December 14th, 2010

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Summer Bits & Bites

Published in the City Hub and City News.

Designer Meat

It’s always nice to see Aussie businesses recognised on a world stage, but it was particularly nice to see Victor Churchill, a butcher, win at the International Interior Design Awards. They beat the world's best retail stores, and owner Anthony Puharich was in New York to receive the award. “It is incredible to have the hard work, passion and creativity that Dreamtime Australia, Beebo Constructions and myself, put into Victor Churchill realised, when the world's most highly revered award is presented to us. I am still overwhelmed that a butcher shop in Woollahra has beaten some of the biggest and best in the world to win Best in Retail,” enthused Anthony. Take the time to pop in and have a gander at the store; but do us a favour and buy some meat while you’re there - those fittings cost money!

Vodka & Caviar
Some things were meant to go together – summer and seafood, warm weather and waterfront dining, caviar and Belvedere Vodka, Dom Pérignon and Spanish Joselito Iberico Jamon De Bellota… So isn’t it convenient you can experience all of these at Manta Restaurant and Bar at Woolloomooloo wharf? Sit back and enjoy the balmy evening air with “a chilled Manta Martini in one hand, Caviar in the other," says owner Rob Rubis. Or let a slice of the world’s best ham melt on your tongue between sips of Dom Pérignon as you contemplate the good life. A bowl of Manta’s famous truffled ‘Angel Chips’ wouldn’t hurt either…

Christmas Cringe
Let’s face it, Xmas can be a bit… tacky. If the idea of Santa hats is more ‘cringe’ than ‘cute’, treat yourself (and your colleagues) to a festive event with style, sophistication and sterling views of the harbour at The Tea Room Gunners’ Barracks. All they’ve done is take their usual impeccable high tea, and changed the finger sandwiches fillings to include some classic smoked turkey and cranberry, and some Guinness and clove glazed ham with pickles. They’ve also added some fruit to the scones, and created a bunch of seasonal sweets including fruit mince pies and a candy cane panna cotta. In case you have trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, they’ve included a Poinsettia High Tea with sparkling wine, triple sec and cranberry juice. You can enjoy this offer any week day between 12pm-3pm for $50/head until Christmas Eve.

Last week I sat alongside foodie glitterati including Angus Fontaine, John Newtown, Joanna Savill and Lyndey Milan at a twilight dinner put on by the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The highlight of my evening was chatting to architect Philip Cox about the difference between his sensitive low-rise, maritime themed buildings set under the “grand verandah” of expressways, versus the eyesore planned over the way at Barangaroo. It was a nice reminder that that this often overlooked venue has a spectacular collection of the biggest paintings in Australia, as well as glittering city views and a massive functions menu. Perhaps some little lamb shank confit pies with blackberry relish, and a few wines chosen by Chief Sommelier William Wilson might be just the ticket for your next function?

Your Lo-Cal Mexican
If wrapping your lips around a pliable burrito filled with chipotle marinated grilled chicken and guacamole usually inspires dietary guilt, I suggest you eat your next one at Mad Mex! Months ahead of the new regulations making it compulsory for fast food outlets with more than twenty stores in NSW to display each item’s kilojoules, Mad Mex have launched an online nutritional calculator. You and your personal trainer can log on to the website together and work out which slow-roasted grilled meat, and what condiments will best suit your nutritional needs. The website’s optimised for smart phones so you can even check it in store on your way home from the gym! Sadly I couldn't find their Churros & Chocolate ($5.90) listed anywhere... lucky guilt isn't a problem for me.
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

The Big O

I arrived at the scheduled 8am, and found that everyone else had been queuing for hours! I started the queue at Circular Quay, heading up Albert Street, and then down Macquarie Street...

The City of Sydney had spent some bucks with flags bearing Oprah's face running down the street. Women outnumbered the men in the queue at least 8 to 1, though there were some homosexual men with nice sunglasses. Despite knowing they'd be sitting on the ground, most of the women dressed up as if they were actually going on television.

Almost at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt... to the left of this image I went through a barrage of 8 metal detectors with 6000 people. I saw pat downs, and all guests were made to open their bags. Then you were given a survival bag with water, sunscreen, a blow up cushion and a rain jacket because Oprah cares about your comfort.

Despite my on-time-equalling-late arrival, I got a pretty good view of the stage by jumping into a gap that the early-queuers had left. Naughty me. The preamble for the show included enforced cheering, jumping up and down, and an awful entertainer called Paris from Melbourne.

At the front of the stage you can see the 302 Americans, all in a bunch. Some of them got up on stage for a dance in the preamble. There were some hotties, the hottest of all wore a vibrant yellow dress with a tan belt. Her smile was three acres wide, with lots of white, pearly teeth. She was like a mini-twenty-years-younger-Oprah. Look for a tiny blur of yellow. She waved an Australian flag for most of the show.

Oprah arrived in a hire car, and then walked in a bright orange dress right past where I was sitting. She's quite a commanding woman.

Oprah gave a million bucks (from Microsoft HP) in computers to Canterbury Boys School and $250,000 courtesy of Xbox to a cancer sufferer. Jon Bon Jovi can't sing anymore; Russell Crowe's aging badly and Bindi Irwin's gone from awkward to hottie (if she keeps her mouth shut).

This is Jon Bon Jovi singing badly. Russell Crowe's most comfortable moment was distracting the crowd by revealing some of the Rabbitos in the front row. Danielle was there with her mother in the front row too, as well as some girl called Jenna who got her front row seat by taking photos with 363 Australians holding a sign saying they wanted Jenna to meet Oprah.

The 6000 strong audience all received a voucher for a $695 pearl necklace from Kailis. The show will air in January. Oprah condones gathering your friends and drinking tequila on her. The show's 25 year history will come to an end in May 2011.
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