Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Biscuit Factory (Camperdown, Sydney)

I've long wanted to blog about this but never got round to downloading the photos from my phone till now.
I love how Sydney does quite a good job of refurbishing old buildings, usually disused breweries, factories, warehouses, hospitals, wool stores etc into apartment buildings. They seem to have got the knack of retaining the integrity of the old architecture while modifying it to suit modern residential purposes.
We saw this development called the Biscuit Factory, aptly named as it was the refurbished Weston Biscuit fatory which had closed down in 2004.
The biscuit mould was retained near where they had set up a cafe, and I thought it was really cool. I don't think Weston biscuits were particularly tasty from memory, but the memory (even an imaginary one) of an old biscuit factory now turned into a residence, is so full of poetry.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Uncomplicated Fun

Some days you just come across something totally unexpected. Like someone putting detergent into a public fountain and causing a big foam bath and a load of fun for kids and some erm, older kids. The surprise that confronts everyone, quickly turns into glee when the potential fun one could have with the situation kicks in. Everyone starts mucking around, something really simple could bring out the child in all of us. We can have so much fun from something so uncomplicated.

I love it.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Last 24 Hours In Sydney

My second last day in Sydney was a beautiful sunny day. I took a break from work in the afternoon and decided to go for a quick bush walk down to the miniature waterfall near us as I would probably never have the chance to do it despite all my good intentions of exploring the area earlier on. In my 6 months of freedom, I should have found my way there but somehow just didn't. I did not want to have any regrets before I left so I wandered off into the bush.

The little track next to an apartment block led me down into the bush. I hesitated a little, morbid thoughts of being strangled just before I left Sydney briefly crossed my mind, and how people remembering me would say with a sigh, "Poor thing, just when she was just going to move back to Singapore... if only she didn't go off by herself into the bush." I banished those horrible thoughts and walked down further and soon came to a little narrow bridge. I could see the waterfall from there but it was quite dry that day, I veered to the other direction and carried on walking.

Lo and behold, I came upon this...

This was actually also a short cut to Primrose Park, shaving off at least 15 minutes. I completely didn't realise it because my sense of direction is so bad, I didn't connect the dots as to where the park was actually situated.

Primrose Park is interesting because it used to be a horrible sewerage site many, many years ago and in the recent years, was turned into a park. It is now lush and green (probably fertile from the crap that used to be there) and the size of a few football pitches. People walk their dogs, toss balls around and play cricket ther.

I walked the length of it towards the water and then did a bit of yoga before making my way home. Home for the next 24 hours before I return to my hometown.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 04, 2010

Celebrating 51 Weeks

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary exactly on the 51st week, a week in advance as I would be in Singapore by the next weekend. The first year has been a whirlwind of changes, changes and more changes. It has been a period of adjustment and learning how to handle and negotiate with each other, understand and complement each other.

And so we celebrate that milestone with a Japanese-fusion degustation dinner at Waqu. It did not disappoint. The understated Japanese ambience played with light and dark, the serving staff were generally good (apart from the 1 girl who served us a couple of times, she was a bit DUH) and I love how they all look so Japanese-designerish cool in their dark uniforms and hip, sleek hair.

The food was delicate, delicious and beautifully presented, as you would expect from a Japanese fine dining restaurant (or even non-fine dining, the Japanese are a tough act to follow in the area of presentation). I loved every single course we had.

The starter was a quartet and so unusual - there was a soft shell crab taco, a potato soup with sago pearls in a shooter glass, a bicoloured cake of some green and orange veggie which I have since forgotten and a little skewer of a duck sliver on half a cherry tomato. It was fabulous, I love every single item here and the colours were just so pretty.

The entree was cold soba noodles with crab meat and feta cheese. You had to mix it all up before you eat. It was definitely fusion-y and was quite good, kinda like an Eastern pasta I guess.

Being the meat-eater I am, I picked the beef with miso (in the cube form). The beef was excellent although the miso didn't do anything for me. G picked the fish entree which was also yummy and it came with some appetising pickles and a deep-fried tempura zucchini flower.

