Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
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
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.
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
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 to...open presents!
We were also invited for dinner.
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.