Il Bacaro (Phone +61 3 9654 6778)
168 Little Collins St, Melbourne – Victoria 3000, Australia
It’s this time of the year again, white truffle season! The white truffle season usually starts mid November and last about 6 weeks. The only place I know that serves white truffles is Il Bacaro (I’m sure there are many more)
As I entered Il Bacaro, the small room was engulfed with the smell of white truffle. It’s intoxicating.
As we were seated, we were informed on the white truffle specials. We opted with the specials. We also upped the ante with the truffles from 3 grams to 5 grams per dish
Entree – Grilled arthichoke stuffed with porcini mushroom, served with barley and buffallo mozzarella (with shavings of 5 grams white truffle)
Grilled artichoke is actually a menu item that is served regularly at Il Bacaro but this is my first time. I like the smoothness of the artichoke and earthiness of porcini mushrooms. It’s a course with a lot of textures of barley and buffallo mozzarella. All the flavors are like a blank canvas a great foundation for the white truffle to be the star of the dish.
Entree – Spaghettini with Moreton Bay Bug (with shavings of 5 grams white truffle)
My fellow diner opted for another regular popular menu item at Il Bacaro – Spaghettini with moreton bay bug. I kind of disagree with the chosen dish to be consumed with precious white truffle as the garlic and chilli might overpower the taste of white truffle. However, my fellow diner seems to enjoy it very much.
Main – Duck filled Pasta with clear broth sauce (with shavings of 5 grams white truffle)
My fellow diner opted for the specials as a main course. The sweet duck filling with velvety pasta goes really well with the white truffle. The clear broth feels very cleansing and smooth.
Main – Handmade Tagliatelle (with shavings of 5 grams white truffle)
The best way to enjoy white truffle is with simple ingredients, in my case, it’s Il Bacaro hand cut freshly made Tagliatelle. It’s pure comfort food and the smoothness of egg pasta compliments the white truffle very well. The white truffle just melt and flavour the pasta.
Dessert – Panacotta and Jelly
Another simple ingredients to accompany the white truffle – smooth and creamy panacotta and a bitting texture of Jelly. A great vehicle to carry the white truffle’s flavour.
The Il Bacaro Chef (David) knows my fondness of truffle so he decided to thrown in a simple vanilla ice cream flavoured with….Truffle. ;).
Bookings & Delivery Phone: 9459 0907
100 Burgundy St,
We had heard so much about a pizza place called Amici Pizzeria. Amici Pizzeria is an authentic Italian pizza eatery complete with a massive wood fire oven. They serve the pizzas the same way they do in Italy, they serve it whole. They don’t cut their pizza into pieces, instead, they provide you with a knife and fork to slice yourself. They also serve Pizza by the meter.
The menu is very extensive. Looking at the menu itself took me almost 15 minutes! We decided to order pizzas to share, however, I’m sure we will be back next time to try their antipasti and wonderful selection of pastas. The ingredients listed in the menu are of a high quality which include specks and tartufo (truffle mushroom) to name a few.
Here are some of the Pizzas we ordered (make sure you request fresh chilli served with extra virgin olive oil sides) –
- Sognatore – Green Pesto, Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Prawns, Pine Nuts, Rocket Salad, Pecorino Cheese Contains juicy prawns
Salsiccia – Mozzarella Cheese, Peppers, Poatoes, Rosemary, Sausages
Chorizo – Firo di Latte Mozzarella, Pumpkin, Chorizo, Caramelized Onions, Feta
This was my favourite pizza at Amici Pizzera. Fresh slightly spicy Chorizo with sweet pumpkins and caramelised onion and to complete the whole sweet and spicy flavour, square slices of salty feta cheese. It’s delicious!
Fantasy Pizza – the chef surprise pizza We decided to be adventorous and order a Fantasy Pizza. We ended up with mortadella pizza with pistachio ham with olives, red peppers and mozzarella cheese.
Strawberry and Nutella Pizza–
Studel Di Mele – Homemade Fresh Fruits Strudel served with Vanilla GelatoStudel Di Mele is one of the most pricey item on the menu ($16 per serve). The strudle is one of the best I’ve had. It contains sliced apples with sultanas wrapped in a crispy dough topped with spiced sugars.
