Ultimate Frisbee

Taking advantage of my recent funemployed status I have decided to get back into bike riding and have been especially pumped about playing a game called Ultimate frisbee/disk/disc/whatever*.

Ultimate is self-refereed and combines elements of  netball, gridiron, soccer, basketball and probably a few others. Having only played it for a few weeks or so a group of friends and I are still honing our moves. The beauty of Ultimate is that even beginners can have a great time playing while learning, which is exactly what we’re doing!

Our first disc was bought from a local Sydney-sider. The design on the disc isn’t exactly my cup of tea but I guess you can’t really see much of a disc while it’s in flight. Actually since it’s such a fast-paced game you barely have time to hold the disc before throwing it again.

Aesthetics aside I also bought a glow in the dark disc and Andrew bought one with flashing LEDs from the states. We’ll see how practical it actually is for playing in the dark when he gets back. As far as cost goes the discs are inexpensive and compact enough to take just about anywhere.

I won’t go into a full explanation of the rules as I believe the Australian Flying Disc Association’s Website does a fine job of doing that. As always, there is no shortage of other websites on the internet relating to this sport.

There are some crazy clips on youtube demonstrating the lengths that better players go to catch/block the disc. Not that I am willing to punish my body like that (yet or ever) but it does give me a little something to aspire to. Here’s one of my favourite clips:

* Frisbee is actually a registered trademark to the Wham-O toy company, but at least here in Australia is associated with the flat, plastic circular object that you throw about at the beach, with your dog and playing Ultimate.

Car wash courtesy

Today I was forced to use a drive-through car wash such as those found at many petrol stations. I say forced because the car needed to be washed pronto but I didn’t have time for it to be hand washed so figured a drive-through once in a while is not so bad.

For quite a long time – definitely longer than I’ve had this car – I have had an aversion to drive-through restaurants also. However I have not been that desperate to have to have gone through one. Not yet anyway.

As I went out to clear off some leaves and other obvious debris from the car, I noticed the woman that was behind me in the queue scrambling out to her car.

I soon realised why – she was getting a car wash too and wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was stalling so that she could drive into the car wash first. And she did; deluxe wash.

That cow.

Renewed Focus

So this is a new post about old news.

It is made at the request of someone who checks their RSS feeds daily for new blog entries. This sad person knows who they are :)

A few months ago my beloved SR20-DE powered Nissan N14 Pulsar lift-back in red was written off when a driver on their provisional license ran into the back of her.

Besides, it was about time anyway to move on to a safer and – in my eyes – more handsome car.

Enter the Ford LT Focus Zetec sedan in silver. Not as quick as the red rocket but generally a better car (same power, same torque and more fuel efficient but 300KG heavier = less grunt )

Can you believe it, I don’t have one good photo of the old girl!

Rice VS Bread

This may very well be considered a betrayal of my oriental roots.

However, if I had to choose between rice and bread.

You know, this stuff:

Verses this stuff:

Then I’m pretty sure that bread would win every time.

This is not to say that rice is bad at all, because it’s not. I just prefer bread more than I do rice.

Perhaps I should put it this way: I love both rice and bread. It’s not that I love rice less, I just love bread more.

Must come from my Australian upbringing or something like that…

Akira Sushi Cafe

If you’ve ever spoken to me about the lunch situation at where I work, then you will know that I lamented greatly some months ago when the only ‘real’ sandwich shop in the shopping centre next to my office – Subway is not such an establishment – went out of business (first mentioned in this post).

Real sandwiches it seems are not popular in this suburb and eateries – if you can even call them that – like McDonalds fare much better. In fact some days I think 90% of the people in that little food court are eating something resembling food from between the golden arches.

Despite being on the pricey side I had sandwiches there many times a week. He came across as a bit smug sometimes but the guy really knew how to make a sandwich and had available the quality fillings and breads needed to satisfy my hunger and tastes. He shone like a beacon of light amongst a dark world of craptacular food outlets.

Over the months eating there I threw a few challenging compilations at him and he came through unflinchingly each time. He made one of his best sandwiches – and unbeknownst to me to be my last one from him, ever – during his last week in business. The following week when I came back to find his store boarded up I was truly saddened indeed =(

Since then the situation has become very dire. Subway picked up their form for a little while, but is back to its old ways with stale tasting bread and not very fresh salads. Even Oz Fried Chicken was forced out of business as their patronage was far too low for the large premises they occupied – I am partly to blame for this.

