Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eat Art

I finished work early, watched some cookie-cutter 7pm bridal show and I’m home alone. What a fulfilling lifestyle. But this quiet time has given me the chance to explore things I’m really interested in – the link between food and art. Earlier this year, I visited my lovely friend Anna in Stuttgart, Germany. It was a fantastic few days! For me, a highlight was the ‘Eat Art’ exhibition in the Stuttgart Art Gallery. I don’t often like visiting galleries in small cities as they often contain boring landscape paintings, but this one was great.

The link between food and art is interesting. It’s like a crossover between the ordinary, commonplace and possibly mundane aspects of everyday life (food) AND art history, aesthetics, conventions of art museums. The gallery casts a spotlight on food and encourages the audience to question the ethics/ideas/issues behind food consumption, the appearance of food, what food is used for, the social value of food etc. Putting food in a gallery is also like putting food on a pedestal – this could encourage the audience to question ‘what is art’ and whether food has ‘artistic/aesthetic value’. Food is perishable but conventional art is not, but food art any 'less valuable' than paintings with acrylic paint, marble sculptures, portrait photographs?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jk blog

Dear World

May I point your attention to my friend's blog:

I've subscribed to this blog - recieving updates in my inbox are my wonderful-mental-bursts-of-creativity for the day. My friend is currently overseas doing some work for the amazing Venice Biennale, as part of her uni course - I AM SO JEALOUS but soooo excited for her. She travelled/is travelling around Europe/Israel.

Much love

Anthea xo

p.s. JK - I can't wait til you come back!

kingston cafe

I can't repeat how much I love catching up with my Sydney friends in Canberra. This time, Nikki and her crew came to Canberra to see a music show and we caught up for a prolonged brunch/lunch/tea one Sunday morning. We went to a cafe in Kingston (in Green Square, there are three cafes next to each other and we ate at the one in the middle).

The enjoyment of food is very dependent on the company that you have (haha so this blog is about 'Anthea's friends'... and this phrase is connotative of ABC children tv shows). The thing that I loved about this Sunday morning were the eclectic personalities of the group, that everyone had different tastes/styles and (seemingly) loved one another for it, the sillyness and honesty and the laughs about a creepy youtube clip about a cartoon with salad fingers.

The food was average. I ordered a cous cous salad, which was a large over-priced bowl of cous cous (surprise, surprise). The muesli however was amazing - the oats were roasted in maple syrup or something similar and the muesli cluster that I ate took me to a happy place.

Above, there is: an 'action shot' of muesli, a delicious coffee, banana bread, a red meat pie topped with a sweet potato mash, my cous cous salad and a ham and cheese croissant.

Monday, September 26, 2011

thai food festival

I had a great weekend in Canberra. On Sunday, my grad friends and I explored the grounds of the Thai Embassy, as they were hosting a Thai food festival. Here’s what it was like: it rained in the morning but the sky was mostly clear and had a warm shine. The air of the Embassy was filled with foreign languages, spices from a distant memory, the voices of intrigued people and deep frying oil.

The hustle & bustle of the festival was near perfect. It was a lively but chilled atmosphere and there were no majorly long queues that you’d get in larger cities.

The food that we got/saw included: pad thai, hokkien-like noodles, chicken pad siew, deep-fried bread and beef skewers covered in zucchini. I enjoyed seeing the diversity of food – it (expectingly) broadened my knowledge of thai food which was confined to restaurant menus. There was a ‘street-food’ culture that came through in the festival. 

No meal is complete without a sweet addition. My friends and I bought these crepe-like pancakes. They differed from French crepes as they were flaky (lard was probably added to the crepe batter) and chewy (probably due to asian glutenous flour). The pancakes were drizzled with condensed milk and a chocolate sauce. We also enjoyed a coconut jelly pudding which had kernels of corn throughout it. I’ve never had this before and it was sweet comfort food yet exciting.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

speed networking

Last night, I went to a speed networking event which was organised for the grads. Here's a snippet from one conversation that I had, which I think is suitable for this blog:

*conversation reaches a lull*
Male: So, what are your interests?
Me: Err... Food...
Male: *blank stare*
Me: *thinking: no seriously, food... oh never mind*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Earlier in the year, I was enjoying a cafe lunch in Canberra on a sunny weekend. We were talking about our families who owned businesses, gossiping and critiquing the cafe's food. Then one of us dropped the 'yuppie' description upon us. Do I really live in the yuppie culture?

I decided to ask my trusty guides: Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary.

