Friday, 30 November 2007

Maxi Madness

I know I harp on quite a bit about how much I look forward to the arrival of the warmer's another reason why:- to be able to wear pwetty and light dwesses.

I'm loving the return of the maxi dress! They are just so easy to wear. Great for days when you're in a sloppy lazy mode (no need to find a top or bottom to match) and greater on days when you feel like making an effort with accessories - I don't want to look hippy-drippy or "Little House on the Prairie" so I'll be de-girlifying the look with hard, chunky, almost-manly pieces.

Bought this happy colourful Indian cotton patchwork one today and have also pulled out the few vintage ones that I bought on Ebay over the years - hopefully there will be no more strange stares from people on the streets because everyone will be trailing long hemlines.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Look What The Postie Brought This Week!

Goodies from American Apparel
I'm so happy that they now have an online shop in Australia. But not so happy when the boyfriend's purchases fit and mine didn't - their sizing are a liitle weird (helpful to read the reviews left by previous buyers) but they have a great return/exchange/refund policy so I'm waiting for the right ones to turn up in the mail soon.

A Surprise from Orla Kiely!
The pair of Cafe Creme Wellingtons that I bought from them just four months ago died on me so I wrote them a letter expressing my disappointment and they sent me this replacement pair of Tonal Stem ones from their latest range without me even asking. Wow! Another reason to love Orla Kiely.

Sonic Youth concert tickets
They will be playing the whole of the "Daydream Nation" album at this concert in February as part of the "Don't Look Back" concert series. Will definitely get the shudders like I did when I first heard "Sister", my introduction to the band two decades (!) ago.

Thurston Moore's "Trees Outside the Academy" is now playing on the stereo. Kinda liking its, um, "grown-up"(?) sound.

Friday, 16 November 2007

A Colourful Past

These mugs sure bring back great memories. Of my days in advertising, looking at Pantone Colour charts with my art director trying to find the right colour for that damn logo. Of my days in film production, looking at the same charts with the director, trying to find the right shade of paint for the set. Sigh, happy days.

Why didn't W2 come up with the idea in those days? Would have made Christmas present-buying for workmates then so much easier.

Available here now and while you're at it, look at their cool range of stuff.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Bargain of The Week! it said on the tag. And it was!

This lovingly restored and re-upholstered 1950s Parker lounge. Oh how I love the shape of the armrests!

We saw it in the window of Penny Arcade (15, Forster Street, Surry Hills), a vintage/collectable store, on Sunday but they were closed. So I went back today to check on the price (affordable) and the condition (mint!) and was told by the lovely Christina in the shop that the price had been slashed by half (hence "Bargain of the Week") and she would round the figure off if I bought it there and then. Plus free delivery (since I live just up the road) by the equally-lovely Nick. So I called the boyfriend right away and we are now the proud owners of this beautiful piece of old furniture.

Next stop: Chee Soon & Fitzgerald - my favouritest homeware store in Sydney run by two of the nicest people - for made-to-measure Marimekko covers and throw cushions.

Also on the look-out for a coffee table and side tables to match.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tasty Tapas Treats

If you're ever on the north end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and looking to graze and some good wine and cocktails to wash the food down with, go to Catalonia in Kirribilli.

Brian, the head chef and co-owner, left us and his sous chef position recently to start this hot hot tapas bar with Tom (former cocktail mixmaster at the Victoria Rooms). We miss Brian and we want him back but we are also so happy for him especially after dining there tonight and seeing how well he's doing - the whole place was packed by 7.30pm (not bad for a Wednesday evening and having just fired up the stoves on Monday).

The food, of course, was delicious. The wine list, well-selected and the cocktails were very interesting (in a good way). The ambience is great - you can choose to sit in the upstairs or downstairs dining rooms, in the little courtyard overlooking the street, or under giant umbrellas on the sidewalk. And service was tip-top.

Go before the rest of the crowd does as Catalonia is going to be featured in an upcoming issue of the Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Food Porn!

Pier by Peter Doyle, Grant King & Katrina Kanetani
Buy this book if you see it in a bookstore near you!

I haven't been able to stop looking at it since I brought it home - the boyfriend thinks I've gone mad, from the "ooohs" and "aaahs" the book has elicited from me.

It's one of the best cookbooks that I've seen in ages - great recipes (how can they not be, when written by the talented people at this Sydney institution of a restaurant?), beautiful accompanying photography for every dish (don't you just hate it when you don't know how the end-result is supposed to look) and inspiring and awe-inspiring at the same time.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Flavours From (Near) Home

The boyfriend and I, like most Asians living away from home, very often crave for food from the region. Especially hawker-style cooking. There are loads of places in Sydney that serve such fare but there are only a few where we are repeat-customers. Authenticity is the key to our stomachs->hearts as a lot of these places tend to cater more to the Australian palate = toned down and washed out flavours. And I'm not talking about chilli here (I'm not a fan of the red hot spice).

I have tried making some from my "borrowed"-from-Mom 1974 edition of "Mrs Lee's Cookbook" but often, it's not worth the trouble making special spice mixes from scratch unless I'm throwing a dinner party.