Although the old Oz Fried chicken store had been uninhabited for months their store was  still furnished with all of its old decorations, tables and seating. Mail was building up under the door and it seemed like the owners had abandoned the store one afternoon without telling anybody.

That is until last week, when a glimmer of hope appeared in this culinary black hole. There it was, in large acrylic signage on a wooden back board: Akira Sushi Cafe. The announcement of a new eating destination on its way is happy news in itself, but the fact that it has the potential for actually being good, now that is something truly special.

From what I can tell by gazing through their window each day is that it will not be a sushi train. It will however be very cafe-esque which should be interesting. Large glass display cabinets are being fitted so hopefully the variety will be extensive. There is good visibility throughout so I’m also hoping that the chefs and their making of the sushi will be on exhibition. I find such transparency in food preparation greatly comforting.

Akira Sushi Cafe’s launch day couldn’t come quickly enough as far as I’m concerned as everyone in our office is checking daily whether the renovations have finished. Today I so yearned for sushi that I was tempted to go into the work site and help complete the remodelling personally. Alas it was not meant to be.

Full impressions – and photos too – will come as soon as they open their doors. Let’s hope this one’s a keeper!

Overly Loud People

Overly loud people annoy me to tears.

The sorts of people who during quiet parts of a movie speak to another next to them only to be heard by the entire cinema audience. Overly loud people that spoil plots and/or do running commentaries are the worst kind and should be shot (or have other suitably bad things happen to them)

Or what about the holler of a person who’s laugh is so loud as to be heard throughout the entire dining area of a restaurant only to garner awkward stares by all other patrons? In such cases I cannot help but be reminded of the uncontrolled laughter of a chimpanzee.

I hope I never become an overly loud person. I still haven’t figured out 100% what causes a person to become overly loud. These questions need to be answered:

  • Is it a deliberate attempt at attention-seeking or to irritate others?
  • Do they even realise how loud they are?
  • Is their hearing damaged to the point that they can’t even hear themselves speak?

If one of the latter 2, then I will be investing in another pair or two of Etymotic ER-20 audio attenuators to protect my hearing. Currently I keep a pair in my car in the event that I find myself in overly loud situations and also use it when I mow the lawn. They help a lot.

Hearing loss is not something to be sneezed at so I also recently bought an SPL (sound pressure level) metre and  measured the levels of my sound system. At typical volumes thankfully I listen in the safe vicinity of 65-75 dB(A).

La Tratt

La Tratt
14 Anzac Parade
Fairfield NSW 2165
(02) 9727 5000

I recently dined here, and will give it a high recommendation!

Located inside Fairfield RSL of all places I was taken aback by the restaurant’s design as well as the wine list. Oh, and did I mention the food was fantastic? Service was very good overall too.

Sorry but no photos from me this time. Satisfied enough however to make a much needed update to this here front page. I must go back to try some more of the menu though, it looks amazing on paper, not to mention the palate :p

In the mean time, check out La Tratt’s menu and wine list.

Fairfield RSL also happen to have their own youtube channel. The Sydney Weekender review is a bag of laughs thanks to the over-the-top reviewer. La Tratt starts @ 2:08 in the HD showcase video but I actually think the whole thing is a worthwhile watch.

Bickford’s ginger beer is a little different

Thanks to a tip off from loyal reader Erwin, I managed to track down some ginger beer that is a little different.

I can’t verify whether the claims of its recipe being the same as those award winning ones dating back to the 1870s – since I wasn’t alive then – but I can verify that it isn’t quite the same as the current crop of ginger beers that I’ve been sampling.

Unlike the Nippy’s that I love because the flavour builds up to a spicy, gingery kick Bickford’s rendition rounds off to an almost flavourless mineral-watery taste. This is not to say it is completely devoid of flavour, as it starts off mildly and follows through while it swishes on the palate and fades away on the way down.

There’s a bit of sediment visible at the bottom, which usually isn’t a bad thing when it comes to ginger beer. It’s also one of the least sweet ones I’ve tried thus far – a welcome change. On-going enjoyment is hampered though by the relatively small 275mL bottle which is a whole 100 short of the rest of the field.

Bickford’s ginger beer is one for drinking on the verandah of a mild spring morning. Reigning champion Nippy’s is more suited to quenching a hard earned thirst after slogging it out in the hot Australian summer sun. If that even makes any sense at all.