According to one definition in Urban Dictionary, I'd probably be classified as a yuppie: "Acronym for Young Urban Professional... Usually congregate in... Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and a wide variety of vintage clothing boutiques. Includes both moderate Liberals (Majority of yuppies), and moderate Conservatives (smaller group of yuppies), although both the far left and the far right enjoy dissing them."

However, I highly doubt I fall into Wikipedia's definition: "Yuppies are made fun of for their conspicuous personal consumption and obsession over social status among their peers, which is seen as vain and materialistic."

People around me have always associated yuppies with latte-sipping people with toasted focaccias living in the Inner-West of Sydney (the trendy/cool part), or frequenting this area. Maybe Wikipedia/Urban Dictionary need to be amended or maybe the term 'yuppie' is up to individual interpretation or maybe the term is thrown around too easily and it's meaning has become more 'inclusive' of a range of people.

ANYWAY... to farewell one of my good friends who is leaving for New York, we caught up for breakfast at the Kawa Cafe in Surry Hills. It was a balmy Saturday morning, there were tables on the side walk and the food was really good.

We got the Vegan Breakfast, a Salmon toasted sandwich and... *drum rolls* an amazing poached pear and vanilla bean smoothie. The ingredients were fresh and reminded me how good food can be. I can't put it all into words. And plus I'm hungry and tired now, so I'll leave it at that.

FANTASTIC cafe that you could miss if you blinked. Highly recommended :).

Kawa Cafe
348 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

And walking around Paddington, we came across a few food stalls - one of my favourite things to stumble upon :)

High Tea at The Victoria Room

For Mother’s Day, I got my mum a voucher for us two to have high tea at the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst, Sydney. In a belated manner, we only used the voucher last weekend. On another note, I thought that I bought her a voucher for the high tea at the Queen Victoria Building, as I was tricked by the name Victoria Room. Initially, I was annoyed at myself for this, but I guess it allowed my mum to ‘expand her repertoire’ in high tea around Sydney.

The menu at the Victoria Room included:

Chicken and Wild Herbs
Cucumber, Crème Fraiche and Dill
Smoked Salmon, Rocket, Lemon, Capers
Watercress, Celery, Walnuts and Goats Curd

Assorted Sweeties
Dark Chocolate Cup with Chocolate Mousse, Cream and fresh Raspberries
Classic baked Lemon Cheesecake
Delicious Seasonal Fruit short crust Tartlet
Red Velvet cupcake topped with Creamed Cheese Icing

Scones and Conserve
Date and Plain Scones served with Organic Strawberry Conserve and Chantilly Cream

I had a China Sencha Green Tea and my mum had a skim latte.

The atmosphere of the Victoria Room was unique and differed from the tea houses that we previously frequented. As opposed to European-style tea houses, where the rooms would be filled with light and dominated by the colours white or gold, the Victoria Room was dark, intimate, wooden and a bit Asian. It would be an ideal location for my type of a girl’s night out, as it was pretty, had unique décor and had plants everywhere.

We went to the Victoria Room with high expectations for the food. Our expectations were well supported from having tea at the Bather's Pavilion (Sydney), The Ritz (London), the Langham Hotel (Hong Kong) and the QVB (Sydney). We wanted the food to be made in-house, fresh and delicate. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to all of our expectations.

The bread was soft and all the fillings had the right amount of creaminess, saltiness and crunch. However, a few times we found that the fillings weren’t evenly spread on the sandwich. For example, my mother got a sandwich where there were only walnuts in the last corner of the sandwich. I know we were being fussy, but high tea is one place where we should be able to do this.

Dark chocolate cup – the chocolate was tempered, shiny and had a good crunch. However, we questioned whether the cup was made in store or outsourced. Though, the fillings (chocolate mouse, cream and fresh raspberries) were perfect.
Cheesecake – I wasn’t amazed. It could’ve be enhanced with bits of lemon rind.
Cupcake – I love cupcakes but this one was much too sweet. It was just pretty.

They were fine but a bit too bready for my liking. I think scones should be light and melt in your mouth.

My major disappointment is in the tea. Green tea is not meant to be brewed by boiling water nor for very long. By the time the tea got to my table, it was burnt and bitter. I also had one of those tea pots where I couldn’t remove the tea leaves from the hot water and so the tea leaves would continue to infuse in the water until I skulled my current cup.

While I may have given harsh criticisms of the Victoria Room, I still had a good time. I just wouldn’t go again!

The Victoria Room
235 Victoria St
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