Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Avoca Beach Seafoods, Avoca Beach

To celebrate the last night of the trip, we decided to head out to eat. During the day, a few of us explored the area after swimming in the sea (or burning under the sun) to find a place to eat dinner. In the end, we settled on Avoca Beach Seafoods, primarily because it was the only place open that night we wanted to eat some form of seafood. Unknown to myself, Avoca Beach was the 4th most expensive place to live in NSW in 2008 (thank you wiki), perhaps explaining why we witnessed the elaborately designed houses as we walked to dinner!

Most of us went with Fish and Chips that evening: the fish was crunchy on the outside, yet super soft on the inside, and the chips were dusted with a delicious layer of salt.

It was a nice dinner and the fish and chips were quite good- if I lived in the area, I would probably visit on a weekly basis! (A plan for retirement perhaps?) Also, in regards to the sign in the photo below, I did tell my mum about how good the fish and chips were hahaha

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kahveh Café, Avoca Beach

When it was discovered before the trip that there was a café with a near identical name to Kaveh, it was agreed that we had to eat there at some point during our stay. Depending on your name, it could be a rare event that a place has the same/near identical name as you. I still remember that the preschool that I went to was on Christopher Street! Getting back on topic, as Pranav was leaving early, it seemed fitting to give this place a visit to have a nice lunch with him before he left.

Kaveh and Jack wait patiently for their food

Kishore ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid, and ate most of the salad before eating the pieces of fried seafood goodness (saving the best to last!)

He also ordered a caramel milkshake (if I remember correctly); the cup is so big!

I tried the Steak Sandwich, which was quite good: the caramelized onions were my favourite aspect of the dish. The chips were crunchy and the stack of vegetables were actually quite nice, as was the steak. However, I must learn to eat slower to fully enjoy the food! And yes, that is a school netbook in the top right corner of the photo :)

Veggie Wrap.

The rest of the table chose the Lamb Melt, which was on the 'specials' menu on the wall. I unfortunately did not get a photo of it, but from what I heard, it was good. When we payed, Kaveh asked about the meaning of the cafe's name (Kahveh). Turns out it means coffee :)

Overall, lunch was very good and service was attentive and polite. Sitting outside for lunch was nice, and to top off eating great food, we went to the beach afterwards!

Friday, November 23, 2012

'Home' Cooked Meals

During our stay at Avoca Beach, we knew it would be impossible (and downright expensive) to eat out for every meal. Initially, we planned to occasionally use the BBQ in the backyard, but upon inspection, it was so dirty that no one walked near it during the rest of our stay. Good thing we had people who were good at cooking, making food that was eaten quickly and enjoyed by hungry teenagers after days spent at the beach, hardcore gaming (FIFA and Mario Kart) or running around playing football (just in case Kishore is reading). It must be mentioned that between the 15 of us on the trip, B1 estimated that we only spent $6 per person on food each day!

Sausage and bread: no matter where this is eaten, it always tastes good; reminds me of swimming carnivals!

Akif guards the hot chips.

We had a lot of pasta left over, and ended up eating it the next day (and still couldn't finish it).

Sidney's scrambled eggs with devon pieces.

Dayanan decides to eat some devon/ham for breakfast.

Roger and Sidney waiting to dig into the pizzas.

Sausages and potato mash.

Thank you to B1's parents for shouting us dinner this particular night; such a large amount of KFC was certainly quite amazing- there were 14 of us that night, and we each got to eat a box of chips, 4 pieces of chicken and 2 nuggets! We did have leftovers, which were eaten for breakfast (!) and lunch the next day.

Overall, all the food we had was very nice; and I reckon we managed quite well in getting breakfast, lunch and dinner organised!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hog's Breath Cafe, Castle Hill

A large number of people finished their HSC with the chemistry exam, so a bunch of us headed over to Castle Towers to have lunch; Duncan suggested Hog's Breath Cafe for the $9.90 special. We ascended the stairs in the Piazza and entered, greeted by a pseudo-retro interior. 