Ani Armernian Restaurant

I haven’t written a full restaurant review in a very long time and I’m not expecting to do so any time soon either. I’ve also been very slack taking photos as my galleries will attest. Eating out though continues at full steam ahead, if not more than it’s ever been.

Occasionally though I will eat somewhere that for some reason or other moves me to share my experience by writing a post on this pathetic excuse for a blog that I’ve managed to keep online all these years.

Ani Restaurant tucked away at 86 Blaxland Rd, Ryde NSW 2112 is one such place. I haven’t had so much good food and yet spent so little in a very long time. Really!

This will be more of a visual tour than a review. Here goes…

For starters we had 3 dips with flat bread (very similar to and probably was Lebanese bread):

Homous – crushed chick peas ground with olive oil and seasoned with tahini. Served room temperature.

Can’t remember the name, but it was BBQed eggplant, onion and other stuff – capsicum maybe? Served cool.

Again, forgot the name – roasted eggplant, saffron, yoghurt and chick peas and probably more but I don’t remember. This was very fragrant from the saffron. Reluctant at first due to it looking like exploded bird brains I thoroughly enjoyed it with the bread. Served warm.

These came out with a couple of side salads to keep things balanced:

Tabouli – chopped parsley, tomato and garlic dressed in lemon juice.

Don’t think this one had a name, just a cucumber, onion and tomato salad with dried herbs on top.

We then had vine leaves wrapped around rice. I’m still undecided about these:

Next came the char-grilled meats. We each had a plate of basmati rice to go with them. Oh happy days:

Kufta – lamb mince char grilled on flat skewers and seasoned with magic and love among other conventional ingredients.

Chicken and lamb shish kebabs – marinated chunks of meat char grilled over hot coals to perfection accompanied by tomatos that have enjoyed a similar fate.

By this stage everyone was struggling to continue eating. Many a belt were loosened and the momentum had well and truly come to a standing halt. However due to the sheer deliciousness we soldiered on until that last chunk of lamb was finished.

And then dessert came. How silly, we got so carried away with the mains we completely forgot. Oh well if they insist. Both – yes, that’s 2 – desserts came accompanied with fragrant, delicious cinnamon tea:

Baklava – a Turkish sweet composed of layers of sugar-glazed pastry lined with crushed almonds. Delicious.

This ice cream is a little different. We were told that it was Persian style ice-cream and is hand made by the chef at the restaurant. I think it has pieces of pistachio nut in it but the really interesting ingredients are the rose water and saffron flavouring! After coming this far I still hesitated but once I’d had some I couldn’t get enough. It was fantastic!

So there you have it, is that a review? I don’t know but I cannot shout enough praise for this place. I don’t even really know if this qualifies as traditional Armenian cuisine seeing as there were so many mixed influences, but the food was amazing – I’m not biased one bit.

Our 2 waitresses were attentive and very helpful to explain the foods and their ingredients. Service was excellent and casual enough and made for some lovely conversation with the wait staff who were more than happy to take the time to accommodate for this bunch of newbies.

The restaurant itself is cosy, and I couldn’t see it seating any more than 40 people but is overall clean and elegant with interesting artwork. The atmosphere is casual and easy going and very friendly but I wouldn’t hesitate having a more intimate dinner just for 2 either.

And the kicker? That banquet was only $30 per head. Considering the quality and quantity of the food this is an absolute steal. I almost felt bad that we got extra bread and dips and weren’t charged for them, not to mention the unlimited soft drinks. You do however need a group of 5 or more to qualify.

I don’t know how they do it for the price but they’ve been there for 6 years and seem quite good at what they do and I hope they’re happy to keep at it for many years to come. As we left I was informed that on Sundays they hold a buffet for $28 per person. From memory it consisted mostly of salad, bread and char grilled meats. I must go back.

The rest of the photos can be found in the gallery: Ani Restaurant.

Well just look what the cat dragged in…

… a case of 24 in fact …

Could this mark the end of the ginger beer journey?

You see, Nippy’s is based in South Australia but when I emailed them asking where to buy their magic potion it was revealed they have a warehouse a stone’s throw from me. I promptly came around and collected my treasure chest.

First impressions are *amazing* and a back to back tasting with Bundaberg’s leaves me without a shadow of a doubt: Nippy’s ‘Traditional Style’ Ginger Beer makes Bundaberg taste like a soft drink. It really does.

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