The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Cheesy lunch @ Raclette Factory, Zurich

Hubby was in charge of the itinerary for our first day in Zurich, and he led us to Raclette Factory for lunch. This casual diner offers the Swiss specialty of raclette in tapas-style portions at the counter, giving the opportunity to try out the different cheeses on offer. The menu was simple, offering some raclette classics, three varieties of tarte flambée and what they call 'raclette tapas' where you can choose two or more cheeses (including blue, goat, sheep and truffle) to go with your choice of sides (potatoes, bread, or mashed potatoes) and additional toppings (ham, bacon or sausage). There was also the all-you-can-eat option, which would be a great option for cheese-lovers! Raclette Factory was a good kid-friendly choice for lunch, and needless to say, the kids enjoyed the food very much.

The interior in wood and bright red is very Swiss in design:

Raclette Heidi, a classic with raclette cheese, potatoes, pickled onions and pickles:

One of the raclette specialties with sausages to appeal more to the little ones:

The Original Tarte Flambée with crème fraîche, onions and bacon:

Raclette Factory
Rindermarkt 1
8001 Zürich
Tel. +41 44 261 04 10

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Excellent lunch buffet @ Conservatory, Melbourne

Three weeks ago, I celebrated getting another year older. My birthday fell on the Melbourne Cup public holiday, which was a nice coincidence for a first birthday in Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup is a pretty big deal Australia-wide - I still remember my former workplace in Perth celebrating it with a lunch outing, but we weren't so lucky as to get a full day off like Melbourne does. My older sister's partner was given four free tickets to the Melbourne Cup on my birthday, but unfortunately he had to work that day, and my older sister had to look after her four kids, so my younger sister and I planned to leave the kids with our hubbies, and use the tickets with two friends. Neither my sister nor I have been to Flemington Racecourse for the Melbourne Cup, so we looked forward to dressing up and experiencing the event at the racecourse. Well, the day came, and the weather was bad with heavy downpour. I can't remember ever driving in such heavy rain before, and the rain did not cease until noon. We all decided on Plan B, which was a lovely lunch at Conservatory in Crown Casino. I was still happy with the backup plan, because it had been more than a decade since I'd been to Crown, and I had never stepped inside the casino before.

Lunch at Conservatory was an excellent buffet spread, which reminded me of the buffets we used to enjoy with our relatives in Hong Kong. There was a wide range of dishes to suit all kinds of tastebuds and a big appetite for Asian, Western, Eastern and Indian cuisines. The dessert bar featured a chocolate fountain and many sweet delights. The food were presented nicely and prepared with high quality produce, and everything was delicious. The main attraction of the buffet for me would be the seafood bar - the natural oysters in particular were delectable, and very popular so I wasn't the only one who thought so. At $109 per person for the lunch buffet, it was expensive, so it's definitely a special occasion treat. Despite the bad weather that curbed our original plan, I still had a fantastic birthday out with my younger sister and friends.

Beautiful interior design with gorgeous marble floors:

Large floor-to-ceiling windows with river views of the Yarra:

Hot buffet selection where the roast station is:

Asian section with a variety of dumplings, spring rolls, buns as well as a few Indian dishes and breads:

Salad selection:


My first plate was heavy on the seafood, and my second and third helpings also featured lots of seafood:

One of four sides of the square dessert bar, featuring a range of delectable sweets and cakes. The other three sides held fruits, cake slices, a chocolate fountain and ice cream:

My first plate of desserts:

I highly recommend a meal at Conservatory for a special occasion. It's family-friendly too, so bring the kids along!

Level 1, Crown Towers
Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street
Melbourne, VIC 3006
Tel. +61 3 9292 5777

Conservatory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Beautiful Zurich

I'm finally sorting through my photos of our epic trip in Europe earlier this year. Still amazed that we managed to cover 12 cities and towns in 5 countries, a total of 2400km in 28 days, with 3 kids in tow! This also happened in the middle of relocating from Hong Kong to Australia, which in itself was already a huge challenge! Our first stop in Europe was Zurich, as it's the only city in Switzerland we can fly non-stop from Hong Kong. We arrived very early in the morning, and we spent the first morning walking around the town before we could check in to our accommodation. We joined a free walking tour the next day to discover more of the city. Zurich is beautiful, with plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities of the lake and the Alps. We were there only two nights before we moved on to the Swiss Alps!

