Thursday, September 24, 2009

[Brisbane] Neway Karaoke Restaurant

Newway Karaoke Restaurant
Shop 30/358 Main Road
Sunnybank, 4109

(next to KFC)

This is where we ended up after being turned away at Sunny Court (on a saturday night).

Sunny Court (which specialises in Sichuan cuisine and steamboat) was so busy, hardly fit in with current economic situation. Other restaurants were not doing so great. One day we went into Oriental (sunday night, should have been extremely busy), there were only 4 or 5 tables occupied.

Neway Karaoke
Anyway, the restaurant was quite small with no more than 15 tables. But the menu is extensive with specials scribbled on paper plastered all over the wall and a 'Today Specials' board. Headache for first time patrons. So many choices, what to order??

Sweet & Sour pork @Neway
Sweet and sour pork rib rice set (from today special board and comes with a drink and soup of the day)

Hokkien Fried Rice@Neway
Hokkien fried rice

We also ordered herbal chicken hotpot which is difficult to photograph as its just a pot of boiling stock spiked with wine and a plate of raw chicken pieces. Mmm, not very nice-looking.

I actually enjoyed the food but Big King commented the place has this musty smell which is really off-putting so we haven't been back since.

There's still too many other new places to try nearby anyway.

Air ticket booking woes

An expensive birthday present I gave myself this year.

Departure of AUD200 booking fees with Flight Centre.

Having been disconnected with the 'real' world for what feel like an eternity (after Princess was born and I stopped working), it has made me totally naive and gullible like a 15 year-old (I mean the brain function not my looks obviously).

I let my guard down when people are friendly and helpful. I used to be suspicious about people's intentions as soon as they act nice. What to do? I was in this 'people eat people, dog eat dog, people not people, people are ghost' (direct translate in Chinese) world. The protective sensors/radar were very strong in the blood-y (not trying to swear here, direct traslate from Chinese 血淋淋) world.

How hard is it to go into travel agents or use the internet nowadays to book a ticket? You would say, aiyoo peanuts lah.

My case of looking for flights back to Brunei:-

Case 1: Internet booking
Search for fare with Royal Brunei Airlines online. The result is 'No fares found'. Eh? WTH??
Search with travel agent and travel site like Expedia online. The results came back AUD4xxx and above but when tried to reserve, no seats available on my chosen dates. Oh well, tough luck.

Case 2: Travel agents
So I thought I would try my luck with going in person into travel agents. Jetset and Harvey gave me some numbers AUD$1,2XX. But when I ask them to do me a quote, the reply being, 'oh I can't seem to be able to quote, the system wouldn't allow me to and the flights looked pretty full.' Huh, like that also can?? WTH?? Don't want any business issit?

So enter Flight Centre (another branch from previously, obviously), wow, extremely nice and friendly staff, able to quote me AUD$1,5XX but heck, system say tickets had been sold out at that price. The next available price is AUD2,225 per ONE ADULT. I pondered for a while and thinking someone else is picking up the tab and the staff seemed nice and sincere, I made a booking.

And was told after confirmation of booking that I need to pay a booking fee. WTH?? By now, my energy has been drained and the brain fuzzy with all those episodes. Without thinking, I paid the fee.

Received feedback today that those tickets I booked were too expensive. Need to find alternative. What? Singapore Airlines all booked out the week and after??? WTH?? Then Big King tried calling directly to RBA today, we were told we've been taken for a ride! WTH?? The quote from RBA is only AUD2,8XX for THREE persons (2 adults and a child).

Now the reason I didn't call RBA in the first place is because the lines are FOREVER engaged. You can't even get through. When the call is finally connected, you were forever being put on hold. It's a miracle Big King got through to an agent this morning.

Obviously I cancelled Flight Centre booking straightaway and lost my booking fee which is non-refundable but transferable. I don't think I'll be doing anymore business with them even if I have money to burn, hah.

A very expensive lesson learned.

Sigh..the world is still ugly.......

Looks like a case for Office of Fair Trading.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

[Brisbane] Roast duck noodle soup, Vietnam Corner

I have probably blogged Vietnam Corner to death by now, much like my favourite bakery, Chouquette. It's no secret that it's our favourite restaurant in Brissie and our fall back default when we couldn't decide where to eat.

This pic I took looked too good, I couldn't resist to show it.

Roast duck noodle@Vietnam Corner
Roast duck noodle soup

Princess can eat half the portion (noodle only) by herself! It's a big bowl!

I crave for certain food every now and then, most recently it was egg tart.

Good thing there's ready-rolled frozen puff pastry. Just half an hour, you can sink your teeth into piping hot egg tart.

Recipes have been written before. I must say, my version is not a remarkably fantastic one but it's enough to satiate my cravings.

[Brisbane] EKKA 2009

This would be the last year Princess get to go to EKKA for free (4 yr and under), bo pian, I have to drag my reluctant fat ass there this year.

Anything involving masses of crazy crowds and hot hot sun is not my thing.

As soon as we pass the entrance, there were a number of rides. Of course Princess wanted to have a go.

Princess at Ekka 2009

Went in search of food after a round of rides.

Battered dog@EKKA
The famous Ekka dog (frankfurt) on a stick, battered and dipped in ketchup. AUD4.50 or was it 6? a pop, rip-off! But it's an EKKA tradition. I gave up after 2 teeny bites >_<, bleh, eeyer, the taste 'kiasilang'.

We then wandered to International Food Village and found ourselves eating paella, choc brownie and curry puff. Again, they tasted 'kiasilang' :$.

