Monday, October 30, 2006

Another pub night

I'm really loving this whole pub thing. Cheap food, cheap drinks, music loud enough for you to hear, but soft enough for a decent conversation that doesn't involed ripped vocal cords. Big spacious rooms, no elbowing, shoving or being groped whilst trying to squeeze your way through the crowd to the bathroom. But the sad thing? I says alot about my age when I'm contemplating hanging out at the local pub rather than have a big night out in town. *Sigh*

Anyway, it time to visit another one of Moishii's mystery venues. This time there was no juke box, but there was MTV making the job so much easier. We picked a table in the bistro and scanned the big blackboard. $5 steaks! $5!! Why am I paying $30 for a steak which is basically just a piece of beef thrown onto a grill in the city? Yes, you get way you pay for rar rar rar. Unless you're talking about Kobe beef, alot of the time, steak is steak. I've been to a number of these big famous award winning steak houses, and at the end of the day, it was just a steak. It doesn't matter how good the piece of beef is, if the chef completely butchers the slab of meat. Sometimes its well worth the $30 you pay if the chef is having a good night, sometimes, $5 steak is all you need.

The bistro is completely empty and we're the only people there. Fine by me. We can have a decent conversation and concentrate on the task at hand. We order our drinks, and settle for Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy. Less than 5mins after placing our order, the chef sticks his head out of the window and screams "NO MORE SCHNITZEL!!!!"

O..k....not a biggie, I was happy to order something else. This is when the bar maid starts screaming across the room at the chef as to whether there was no more schnitzel full stop, or no more after our order. There was no more schnitzel after our order. Not too much of a problem until the barmaid started screaming that she wanted schnitzel for dinner when her shift was over. Great, we just stole dinner of the barmaid. Luckily we had our drinks already and didn't have to worry about any bodily fluids that might accidently make it into our drinks.

The food arrives and the schnitzel was huge! Excellent value for $5! The schnitzel was really good, not too oily, very crunchy but not too much batter. The chicken was still nice and moist. It sits on top of a bed of light crispy chips drenched in gravy. Now I have a funny way of eating chips and gravy. The PERFECT chips and gravy needs to have a genrous sprinkle of chicken salt, and then bbq sauce added to the picture. So then it was a franctic running back and forth between the condiments counter and our table. After a big fuss, I finally sit down to my meal.
After taking a bite and enjoying cheap comfort pub food, cops storm into the bistro. Within minutes, another cop car pulls up to the pub with their lights going off giving me headspins. I'm torn between running out and taking photos, continue eating, or taking my plate of food out AND take photos. The staff starts running around and we panic thinking we're in the middle of a hold up. Eventually the chef comes running out as well and we ask him for all the goss. Apparently some guy asked the barmaid to flash her t!ts at him, and when she refused, he tried to attack her. Moishii immediately turns to me and goes "God I'm glad you're not wearing anything low cut". Somewhere amongst the story, I heard that he tried following her into the toilet or something?? God can't we go out for ONE night without some weird freaky thing happening? What are we? Magnets for freaks??

We scoff the rest of our food, finish the task we were there for and then we were outta there. Since it was still early, we decided to head towards Burwood to catch a movie. Of course there was non-stop screaming of "CHRISTINEEEEEEEEEEE" out of the car window. We arrive at Burwood, purchase our tickets for "Grudge 2", roam around a bit and then settled in for the movie. OMG it's been AGESSSSSSS since we've seen anything with Sarah Michelle Gellar in it! I can't wait! The cinema starts filling up with people. Usually not too much of an issue, but in this case, 1/3 of the cinema were loud, rowdy teenagers. The lights dim, the previews start rolling, and the bloody bunch of teenagers were still talking! Not whispering either, this is full on conversations about clothes, weekends, whos dating who. Theres alot of shushing, and yelling of "SHUT UP!!!" (and I contributed to that as well), but they WOULD NOT SHUT UP. 10seconds into the movie, some moron decided to start screaming at the top of his lungs. Another one decided to respond by screaming "HELP MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!". It didn't help that Moishii reckoned that would be the perfect reply to "Christine!!!".

