Just Desserts

Feb 13

The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

In anticipation of impending doom (read: full time employment) next week, I’ve spent the last few weeks catching up on things that probably will be eradicated from my life such as:

One of those breakfasts was at The Grounds of Alexandria. We circled the block for about 30 minutes, as there was no parking down Huntley St, the adjacent and parallel streets and the carpark. Luckily, someone left and we quickly stole the spot and made it just in time before the breakfast service ceased (11:30am).

We ordered the breakfast board ($19), some coffees ($3.50) and got a brioche ($13) on the house because they ran out of banana bread. 

image

The coffee was amazingly smooth yet strong - probably one of the best coffees in Sydney and as a bonus all of them came out with pretty love hearts (I’m a sucker for gimmicks). 

image

The breakfast board (top) consisted of toasted bread, double smoked ham, poached eggs, feta, pesto, cherry tomatoes and avocado. Although it seems simple, it burst with flavours and everything on the board was so fresh that I probably couldn’t replicate its awesomeness at home. 

The brioche (bottom left) too was nice, if you are after something sweet. I think the pistachios really made it extra special to eat. It was such a nice gesture that it was on the house, after they ran out of banana bread (what we wanted to order), even though we were happy to pay for it. 

image

Outside, there is outdoor seating, areas for the kids to play, gardens and even some pigs and chooks (I was mighty glad I didn’t order any pork or chicken before venturing outside). There’s even a research facility and markets every first Saturday of the month supporting local businesses. It’s a strange feeling that amongst the industrial warehouses of Alexandria and being so close to the CBD, there is such a wonderful place to relax, absorb the sun and have a really nice breakfast. 

The Grounds of Alexandria 

7A/2 Huntley Street, AlexandriaNSW

Opening Hrs: Weekdays: 7am-4pm, Weekends 7:30am-4pm

 

Feb 02

Juice, juice baby.

There’s a few weeks of vacation that I have left, and it feels like I have nothing left to do. When I got back from traveling, I fryed my eyeballs watching the AusOpen for 12+ hours of the day for two weeks; but now that that is over, I feel increasingly bored and restless immediately after I wake up.

So, I decided to get around to things I’ll yearn to do when I am working full-time and don’t have the time to. One of those things is getting a juice machine and juicing the crap out of everything!!

My first juicing attempt just involved ‘juicing carrots’ (from which I understand is the term supermarkets use for uglier carrots as opposed to the good looking table carrots). The carrot juice was nice by itself but was even nicer with rockmelon and honeydew. My favourite combination was carrots and watermelon which so healthy tasting and refreshing especially when ice cubes are added.

image

Another juicing attempt involved celery, broccoli, cucumber and carrots. Celery and broccoli by itself tasted really strong and you really need some fruit e.g. apples to cut the flavour. I added some blueberries, honeydew and rockmelon just to sweeten the juice. Also: beware - when mixing green and orange colours, the juice might come out as an unappetizing brown colour (Whoops, I must have skipped that class in year 1 on the colour wheel).

image

The great thing about juicing is that you require (practically) no skills whatsoever, you get a refreshing beverage after all your hard work and you get to feel pretty smug afterwards. Win-win!

Anyway, do you guys have any ideas on what I should do to occupy myself over the next two weeks? Also - do you guys juice and what are your favourite recipes? Let me know below, I’d love to try them!

Jan 23

End of uni trip!

After two months of trekking around 15 countries in Europe then New York and Canada, I’m back in Sydney! It’s taken almost a week to recover from jetlag [sleeping at 7pm and waking up at 3am] and the internal wretchedness of not wanting to go home to keep traveling. It was a good two months of eating and exploring and here’s a snapshot of my favourite food I had overseas.

