Recently while I was in the city, I developed a craving for a Japanese lunch. As I was near Town Hall there were many options, but my choice for the day was Izakaya Yebisu in Regent Place. Regent Place has many Asian dining choices and the way it has been designed and decorated gives you the feeling of being anywhere but Sydney. Being in the CBD it does tend to get a little busy at lunch time.
Izakaya Yebisu has a main restaurant area and also a bar running along the length of the glassed kitchen area. Menus in the bar area are on tablets so ordering is simple, select the menu course screen, press the item you want and then press order and presto the order is delivered straight to the kitchen or bar. If you need help there is a button to attract a wait person. I had a question about the types of Umeshu they had on offer and a waiter was there very quickly after pressing the “assistance” button. After ordering my Umeshu it was time to decide on my lunch choices.
First course was Gyoza you have a choice of two sauces so I chose the classic ponzu.
For my main I opted for Chicken Kara-age set which came with salad, miso soup, pickles and 2 slices of sashimi. The chicken was nice and crispy and served with Japanese mayo(possibly Kewpie brand) and rice was under the chicken.
There was also a sign for a discounted dessert for dinners who are members of Washoku Lovers Club, so I quickly joined online and ordered the Tempura ice cream. A generous serve of strawberry ice cream dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. Sort of like deep fried ice cream you get at a Chinese restaurant but battered instead of crumbed. The batter was light and crispy and the ice cream had hardly melted. Topped with chocolate sauce and served with cream and strawberry.
Another great find for a delicious Japanese lunch. Might have to head in another couple of times before my next trip to Tokyo later in the year.
While I was on my flight to Brisbane, I decided to flip through the Qantas magazine. There was an article on the spicy food trend in Australia. Of particular interest was a review on Fire Tonkotsu Ramen at Taro’s Ramen and Cafe in Brisbane. It is always handy to have some dining suggestions before landing in a city.
After checking in to the hotel and relaxing a little it was time to head out and explore a little. On my way in to the CBD I happened across Taro’s Ramen and Cafe while walking down Edward Street. It was nearly 12 so definitely time for lunch.
I forgot to order the Fire Tontotsu Ramen and instead ordered Tonkotsu Ramen with extra soy neck charsiu (Bangalow pork). I also ordered a glass of Choya Umeshu, a Japanese alcoholic beverage which I have never tried before.
Both were delicious. The creamy looking soup base is cooked for 2 days using bones from Bangalow pork. The charsiu pork was tender and tasty. The noodles nicely firm and slurped down a treat. Perfect for the cool Brisbane day. The iced Umeshu was sweet but went well with the ramen.
Then it was time to head back out and explore Brisbane, a city I lived in for 10 months many moons ago, and see the changes that have happened in the past 25 years.
On my recent trip to Brisbane (AKA Brisvegas) I walked from the city to New Farm to have lunch. A pleasant walk that took about half an hour led to James Street, a lovely tree lined street that is the main shopping precinct of New Farm. Reminded me a bit of Double Bay in Sydney.
Upon reaching my destination the rain came down. Naturally I didn’t have an umbrella as I was taking the risk that it wouldn’t rain. So that meant it was time to eat rather than window shop.
There were several dining choices but I decided to try Cru Bar|Cellar. Located at the front of James St. Market it was a perfect spot to watch the world pass by while it rained.
The word cellar in the name got me expecting a great wine list, which it definitely was. Such a huge range of wines by the glass including many great Bourdeaux’s and wines from Burgundy, the USA, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. I decided to kick off with a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne, one that you don’t see too often by the glass.
For lunch I chose pressed crispy skin pork belly, daikon, green apple and seeded mustard remoulade, soft potato, artichoke and crispy flat parsley. Truly delicious! The pork belly was so soft and tender, the skin crisp with a nice crunch, all the flavours were a great combination. Perfect choice for lunch while it rained.
Rather than dessert I chose the Charles Arnaud Comte (18months aged) cheese, served with lavosh, pide, Iranian figs and quince paste. I chose a glass of Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2014 to accompany my cheese.
As I finished my wine and cheese the rain stopped and the sun tried to make an appearance. It was safe to leave the dry environs of Cru Bar|Cellar and head back out to the shops, top of my list was Pottery Barn and West Elm. Behind Cru Bar|Cellar in the market were some great providores of ready to heat and eat meals, and greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger and deli.
After my look around it was time to head back to the hotel and rest after all the walking.
Until this year I did not realise that pumpkins had two types of flowers. yes I knew their cousin zucchini had 2 types but it never crossed my mind that pumpkins would too. This is my second year with pumpkins growing, last year I didn’t take a close look at the flowers, but this year I did.
I also planted Gramma which is another relative of pumpkin, mainly used for Gramma Pie. My other pumpkin vine is a butternut and one of those is almost ripe.
