Announcements

10/5/2014: And off I head...: The temporary exodus

7/29/2013: Don't miss me when I'm gone, for it's only temporary.: A self-explanatory apology.

6/26/2013: It's a sale!: I'm not going to impose it on you; it's just that I've decided to have some items up for sale. Feel free to take a peek. No charges for a mere view. *winks*

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Birds of Paradise Soap Studio

It is not quite often that you'll see me loitering in night markets, especially the ones abroad, due to the distance from my place, but the one that I went to left me doing just that, browsing through the various stalls.

The one I attended is unfortunately the last one of the year. I wasn’t alerted to its existence until a newsletter from the university arrived in my inbox, encouraging all of the international students to visit the place while we still could.

According to Splash Adelaide, Adelaide Night Market is an event that brings together small business in retail and food with entertainment under the sunny evenings every Sunday until the Sunday before Easter.

There was a particular booth that caught my due to the visual aesthetics of the products. When I approached the stall, I saw that there was a variety of products being offered for sale, such as lip balms, body scrubs and soap bars (of various flavor and color).



Birds of Paradise's official mascot.

A quick word with Erika, who happens to be the brainchild behind Birds of Paradise Soap Studio, revealed that all of the products are handmade with love and care. There are new products that will be launched as soon as it has been cured for a number of weeks.

Body Scrubs, which are available in an assortment of flavors.





Face and Body Soap Bars, which are available in a wide array of colors and fragrances.











The one that attracted me was ‘Salty Mariner’ because it was something that I’ve never seen before - be it here or back home in Malaysia. The shells on the soap are made out of sea salt.



Birds of Paradise Soup Studio's next stop would be at That Dapper Market in Bowden, North Adelaide on the 12th April 2015 (that's this Sunday, folks!). There is more array of merchandises being offered than the ones featured in today’s posting.

Feel free to browse through Erika’s Facebook page here to have a look at all of the items or to know the list of places that she’ll be selling at.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Facade

It’s 12.20am. It’s been almost a year since I stayed up this late.

After running helter-skelter for the seminar practice works and our very first assignments, I now can finally lay my burning thoughts to rest.

The trip to Taiwan sparked the long-forgotten memories of a chum and it was one of the worst decisions I made in my life. Not knowing what to expect, I shared with him the longing to visit Taipei (no thanks to the idol dramas and wonderful cuisine - in the end, I did nothing of that, mind you) and explore the wonderful places that the city had to offer to a tourist like myself.

Inasmuch as I’d love to, it’s far tardy to reconnect and reignite the flames of friendship; the dude would’ve probably forgotten about my existence and the friendship we once had by now. Let’s face it, it’s been almost 7 years since we actually could sit down and laugh our hearts out. I’ve tried reaching out to him once but his last words were so strained that I knew that we missed our time.

It stinks to have lost such a wonderful amigo, but people come and go in life, bringing and taking with them lessons that are to be learned.

As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, another matter cropped up at the same time. I had my suspicions when it first unravelled, but I brushed it off because I thought that I was the only one feeling weird and I don’t see any possibility of that occurring at all.

And for that reason, I have to fake a facade whenever I’m chatting with that person because I don’t want him to think that I was - and still am - over analyzing the situation between us.

It’s obvious that I’m experiencing a wave of emoness subconsciously. There are days when I want to run off in tears and drive to an unknown area to clear the crazy thoughts of mine, with the only place I want to be in being God’s House.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jamaica Blue, Rundle Mall, Adelaide

If the name sounds familiar, it probably is.



You might’ve heard of its hype or even been to the Malaysian franchise (in Mid Valley) to taste a cup or two of their drinks, but have you had the opportunity to experience the coffee in its Australian franchise?