The Booth (Taiwanese Cafe)
Closed on Monday
612 Station St,
Box Hill – Victoria (Australia)
I usually don’t venture out far from the city but today I met up with friends for dinner in Box Hill. I suggested we try out a very casual eatery around Box Hill called The Booth.
The Booth is a Taiwanese style eatery and it has all the Taiwanese street foods. Although the decor of the restaurant looks a little old, they have awesome food. It’s the place where you go for quick, casual food. It’s also very affordable. My friends and I like to call a bunch of food to share. This way we get to feast on all the different foods.
One of my favourite dish is the Spring Onion Pancake. As the name suggests, it’s a dough mixed with slices of spring onion and then pan fried. The Spring Onion Pancakes are cut into Triangular Wedges. It’s so crispy on the outside and soft fluffy on the inside.
The next dish to share is Mango Prawns. It has deep fried juicy prawns, mango pieces and crispy chinese donuts drizzled in mayonnaise and garnished with sprinkle of sesame seeds.
We also ordered our favourite Beef Wrap. It’s basically beef with crunchy salad wrapped in Malaysian style roti (Roti Paratha / Canai). We requested the beef wrapped to be cut into pieces prior to being served. Beef Wrap is our group’s favourite.
The next nibble is the Crumbed Chicken Drummettes. It’s a guilty pressure as it’s a deep fried goodness.
Pork Belly Sandwich is the next dish. I had similar one in Taiwanese Cafe. It’s a braised pork belly with pickled vegetables, crunchy peanuts wrapped in steamed soft buns. It’s delicious.
A meal in Taiwanese restaurant will not be complete without Pan Fried Dumplings. Consumed in a dash of chinese black vinegar, the bottom of the dumplings are so crispy and it has juicy filling. Very tasty!
The bill between 6 of us including drinks and tips came up to $16 per person, which I think is a bargain.
I have a new addition to my Chanel collection – a Chanel Brooch. I have been thinking about getting it for almost a year now and have finally got it.
I like the versatility of a brooch. Initially, I was planning to use it to pin one of my jacket that has lost a button. However, after weighing up the option for cost per wear, I decided to use my Chanel Brooch by pinning it in between my shirt collars. I can also pin it on the side of my shirt or on the lapel of my blazers. I can also bring my old handbag by pinning it in my handbag or accesorise my cloche hat.
This Chanel Brooch costs AU$529.
For those who have never been inside an asian supermarket, I really recommend you try it out if you ever walk pass one. It seriously is a treasure trove of snacks! The bigger the supermarket the better!
So I went inside a supermarket and I found this, Salt Cheese Crackers and Wafers Combo. I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty flavours. It’s a sweet dark chocolate ganache wafers sandwiched by salted cheese crackers. It sounds bizarre but it’s absolutely delicious. I cannot eat more than a few piece though as it is very rich and heavy.
I have just returned from a long weekend at The Great Mackerel Beach to celebrate a good friend’s birthday.
The Great Mackerel Beach is located 43 km north of Sydney. There are no shops, no road and no vehicle access. The only way to get there is by ferry or water taxi from Palm Beach. I arrived on Friday from Melbourne and got picked up by my friend. We drove 90 minutes to Palm Beach (thanks to the hectic Sydney traffic).
Palm Beach is used for filming popular soap Home and Away (Summerbay).
From Palm Beach we took the water taxi to get to Mackerel Beach as it was more convenient and cost the same. The Ferry costs $7.50 while the water taxi costs $45 (can fit in up to 10 people). The water taxi ride took about 5 minutes.
We rented 3 nice houses within a 5-minute walk from the jetty. It’s beautiful as the Jacaranda trees are blooming with its purple colour. Since there’s no shops within the beach, we had to bring all our groceries and drinks with us. Once we got to Mackerel Beach, there were wheel barrows to assist us with carrying our luggages to the house. The weather for the first night was not ideal as it continued to rain throughout the night.
Once we settled in the house, we decided to fire up the BBQ and opened the champagnes. We ate, played board games and just relaxed :).
That night I experienced my first blood sucking leech. I was staring at my feet (I was wearing flip flops) and noticed a black slug stuck in between my toe. I didn’t feel a thing. Then I let out one of my loudest yells ever. Instead of using a cigarette lighter or salt to take out the leach, I just pulled it out, and it hurts (like getting tattoo). The blood was gushing and didn’t stop for 20 minutes.
