Today, I'm perfectly happy to be right where I am.
Today is a beautiful day.
Glacier National Park, Montana
But... sniffle... I wish I was here...
Lucca, Italy. (Can't remember if this photo was taken by John or me.)
(Sadly this won't be funny for Americans until September...)
Black silk shirt, black straight leg trousers, my black Bulgari handbag and these...
Sigh. I can dream, right?
Went to a lovely restaurant on Friday night called 'Souk in the City'. It is a blend of Middle Eastern and Moroccan flavours and brings together that rare combination of gorgeous food, impressive service and an exotic and inviting setting.
There are two recollections of the evening that stand out - the first being the delicious pomegranate and rose water martini I enjoyed before dinner, and the second being the moment we walked in, when the owner of the place welcomed us with a shower of fresh pink and red rose petals.
The atmosphere is fantastic. We sat back on divans with plush, elaborately embroidered cushions, in a little room inside the restaurant with walls of ornamental carved wood. Smooth Arabic tunes make up the soundtrack, along with the fluent French and Arabic of the waiters. There are rose petals everywhere and the lighting is soft and intimate.
The food is inspired, and mostly made up of creative variations of old favourites. The hummus is flavoured with orange blossom water and garnished with slivered almonds, and is served with two other delicious dips - beetroot & goats cheese and zucchini and pistachio. Their specialty is a dish made up of shredded chicken, served in puff pastry with various nuts and topped with a sweet sauce. The chicken and lavender potato tagine was delicious, as were the merguez sausages and lamb meatballs with labne. The fig pudding was the perfect way to finish the meal, and the tea which accompanied it was an absolute hit - a mix of peppermint and Chinese green.
This place is definitely a new favourite. It's on Bourke St in Surry Hills for anyone who wants to try it out. (Look closely - it's tucked away in that new complex, near Taylor Square and right behind Fromaggio Ocello.)
When one of my young, adventurous and wanderlusting colleagues mentioned, last year, that he was considering proposing to his girlfriend and wanted to get married abroad, I suggested that he check out the exquisite Shangri-La Rasa Ria, in Borneo - one of the two Shangri-La resorts we stayed in on our honeymoon, over five years ago. As it happened, he had family staying in Sabah, so he decided to take my advice.
We don't work together any longer, but I received a wedding invitation in the mail this afternoon and... guess where the wedding is at!
I so, so, so want to go, as much for sentimentality's sake as for the wedding. I have such fond memories of jet skiing off the coast, snorkelling off one of the nearby islands, horseriding in a small village and wading through the surf at sunset.
I just hope the cost isn't prohibitive... We shall see!
Sumalee Thai in the Bank Hotel, Newtown really does have the best Thai food ever. I know it no longer wins awards for service or atmosphere (I really miss the pokey little beer garden that predated the fancy renovations), but they really haven't lost their culinary touch.
Red curry of barramundi fillets with fresh king prawns
Spicy roast duck salad with ginger and cashew nuts
Pork fillets in sweet curry paste with green beans and basil
Chicken breast fillets with chilli jam and cashew nuts; and
Thai style pork ribs with chilli (usually on the specials board)
Wonderful flavours, loads of fresh herbs to complement the rich, hot sauces, beautiful presentation and very generous servings (one main could easily feed 2).
I highly recommend!!