Archives

All posts for the month April, 2010

Restaurant Review – Hang Ah Dim Sum (San Francisco)

Published April 24, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, well today I managed to wake up around morning time rather than sleeping till afternoon and I decided to go grocery shopping after been locked and quarantined at home for 3 whole days I was eager to go out for the fresh air and sunshine. Anyways, I managed to buy some groceries and got home and bring in the crispy dry clothes and had some pumpkin porridge for lunch. I had just enough time to rest for a bit and head towards church for Children Ministry Training. I’m awaiting to watch for an episode of Iron Chef.

Anyways, as I’ve mentioned earlier San Francisco have one of US’s largest China Town. So we decided to have some dim sum for lunch, to be honest there were so many dim sum restaurants we were contemplating which one we should go. Then suddenly this elderly lady gave us a flyer and asked us to try out at Hang Ah Dim Sum – she said ‘please go and try very delicious!!’ I read through the menu flyer seems like the typical Dim Sum menu. Anyways, I asked her whereabouts it is, she pointed towards the up hill side of a street all the way up the top. I was thinking, I really couldn’t be bothered walking all the way up hill to a dim sum restaurant. But the elderly lady insisted on taking us there, I felt a bit bad anyways – we decided to try it. It was a bit of a climb I was amazed the elderly lady was so fit walking faster than us, I was struggling to follow her.

Now when we got there, it was on a weekend so we were expecting the whole restaurant to be fully packed. But there were still some empty tables, plus not many Asians in the restaurants – I was whispering to Pandabear – I’m regretting of coming to this restaurant. The restaurant had one waitress and she seemed tired and impatient, handed us the menu and walked away. Can’t blame her, she was the only one working as a waitress and cashiering as well. Thankfully, both Pandabear and I weren’t that hungry so we spotted their dim sum special – which consists of special fried rice, 1 x prawn dumpling, 1 x pork buns, 1 x Pork dumpling, 1 x pan fried dumpling and Pandabear felt like radish cake. When we received our plate of dim sum, I was like wow the bun is round instead of the usual pointy shape, all the dim sum was warm not hot. After we ate our dim sum, we waited and asked when is our fried rice coming? Apparently they forgotten about our fried rice. When it came, I stared at it and whispered to Pandabear it looks like home style fried rice instead of restaurant style fried rice. We didn’t finish, cos the taste was bland.

Dim Sum Combo

Dim Sum Combo

Radish Cake

Radish Cake

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 3 star
Food Experience: 3 star
Would I recommend it? NO!

Advertisements

My Mummy

Published April 23, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, life isn’t all about sadness..As mother’s day approaches, I’ve decided to write a post about my mummy. My mummy is my best friend, my mentor, my counselor and well My Mum 🙂 I am the middle child in my family – or you can call it a child with the middle child syndrome? Well, what is the middle child syndrome? It when you have an older sibling and a younger one and you’re stuck in the middle all the time. You’re the only that does most of the work at home and you’re probably not the favourite one too! Well, it’s kinda 1/2 right for me. I do most of the work at home but I’m also my Mummy’s favourite too 🙂 How do I know cos she tells me all the time that I’m her favourite!

My mummy married my daddy when she was in her early 20s and shortly gave birth to my older sister, 2 years later she had me and 6 years later she had my younger sister (at that time, my Daddy really wanted a son and my grandmother convinced my mummy to have a 3rd child hoping it was a boy). But it ended up a girl – my younger sister which we called the black sheep of the family (I will explain more in my other post). So there were 3 daughters in our family. Ever since we’ve migrated to Perth, my daddy have always been working in overseas on a regular basis, so we learned to be quite independent on our own from young. My mummy is a great cook, I’ve started cooking in the kitchen when I was really young around 10. I love watching mummy cook cos she’s so quick and efficient. Give her 30 minutes and she would whip up 3 dishes and a soup on the table ready for us to have for dinner. I can never get sick of Mummy’s cooking, even after 27 years of eating her home cooked meals, I still miss it these days – she would ask me to come back home for dinner and I would always be looking forward to her meals. I even tried replicating some of her dishes, but it just doesn’t taste the same. Same ingredients, same techniques of cooking but somehow the taste and flavours are different??!! Mummy would always joke, it’s a ‘mother’s taste’