You would think once the movie starts, they would start to settle down. No. You had people STANDING in their seats chatting to people people a few rows behind them. You had people jumping up from their seats, moving to another seat/row/side of the cinema to chat to other people. You had people sitting there screaming "OMG! I'M SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCARED!!!" followed by a "HELP ME!!". Non stop! No amount of shushing, and "SHUT THE HELL UP!!" would get them to SHUT THE HELL UP. So they called in the security. Not just the attendants with their torch, but full on security. They had the security do a round in the cinema and then they left. Immediately the screaming and chatting started up. The attendant quickly started making rounds again and stood next to the bunch of culprits. Not that that really helped since there were morons scattered throughout the whole cinema. If she managed to shut one group up, another group would start. So half way through the movie, they had to call the attendant back. She stuck around for about 10mins and then left again. I swear by the end of the movie I was ready to throw my bottle at someone, but I didn't know who because there were so many of them that deserved a flying bottle to the back of the head!

The movie ended and it was good. I would've enjoyed it ALOT more if people would SHUT UP! I get into the car and we're driving home when I open the window and let out a blood curdling CHRISTINEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! This was quickly followed by Moishii's "HELP MEEEEEE!!". I quickly realised that this is NOT a good thing, because one day someone is going to call the cops and report a kidnapping and identify Moishii's license plates and he's going to have the cops on his door steps with a warrant. So we're sitting at the traffic lights when Moishii has a complete laughing fit followed by an asthma attack. After 2mins of this, he finally calms down and a cop car drives by. I quickly said "Do NOT NOT SCREAM!". This triggered another fit and attack. How he managed to drive home with tears in his eyes and stitches I'll never know.....

The domesticated goddess SoRMuiJAi

I've been cooking ever since I could remember. It kinds helps that your entire family is full of chefs and you literally grew up in a restaurant. I can cook a whole range of things, from chinese, to japanese, italian to greek and Turkish food. But since I've had to be alot of domesticated lately and not just cook for me, but for my grandma, 3 meals a day, I've been racking my brain as to what to cook. I could go make some vine leaves or lasagne etc, but thats good every now and then, not every day. Atleast not for my grandma. And there needs to be variety.

Since my schedule has been insanely busy, I've been trying to find the line between batch cooking everything so she has something to eat if I'm home late, and cooking enough variety so you don't eat the same thing day in day out. So here's a few meals I've been making lately:

Fried rice with baby anchovies, fish cake and served with crunchy fried onions

I had dried baby anchovies in the freezer, and half a fish cake thats been sitting in the fridge for awhile. So I diced everything up, chopped up an onion (because I couldn't be bothered picking shallots from the garden), scrambled some eggs and threw everything together into a big wok with rice, corn and peas. Once everything was tossed until well combined and the rice was nice and dry, I dished it up with a sprinkle of fried onions. MmMMmmm The perfect cheap comfort food!

Clockwise: Teriyaki chicken, Garlic Choy Sum, Salted fish with pork, rice, fermented soya bean steamed with pork, ginger and shallots.

This was my attempt at cooking some "heung har" food. Basically a typical meal you might get back in the village where my parents grew up. Ok, Teriyaki chicken isn't exactly very "heung har" food, but I couldn't be bothered digging through our freezer (our two VERY VERY big freezers that can fit ATLEAST 4 bodies) for my mum's master stock to make soya chicken, so teriyaki it was.

My favourite veggie dish of all time will have to be either choy sum stir fried with garlic and just a smidgen of oyster sauce, or brocolli stir fried with garlic and just a smidgen of oyster sauce. This was heavenly. Veggies were crunchy and the sauce was pungently garlicky.

