Friday, 30 October 2009

Tomodachi Express

This is new. A Tomodachi Express in Chifley Square. Very handy to work too. We've been going to the Tomodachi in the Broadway Shopping centre for years so it was cool to find this little express version in town. It hasn't got a sushi train though. :( But it does have decent sashimi and tempura prawns. :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

End of an era on teh internetz - cya geocities

The venerable old Geocities is no more. Yahoo! finally shut down geocities today. :(
Luckily I remembered to backup the last few web pages I still had on geocities yesterday. I think I made my first geocities page in the 90s... well 1999... that is still the 90s. Geocities was cool because it was free. Now if you go here all you get is an error message from Yahoo!. Apparently if you use the Internet Archive some geocities pages may still be retrievable. Actually, even one of mine has been archived. Check this out for ordinary (sorry Dave). Even the page I did for our outback trip can be found on the wayback machine here. Just goes to show that if you did something embarrassing (or not) on the intertubes at some point it may come back to haunt you. Heh.

I've worked in places that just had a blanket ban on all of geocities because of the pron, which made it difficult because there were a few gems hidden amongst all that shite. There must have been millions of users at its peak. So farewell Geocities. You were good because you were free.

Now where did I hide that sex tape?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Four in hand 4

'A Pig Went To Market' Hats Off Dinner at the Four In Hand Dining Room as part of the Sydney International Food Festival.

Over indulgence should be a sin. Actually it is. Gluttony. Damned I am I tell ya. I haven't felt this stuffed leaving a restaurant in ages. Four in Hand put on a very fine spread. When you factor in that it included the vino in the price of admission it was a bargain. This is another place in which we're yet to be disappointed. They well deserve their 1 Hat. Probably a little underrated if anything. This evening they certainly delivered on their piggy promise. I'm reminded of this quote from the Simpsons:

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal!
Homer: He he he... ooh... yeah... right, Lisa. A wonderful... magical animal.

'Pig Out' - white chocolate parfait with chocolate delice and Coopers beer ice cream
NV Chambers Rosewood Vineyard Muscadelle, Rutherglen, Victoria
Almost expected some sort of pig product in the 'Pig Out'. In a way I'm glad there wasn't. Not saying it couldn't be done (maybe El Bulli in Spain?) but something chocolate was a great way to finish. And finish it I did. Even stuffed so much I thought I would barf but I couldn't leave this chocolatey goodness behind. The beer ice-cream tasted of honey with a slight hint of beer. Well done.

Four in hand 3

Roast bone Marrow with crisp pigs tail and parsley sauce
2007 Heinrich Hartl Pinot St Laurent, Reisenberg, Austria
Marrow is always a winner. Love it. Crispy pigs tail was succulent but watch out for the bones. I was seriously struggling after this I was so stuffed. This was so rich. One more meat course and then dessert. Sheeit.

Pork loin with charcuterie sauce, toffee apples and pigs finger
2007 Domaine Clos de Cazeaux Cotes-du-Rhone, Rhone Valley, France
When this came out I knew I was done. There was no way I was going to finish. Goddamn it was delicious and rich though. Perfect crackling and the apples were sweet little buggers. The loin was tender. And yet, I was so stuffed I couldn't finish. How unlike me. Michelle did alright though.

Four in hand 2

Love the picture of the big squid that almost fills an entire wall.

Confit pork belly with baked beans and soused sardines
2005 Domaine Pichot Vouvray Demi Sec, Loire Valley, France
Tender little morsel of pork belly.

Zucchini flower stuffed with black pudding, chorizo broth and pearl barley
2008 Telmo Rodriguez 'Dehesa Gago' Tempranillo, Toro, Spain
Nice way to hide the black pudding. Very tasty though and the chorizo broth tasted like chorizo. I wonder how they distill the flavour so well like that? Funny, I used to hate pearl barley as a kid.

Four In Hand

Another Hats Off Dinner presented by the the Sydney International Food Festival. This time at the Four In Hand Dining Room. The theme for this one is 'A pig went to market'. Yep, it is a piggy themed night. Nice to note that the price for the feast includes the vino. Cool. Bring on the pork.

Amuse bouche
Potato, Rosemary and Pancetta Soup
Tasty little sucker.

Sashimi Tuna with pea and ham puree and tempura ham hock
2007 Protero Viognier, Adelaide Hills, SA
Nice spin on traditional pea and ham soup. I see where this is all going. :)

Roast scallops with prosciutto, salted rockmelon and lemon verbena vinaigrette
2007 Domain Jean Luc Mader Pinot Gris, Alsace, France
Perfect scallops. I haven't had rockmelon flavoured sorbet before and, again, a nice twist on a traditional restaurant dish.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd organisation were in Martin Place today encouraging people to sign a petition to allow Captain Paul Watson a visa into Australia to allow him to re-join his ship. Apparently the Australian Government is making the Sea Shepherd guys jump through hoops to delay or stop the Steve Irwin heading south to protest this year's whale hunt. Here is a link to Sea Shepherds take on the whole sorry tale.

