I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

...and one more!

Peppermint Bay - a half hour's drive outside of Hobart, accessible by car or by boat. An experience so life-affirming, so utterly gorgeous...a real feast for the tummy and a feast for the soul.

More Hobart Foodie Experiences

Down a long, long street, across a long, long ocean front, around a long, long corner, up a tall, tall, tall hill, up a jaysus-christ-this-is-one-heck-of-a-hill hill, through a pretty, pretty neighbourhood, down a narrow, narrow street, around a small, small corner, down another narrow, narrow street, one will find Jackman & McRoss. And there, my friends, you will find Nirvana:

...and clearly, no self-respecting foodie would have a meal without a lime spider! (Well, DH, anyway!)

The Great Tassie Fish & Chip Roundup

Ahhh, the sea! There is just something about ocean towns which makes one want to run out and eat hot, crisp chips while the sea air blows and the seagulls shout "more! more!" DH and I, being avid "chiss and fipps" eaters in many an ocean town, were very excited to see not one or two but FIVE fish and chip purveryors on Constitution Dock. All of these were within about 15 feet of each other.

Since we were planning on being in Hobart for five days...and there were five such shops...well, stands to reason, doesn't it? This required a one-a-day habit, surely? To do a proper blog-worthy round up, we had to first establish The Rules. Rule One: The order had to include one serving of calamari and chips and 2 pieces of prawns. Rule Two: Regardless of what else we ordered, we could only judge on those items. Rule Three: When placing the order, DH had to verbally say, "Please cook the chips to well done. Hot, crispy, crunchy, WELL COOKED chips." So onwards we embarked, with a specific baseline established (for comparison purposes.)

Mako's was the first one we tried. We had high hopes - it was the closest (geographically) to open water. Sadly for us, Mako's was more like Flop-o's. Cons: pre-crumbed calamari from a bag, processed prawn cutlets, chips not well done *and* the damn chips were thin sort of shoe-string type (a pet hate of DH's.) Plus the tartare was one of those horrid plastic square thingies from Heinz. Pros: Tartare and wedge of lemon included, and interesting menu items like coriander mayo. Overall score: 5

Second up was Fishy Business. They won some bonus points with us! Cons: That crappy Kraft tartare sauce again, chips decidedly average. Pros: Real prawns (not processed), calamari still pre-crumbed from a bag but obviously a better supplier. Lemon and tartare supplied. Overall score: 6

It was at this point that DH and I came to a somewhat sad conclusion. Fish purveyors numbers three and four were actually selling fresh fish, not heart-attack-on-a-plate fish. DH's sunny attitude had him saying, "Ah well, at least now we have an instant short list!" I on the other hand, was irritated at the whole plan being wrecked. 5 shops, 5 days - it was perfect! *sigh* Onwards and upwards, we decided to try Number 3 (previously No. 5) which was the furthest away from open sea.

Flippers has a sense of humour - the pontoon built in the shape of a fish is pretty funny, you must admit. However, a GSOH never cooked fish, obviously. Pros: Best calamari by far - plump, tasty, crisp! Prawns were real, not processed. Pineapple fritter on the menu, which the guy offered to make up fresh for us. Cons: No lemon, no tartare provided. Worst con: Chips so disgusting, DH and I didn't finish them. Seriously, these chips were gross! (and I for one believe that at heart, all chips are good chips until proven otherwise.) Overall score: 6

At this point DH and I were feeling very dejected. NONE of these sea-faring fish and chip pontoons were good. In fact they were all really average. So we did what any self-respecting foodies would do, and we headed to the middle of the dock for the most expensive fish and chip shop around - Mure's. It's been there for 20 years, and it's not floating on a pontoon...so surely they've got to get it right?

