Sunday, April 6, 2008

Treat from a stingy person

Yesterday, a stingy person gave a dinner buffet treat at the Vienna International Seafood & Teppanyaki Buffet restaurant.

I found the name of the restaurant to be rather contradictory. Vienna is the capital of Austria, which is smacked in the middle of the large European continent and nowhere near to the sea. There are however numerous freshwater lakes in the country and seafood is the last thing on anyone's mind when visiting Austria. To top it off, teppanyaki is obviously Japanese. So unless the owner comes from Vienna or is in total awe of the capital, I couldn't really find a logical reason for the restaurant's name. And it doesn't help that 99.999% of the restaurant staff are Chinese.

But then again, who cares about the name of the restaurant if the food is nice.

Yesterday's treat was my fourth visit to the restaurant. I would have to admit that the first three visits left quite a good impression on me. Hence, I came back for the fourth time. However, it was the first time I had dinner there and the noise level was close to beating that at the hawker centre. Everyone's pushing and sweeping food off the buffet tables and for a whopping price of $45/pax, I would honesty rather go somewhere else for a quieter and less 'competitive' dinner.

The drink menu on the table explicitly state that all guests get to enjoy complementary fruit juices or soft drinks. With the cheapskate mentally, I was initially thrilled but then thinking back now, isn't this part of the buffet deal?

I also realised that the food variety is not that great either. After returning to the buffet tables for a third helping, I realised that I have already circled the tables twice and thinking hard what next to take.

For the record, I had two bowls of sharksfin soup. And before you jump to the wrong conclusion, let me elaborate on the contents. It's a thick soup with lots of frozen crab meat and a few slices of mushrooms. It doesn't bother me so much on the part of the missing sharksfin because the frozen crab meat actually tastes nice after some generous sprinkle of vinegar and pepper. But I do propose for them to change the label for the soup to "Frozen Crab Meat Drowned In Thick Starchy Soup". That said, it's still considered Yummy for me! And to the disappointed individuals, I do recall that there used to be some strands of sharksfins in the soup during my previous visits. So simply for the benefits of doubt, there might be some "Save The Shark" conservation campaign somewhere and as a result, they could not get their regular supplies on time. It might just make a comeback soon.

I must also not forget to mention their starter soup which was served to the customers even before they get to their seats. It's "Buddha Jump Over the Wall". Well, quite honestly, I didn't feel like jumping over the wall for joy when I peeped at the content. I would rather they rename it to Herbal Chicken Soup. Too much hype can be a killer at times.

After gobbling up heaps of prawns, I staggered over to the dessert section and was pleased to get my hands on the first slice of chocolate mousse cake layered on hazelnut crunchy biscuit base! Ohhhh......I simply love the crunchy biscuit base!!! The second runner up would have to be the durian cake which was disguised as a coconut sponge cake. Looks can be deceiving and without venturing, you might be missing something.

Finally, if you must know, I'm the scrooge. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Aussie Creatures (3 of 3)

This is the highlight of the trip for me! My itinerary was packed with visits to the zoo, koala conservation centre, National Park etc. I never get bored looking at the animals, they just kind of grow on me. :)

Did you know there's no such animals called Koala Bear? They are simply called Koala.

Closeup of an alligator
Closeup of tiny reptile

Kangaroos at rest
Chicking chicks

Sheep Dog show
Feeding catfishes in the river on our way back to the Brisbane city centre

four-legged reptile eyeing...
a fluffy fowl

almost stepped on this tiny guy

the star of the show *drum roll*
polar bear

giant sea turtle




Croc Rules!

followed shortly by the smaller reptiles seen scrabbling throughout the zoo

talking parrot

"Big Bird"

Camel with smooch mark


greedy piglets

curious girl stroking baby crocodile

Giant Land Tortoise chomping away lunch
wriggly crawler
The Irwin Family


you'll see cows...

you'll see seagulls at the beach...
you'll even see many species of birds...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Aussie Sights (2 of 3)

Do you know that Australia has a land mass bigger than that of Europe?

Without further ado, here's a pictorial summary of my adventure on the eastern coast of Australia.


Story Bridge by Day & Night (it is the only 3rd licensed bridge climb experience in the world)

A booth selling insect eating plants at a Sunday Market along the Brisbane River

Former Treasury Building which now houses a 24-hour casino

Shrine of Remembrance is a cenotaph where an eternal flame burns in the center to commemorate Australian soldiers who perished in WWI

St. John's Cathedral

City Hall where tourists can take the lift to the lofty clock tower for a magnificent view of the city

The greens along the way


Jetty with trawlers after a day's catch

Surfers @ Park Beach

Soft sand @ Park Beach

A nice church

Interesting sight at a river with millions of tiny sand balls - who's behind all these?


Wine yards

Unharvested dried grapes

Beautiful white rose in the Hunter Valley Village

Wine barrel

Crying Room in the chapel at Hunter Valley Village

Ellie, the beautiful and friendly labrador at Grange Hermitage


Easter service on a Satuday. I was an hour early but by 6pm, all the benches were occupied and the late-comers had to stand at the back of the church

Easter Sunday Market

The famous breakwall which is also known as the People's Gallery. The rocks at the breakwall were painted by visitors for the past 10 years!

Sails on the glistering ocean

View of the ocean from the lighthouse

The little lighthouse

My sun burnt feet


Curtis Falls @ Tamborine National Park

View of the Great Dividing Range

Coffee Beans @ a coffee plantation

Flowers on a coffee tree

Great view of the Gold Coast

Dusk at Burleigh Heads

Thunderstorm approaching Burleigh Heads

Sufers Paradise beach

Night scene @ Surfers Paradise

Sesame Street @ Sea World


The crowd @ Sea World

All Star parade @ Warner Bros Movie World

Wild Wild West @ Warner Bros Movie World - I was on the ride!

Superman roller coaster ride @ Warner Bros Movie World - my heart almost jumped out of my mouth with the 4.5G and -1.0G force!


Autographs, banners and pictures to commemorate the passing of Conservationist Steve Irwin at the Australian Zoo