Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Reflection

I was looking through my old blog posts to see if I did do an end of year reflection, and turns out I did do one for 2016, and a dodgy one in 2015, and 2014 didn't exist cause I wasn't in Aus. Didn't check past that.

I love planning and routine, so I knew straight off 2017 would be completely different. Somehow even with a relatively emptier timetable, my time was filled up. Flicking through my diary, after the first few weeks of being a couch potato end of 2016 to early 2017, I actually was quite busy.

Funny how 2017 is sort of the opposite to 2016 which went from good to bad, and this year went from bad to good. It did start off pretty bad, hence booking a spontaneous trip to Europe to 'cure my heart' at the beginning of the year, and managed booking 3 weeks worth of holidays in countries I've never visited in around 2 weeks before departing, whilst still making it a 'budget trip.' Thank goodness for some friends who are well travelled and been on exchange to give me recommendations in my limited researching time and the limited time I was there.

Highlights this year:
- Meeting my s/o
- Countries and places visited:
England, Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium, France
Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan
Tasmania (Hobart/Launceston and in between), Melbourne, Brisbane
- So many food places

I don't know how you count plane trips, does getting off the plane then back on the same plane whilst it's in transit/refuelling count as one or 2 plane trips? Hmm...might count that as 1...Or what if you're in transit and you switch to a different plane? I'll count that as 2 since changing plane companies...

If I counted correctly, 15 different plane trips, and new pb. Hope to have even more next year (goodbye money), but so many good memories so worth.

With the extra time, definitely went to a lot more food places than in previous years (around 40 ice creams I had outside of home). Still behind on blog posts for food, but that'll continue on next year. I know I won't have the time to go out to eat as often during 5th yr.

Apart from the whole feeling of people judging you but not saying it in your face directly, which I still sort of try to avoid conversations with people (apart from optoms, they understand all the struggles of studying)...this year has been a learning curve.

- I definitely learnt how to try and not be stressed. I still stress, just nowhere near as much as I used to. Learning on how to chill
- 'Fear of failure' was always (maybe is still) my biggest fear, and I wouldn't say I have 100% overcome that fear, but I know the world won't end if I do fail again, which is still possible in 5th yr.  - Life does go on, and indeed, there is more to life than just studying. Even though people told me this before, you actually don't really understand the whole process and feels until you experience it yourself.
- Actually more to life than just uni
- Worked more than I wanted to this year without really asking for extra shifts (although I did find another temporary job this year for extra money which I ended up spending anyway in my mid year trip), but also learnt more on how to say no to work
- Keeping yourself preoccupied/busy does help to take away some of the sulkiness (which is also the year I got eye bags from just sulking/crying way too much initially from all the injustice, and that is something which is irreversible...)
- Learning what a research project entails, and probs not gonna do research anytime soon. In hindsight, it was defs a good experience
- Time management and priorities. Learning how to prioritise uni work, meet ups, exercising, work etc
- Never, ever thought I would be the type of person to join a gym. It was a fun learning experience doing some of the classes. I think once uni starts next year, probs not gonna have time to go, since for me, going there is around a 15-20min drive, and it's an 'outing' in itself, time which I won't have if I have 9-6 days, then get back home at 8pm, it's too late to go...the tiny, tiny bit of muscle which I have hoped I gained (so I can carry my luggage around easily for hopefully a grad trip) would probs all be gone by then...
- Learning that time with relatives is precious, especially as they are all getting older
- Learning to be even more thoughtful
- Really learning to trust in God more, as hard as it is to believe part of His plan for me was to not pass last year. I guess part of the reason why I think why that was His plan is included throughout this post

Things on my 'list to do' when I thought I had all the free time in the world, but really ended up preoccupying myself with other stuff to do:
- Learn how to cook, or bake more
- Go hiking in Sydney + Blue Mountains
- Go running (if my cardio ever improves, which hasn't after a year)
- Swim more or get back into dancing
- Piano still remains untouched for another year
- Volunteer for more stuff
- Read more (who had time to read fiction, when you have readings to find and read for research)
- Clean, should start chucking out non sentimental stuff, but haven't had the time to touch my cupboards yet

I am hopeful for an even better 2018, although I know I'll still face another set of challenges. Mainly somehow brushing up on skills which I haven't used in over a year, and restudying everything from previous years, and trying not to worry too much about future plans.

Although I don't really know who reads my blog apart from those people who have mentioned it to me/know of it's existence, happy new year to all my readers!