Paris, France

I over-romanticised the idea of Paris and was shocked to encounter vast amounts of poverty, pick-pockets and an impolite amount of racism to any outsider. What made up for it? The food, of course. The daily baguettes, croissants and pain aux raisins for breakfast from boulangeries which flooded the city were amazing. Then, who can forget the patisseries; filled with zumbo-esque tarts, eclairs and macarons. Last but not least, I loved the hearty French meals including steak tartare, steaks and roast ducks glazed with wonderful cream based sauces and an unhealthy amount of butter which would even scare Iain “Hewy” Hewitson.

image

image

image 

Barcelona, Spain 

12 euros can buy you different amounts in each country. In Spain, it can buy you a frigging HUGE 3 course lunch. This paella was our entree shared between 2 people. It could have fed a starving country! We also got a gigantic mains (calamari and chips), flan for dessert and sangrias. It was a struggle to walk (read: roll) home that day. 

image

Berlin, Germany

image

Currywurst is a must eat in Germany. It is steamed and fried pork sausage with tomato sauce and curry powder on top. It’s mainly served from food trucks and can cause hypertension because it’s so frigging awesome. We alternated between currywurst and Germany’s other national dish: the falafel kebab.

Budapest, Hungary 

image

Kurtoskalacs (or chimney cakes) was something we discovered at the Budapest Christmas Markets. Essentially, it is dough wrapped around a wooden stick and then toasted on the coals until golden brown. Then, you can choose flavours such as chocolate, coffee, cinnamon or vanilla which is dusted on top along with sugar. It is sweet, half crunchy, half soft but is essential to blizzard like temperatures along with a cup of tea. 

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Denmark aka. the home of candles. Everywhere we went, there were always candles lit up (even at breakfast) and it was explained to us that people spend a lot of time indoors and light candles to create a cosy environment. Denmark is also the home of some awesome food. We had an outstanding meal with super fresh produce at Cafe Paludan - a bookstore/cafe in the university area for around 20AUD.

image

image

New York City, USA

I loved every single meal in New York, from the wonderful variety and healthiness of Wholefoods (especially the shelves and shelves of dairy free ice-cream, yoghurt and milk), to Five Guys burgers, Panera and Absolute Bagels, gyros and lamb on rice from the food vendors, yum cha in Chinatown and pastrami sandwiches from Kat’s. 

image

image

image

image

Montreal, Canada 

Last but not least is my obsession with TIM HORTONS in Canada. It is a coffee store chain which has more stores in Canada than McDonalds, with one every few metres or so. The thing that kept me coming back every day was their amazing French Vanilla Coffee, super cheap prices and that they are frigging everywhere in Canada. When I got back to the states, I sought out another 3 Timmy’s because my cravings for the coffee was so bad.

There are urban legends that there are drugs (nicotine/cocaine) in the coffee. That would explain why it’s always so packed and why I can’t stop craving it! ;) 

image

The only thing worse than coming back and craving all these things that Australia doesn’t have is suffering from travel withdrawal syndrome, looking and feeling like an out of shape athlete and being depressed from looking at my card statements.

Welcome back to reality!

Jan 21

Momofuku Noodle Bar, East Village

Over the Christmas/New Year break we were in New York City and stayed in an apartment in the East Village. There were heaps of really good restaurants (e.g. Momofuku and Ippudo) nearby and we decided to check out Momofuku on New Year’s Day. 

I get a little bit excited for anything David Chang(!) and almost shit myself when we got there at 9pm. There was an hour wait for a table of three, but one of my mates decided she didn’t want to wait and walked back home. When she left, the remaining two of us were immediately seated at the bar. The lesson here is, go in groups of two people! 

Looking around the restaurant, it was filled with a lot of hipster looking people and/or aspiring models. Even the waitstaff and chefs weren’t immune and instead of a uniform, the waitstaff were identifiable by their hipster clothes and caps.

image

We ordered some soju slushies before ordering Chang’s famous Pork Buns. The pork is thick, melt in your mouth goodness and accompanied with green onion, cucumber and the familiar taste of hoisin sauce (the dipping sauce for pho). I could sit in front of the tele and gladly devour another 5 of those pork buns with a cold beer. Yummmmm

image

Next up was the momofuku ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg. Although my ramen was good, the broth was lacking a bit of flavour. I much preferred my best friend’s spicy miso ramen with smoked chicken, green onion and sesame. That ramen was packed with flavour and was so addictive.  