Firstly, take a look at that menu. "From the wok" ... seriously? For a fish and chip shop? It gets better. This place also has a choose-your-own toppings oyster bar, a formal upstairs dining restaurant, a gift shop, *and* they sell fresh fish. In fact, you can PICK what fish you want from the display and they'll cook it right then and there. With all that in mind, the Cons: You can't order just one of something (like one prawn). The price is a good $2-4 dollars more expensive than the other places. No tartare provided. Pros: They LISTENED about the chips! They were crisp, well-done and seriously good. The seafood is REAL seafood. As in those were fresh calamari and fresh prawns. The real deal. (See picture at the top.) Overall score: 8

Sadly, though, DH and I were left very unsatisfied by the meal at Mure's. It's not really a fish and chip shop. It's a restaurant that serves fried stuff. While we enjoyed it, and the quality was great... it just sort of lacked character. Like the fifth tasting sense of 'umami', fish and chip shops clearly have another facet to the experience: character. There is just something so wrong about eating fried fish out of a basket. On a fancy chair. A chair which sits on a clean floor. There were even leather couches to sit on, if one so desired.

Sorry to say, dear readers, but fish and chips in Hobart leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe the problem is that we picked places in a touristy area. Maybe we should have gone further inland? I guess I never thought it would be quite so hard to cook chips properly - so thanks, dear Hobartian fry cooks, for teaching me that there is an art to your craft. Sadly, an art you need to practice just a smidge more. And please, please, GET RID of the disgusting Kraft tartare!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ten Tasmanian Truths

10. Just because it's an island (and therefore surrounded by water teeming with fish), doesn't mean you can get a decent fish and chips to eat. (What part of COOK the chips is so hard?)

9. Someone from the City of Hobart is called a Hobartian...which rhymes with martian. I wonder how much of a coincidence that is.

8. You can get years and years of storytelling out of one stupid bridge falling down. People, it's time to get over it.

7. Nine o'clock at night is considered late night....for everyone. It's like a ghost town. It's very eerie, being the only human awake for miles and miles. God help you if you want something to eat or drink at that hour.

6. There is nowhere else in the world so green. It was worth the trip just to appreciate the natural beauty of this place.

5. By virtue of the conference being here, the Jewish population of Tasmania increased by some 1000% in one fell swoop....but Hobart is home to Australia's oldest synagogue. Go figure.

4. There are more foodie shops per square metre than any other city I've been to....and none of them carry the products I'm planning on selling. This can only be a good thing. It's also a good thing that the service is so crap, nobody noticed me openly taking photos of their products (research purposes, I swear.)

3. The Tasmanian Devil exists... and while everyone claims they are in the wild, I've only seen them on postcards.

2. For a state mired in politics relating to the timber industry, and the cruel destruction of the old growth forests by way of logging...there is a hell of a lot of timber crap for sale. Everywhere. I even saw a thin scrap of wood turned at each end being sold as...a chapati (!) rolling pin. For $18. THIS is what's wrong with the whole idea of environmentalism in Australia.

....and the number one thing I've learned about Tasmania....

It doesn't matter what city in Australia you're in....there will always be someone wearing beach thongs in a rainstorm. And I love that about this place.

Hello from Hobart, Day 3 & 4 Roundup

Those of you who doubted my ability to relax (ahem, the baker's wife) will be happy to know that I didn't blog yesterday because I was too busy (!) ....

...lazing around doing a whole lotta nuthin'. Seriously.

DH and I woke up early to take in the sights of the Salamanca Markets...and then his conference obligations and my laziness obligations sent me back to bed. I came back to the hotel room around 11am, changed back into my pyjamas and went back to bed. There I stayed until DH encouraged (read: forced) me to get up and dressed for dinner. There is just something so scrumptious about being in bed in a sloppy PJ while the air conditioner gently blows across you, while you lay in the warm and squishy bed with a new stupid chick-lit novel ($2 at the market) and your biggest problem in life is whether or not you can be bothered to get out of bed to eat a slice of Jackman McRoss cheese and chive sourdough topped with a slice of Heidi Farm Gruyere. (Hint: no, you can't be bothered.)

Geez. It's a hard life.

