Sunday, 30 May 2010

Happy Birthday Chris - Sanders Waterfront Restaurant

Cerveza del dia - Sol from Mexico.

Seared scallops with green pea aioli, crispy prosciutto, kipfler potato

Sydney rock oysters

Chargrilled grainfed beef tenderloins, saute button mushrooms, red wine onion jam with sauce financiere

Tarragon battered flathead fillets, hand cut desiree chips, caper & dill aioli

Not bad for a Sunday afternoon down on the Parramatta River waterfront.

Coffee infused creme brulee, vanilla ice cream and some fruit... date if memory serves.

I'd never even heard of Cabarita before today. It is on Sydney Harbour about half way between Sydney and Parramatta. Sanders Waterfront Restaurant is at d'Albora Marina, Cabarita Park, Cabarita. It wasn't too shabby and puts on a decent solid feed.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Pub grub at the Shakespeare

We spare no expense for the German visitors and hit the Shakespeare Hotel for $10 steaks and trivia.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

After the footy it is time for tapas and the beer of the day

Cafe Asturiana in Sydney for tapas. Just what you need after a hard day at the footy. Ambar is my cerveza del día.

Peter Garrett wasn't the only VIP at the footy...

There's the usual footy commentators doing their pre-match spiel before the game. Below we have Jason "The Chief" Dunstall and Alastair Lynch.
And of course one of the German branch of the family (hey Ben) visiting for a couple of weeks and here to get a footy fix before going back to Deutschland for that funny round ball game.

Peter Garrett

Former Midnight Oil front man Peter Garrett was at the footy (Swans v Dockers at the SCG) to toss the coin. So I had to get my photo taken with him. I asked if I could get a photo and he suggested that I should jump in too. I managed to stuff up the settings with the camera so the first picture taken was a total fail. This is the result for the retake which Peter was very obliging to re-pose for.

Tall isn't he. I'm 180cm (around 6 foot) and I felt like a tubby little Oompa-Loompa next to Pete. Peter is a friendly guy in a not too patronising way that some politicians are too. Hopefully being a government minister these days doesn't totally ruin the man.
I am a total Oils fan boy from way back. The first time I saw Midnight Oil live was in 1982 and sadly the last was WaveAid in 2005. Hopefully I managed not to make a complete arse of myself today.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Din Tai Fung

Apparently Din Tai Fung serves the "world's tastiest dumpling". That has to be true. It is written on the menu. If truth be told though, they are pretty bloody tasty. DinTaiFung is a Taiwan based chain of restaurants that have been taking the world by storm. This one here in Sydney opened in 2008 and is proving to be very popular.

We hadn't planned on coming to DinTaiFung. We had come into the city for hair cuts and I thought I was going to miss beer O'clock as well. I usually give myself a buzz cut, no. 4, and then get Michelle to clean up the bits I missed afterwards. But Michelle was going into town for a haircut so I thought I would tag along and get one myself. Beats doing it myself... and the head massage... But I digress. Back to beer O'clock, this is a Taiwan Green Beer. The label is green not the beer and it wasn't too bad.

Below we have Xiao Long Bao and other goodies. Xiao Long Bao (pork dumplings) is the house speciality and could well be the best dumplings I've ever had. You get 6 or 8 in a serve. There are even instructions on how to eat them. First you dump them in a ginger, soy and vinegar mixture and then place it on a spoon. You then pierce the dumpling with with your chopstick and the soup contained in these delicate little morsels drains onto your spoon. You pick up the dumpling and eat it and then drink the soup from the spoon. We also had another serve of similar looking dumplings that contained crab, shrimp and roe. The dumpling with soup inside reminded us of a croquet filled with foie gras soup we had at Calendrier in Osaka.

Drunken Chicken.

Shrimp and pork shao-mai.

Silken tofu with pork-floss and century eggs. Floss made from pork. Could there be anything more decadent?

Sauteed water cress.

Mango pudding.

Above is the kitchen where the each dumpling is hand crafted. The pace is is not as frenetic as you would expect with the numbers of dumplings turned out. Each dumpling is a work of art.

DinTaiFung is in the World Square Shopping Centre at 644 George Street Sydney.

Note: I forgot my trusty Lumix Lx3 this evening and had to go back to snapping with the ol' mobile so the pix won't be as "sharp" as usual.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Metallica and their promoters (Michael Coppel) are greedy bastards

Metallica tickets went on sale yesterday in a Ticketek Pre-sale before the main sale on Thursday. I'm a bit of a fan of these heavy metal legends but for one reason or another I've missed their previous tours of Oz. So I was pretty keen to get on-line and snag a ticket. I managed to log on a 5 minutes too late and missed out but I don't think I'll bother trying to get a ticket when the main sale starts on Thursday for a couple of reasons:
1. Tickets are $150. That is expensive but not a show stopper in itself.
2. There is a note on the Ticketek website that says:
"Guidelines released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, which regulate how credit card merchant fees are collected, allow for retailers to pass on the cost of credit card payments to the consumer. In this instance the promoter has elected to pass these fees onto consumers that are paying by credit card, and therefore the Transaction Fee has been increased to cover this cost."
Okay that is fine. It is happening more and more often. I expected another dollar or two on top of Ticketek's usual fee of what I still consider to be still an outrageous $4.95 when you still have to pick up the ticket from the box office yourself. So I expected a fee of maybe $7 or $8. No. The fee for Metallica is $15.90. FIFTEEN DOLLARS AND NINETY CENTS! Are they fracking kidding. On top of a ticket price of $150 they want another $15.90. Oh, and that is the fee for picking up the ticket yourself from the box office. It costs more to get it mailed.

The capacity of Acer Arena in Sydney is about 21,000. Lets assume that for the 3 Metallica gigs the capacity is only 15000 people (the shows will sell out though). They are going to make 6.7 million dollars from ticket sales and on top of that another three quarters of a million in ticket surcharges. Ticketek will take a third so the promoters (Michael Coppel) will still make a lazy half a million just from the credit card surcharge alone. If they get 20000 punters at each show in Sydney they'll make 9 million dollars in ticket sales and up to 1 million dollars on top of that from the ticket surcharge. This is from Sydney alone. Metallica is also playing in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Greedy fucking bastards.

Update 13-05-2010: I did try and buy a ticket when the main sale went on and I missed out. Karma?

Stars - mucking around after midnight

The smoke has cleared and, for Sydney, the sky is brilliantly clear. There are actually stars in the picture. Depends how bright your monitor is I suppose.
8 second exposure at F/2 and ISO-100.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A bit of smoke around

Apparently there was some burning off in the Blue Mountains. Hazard reduction burning. A perfect day for it. Wind conditions were perfect enough to blow all the smoke down into the Sydney basin. 4 million people all smelling the same thing at the same time. Makes you feel part of a community. An asthmatic community.