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Hydrangea Cottage and Stefano Cafe Bakery – Mildura Part 1

As promised my Dearest Readers :) I’m sharing with you part one of our Mildura weekend away, work has been absolutely insane, leaving me no time to do what I love most and that’s blogging but I’ve managed to squeeze some time out because we had such an amazing time.

Mildura trip

Mr Bao and I have traveled quite a bit together, however, this was Cupcake’s first trip and he was going to go on the plane with us! I was actually quite nervous because I’ve never had a done before let alone organise his plane ride, fortunately it turned out to be rather simple and Virgin Airlines was really helpful. I won’t go into too much detail but if you would like to know more, please feel free to drop me an email :)

Mildura

After a short one hour flight we have arrived in Mildura! Oh yes before I forget, for overseas Readers Mildura is a rural city on the boarder of New South Wales and Victoria, it is known for their local produce especially oranges, wine and of course FOOD! That’s one of the main reasons why we decided to visit ~  I was so happy to see the blue skies as we walked onto to the tarmac.

Perfect Weather!

We picked up our rental car, punched the address of the house were staying into the GPS and off we went. We were welcomed by more perfect weather, this photo has not been filtered or edited in any way, I love the reflection of the blue skies in the Murray River ~

Hydrangea Cottage

Source: Hydrangea Cottage

This is our home for the next 4 days, a self-contained two bedroom cottage only a short 5 minute drive from the city centre of Mildura. Once again, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be difficult to find pet-friendly accommodation, so I was glad when Hydrangea Cottages allowed dogs to stay and also inside the house. The pets are not allowed on sofa or beds as it is hard to remove pet hair, but there is a large pet sofa right outside the toilet. The cottage had everything we asked for, clean bedsheets, tidy kitchen, TV in lounge room. But what really impressed us was the bowls and toys for dogs. Our only complaint was the house only had heating in the lounge room, and our room was a little cold at night. Electric blankets were provided yet I think it would’v been better if there was a portable heater available.

Stefano Cafe Bakery

After settling in, we were all feeling a little hungry so off we went to our first food stop! I did some research and knew Stefano De Pieri was the name in Mildura ~ we managed to go to all his food outlets but missed out trying the food at the Mildura Brewery at least we got some nice beers.

Stefano cafe bakery

With Cupcake with us, we decided to take a seat outside, but you can see that the restaurant is rather spacious inside. The weather was still lovely with blue skies, but it was a little chilly and probably colder than I expected. Because I was told by friends who have lived in Mildura before that it was supposed to be warmer than Melbourne.

Latte $ 3.8

Latte $ 3.8

When travelling I can never go without my 3 essentials and that’s my sunnies, coffee and camera (which I was obviously using to take this photo :P). I forgot to ask what coffee they use here but I’m going to make a wild guess and think it’s Genovese because I’m sure I’ve had this coffee before, it was probably a tad too warm for our liking but great full bodied flavour.

Beef cheek lasagne with salad $16.90

Beef cheek lasagne with salad $16.90

I chose the beef cheek lasagne as I felt like something comforting, it came in a small Tapas bowl and served with a little garden salad on the side. Between the lasagne sheets was a thick Bachemel sauce sandwiched with slow cooked beef cheek and topped with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.

Beef Cheek Lasagne

The beef cheek was cooked until it’s so tender, flavours were wonderful and definitely filled me up. While Mr Bao said that the serving size was a little small and slightly cold, however, this may because we were sitting outside and I took my time taking photos ~ Either way great idea to use beef cheek as the meat inside a lasagne.

Pulled pork burger with coleslaw and sweet potato chips $23

Pulled pork burger with coleslaw and sweet potato chips $23

Mr Bao chose the pulled pork burger with coleslaw inside and sweet potato chips on the side. The brioche bun was lightly toasted, with the soft pulled pork. I found it wasn’t as tender as the beef cheeks, and lacked a little seasoning. The sweet potatoes were a favourite of ours, it was the thick cut type with the soft centre. We did find it to be a little overpriced for a small burger at $23.

Cupcake

I think Cupcake wanted a bite of the burger too hahaha but too bad puppies can’t eat human food. I nearly gave in to those eyes!