I will admit to doing some work this morning (ahem, I said I was relaxing. I didn't say the capricornian in me had DIED, you know.) However I followed up the morning's work with a glorious DH-n-Me afternoon. Fish and chips on Constitution Dock (numbers 3 and 4 in a series...photos and points awarded. Keep an eye out for the great Tasmanian Fish and Chips Roundup post soon!) This was followed by a vaguely brisk (read: not at all brisk) walk to the movie theatre. Saw a cute movie (Stardust), played some video games (I sorely need to work on my shot-'em-up skills, but I got to Level 3 on Dance Dance Revolution...and of course got a sore back as my reward), and then walked right back into the theatre to see another flick (Death at a Funeral.) We tried to make it a movie three-peat, but there wasn't anything on we were interested in...see? Plenty of relaxing. A walk home in the misty rain, a hot pizza cuddling with DH on the couch, a quick blog post and all is right with the world. Today was the kind of day I needed to restore my faith in my ability to relax.

Tomorrow we're planning a visit to a sky walk thingie (marketing speak for a bridge over a forest), a visit to "the world's fifth best model train" (DH's choice) and a tour of the Cadbury factory (my choice.) We might even manage some lunch...and maybe a bit of relaxing to boot.

....but I'd be lying if I wasn't also planning on making a few phone calls and checking a few emails. I guess some things never change.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Greetings from Hobart, Day 2

The only problem with this whole relaxing business is that it's kinda boring.



Today I spent a vast majority of the day lounging about in bed, reading the books I brought with me, dozing, and lamenting my haircut which I've now decided I hate. When that got boring I went and walked around down town Hobart for over three hours. That is a LOT of walking...but I really enjoyed it. Nobody tugging on my arm, no fear of cars careening around corners and collecting small children on the way, nobody saying, "Come on! It's time to go!", nobody even giving me a second glance as I sat down in the bookstore and browsed page by page through some gorgeous cake books. I didn't have to eat when I wasn't hungry, didn't have to see the inside of every toilet for ten blocks. I was just me. Alone with my thoughts and the new hair product (*shudder*) I bought. Actually, make that me alone with my thoughts and the new product I was forced to buy in the hopes that it might improve the hair situation.

But I digress. After covering almost every corner of this place, I meandered home to the hotel room, where I read more, showered (in order to try the whole hair product thing out, I needed a clean slate...er...scalp), lounged around and...well, was kinda bored. This is the thing about relaxing. It's not all that interesting. I actually came here armed with a whole lot of work to do as well - and I've been dutifully checking my emails and sending out cake info - but I can't muster to energy to actually DO the work which I need to do. This is so bad. I'm having a hard time learning to relax, and an equally hard time getting down to business.



Only one thing to do then, I suppose.

*shuffles back to bed*

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Greetings from Hobart, Day 1

Day One of our no-kids mini vacation away and already DH and I are "remembering" what it's like to be a foodie couple on the prowl. I suppose it's a bit like riding a bike, in that you never forget the lure of 16-hour organic sourdough artisan baked bread... hot, crispy, fresh calamari served on a pontoon.... how to buy ridiculously priced Lescure butter (for afore-mentioned bread), feta-stuffed red peppers and...best stop now before drool short circuits DH's laptop!

I'm having a hard time controlling my mouth, though... not so much from an eating standpoint (okay, that too) but from crowing (to all within earshot) about the fact that I don't have to do conference-related stuff and he does, neener neener neener! I've worked terribly, terribly hard today - from a huge stroll around the harbour with DH, the amazing snacky-lunchy at the bakery recommended by The Baker's Wife, the stacks of trashy mags I bought at the airport...and shortly I'm heading into my first hot shower with the stupidly priced shampoo I bought at the hairdresser's yesterday. Yes, I did it again. Cut my hair off (mostly) and dyed it a ridiculous colour (go fast red stripe...all over!). I won't mention how it is that could-care-less about things like (*shudder*) hair "product" me got sucked in to buying the French shampoo/conditioner combo. Must've been some stray girlie estrogen hanging around the place that made me do it.