We chanced upon Jamaica Blue when we explored Adelaide Myer Centre a couple of weeks ago in search for a particular ice cream brand (that’s another story not worth elaborating now), but it didn’t take us until one fine Sunday to enter the cafe. My impression was that it radiated a place of privacy and serenity - with only the background music and chatters filling the area. As I walked in further, there was even a partial view of Rundle Mall towards the end where there was more seating space.



It's part of the seating space



A variety of savory and sacchariferous desserts.....



.... as well as sweet muffins.





The various types of coffee that Jamaica Blue offers and its definition....







We've always been wondering if there was anyone selling organic coffee and since Jamaica Blue offered it as a choice, we gladly settled for a medium-sized Flat White (AUD $4.70).





I found it peculiar that the inorganic and organic blend were of the same price because as we all know, organically-produced items have a higher production cost.

I loved how fragrant it was when it arrived on our table and felt it awakening the tired soul. I gaped at the drink when I realized that the coffee art did not dissipate into the coffee until you’re about to drain the last bits of it. It’s in awe that the barista is capable of producing this; some artwork will melt away the moment you sink your face in it - or at least in my previous experiences.

Due to the absence of milk foam and chocolate, I’m starting to love this more than cappuccino.



Chicken and Mushroom Crepe (AUD $ 14.90) is a thin slice of crepe wrapped with pieces of bite-sized chicken and mushroom in a milky sauce.

It is served with a splash of salad on the side, providing a wholesome and healthy kick (with a slight drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil as dressing).

A freshly-made dish, it is exceptionally delicious with the mild addition of herbs and slight whiff of cheese blended into the filling. It warmed my throat and atcually whetted my appetite for a second serving, but I resisted the temptation. There was a perfect balance of taste; although it hinted slightly towards the savory side, it was still within the acceptable limit.



Scones (AUD $ 4.50) with ‘Sweetened’ Jam and Cream

The cream was omitted in this picture, partly because I don’t fancy it but more towards the fact that I’ll leave it untouched.

The scone unfortunately was disappointing; it unfortunately did not penetrate the taste buds with its buttery identity. I’m not sure if it’s because the folks here dislike to have the aroma of strong butter or not, but it clearly lacked in comparison to the English raisin and cranberry ones.

On the solacing side, it is not as piquant as feared; the sweet jam evens out the piquancy of the scone with its saccharine ingredient.



Pumpkin, Feta and Olive Tart, as the name suggests, consisted of mashed pumpkin, feta cheese and olives in the dish.

Visually, it bore the resemblance of a tart.

Taste wise, it was pretty good - especially with the melted feta cheese oozing out and the faint acidity from the olives. What I admire about this dish is that the filling tasted exactly like a pizza’s when I took my first bite. It was reminiscent of my visits to Shakey’s some years ago.

The pastry was a tad bit salty, which might have been the result of salted butter or a tremendous amount of salt being thrown into the dough. The consoling part was that the filling had a neutral aftertaste (neither sweet nor salty), drawing the aroma from the dough.





I’ll have to admit that the service here is exceptional and impressive. I’ve never seen anyone placing their orders through the waiters in the other cafes here or in Malaysia and picking up the tab after finishing the meal.

To reduce the queue, the diner is actually encouraged to take a seat and approach any one of the two waiters (when they are ready) with their order. The waiter will then gladly deliver it to you once it’s been prepared Even if you wait in the line, you’ll be gently escorted to the seating space instead.

You are free to make the payment at any time - either when the dish arrives or after you’ve polished the plate; the choice is yours. Just remember to quote the table number when you’re at the counter.



My return is a definite thing, be it for another round of meal with friends or when I just want to momentarily evade the academic stress and relax to a cup of coffee. To me, it feels like a place where I can gather my thoughts and be away from everyone for a while.

It just depends on my university schedule and whether it permits for a quick getaway.





Name: Jamaica Blue
Myer Center
22 Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000,
Australia

Tel: (08) 8410 3678

Saturday, March 7, 2015

T-Bar, Rundle Mall

Mind you, my readers, this is actually three terse reviews squashed into one, to save time and elaboration.