Mummy has always being a housewife, with Daddy’s business she didn’t have to work, he was the bread winner for our family- her life revolves around raising the 3 daughters and at that time a little son Babe – our doggy brother. Life seems to be good for our family in Perth – we had a nice big home and enough money to buy what ever we wanted, however things started to change, financial difficulty arose when Daddy’s business started to not do so well and plus having invested lots of money on stock markets and then it had that stock market crash has resulted us in some financial difficulties. We had to sell off our comfortable big home and in search of a rental property. Life was tough, to go from being quite well off to not so well off was a huge adjustment to our life. all the newer rental properties would not allow pets – there were times when my mummy would say it’s time we give away Babe and all three of us would protest!! We rather stay in an older house instead! In the midst of searching for a place to stay Mummy and I would visit many properties and one day out of exhaustion, Mummy fainted and I was so shocked I grabbed her up and asked her if she’s ok, she said she’s fine just feeling abit tired. From that moment onwards I said to myself I would always look after Mummy and never allow this to happen again. Even when she become old and frail with Alzheimer’s disease – I would never ever send her to a Nursing home.

So by God’s grace we found this 30 years+ old rental place where we could keep Babe and life was difficult. Being an old place, it has it’s problems such as toilets blocking, shower system failing, water system broke down, curtain rail broken. Honestly, there were days that I think to myself whether we’ve made the right choice to rent this place. Amongst all of this mummy and I have became very good handyman, we’ve learned to fix things on our own and bunnings were a regular place we visited to fix our old place. But we dared not complain, it was our only choice at that time to rent this place so we could keep our Babe. In my mind, My mummy is a brave woman all these time she was raising the three of us without daddy by her side. She became our mother and our father, and when Daddy passed away I became her companion and the head of the family. Life was difficult as my younger sister was in her rebellious teenage years when my daddy passed away. Her stubborn nature would always get her into trouble which caused alot of heart aches & head aches for our family. However, we persisted on with our prayers for our younger sister and God have slowly moved her heart.

The day I told mummy that I was marrying Pandabear she was so happy for me, but I could tell that she felt really sad at the same time that her favourite daughter was leaving her. Prior to our wedding she cried for 2 weeks at the thoughts of me moving out and losing that companionship. I had to constantly reassure her that I’m close by and would come home regularly to visit her. Thankfully, my younger sister decided it was time to move back home and that has helped my mummy overcome her loneliness. As days progresses, she became used to me not being at home. Every Saturday I would make an effort to meet her for lunch and have our weekly grocery shopping time. My mummy is like my best friend, I tell her everything and I can surely say that she’s the one where I would sacrifice my life for. I love her very much, she is strong, brave, a great cook, and a great saver. She is fit and healthy and have been a gym member for more than 10 years. I admire her strength & determination…

Blog Insight

Published April 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, well I managed to survived another day at home without pulling out my hair. I’m so excited today I discovered how to make my blog more flashier. I have included new items on the side bar do you guys like it? Let me know what you think. My next challenge is to move onto tags, adding tags onto my post. Which is going to be tedious but I’m sure it will keep me entertained for a while. Okies, will write another post after an episode of Masterchef.

Till next post 🙂

Restaurant Review – Sanraku Japanese Restaurant (San Francisco)

Published April 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hiya Bloggy Friends, well – it’s another day of battle against my viral bug. Last night I couldn’t sleep cos I have developed another symptom of a sore tummy that has either kept me awake the whole night or it may be due to over sleeping of 15+ during day time. So today, I have decided it was time to visit GP to find out what’s wrong with me. I hate visiting doctors, first of all it’s expensive and secondly they always tells me to rest and drink plenty of water along with taking some panadols!! Grrr…My GP is really hard to make an appointment with cos she’s a female GP and only works 1/2 days for only 2 days so have to book in months ahead. So today I asked Pandabear whether he knows another GP that I can visit today. Thankfully, there was one and off I went. His name was Scott – very lovely and friendly guy who was thorough in his examination gave me free samples which is a bonus to settle my disturbing stomach. He has confirmed that I have a Gastro viral infections which is a tummy bug or virus..so I’ve had to canceled this Saturday’s dinner with friends incase I pass this bug to them.:-(