The first flowers I saw on my pumpkin were tall and upright on thin stems so I got excited and thought I would soon have pumpkins. I waited and waited and nothing happened, they just wilted and died.
Then after about 5 weeks and the vines getting longer I noticed a flower low down with a swelling on the base and the flower closed. Pumpkin!! I promptly took a photo. The next day I went out to check it again and it had dropped off. But I found another one. So I scurried in to consult Aunty Google and discovered that the males always show up first. The females show up when the vine hits a certain length (about 3meters) the first one or two may abort. There are always more males than females and if you want to breed true to type only have one kind growing with in 2 km. Much like chillies they cross breed very easily.
I have to hand pollinate as bees are practically non existent in my neighbourhood. Over summer I think I may have seen about 5. I use a cotton swab and pretend like a bee, visit the boy then visit the girl.
I hope that the one in the photo above is a Gramma as it has been too long between Gramma pies. If I do have success with it I will do a post about Gramma Pie but it looks like it may be a little way off. The flower part has dropped off today and it looks a little bigger.
My first butternut probably has another three or four weeks of ripening to do before it will be ready to pick. Full size has been reached and the skin has started to change colour.
I have to thank one of my high school classmates, Julianne Turner, for supplying me with the Gramma Seeds.
Will post more from my garden in the future and will let you know how my pumpkins/gramma are going.
Who doesn’t love the knock on the door from a delivery man. Today I received my new teapot that I ordered from Analogue Life, along with a sencha cup(tea cup for green tea) that I ordered as well.
This is a replacement one as the first one went to a new home.
I like this one as it has a square shaped knob on the lid which gives a bit more character.
The teapot is by Hisao Iwashimizu of Kukan Chuzo and is called Egg teapot. Obviously the name indicates that it has a slight egg shape. It is made of cast iron with an enamel interior and holds 300ml of green tea. It also features a delightful roughened surface that looks almost like the surface of the moon. It also has a removable mesh strainer which makes disposing of pesky tea leaves much easier.
Some of the best cast iron ware comes from Iwate Prefecture in Japan. I discovered Hisao Iwashimizu’s pieces on a show called The Mark of Beauty which airs on NHK World. It was a half hour episode about NambuTetsubin.
Not having much awareness about Japanese cast iron it was a fascinating show to watch. It primarily dealt with Nambu Tetsubin,which is the Japanese name for cast iron kettles. The kettles featured in the show are quite amazing, especially when you see the antique pieces.
The difference between cast iron kettles and teapots is that the kettles are not enameled on the interior where as the teapots are. The kettles are used for bringing the water to temperature and are able to withstand direct heat, and the teapots are purely for brewing the tea in.
Below is a link to a site that has some more information and videos:
Well it is time to get back blogging. There have been some changes in my life and I have been a bit down and off blogging. From now on my travels and dining will be predominantly solo. Although I have high hopes of dragging my mother to Tokyo for a week and introducing her to the delights and sights of that remarkable city.
Over the past few months my dining out has been a bit restricted. I have to say though that I have been enjoying a quick bite at the bar at Rockpool Est 1989 in Bridge Street.
My dalliances at Rockpool started after a wonderful exhibition at Charles Billich Gallery where I got to meet the fabulous artist and his lovely wife Christa. As it was still early I decided to treat myself to a little supper.
I sat at the bar which gives a fantastic view of the crew working their magic. I ordered Prawn and sesame toasted finger sandwich, a glass of Andre Jacquart ‘Experience’ Blanc de Blancs Champagne (from Vertus in France) followed by the cheese selection. So good that I have had the same three items a further 2 times as my pre Opera dinner ( yes I was gifted some tickets to the Opera and have thus far seen: The Pearlfishers, La Boheme and The Barber Of Seville).
The cheese selection also included honey and a wonderful white peach puree which was sublime with the softer cheeses. The chefs have also been very kind and sweet my last two visits and sent out a little extra of scrumptious chicken wings with Konbu butter, topped with caviar. So generous and SO delicious, if you know my feelings about fishy things, you might bes hocked that I actually enjoyed the caviar with the chicken wing, but this is a sensational menu item.
So I will not be back in to Rockpool for a little while as my next Opera is not until June when I see Carmen. Might have to try something else on the bar menu. They still have the fabulous honey and spelt bread but sadly I am trying to cut back on my bread consumption. I wonder if it would be bad form to just order the bread and a glass of champagne? Yes/No?
Any way Life is getting back on track again and I hope to start posting a bit more regularly again.
Our final day saw us with stunning blue sky again and free time until our departures.
We set off for a walk around the main part of Geneva with plans to stop at the Patek Philippe boutique and the Vacheron Constantin boutique.
Looking back across the Pont du Mont Blanc.
Our first stop was the Patek Philippe Boutique. Located on Rue du Rhone and facing the lake, the salon has maintained the heritage feel of the building and the interiors. Gorgeous embossed and gilded wall paper and many antiques fill the space.