It was an unplanned visit although we've been passing this café en-route to the grocery store; it took a curious food companion and a voracious me to pop in and have a peek at their dessert before we decided to have another round of lunch there. Yes. you've read that right, and it's not something that I'll do nowadays.

T-Bar may be smaller in size, but they have dedicated a part of their floor space for a serene seating area hidden from the passing crowd and decorated it with dim lights that are not only warm but comfortable. It can't accommodate that many diners at a given time, but it is a problem that the center management has helped to rectify by placing tables and long couches. The diners are able to place their order and inform the barista of their seating location before being given a table number. Once the order is ready to be delivered, the waiter will circle the food court and, upon spotting the table number, will pass it to the customer.








Muesli and Cappuccino (Small)



Muesli
contains among other ingredients dates, cranberries and oats.

Due to the fact that it resembles like a square granola bar, to realize that this leans heavily towards the sacchariferous is not a surprise. The dates introduces a chewiness as a flavor, but not to the point where it tasted rubbery.


Cappuccino (Small)


Almond Toffee, Orange and Poppy Seeds Muffin and Cappuccino (Medium)


Orange and Poppy Seeds Muffin (top) has icing sugar and almond slices as its topping.

It created an aromatic explosion of the orange fruit on the taste buds, and it was the only taste that I felt from the dish. The poppy sides were thrown in as a visual compliment to the appearance: an orange background with black spots. There was not a twinge of piquancy in the muffin, only saccharine.

Portion wise, it was perfect because it stood the potential of being an afternoon tea (even though I had it for lunch after lectures).

Almond Toffee (bottom) has, well, almond flakes and a coating of chocolate caramel.

I actually ordered this with caution because my impression of toffee would include countless amounts of sugar boiled to the point of caramelization.

I was surprised when I took my first bite. The almonds had a neutral taste; it was neither roasted nor salted and the only saccharine flavor came from the chocolate toffee itself. I kept finding myself stealing bites after bites, much to the chagrin of my food companion.

This is certainly one of my must-haves when I'm back at T-Bar again.


Cappuccino (Medium)


Scone and Cappuccino (Small)


The scone, however, was a letdown. To me, scones aren't scones if I'm not greeted by the strong whiff of butter in the air.

It contained less butter than previously expected; there was unfortunately more piquancy than buttery fragrance, rendering the dish terribly salty. What caught me by surprise was it resembled more like buns than the regular scones. There, the ones with sneaky raisins/cranberries?


Cappuccino (Small)

What I like about this cafe, when it comes to their coffee, is that they have various coffee arts made by each barista for the differing sizes, as illustrated by the above pictures.

The cups of cappuccino that are sold here are perfumed with the caffeine extract - unless the ones I've had in a once-favorite haunt back home. In this case, the coffee here is heavier much to the delight of connoisseurs as it is a sign of quality. It did encourage me to slowly savor the drink instead of draining the cup in a matter of minutes and splitting the area.... and it also assisted to balance the sacchariferous and piquant aftertaste from the dishes sampled.





Fret not if you are a cannin fan instead.

T-Bar offers a wide variety of tea (such as Green Tea and Jasmine Tea), tea infusers and tea mugs as merchandises for sale towards the far left.





Seeing that my university campus is within walking distance of T-Bar and Rundle Place, chances are extremely high that I'll return to indulge in my caffeine cravings when it arises. I'll tell you why: the fact that I'm able to sit far inside and enjoy my cuppa away from the prying eyes of the crowd is rather comforting to me. =)



T Bar Tea Salon,
Shop 17, Rundle Place,
79-91 Rundle Mall
Adelaide SA, 5000
Phone: 08 8232 7700

Website: www.tbar.com.au

Landmark: Towards your left, when you are walking to Coles

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Personal Thoughts



Hello again, my dear readers!