The next morning, the sun’s out. It’s beautiful. We decided to do a 3 hours return bush walk to Resolute View Point. The walk was easy and we got to the view point easy enough.
Enroute back, we got lost. Some of us decided to track back while I joined the others and continued on. Thanks to Google Maps, it showed us a track had we continued. BIG Mistake! The trek ended after we walked a further 20 minutes. There’s a steep hill in which we could see houses. We decided to go off road and climbed down the steep hill. Another mistake. Half way down the very steep hill, the ground was full of leeches. All of us were screaming and trying to get leeches off our feet. I had half a dozen wiggling on my shoes. One resident came out with a jar of salt. We sprinkle some salt in our feet to get the leeches out. Luckily, the leeches only made it to my shoes and socks but not to my feet. I was so relieved when I realised I was free of leaches. Some of my friends were not so lucky though.
Once we recovered from our leech encounter, we all went to the beach for a dip.
That night, we made cakes, pizza, BBQ and continued to drink more wine to celebrate our friend’s birthday. We played more board games. It was fun and very relaxing.
On Sunday, we woke up really late and made our way back to Palm Beach and caught a flight back to Melbourne.
Mackerel Beach is such a remote isolated place, perfect for relaxing with friends. During my stay, I encountered so many wildlifes – wallabies, bush turkey, kookaburras, and a goanna.
My day continues :). For part 1 – Singapore (Part 1) – Chili Crab and Little India
After all the shopping at Singapore Orchard Road, I decided to get away from air conditioned shopping centers so I caught the MRT to Chinatown. Chinatown is the perfect place to buy souvenirs. During the evening, there’s also a street food market. The last time I was here, I had my first taste of frog legs (from bull frogs). It tasted like chicken.
Nearby, there’s a hindu temple – Sri Mariamman. It’s packed due to Deepavali festival. I didn’t want to part with my Chanel shoes (as you need to take off your shoes prior to entering) so decided to admire the temple from outside :).
Hainanese Chicken Rice at Pow Sing
65 / 65 Serangoon Garden Way
Ph: + 65 6282 7972 / +65 6286 4813
After a quick nap at the hotel I got picked up by a friend in his very nice car :). The price of cars in Singapore is generally 2.5 times that of Australia (which is around 2 times of US/UK!!). On top of that, a license for the car cost SGD$30,000! Yikes! I can understand though as Singapore is a very small country.
Dinner tonight is at a place which is famous for its Hainanese Chicken Rice – another Singaporean signature dish.
Another dish that I liked is the Crispy Nonya Tauhu – which is cabbage filled with minced seafood.
Not to be missed is their meatball soup all washed down with sweet warm drink of Barley juice. A very authentic way to experience Singaporean cuisine :).
1 Raffles Place (Level 61 – 63)
Ph: +65 6438 0410
I caught up with my colleagues at the highest bar in Singapore (Level 63 1-Altitude Bar ). It’s perfect when it’s not raining. 1-Altitude Bar gives me a birds eye view of Singapore. It really is an amazing city.
As the rain came, the crowd was hurdled into the bar below. We had more drinks and played virtual golf. It certainly took more hits than expected after consumption of copious amount of alcohol 😛
For some odd reasons, my nights always end up at the cheapest place to buy alcohol – Orchard Towers. I’ll leave it to you guys to explore more :), the highest floor you go, the craziest you get to experience / see :).
Anyhow, if you’re a first time visitor to Singapore, I highly recommend you visit Singapore Night Safari Zoo. It’s the highlight of my visit. Also Sentosa Island for some theme parks and spa :).
Last but not least, Singapore’s favourite snack is Kaya Toast – it’s a toast filled with coconut spread. It’s divine. I had mine with a Chilled Soya Bean Drink with Grass Jelly drink. Scrumptious!
Ok, so I’ve been to Singapore many times before but I have decided to blog about it this time around.
Without a doubt the best thing about Singapore is the food, although the shopping comes in a close second.
Pan Pacific Hotel at Marina Bay
I flew in late last night and woke up early so I decided to go for a long run outdoor nearby my hotel (Pan Pacific Marina Bay) which is located at Marina Bay district of Singapore. The weather was overcast and the early morning sun just turned up. It was a little humid for my liking but it’s as good as it’ll get considering.