The clean streets of Zurich:

I love the clean straight lines of the architecture, with St Peter's clock tower in the background. This clock tower has the largest tower clock face in Europe:

A view of Grossmunster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church:

The two towers of Grossmunster, Lake Zurich and the Alps in one view:

Even if I lived here, I would not get tired of this view of the lake and the Swiss Alps (click on image for larger view):

Fun entertainment on the streets:

Our lovely tour guide brought us to this fountain in front of a restaurant with historical significance, to inform us that all fountains in Zurich supply drinkable water. This particular fountain, on special occasions held at the restaurant, supplies wine for the guests:

The inner courtyard of the Fraumunster Church:

Beautiful wall painting at the Fraumunster:

The prominent clock tower of St Peter's is visible from many parts of downtown Zurich:

A view of the city from a high point:

Facing towards the Alps:

Stay tuned for more on Europe!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Pretty High Tea @ Cafe Blush, Melbourne

A few Fridays ago, on my younger sister's usual day off work, she and I had to get some official business done for my mum, and hubby took a few hours off work to look after our girls and nephew so that we could do it quickly. We were grateful that we could get it done kids-free, because we experienced some hiccup and delay, which would have been even more stressful if we had three kids in tow. After that was done, my sister and I headed into the city to reward ourselves with a nice lunch at Cafe Blush, which offers an all-day high tea set. The cafe had pretty interior setting, with blush-coloured walls and hanging potted plants. We both enjoyed the dainty high tea, which my sister found wasn't substantial enough for a satisfying lunch (it is after all meant to be a tea, not a full meal), but delicious nonetheless.

The circular lamps overhead was an interesting centrepiece that contributed to the lovely aesthetics of the cafe:

Pondering the menu which had a decent selection of tea:

My sister's Match Latte with cute latte art:

Yes, we also enjoyed the optional bubbly:

Cafe Blush High Tea: (top tier) mini chocolate chiffon, yuzu meringue tart, assorted macarons; (middle) tomato bread sandwich, chipotle prawn and avocado, roasted mushroom with smoked salmon; (bottom) dulce de leche cake, jam and cream for the scones:

The other side. The yuzu meringue tart was my favourite, because it reminded me of my time in Japan, where we frequently enjoyed the bright and zesty flavours of yuzu:

I loved the presentation of the dulce de leche cake, with evaporated milk inside the tube:

Cafe Blush was perfect for a girls' date!

Blush Cafe
Level 2, Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC
Tel. +61 3 9654 8882

Cafe Blush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Blood moon and Mars conjunction

Very early on Saturday morning, Earth was treated to the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, and I was stoked to take advantage of this night sky photo opportunity without haze or constant cloud cover or high rise buildings getting in the way! Mars was also in conjunction with the moon and at opposition, making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. I missed the first part of the eclipse, because the 2-year-old wouldn't let me leave her bedside until 5am, and I blame the unusual night wakings earlier that week on the full moon, the eclipse and Mars at opposition - it's like the moon and the planets were lined up to make my life slightly miserable that week. Ok, I'm only joking, but a small part of me does wonder if there's any scientific truth to that because on Saturday night, the toddler resumed back to sleeping through the night. I used my ancient 13-year-old DSLR - back when it cost over AU$1000 for one - and was happy to know that it still works alright.

The progression of the total lunar eclipse, with totality lasting 103 minutes, making it the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century:

Mars at opposition and in conjunction with the moon:

The moon was still in total eclipse when the sky began lightening as day began to break:

The next day, on Sunday morning, the kids were so excited and happy to see a full double rainbow in the backyard when they came downstairs for breakfast. And yes, I stood in the drizzle in the backyard to take the photo.