Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Fashionable Malaysia

It is Formula 1 Week in Malaysia! That means the city has an excuse to P-A-R-T-Y! A close friend of ours, and her sister, design one of Asia's top fashion lines and she invited us to the Mercedes Benz-Stylo Fashion Gala. The show was held at a "secret location".

The theme for this year's fashion week? One Malaysia - Fashion is Recyclable - Seven Deadly Sins - Art is Fashion, Fashion is Art. I think they could have pared that down a little bit better.

The Queen attended the show and sat two rows in front of us. I guess folding chairs are beneath her Highness (or more accurately, not beneath her). She had a special 'throne' from which she viewed the show.
And guess who else was there - Jimmy Choo! I think he must be the most famous Malaysian of all time. I was well excited to see him.
That's Jimmy on the right and Her Majesty to his right. (I tried to snap a picture of his shoes, but just couldn't get the correct angle.)

The show was a lot of fun.
Our friend struts her stuff on the catwalk!
Then we strutted our stuff on the red carpet at the after party. Take that, Lindsey!
Not wanting the evening to end, we headed to the jazz club No Black Tie where Margie Segers was performing. She can sing!
That's Margie in the middle (supposedly she's 71 if you can believe that) along with friends Duri-Ann and Duri-Andy.

Just as we were about to call it a night (or a morning at this point), we opted for one last stop - Pappa Rich for some post-after party/jazz club eats!


Monday, 29 March 2010

Mr. Happy in Dog House

Last week, Mr. Happy traveled for work. When he returned he was discontented with the state of his shirts. He had - ring around the collar.

After being criticized by yours truly for his pre-treatment method (he sprinkled dry powder on the collar, done.) he decided to do the laundry for, as far as I know, the first time in his life. The results:

I'm now mopping suds from the laundry room floor.

Rather than asking me how to use the machine or how much detergent to use, he cranked up the heat, used a cup of detergent(!), and set the machine on a full cycle for 3 shirts.

Methinks ring around the collar is the least of Mr. Happy's problems.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Wino Wanderings

We’ve expanded beyond Perth!

We rented a car (Bayswater Car Rental) and drove three hours south to Margaret River – the Australian wine country.

We were told Australian rest stops offer drivers free cups of coffee! First free gas, now free coffee?? We were initially impressed but never actually witnessed anyone drinking a free cup of coffee. Perhaps it is an urban legend???

Accommodation in Margaret River is pretty pricey. We booked the moderately priced Marri Lodge ($90/night). It was affordable, clean, and had the added attraction of kangaroos and cows meandering right up to our patio.

Our first day, we stopped at the Wise Vineyard. It is the only winery with a sea view. It was beautiful. I enjoyed a young cab but Mr. Happy preferred the award winning Shiraz. We had a delicious lunch heightened by the stunning vista. This was the best meal of our trip.

Vegetable risotto with a 2008 Wise Shiraz for Mr. Happy.

Eggplant rollatini with a 2007 Eagle Creek Shiraz for MerBear.

We continued on to the Flametree winery where we enjoyed a 2009 Late Harvest Riesling and then Churchview Estate where we bought a bottle of the Bartondale 2007 Reserve Chardonnay ($29 Aus).

For dinner the proprietor at the Marri offered to kit us out if we wanted to barbecue, but we were discouraged by rain clouds. We drove into the town of Margaret River to hunt down some food and internet service. Once again, prices are steep ($8 for an hour at an internet café!). A sandwich costs at least $15. Also, most places stop serving dinner around 7-8pm, so you have to be prepared to eat early.

Since we’d had a big lunch, we grabbed a takeaway pizza from Eagle View Pizzeria. It wasn’t the best, but it was ok. We took it back to the lodge and ate it with the kangaroos.

Day 2

We debated participating in a winery tour. Vans take you out in groups of 12 for different tastings (about $85/per person). We opted to go it on our own and do some non-wine tastings in between vineyards to keep us sober.

First stop: Leeuwin

This winery is one of the most popular in Margaret River. They have some lovely chardonnays. Interesting fact: the owner doesn't drink. We picked up a simple bottle of white here ($17).

Second stop: Voyager

The grounds outshine the wine.

Third stop: Watershed

We were not wowed by our tasting here.

We ate lunch at the cafe.

Green pea risotto for the herbivore.

Wagyu beef burger for the omnivore.

The food was ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat or drink here.

After lunch, we took a break from vino and enjoyed a tasting at the Yahava Koffee Works. We picked up a package of Romeo No. 5 - A blend of four beans from exotic destinations. Just what you would expect from Romeo - full bodied and sweet. Hopefully my Romeo will brew me a cup when we get home.

We also visited the Margaret River Dairy for some cheese. There isn't much cheese available in KL (ain't many cows roaming around). We were looking forward to this tasting, but the cheese offered was a little disappointing. It didn't have much flavor.

We finished our day with a bang at the Brown Hill Estate. It's a small, unassuming place but we really liked the wines here. We bought three bottles - sauvignon blanc semillon, a cabernet savignon, and a really special shiraz that we are supposed to cellar for 10 years.

Our last day in Margaret River took us to Vasse Felix, the first vineyard established in the area. It has beautiful grounds with an art installations. The wines were just so-so, but they did have some good deals. Unfortunately, Mr. Happy and I are only allowed to take one bottle each into Malaysia.

We stopped by Olio Bello for an olive oil tasting.

I enjoyed the oil infused with chili the most, but it was hard for me to distinguish the different varieties of evoo. Ultimately, the prices here seemed really high for Australian olive oil.

Then it was off to the Brookland Valley Winery where we lunched at the beautiful restaurant Flutes.

After some urging by MerBear, Mr. Happy ordered the polenta with grilled mushrooms, asparagus, and capers.

I had a pasta with roasted pumpking, pinenuts, spinach, and feta. It was really nice and something we'll be able to recreate at home!

Flutes was a lovely setting for us to close our chapter on Margaret River.

Back in the car, I navigated our return trip to Perth. We successfully avoided hitting any wild animals.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Happy Birthday to You

Our trip to Perth coincided with Mr. Happy’s cousin’s daughter’s birthday party!

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve attended a six year old’s birthday.

The theme was Bratz – I’m not sure, but I think they are teenage girls who wear make up. As far as I could tell they have no super powers other than super-human fashion sense.

Unfortunately, our gift was Dora and Hello Kitty and she’s so over them.

After the kiddie party, the grown ups were invited back presents!

We were also invited for dinner.

The special of the day? Goat! This was a Gujarati dish called kheema.

It actually tasted like beef chili. I’ve had goat several times at restaurants in New York and I’ve never discerned a baaaa-d taste to it. (Get it?)

After dinner, we all pitched in to clean up.

Once again Mr. Happy and I turned in for the night overly stuffed and slightly tipsy.