So having slept another 5 hours after coming back from the GP, feeling alittle better but bored. I’m one of those who cannot just rest at home and watch TV it will drive me crazy!!! I quickly asked when can I go back to work??? He was like you better take tomorrow off incase you started getting diarrhea and vomiting. So I have tomorrow off…and then there’s the long weekend. Yay!! 🙂

So as I have mentioned before I love Japanese food and when we asked our concierge which restaurant would they recommend and they gave us a few so we choose the one that was the closest to our hotel – shortest walk due to hilly side in San Francisco. Upon arrival, it was totally packed – there were only 2 seats available at the sushi bar, which is fine with me cos I love watching sushi chef make the lovely sushi.

Now I’m a sushi lover, where is Pandabear is more into his tempura so we thought let’s try a bit of sushi and order 2 main courses from the menu. My main was a tori yaki sesame seed chicken with rice and it came with miso soup and salad. Pandabear ofcourse had his tempura which also was served with rice and came with miso soup and salad and we both shared a small plate of sushi. Now our sushi was so fresh, I’m not a raw fish person but the fish melts in your mouth and doesn’t leave this fish taste in your mouth. So we loved our sushi, presentation was fantastic. The miso soup and salad came first, they looked fresh and followed by our mains which was fantastic. My tori yaki was crispy on the outside and flavorsome and Pandabear’s tempura was fantastic, not oily but fresh.

Our fresh sushi

Our fresh sushi

Miso Soup with Salad

Miso Soup with Salad

Tori Yaki Sesame Chicken

Tori Yaki Sesame Chicken

Tempura Mix

Tempura Mix

The food waiting time was pretty good, it was packed that night and we received our meal within 10-15 minutes so not bad for a busy restaurant. When we finished our main we were tummy satisfied but there’s always a separate tummy for desserts, and we were recommended by the sushi manager named Kit – the egg pudding with green tea icecream and fresh fruits. Yummy, the presentation was fantastic and the taste was delicious I’m so glad we ordered this dessert to share.

Egg pudding with green tea icecream n fruits

Egg pudding with green tea icecream n fruits

Well, Kit is the sushi manager there he started chatting to us – he must be bored every night making those sushis and I asked him where he was from, he said Malaysia – well Pandabear’s brethren. I asked him how long he’s been working at Sanraku he said around 10 years!! I was shocked doing the same thing?? He said well, time flies and now he’s more into the management side of things. Why not run your own business I ask? He said you might not earn alot even if you own your own restaurant there’s a lot of pressure in owning a restaurant. Well, Kit if I have the money one day I shall invest in your sushi business cos you make awesome sushis he laughed I’ll be waiting for that day to come… here’s some of the fantastic sushi art I call it from Kit while he was chatting away with us he was making some awesome sushis.

Here’s my ratings:

Dining Experience: 4 star
Food Experience: 4.5 star
Would I recommend? YES!

Christmas Family Dinner

Published April 21, 2010 by Mary Jane

Seasons of struggles

Evening bloggy friends, well my sore throat is still sore but don’t really feel the razor cutting feeling anymore. The concoction of metal & iodine must be working perhaps. Anyways, still feeling not too well but I think the sleep of 15hour+ has given me enough energy to watch through another episode of Masterchef. Now the Philip guy who persisted on with making Risotto & strawberry tarts really brings joy to my heart when his partner pulled out last minute due to pressure and stress. I’m so glad the judges have given him the chance to remain at the competition. This sort of brings back some memories…

Last year during Christmas we decided to host a family dinner together inviting our close friends and family at my older sister’s place. Now it was decided that I cook that night for around 15+ people. So mum and I went and did all the grocery shopping. I set my menu out which consists of roasting a large ham, as previous year we had turkey, mint & pea colour creamy pasta, prosciutto wrapped chicken breast with scallops, spaghetti meat ball dish, chilli mussels, salads, stir fried crabs, and fish pie with 2 desserts. 8 main course with 2 dessert, the recipes which I hav adopted from Jamie Oliver – and I have never cooked it before. So I was under the pump and previous night I had an argument with my older sister of her accusing me of doing something that I didn’t which really hurt me.