When I'm trying to satiate the cravings in the two of us, I use the made-in-Singapore Prima Taste Ready-to-Cook range of products that are readily available on the shelves of our local Asian supermarket. I'm not a big fan of "instant" food but hats off to Prima for doing it so well - their laksa mix instantly transports me back to eating that famous one in Katong.

So, imagine our glee when we read in this week's "Good Living" - a weekly food guide that comes free with the papers - about Mamak, an eatery serving Malaysian hawker-style food!

We wanted nearly everything on the menu! My grandma calls it the eyes-are-bigger-than-stomach syndrome - when everything on the menu looks so good that we order more than our stomachs can contain. The boyfriend and I plead guilty to this charge every time we eat out and we never learn. Good thing the kitchen was not prepared for the sudden influx of diners after the review so some of the items - satay, rojak, murtabak, spiced chicken wings and even teh alia - were sold-out. It was not an extensive menu (well-represented, though) so we ended up having roti prata with eggs and onions, nasi lemak, sambal prawns and kangkung belacan washed down with teh tarik and limau ais.

The food was as authentic as it could be (very well-priced, too) and I have a feeling we'll be eating there quite a lot - the sambal in the kangkung, nasi lemak and prawns definitely passed my test but the boyfriend said that his prata had something missing but he couldn't put his finger on it. I thought it needed more salt in the dough. Or maybe just the scratch-himself-under-the-sarong-before-moulding-the-dough hands of a real Mamak (Indian "uncle")?

Again, there are many cheap and cheery Thai places in this town. And not too many that we've been to a second time. Besides the obvious food-is-not-up-to-scratch reason, I have a pet-hate where Thai food here is concerned - they always seem to use too much of carrots to bulk up their dishes, from curries to noodles to stir-fries. Why carrots (not that I hate them)? Why not more of the other greens (at comparable cost) that they are already using in the dishes?

Anyway, Chat Thai is certainly not going to be of them. We went to their new-ish branch in "Thainatown" (Campbell Street near Chinatown) and from looking at the food on the tables next to ours, we decided that we did not have to apply the "Pad Thai" test - whenever we go to a new Thai place, I would order the Pad Thai - I figured if they can't get the most basic of Thai street food right, then there wouldn't be much hope of them doing other things properly.

So we got about to ordering (we kinda went overboard again!) and since we were seated at a very small table-for-two, it got to a point where we were a little embarrassed by the amount of food (huge Aussie portions, at that, not tiny Asian ones) that kept getting placed in front of us - satay chicken, a whole barramundi steamed in lime juice, garlic, chilli and coriander, five-spiced barbeque duck and seasonal greens stir-fry, kangkung in garlic, chilli and yellow bean and oyster sauce, huge bowls of steamed rice. We were pretty proud (and amazed) that we could finish them all without feeling bloatily-full - credits to the kitchen for being extremely light-handed in the use of oil.

And not a sliver of carrot was in sight! We'd definitely be back again and again till we've had everything on their forty-plus-item menu at least once.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Boy With A Head Of Red Red Hair

Just got home from a Patrick Wolf gig at the good ol' favourite Metro.
- Never liked flash photography in any situation unless absolutely necessary so felt really bad taking these shots but it was too good an opportunity to miss when he climbed onto the stack right in front of us at the end of the show and other people went crazy popping their flashes.
- He is a very talented young man - we already know from his records but seeing him live sealed the deal.
- With a very pale but lean hot bod.
- And a well thought-out wardrobe for the night - "I'm not performing at the Opera House so I'd have to change behind the stack of monitors," he said as he got rid of the last bits of his opening wardrobe (cute high-waisted shorts, knee-high socks, gold suspenders, a grey shirt, red vest and his usual furry bunny tails thing round his neck) behind the stack of monitors into his Tristan wings.
Wardrobe change for first encore: jodphurs pushed up to the knees, knee-high socks, unbuttoned cardigan under suspenders and a blue wig.
Wardrobe change for second encore: same get-up as above but sans the cardigan, donning the grey hooded sweat top which had the cutest masked hood (with two eyeholes cut out).
- He's going to spawn a whole new tribe of redheaded, make-up wearing gay and straight boys in blond-blond Sydney - we expected to see a whole load of them tonight but no! I guess going ginger is a pretty big move in a city obsessed with flaxen locks.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Of Wallpaper and Dresses

Another first-Saturday-of-the-month off (yay!) but the weather is crap (boo!) so the poor stall owners at the Surry Hills Market couldn't set up shop (double-boo!). Yes, I went in the drizzle, just to be sure.

So to satiate my lust for consuming, I went down Crown Street on my way home to try on this oh-so-cute Made-in-Lyon vintage mini dress that caught my eyes in the window of Zoo Emporium yesterday.

The green-trim-on white and the print reminded me of the kitchen wallpaper in the Burroughs' home in the film Running With Scissors which I finally got down to watching on DVD - yes, it was a little "The Royal Tenenbaums" with a tiny bit of "The Addams Family" thrown in.

Anyway, the dress fitted like it was made for me so I had to buy it.

Next stop: the Puff'n'Stuff sale shop across the street even though I've already been yesterday. But their flyers and posters said "New Stock Everyday" so I flicked through the racks and racks of vintage stuff again. Still no luck.