Initially, we couldn't find the specials in the menu they gave us, until being told that it was already on a stand at the table. The photo below shows the choices available, but most of us went with the Grilled Chicken and Ranch Burger- I don't know about the others, but I chose this one because I thought it had the greatest amount of meat in it :)

The Grilled Chicken and Ranch Burger. The photo doesn't really show it, but there was a massive knife stuck into the burger, presumably to hold it together. The burger itself was good, but the chicken was a tad dry. The curly fries on the side were great though. 

Afterwards, we wandered around Towers- it was nice to walk around after eating. To BOB readers, blog posts on Avoca Beach are coming soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mad Mex, Castle Hill

Legal Studies was the last HSC exam for a small number of us, so we decided to celebrate by going to Mad Mex. If I remember correctly, we chose this place because we thought that there was a discount available (we went on the wrong day lol) Anyways, after a short bus ride, and then standing outside the place discussing whether or not to eat there, we headed inside. This was actually the first time I had been to Mad Mex (!), so I was quite eager to try the food. 

I know that this has been mentioned on a lot of blogs, but the bottles around the lights look really nice. How creative!

I  tried the Burrito, with Carne Asada (steak) filling, tomatillo salsa and guacamole. The inclusion of rice in the burrito surprised me initially, but ended up making sense as it complemented the meat quite well (and reminded me of eating rice with meat for dinner). 

Afterwards, we went to B1's house to organise transport and food for our trip to Avoca Beach. Looking back as I type this, it feels good to have finished HSC (and our trip to Avoca Beach went by too quickly!). In regards to Mad Mex, the atmosphere was casual and the food was good!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Ranch, North Ryde

Readers of this blog (I like to think that there are some) might recall me mentioning in my very first post that John had returned to visit, and what better way to catch up with the cousins, aunties and uncles than over lunch! Initially, he was faced with the decision to choose between the large range of Korean restaurants in Eastwood, or The Ranch. Either way, I would have been happy. This lunch was actually on the weekend before my last HSC exam, so I ended up bringing notes to 'study' in the car.

The table we ate at was quite large, and unlike Bernard, I regretfully did not go around the table taking photos of everybody's food. (Bernard, if you are reading, I'll happily take the photos from you lol)

I had The Steak Sandwich, which tasted pretty good. The cheese (!) was compacted tightly between the bacon and the beef, which made it less messy to eat, while the rocket and BBQ sauce balanced the meaty and heavy flavours of the cheese, beef and bacon. I must mention that while the onion rings themselves did taste quite nice, I would have preferred a few more than two of them on top of the sandwich, especially when Cassie proceeds to take one off my plate :) Regardless, the chips were very crunchy, even the thick potato-ey ones.

Cassie chose the Scotch Fillet (250 grams). The mushroom sauce was really nice to dip everything into, from chips to the pieces of salad on the plate. It had a slightly cheesy aroma to it, which made me feel excessively full after I dipped most of my chips into the sauce. and scooped out some more sauce into my mouth

Like the last time we had lunch together, Bernard goes for more fish and chips: the Coopers Beer Battered Flathead, served with a 'tangy' lime aioli and chips. He thought the fish had the texture and taste of fish fingers !

After the rather filling lunch, we went to Macquarie Centre, (where I took many photos of the car's interior during the ride) Any guesses as to what car this is?   :)

When we arrived at Macquarie Centre, Bernard and Cassie went to buy some Noggi (frozen yoghurt is everywhere now, just like when deserts- Meet Fresh and ZenQ and milk tea- Easy Way and Chatime, took over Sydney).

Afterwards, we headed off to Aunty M's house, where I took a hilariously large amount of photos of my cousin's Toyota 86 GT, and then proceeded to go inside to play Tetris on Nintendo 64, ignoring the study notes which were dumped onto the couch. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ladurée Macarons

As I have probably mentioned before, eating macarons is an exciting thing to do, from admiring the colours of these perfectly crafted confectioneries to guessing the flavour before, during, and perhaps even after eating the macaron. 

Aunty M kindly bought this box of treats for us. Even the appearance of the box is highly detailed, I wish I remembered where I put the box after eating the macarons!