Nevertheless, the dinner must go on. So mum and I arrived at my older sister’s place and laid out all the ingredients starting to wash and prep all the ingredients. Somehow my older sister could sense that I was unhappy so we started having a conversation which escalated to me screaming and yelling at her with a knife in my hand. (a lesson to learn – never hold a kitchen knife when you are in a heated conversation with someone!). My reaction resulted in my older sister in shock, mum in shock and me being very shock in how much anger I had inside me. Mum pulled her away to another room to calm her down and me walked away to the laundry to calm myself down. Still in shock and I burst out in tears of what just happened?? Now mum walked in and comforted me and asked me whether we should continue carrying on cooking. I replied yes. We had 2 hours to make 8 main courses with 2 desserts, I looked at the clock and realised I’m never going to make it. I was ready to throw in the towel and just go home.

Mum looked at me and said, it’s ok even if we just make some of the dishes it should be enough to feed the people. At that time I realised I must continue on with cooking otherwise there will be no food plating up on the table for our guests. I grabbed the knife and started running around cooking like a headless chook. Somehow miraculously we started plating up some of the dishes and had 1 hour left to finish around 4 more dishes. I thought to myself I will prep up the dessert ingredients so afterwards I can always bake and make them later. Now I have to focus upon these 4 dishes. Mum is a speedy kitchen hand she would chop all the herbs and spices I’ve asked her to do and help me with getting all the ingredients prep up. Half way through cooking, I was in tears suddenly remembered what just happened an hour or so ago with my older sister. Anyways, the dishes all got done and was plated up and the guest has arrived on the dot 6.30pm they were amazed with the amount of food we have prepared. I gave Mum a high five and hug we made it together. We are a great team!

Sometimes during pressure or stress your mind registers and tells you that you can’t cope and you have 2 options to either throw in the tower which is what Andrea did in Masterchef and let the pressure & stress takes over you and give up. Or you can be like Philip in the Masterchef continue to carry on and give it your best shot. I was stoked that the guests all loved the food and when I see smiles on the kids faces as they enjoy the spaghetti meat balls, it was all worth it in the end. I even had time to make the 2 desserts – Tiramisu & banana tarte tatin and was so glad I didn’t burnt myself or hurt myself at all. After a few weeks, I’ve decided it’s best to avoid seeing my older sister as I thought to myself why do I always have to give in and say sorry first? She’s the older one she should come and say sorry to me for making such accusations. It was a difficult time of unrest and anger in my heart, even when I pray to God it was hard as I was harboring this anger inside me. As much as I know in God’s word before you come to God’s altar first you must make up and come before your brother/sister if there’s been contention. But pride got the better out of me, I couldn’t make myself to do it cos it will mean it’s my fault.

This silent war seemed to have lasted for a long time, mum was caught in the middle of it all. Mum would tell me family should love one another you both go to church every Sunday why can’t you just forgive one another. Well, I will forgive her if she comes forward and acknowledge she’s sorry for making such accusations and I will say sorry for screaming and yelling at her while holding a kitchen knife!! I’ve decided the only way to get through to her is to write her a letter – I wrote 3 pages of letter but haven’t sent it to her when I read it through again and again it was all harsh & hurtful words and I know deep down if I sent it to her it will probably be the end of our sistership. I really thank God during this time a close church sister of mine was able to give me sound advise when I shared with her my struggles and she said to me ‘don’t send the letter, because you will regret it – pray and ask God to move your heart and your sister’s heart that you both may come to love each other. Ask yourself whether you would want to make up with your sister? Of course I do, this silent war was slowly chewing me away bit by bit every day when I come home I would be cranky and unhappy. When is this ever going to end?

Thankfully, God started to work in both of our hearts – one day I was thinking to sms her and say I’m sorry. Then I received a sms saying I’m sorry for what I did want to catch up for Chinese New Year Dinner together? I wrote back, thanks for saying sorry, I’m sorry as well yes a dinner would be great. So at the Chinese New Year Dinner we both hugged each other it was silly to just throw away our sistership. I realised and have learnt that wow I never knew I had such anger inside me, which scares me and that I must be able to control my tongue (what I say as it could lead to sin and worst consequences which I will later regret). I do feel very emotionally drained after this fight but I thank God it’s over and me and my older sister are in talking terms again 🙂 there’s a Chinese term blood is thicker than water.