After an unremarkable lunch, we proceeded to see displays of fruits and veg (yawn), some business and Queensland Government display pavilion (double yawn) but as soon as I stepped inside Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion, I got excited and wandering eagerly from stall to stall, sampling along the way.

There were all sorts of cooked food (gourmet, yay!) on offer like, braised lamb shanks, woodfired oven pizza, gelato, Greek yogurt, Queensland deli and lots of wine booths.

Very exciting for me but boring for the little one and Big King. Heck, at least the place is air-conditioned with plenty of seats. I left reluctantly to go to show bag pavilions. Came out empty-handed, rubbish merchandise.

Too hot and tired to explore further, we called it a day.

Suddenly I look forward to next year's Ekka :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sportsgirl Accesories

Sportsgirl accesories

Picked up a few items on Sportsgirl accessories sale rack. They are meant for little sis except the earrrings.

I find Sportsgirl accessories better made and designed than Diva's or other chain clothing stores' accessories. They are slightly pricier too but you can always grab a bargain during sale.

Went into Flight Centre to enquire about fares flying home. Encountered two unprofessional staff there. One ignored me, the other was unfriendly (throughout the time she served me) and gave me dirty looks when I said I didn't want to book there and then and wanted to have a think first.

I even heard them exchanging scath remarks about an old lady (after she left) who came in earlier, trying to get some advice on spending in NZ, traveller's cheques or visa debit or forex.

Gosh how unprofessional they were, slagging off other customer in front of me. I gave them both beady eye when I approached because of the old lady episode (for god's sake, have some heart!), so I guess the rude treatment for me!

The other girl (only 2 girls there), jumped off her seat, threw the earphone onto the desk after finishing a call, saying in a loud exasperated voice to the girl attending to me,'can you believe it, that was my second call!!!!'

They've been open only for an hour. Already, the girls were complaining. Wow, such attitude! I pity the customers.

Irresponsible, rude and lazy people get on my nerve. It's worse because I can't conceal my feelings. My face always reflect what I feel. For that, I am a terrible liar.

Bleh, that will be the last they see of me. Good for me and better for them (less work).

[Baking] Caramel cashew nut tartlet

I have an ex-colleague, Teresa, who's an ardent cook and baker.

She used to make these little nut tartlets which I like very much.

I missed those little treats of hers so I attempted to make some.

Caramel cashew tartlet

I used store bought sweet tartlet cases (12 for about AUD6.99) and unroasted, unsalted cashew nut.

First roast the cashew nut in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Then cook butterscoth sauce (sugar, butter, honey, teeny weeny salt), chuck in the roasted cashew nut, coat well.

Fill the tartlet and bake in oven for 10 minutes at 180 degree celcius.

Those ready-made tartlet cases (comes in savoury and sweet) are very handy to have in the pantry. You can whip up a chocolate tart (just melted chocolate and store bought whipped cream, voila!), lemon/passion fruit curd (just fill the tart with ready-made or homemade curd, voila!) or fill with whipped cream and fruits, all done in no time.

Buy from good delis.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pies from Chef's Fine Food

I am still alive and kicking, in case you were wondering.

I was in a school-search frenzy since the beginning of last month.

Princess is suppose to attend prep school next year (not compulsory though). But to get into the school's year one, you have a better chance if you attended it's prep class.

I called around the private schools in vicinity (within 10 mile radius), there were some 15-20 of them (!?!!). Yeah, THAT many. I called up several and gave up, ALL of them FULL. Apparently 99.99999% of parents started to enrol their babies in private schools from BIRTH!!??!! WTH???!!?? I suppose they double, triple, quadruple, centenialruple (whatever) their child. So no chance if you act late, like me.

I mean what's with these people, pfffft. Having just arrived here 2 years ago and zilch friends here, this enrolment frenzy had done my head in. And I had absolutely no idea, no clues about it.

And there were state schools within spitting distance of each other and all of them under catchment management plan. I mean, what a waste of resources with each of them having own swimming pool, own resource centre/library, own fancy hall (some million dollar investment from government stimulus package), own huge sports ground. Waste of taxpayers money. Individual school grounds are huge and all single story building, hence cannot accommodate so many students, as a result need A LOT of these individual schools to cater to all.

OK I can hear you snigger with the thought, 'so small meh, how small wor.'

Two examples, from my extensive search on the schools' website, one had 87 students from prep to Year 7 and another had some 102 from prep to Year 7. And some schools claimed to be proud at managing some 400+ students. HAHAHA, a joke right. But of course, compared to the school with 87 students, kakaka.

The state school within our catchment was apparently a dumping ground for children with refugee parents, single parents and certain abilities challenged children (not that I have anything against these people). Apparently there was this forum which say that because these children comes from 'very special' and dysfuntional background, a lot of the child develop harsh attitude towards women/girl and there were bouts of episodes of bullying/racism/general rude attitudes in the school. Now I don't know how true, but having read all these, would you still even want to consider the school *shudder*.

But I have enrolled her in two other nearby schools, one guaranteed, one still waiting. Hopefully we will get the school we desire. Fingers crossed (very very hard).

Oh, I am supposed to be writing about pies >.<.
Pies from Chef's Fine Food
Assorted pies from Janpowerhouse market

Princess and I especially like the curried scallops pie and love the chicken burgundy pie. We didn't think much of the pork and prawn rolls, tasted a bit weird. Big King didn't like any of those. Tsk, the man is hard to please.

These pies were chock full of ingredients, they are very good value at $6 a pop.

The stall also do a brisk trade of its pate.

It's worth checking out if you ever pop by Janpowerhouse market in New Farm.