As always, you'll have to pardon my tardiness in posting since I'm still working on a suitable timetable that will allow me to incorporate the studies, me-time and le blog perfectly.

Am I nervous about the degree of choice, you may ask? Well, I'm not nervous because of the experience garnered in CPU, but I'm certainly - and heavily - stressed out over the assignments instead. The law seminars and lectures do provide a worthy insight and knowledge, but the work completion will probably make my head spin in circles and leave me pulling all-nighters again.

Not to mention, it doesn't help that I've to deal with moments of being homesick, especially when a passing memory/conversation can trigger it like the flick of a switch, ugh. And, the fear of being bitten in a foreign land. Okay, not literally but figuratively.

Only God knows what I landed myself into. This was certainly not what I deduced or even expected when I made my decision on the location and choice of my studies.



Oh, well, I'll just have to bite the tree bark and persist. I'm sure there's something rewarding waiting for me at the end of this long, arduous and sometimes windy journey.

Before I end up boring you with what would escalate into a lengthy and verbose rant, I shall take my leave.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coffee Club, Rundle Mall, Adelaide

There's only so many places that one can frequent before craving for a change in taste. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago; after growing tired of having my lunches and being holed up in a relatively active environment, we figured that we should explore the cafes around me and give me some breath of fresh air.

That landed us in Coffee Club due to its familiarity and location.

I'm aware of this coffee franchise as a result of my summer trip to Western Australia some years ago and patronized it whenever I could find a branch (Claremont Quarter, WA and Harbour Town, WA). Not to mention, Coffee Club has opened its first Malaysian franchise in my hometown.






Menu

Different franchisees have their own house specialties. The one in Claremont Quarter has a pumpkin puff, which tasted heavenly with the strong aroma of curry powder, and the one here would be the quiche that I tasted and the avo and feta toast (see the image below).


Avo and Feta Toast

In addition, there is more that you can choose from in the event that you want to satiate the sweet cravings.











We settled for the quiche set as it included a salad on the side and tea or coffee of our choice for the price of one. I wouldn't have been able to polish the plate clean if we had each ordered our own dish. I'll have to admit that I was shocked when the quiche arrived on my table... it was such a huge portion that I immediately was relieved that we chose to share.


Quiche Set (AUD $11.90)

The quiche consisted of an egg, mushroom, chicken and cheese mixture.

It was unfortunately a tad bit salty for me because the filling was really delicious when eaten on its own. Me being me, I love my quiches when there is a strong aroma of cheese bursting in the air. That's how I like the quiche to be. Though, the crust was crispy when sliced through. Perhaps it'd have been even lovelier for me if the baker had allowed the piquancy of Filo pastry to balance the taste and excluded the addition of more salt into the entire dish, but I guess that's just me being sensitive about the overall taste.

The accompanying salad had a different story; it provided a raw contrast with the concoction of purple cabbage, lettuce leaves, cucumber, carrots and alfalfa sprouts. The dressing was just as simple, with just a drizzle of olive oil to heighten its freshness, which I love a lot. I dislike it when the sauces used suffocate the salad, making me taste the saltiness of the gravy instead.


Flat White

The flat white was rather thick - much to my favorite as it incorporated a heavier ratio of milk to coffee. I have no idea what type of coffee beans Coffee Club used in the making of this dish, but it was flavorful. Not to mention, the stencil resembled the unique image of a fern leaf. If there is something I've noticed, most of the cafes/coffeehouses here have their distinct coffee arts for the types of coffee, but definitely not Coffee Club. I was under the impression that the cafe emphasized more on the taste than the visual appearance of the drink.


The seating area




A resized panoramic view of the seating area and cashier



Coffee Club,
100 Lower Ground Floor,
Rundle Mall,
Adelaide Central Plaza Adelaide Arc
Adelaide SA 5000

Website: http://www.coffeeclub.com.au

Landmark: near Chemist Warehouse, fronting David Jones's shoe department
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