After my run, I went for a buffet breakfast in my hotel. Here’s what I had for breakfast, love the chocolate fondue :).
Singapore is very cosmopolitan. I like the fact that it’s such a small city / country yet allows me to experience all the different cultures – Malay, Chinese, Indian and English.
My first stop was Little India. It’s a couple of days before Deepavali (Diwali) festival. Deepavali is a festival of lights which represents the winning of good over evil. Small clay lamps are lit up during the night. It’s similar to Chinese New Year, where sweets are consumed and new clothes are worn. The street of Singapore’s Little India are very colourful.
Chili Crab at Harbour Front
Tung Lok Seafood
1 Harbourfront Walk
Reservation is essential at Ph: +65 6376 9555
I caught up with a friend for lunch at Tung Lok Seafood. I took the Harbour front MRT stop and found my way to the restaurant.
The specialty of Tung Lok Seafood is the famous Singaporean Chili Crab. It wasn’t as spicy as I thought but very tasty nonetheless. A little bit messy to feast but so much fun. Chili Crab is served with deep fried chinese bun, perfect to soak up all the sauce.
My friend and I also ordered scallop with glass noodle. Simple and delicious.
After a very filling and satisfying lunch, we decided to have ‘light’ dessert still within Vivocity Shopping Center Harbour front at a place called Awfully Chocolate.
Awfully Chocolate is right up my alley as I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate. Awfully Chocolate’s specialty is its chocolate cake. Unfortunately, since I was so full I was only able to order their dark chocolate truffle which is to die for :).
My day continues….
More photos from half of my day –
Attending Oaks Day is a very popular Melbourne tradition. This year (2012) I was privileged enough to attend my company’s private hosted marquee. We hosted 50 guests. The Marquee was located nicely – close to the winning post.
Being the host, I arrived early. The weather was perfect. The drinks started to flow. While awaiting for my guests, I started making my first horse race bet. By the end, I have placed a bet on every single race (10 in total) and unfortunately didn’t manage to win a single race
Anyhow, I had a great time entertaining. We had finger food, a full buffet lunch, afternoon high tea and unlimited amount of alcohol :).
For fashionistas, Oaks Day is where we wear our floral and pastel colours. I wore a Bec and Bridge Dress, YSL tribute heels and Morgan and Taylor Fascinator.
Since my flight back to Buenos Aires from Ushuaia isn’t until later in the evening I decided to do a last minute day trip to visit Lake Fagnano and Lake Escondido.
I got picked up in the morning and were driven to see valleys which is a popular destinations for skiers.
I got an introduction to the famous Tierra del Fuego Tree called the Lenga Beech Tree. This tree is often used for furniture and construction material.
The problem with Beavers
Throughout the drive, I noticed some creeks. Our tour guide explains how beavers are a huge problem and becoming a pest in Tierra del Fuego National Park. A small amount of beavers were imported from Canada in 1946 to promote fur trading in the region. Unfortunately, it was soon realised that beaver fur is too short hence the initiative failed. In North America, there are predators such as bears / wolves that control the number of beavers. In South America, there are no such predators hence the beavers keep multiplying. Beaver built creeks (also known as Beaver Creek) accumulates water that kills local plants and trees.
Although the Argentinian government has provided incentives for citizens to cull the beavers, it is still currently a problem today.
It’s almost midday and we stopped to see huskies. These huskies are used for sledding. Some of them are sled racing huskies.
Nearby, we stopped for lunch. I saw a Parilla Oven. Parilla is Argentinian Grilled Meat. It’s cooked over coal for a long period of time.
After lunch, we visited Lakes.
The first lake is Lake Fagnano which is the southernmost lake of its size outside Antartica. It’s 6km width x 104 km length x 204 m deep (an average depth of 70 m) with 1000 km3 water. The water although in Spring / Summer is still freezing due to the water from the glazier.
The second lake we visited is Lake Escondido which is also a glacier lake.
Ushuaia is a naval base of Argentina. Throughout the drive, I noticed the large presence of the Argentinian Navy. I was told the friction for Falkland Island in Georgia with the British is still heating up.
My day trip tour finished early and I had the option to visit the convict museum in Ushuaia but opted to retreat back to my hostel. I managed to meet another traveller and finally driven back to the airport to catch my flight to Buenos Aires.
Here are some more photos from my day trip –