When we sailed down to Antarctica a few years ago I was looking over the railing and a minke whale swam up along side and swam in formation with us for a while. I still recall that big beautiful eye looking up at us. It was completely obvious she was checking us out. Then with a flick of her tail she turned and headed back out into the Southern Ocean. If you imagine the rubber model (pictured) in Martin Place and remove the ugly harpoon and blood my minke looked exactly like that. She was also turned over slightly on her side to give her a better view of the ship.
Until we went to Tonga a couple of years ago that minke was the first best closest sight of a whale I ever had. It is still special because it was the first and because of where we were. Wander over to the Sea Shepherd website and buy a t-shirt or something.
Speaking of Tonga. My Whaleswim video is coming up 2 years old and has been viewed on Youtube almost 20,000 times. If you haven't seen it before or it has been a while it is right below. Enjoy.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Penguin Classics WTF?

Well this shits me no end. The Sydney Morning Herald says Penguin classics prove too risque for Australia Post. Apparently Lolita is a little to controversial for Australia Post so they've removed it and a couple of other titles from sale. The article ends with this, Penguin Australasia's sales director, Peter Blake, said: ''I guess there have been complaints from customers and they have reacted by removing them from sale. Retailers can do what they like.''
If that is the case it is pretty weak of Australia Post to cave to the defenders of public virtue in this instance and ignore problems with their own staff like the treatment of injured workers.

It also does the SMH no credit to use
this picture (left) of one of the "banned"
books to illustrate the article when the
actual cover for Anais Nin's Delta of Venus,
formerly on sale in Australia Post,
is this one (right).
Way to provoke a response SMH. Not that there is anything wrong with the original cover by the way. The whole range of Popular Penguins use the plain orange cover. It is part of their $9.95 paperback promotion. They blurb it as Popular Penguins At A Perfect Price. Which makes it doubley stupid of Australia Post to remove the books based on title or theme alone. The covers are certainly inoffensive. What is next Australia Post? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? It does use the "N" word after all. Lady Chatterley's Lover? Sexy times. Junky? Tsk tsk drugs. Dracula? Ooh scarey. The Mind of God? How dare a scientist talk about the search for meaning in the universe.
We're not talking fringe or avant-garde or below the counter porn books. We're talking Penguin fracking Classics. You know, literature. Maybe these wowser whingers should go out a read a book some time. No, not just that one.
By the way I've read Lolita and it is a great book. True, a distasteful topic but it is handled supremely well and in no way does it glorify the protagonist or his crimes. So there.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Marilyn Manson all done - review

Marilyn Manson
Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park, Sydney
14 October 2009
I haven't seen so much black and make-up and tatts and facial piercings since... I got old. Goth sheik is still with us and my doesn't it look good (no sarcasm - I do like the look). There's not much you can say about Marilyn Manson that hasn't been said before. He is a package and a half. More than a half now I think. He has stacked on the kilos since he did the cover picture for Mechanical Animals (did that really come out in 1998? - sheesh, I am getting old). I think the new Marilyn may have eaten the old Marilyn. This new Marilyn can still strut and preen and swagger but probably not as lightly nowadays. There's a bit of nasty misogynistic language, Marilyn goes out of his way to offend, but it is all part of his schtick - the whole shock offend-your-parents rock horror show thing. Apparently he doesn't get the protestors out the front of the venues like he did in the old days. A pity really because I made sure I wore my most offensive t-shirt just in case.
Essentially it was a rock'n'roll show by a seasoned performer. He's been doing this a long long time. During the cover of Eurythmics Sweet Dreams some dickhead threw a beer in Marilyn's face. Down went the mic in a howl of feedback and Marilyn stormed off. The band kept playing and we all knew the words. When Marilyn re-appeared he had a spray for the dick who beaned him (see video below) and then he continued with the show. Tip of the hat for Marilyn there. While I'm on crowd behaviour, except for the aforementioned dick this crowd was a well behaved as any I have ever been in. They might look "scary" but I reckon half them are just nice kids playing dress ups. Actually the worst behaved crowds are usually those once year wannabees from the western suburbs who go to the Big Day Out. Give me this inked up all black crowd any day of the week.
So all in all it was fun. It was great to finally see Marilyn Manson. Oh, and no puppies were harmed in the name of art either. :-)
Here is the setlist. And here is review about the show in Perth from another perspective.

Marilyn Manson 13

Beautiful People

Marilyn Manson 12

Sweet Dreams cover - all going nicely until some dickhead hits Marilyn on the head with a drink.