For the main course, once again, I went for the meat- a slow-cooked lamb which was so tender, for a while I forgot it was lamb and thought it was beef. The foam was a nice aesthetic touch but didn't have much flavour. G had the seafood main which was a fish fillet which was really tasty, a couple of clams in white wine sauce (yummy) and a baby octopus which was too small for him to give me a taste.

Dessert was heavenly. It was a trio garnished with Orchid petals which G polished off, I ate 1 only and it was crunchy. I remembered the concubine in the "Empire of the Sun" eating Orchids as they were edible so I pronounced them to be so and G promptly ate them. The panna cotta with a jelly top was to die for, the vanilla ice-cream on a bed of crushed nuts and a dollop of honey on it was of high quality (even though I was a little disappointed when the waitress told us at the beginning that the green tea gelato was unavailable and they were substituting with the vanilla ice-cream) and the last item was a foamy dollop of something yummy and brown which I have now forgotten what it actually was!

But all in, it was a lovely meal and we were glad we finally paid them a visit before we leave Sydney. More good years, more good meals.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, January 02, 2010

So Long, Farewell, See You Later

The second day of 2010 was when I formally say goodbye to some dear friends I've made in the 4 years I've lived in Sydney. Some were work mates who I call friends, some were G's friends who I call my friends now, some were actually originally my friends. Whatever their source, I am glad they came, most of them across the Bridge, overcoming that huge psychological barrier (although we are 5 minutes from the city north only) to come say see ya later.

We started off at 4 pm with drinks and some nibbles at Wild Sage, a cafe/bar/restaurant at Cammeray. It was a good venue, large enough for our group of about 20 or so, air conditioned (oh so very important in the recent humidity) and child-friendly as we had 3 kids under the age of 3 and a baby. We had the indoor space practically to ourselves till around 6 pm when the dinner crowd started trickling in and we moved outside where the temperature has cooled down and the humidity gone.

At 7.30 or so, hunger pangs reminded us it was time for dinner and 6 of us decided to try to get a table at Papaya Thai, a great restaurant with some lovely Moulin Rouge-looking chandeliers and cane nest-like hanging lights. It was packed but after a short wait, we had a table.

Even though the place was packed to the rafters and the kitchen was a hive of crazy activity, they were super-efficient and we got served our lovely food quicly. It was all good and was a lovely end to a great farewell do.

Satiated in more ways than one, I bid the lovely people adieu. This is not so much a full stop, but a comma. Just a breather. Watch this space, I'm sure I'll be back!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 01, 2010

NYE Fireworks

My last New Year's Eve in Sydney (at least for a while) - so I insisted that we have to watch the world-famous fireworks live. Now that we live on the Lower North Shore, there were places with great vantage points to see the fireworks from the Bridge and the various barges strategically placed around the Harbour. Of course being the oldies we are, we targetted the 9 pm "Children's Fireworks" rather than the actual midnight one which we would catch on TV if we were still awake at that point. We were merely observing precedents where we actually nodded off in front of the TV before the witching hour a couple of past New Year's Eves.

So I decided that we would walk to the Kurraba Road Ferry Wharf, a 35-minute walk from our home and observe the fireworks there. Upon arrival just before 8 pm, we found the wharf to be deserted, much to our surprise. We thought it would be full of revellers by that time. Instead most of the crowd had gone further down the road to the Reserve and were sitting on the grass, feeding the mozzies. We staked out our prime location on the bench closest to where the action would be. How civilised - we had ring-side seats, it was windy, there were no mozzies. I even had a flask of lemonade and Cointreau and a box of raisins and almonds.

We had an hour or so to kill and watched the sunset light up the North Sydney CBD. Some other like-minded people started coming down to the wharf as the 9 pm hour crept closer.

The first blast rang out at 9 pm and burst into a scarlet shower. We had a perfect view of one of the barges and the Bridge. One can never get enough of seeing live fireworks I think. I am glad I had my first and last NYE fireworks experience in Sydney.

Labels: ,