The internet is heavily divided with some people thinking that the noodle bar is “overhyped”, “underwhelming” and “full of hipsters”. Although I agree that it is packed with hipsters, I thought the noodle bar was great and would definitely go back again.

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue, NYC

Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Oct 31

Farewell UNSW!

Going through the final stages of uni with absolutely zero motivation to finish my take home exams, a thought creeped up on me - that after I hand in this last final exam - that’s it for my university career! 5 years of my life will have elapsed (and I would have nothing to show for it)!

It then got me thinking of all my ‘last’ events that have occured:

UNSW, I’m going to miss you!

Now if you’ve finished uni or your HSC, or even just finished a semester - go on and proceed to part-ay! ;)

Sep 26

Laduree, Westfield Sydney

I’m not the girliest of girls. Heck, I’d normally have to suppress punching ya in the face if you attempted to talk to me about ‘hair’, ‘nail polish’, ‘shoes’ or ‘flowers’. But when I walked past Laduree on Monday night, it was like someone drugged and/or possessed me to queue up for 30 minutes and pay for a box of macarons at almost $4 each. That’s the only reason, people. The only reason. Otherwise, I blame the seductive pretty pinkness, the bows and boxes and everything screaming Gaye Paris! (Damn you Laduree!!!)

$23 for a box of 6 macarons

I got a mixed box with flavours such as pistachio, rasberry, almond, salted caramel (x 2) and coffee. After reading some of the reviews which said people were underwhelmed and the quality of the macarons weren’t that great - I found them to be quite nice and I actually liked them. They were probably better than the Zumbo and Baroque macarons. They weren’t as sweet as some macarons and the salted caramel was probably the most perfect salted caramel macaron I’ve ever had. Likewise, the pistachio and the almond were really balanced and not overly sweet.

So, overall, the macarons were quite nice but I probably wouldn’t come back due to the long wait and and the price was a bit of a rip.

Have you tried Laduree? What did you think?

Laduree, Westfield Sydney

100 Market St Level 3 Westfield
Sydney, NSW 2000

Ladurée on Urbanspoon

Sep 12

Ju Ju Japanese Tavern Restaurant, Kings Cross

Thanks BFF AA for inviting me out to use your Ju Ju Groupon voucher for Dudesday Tuesday! The Groupon deal consisted of all you can eat sushi for 2 for $35 also including unlimited edamame & miso soup and one drink (wine/tea/soft drink each).

First up, when you enter the restaurant you need to take off your shoes and put them into a plastic bag. BFF AA gave me no warning of this in advance, so I’m going to warn you - don’t wear your socks with holes in them / give your feet a good scrub because no one wants to have foot odour ruining their night ;) 

The booths

We ordered the sushi nigiri styled [where the fish is partially grilled and partially raw] (entree and main) and they plated up on the same plate pictured above. I enjoyed all of the sushi EXCEPT, the squid one which tasted a bit too rubbery for me.

Rainbow roll! 

Also enjoyable were the spider (soft shell crab) and prawn sushi rolls!

Overall, we thought the sushi was nice (although not as good as Sushi Tengoku), the service was polite and attentive and the food came out pretty quickly. It’s a lovely restaurant!

Additionally, the Groupon voucher was pretty good value, considering the rainbow roll would have normally set us back $18.80 and the nigiri styled sushi main and entree would have set us back $25 and $15 respectively!

Ju Ju Japanese Tavern Restaurant, Kings Cross

Kingsgate Shopping Centre/Shop 320 Bayswater Rd
Sydney, NSW 2011
Ph: (02) 9357 7100
Ju Ju on Urbanspoon

Sep 05

N2 Extreme Gelato, Chinatown.

