If you know me, you’d know that I can’t stand when there are blatant errors in spelling, particularly on a restaurant menu or sign. I forgive it a bit more when it’s an ethnic restaurant and English is not their first language but it blows me away that anyone would print a menu or sign without consulting with a native speaker to make sure that everything is accurate.
I am not going to name the place but me and hubby had a very good giggle while sitting down to have a drink in a local, city shopping centre this weekend. I KNOW that the sign is meant to read “ASSORTED ROLLS” but by abbreviating it as “Ass. rolls” (even with the period) is pretty hilarious! Needless to say, they were the least busy counter in the food court.
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Posted in Australia, Celebrity Chefs, Culinary School, Miscellaneous/Quirky, News Headlines, Restaurant, Television, tagged Celebrity Chefs, Chocolate Tempering, David Bromley, Gastronomy and Communication, Julie Goodwin, Masterchef Australia, Matt Moran, Poh Ling Yeow on July 21, 2009|
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Isn’t it amazing? Apparently approximately 3.7 million Australian viewers (that’s not even counting the regional country areas) tuned in Sunday night for the Masterchef Australia two-hour finale show – that’s nearly 20% of the country’s population and highest rated non-sports show ever! It is so interesting to see that a food-related show was more popular than Australian Idol. Communication of food has definitely come a long way, especially with the rise of celebrity chefs and reality shows. Food is now viewed as entertainment and being “sold” to people of all walks of life. These are the types of topics that I have studied and written about while doing my Masters of Gastronomy course and it will be interesting to see whether this type of reality show will actually increase interest in cooking or whether it will just make everyone into a food critic.
At first, I wasn’t watching every episode of the show because I had no idea that it was on nearly every night (and it didn’t help that I just had a baby). Then when the show got down to its top 20 contestants, I started to pay more attention. As with any reality show, I started to vest some interest in certain individuals and found others bland or arrogant. But on Monday morning when I went to read the online articles about the Masterchef finale, I was amazed to see so much negativity out there. The final two contestants were Poh and Julie who are vastly different types of cooks but equally passionate. It astounds me that so many people who commented on various websites think that the competition was “rigged” towards favouring Julie. Even the contestants felt that the judging was fair based on their performance that night. No need to be so nasty people! It is just a TV show!
Chris was my initial favourite because his dishes were unique and inventive but I can see why he didn’t win on the night that Donna Hay was the guest judge because she did say that “layers of brown” were the worst for food photography and all of Chris’ dishes were some shade of brown and not very photo-friendly. That was the one night where looks were just as important as taste and I don’t think Chris had a chance with how his dish looked compared to two women. On a side note, I was surprised to finally see Donna Hay’s face! She is the queen of publishing here but never shows her face so I had always wondered if she was young or old or whatever. She’s not what I expected and those high heels she was wearing that night were very stiletto!
When it came down to the two finalists, I didn’t care who won – I thought that they both deserved it and that they both brought their own unique style to the competition. Poh Ling Yeow is definitely an artist and I love her meticulous ways in plating and desserts (but I wonder why she’s so messy when cooking). Julie Goodwin is generous in her style and her food exudes comfort. That Matt Moran signature chocolate plate was very tough (lots of skill needed) and I don’t think a lot of people at home really appreciated that unless they’ve done all of the desserts components before. The thing that really got me on the night of the challenge was when Poh put her chocolate cigar in the fridge even though the recipe said no to!! In culinary school when I learned my chocolate skills, it took me three months to learn how to temper chocolate properly and had to do it to the point where I used my bottom lip to test for temperature, not a thermometer…it is by no means easy. I think perhaps no one explained the point of tempering to them and thus she thought that chilling the chocolate would make it set better (or firmer) but the whole point of tempering is so that the chocolate sets at room temperature (with a beautiful shine and good snap when broken).
Then there are the controversies of on set romances and the young ones belonging to a “Kiddie Mafia”. The headline that makes me laugh the most is that Poh “shockingly” posed nude for Austrlaian artist David Bromley! For god’s sake, she’s an artist – it’s no big deal! It is not as if she posed for some porn magazine! And really, who cares?
I saw Poh on Saturday at Adelaide’s Central Market. She was talking to some friends outside of T-Bar and I wanted to tell her good luck but then I realised that if she is already in Adelaide, then the finale was obviously taped a while ago and that she already knew who had won and I didn’t want it to be awkward. Besides, I’m sure she wants to be left alone. Or perhaps I didn’t feel like being rejected, like the time when I was on the same Qantas flight as Kylie Kwong and when I asked her if I can have a photo with her while waiting for our baggage, she said no…but she wished me a happy Chinese New Year…
Oh and for those of you who don’t live in Australia, Julie was the winner.
