Friday, 5 December 2008

Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

The invitation said the dress code was: Hobo Chic

The birthday boy

It was a recessionista party in honour of the 30 year old birthday boy and the very hard to avoid Global Financial Crisis. So the hobos turned up to the party and drank champagne while eating canapes, made by the chef in the kitchen and served by the very good waiters. Rather than looking at this as a little insensitive of the times, we'd rather aimed for irony.

The chocolate, siena and gold balloons decorated the room while posters saying "We want to be citizens, no transients" covered the walls. A projector displayed huge images from The Great Depression on the walls. More pictures from the night are on Giles' flickr page.

I went more for chic than hobo

Saturday, 1 November 2008

October was a Good Food Month

A macchiato from the Museum of Sydney cafe

October 2008 really was Good Food Month in Sydney.

This year I experienced the Noodle Night Markets multiple times on the way home, two Let's Do Lunch events and one amazing dinner.

Yummy food from the Noodle Markets

The Night Noodle Markets are always my favourite part of Sydney's Good Food Month. The atmosphere reminds of markets in Darwin where we ate asian food and sat under the stars with hundreds of other people. Thing is, I think more people visit the Noodle Markets in the two weeks they were on this year than live in Darwin. I still rate the Darwin market food better - certainly the sticky rice and mango.

No matter what kind of food you like, you will find it here as long as it has noodles in it :) There are also dutch pancakes, yum cha, wine, beer and good desserts. Don't plan to visit on one night but make a habit of it over the time they run. G and I walk home through them every night so we stopped there three times. It was a lovely scene.

Lastly, I can't forget the fabulous night we had at Bilson's. Bilson is best known as the guy who taught Tetsuya what he knows and this dinner was certainly a homage to European style Japanese food.

Going to Bilson's is always perfect with it's large tables, amazing food and disappointment at the fact that I won't be eating just like this for a while again. In Good Food Month, it's even worse since you know that they will never be putting on this spread ever again. At least I got to be one of the few to experience it.

The wine was very very good with the food but my night was topped off by the discovery (yes, I'm slow) of freshly grated horseradish. There is pretty much nothing nicer of a piece of beef than that.

If you choose one thing to go to next Good Food Month in Sydney, choose Bilson's.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Meta Photography

If you've followed my blog for a while or even for only a few months then you will know that I like to take pictures of everything. Of late, that has not been the case. It all started when G got his brand spanking new camera. It's slightly better than mine and produces pictures that make my old IXUS 40 look like a 1930s folding camera.

You should check out G's photos because they are awesome. It's also nice to appear in some photos once in a while.

As for my photos, they will continue here and on flickr :)

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Surry Hills

People always ask about what I'd recommend in Surry Hills. They ask because Surry Hills is my home and a place I love to be. There is something for everyone in Surry Hills. Next time you are here, this is what I recommend you try...

Coffee: The Wall Cafe - 80 Campbell Street
Fish & Chips: Mohr Fish - 204 Devonshire Street
Thai Food: Spice I Am - 90 Wentworth Avenue
Pub: The Clock Hotel - 470 Crown Street
Bakery: Bourke Street Bakery - 633 Bourke Street
Cocktails: Longrain - 83 Commonwealth Street
Tapas: Bodega - 216 Commonwealth Street
Pizza: Pizza Mario - 421 Bourke Street
Theatre: Belvoir Street Theatre - 25 Belvoir Street
White Table Cloths: Marque - 355 Crown Street
Breakfast: bills - 359 Crown Street
Mexican: Mad Mex - 241 Crown Street
Indian: The Nepalese Kitchen - 481 Crown Street
Turkish: Erciyes - 409 Cleaveland Street
Communal Dining: Table for 20 - 182 Campbell Street
After Dinner Drinks: Sticky Bar - 182 Campbell Street

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Why paint cats

Since receiving an easel for my birthday from G, I've been painting a lot more. My painting is more for me than others but I wanted to share it here for my friends and family members who have asked what I'm painting.

I paint cats a lot because there are around and such good subjects - sitting still and staring at me. Mixing colours is my latest challenge and I'm trying lots of different things at the moment to discover where colours come from and how to represent light.