Cutting up each macaron to share, we slowly made my way through these beautiful macarons. From left to right, my initial guesses on the flavours as I was eating them were: caramel, flower (?!), Ribena and coffee. Turns out that the flavours were: salted caramel, vanilla, blackcurrant violet and coffee. My favourite would be the salted caramel, followed closely by the coffee flavoured macaron. And look at the feet on these macarons! Obviously I have much to learn; I think I should eat a lot of macarons to increase my knowledge- that would be an expensive thing to do wouldn't it? :)

In general, all four of the flavours were interesting and appealing, and I can't wait to try the other flavours offered by Ladurée!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kam Fook, Chatswood

To be honest, I hadn't been to Kam Fook in a long time; my last memory of visiting was when I was still in primary school, running up to the fish tanks outside the restaurant and prodding on the glass with my sister to see if the sea creatures (see what I did there?) moved- the lobsters refused to move. They also had many seats outside, as there was constantly a line to eat- perhaps nearing Din Tai Fung levels (ok, not really, but still quite a large group of people waiting). Thus, on a lazy Friday morning (during school holidays), it was decided that we would make the trek to Chatswood to have yum cha.

Spring Rolls. These were relatively good, it was crunchy on the outside, and meaty on the inside. The accompanying sauce suited it quite well too.

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)- the prawns inside were tasty and soft, while the skin was not too thick nor thin.

Chiu-chao style dumplings- the innards of this dumpling is a bit more exciting than the above, containing goodies such as peanuts and mushrooms. The skin of this one was quite thick, but the style of this dumpling is characterised by this feature. This was one of the nicer dumplings (IMHO) from the choices available on the numerous trolley's which went past our table. 

Wu Gok (Taro Dumplings)- who could resist such a delicious looking dish? The outside of this was light and fluffy, while the inner shell was soft (from the taro). The dumpling innards consisted of a delicious concoction of salty ingredients (generic description means that I have forgotten what ingredients were actually inside). However, three words can be used to describe this dish: deep fried magic.

Cheung Fan (Rice noodle rolls): this one was filled with beef, but by the time this was ordered off the trolley, I was already quite full. 

Chives (and shrimp?) dumplings. These were soft and juicy; chives seem to make your average dumpling taste just a tad more special.

The furnishings within the restaurant are rather luxurious, especially in comparison to some other Chinese restaurants in Sydney. The food here is good, and whilst not representing the best yum cha you can find in  Sydney, it remains a solid and reliable choice.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grill'd, Parramatta

Continuing on with my recount of food from long ago, our Business class decided to eat at Grill'd during the lunch break of the business study day. Previously, we had eaten at Grill'd in the city after a business excursion to IMAX and Sydney Aquarium, so it seemed fitting to continue the tradition.

I tried the Simply Grill'd. In hindsight, I probably should have went with the other type of bread: shown in the other two burgers in the background, as the one I chose was a bit crumbly. Even though the burger looks a tad small in this photo, it was actually quite filling (and delicious of course!)

Nick goes for the Almighty. You can't go wrong with egg and bacon :)

These chips were very good; the herb and salt mix, in combination with the crunchiness of the chips makes this something of a necessity to get when you are eating at Grill'd.

We had limited time to eat lunch that day, and ended up power walking/half running back to the hall in order to not miss the second half of the business study day (and to put our raffle tickets into a box for the chance to win business related educational prizes which no one really wanted) Lunch was nice, and the food helped increase my attention span for a few more minutes during the (rather informative) lecture!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Istana, Thornleigh

Approximately 8 months after my birthday, the family had dinner at Istana as a late birthday dinner/end of YR 12 celebration. Most families have at least one restaurant they continue to go to when they want to eat out; I remember coming to this place since I was a little kid, and it remains a solid choice if you want to eat Malaysian cuisine.

Complimentary soup.

Coconut Juice.

Hainanese Chicken. The chicken was tender and juicy, while the variety of sauces was interesting. My pick of sauce would be the ginger and shallot.

I'm not quite sure of the name of this dish; looking back at the menu, the closest dish this resembles is the Tofu with Mixed Vegetables, except this one had meat in it. Regardless, this tasted quite good, and to this day I still enjoy eating the long pieces of corn. 