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Posted in Animals, Australia, Garden, Miscellaneous/Quirky, Non-Food, Possums, tagged Australia, Garden possums, kangaroo, koala, Ring-tailed possum on April 15, 2009|
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In a previous post, I was bitching about the tedious task of having to always have our garden draped with bird-netting due to these cuddly Ring-tailed possums that live and forage in most urban neighbourhoods around here. When I tell my friends in the U.S. that we have Possums, most think of those ugly triangular-faced creatures in North America. Possums here are marsupials, relatives of cute Koalas and Kangaroos but although cute, they wreak havoc on gardens…including mine. I have a love and hate relationship with them but I must confess – last year, I saw one walking along the top of my brush fence with a baby on her back and that was absolutely adorable.
Well, I finally got a picture of one sitting in the neighbour’s Lilly Pilly tree.
Australian Ring-tailed Possum: They may be cute but will decimate your garden.
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Posted in American, Korean, Los Angeles, Mexican, Miscellaneous/Quirky, News Headlines, Restaurant, street food, Technology, Travel on April 15, 2009|
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I haven’t even upgraded my iPod to an iTouch (I have an old iPod Mini) nor have I purchased a new laptop in many years. I have only just upgraded my mobile phone that includes a good camera, MP3 and internet capability but I can barely keep up with technology.
Twitter is, of course, the new micro-blogging site where you can tell the world every minute detail of your thoughts and doings at any given time. I signed up for an account the other day but I’m still wondering how to incorporate it into my life. So far, the only way that Twitter seems useful to me is if you use it on the go with your mobile phone but it’s definitely not made for stay-at-home mothers. Twitter’s usefulness in the food industry is a different story especially when restaurants update their menus and their whereabouts to all their following fans. This is especially useful if a restaurant’s location changes nightly such as a taco truck in Los Angeles.
NPR (National Public Radio) in the U.S. did an article on Kogi, the Korean-Mexican mobile restaurant (aka Taco Truck) in L.A. In the article Tweeting Food Truck Draws L.A.’s Hungry Crowds, writer Ben Bergman talks about how Kogi’s success is owed largely from their fans following Twitter to track where Kogi will be parked on a particular night and what specials there are each evening. Apparently, there are over 8,000 people following Kogi on Twitter and since joining Twitter over a week ago, I also became a Kogi follower even though I live nowhere NEAR L.A. and am not planning a trip there anytime soon. I am following Kogi just in case I get to go to L.A. within the year and use my cool phone to track them down one evening. I have to say that the combination of Mexican and Korean – two of my most favourite foods (apart from Japanese) makes me want to hop on the next plane to try their tacos.
Looks like old-fashioned food reviews in newspapers are not going to be the only influence on a food business anymore – seems like technology has caught up with networking sights such as Facebook and Twitter and to keep up with the trends and to attract future crowds, we have to keep our minds open and sharpened to the latest marketing tool. But I have to admit, even though I’m not exactly old, it is truly exhausting keeping up.
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Posted in American, Australia, Ex-pat Experiences, Health, Miscellaneous/Quirky, Soda, tagged 7 Eleven, Big Gulp, Cheap Soda, Coke, Empty Calories, Obesity in America, soft drinks on September 3, 2008|
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I personally feel that SODA and its INEXPENSIVENESS in America, is one of the many causes of the huge obesity problem in the U.S.A. Don’t get me wrong, Australia has a big problem too but the stats don’t lie, the U.S.A. is the fattest nation on earth and it is because junk food is so cheap and accessible. According to MSN Health & Fitness who got its source from Beverage Digest, Americans spent $68.1 Billion USD on carbonated soft drinks last year which averages it as 828 8-ounce servings per capita!!! That is crazy. What a load of empty calories that is!
Soda is one of those things that you can get extra super duper sized in America. At 7-eleven stores in most parts of the U.S.A., you can get buy their “Double Gulp” soda in 64 ounces (1.89 litres or 1/2 gallon)!! Also, if you are on the market for a brand new car in the states, check out how much larger their cup holders are…big enough to at least fit a “Big Gulp”. In Australia, our cars are big, much like in the states but cup holders are still small and the biggest sized plastic soda drink it will fit are the 500ml (16 oz) bottles. If you go to fast food restaurants here like at McDonald’s, a “small” drink is what I remember a small was in my childhood – I think they are now called “kiddie” size in the U.S.A. I was surprised to have gone home recently and ordered a “medium” drink and they gave me this HUGE thing that was not medium in my head.