Friday, December 29, 2017

🍦Elisa's Ultimate Ice Cream Guide 2017 🍨

This year has definitely been a year of #globetrottingforfood, in particular gelato and soft serves. I decided to do a compilation from all the cities I travelled to, and of course around Sydney, of all the ice creams I've consumed. Ice creams are 'stand alone' ice creams, so not included in desserts with the exception of some ice creams/soft serves (or else this post would be at least twice as long since dessert are lyf). Doesn't include samples of ice creams from food expos, freebies e.g. Ben and Jerry's free cone day, supermarket ice creams etc.

I have spent 10% of the year eating ice creams outside of home (around 40 ice creams). We also have 4 fridges at home as well which contains a good amount of ice creams, but it's just a nice special treat to have (over priced) ice creams outside your home, and the quality is usually better as well. There's just something about the height, colours and flavours a soft serve can contain which make them fun to eat and look at. 

Normally I include prices in my food posts, so I'll do my best to find them in my notes since I jot down how much things cost. Prices are in Aus $ or equivalent unless otherwise stated. Flavour of things I would have forgotten unless it's recent or I have blogged about them in previous posts. Detailed reviews of some ice creams are linked to previous blog posts or my food instagram. Also names of places I'll try to include. Photos are taken with my iPhone 7 (and 8 for photos after September). The photos are sorted chronologically and here they are-enjoy! 💜

Rhubarb caramel and blueberry ice cream straight from the cow farm-600 krona (~$7.50)

3 scoops: ice cream+sorbet-6 euros

Amorino flower gelato (multiple flavours) + macarons-6.50 euros 

Amorino flower gelato-3.50 pounds

One of the famous ice cream shops in the city, pretty good value for money-2.95 pounds 

Rivareno Gelato: pistachio and mango heera-$7

Gelato Messina: (forgot the flavours but they were that week's special), 0.5L tub-$12.80

Bathurst Maccas gave relatively 'big' soft serves (around 3.5-4 swirls) for 50c I think. Ate the ice cream in the dark in a car park so no photos...

Salamanca Markets: blueberry and cinnamon, spiced apple and blackberry

Ume Burger: Hokkaido milk soft serve 

Melon Pan: peach soft serve-300yen from memory (why is my ice cream blocking the price sign?)

Suzukien Asakusa: most bitter matcha in the world (level 8), and genmaicha

A stall on Sugamo Jizodori Shopping Street: taro soft serve

A stall on Sugamo Jizodori Shopping Street: black sesame and white sesame ice cream, sprinkled with freshly grounded white sesame powder

Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan, Omotesando summer special
The iconic watermelon soft serve served in a watermelon. First invented by Domiqnue Ansel before it took to social media and other stores have since copied this idea (although this wasn't trade marked like his Cronuts so people were allowed to copy it)-around $13

Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan, Omotesando summer special
Crème de la CornCorn soft serve served on a cob of corn-around $13

Daily Chico: 8 tier ice cream-390yen

Silkream, one of my favourite ice creams ever-515yen

Hong Kong 
Icremeria: lavender soft serve with gold foil-$108HK (~$18)


The most expensive ice cream I've ever had in my life, so this deserves a few more photos

Hong Kong
Matcha soft serve-$42HK

Modern Toilet Restaurant

Tamsui Old Street: strawberry and grape or taro 30cm soft serve-35NT (~$1.50)
Sad to say, disgusting ice creams do exist. Worst tasting ice cream I've ever had

Maokong tea house: cat soft serve with oolong and green tea-~100NT

Brick Ice, Ximen: dragonfruit and strawberry ice block-80NT

Rivareno: ricotta e fichi (ricotta + caramelised figs)-$5

LuMi Bar and Dining-review
Apple sorbet served in an apple. Tasted as real, if not better than an actual Granny Smith apple

Black Star Pastry at Smooth Chocolate Festival

Honey Creme-review
Vanilla soft serve with honey comb-$6.90
Comb with honey-$6.50

Aqua S
Avocado and Yuzu soft serve-$4.50 each

Elderflower + blueberry, honey + lavender w/ wafer flower-$4.50 each +$1.50 (flowers)

Kyo Tea House-level 8 matcha intensity ice cream (not as strong as Tokyo)

Night Noodle Markets 2017-review
Gelato Messina: Kamikaze Katsu Sandwich-$12

Night Noodle Markets 2017-review
Gelato Messina: O-no-giri-$10

Night Noodle Markets 2017-review
One Tea Lounge: Ube (taro) and matcha soft serve-$8
The soft serve which won me a $50 food voucher

Good Times Artisan Ice Cream-review
Ziggy star dustpeach iced tea, almond strawberry praline, meringue, choc white star-$10

AvoconettoAvocado ice cream, shaved dark chocolate, sweet pumpkin shortbread cream, praline, drizzled with salted caramel in a waffle cone-$6