Coffee cake with cream cheese frosting $7

Coffee cake with cream cheese frosting $7

Couldn’t leave without something sweet especially since it was close to 3pm, and I haven’t had my sweet fix. We chose two, first being this coffee cake with cream cheese frosting because I knew Mr Bao would appreciate it. It was three layers of coffee sponge caked with cream frosting in between and cacao powder sprinkled on top. A very moist and lightly dense cake the way I think coffee cakes should be ~

Vanilla Slice $7

Vanilla Slice $7

The waitress also recommended the Vanilla slice which is one of their best sellers and I grabbed the last slice before it was sold out :) I’m so glad I did, because this became the high light of the mean, the crisp puff pastry on top and bottom with a luscious rich vanilla custard between. I definitely wouldn’t mind having this again or getting the recipe!

Overall, we enjoyed at visit to Stefano Cafe Bakery, surprisingly though the sweets outshined the savoury, can’t wait to share with you our visit to Stefano’s restaurant which will soon be renamed as Jim McDougall soon ~

IMG_0778

With our sunnies, matching leader jackets (even Cupcake!) we were ready to go and explore Mildura! Until the next post have a wonderful day and even better weekend :D

Stefano's Cafe Bakery on Urbanspoon

Beef Noodle Master – Yong Kang, Taipei

Yong Kang Beef Noodle1

Even though I go to Taipei regularly, I still manage to find new and old eateries I’ve never been before. Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)is one of these places, it is one of the most traditional and well-known places in Taipei for beef noodles. It’s a very old school looking store and probably hadn’t been renovated since it opened, with tables and stools filling the restaurant to the brim. They open at 11am, and we got there at around half past, already there was a queue forming and we were told that it will be a 15 to 20 minute wait.

image-9

We were given a small round table and shared with another party of 3, you don’t have a choice here. You either share a table or you’ll have to wait again for your own and they’re most likely not going to give it to you :) This is quite a common practice in Asia ~ The menu is all written on the wall in Chinese, which is a little concerning because I’m not sure how non-Chinese speaking people will be able to order what they want. But perhaps if you ask the waiters or waitresses they should be able to help you.

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD)

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD) each

We started off with some cold side dishes, which you can see in the photo above, you go to the counter and tell the waitress what you’d like she’ll scoop it onto a plate and you will need to bring it back to your table. From the top left, we got a soy braised octopus, braised mung and also cucumber with konnyaku jelly. The octopus and cucumber had a nice hint of spiciness to it and these were great starter.

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Within a couple of minutes the beef noodles we ordered arrived. They come in two sizes but we decided to go the small because we knew we’d be eating all day :P For those who are unfamiliar with Taiwanese beef noodles, its very similar to the ones made in China, they both use beef brisket and perhaps tendons. What makes Taiwanese beef noodles special is the soy sauce used to make the broth and also the spiciness along with the herbs such as star anise used. I personally prefer this Taiwanese version as flavours are stronger. Anyhow, back to these famous beef noodles from Yong Kong, they certainly lived up to their name! All three of us were so impressed by the tenderness of the beef, the al dente noodle but most importantly was the broth! Happy to declare probably one of the best I have up until now :)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

My other sister Bianca can’t really eat spicy food, so she opted for the beef noodles with a clear broth instead. There was definitely a contrast between the two beef noodles, as the clear broth the beef flavour is more prominent and becomes the hero, as opposed to the spicy broth in the other one. The beef didn’t feel as tender but wasn’t tough and the clear broth was nonetheless tasty. I think both beef noodles were delicious really depends what you prefer :)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Because it was our first meal of the day, we were pretty hungry. We decided try the wonton in chilli sauce as well. One of my favourite ways to eat wontons! A slight disappointment compared to the beef noodles, as I found the filling a little bland and expected the chilli sauce to be a lot spicier.

When I was doing research about Yong Kang Beef Noodles I found their website which is all in Chinese but the URL for their website is ‘Beef Noodle Master’ :P Find the name a little tacky but their noodles are everything but the best ~ really enjoyed our meal at Yong Kang, only advice is to get there early and go with an empty stomach!

