Friday, March 29, 2013

Tastebuds @ Hills, Terrey Hills

We were greeted with a massive crowd at the cafe when we arrived on a lazy weekend morning; my eyes were constantly scanning for an empty table among the sea of people as we drove past the cafe trying to find a parking spot. Luckily, since you order and pay at the counter before sitting down, we managed to get a table. There's a flower market next to the cafe, and the feeling of 'nature' from all the roses and plants provides a relaxed, outdoor-sy type of atmosphere.

There's seating both indoors and outdoors, and I managed to get a photo of the couch area when no one was sitting there (it was occupied shortly after though). We got a table indoors that was right next the counter where they make all the smoothies!

A piccolo to start off.

Woombye smoothie. They put just the right amount of mint in this sweet and slightly sour smoothie. I highly recommend getting this, as it's refreshing to drink on the warm days that we've been having.

Bernard had the Pesto Mushroom, which came in a massive serving of tasty mushrooms and runny eggs.

Patty joins us during her break and had the Mediterranean chicken burger. 

HI there!

I had the Baked eggs, which are served in a skillet from the oven. There's a range of choices you can have with the eggs, such as mushrooms, ricotta, and the like, but I went with the chorizo sausage, Spanish onions, baby spinach and roasted tomatoes. Umm, and with some ricotta because some people like cheese :) The baked eggs also come with toasted sourdough bread.

Like I mentioned at the start, the cafe gets really busy during the peak hours, so, if you have the magical power to wake up early, I suggest you come early in the morning for a nice, serene meal with all the flowers haha. Otherwise, come during the popular times and enjoy your breakfast or lunch with the locals. Have a safe and relaxing Easter break everybody!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Zenya Noodle Bar, Eastwood

A couple of weeks ago, on the morning of my birthday, I had an early lunch with my parents; 'early' because they had things to do in the afternoon! I've walked past Zenya a billion times, and every time you go past it you'll notice the bright orange signage they have, which definitely attracts the attention of people passing by. Even though Zenya specialises in ramen and udon (they process their own ramen soup for 15 hours), they have a wide range of other Japanese dishes to choose from. And since we got there early, we were one of the first tables to sit down, but a steady stream of customers entered shortly after.

Beef Tataki. There's actually quite a number of slices of thinly sliced beef on the plate (so there was no fighting for the food), with just the right amount of citrus sauce accompanying it.

Chashu ramen. The soft pork slices that melts in your mouth is definitely the highlight in this bowl. The soup and ramen were equally good though, but that pork was amazing...

When you order any ramen or udon, you can add 3 gyozas or takoyaki for an extra $3. We went with the takoyaki. You also get a salad!

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab. Crispy pieces of well seasoned crabs with a mildy tangy sesame sauce. This tasted great, but maybe they could put less greens and more soft shell crabs on the plate hehe.

Tonkatsu Curry. Deep fried pork fillet covered in a thick, delicious curry. There was heaps of curry to have with the large serving of rice and pork. Even though the pork was covered in curry, the panko breadcrumbs which the fillet was coated with wasn't soggy at all, and retained its crispy texture.

Assorted Tempura, which included 3 prawns, and a variety of vegetables such as beans, onion and yam (or sweet potato, I couldn't really tell).

We also got free rice and miso soup along with our orders, I'm not sure why exactly (maybe it was included with something we ordered?), but I'm not complaining!

It was definitely a good thing that we came earlier than the lunch time period, because when we left, the restaurant was filling up really quickly. It's easy to see why this place is so popular though, the food is simple but great, and the prices are reasonable. I've already decided that I want to try the karaage chicken ramen the next time we come!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pishon Patisserie & Cake Cafe, Eastwood

After a rather noisy dinner at Jonga Jip, we headed off to Pishon for more food (well, mainly drinks actually). Pishon is a rather well decorated cafe on the Korean side of Eastwood, nestled in between the strip of restaurants, grocery stores and ALDI. There's heaps of cakes on display inside the cafe, and you order at the counter before grabbing a table.

To start off, a slice of cake was ordered.