This allows me to use a different part of my brain than I do every day. It's also lovely to have an idea and create something tangible. So different to my usual work output.

Monday, 1 September 2008

My 2^5th Birthday

omg I'm nearly 32!

Yes, you read it wrong. It was in fact my 32nd birthday and in the tradition of birthdays in G + my lives, we had a whopping big party. It was the closest party I've ever had to a rap video. There was barely standing room, lots of champagne and it went for a very long time. To some this may be a problem. As my friend Alice says "these are what we call Champagne Problems" and of course, she is right.

The invitation said to bring a flower for entry and that was interpreted by my lovely friends as "bring Damana lots of flowers" and they did. Again, not complaining. All the presents were delightful. Now I remember why birthdays are so much fun. Thank you, beautiful people!!!

Here are a bunch of awesome photos taken by Giles. You can find better quality ones on his flickr feed.

The party table before the party

64 delish cupcakes from cupcakes on pitt

The rest of the room before the rap video

The cheese platter at the end of the maze

The leftovers

The famous palm tree esky


Caught stopping to smell the roses

Floating around and recovering

A balloon lands on the ledge of the mezzanine

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Working in Finance Hasn't Made Me a Facist Yet

I'm still in the same place I was when I took this test 3 years ago. Take the test yourself. I'm not as big a pinko as someone I live with :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Bondi to Clovelly

Last Sunday, Giles + I joined a few friends for lunch at NBIF followed by our first attempt at the Bondi to Coogee walk. I say attempt because we got to Clovelly and stopped for break and didn't not continue. I blame the pope and his posse but it could have just been that Clovelly was a beautiful place to end a walk. It has the least impressive beach of all the ones we passed but the view is lovely.

This is a coastal walk that meanders along the seaside down to Coogee. It was a cold day but the forcing yourself up and down the stairs makes you warm up quickly. G was kind enough to take some photos and let me share them with you.

Me @ North Bondi Beach watching the crazy people swimming in the cold water

Bondi from the south side

3/4 of the walkers

Clovelly Cometary

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Anonymous Comments

I am no longer allowing anonymous comments on this blog. You will require a google id to post a comment. Own up or go away. Cheers :)

North Bondi Italian Food

In the early noughties, G + I spent a far too brief five weeks eating our way around Italy. We Australians pride ourselves on our access to fresh produce and the Mediterranean influenced food resulting from the influx of immigrants in the 50s for the Snowy River Dam project. Eating in Italy brought us a different flavor of Italian food that we are only now starting to see appear in Sydney restaurants. North Bondi Italian Food is one of those very places, right here in Sydney.

Binky suggested this as the perfect place to fuel up before walking the Bondi to Clovelly seaside walk. If carbs were what we needed then she was certainly right.

Between the four of us we tried a good portion of the menu, including:
  • warm mortadella ($16);
  • mixed olives with sage and chilli ($9);
  • zucchini, asparagus, peas, beans, mint, waxy potatoes and air dried ricotta ($17);
  • pappardelle, pork, veal ragu 'Marchiagiano' style ($27);
  • spaghetti arrabbiata, crab, cooked in a paper bag ($28); <-- my very good choice
  • la tagliata, chargrilled hereford/angus ribeye, rocket, green peppercorns, chilli, spring onions ($29);
  • a delicious mussels dish that I simply can't find on the menu; and
  • a dessert of 'Dolce della nonna' chocolate gelato, masala(~$14).
The dessert and vegetable dish were average but the rest of the food was delicious. The pasta servings are huge and I can't recommend the spaghetti arrabbiata highly enough. You could easily share that and the endless supplies of bread among a couple for lunch and you'd not be left hungry. Bottles of olive oil on the table are a nice touch and solve that annoying habit the bowl of oil has of running out when there is an excess of bread around. No more waiting for the waiter to refill them.

The view out the window of North Bondi Beach is uninterrupted, which makes you feel pampered and special as you sit there eating and people watching. Be warned, the place gets busy early. We arrived 20 mins before it opened and were 10th in line. With the popularity and the hard surfaces, you get the typical deafening venue that is authentically Italian (at least in this country). They could use more staff too but as a full package, this is the best Italian in Sydney and I'll stand by that recommendation.