永康牛肉麵館

No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2,
Jīnshān South Rd, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening times: 11am-9:30pm
PH: +866 02-2351-1051

Tiffin Afternoon Tea – Langham Hotel, Hong Kong

It’s no secret that I love high teas :) So if you’re a fan like me, you’ll have to make a trip to Hong Kong because so many places offer it and I find them to be relatively cheaper than the high teas we have in Melbourne ~ I’ve visited the Langham Hotel in Hong Kong before and dined at a couple of their restaurants and would recommend the Main St Deli for their burgers. I’ve also had drinks at the Palm Court before but wasn’t aware that they offered high tea there.

Palm Court, Langham Hotel HK

Palm Court, Langham Hotel HK

I was definitely surprised and slightly overwhelmed when I received an email from the Langham hotel in HK inviting me to try their afternoon tea set. I was also asked to bring a friend so I invited Win Win because she loves high tea as much as I do :) Because we couldn’t find a baby sitter we decided to bring my little nephew Aden with us, thankfully the staff at Palm Court were very understanding and made us feel so welcomed.

Smile Aden!

Smile Aden!

Here’s my naughty but nice nephew Aden :) I’m sure regular readers would recognise him, he’s grown up quite a bit and I can’t believe he’s actually turning 4 this year! Time honestly flies by without you knowing! Perhaps because he was so well behaved he was also given his own mini afternoon tea set for only $98HKD ($14AUD) which is basically a smaller version of the one you’re going to see in this post ~

Win Win and I really like the ambience of the Palm Court it’s got the traditional Victorian feeling to it, with light music playing in the background and I really liked the silver that they used it was super shiny giving that regal feeling ~ I can imagine sitting here all afternoon chatting to my girlfriends.

Starting with some champagne

Starting with some champagne

Another surprise from Langham, they organised for our afternoon tea with some champagne and not only that it was Veuve Clicquot which I absolutely adore. I use to really like Moet and Chandon but lately, I’m starting to find that I enjoy the Veuve Clicquot more ~

 

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Of course Aden is a little bit too young to start drinking! So they offered him a hot chocolate which he kindly accepted. We had to keep telling him to slow down and not scull the drink! For blogging purposes :P I took a sip of his hot chocolate, and was warm milk lightly flavoured with chocolate, I personally would have preferred it with a richer chocolate flavour. However, this is probably great for little kids as it’s not too sweet.

Tiffan Afternoon Tea $428HKD ($62AUD) for two +10% Service Charge

Tiffan Afternoon Tea $428HKD ($62AUD) for two +10% Service Charge

Now that we’ve settled in having a drink, staff then came to explain that they offer two afternoon tea sets – Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and The Beast. The first being more fruit based and the latter has more chocolate and sweeter desserts. Both sets come with the same savoury items as you can see on the bottom layer with selection of sandwiches such as slow cooked chicken and foie gras warp and smoked salmon with horseradish cream. I’m a simple person and enjoyed the sandwich with the egg perhaps quail egg the most ~

Moving onto Sweets!

They were very attentive and decided to split the afternoon tea set and to allow me try both sets. From the Sleeping Beauty desserts (on the left) there is mango coconut tartlet, raspberry brioche, passionfruit fruit quark cheesecake. I was particularly impressed with the crisp profiterole with green apple even though the filling was a little sour the pastry was done very well. On the right is the desserts from Beauty and The Beast with hazelnut and chocolate chip cupcake, Opera cake and bitter chocolate and vanilla cream tartlet. Hard to pick my favourite but it’s probably the little tarlet because the flavours complimented each other so well.

More sweets!

More sweets!

Then there were more treats on the top layer, definitely my type of high tea. With three types of chocolate bark in the shot glass on the left, followed by the lemon ‘marshmallow’ macaron, panna cotta and the last was a chocolate mousse with a berry jelly filling topped with fresh cream.

Scones with clotted cream and preserves

Scones with clotted cream and preserves

I was so naive and thought that because we already had too much food, we won’t get scones hahaha but that’s not true we got some scones to share which came with clotted cream and strawberry jam and I think it was rose preserves (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Cream first? Jam first?

Cream first? Jam first?