San Francisco Adventure

Published April 21, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, my sore throat continues now another symptom of aching body. I couldn’t wake up this morning so I decided to take a day off to rest at home. That was a great idea as I slept till 2pm and only woke up cos my tummy was rumbling. I persevered with the metal & iodine concoction gargle hoping it will make my sore throat go away…one can only hope.

Now, it’s time to write a post that’s away from the food direction – apart from great restaurants in San Francisco there are also lots of places you can visit that will keep you entertained. Our first or two days in San Francisco was to roam around the streets near the hotel. So we went straight to the Apple Store which was kind of nice – 2 stories and you get your free wifi access there.

The Apple Store

The Apple Store

The Iphone apps out the window

The Iphone apps out the window

We were in search of a Macbook for myself so we asked the friendly crew and after the tax calculation it was going to cost around the same to buy one in Perth. So we decided to buy it in Perth. Then we realised we needed to buy some breakfast and snacks so we can have them in our hotel. There was a Walgreens store near us, so we went in and it reminded us of IGA store it had everything we need. So we bought some snacks and brekkie which was pretty cheap. Food items in San Francisco was pretty cheap. A tin can of Pringles would generally cost around $3-$4 in Perth but in San Francisco they were like $1 which is very cheap.

Our snacks from Walgreens

Our snacks from Walgreens

The next day we decided to pay China Town for a visit. China Town was well known in San Francisco they sell absolutely everything. You need a whole day to go through all the shops which sells knick knacks but make sure you visit a few of the chinese shops first as they pretty much sell similiar items except there’s some minor price differences so make sure you don’t get too excited and buy everything from one single store.

The Great China Town

The Great China Town

China Town Goodies

China Town Goodies

You can also bargain your deals with the locals, and with one shop that I managed to buy lots of little kitchen gadgets I was excited and couldn’t leave this little store that was fully packed with goodies, upon leaving I even scored myself a little freebie of a bamboo wooden spoon 🙂

There were also chocolate shops everywhere, unfortunately both Pandabear and myself aint chocolate people so it didn’t tempt us at all. However, the cold wind and weather makes us crave for hot chocolates and with Star bucks across the road we managed to go there for brekkie, afternoon tea and sometime supper just to grab a tall hot chocolate which is pretty cheap just under $3 for a tall cup – bargain! Their muffin also taste great!

Star bucks tall hot chocolate

Star bucks tall hot chocolate

The yummy star bucks muffin

The yummy star bucks muffin

Apart from all of this, there’s also a cool tram ride that takes you to the wharf and other city areas. However, we didn’t have time to catch a ride – we did took a photo of it and must try it next time.

The Awesome Tram

The Awesome Tram

We decided to spend a whole day at the Fisherman’s wharf…we walked all the way there, it was a great exercise all the streets along San Francisco are very hilly which really makes you sweat and a great work out. There were great church building the architecture was fantastic.

The church building

The church building

Upon arriving you see all these beautiful tulip gardens which reminded me of the botanic gardens in Perth. There were food stands everywhere – hot dog stand, fairy floss stand, drinks stand and ice cream stand. Amongst all of this we located a man who has a pet lizard. How bizzare it is to own a lizard as your pet. It almost looks fake until I walked towards it to have a closer look and realised it moved.

The fairy floss stand

The fairy floss stand

The Pet lizard

The Pet lizard

It was time to buy the tickets to catch the ferry to Sausalito where we can see the famous Golden Gate bridge and to catch a glimpse of the famous Alcatraz island that used to jail convicts.

Our ferry tickets

Our ferry tickets

Our Ferry

Our Ferry

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Alcatraz

The Alcatraz

The ferry ride was a fantastic experience, it didn’t even made Pandabear sea sick at all. On our way home, we decided to catch the cable car back rather than walking up the hills. However the queues were humongous!! we lost the patience waiting however, the up side of it was we had this jazz dude playing and signing some jazz music that was pretty entertaining.