As for the 2 other dishes, you can't get anything more "heung har" than that. The salted fish was steamed ontop of a bed of pork sliced. Traditionally you use very fatty pork, but I opted to some lean pork, just to make myself seem healthy. This must be steamed with shitloads of thinly sliced garlic. MUST. As for the fermented soya beans, its called "dow jeung". You basically add a bit of salt and let the whole thing rot and mould, and walla! You have a sauce! Again, this has to be steamed ontop of a bed of slice pork, and it SHOULD be fatty pork, but I'm trying to be health concious! And just like the other dish, SHITLOADS of thinly sliced ginger and mass amounts of chopped shallots. The star of both dishes isn't the meat or the fish, its the sauce. You basically have 1 bowl of rice for each sauce. Which is probably why you shouldn't make both dishes for the same meal.....oh wells. :D

Chicken Congee with Fried Onions and shallots

MmmMm chickeny goodness

The cold weather has me suddenly craving for some comforting warm congee. The secret to good congee is to always soak the rice for atleast an hour beforehand with a pinch of salt and oil. It makes the rice break down into the congee goodness you see above. Otherwise, if you want to cheat, instead of stirring the congee with a spoon when you're cooking, use a whisk. It helps break down the rice much faster, but you might be lacking a bit the starchy sticky goodness thats a congee.

Icili kofte with SMJ puttanesca salad

Ok, I cheated a bit with this one. Its store bought icili kofte, but damn it was good! I gotta try and make these from scratch. As for the salad, I call it the SMJ puttanesca salad. Its basically all the ingredients you would need to make puttanesca pasta, but in salad form.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Baja Cantina revisited

I got free tickets to the theatre the other week. I wasn't too sure what the show was about, but thats not the point. So I booked Moishii for the night to join me in getting free stuff. The show wasn't going to start til 8pm, so we had plenty of time. As it was at the Seymour Centre, we decided to head back to Baja Cantina for dinner, this time without the psychopathic lunatic ready to stab me in the eye.

We were really early

As we've been a bit of an alcoholic lately, the first thing we ordered was a jug of sangria. Not just any sangria, but a white sangria. What was delivered was quite different from what we ordered last time:

White Sangria

Last time the sangria was quite murkey with some old fruit and a bit of foam on top. This time, it was nice and translucent with nice chunks of watermelon, rock melon and honeydew melon. The sangria wasn't exactly fermented the traditional way, but I liked it. It was light and fruity, and definately went down well.

I was really really tempted to order the fish tacos again since they tasted absolutely spectacular last time, but no. I must try something new. Quesadillas it is! With Chipolate prawns and a side of salsa.

MmMmmm my quesadilla had huge chunky prawns, not as smokey as I'd have expected, and quite cheesey, but very very good. The dish came with refried beans and rice. Now I had these last time and it's very filling if not a bit rich, perfect for winter, a bit heavy for summer. Hence my salsa. The sides were a bit oily and there was a bit too much cheese, but then isn't that mexican food? Next time I'll ask for less cheese.

Moishii ordered a chicken Burrito. The filling was basically the rice and beans that was served with my dish, with a heap of chicken mixed in. Not that that stopped Moishii from devouring most of the dish.

So by the time we had finished eating, it was around 7:15pm. We were sitting around whilst I proceeded to drink the ENTIRE jug of sangria. We were full, we were content, and we were sleepy. In other words, we couldn't be arsed going to the show. I think we kinda did discuss it, but the decision was already made, it was home time. Luckily they were free tickets.....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Speaking of New Orleans...

I've been a bit slack with the postings lately. I've taken a whole bunch of photos and just haven't had time to put them onto my computer. So heres a quick peek at what I've been doing. As a part of the little mystery shopping thing we've been doing, one of the nights we decided to grab dinner at Crows Nest before heading off the the unnamed venue. Now I worked at Crows Nest for 3 years, and I practically bought lunch every single day I worked at CN. There was one place I NEVER buy lunch from, and thats New Orleans Cafe. I don't know why. I love the place. They have sensational coffee and really good food, but it was just never a lunch place. However, whenever we do come to Crows Nest at night, it usually involves NOC.