I always have this argument with my friends, is it cream first or jam first? I’m definitely a cream first sort of girl but decided to conform and do it the ‘right’ way according to my friends hehe ~ No matter which way you eat them, scones are always good and these did not disappoint with a slight crust and still slightly warm inside.

English Breakfast Tea

English Breakfast Tea

To finish up and help with digestion, I got an English Breakfast tea :) Can’t help but thank Langham Hotel for their generosity Win Win and I had a wonderful time at Palm Court and really enjoyed the high tea. Would definitely recommend it for other high tea addicts out there, and don’t forget the Langham Hotel is in a great location. Right off Canton Rd in Tsim Sha Tsui, trust me it’s every girls dream there! They have literally all the brands you can imagine ~

Daisy and WinWin@Nevertoosweet dined at as guests of Palm Court, Langham Hotel HK 

 

My Perfect Weekend – In Perth

Australia is a big country, and even though I’ve lived here all my life, there are still so many places I have yet to visit. One of these places is Perth :) I’ve visited along the coast such Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Brisbane. But somehow I’ve never made it to Western Australia. But now I may have a chance! I was recently contacted by Digitaslbi to participate in a competition to write my perfect weekend in Perth staying at the Pan Pacific Perth hotel. If my post is interesting enough and I win the competition, I will win a free trip for two to go to Perth!!!

Photo Credit: Colliers

Photo Credit: Colliers

There are no rules or limitations and I can be as extravagant as I want so I’m really trying to make it as interesting as possible! So a weekend isn’t a very long time, so I’m going to pack as much as I can into 2 days! First we would arrive in Perth and because we’re travelling in style, I would love to picked up by a limousine :P

Photo Credit: Limohire

Photo Credit: Limohire

We would then be taken to the Pan Pacific Perth hotel and check into our River Suite with complimentary breakfast, access to the lounge, free WIFI and most importantly a massive room with our own ensuite bathroom and amazing view.

After checking in, I’d like probably to get a drink and just relax in our hotel room for a while. Before we head out to check out what Perth has to offer ~ I would like to pick up a rental car because I like the freedom of being able to drive and explore an area as I please.

Photo Credit: Hertz

Photo Credit: Hertz

 

I’m really into culture and history so I’d like to visit the Pensioner Guard to see the cottages there and be transported back in time to see how people use to live. Next would be to visit the Rail Heritage Museum because Mr Bao likes trains and will appreciate learning about the history of them.

Photo Credit: Railway Heritage

Photo Credit: Railway Heritage

After some sight seeing you know I’ll be hungry so it’s time for dinner and I’d love to visit Restaurant Amuse one of the top fine dining restaurants in Perth. I have done my research and it looks and sounds amazing! All the dishes look so intricate and interesting :) But will need to book in advance because I’ve heard it can get quite busy.

Photo Credit: Amuse

Photo Credit: Restaurant Amuse

I think after a degustation menu at Restaurant Amuse we will be too full to eat anything else. So we will head back to our hotel and relax and have an early night in. And prepare for the next day of more eating :D

Photo Credit: Pan Pacific

Photo Credit: Pan Pacific Perth 

With the River Suite will get complimentary breakfast, so we will head down to the Monterey’s Restaurant for a buffet breakfast. After that I’d like to head over to the Crown Casino in Perth to check it out to see how it differs from the one in Melbourne :)

Photo Credit: Crown Perth

Photo Credit: Crown Perth

I will gamble a little and hopefully win some money and have enough to pay for lunch, next stop will be Jamie’s Italian. I know they’ve opened up in Sydney for a couple of years now, I still haven’t tried so I think it will be a great opportunity to try them out in Perth.

Photo Credit: Jamie's Italian

Photo Credit: Jamie’s Italian

Taking into account that we are only staying for the weekend, we will probably have to leave at around 7pm so after lunch, I will visit Mary Street Bakery and get a range of cakes and pastries to try. It all looks so delicious but I particularly want to try the lemon merengue tart!