Udang Istana (Istana King Prawns). Despite being slightly pricey, it was definitely worth it; the prawns tasted fresh and well seasoned. The shells were crunchy enough to be edible too! However, mum remains uncomfortable with that idea, and proceeds to only eat the meat of the prawns while raising her eyebrow in my direction as I happily munch on the rather addictive prawn shells.

My favourite dish of the night, and one that is ordered every time we visit: Blachan Long Bean. I'll admit, I'm not a massive fan of vegetables, but this plate of goodness is generally finished first (primarily because I continue to scoop spoonfuls into my bowl until the plate is empty).

The chicken rice was amazing, it was flavoursome and moist, and was eaten as quickly as the above dish.

Complimentary fruit.

Dinner was great that night, and service was attentive. The restaurant was nearly full on the Saturday we went, and we left feeling happily full. Personally, I think the main drawing point for Istana is the consistency of the food, which naturally brings repeat and loyal customers. This place is definitely worth a try if you haven't been here before, especially for the Blachan Long Beans and the rice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bavarian Bier Café, Chatswood + Adriano Zumbo's Rose V8

This was actually two months ago, but on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the extended family gathered to farewell John, who was leaving to work in Hong Kong. Some of the cousins had been to Bavarian Bier Café numerous times, but being the house-bound HSC student that I was, this was the first time I had been to the place, and I was quite excited (I had a look at the menu online the night before!)

When we ordered our food, the friendly waitress did not write anything down as we ordered, but instead remembered and served everybody's orders correctly (we had 13 people on the table by the way).

Andrew and Berny shared this, and looking at the Bavarian Bier website, I think it was the 5 Pure Bier™  Flight (yes, I got the name from the website). They both seemed to enjoy it, but honestly, there are only a small number of young adults I know who don't enjoy beer!

Pretzel's. I was expecting the smaller ones you can buy at the supermarket, so I was pleasantly surprised when this basket of happiness came to the table; I had to restrain myself from eating too many before the main meal arrived!

We ordered 2 salads on the day to share, but I only managed to take a photo of one of them; and I actually can't remember the name of it. As the salad was being passed around, Cassie, who was sitting next to me, swiftly took the remaining half of the boiled egg before I managed to eat it haha. The olives and beans were nice though, so I wasn't too fussed.

The Bavarian Bread Basket. I love butter!

I chose the Bavarian Platter (I'm pretty sure it was called the Bavarian Tasting Platter before- proves how long ago this meal was). Eating this dish was quite enjoyable, and being the Fried Food Fanatic that I am (at least I think it was fried), I left the schnitzel till last to eat. Everything on the plate was delicious, and the food was eaten off the plate a bit too quickly due to my excitement.

Munich Brewer's Platter. Initially, I was going to choose this one over the above dish, but chickened out the last minute as I was scared I couldn't finish it. If only......... Next time, I will definitely order this one! Dad and Justin seemed to like this one, both clearing the plate with ease. Thank you Justin for helping me take the photo.

Andrew and Jenny ordered the Jägerschnitzel, I actually tried a piece of veal from Jenny's plate, and the meat was deliciously soft- mushroom sauce FTW.

Next to me, Cassie had the Roast Pork Belly. This was very large, and when she couldn't finish it, our end of the table gladly ate the rest of it. The small bacon pieces on the potatoes were so good!

Berny's Flathead Fish and Chips.

Mum and John ordered this dish, but I can't remember what this tasty looking bowl of meat was. Note to self: jot down the names of food when taking photos.

After eating, we had cake as well. Being the car nut that I am, when Jenny told us that she had bought the V8 cake, my first thoughts was of a cake shaped as an engine! *hides from angry foodies* As the cake was placed onto the table, I immediately realised how ridiculous my idea was.

The inside of the cake. This has got to be one of the best cakes I have eaten in my life! Every layer tasted so good, and I even tried the rose petal on top of the cake (is it supposed to be eaten?)

Zumbarons to share. I love biting into each one and trying to figure out the flavour.

It was an awesome lunch, and after eating the cake, we went home and later had instant noodles for dinner because everyone was full from the lunch. Fortunately, John came back recently to visit Sydney!