Blue Lemonade, Iced Strawberry and Affogato.

Green Tea Latte.


The display of cakes alone is enough to draw me back here again (I do need to try some next time), and they  also have heaps of pastries as well- I can imagine us coming here in the winter, sitting at a table with cups of coffee and croissants :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Marrickville Pork Roll, Marrickville

When we finished our superb lunch at La Cachette, we headed off to Marrickville to eat more. After parking the car at the local shopping centre, we realised that we would have to walk quite a bit to get to our pork rolls. So off we went out of the car park, and found parking on a quiet street that was closer to the shop. This was the first time that I'd been to Marrickville, so it was quite exciting! The plan was to have pho as well since we were already in the suburb, but that idea will have to wait for next time because we were just so full. Back to this shop, I've heard that there's always a line for these pork rolls, and rightfully so, because these pork rolls tasted so good!

Quite a bit of reflection and shadows in this photo hey? My bad hehe. But look at all those ingredients!

The pork roll. After the pork rolls were bought, we were thinking, where are we going to eat them? Eventually, we found an alley way to eat our pork rolls, looking innocent and not suspicious at all. Onto the pork roll itself, the bread was rather soft, and tasted great along with the pork cold cut and all the fresh, crunchy vegetables inside. mmmmm coriander. To be honest, I used to not like coriander, especially when it was sprinkled generously on steamed fish, but after eating it in a chicken roll a few weeks ago, I've grown to love it! The pate they use has just the right amount of saltiness, and we ended up buying a few tubs of it to bring home.

Happy pork roll eaters.

Sugar cane juice bought from another shop to keep us cool on a hot day.

Was it worth the trek to have the pork rolls? I'd definitely say yes, prices are reasonably cheap, and their pork rolls are really good. Maybe we'll have a bowl of pho from the other shop down the street and a chicken roll from here the next time we come to Marrickville?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

La Cachette, Erskineville

A few weeks before my birthday, Bernard and Patty asked me where I wanted to go to eat. Every time they asked, I said 'I don't know', because I actually had no idea where I wanted to go- trust me, I felt bad that I was so indecisive when I had such nice people trying to organise something for me! The weekend of my birthday eventually arrived, and by then I was assured that everything had already been organised (thanks guys!!), I just had to go meet up at his house at 10. I was told that we were on a tight schedule, and at that point I still had no idea where we were going to have lunch. However, I was given my presents, which were the super awesome Tomica sets that I showed you in the previous post.

I was eventually told of where we were going once we were inside the Mazda CX-5 :) Now, prepare your mind before reading this; my cousin's, girlfriend's, uncle recently took over La Cachette, and we were heading there to try some great food for lunch! Since none of us had been there before, we had to rely on the GPS in the car to lead us (and Bernard's memory of roads in the area). As a safety feature, the satellite navigation disables any attempt to enter an address into the system when the car is moving (just in case the driver enters it yea?), so I had to frantically try to enter the address of the cafe every time we were stopped at the lights. We didn't stop to the side of the road to enter the address in because we were on a tight schedule hehe. After a few failed attempts because of my uncoordinated fingers (actually, I'm blaming the traffic lights for changing to green too quickly lol), I finally managed to punch in the address before the traffic light turned green. The journey to the cafe was made longer by heaps of traffic, where we managed to witness a loud but unfortunately rather lethargic Honda Civic in front of us- VTEC just wouldn't kick in yo! Don't take this the wrong way though- I love Honda's :)

La Cachette is located on the corner of Mitchell Road and Maddox Street, and is painted in classy black paint on the outside. Ignore the confusing numbers on the buildings to the left of the cafe and the one across the road, or you might end up at the wrong place!

When you head inside, you're greeted by friendly people and cabinets full of mouth watering food.

I was given this green and happy looking balloon from Jenny and Justin. Thanks guys- I really like it! When I first walked into the cafe, I looked right and saw a green balloon gently bobbing around, (I couldn't see you guys because you were sitting behind the wall) and I was thinking, that looks nice!

Onto the drinks we ordered. From left to right, top to bottom: piccolo, flat white, iced latte and iced chocolate.

