Monday, 24 November 2014

Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2014, Olympic Park

It's happening again!
Ham at Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2014

This time, we had a shade. And the spread was even more glorious than before. This year's Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic was held in Hill Pavilion, thanks to the hard work of Suze and Helen. We desperately needed the shade because the mother nature decided to throw up to 40-degree heat to us yesterday.

Another case of 'nothing stands between food bloggers and food'. Not even a sweltering day.

More than 70 food bloggers turned up to prove that theory, and everyone brought a plate or a cup or a bowl or a tray to share. And let me just say to whoever brought the cider: THANK YOU.

Name tags

All kinds of food were served and nobody touched any before everyone had done taking pictures.

First table spread

Second table spread


Army of food bloggers!

My contribution this year was the same as last year's. Lemper; brought back by popular demand. Hopefully everyone liked it!

My contribution: lemper

Somehow the food items were a notch fancier than before, especially with this ham/terrine I declared my love to from the first bite. Whoever made this, bless your soul.

Ham/terrine (?)

Spicy pork crackling

Chilli kale chips by Shanshan were also a highlight for me. They were very addictive, salty, and had exciting fiery bites.

Another one that I couldn't stop dreaming of was Emily's potato salad. I didn't take photo because I was too busy stuffing as much of it into my mouth as possible, but oh man, it was pure heaven. Cheesy, creamy, and full of carbs goodness.

Chilli kale chips by Food is our religion

Massaman beef empanadas by Random Meals

'Ehmagerd so good I die' moment with the empanada

Cheese & chive bread by Christine (Cooking Crusade) (so incredibly tasty and fluffy!)


And we all know that food bloggers love their sugar. All the desserts were super pretty! I tip my hats to those who made such effort!

Strawberry Nesquik cheesecake shooters by Crystal Noir

Fancy Santa cookies and milk by The Sweet Lab

Raff's macarons were probably the first ones that were demolished. I think I saw people elbowing each other just to get a taste of his extraordinary macs.

Thai milk tea and pistachio macarons by the mighty Ramen Raff

Red velvet cake

Dark chocolate and tahini brownies by Ms Brulee

Chocolate ganache tart with strawberries

Hamburger cupcakes came late but drew everyone's attention right away. I had to double take when I first saw it because I wasn't sure if it was real burger or a keychain.. Turned out it was a cupcake.

Hamburger cupcakes by Oh, Burger Me

Nothing can stand between Vanny and her hamburger cupcake.

The love is real

Here came the funniest part of the picnic: stealing and manipulating just to get the presents we want! I managed to get a lens mug (thanks, secret Santa!) that I had been eying for three years, but everyone seemed to be more interested in the teapots. And waffle maker. And cheeseboard. And mason jars.

Secret Santa time!

We took millions of selfies courtesy of the selfie stick (best invention ever), but we wrapped things up with the obligatory group photo.

#sydfbxmas2014 (photo credit goes to Rosa)

As always, it was so much fun sharing good food and drinks with other food enthusiasts, and of course, putting faces to blog names. Glad to meet you all, guys, and looking forward for the next year picnic!


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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Grounds by the Sea (Pop-Up), Bondi

Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Food from The Grounds by the Sea pop-up

Pretty sculptures, pretty beaches, even prettier food.

I feel bad for posting this way after the event's finished, but it was too good not to be posted. The Grounds by the Sea was a pop-up from the Grounds of Alexandria, serving keen and hungry customers during the Sculpture by the Sea event in Bondi Beach.

The Grounds by the Sea pop-up, Bondi

Just like its mother store, I can't fault the set of this small pop-up, which somehow looked rustic but not plain in any way whatsoever.

The signage

The ordering was done on the counter, where alluring pastries and baked goods fought for your attention. The open kitchen was also a sight to behold; the docket did not stop spitting orders but the crew moved quickly on each station.

Muffins on the counter

Open kitchen

Coffee cups

Random knick knacks could also be found around the area, some provoked more giggles than others.

Random bra on the backyard

The seats and tables were not the same, and they were scattered quite randomly. With the sea breeze, sunshine, and buzzing crowd around us; it was a great eating experience.


We arrived at an odd hour, but we still felt like breakfast. So the 'bircher muesli by the sea' was ordered. The super photogenic bowl had coconut, almonds, quinoa, topped with peaches and berries, along with spoonfuls of yoghurt and mango sauce. Not only it was extremely pleasing for the eyes, it was probably one of the best muesli bowls I've ever had. Every pop of the juicy blueberries were a prize on its own, and the whole bowl was really filling.

Bircher muesli by the sea - $10

Because this blog isn't called 'Irene's Getting Healthy', the almost flawless brioche brekkie burger had to make an appearance.

Brioche brekkie burger - $12

The soft and buttery brioche buns crammed a crowded party of bacon, fried egg, cheese, avocado, tomato relish, and smoky mayo. Apart from the mayo didn't really have the smoky taste like advertised, it was unbelievably wonderful. The crispy bacon, the runny egg yolk, the tangy relish, and I didn't even mind the avocado.


A generous serving of chips were called for carbs intake of the day. The cup arrived piping hot with crunchy and chunky chips that we all love.

Chips - $6

Having described all the amazing things about the food, the smoothie and the iced chocolate were actually my highlights of the day. Seriously, the drinks were so good it blew my mind.

The 'berried at sea' smoothie was something I'd be happy to have for breakfast every single day. A refreshing blend of strawberry, banana, raspberry, mango, ground flaxseed, and coconut water that was thick, zingy, and tasted like beautiful summer.

The 'Sea Breeze' iced chocolate was denser and somehow thicker, but nonetheless incredible. Not too sweet with just enough chocolate hint that was veiled by something fragrant that I cannot identify. It smelled like some kind of liquor but I'm pretty sure there's no alcohol in it.

Berried at sea smoothies ($9) & 'Sea Breeze' iced chocolate ($9)

It was a really busy day but surprisingly the turnover for the tables were not that bad. And sitting on the grass with a smoothie and a burger also seemed like a really good idea with such weather.



Just because, I'll include some of my fav sculptures. Definitely going here again next year!







So which one's prettier? Your call.


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,800

(no rating because it's a pop-up!)



Marks Park
Bondi, NSW 2026

Web: Sculptures by The Sea 2014

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Ippudo, Central Park - Chippendale

Great ramen, only a (very short) walk away from uni.
Ippudo's miso tonkotsu

This is probably one of the best news I've heard this year. It's almost like Christmas comes sooner.

By now you've all probably heard the news that Ippudo opens another door at Central Park, Chippendale. Just across UTS, this branch is easily available to students and those who work around the vicinity.

Ippudo, Central Park


The setting and decoration are very similar to its mother branch in Westfield, dominated with black and red, emitting strong personality without being intimidating. It's elegant, sophisticated, and still really comfortable. Whether you go with a date or a group of friends, the ambiance will suit either.



Our first step into the restaurant was welcomed by harmonious shout of 'irrashaimase' (welcome in Japanese) and our last step out was appreciated with another warming roar of 'arigato' (thank you in japanese).


Wall of spoons

We started with obligatory order of pork bun. Although I remember the pork belly slice to be bigger, it still had all the excellence on every part: melting pork belly, pillowy bun, tasty sauce.

Pork bun - $4

It was my first time trying Ippudo's gyoza and it sure didn't disappoint. Thin and crispy skin enclosing delectable and juicy pork mince inside. Perfect with the salt served on the side.

Gyoza (5 pieces) - $6

Now that we were teased enough, here came the main stars.

Ramen is served!

Miso tonkotsu may make you raise your eyebrows with its price tag, but you get what you pay for. Twice the toppings, double the satisfaction.

The broth is made from long-simmered pork bones, and this one's spiked with some red miso that enhance the lovely umami thrill. Included in the bowl were some corn, bamboo shoot, scallion, cabbage, bean sprouts, and the climaxing pork belly.

Miso tonkotsu special - $25

What do you expect? It's Ippudo; of course it ticked the right checklist.

Lip-smacking delightful broth with the creamy, profound tonkotsu flavour without inducing any nausea from any weird smell whatsoever. The noodles were cooked to perfection with our request of 'medium' hardness.

Up and close with the toppings

Extra toppings on the side had the roasted seaweed I've always loved, with some black mushrooms, more melt-in-your-mouth chashu, and of course, the tamago (flavoured egg).

Another serving of topping

I mean..

I just can't..

Too sexy I die.


Akamaru chashu had a ball of 'special blended' miso paste and some splashes of aromatic garlic oil. We were told to try the broth without mixing them together first, and so we did. The milky broth had more porky deliciousness than my miso tonkotsu, and hence boosted my love to this bowl. After some stirring, the miso paste and garlic oil added some more depth and excitement on every sip.

Ippudo's broth is generally less thick and intense than Gumshara's or Ikkyu's, and those who don't like the thick ramen broth may find themselves swooning over this.

Akamaru chashu - $21

This bowl had more chashu slices than the original akamaru shinaji, and this fact made me develop such euphoria. More chashu = more happiness.

Hakata-style ultra-thin noodles that only need short cooking time were invented to satisfy the busy Hakata crowd, and I find them lovely with pleasing bouncy bite on every strand.

Them noodles

Last words: keep calm and eat ramen.


P. S. Check out this Ippudo Central Park video. I know it's an ads or whatever but I love it. I think you will too.


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Great ramen with varied options, price is slightly high-end, ambiance is really comfortable and casual, service is top notch.

Irene's Getting Fat! and guest attended Ippudo courtesy of Narisa Asato (SD Marketing) and Ippudo Sydney. Thank you very much! However, all opinions are purely based on my personal taste.



Central Park LG, RB07
28 Broadway, Chippendale
NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8078 7020

Web: Ippudo
Facebook: Ippudo Sydney

Ippudo Central Park on Urbanspoon

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