Some readers might know that I embarked on a ‘no-sugar’ diet a while back. As a result of the no-sugar diet, I noticed I felt fresher and didn’t feel as gluggy. However, this ‘no-sugar’ diet has fallen apart - between Moochi Mondays and Dudesday Tuesdays, my sugar intake has just increased exponentially.

For yesterday’s Dudesday Tuesdays, AA and I decided to check out N2 Extreme Gelato, in Chinatown - of which check-ins have been spamming our Facebook newsfeeds for the last few weeks.

The first thing that catches your eye with you get there is the cool lab coats the staff wear, the conical flasks (hello year 10 science!) and quirky icecream flavours. You choose your flavour and they mix in liquid nitrogen and viola, you have your icecream.

We got the geisha juice consisting of green tea and pepper and rosemary and honey ($6 each). For the geisha’s juice, a pepper mill was actually cracked and it just tasted 100% like pepper mixed in an icecream. Or some sort of pepper steak mixed into an icecream. The one on the right hand side wasn’t any better - the rosemary and honey somehow tasted very savoury and gluggy as hell. We thought it tasted like a falafel mixed in with icecream.

After grimacing with each lick, we had to leave the icecream and leave pretty disappointed. A positive I could find is the icecream was super silky smooth (smoother than any icecream I’ve ever had)… but other than that, it was a struggle.

(Last photo from N2 Extreme Gelato)

Afterwards, I went home and read a lot of reviews of N2 and a lot of them seem to be positive. So, I don’t know if I’m completely missing something, chose the wrong flavours or just got a bad batch.

Let me know what you think!

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

N2 Extreme Gelato

43/1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Sep 01

Rule(r) of Law

Not like I’ve used a ruler in 7 years but this made my nerdy heart jump with glee. 

That, on top of some free open day fairy floss, popcorn and good ol’ pad thai at the Spot topped off my last Saturday class at uni.

Hurrah, no more waking up early on Saturdays! Yayayayayayayay!

Aug 12

The Cake Merchant

After my birthday, I developed a slight obsession for baked cheesecakes. Luckily, I stumbled upon the Cake Merchant (Liverpool and Bonnyrigg) for the best cakes I’ve ever eaten in my life. This post might sound like an infomercial, but it is not and am just overly excited because I love them.

There always seems to be a massive queue of people at the Cake Merchant and everyone buys 2-10 cakes each because they are both so frigging delicious and so frigging cheap. I also love the lovely packaging, the really happy service and extended opening hours which is handy when picking up cakes after work (particularly when you forget someone’s birthday!!!!).

Whole cheesecake: $24.90 for a baked cheesecake. Other cakes vary from $22.70 to $23.70 each.

Half peanut butter New York style baked cheesecake (Half: $13.50) and half blueberry New York style baked cheesecake (Half: $13.50).

The peanut butter one is currently my favourite, but I am also enjoying the blueberry. I was worried that the peanut butter would be too sweet, but it definitely was not - there were bits of peanut, some gooey peanut butter and some chocolate in there but it was never too rich. Boy, it perfectly complimented the frigging amazing cheesecake; perfect amount of cheese, richness and base. Mmmm. Everything about it was so good, as evidenced by my family of 4 demolishing the cake which is supposed to serve 16 - 20 people.

Other baked cheesecake flavours include: Caramel, Ricotta Almond Crumble, Memphis, Butter Scotch & White Chocolate, Wicked Chocolate Swirl, Berry, Tiramisu and the original baked cheesecake. They also have chilled cheesecakes, mudcakes, tortes and various other cakes like pavlova, sticky date pudding, chocolate tiro delice, coffee hazelnut gateau and my next one I’m going to try: red velvet…! (OMG! Delish!!!)

The Cake Merchant

Shop 1 72-78 Hoxton Park Road
Liverpool NSW 2170
PH: (02) 9822 7155

Shop 1 1 Rigg Place Bonnyrigg
NSW 2177
PH: (02) 9822 1111

www.thecakemerchant.com.au