't have the infamous apple pie, so we opted for something still a little bit different yet not too decadent. Savoury pies range from $6.90-$8.90, sweet from $7.90-$8.90 (except for the apple one)

Look at that cute pie tin number!
Lemon brûlée tart-$8.90, sweet roasted duck with cointreau & seasonal vegetables-$8.90

Thanks Happy Apple for the pies! Decided to get the duck pie since I've never had duck in a pie before. Tbh, I think the Pie Tin is overhyped. The pies were not, but not spectacular, and unfortunately I have to say, I've had better. It's still really good, just not amazing like everyone has said. If Manu from MKR was eating this, he'll be like 'where's the sauce?' The duck reminded me of shredded pork, it was a bit on the dry side, and without much sauce in the pie, it lacked some flavour. Wasn't as sweet as I hoped it would be, but it was very lean and the serving inside was decent. Seasonal veggies included carrots, onions and other stuff...

The pastry is just normal 'healthier' pastry, but if you have a pie, you might as well go all out on the buttery/fattiness. The pastry wasn't really flaky like puff pastry or really buttery either. 

Didn't feel like something too heavy, and around half of the pies that night were chocolate based =/ Chose the lemon brûlée pie since I've had brûlée tarts before, but not in pie form. The shortcrust pastry particularly the edge was a bit hard, quite hard to just cut it with your spark (they don't have knives). Again, the pastry was more plain in terms of butteriness. I know butter is bad, but sometimes a tad bit more does make something taste better...Loved the kind of crunchy-ish top which was blow torched. There was a sweet custard which was balanced well with the lemon flavour and wasn't too acidic.

take away :)

slow roasted shredded pork with apple & bbq sauce-$8.90


This pie looked and was a bit on the dry side. Again, I would have preferred more sauce. Apple always goes well with pork, but would have preferred more. It was generally nice but not spectacular.

I just really want to try the apple pie if I come back next time...

Click to add a blog post for The Pie Tin on Zomato

Saturday, August 8, 2015

too happy from eating->can't study. too excited about food->can't study. relatives over->can't study.

these weekly quizzes and fortnightly tests plus self study is not looking good already after wk 2.

need to up my study routine. already behind =/

after next week, going to try promise to myself to not go out to eat anymore

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vudu Larder and Aggy's Shack

This post has been sitting in my drafts for over a year now, but I guess it's time to start clearing out my draft folder.

Went to Queenstown, New Zealand in last year's winter break as a spontaneous trip overseas. Made the most of our last day there by doing more site seeing and looking around the local shops.

Visited Vudu Larder for drinks in the morning. From memory, it was quite packed even in the morning. Food looked great but I had another place in mind for food, price probably a bit more towards the higher end of an average brunch. I guess there's a positive to taking photos of everything since if you asked me how much/what I had, I wouldn't have remembered (unless it's like desserts I know my prices pretty well)

Remarkable Berry: blueberry, mint, apple, raspberry-$8NZ
cappuccino: $4NZ (from memory)

Now that the Aussie dollar is lower, these stuff isn't that cheap. The smoothie was really refreshing, and could taste the fresh ingredients :)

Before going overseas for holidays, I normally do my research which also includes food. Heard that Aggy's shack was a locals favourite even though it is kind of like a shack, small, and limited outdoor seating, but it was so, so delicious!

Fish and chips: 1 fillet, fries, lemon, cream tartare-$12NZ
1/2 Mutton Bird, fries, tomato sauce-$15

They prefer to call it fries here...The fish was nice and soft inside with a crispy batter. It was nice, but not amazing. The mutton bird is amazing! It kind of tastes like fish but in chicken form. Apparently Mutton birds are only harvested in April/May by Maori people and is quite traditional in Maori culture/heritage. You would think deep frying a bird would dry it out, but this bird has some fat, so it retained the moistness and juiciness. The tomato sauce help cut out some of that 'fishy' taste. I don't mind that fishy taste, just some people may dislike it so there is sauce there in case. Heaps of chips and quite a large serving in general even though they look small. There are extra condiments on the tables. Loved eating this with a super amazing backdrop of mountains. Too bad it's closed now to make way for residential apartments ):

Click to add a blog post for Vudu Cafe & Larder on Zomato 

  Click to add a blog post for Aggy's Shack on Zomato

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously

Love how convenient this place is! Literally cross the road from Central Station, Devonshire street exit and there you are! Even closer than Devon.

This is a relatively new cafe which opened earlier this year. The co-owner is from HK and decided to venture out to Syd for more brunch style cafe options here, since HK real estate is even more expensive, and I feel that it's harder to profit from this style of cafe in HK. Like when I went back last year, a good quality cup of coffee I had at a cafe was $10aud. It was pretty average, and only tourist like me who search for HK's best would pay for that stuff, but the average HK person would just get cheap eats from their local HK style cafe for about 1/5 of that price...

Super spacious cafe with good lighting. 

drinks: cappuccino with more sweetness and aroma-$3.50
chai latte-$4

What's special about this cafe is that you can tailor your coffee. For the capp, we asked for more sweetness and aroma. I was actually kind of sick that day, so kind of had a blocked nose...but according to my mum it did have more aroma. I think all their coffees come with some currants. The chai latte unfortunately didn't have enough spice to it. Apparently it's naturally sweetened with honey, but I prefer it to have more spice. This one was quite small for the price you pay, and more on the milky side. It's cute how it comes with a description of the type of chai they use.

late lunch spread

Soba Noodles in miso, earl grey and lavender broth, with baby bok choy, soy seared mushrooms and balck sesame-$16.50


broth poured once it arrives on your table

It probably smelt really nice, but being sick couldn't really smell the lavender...It tasted quite different, but I think it worked. It's either you like it or you don't. This dish felt super healthy! Loved the generous serving of juicy mushrooms, and quite a decent serving size even though it doesn't look like it. Tea was also subtle, would have preferred more aroma, but it was still delicious.

Braised lamb shoulder w/ mint, feta, quinoa and pickled cabbage salad-$18.50

Since we ordered a vegetarian dish, decided to go with a meaty dish (sorry for the over-exposed photo). The lamb was quite fatty, not fully braised and had to cut visible pieces of fat off since the texture of fat in your mouth if not rendered down properly is quite gross. The lamb was a tad charred in some places, but the other flavours with the mint to make it refreshing worked well. 

Cake testing time!

Masfagato: 73% dark choc brownie w/ frozen mascarpone and a shot of house blend espresso-$13

Super interesting concept. Lovely presentation for something as simple as a brownie, but it's in a slanted glass (which kind of make eating it difficult unless you held onto the glass to prevent it from slipping). The brownie itself definitely has a hit of dark choc and not much sweetness. The coffee enriched the chocolate flavour. The frozen marscarpone reminded me of icy ice cream, helped to give a creamy element to the dessert without being overly creamy/rich.

Berry Vanilla Custard Cake-$5.50

The custard is blended/mixed into the cake sponge, and not like a 'magic cake where it's a layer of sponge and separate layer of custard. It's dense when you cut into it but not too heavy when you eat it. This cake had minimal sweetness.

Both desserts were on the house. Going to be back here very soon! Will defs keep you guys posted! :)

Click to add a blog post for Haven on Zomato