Watches are elegantly displayed and service is impeccable.
After Patek Philippe we headed to the Vacheron Constantin Salon where Mr. CA4G was wanting to see the vintage pieces they had for sale. It was great to see a high end brand actively buying, servicing and reselling their own historic pieces.
While the salon is housed in an old building the interior is thoroughly light and modern with subtle references to the past.
Then it was time for a bit of exploring. Walking the cobble stoned streets was an exciting experience and great way to see the town. I would hate to walk these streets in heels. The local ladies were mostly in elegant flats or low heels only some silly foreigners were in mega heels.
We found Christie’s Auction house. Alas no auction preview exhibition while we were there.
Perched on the hill above the city is the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. Built in the 12th century, the Cathedral became the local seat of the Protestant church in the 16th century when it also underwent some modifications. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to climb the 157 steps of the north tower for the views over the city and lake.
The Palais de Justice, the courthouse of Geneva and the street out front of it. The cafes were quite busy. I guess lawyers need to fuel up on caffiene like the rest of us.
Then it was time to head to M.A.D. Gallery and visit Max Busser.
The items for sale in M.A.D. Gallery are very eclectic and quite visionary. The Machine Lights by Frank Buchwald are quite amazing and I could see some of these in our house(anyone got the winning Lotto numbers for me?). Prior to making these unique lights Frank Buchwald was a freelance artist and science fiction illustrator. He then moved on to making metal furniture and in 1993, entirely self taught, he started producing the lamps.
Machine Light Type No. 1. I could see this in a movie featuring a mad scientist.
Machine Lights Type No. 3, this would sit nicely on our mantelpiece.
While the art is important at M.A.D. Gallery, Max Busser also has the fantastic mechanical wrist art that is M.B&F Watches. Mr. CA4G was keen to show me the HM6, also known as Space Pirate, that he saw in Singapore earlier this year. Max was inspired to design this watch by a cartoon he used to watch as child called Capitaine Flam.
The front two bubbles tell the hour on the left and the minutes on the right. The central sapphire crystal dome houses a tourbillon which has an articulated titanium cover that can be raised and lowered by the wearer. The rear two bubbles contain the twin spherical turbines that automatically regulate the winding system in case of excessive speed to reduce stress and wear. Very technical and very complicated.
Watches like this continue to astound me due the amount of research that goes in to the design and the movement. The sapphire crystal is incredibly hard to do as each dome is shaped from a block of crystal. Out of every 100 crystal domes produced there is around an 80% reject rate. Incredibly time consuming and costly. Makes you appreciate why mechanical timepieces like this cost what they do.
Who doesn’t love robots, especially these Melchior ones, designed by M.B&F and built by L’Epee 1839. These are table clocks that put boring run of the mill table clocks to shame. The dome on the head houses the movement . The body has jumping hours and minute indicators and the eyes are retrograde seconds indicators, the dome on top reveals the regulator which governs the clocks precision . The left forearm detaches to become the winding key. The good thing? With 40 day power reserve you don’t need to wind it too often.
And Max’s latest idea was a clock in the shape of a spider. Yep, not my cup of tea. Called Arachnophobia, Max Busser’s over active imagination was inspired by the giant spider sculpture “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois and bought to life by L’Epee 1839. The legs are articulated and it can either sit on a desk or be mounted on a wall.
Arachnophobia on the wall and Damien Beneteau’s kinetic sculpture ‘Spatial Variation’ in front.
Some of our favourite pieces were the ‘comma men’ by Chinese artist Xia Hang. These delightful, highly polished stainless steel sculptures are quite whimsical and fun.
Hanging on one wall was one of the most unique musical instruments we have ever seen. Ulrich Teuffel began making and designing guitars when he was 14. At age 30 he radically changed his approach to guitar making by focusing on conceptual design. His BirdFish design is now ranked among the best guitars in the world and used by people such as Billy Gibbons(ZZTop), David Torn, Kirk Hammett(Metallica) and many more.
Mr. CA4G has a thing for steam engines and has looked at these Bohm Stirling pieces on line. They do not rely on water to generate energy but heat from a small flame that heats up the engine and gets it going.
There was even one that can be placed over a mug of coffee and is activated by the heat rising off the hot liquid, also acts as a coffee insulator.
Also on exhibit were the works of Damien Beneteau. Originally a photographer, Damien began working with light and creating kinetic ‘light sculptures’. Moving parts within the pieces change the way light plays on them. Quite mesmerizing and somehow hypnotic.
It was great to finally meet Max Busser and visit M.A.D Gallery. As my flight left earlier I had to depart and left Mr. CA4G to enjoy a catch up and lunch with Max.
We had a wonderful 5 days in Geneva and were very glad to have had the chance to go.
We would like to thank James Kennedy and the team from LK Boutique for inviting us on the tour, Patek Philippe for their wonderful hospitality and the opportunity to visit the factories and learn more about their watch making and design processes.