I am not against soda – in fact I do love a frozen coke as a treat but I rarely buy soda for the house. Part of the reason is because it does nothing good for my body and the other is because it’s so bloody expensive. When I first moved here, I was shocked at just how much little bottles of soda cost ($3) and was able to curb my American taste for sugary drinks. Now, I go to the supermarket and marvel at the prices of 6-packs of Coke. As you see in my picture, a 6-pack of Diet Coke, on Special, is $7.54!! Now how much is that with the conversion rate you ask? Well, up until last month, the Australian vs. U.S. Dollar were nearly 1 to 1 but the Aussie $ has slipped this week so as of Sept. 3 ($1US = 0.82AU), the 6-pack costs $6.22 at a GROCERY store. I’ve seen 36 cans of name-brand soda on sale for $10 in the U.S.A. and it gets way cheaper than that if you go to the big wholesale stores or Wal-Mart and especially if you buy generic brands.
I think I’ve made enough comparisons and I’m done w/my ranting. I just find the cultural differences so interesting and I think that American beverage companies should raise the price of soda to help with the nationwide obesity problem and perhaps, people might start losing weight!
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OMG!!! After years of dealing with the Australian immigration, we have now been granted Permanent Resident (“Permie”) status!!! It has taken nearly 8 months since we applied for it and after 3 different visas prior to this and thousands of dollars later, we have the right and privilege to come and go freely from this beautiful country!! I really can sympathize with people who immigrate to any country now and can understand why there are so many illegal immigrants. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. Going through this process has been one of the most trying, frustrating, hair-ripping, financially-draining things we have had to do but it was worth it in the end. I just don’t know why they make you suffer so much before you get your prize…especially since Australia NEEDS more people. The thing I am grateful for the most is that I can now get access to great medical care for free, if I need it although most people (including us) have private health insurance as well to cover extras. Still, it is something that I hope that Americans will have access to some day. The U.S. being the only industrialized nation without the right to free medical care is sad to me.
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Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that Andrew Wheeler, co-contributor of Very Good Taste blog in the UK thinks that every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it.
Here’s what to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
I was surprised that I am only missing 24 items – not bad for someone who isn’t an offal or “strongly tasting meat” fan. I think my multi-cultural upbringing and friends helped me to eat many of these things. The mixture of foods are quite interesting – from the gourmet and ridiculously luxurious to the more mundane and downright strange. It was fun taking this quiz. Tell me what you would eat or not and whether you have a good story for any food items here!
♥ Indicates that I LOVE it!
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding (just not a fan of offal)
7. Cheese fondue ♥
10. Baba ghanoush
12. Pho ♥ (have been known to search far and wide for a bowl – even in Paris)
13. PB&J (Peanut Butter & Jelly) sandwich (I really hate these – too sweet)
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart ♥ (with extra relish!)
17. Black truffle ♥
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns ♥ (especially the Shanghainese ones)
20. Pistachio ice cream ♥ (my favourite!)
21. Heirloom tomatoes ♥
22. Fresh wild berries ♥
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (why?!)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters ♥
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas (my dear friend Bill’s favourite!)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl ♥
33. Salted lassi (I always get the sweet plain one but not tasted the salted yet!)
35. Root beer float ♥
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O ♥ (made them for my 4th of July party here)
40. Oxtail ♥ (Chinese-style Oxtail soup is a childhood favourite!)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (ate it at the end of my entymology class at UCD)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (intriguing but not sure I’d risk it)
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut ♥ (has to be hot!)
50. Sea urchin (not a big fan)
51. Prickly pear (taste so…unexciting)
52. Umeboshi – great with some green tea to soothe an upset tummy
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (yes, I will admit that I occasionally like a fast food meal)
56. Spaetzle ♥
57. Dirty gin martini ♥
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (looks intriguing but probably couldn’t eat a whole plate)
60. Carob chips (don’t like the texture)
63. Kaolin (Clay?? But why?!)
65. Durian (there are many varieties. I ate one from Borneo that didn’t stink and was bright orange)
66. Frogs’ legs (I really want to though!)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake ♥
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (I would if I was lost in the Outback and was desperate)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (ate them as a kid, tastes too artificial to me now)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini ♥
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Love the one with lots of almonds)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (most recently at the Fat Duck in Bray)
85. Kobe beef (Real Kobe beef from Kobe, Japan? No, haven’t had the $$$. Wagyu “Kobe” grown outside of Japan but marketed as Kobe – YES, many times. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people say yes because they ate Wagyu)
88. Flowers (overrated)
90. Criollo chocolate (I’m not sure…I have had so many great chocolate and it could’ve been one of them)
91. Spam (I’m from Hawaii…every respectful Hawaiian eats Spam)
92. Soft shell crab ♥
93. Rose harissa (I’ve had harissa but I’m unsure what rose harissa is)
95. Mole poblano ♥ (this Mexican co-worker of mine used to sell his mother’s mole, it was the best!)
96. Bagel and lox (with capers and thinly sliced red onions please)
97. Lobster Thermidor (it’s ok but I like my lobster less complicated)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
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