Walk the Line

For a long time in Australia, the only way to get walking directions was to use the Sensis owned site If you have ever had to endure it's interface then you will understand why I've given up and chosen to use my own navigational skills. If you know about my somewhat lacking navigational skills then you will understand the desperation I was feeling.

There is no longer a need to complain. Dr. Evil has finally got walking directions for their maps and they are pretty good.

To find walking directions using Google Maps:
  1. Go to Google Maps;
  2. Click on the Get Directions tab;
  3. Enter the Start Address and End Address;
  4. Click Search;
  5. When the directions and map appear, click Walking in Directions: By car - Walking;
If you only see Directions: By car, append &dirflg=w to the website address and try again.

Here is one I prepared earlier for the easy walk from Town Hall Station to my work...

Monday, 30 June 2008

Cradle Mountain Walks

We did a few walks while we were at Cradle Mountain. Here are the pictures...

Waterfall Walk near Cradle Mountain Lodge

Dove Creek Walk and At the Lodge

Cradle Mountain Lodge

Our first trip to Tasmania was as enjoyable and beautiful as we had imagined it would be. After a scenic drive from Launceston, we were greeted with snow on our arrival at Cradle Mountain Lodge. Our cabin had a cosy fire that crackled away and warmed us through our entire 3 night visit. There were no mobile phones or computers. The break from every day life was relaxing and recharging (even if I did have a cold that whole time).

Giles taking a photo of me outside the topiary town of Railton

A man on a bike in Railton

Giles taking photos of the snow, in the snow

Warming my toes after the snow

Ceiling fan in our room

Firewood in our cabin

The tavern fire

The Angel Giles in the Highland Restaurant

Friday, 20 June 2008

Apple Store opens in Sydney

The opening night of the Sydney Apple Store

You couldn't walk down George Street at more than a trickle through the crowd. King Street was covered in people so there was no point trying to get in to the store when I turned up at 4:45pm. People came from around the world to camp out in line and be the first in to the store. I'm sure they didn't smell too nice.

I can't say I understand the hype but it's a cool building and the scene were worth experiencing.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

We Saw Edward Again

Photo by @nai used under a Creative Commons license

Months ago, I impulse bought tickets to a modern dance performance of one of my favourite romantic movies of all time - Edward Scissorhands. As a teenager, I went to see the movie because Johnny Depp was in it but then became a massive fan of all things Tim Burton. To be honest, my first Burton movie was Beetle Juice and that rocked my world too.

With the same concerns that I have heard voiced by others, I went along to the performance at the Sydney Opera House hoping that it would still work without Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Tim Burton.

The story had been changed slightly but did not ruin the flow in any way. It stayed true to the original telling in spirit. Don't worry, the changes were tiny and surely had a lot of do with the medium of dance and everything happening on one stage.

There was dancing and a really damn good score along with amazing props, costumes and performers. Only one slow moment brought me back to reality. It was the ice skating on rollerblades which I blame Eurovision for. Ice skating just does not work in story telling or European pop contests, even if they do win. The rest was very very very entertaining and heartbreaking.

I don't recommend seeing any other live performance - dance, music, opera, bands, whatever - until you see this. It is the best show I have seen in a long time and didn't disappoint in any way.

Go see Edward. We did. He's going well.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Spotting People Who Like Pizza

While walking around Surry Hills, G + I passed a terrace occupied by pizza lovers. I think they loved beer too.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Can you spot a fake smile?

Humans are not very good at spotting a fake smile. This may be because it's easier to deal with not knowing what everyone else is thinking. I got 14/20 on this test so be careful the next time you want to fake that smile at me :)

Linked from new new favourite blogger, Ines

Monday, 19 May 2008

Chocolate Coat Everything

Today I had a sick day after discovering the hard way that I am sensitive to local anesthetic. The whole thing was very Pulp Fiction with injections, adrenaline and shaking. No dancing, unfortunately. As you do in recovery, I decided to coat stuff in chocolate. Here is how that went...

The ingredients

A double boiler

Bits of chocolate

I'm melting! I'm melting!

Grease proof paper to put the chocolate coated things on

Nicely melted milk chocolate

Dip the fruit in chocolate

The haul

Eat now