Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

Tonight I held my first Thanksgiving dinner in Australia at the suggestion of my Aussie friends who decided it would be good for me to start a new tradition here. Since I held it at my place it was a small gathering with Tash, Michelle, Ruth and Danny. I spent the majority of the day cooking away in the kitchen. The various dishes that I served were:
- Salad of mixed greens with pear and sugared walnuts
- Herb roasted turkey breast
- Dressing
- Mashed potatoes with buttermilk
- Green beans with glazed shallots and lemon
- Pumpkin pie
- Shortbread cookies

Considering this was the first full dinner I have done by myself it came out pretty well. All the dishes were cooked from scratch and my Mom was very helpful in hunting down some recipes for me. Overall everyone seemed to enjoy the food although I cooked so much that I have a lot of left overs that I will be eating throughout the week. The pumpkin pie was a big hit as that is a bit of a rarity here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Good China, The Box Rockets, and Quang Goes Mangoes

Tonight Tash and I met at The Empress Hotel for an evening of music. The opening act was one Quang Dinh going under the moniker "Quang Goes Mangoes." He played solo with just an acoustic guitar for about a half-hour. It amazes me how prolific a songwriter Quang is as the songs he played were all new to me and didn't even draw on his Little Red or Hondas material. The guy has got talent and an ability to convey emotion through his lyrics and vocal range. It was nice to have a bit of a chat with him after his set (even if he was "toasted").

Next on the bill was The Box Rockets. They were pleasant and have a bit of an 80's British band sound to them. While enjoyable to listen to, their songs weren't really that memorable and blended together a bit. The headlining act for the night was The Good China in the first week of their residency at The Empress. The band is a group of 9 multi-instrumentalists, and they are a lot of fun and play very happy and uplifting music. Both Tash and I were impressed by them and how they rotated turns singing at the front of stage and swapping instruments for each song. You never knew what instrument would make an appearance next. It was a very democratic music collective! If you get a chance to catch them around Melbourne go for it- you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Melbourne Cup

Today I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Melbourne Cup horse race. Michelle's uncle allowed a group of us to use his corporate box for the day, so we got all dressed up and headed over to Flemington Racecourse. It was a fantastic day and amazing to have our own private space that overlooked the finish line. We had free drinks and a very yummy lunch with a variety of dishes. I felt so spoiled!

At 3:00 pm it was time for the race that stops the nation. The Melbourne Cup itself was a tight race with Viewed winning in a photo finish. Unfortunately the two horses I put money on didn't place, but in the next race I made back my bet plus $1 when The Fuzz finishing second. Some of the other girls had better luck with their bets and had a couple big wins. After the last race of the day we headed for the parking lot and although there was traffic getting out, it was nice to not have to face public transport or trying to catch a taxi to get home.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Anika Moa- CD Launch

Tonight Tash and I returned to The Spiegeltent for Anika Moa's Australian CD launch for "In Swings The Tide." This time we were able to share a much more comfortable booth with some other people for the show. Anika flew out the drummer and bass player from her band, so that added a richness to her songs. My favorite of the night was the reggae/dub version of "Youthful." We even got a couple verses of a reggae version of Crowded House's "Weather With You." Anika was her usual humorous self with the intros for each song and had the crowd laughing out loud most of the night. It's too bad she's going to move back to New Zealand at the end of the year.
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