Aaron’s Blog

Found in Sydney: Heath Ledger’s Old Apartment

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According to our local host, this is where Heath Ledger used to live.  It’s right next to Bronte Beach, which is just south of the famous Bondi Beach.  He certainly had good taste in terms of location.

Heath Ledger's old place_1280_for_Web

Darling Harbour Christmas & Fireworks

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IMG_1942As part of theevents taking place at the newly reinvigorated Darling Harbor area, there was a Christmas celebration taking place throughout the month of December right down by the harbor.  It provides a great venue for all of the festivities as it looks right out on the waterfront and is filled with good restaurants and bars.

We unknowingly already went to one of these events, whcih was the Santa Fun Run.  In addition to this, acapella groups were performing Christmas carols every weekend and on many of the weekdays throughout the month.  Topping it all off was a fireworks display every Saturday until New Years, when the large display usually happens.  This is just my opinion, but that seems to be an awful lot of expenditure by the city to ensure that everyone gets in the holiday spirit.  Still, it really did create for a great atmosphere and as we found out, many people took advantage of it.

Since this was both a special event and fit the magic criterion of free, we decided to fix up a little picnic basket of cheese and crackers and make our way down to the waterfront at sunset.  We got there a bit later that we had planned and the area by the water was packed, but we managed to sneak in a little spot facing the city.  We got our cheese and crackers out, so we could be properly fancy, and sat back to watcht the fireworks.  They didn’t last very long, but the spot was perfect, with the lights reflecting off the water while we stared at the nighttime skyline.  It was a fantastic, romantic evening, thanks to Christmas at Darling Harbor.

Fire above and below_1280_for_WebFireworks above the harbor_1280_for_Web

Fireworks over the harbor_1280_for_WebGreen boom above the Harbor_1280_for_Web

Merry Christmas from Sydney Town Hall

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Walking back from Darling Harbor, we found that the Town Hall was wishing everyone a Merry Christams.  The lights were being projected from across the street with impressive color for that distance.  The pattern changed every couple minutes and even animated with the letters dropping into place from above.

Happy Christmas Building_1280_for_Web

Happy Christmas on the building_1280_for_Web

Sydney Christmas on the building_1280_for_Web

Food in Sydney – The Bentley Restaurant

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After doing our best to pinch pennies along our route, we decided to splurge a little on good food and headed to The Bentley Restaurant in Sydney.  The restaurant was created by Brent Savage, a chef that use to work for chef Mark Best at Marque, one of the 4 Australian restaurants rated among the top 100 restaurants in the world.  So when we heard about it, we thought that this was the way to go.

We used the old cheapskate’s trick of going to a nice restaurant at lunch rather than dinner and saving a pretty penny.  Even still, dining in Australia is not cheap and the lunch tasting menu was AU$ 55.  Still, for this price, we got a five course meal that you would pay over $100 during dinner.  This is definitely a trick I recommend if you have your eye on a particular fancy restaurant.

Now for the food.  The first course was Octupus with lime and creme.  I am generally not a fan of octopus, but that’s because I’ve never eaten octopus like this.  Most octopus is horribly ovecooked and results in you eating something with the consistency of a pencil eraser.  This was moist, delicate, and juicy.

Bentley Octopus_1280_for_Web

Nex up was pumpkin custard with goat curd and fresh seeds.  This was not so bad, but was probably the weakest part of the meal in our opinion.  Each individual component was alright, but they did not complement each other as we would have liked.  But hey, it sure is pretty, right?

Bentley Pumpkin and goat cheese with seeds_1280_for_Web

We were then treated to the fish, which was fantastic.  Again, perfectly done, and with a sauce and bedding that perfectly accompanied the food.  I could have that every day and not grow tired of it.

Bentley Fish_1280_for_Web

Following the fish was the meat course, which that day was pork belly.  Now pork belly is not something that I usually think of as being particularly fancy, but they definitely pulled it off.  I’m not sure if it was quite as good as the fish, but it was still cooked well and the layers of fat really help boost the flavor.

Bentley Pork Belly_1280_for_Web

We then finished up the meal with strawberry mouse accompanied by lychee sorbet.  Being a lover of fruit-based desserts, this was absolutely perfect.  They even had these little strawberry chips that fizzed in your mouth while they dissolved.  I don’t know what kind of dark magic they use there, but it’s definitely the best kind.

Bentley Dessert_1280_for_Web

With the meal over and our bellies stuffed, we were completely satisfied.  It’s definitely not the cheapest budget option, but I would definitely recommend heading to The Bentley.  The lunch tasting menu, at $55 might be on the pricey side, but with the dinner tasting menu being $120, it offers a great way to sample the exemplary cooking of this great chef at a signficantly lower price.  Our complements to the chef and the staff on great meal.

 

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

320 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Open Tuesday-Saturday lunch and dinner

Government House and Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney

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The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney are located downtown right next to Opera House and Circular Quay, where you can come and go by Ferry.  This is another great place to go when you are on a budget as it’s completely free.  It is, essentially, a large urban park in the vein of Central Park in New York, Forest Park in St. Louis, or Ueno Park in Tokyo.  It offer some fantastic open spaces and fields to take a break from the urban jungle of Sydney.  We headed there to sit down in the grass and take a load off after wearing out the soles of our shoes walking around the city.

The Gardens are set up with a number of different areas, each featuring different flora for you to look at.  The National Herbarium of New South Wales is also located here for those wishing to know more about the plants.  We decided to pass and be a little bit more self directed as we had some more serious business that we had to attend to.

Look Im Big_1280_for_WebJumping Naoko_1280_for_Web

As I said, serious stuff.  The gardens are also used as a location for private events, such as company parties (which we walked through) and weddings.  We were also just a day too early for one of the large concerts that are also held in the Gardens, another one of the many events that are held here.  However, if you don’t have a specific event, one of the most famous spots in the Gardens is on the north eastern side and is known as Mrs. MacQuarie’s chair.  This is the most famous spot in Sydney for taking pictures of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  Chances are, if you’ve seen a picture of the two together, it was from this location.

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