This is when I could go on and on about the history of us and NOC. I could tell you the story where I had too much coffee there late one night with Moishii, and we ended up calling Christine telling her we've been arrested and that we need bail money. Who then ended up calling other people to try and get some bail money together before we called back to say she's just been punked. But lets not bother with that story. Lets focus on the food. We finally brought Christine along so she knew what we were talking about when we're screaming down the phone at her saying we're at NOC having coffee. So we quickly order the food as we want to move on to the next place for the free alcohol:

Cheese burger


The food is always good. Big juicy burgers and the nachos. Good god, thats the SMALL size we ordered. Me and Christine were greedy and were contemplating ordering a large EACH. Luckily we checked with the waiter first, because the large feeds 2-3 people. I couldn't even finish my small serve! And all for $10.90! Too bad we didn't get a chance to have coffee there with Christine. Maybe next time.....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mystery shopping

It was a freezing saturday night and all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep. But alas, I had promised Moishii I'll help him with his Mystery shopping thing he had to do for work. The "Mystery shopping" we were doing involves going to various venues and listening to music. Don't ask. Anyway, so we went to a pub which I shall not name for dinner. Cheap pub grub is always good. The plan was to do the mystery shopping over dinner, but from where we were, we couldn't hear a thing. So after eating, and consuming a few alcoholic beverages (I get a $30 budget to spend on alcohol/food simply by accompanying him) we roamed around the pub and eventually located a juke box. Being the enthusiastic idiots that we were, we proceeded to slot dollar after dollar into the machine and pumped out some Kylie and Beyonce. By this time the alcohol was hitting and I was tired. I sat down and faced the rest of the room. I slowly started to notice something a bit strange.....we were in the pool room, but there was no one playing pool. Everyone was sitting down and watching something to my right. I turn around to see a big screen that was showing footy. OMG FOOTY! Everyone was sitting at the pub trying to watch Australia kick the crap outta the Kiwis, and here we were pumping Beyonce out of the speakers!!

The guys directly infront of me turned to give us the dirty look just as the next song blares out of the speakers. Moishii has his back turned and is completely oblivious as to what is going on. He's bopping to the music and scanning through the playlist. In my inebriated state, I did a hiss of a "SIT DOWN!!". Only someone is quite thick as to what is going on. This is basically how the conversation went:

Me (Hissing): SIT DOWN!!
Moishii: Wait, I just need a few more songs
Me: I think you need to sit down!!!
Moishii: What?!
Me: If you don't sit down soon, you're going to get the shit kicked out of you!
Moishii: What???

Moishii eventually sits down which is when I explained the whole situation and how we have completely broken all pub etiquettes when the footy is on. We decided to sit down, pretend to watch the game and not attract anymore attention to ourselves. All was going well until this massive drum solo at the end of a video clip started pumping through the speakers. More dirty looks from all the guys. This is when my survival instinct kicked in and we left whilst we still had all our teeth. This is after I hide a big cup of beer nuts in my handbag......

We hop into the car when the rain starts pouring down. We have no idea where we were, and neither of us could be bothered pulling out the map. So in the dark rainy night, the drunk one (me) started directing the lost one (Moishii). There was a bit of miscommunication when we started going in circles when both of us basically meant to give the same directions but we ended up going around in circles from all the yelling we were doing. It didn't help that I was hanging my head out of the window screaming CHRISTINEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE at every traffic light and passerby I saw.

We eventually made it to the next venue, another pub. We walk in, order more alcohol (God this place was generous with their alcohol......its like a double serve.......and cheaper as well) and tried to locate where the music was coming from. There was huge room where everyone was watching the game and betting on horses etc. We decided to avoid a repeat of the other place so we explored the pub some more. We eventually find the room with the juke box and plonk ourselves down right next to it. Before we pumped more music from it, we had a quick glance around the room only to see that everyone in there were big kiwis.....and the kiwis were loosing. Not a good time to play any music. So we settled for whatever was playing through the speakers. Since we couldn't play music, we decided to drink. Well, I decided to drink. I ended up having 3 glasses of wine infront of me, and since their glasses were so big, it totalled to about a bottle of wine. 20mins later, the room was spinning and I desperately needed some fresh air. I leave my bag and jacket with Moishii to grab some air on the streets. 5mins later, Moishii is screaming from the front door thinking I was run over by a car or something. I quickly run back to see him standing on the door step laughing his head off and trying to break down the door. Yep.....we got locked out. Luckily Moishii had my bag and jacket in his hands, so we jumped into the car for a bit of a joy ride. Alot of "CHRISTINEEEEEEEEEEE" screaming later, we ended up in Leichardt for some coffee.

