Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reflections

Life has been both a little slow and a little exciting recently. I've been immersing myself in creating, reading, and just taking in the world, bit by bit. There is so much in life to discover, to learn, to reflect on. Some recent thoughts:

#1: Waking up early

For a very, very long time I had a lot of trouble getting out of bed in the morning, especially for work. It didn't matter what time I slept, whenever I woke up I would be extremely tired, and then I would set my alarm for 10 minutes' time, then another 10 minutes, and then another 10 minutes after which I would practically have to drag myself out of bed. And so this snooze and fatigue cycle continued for months on end.

Since I've returned from the Gold Coast, I've decided to try waking up early. I set my alarm for an hour earlier than required, and tell myself to get up no matter what. Surprisingly, it was so easy to fall into this good habit. The trick is to look forward to a good breakfast! During my extra hour, I have a lazy but substantial breakfast, sip on a cup of tea, read all the updates on the Internet and even have a little bit of time to do a quick tidy up around the house.

It feels so good not having to rush. Now I realise what a difference a good morning start makes for the rest of the day.

#2: Good things come to those who take action

I recently read this spin on the good old saying, 'Good things come to those who wait' and I thought nothing could be truer. Often we spend so much time envying other people and wishing this and wishing that, but nothing will ever come of it if that's all we do.  Of course, it would be silly to be hasty or irrational about things that out of our control, but if it is within our control, take that step now. Nothing will change if we don't do things differently.

#3: Nature

It's that time of the year again where the days are short and the sun sets just as I finish work. Everyday during my ride home, I get lost within those watercolour skies for at least a few moments. I'm hanging out for the day when I will get off my lazy butt and go for a hike during sunset in winter. I think I would feel so insignificant, and so mesmerised by the beauty of this world.

#4: I could just keep on travelling

I don't think I've ever talked about my resolutions for this year, but one of them was to go to one new place each month. It could be within Victoria, or interstate or overseas. I thought I would get sick of travelling after the big trip to Europe, or at least be somewhat uncomfortable from being in and out of home so much. But no, each time I return, I look back on the photos, relish in the good times, and then immediately plan the next. Everyday I'm on the hunt for more national parks and towns and shops I can explore.

#5: Follow your heart

A few days ago, a university student asked me for the best advice I could give her in regards to university life in general. Without a moment's hesitation, I said, "Do what you want to do. Follow your heart." Why did I say that? I don't know. Maybe I should heed my own advice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gold Coast

I've been on a little bit of a holiday spree this year. Last weekend, hubby and I made a spontaneous trip to Gold Coast for a short getaway. It was a last minute decision, the idea, the flights, the accommodation and the itinerary were done just a week before.

It was an amazing three days. Theme parks, morning ocean views, two dinners in one night, hiking in the rainforest, long walks along the beach, it was bliss. We didn't do and stay anywhere fancy, but it was perfect. We did what we wanted, ate whatever we liked, slept whenever we felt like it. 

By the end of the trip, I couldn't believe that three days could pass by so quickly but I feel rejuvenated. We've decided to return in the near future and stay for longer, and also hire a car so that we can explore national parks that are located further out. Having said that, we found the public transport in Gold Coast so easy and convenient. Most services were frequent and generally on time (what a difference from Melbourne!). 

There are so many more suburbs and parks I want to explore, in particular Springbook National Park and Lamington National Park for the waterfalls and glow worms, and maybe Harbour Town Outlet when I'm more in a shopping mood!

A breakdown of our trip:

Accommodation: Ocean Pacific Resort, Broadbeach

Day 1:
  • Bavarian Bier Café, Broadbeach
  • Movie World
  • Food Fantasy, Jupiters Casino

Day 2:
  • Carrara Markets, Carrara
  • Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
  • Osaka Kaiten Sushi, Surfers Paradise
  • Beachfront Night Markets, Surfers Paradise
  • Black Coffee Lyrics, Surfers Paradise

Day 3:
  • Borough Barista, Burleigh Heads - (where we had the best meal of our trip!)
  • Burleigh Heads National Park 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

O.MY, Beaconsfield

We had an early Mother's Day celebration on Wednesday night, and our restaurant of choice was O.MY all the way in Beaconsfield. Although it's a little out of the way, it has been on the never-ending to-try list for the longest time. Owned and operated by three brothers, it a small but outstanding restaurant with a strong focus on their produce. Only 4, 6 or 8 course degustation (with or without matching wines) is offered, so make sure you prepare your bellies!

(Apologies in advance for the mediocre quality of photos, the restaurant has a dim setting.)