The Cable Car

The Cable Car

The dude playing jazz music

The dude playing jazz music

On our impossible walk home, we went through streets of China Town again. This time we bought some buns to give us enough energy to walk home and came across incredible food ingredients they sell at the markets.

people packed in China Town

people packed in China Town

The bread shop

The bread shop

China Town Markets

China Town Markets

It was also pretty cool to dine at the Burger join in Macy’s where you could see the whole view of Union Square everyone sitting there eating, chatting and relaxing.

The Union Square

The Union Square

To sum up San Francisco, it’s a place with great food and great people. In terms of things to do, I don’t think there’s lots – we were recommended to visit the Park, but we couldn’t be bothered. So I would say 1 week in San Francisco is plenty 🙂 now it’s off to cook some dinner…

Hotel Review – Grand Hyatt Hotel (San Francisco)

Published April 20, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, I’ve just finished another episode of Masterchef. Well, let’s see the status of sore throat hasn’t improved it’s feels like there’s some sharp razors cutting my throat every time I swallow so I try not to breathe or swallow too much. Not a great sign, I’m going to give it another day and if it doesn’t improve I’m gonna have to cancel dinner this Saturday. NO!!! I hate canceling dinner dates – especially when I’m cooking for my friends..but what can you do if I have something serious I don’t wanna pass it to them it’s painful 😦

Anyways, last night my work colleague recommended me some diphlam sprays which are good for sore throats and I told Pandabear to grab it for me if he can – somehow he got distracted with his medical post and before I know it I was glued to the TV watching Masterchef and before I know it the pharmacy has closed. Yes, I think this obsession with Masterchef is starting to scare me now…Anyways, I managed to head toward the pharmacy on my way home and ended up chatting to this Asian dude pharmacist of how to get rid of sore throat he recommended me this throat gargle – can’t remember the name but when I first opened I was repelled by the revolting metal and iodine smell and my goodness gargling this thing was worst than eating durian (little note I hate durian!! Can’t stand that taste) and the worst thing was the taste left my mouth and I almost threw up afterwards. So did I feel better afterwards NOPE!! Why Asian dude why did you recommend me this nasty concoction??? So tonight will be short post cos I’m still in pain with my nasty killer sore throat.

Okies, enough about restaurant review – onto another topic hotel reviews. Well, we caught a cab from the airport straight to our hotel – The Grand Hyatt have never stayed there before. We survived the crazy cab ride from this Asian driver who drive through busy streets cutting in and out like a speedy Gonzalez giving me a major headache and heart palpitating like crazy thinking this driver is going to kill us in some sort of car accident. Thank God, we survived and was glad to get off the cab ASAP. The bell boy helped us with a luggage and asked us where we were from and was amazed we flew in all the way from Perth. The hotel customer service person at the reception was very friendly greeted us with a lovely hi and big smile. Morning with a lovely tone and checked us in straight away. She ended with a have a great day and I replied good night – cos it’s night time in Perth and I definitely needed some sleep from the crazy cab ride.

Now I must admit the decor of the hotel looks classy but alittle old for my liking. I prefer the modern style, but when we arrived at our bedroom it was clean, I personally tested out the bed – soft and comfy, the bathroom/toilet was clean and neat. So you can’t complain..

Our lovely bed

Our lovely bed

After I had a long long nap woke up had a shower – excellent water heat system – I love my hot water shower cos it refreshes me very well. Anyways, the hotel was conveniently located opposite to a Star bucks joint, walking distance to all the Branded shops – Gucci, LV, Boss etc and also the Apple store as well. So you really can’t complain. The only thing that I was not happy about is that there’s no FREE wifi access so I couldn’t check my facebook but the up side there’s an APPLE store close by where you get FREE wifi access so it isn’t too bad.

Here’s my ratings:

Hotel service – 4 star
Hotel decor – 4 star
Would I recommend it? YES!

Okies, if anyone out there who has a home remedy for curing sore throat please kindly share to me the miserable creature with a nasty sore throat otherwise it’s back to my concoction of Iodine & Metal gargle No!!! 😦

Night and sweet dreams, oh btw – I rushed to see what Pandabear was doing and made some sniffing noise and he said whats wrong? I said ‘oh I wish I was in the Masterchef contest!!’ He probably thought I was gonna complained to him about my sore throat – which I temporarily forgotten when I watched the Masterchef…sigh…