Cookbookmaniac
  • Restaurant Reviews
    Lunar New Year – Tet Vietnamese Festival
    Vietnamese Lunar New Year falls on the same day as Chinese New Year. It was (and still is) my favourite time of the year as a young child. My sisters and I would eagerly wait for the auspicious red packets to be handed to us from our parents and our older relatives. They were considered lucky money and were given to young children and the elderly. We would always compete with each other on who got the most money and red envelopes by the end of the day. It was a lot of fun teasing the least successful recipient. What were we to do with all this money? Personally, I couldn't wait to spend it all on food, rides and games at the Tet Festival! The carnival was once held at a park in Cabramatta, during the suburbs troubled times. It was occasionally overrun by gangsters and I recall on one visit all the rides were shut off because the troublesome teens were dangerously interfering with the rides and swinging off the rafters. The festival eventually outgrew the park and moved to larger grounds at Warwick Farm. Cabramatta has since been ridden of these dirty scoundrels and is now a thriving, family-oriented, Vietnamese metropolis in Australia. Thus, the festival has seen fewer dramatic incidents ever since. Its been 9 years since my last visit. I have been begging Pizzaboy to come along with me in the last few years, so that I could show him my favourite past time. However,…
  • Asian Restaurant Reviews
    Monte Carlo Reception – Celebrating 30 Years in Australia
    I was only 10 days old when my parents escaped war-torn Vietnam in 1979. They, along with half of our hometown, Camau (located on the southern tip of South Vietnam), jumped on boats and made the brave and dangerous journey towards freedom. After Ho Chi Minh took power and the threat of communism was fast becoming a way of life, my parents (and many others) were sent to re-education camps because they were of Chinese-descent. Almost everything that was worth building a future with was taken away from them, for fear of a revolt. My parents had to sell their precious belongings to a black market to feed their 5 daughters. Brave, but full of fear, they boarded strung-together boats to look for safer shores, leaving behind memories of atrocities that were never spoken of ever again. I am not quite sure how long the journey took, but we made it the border of Australia, only to be turned away and sent to a refugee camp in Indonesia. We were there for nine months. The moment we received our rushed visa to Australia we were on a plane to beautiful Sydney. One year later, we became proud citizens of Australia. My father is quite a jovial, social man. He is opposite to my quiet and shy mother. He and his friends had been organising a fund-raising function to celebrate the 30 Years in Australia. They invited their former neighbours (from Camau, Vietnam) within Sydney and from all around the world.…
  • American Restaurant Reviews
    Mars Hill Cafe – Music, Poetry, Photography
    On the ever so popular Church Street in Parramatta, there are many places that can tickle ones fancy. There are big loud pubs and clubs, wine and dine restaurants, swish sport bars, hip cafes. Mars Hill Cafe sits quietly amongst them without much ado, it is the hidden gem amongst all the eateries. It describes itself as "a local music and art venue as well as a cool place to hang out. The cafe provides ethical coffee, affordable food, outdoor dining and performance spaces." This isn't far from the truth. Mars Hill Cafe would not be dissimiliar to any other cafe you would find on King St, Newtown. Its bohemian atmosphere and friendly staff makes it the most approachable eatery on Church st. It is host to many events such as: * Art Exhibitions * Music Acts * Poetry readings * Writer groups * and other social events Pizzaboy and I decide to head to Mars Hill after a visit to the cinemas. The coffee is always dependably great and this would be the first time we order food. With much elation, the food is just as great as their coffee. Light, clean, smooth, but with a punch of flavour. Mars Hill Cafe 331 Church Street Parramatta (02) 9893 9888 http://marshillcafe.com.au Monday CLOSED Tuesday 5pm to late Wednesday 5pm to late Thursday 5pm to late Friday 5pm to late Saturday 12pm to late Sunday 1pm to late