We decided to go in-between and chose the 6 course meal, but little did we know that we were going to end up with much more instead. To start the night, we were served some snacks (they didn't count towards the course). In order of pictures, we had duck jerky dusted with raspberry powder, cured salmon pastrami with fennel, and egg yolks cured in chamomile and then charred.

My first impression was that the dishes were very unique indeed. I was paying full attention as they were being explained, and still, it was so much to take in because I had never thought that these ingredients could be prepared in those ways. My personal favourite was the egg yolk, firm, smooth, with the hint of chamomile that made it exciting yet not overwhelming.



The first course was sweet potato roasted for 14 hours in duck fat, with fermented potato and edible greens. I seldom see sweet potato as the star of the dish so I found it quite refreshing. Each bite of the potato was an adventure, it was sweet, salty, smooth, soft, all the same time. Another highlight were the leek chips, ultra thin and crunchy with its flavour intact.



Next up we had medium rare kingfish in a seaweed broth. Even though we ranked this dish as our 'least' favourite of all, it was still really good, it's just that we found it less special than the others. The lemon gel was a nice touch!



The main feature of our third course was pumpkin. If I'm not mistaken, a whole pumpkin was blended and chilli and garlic, and some of this was turned into the sheet you see on top. Garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, rosemary flowers and chrysanthemum flowers, this is probably one of the prettiest and most delicious ways I've eaten pumpkin.



Our fourth course, which was also the last savoury course for the night, was a 24 hour roasted pork neck featuring roasted figs and more greens from their garden. I was stuffed at this point but I thought the pork neck was so good. The meat was tender and juicy, and the fatty bits, even better!


At this stage, we were wary of whether we were going to be able to finish dessert, so imagine our shock when they brought out more sweet snacks that didn't count towards the courses! We had some homemade chocolate with kumquat and mushroom powder. I know, mushroom powder and chocolate, you say? I didn't really know what to expect, but it turned out to be one of the most amazing chocolates I've ever had. It literally melt in my mouth and the mushroom powder was used in such a minute quantity was a beautiful finishing touch.

The other snack was a lemon and lime parfait with sage emulsion and frozen raspberries. Once again, I just love how these guys incorporate atypical ingredients in precisely the right amount so that they enhance, rather than overpower the main feature.

The fifth course, and also the first 'proper' dessert was a medley of quince, buttermilk, chestnut and honeycomb designed to make the transition from savoury to sweet. I loved the crunch of the honeycomb, but I did find the dish a little 'busy' as there were so many elements to take in. 


Finally, we received an apple and artichoke dessert, prepared in various ways. I'm quite unfamiliar with artichoke, but after having artichoke ice cream and artichoke crisps as served, I must say I have formed a good impression of it.

Throughout our meal we were also served three types of bread - white sourdough, rye sourdough and then finally walnut and raisin bread all packed for us to take home. From food to service to atmosphere, I don't think I can really fault this place. We had such a great time eating and chatting it was only when we left that we realised the degustation had lasted three hours. A quick note if you're thinking of visiting, they are a small restaurant with not much seating available so make sure you book ahead!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dreams

Lately the weather has been cold, which in turn brings on a lot of sluggishness. I've been dreaming of summer, road trips, beaches, of Maldives. My mind is full of ideas and my spirit full of enthusiasm but sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with myself. It might be lack of time, it might be overthinking, and it might also be fear. Nevertheless, one step at a time. Getting there eventually is always better than never starting the journey. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

South Society, Mount Waverley

Lately I just can't get enough of burgers. We recently visited South Society in Pinewood for a burger fix. We've walked past a couple of times, realised its place as a new café (it used to be a very unmemorable restaurant) and decided to give it a try one day. The layout was clean and spacious, with plenty of room for solos, couples and big groups alike.

We were seated in a little corner which would normally be the most neglected spot in an eatery, but service was pleasantly prompt. We made our order in no time and even with the constant buzzing and flow of customers, we received our orders reasonably quickly.


So the soft shell crab burger it was! I received a spicy crab encased within toasted yet fluffy buns and some slaw. The crab was good but the buns were even better. What can I say? I like big buns and I cannot lie. 

Hubby had the chicken burger and he really enjoyed it as well. The sweet potato chips were awesome! (We swapped our chips halfway so that I could have more of his.)

We also ordered the 'water flower' juice to share - a blend of watermelon, pear, lime and fennel which was quite invigorating. I'm really glad that yet another great café has popped up in this side of town, and though it is a little pricey, it definitely is a lovely place to have a meal. Looking forward to our next visit!

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