Haven't decided what to do tomorrow...but contemplating a movie tonight, the Salamanca markets on Saturday, a Cadbury factory tour on Monday...and plenty of sleep, crusty bread and *wink**wink**nudge**nudge* in between conference shin-digs.

Anyone who has been to Hobart before, post foodie recommendations - this whole damn place is on a hill, so I need to find places which make the climb worth it! I've been taking pics as well, so expect some food reviews, pastry dissertations, and random pictures of pretty trees upon my return.

Oh, and did I mention I've booked 2 big cakes in the past 18 hours? Who says I'm not working hard?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

10 Things In My World

5 things which are seriously irritating me:

1. Adult acne. Fer' cripes' sake, enough already!

2. The fact that I wrenched my back while my wiping my ass. I only wish I was kidding about that. Okay, you can stop laughing now. It fucking hurts, you know.

3. My de-lurk day failed miserably.

4. Finding packaging for my Three Sweeties gourmet line of products. All the sexy packaging is either too expensive or not air tight. *bangs head on wall* Ideas welcome.

5. The cook in the kitchen next to mine who keeps coming into my kitchen and saying, "So what did you make me for afternoon tea, hmmm?" Umm, that would be a big fat NOTHING, ya biotch. Now get out of my kitchen!

5 things which make my life worth living, other than my children, husband and chocolate:

1. The gourmet line of Three Sweeties products are seriously, seriously good. I've got nothing to put them in, but as products they are exceeding my expectations. Three words: Vanilla. Bean. Marshmallows.

2. This week DH and I are going on a mini-vacation for 5 days (which I can ill afford the time, but we planned it ages ago.) This is the longest we've been away from the trio. I'm thinking of indulging in three things: 1) sleep 2) uninterrupted sex and 3) breakfast which does not involve cereal. Repeat.

3. Tomorrow night I'm going to the parents' association meeting with the express purpose of kicking ass about a number of issues which are really irritating me. Frankly, I love a good fight. Especially one which I plan to win.

4. My DH has a cute butt. Which I'll get to admire on vacation, without a kid yelling, "Gross! Dad! I can see your BUTT! Ewwwww!"

5. DD1, who would normally have a very hard time performing, stood up in front of a theatre full of people, in full costume, with bright lights shining in her eyes and loud music playing.... and SANG. With hand motions. Something she previously could not do without needing to cover her ears and hide in a corner and sing to herself. She did it. On TWO nights. I have never been more proud of her. Sometimes it's the little things.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

I'm blaming the fact that I missed this event last week on time zones. Nobody can ever figure out the time difference between here and anywhere else, so it stands to reason that I might miss out on an important blogging event. Besides which, I've been a bit busy at the moment. So you'll forgive me that this post is technically 6 days late. According to my site stats, you people are all over the world...and since I don't know anyone currently living in Malaysia, here's your chance to say hello. De-lurk. Come out of the "I can't possibly leave a comment on emzee's blog!" rut and press the comment button.

Introduce yourself! I don't bite.

Ed's note: for what it's worth, I don't write this blog for comment purposes. In fact several times I've outright asked for commentary and haven't gotten it. I don't take it personally, especially since I rarely comment on other blogs myself. Still, it would be nice to know which if you is hiding in Dubai.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Because I by-passed the whole single living thing, there is very little in my life which is all mine. As a kid I never had to share a room, but I had siblings. Ergo I had people sharing stuff - clothes, books, toys, space, whatever. When I moved away to college, I still had very little stuff which was mine. I didn't own a dodgy futon, IKEA bookcases, lava lamp (okay, I had one of those), plastic storage crates or a bar fridge.

