Friday, February 27, 2009

Anouncement, Anouncement, Anouncement!

Our change of address cards are in the mail. Aren't they cute?



I covered up our personal information with a shameless plug for the awesome lady who made these maps. If you have known me for a really long time you may recall that she also made the maps for my wedding.

I heart things that are created by real people. Thanks, Liz!

Dining at Quay

Quay (pronounced "Key") is a fine dining restaurant located in Circular Quay- the hub of Sydney Harbor. The restaurant is actually perched over the water at the overseas passenger terminal. The huge cruise ships pull into the harbor there. It is a beautiful spot with amazing views.



The food at Quay is totally unique. They offer a 4 course a la carte dinner menu at a set price of $145. The menu is in four parts- you make one selection from each section and viola, dinner is served!

Everyone who knows me knows I am not an adventurous eater. I'm going to have to change that when we move to Sydney. There really is no other option.

I didn't recognize most of the things on the menu- like confit of pig belly or green lipped abalone. Some of the things I did recognize didn't sound like something I'd want to eat- like smoked eel and jellyfish. So choosing something from each section was a challenge for me.

I chose:
Salad of green figs with goat's curd cigar (what???)
Poached Lobster with lobster and tapioca dumpling
Black Angus beef fillet (no, not "fil-ay", "fil- LET")
8 Texture Chocolate cake

When the food arrived it was beautiful. The presentation is obviously very important to the chef at Quay. Everything was arranged perfectly on the plate. Garnishes included lovely little fresh flowers. And I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty a salad of green figs can be. One thing I noticed though was that most of the food seemed to be somewhat gelatinous. The textures were just not what I'm used to. Lots of poaching and pureeing. The word "confit" appeared on the menu no less than four times. I've never even seen that word before.

I do want to mention that the eight texture chocolate cake was not really cake at all. It was more like a chocolate mousse on top of a cookie with self-serve chocolate sauce on top. The waiter kindly explained that the sauce was in fact, the 8th texture. This dessert was tasty. But it was so rich I couldn't finish the whole thing. (You read that right- I could not finish a chocolate dessert- shocking!)

Interestingly that led the waiter to ask if everything was okay, didn't I like it? Apparently, not finishing your entire meal is taken as some sort of sign that you were unhappy with it.

Dining at Quay was an experience. The view was lovely and the food was interesting. It's the kind of place you go to on a special occasion. And I guess our visit was a special occasion since it was my first visit to Sydney.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hugging My Vonage Box

Attention family and friends:

Even though we will be living in a whole different hemisphere you will still be able to call us on our good ole California home phone number. It just makes me want to hug that Vonage box. Don't ask me how it works. Somehow that little box takes our voices and sends it as a packet over the internet and into the phone.

I HEART VONAGE!



But please, check the nifty clock I just added to my blog so you will know what time it is when you call. I'll be sure to do the same!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chomp Chomp Chomp

"Bondi Swimming Banned After 2nd Shark Attack"

"Surfer Injured in Sydney Shark Attack"

"Navy Diver Survives Sydney Harbour Shark Attack"

These are a few of the headlines this week in Sydney. Yes, two people have been severely injured in the past week by shark attacks.

Australia has the highest rate of shark attacks in the world, although few of them are deadly. (Doesn't that make you feel better?)

Some reports are blaming the attacks on Bull Sharks. I did a google image search and discovered that these are some pretty scary looking creatures.



Not exactly the kind of fish I'd want to run into while frolicking in the water with the kids!



And six months ago they removed the shark net that had enclosed Balmoral Beach for 73 years. Apparently it was too costly to maintain and gave swimmers a "false promise" of safety.

The good news is that the Balmoral Baths are still enclosed. This is where we will be swimming:




I want to believe that a net will keep the sharks out. Don't you?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Welcome to Balmoral

I thought I'd do a little research about Balmoral Beach since it is going to be our home for the next two years.



Here's what About.com has to say about Balmoral:

Balmoral Beach in Sydney's Middle Harbour lies just west of Middle Head, a picturesque crescent-shaped beach with its own island — Rocky Point.





In summer, the Balmoral Rotunda is the place to experience Shakespeare by the Sea. The rotunda and rocky Point Island are popular for weddings and photographs. Restaurants and cafes are at beachside. The Bathers Pavilion, a 1928 Spanish-Moorish-style building, is noted for its restaurant serving modern Australian cuisine.





Aside from off-street parking, there's a dedicated parking area at the southern end of the beach. Parking fees apply.

There is an area of enclosed public baths by Balmoral Wharf and and just north of Rocky Point Island is a netted shark-proof pool.

Picnic and barbecue facilities are available.

The beach is not patrolled by surf lifesavers.



This beach is going to be my front yard. Somebody pinch me!
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