Jenny and Patty had the chicken and vegetable pie. This was massive, and its admirable how balanced all the flavours were in this pie.

Justin and I went for the Big Breakfast- eggs any style (we chose poached), bacon, sausage, tomato and mushroom. I was really excited about the amount of food on the plate- I didn't even know where to start! My poached eggs were perfectly cooked, there was a deliciously herb-y mushroom hiding beneath the sausage, and I saved the best to last, the crispy bacon. Mmmmmm, it was soo good.

Andrew had the Whole Roasted Stuffed Mushroom with a poached egg on sourdough toast. The serving sizes are definitely generous here!

Bernard and Cassie choose the Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto and the Eggs Benedict with spinach.

But wait, I bring you a photo that shows the beautiful egg yolk, oozing out slowly... 

It was the perfect lunch, with a nice atmosphere and friendly waiters/waitresses, as well as excellent food. Do check the place out, you'll be coming back again and again after your first time because the food is simply delicious. Also, Jenny brought along her Polaroid camera, so it was great fun to take photos and wait for them to develop whilst we were eating. Thank you Bernard, Patty, Andrew, Jenny, Justin and Cassie for coming and having lunch, I had heaps of fun and I hope you all had a great time too!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tomica Sets

Before you throw your eggs (and sharp kitchen utensils) at me, hear me out. Yes, I know that this is not a post on food, but these were the super awesome presents that I got for my birthday! Thank you to everyone who chipped in for this, I love each and every one of these Tomica sets. In addition to my love of fried food and the generally unhealthy things that I like to eat, I'm also a car nut (if you've haven't noticed by now, there are random car references scattered throughout my blog). If I remember correctly, I was first introduced to Tomica in 2003, when Dad bought home a couple of these cars from a business trip overseas. Ever since, I've been an keen collector of Tomica vehicles, although I have noticed that I seem to only buy the passenger cars that they make! Disclaimer: all of the car models shown in the following photos were not included in the set, they are for illustration purposes only.

I unfortunately cannot read Japanese, so you'll have to bear with my dodgy descriptions haha. I'll call this one the multi-story car park. Basically, you push the orange platform all the way down, and then you select the level you want the platform to rise to (2F and 3F) with the yellow buttons on the left of the orange pillar.   

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks like a Dyno test doesn't it? Push the green pillar down, bring the boom barrier down and watch the rear wheels of the car spin!

The garage. When the garage door is closed, push the brown button to the right of the garage to automatically open the door. You can also press the green lever to make the car come flying out, but until I put padding around my entire room, I'll try to avoid having my cars flying out at frightening speeds :)

The construction site. Like I mentioned earlier, I generally buy the passenger cars that Tomica releases, so this Mitsubishi Triton was the closest thing to a truck that I have hehe. Behind the red 'stairway' is a  sturdy piece of string which you pull. Once you've done that, push the small yellow switch down and watch those grey balls make their ascent up the mini platforms, until they roll back down the ramp!

This car park set actually included a car (the red one)! The red one you see in the photo was called a Toyota Camry on the box (because that's what the vehicle is called in Asia) but for us Australians and our fellow New Zealanders, it's actually called the Toyota Aurion. Anyway, as you wind up the yellow handle at the top, the platform will rise, giving you access the 3 parking spots on the top floor.

Update: there were more presents to come. hehe I'm even happier now!

The 7 Eleven store. This one has a lot of tiny details in it, from the realistic 7 Eleven stickers on the clear doors to the door on the side of the building that leads to the counter of the shop (and not the toilet as we had thought lol).

This was the JAF mechanic (Japan Automobile Federation yo!). You can raise the car on the platform with the blue lever, and there's tyres and a shelf of motor oil hidden on the side of the garage.

A 24hr car wash! I used to have (very poor quality) car wash toy sets, and honestly, there's no comparison. In addition to the automatic car wash, there are two sets of hoses for those little Tomica people to wash their cars :)

All of these sets were loaded with features, and I actually cannot choose a favourite because all of them are just amazing! Thank you once again for these presents :D