Tangent story: I also shared a dorm room with a complete psycho who had herself convinced I was a black kid from the 'hood before I even got there (by virtue of having come from Los Angeles, where of course everyone is the same, right?) . Some months later she was also (wrongly) convinced that I was eating the (disgusting) Little Debbie snacks her parents sent her. Umm, hello, Psycho Bitch. A) Your Little Debbie cakes are gross. I KNOW because I stole one *after* you accused me, and I ate it, and I thought it was CRAP. B) It's totally freaky that your Dad sent you bags and bags of Little Debbie cakes because your name was Deborah, and frankly you NEVER ate anything anyway as you had some serious anorexic tendencies and C) It's weird that you lived in a dorm 20 minutes away from your parent's house. Oh, and by the way, finding you in our room, in the middle of the day, wearing a bright sunshine yellow slinky matching short and top PJ set, smoking (who knew you smoked?) and saying, "My biggest goal in life is to be the other woman" would freak out ANYONE, even a liberal like me.

But I digress. So anyway I shared a lot in college, and straight from college I got married so there was more sharing happening there (although, *wink* *nudge* some of it was quite nice.) The one thing I currently own which is MINE, entirely all MINE, is my car. It's a little green box. It's kinda too small for me, legs and big bazoombas wise. It's totally impractical for kids. It still has a tape deck and the radio button is either quiet or loud but never off since it's broken. The trunk is filled with more junk than you can imagine, including about 100 (literally) blank pads of paper. Until recently it also had a croquet set. My car is all mine because I bought it with money that my grandmother left me. It remains the single most expensive thing I ever purchased, and I bought it with money all my own. I think of it as my little slice of freedom. I adore my car...as in, really love the damn thing {insert adoring swooney puppy dog love look.}

One of the more exciting parts about the business is that it's now the second thing which is mine. All mine. It was me who decided to follow this crazy route. Me who made the phone calls. Me who bought the equipment. Me whoe wrote loads of spreadsheets, and even more "To Do" lists. Me who harassed friends, tested recipes, doodled cake designs on napkins, read a lot of how-to books, ate too much butter cream and me who decided that yes, cupcakes are annoying but have a high profit margin. So I was (as per usual) gloating about all this to DH. About how the biz was all about me, me, me me, me.

The gloat lasted about 24 hours, and if I'm honest it wasn't as satisfying as I thought it was going to be. It was {maniacal laugh} MINE. ALL MMMIIIINNNNNEEEEE. But somehow it felt a little bit hollow. What I've realised since then is that while my name is on the lease, my name is on the business card, my name is on the website, and my name is all over the damn place....it actually belongs to a whole LOT of people.

  • DH: who babysat the kids while I went to culinary school, who ate endless rounds of cake (I know, not exactly a sacrifice), who continues to be patient while my too-tired self ignores his 'but what about me?" needs for kisses and cuddles
  • My IL's: who also babysat kids, ordered cakes, talked me up to their friends and anyone else who would listen
  • My SIL & BILS: Who offered advice, tasted and tried to be polite about yet more cakes, and who continue to be as supportive as their busy lives allow
  • My own family and siblings: Who, by virtue of their wanting to be here (so they can order, taste, and talk me up) are with me every single day even though they don't feel like they are
  • My kids: Who start asking what kind of birthday cake they're going to get...the day AFTER their birthday
  • My friends, both here and overseas, in real life and on-line: Words couldn't express. I mean, really. Extra special thanks to Alexis, Martene, Sez, Wends, Sacha, Joshua, Rubina...(real names used to expose the not-so-innocent. You guys rock.)
  • ...and all those people who, in the past 3 years or so, ordered stuff, ate stuff, talked to me, taught me, suffered my talking back, and in general helped me build this thing called Three Sweeties. (doncha love my gratuitous linking?)
Maybe I should have named it A HUNDRED Sweeties - because that's about how many it took to get this far.

In any case, I find myself thinking only one thing: I've never been more happy to share.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I Have A Name (Revisited)*

In this post, I talked about how I have a name. A name which is NOT "the triplet's Mom" or "the triplet lady" or anything like that. My name, for the purposes of that blog post, and my day-to-day life, is Michelle.

However (!) today, I'd like to re-christen myself. (So to speak. Jews don't do christenings.)

I hereby christen myself:

Your friend Michelle. You know, the one with the:


*(Alternative title for this post: If you build it, they will come.)

PS Full site coming soon....I'm busy writing content. In the meantime, enjoy the pretty pictures.