Bay Vista (Parra)-review
Penny & Ruby: pear and rhubarb crumble ice cream, frozen yoghurt scoop and mango sorbet, fresh strawberries, mango, white chocolate crisp pearls, real ice cream 'soft serve, whipped cream, white chocolate sauce and crumble topping-$25.90 

Gelato Messina: coconut and lychee, grapefruit sorbet + special (tiramisu, hazelnut, chocolate), 0.5L tub-$12.80

Ben and Jerry's: Frozen Flakes

Macaron ice cream sandwich: taro ice cream with fruit loops and pretzel-$10.90


Here's to even more ice cream in 2018! 😋🍨

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

One Tea Lounge and Grill-Take 4

I don't often 'repeat' restaurants, but this place is probably one of the exceptions. Finally won a food competition thanks to this photo from Night Noodle Markets (NNM) earlier this year, so decided to use the $50 voucher to try the new summer menu. It was also an excuse to over order and to try some things I never got around to trying at the NNM earlier this year and previous years. I've tried most of the things that always stay on the menu despite the season, It was quite quiet for a Thursday night, unlike when I came on a Monday night in August when they had the matcha ramen special. Love how they include lots of photos for some items on the menu.


Salmon Tataki: lightly seared salmon with matcha yuzu-$12

Salmon was seared well and fresh. The matcha and yuzu both could be stronger, but you can taste more of the yuzu than matcha. Still a nice combo of flavours on salmon.

Peking duck fries w/ waffle fries: shredded duck with housemade spicy hoisin sauce and fried shallots-$18

I've always wanted to try these at NNM, but I hardly every order fries as a side, so would feel bad ordering it, but since I had a voucher, can justify ordering this. Duck is my fav protein, and love the combo of using peking duck as a topping. The amount of duck was decent and also included some skin in. The waffle fries were nice and potatoey, but a tad oily. The sauce did have a nice kick of chilli but it was bearable. Wished there were more shallots to help try to lighten this dish.

matcha coconut chicken: tender chicken thigh with matcha coconut cream served in a brioche toast box with grilled vegetables & matcha rice-$29

curry in a toast box!

It's a very Taiwanese thing to have a toast box, then they cut up the inside and fill it with the cut up bits of bread, but normally its sweet. First time having matcha curry inside a brioche toast box. It was a nice amount of matcha and creaminess from the coconut in the curry and chicken was cooked well. Wish they gave a bigger portion of rice and veggies though. The matcha rice had a sort of seaweed flavour to it, those people who don't like matcha because of that weird flavour would understand. I guess I didn't mind having that different matcha/seaweed flavour in the rice since it helped contrast a bit to the matcha coconut curry.

dessert spread

Matcha heaven on fire-$23

Our most popular creative dessert show as you watch the orange liqueur burn the candy floss heaven to reveal a beautiful matcha terrarium filled with matcha castella cake, caramel walnut, meringue & red bean azuki mousse

She lit the orange liqueur to pour over the fairy floss, then melted it more with the blow torch to reveal the inside


Yes, you are paying for the theatre of the dessert. The matcha cake inside wasn't too strong, but the matcha sauce was quite intense with a bit of orange liqueur in it to make the dessert more matcha-y. Could also dip the fruits in the sauce as well. I did find the candied walnut s way too sweet, and there were heaps of it so couldn't finish it all. The red bean mousse had a slight nutty flavour in it which was interesting. You can't actually eat the fairy floss since it just melts and sticks to the table/plate.

Matcha hokkaido cheesecake: a perfect balance of texture & taste with the famous creamy hokkaido cheesecake paired with matcha along with candied candied lemon, berries & cream-$16

Love the creaminess and cheesiness from this cheesecake, whilst still being light. Still struggled to finish it since we did order 6 things between two...Good balance of matcha in this cheesecake, and the fruits also helped cut come creaminess. 

Cookie shots: delicious crunchy cookie shots with a hot creamy beverage


inside after I added some matcha liqueur 


matcha and red velvet with matcha latte

I have to admit, this is a copy of Dominique Ansel's cookie shots, who had a chocolate cookie in the form of a shot class, and filled with vanilla infused milk. His cookie shots are more refined with a thinner pastry all around and coated with choc inside. These ones have a relatively thick cookie base and wall, so the actual volume inside inside that big, and filled each 'shot glass' around 3-4 times with the match latte which I found was quite weak and more towards the milky side. The flavours in the cookies were a bit too sweet afterwards since they're coated with white choc inside to prevent the hot beverage to melt or seep through to the cookie. The red velvet sort of tasted like it, but again the white choc flavour was more prominent. It's still decent for Sydney standards.

Love the inventiveness of the food here with a bit of theatre. If you love matcha, then this is the place for you.

One Tea Lounge and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato