Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dinner at Aria

My Englishman and I at Aria

It was my birthday over the weekend – one of the big “0” birthdays. As has become a bit of a tradition for my Englishman and I, dinner at a fancy restaurant was on the cards. The Englishman had booked 6 months ago and had not told me where we were going. I found out on my birthday morning when I opened one of my presents and found a Matt Moran cook book “Dinner at Matts”. I knew straight away what that meant – we were going to Aria for dinner!!!!

So on Monday night, we both got dressed up to the nines and caught a taxi to Opera Bar. The weather was abominable but there were still a lot of people about, being so close to Christmas. We had a drink at Opera Bar – a beer for the Engilshman and a ‘Twisted Collins’ (fig and pear flavour) for me – and looked out at the dreary scenery. Then, up to Aria for dinner! We chose to have the Seasonal Tasting Menu with matching wines as this gave us a chance to try a few different dishes in small doses and really get a feel for the food.

The food was overall, delicious. It was well cooked, well seasoned and beautifully presented. Some of the dishes were served on black stone instead of traditional white crockery, which fitted with the dishes. What appeared to be a 7 course menu however was really a 10 course menu! With 2 appetisers (one at the very beginning and one between the mains and dessert) and petit fours with coffee, it was a LOT of food. Plus matching wines which couldn’t go to waste!

We had a number of different people look after us throughout our evening. The gentleman who took our order, got our cutlery (and brought more at ‘half time!’) and took our photo was friendly, had a sense of humour but remained very professional. The woman who mainly served our dishes and explained them was a little dry and humourless and almost looked like she wasn’t interested in her job. The sommelier who served our wines however, was fantastic. Knowledgeable, but not reading from a script, she gave us lots of information and really explained why each wine had been chosen to match each dish. This was great as a few of the wines seemed like an unusual match until the sommelier explained and we then tasted. Then, they made sense.

We had great seats in the restaurant – right at the window with an unobstructed view of the Opera House. It was perfect for people watching! The restaurant was a little noisy however – it was very busy although there were a few empty tables, and the air con above my seat was a tad too cold.

Neither of us was impressed with the toilet facilities. There was nothing wrong with them per se, however they were pretty standard and without any of the trimmings you would expect in such a high end restaurant. They really just had lots of clean hand towels, but that was it.

This was my dessert - just a bit of Birthday 'specialness'!!

If you’d like to see what we ate and what I thought of it, check out my website, Monstercake, for a run down of the menu and my ‘review’.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ankle - Day 3

Just thought I would post an update photos and show how much 'progress' my sprained ankle is making.

It's starting to go an interesting colour!

I made it to work today so my foot has not been particularly elevated for the past 8 hours, although it has been compressed in one of those stockings people wear on planes......

 I think it looks just as puffy as yesterday, possibly worse......

My toe pointing is making some progress however!

Monday, December 5, 2011


After spending all day at home immobilised today, I discovered a great little blog by Lady Daa Doo which inspired me to get back on here and do some more blogging.

Her Lord Daa Doo sounds suspiciously like my Englishman, she grew up in a country town like me (I have to face it, Newcastle is a country town!) and from the blog posts I've read so far, she loves a laugh, a glass of wine and getting creative now and then.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up the inspiration and blog a little more.........

Sprained ankles hurt!

I sprained my ankle on the weekend.
Thankfully, luckily, I didn't sprain it until halfway through Sunday. So I still got to enjoy my weekend.
On Saturday the Englishman and I had a sleep in and once we got moving, we both had very different ideas of what we wanted to do. I wanted to 'explore our local area' while the Englishman wanted to 'go shopping in the city'. BOR-ING! I've been shopping in the city before and besides....I'm broke.......
Instead, we ended up just walking up to our local shops and getting a pizza for lunch, renting some movies and having eggs on toast for dinner. Simple, easy, and cheap.
Sunday, I finally got my way and the Englishman agreed to go on a 'bushwalk' in close by Hunters Hill. There was a reserve with nice boardwalks and some off road terrain as well. It sounded pretty and to be honest, I wanted to just get outside and do something that felt a little like exercise.
The walk was fine, and pretty, and peaceful (although you could see houses above some of the trees and the main road was humming away in the distance) and as we headed back to the start, the thunder rolled and the raindrops started falling, so we decided to run back to the car along the road.....then we veered off the road and onto uneven ground and about 3 steps in, I went down.
The Englishman has never heard me in pain and now says I am not allowed to have babies if I make that much noise when I sprain my ankle!
Mind you, I didn't cry, I actually laughed and also swore A LOT and then wanted to just get up and go home....seeing as it was also raining and I was getting wet and cold!
I forgot how painful, and how much of a hassle having a sprained ankle is!
I made it home and up the 3 flights of stairs to our flat (pulling myself up the banister, fun!) and it took most of the afternoon for the pain to die down. Still, I thought I'd be right to get to work today, that somehow with all my following the RICE rules it would be miraculously much much better and I would be able to just limp a little.
No such luck. It wasnt really feeling any better this morning and although I think the swelling has gone down now, I think thats mostly due to the compression stocking I've been wearing for the last few hours.
Here's a few photos for graphic effect:
Looking much better than yesterday but definitely still swollen!!
This is an illustration of my current range of movement - my ballerina pointy toes ain't working so good.....
A close up - I only realised when I took this that it has started to bruise already.....
My Englishman has been pretty good at looking after me but it has been partly out of guilt - he felt like it was his fault for not agreeing to go bushwalking on Saturday (although I've told him it's definitely NOT his fault!). He's been good at cooking and fetching, but he does have a low tolerance for small requests so I've tried to keep them to a minimum, and I've also done my best to get up and 'try to do it myself' which helps with the sympathy factor ;-)