We ended up at Tuscany on Norton Street. The reason we went there was because Sydney Weekender was doing a Norton Street special on Saturday, and Tuscany was on the show. That and it was close. After giving our orders to multiple waiters and still not getting anything, we were about to up and leave when they finally came with our drinks. It took another 15mins for the dessert to come through. We got the ricotta and nutella crepes which was nice, but nothing special. What was special was the people around us. The guy with his girlfriend sitting next to us couldn't stop staring at us. Maybe it had something to do with us leaving a voicemail on Christine's phone which involved alot of "CHRISTINEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" and "CHRRRRRRRRIIIIIISTINEEEEEEEE!!". After they left, 2 chicks sat down next to us. By this stage I was quite sober and we just sat there chatting away. The 2 chicks got up and left less than 10mins after sitting down and sculling a coffee, but not before one of the chicks gave me the dirties. She stood up, turned and gave me the dirtiest look and then walked off. Like WTF? And to make things bad, she was wearing a Gold belt AND carrying a gold purse. No one, who wears a gold belt and carries a gold purse has the right to give me the dirties. It should be me giving you the dirties for your taste. BITCH.

Anyway, the night ended soon after that. Somewhere along the line, I woke up with a spoon in my bag along with the nuts. Like wtf?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Night Noodle Markets

Since the rain held off quite well last night, me and Cookiez made a sudden decision to go to the Night Noodle Markets. Fingers crossed that it wouldn't be packed with people since the sky threatened to rain every few minutes. We arrive and lucky, the place is quite empty, theres heaps of tables and the queues were all very short. We were basically very disappointed in all the foods on offer this year. So disappointed that I'm refusing to post up any photos. 3/4 of the stalls were all thai food. All offering the same things. Pad Thai, curries, fish cakes. There were the usual East Ocean, Zilver, Bungalow 8, Cargo bar etc. Their menu hasn't changed from last year, but their prices have gone up and the serving have gone down in size. Charging $8.50 for a tiny container of mussels (Which is mostly shell) anyway is a bit much considering I can have unlimited mussels if I paid twice the price. East Ocean usually sells their salt and pepper calamari for ~$7.50 at the Chinatown night markets is suddenly charging $12. They looked good and smelled oh-so-sinful, but jacking up the price like that is uncalled for.

I was originally ecstatic that the lines were so short! I was hoping I could grab a huge selection of food and enjoy them at one of the many tables. But with the woeful selection available, we only bought 2 dishes each. 1 from the Singapore Chou Kuey Teow store. It looked soooooo good when we saw someone walking away with their steaming hot plate that we just had to get one each. There was plenty of sizzling action and "Wok Hei", the initial few bites were "yummm", but that quickly turned into a "Omg...I feel so greased up...". We didn't end up finishing all the food.

The other dish we got was from Banana blossom. Thai Style Pork sausages, papaya salad and fried sticky rice. This was the only unique combo/dish available out of all the thai stalls. And boy was it good! The pork sausages had a hint of curry taste to it, not too oily and very juicy and meaty. The papaya salad was refreshing and cut through any grease from the sausage. Then there was the fried sticky rice. MmMmmm the rice didn't really have any taste, but it was the texture, the CRUNCH. The conversation went a bit like this:

Me: OooOoo fried sticky rice! *CRUNCH* MmmmMmm
Cookiez: OooOoo *CRUNCH* MMmMmm
Cookiez: *CRUNCH* MmmMMmmMMmm

I wish there was a bit more of the papaya salad dressing for the rice to absorb the flavour, but it was still orgasmic regardless. So to Banana Blossom, we salute you! The only stall bothering to make an effort in creating something other than pad thai and curries. I'm definately going to visit their restaurant and sample what else they have on offer!