We would then head back to the hotel, pick up our luggage and be sent to the airport and make our way back home to Melbourne. That will concludes my perfect weekend to Perth! I have really enjoyed writing this post, because it feels like I have already gone to these places hahaha This is only a rough itinerary because I’m sure when I get there or have more time to plan, I will be able to squeeze a few catch up with friends in Perth and also find more DESSERT cafes :)

Photo Credit: Visit Perth City

Photo Credit: Visit Perth City

I hope my perfect weekend is interesting enough to win the competition and we will have the chance to visit Perth sometime this year!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet was not sponsored to write this post, however, is part of a competition run by Digitaslbi and Pan Pacific Perth Hotel. 

Meeting Nami (JOC) – Hanlai Hotel, Kaohsiung

Big huge hello to all My Dearest Readers! How have you all been? I have been keeping up with most of you through Instagram and other forms of Social Media, but boy I’ve missed blogging. Have been so preoccupied trying to catch up with everyone in HK and also doing some (erm…maybe a LOT) of shopping :D

Hk 2014

Have so so so many new stories, restaurant and cafe to share with you. But the first one would have to be meeting Namiko Chen from Just One Cookbook! If you like Japanese food and have tried to Google for Japanese recipes, I’m sure you would have come across Nami’s amazing blog with easy to follow recipes, step-by-step photos and she has recently added videos for her recipes!

Just One Cookbook

Nami and I have followed each others blog for quite some time now, and we’ve always talked about meeting up one day. Coincidentally, last week Nami posted up on Instagram that she was flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to attend her brother-in-law’s wedding. I was ecstatic! Because I too was going to Kaohsiung the next day, so I boldly messaged Nami and asked if she would like and have the time to meet up. So excited she said yes, so we quickly organised to meet on the Tuesday afternoon at the hotel lobby lounge cafe at the Hanlai Hotel.

Hanlai Hotel

Hanlai Hotel

I got out of the taxi and started looking around the cafe when I saw a lady wave at me and I recognised that was Nami and her husband! She was everything I imagined her to be, the sweetest, gentlest and most genuine people you can meet! We had such a good time talking about everything from how she started her blog all the way to how she moved from Japan to the US and the challenges there are. I also shared all the crazy things I get up to down under hehe

Hello Nami!

Hello Nami!

Moving onto the food, we decided to get the tea set which was $299TWD ($12AUD) each including a drink. It was such a generous serving and we simply did not expect so much food, the food was served on a little 2 tier stand with sweets on the top and savoury on the bottom.

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Starting with the savoury items, there were two tuna sandwiches, a baguette with a piece of ham and a petite serving of pasta prawn with a spicy tomato sauce. I really enjoyed the baguette with the ham as it had good flavour and crunch from the bread. The prawn pasta was a little spicy for Nami but I thought it was quite nice maybe because I like spicy food.

Savoury

Then there were the sweets, we all got a small serving of fruit which I thought was really nice as it’s quite refreshing, a small square sponge cake with vanilla custard which was my absolutely favourite. The sponge cake had the lightest texture. Last but not least we all got a different piece of cake, I got the strawberry shortcake which I knew Mr Bao would’ve loved because this is one of his favourite cakes! There was, however, a little too much cream for me.

Sweets

We were also given an extensive list of drinks to choose from, not just tea or coffee. I ordered the iced coffee latte with coffee jelly and it was lovely with a strong coffee taste but what really impressed me was the coffee jelly which I kept scooping into my mouth~ I also like how most restaurants and cafe have set meals which include a drink, while it doesn’t seem as common in Australia.

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Would highly recommend anyone going to Kaohsiung to stay or visit the Hanlai Hotel and try the afternoon tea. I think it’s really good value for money, for less than $15AUD you get to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea with delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is also really nice for a bunch of girls to get together and chit chat.

Once again would like to thank Nami and Mr JOC (her hubby) for meeting me! It was such a pleasure to finally put a face to a blog and I really admire their dedication to their blog and have become so inspired by them to really put more effort and time into my own little blog! Hope you have a safe flight back to San Francisco and I’m sure we will meet again either :D

Hanlai Hotel
No.266, Cheng-kung 1st Rd
Kaohsiung City 801, Taiwan R.O.C.
高雄市前金區801成功一路266號
PH: 886-2-2751-7527
Website: http://www.grand-hilai.com.tw/english/index.htm

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