Then the aftermath of drink throwing incident.

Marilyn Manson 11

Marilyn Manson 10

Marilyn Manson 9

Marilyn Manson 8

Marilyn Manson 7

Marilyn Manson 6

Marilyn Manson 5

Marilyn Manson 4

Marilyn Manson 3

Marilyn Manson 2

Marilyn Manson

Just arrived. Lots of freaks... like us.

Marilyn Manson Tonight

Oh dear. I'm off to see the... um... controversial flamboyant legendary Anti-Christ Superstar Marilyn Manson himself tonight at the Hordern Pavilion. This should be fun. Obviously I will be burning in hell after this. So much for rejecting Satan and all his works.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Training it home

Becasse 5

Later edit: I've updated the earlier posts with descriptions of the dishes and who the dishes were inspired by.

I'll update this with what we had and how it was later. But to sum up quickly now. It was awesome. Faith has been renewed in Hatted restaurants. Thanks Becasse.

The dinner was called Heroes and Masters. The menu states, "This is a tribute to our heroes and masters and the dishes we've enjoyed over the years. Some we've endeavoured to replicate and others we've taken the inspiration, but all pay homage to these great chefs and amazing temples of gastronomy - Enjoy!"

And enjoy we did. This was awesome. I think this was our 4th visit to Becasse and we are yet to be disappointed. Lately we've become disillussioned with a few of the hatted restaurants both here in Sydney and in Melbourne but Becasse has shone. Next week we're off to the Four In Hand restaurant for their Hats Off dinner. They've called it, This Little Piggy Went To Market....

Petit fours and coffee. I was so stuffed I couldn't even finish Michelle's P4s.

Becasse 4

Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
2 Star Michelin, UK
Soupe a la fraise avec un sorbet au lait
Strawberry soup on a meringue with creamy vanilla sorbet on top... droooool. Slobber. I...

Alain Ducasse, Louise XV Monaco
3 Star Michelin, MC
Louise XV chocolate praline
2007 Mas Amiel, Maury, Roussillon
This is almost as good as the signature chocolate dessert at Quay. Did I say almost? It is as good. Most def. Aai. Divine rich chocolate and salty sweet gooey caramel praline. Jesus this is good.

This was sublime. Thank you Sydney food festival for motivating these top restaurants to put on these fabulous dinners. The two desserts were among the top 5 best desserts I've ever had.

Becasse 3

Marc Veyrat, Le Ferme de Mon Pere
3 Star Michelin, FR
Le bar eclate, laitance de chocolate blanc, sirop de citron vert et citronnelle
2005 Darling Park Reserve Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
This was an exquisite piece of fish. So delicate sitting on a white chocolate sauce. What better to top off this work of art than a paint brush to paint on the citrus syrup. Michelle called this the peche de resistance... Heh heh heh.

Andoni Aduriz, Mugaritz
2 Star Michelin, SP
A piece of veal, roasted and perfumed with vine cuttings and embers, cinders and salts
with Joel Robuchon's Paris mash
and Marc Veyrat's forgotten vegetables
2006 Poonawarra Estate The Cuttings, Eden Valley
When this came out I heard a bloke say it smelled like a bushfire. And it did. You would think that being covered in essentially ash it would taste like... well... charcoal and ash and smoke. If you thought that you would be wrong. This was that over used word again... delicious. And tender. The mash was divine.

Becasse 2

Joel Robuchon, L'Atelier Paris
2 Star Michelin, FR
L'oeuf de poule cocotte et sa creme legere de champignons des bois
2006 Domaine Champalou Vouvray, Loire Valley
Quite possibly the best dish ever. Amazing mushroom mousse type thing on a poached egg over some herb thing. Delicious.

Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
3 Star Michelin, FR
Ormeau, palourde, amande et moules d'Espagne aux cepes seches, Bouillabaisse mousseuese et gelee d'oursin
2007 Yves Cuilleron Viognier, Vin de Payes des Collines Rhodaniennes, Rhone Valley
Seafood and bouillabaisse mousse. Not what I was expecting when they said bouillabaisse. Again delicious.

Becasse - Heroes and Masters

As part of the Sydney International Food Festival Becasse is participating in Hats Off. Tonight we having the Heroes and Masters degustation. It is a tribute to Justin's heroes and masters and the dishes they've enjoyed over the years.
1. Bread

2. Thomas Keller, French Laundry and Per Se
3 star Michelin, US
Oysters and Pearls
1996 Lanson Gold Label, Champagne

3. Heston Blumenthal, The Fat Duck
3 Star Michelin, Uk
Beetroot and Orange - Oooh this is weird but delicious.
I got a top up of the Champagne... heh heh heh.