Gami: Korean Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken. If it’s not burgers or scones (or anything else really), just saying these two words would put any of us in a frenzy. Especially our local resident fried chicken aficionado’s Neil & Age. It’s not surprising to see Neil rocking up to movie night with a bag in his hand - we don’t even need to enquire what the content is. Guaranteed it’s Nelson’s Chicken (Nelson is a high school friend of ours and his parents own a chicken/fish and chip stop - awesome chicken!). I try to limit how much fried chicken I intake a month, but with the devil in a blue dress (or in this case, oversized jeans) hovering over me, it can be difficult.
I had told the guys about a place in the city called Gami which served KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) and was open pretty late. We’ve never actually got around to going, but it was John who took the initiative and instead of going to a food truck, decided last Thursday we’d be going to Gami instead. No suits and ties this time round, we knew it was time to get down and dirty!
The one at Healey’s lane feels more like a takeaway store with your typical K-Pop blasting over the speakers - though with that said, they did play ‘Call Me Maybe’ which was a sign this was meant to be. We made our order for the night: 3 plates of Fried chicken (2 original, 1 plate had half spicy and half ginger soy), two plates of Corn and Cheese and a few jugs of their finest brew. We nibbled on some shrimp crackers using chopsticks before the C&C came out.
Corn and Cheese. I had seen photos of it but it just never clicked. I honestly wouldn’t have even ordered it if John hadn’t mentioned he’d heard good reviews about it. We stared at this strangely exotic dish and allowed Neil to take the first bite. Anyone who knows Neil will be used to the expressions he has anytime he tries anything nice. That orgasmic sensation exploding in his mouth, you just look at his face and you know. The verdict was unanimous: this was bloody good. How could something so simple taste so good? I instantly looked up the recipe on my phone and basically it consists of corn kernels, evaporated milk (or mayonnaise with sugar) and cheese. Mozzarella, though we did debate it could possibly be tasty… then again it wouldn’t have been as stringy.
The chicken came out and boy did we enjoy ourselves feasting on these pieces of chicken and taking it down with some cold beer. The ginger soy chicken was quite nice and in this rare instance, I agree it would have been perfect with rice. I was also a big fan of the spicy chicken with the heat slowly increasing with every bite you take.
By the end of it all we were bloated and it was only 10pm. Generally Brunetti’s would be the place to go after any sort of meal, but being a weekday it was going to close at 11pm. Most of us were down for a coffee and dessert so we decided to head towards Cafe Romantica on Lygon Street (Brunswick end) to fulfil these needs.
Whilst the others got their coffee, I decided to get some gelati along with Jamie and Age. As we sat outside drinking, eating and smoking, we began to reminisce about what had to be the best summer of our lives: end of 2006 and beginning of 2007. Finishing year 12 and not having to worry about VCE exams anymore, the freedom of being 18 and getting our driver’s license. The amount of parties and drinkups we had and basically living at Tom’s house for most of the duration. Times have changed but looking back you can tell when people talk about the best summer of their lives, we had the opportunity to experience that and it’s something we’ll never forget.
Fried chicken + Corn and Cheese. It’s seriously been on my mind ever since we had it last week. Plus the fact it opens quite late will not do any good for any of us, especially with our penchant for late night (food) adventures.
Gami (Healeys Lane)
Shop G, 535 Lt. Lonsdale St
on Healeys Lane.
Tel: 03 9670 3232
52 Lygon Street
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
Tel: 03 9380 4437
When this whole camping thing just began, it was generally me and Thai who would spend our time researching the various locations we wanted to explore. Although most people know about the mountains in Victoria because of snow season (Mt Buller/Hotham), I honestly didn’t even know what existed on the east side. Or that there was a thing called the Great Alpine Road.
As we began researching for our fourth camp to Mount Buffalo, Thai would periodically post up various photos of the different views available to us in that region. And that’s where we discovered grub-town.
She (prefers to be known as grub-town than reveal her real name) had been to Mount Buffalo and Bright in 2011 with her uni friends and took some amazing shots of the area. In many ways this would dictate our own itinerary of what we would be doing when it came around to our own camp.
Looking at her photos again, I just love the simplicity and cleanness of her photographs - I have a love/hate relationship with my own work and it’s simply refreshing to see work that isn’t over-processed or complicated like my own.
She’s primarily a food blogger/photographer and if you have a look at her site, man does it make you feel hungry! I got in contact with her through tumblr and began following each on different social mediums before I discovered not only did she go to the same primary school as me, she was also cousins with a friend at school! Small world indeed.
This entry has been in the making for over a year now and I really do apologise for taking so long (as usual). In some ways it’s a thankyou for the sweet message she wrote in one of her previous entries:
“Last photo taken by my friend M (thank you!) Post-editing inspired by the boys behind Backseat Ballads (check out their blog - inspirational adventures, nostalgic music and beautiful scenic photography).”
So it’s my turn to return the favour. Check out her blog, follow her on instagram - you’ll be hungry just looking at it.
The Burger Crew
Last Tuesday a few of us got suited up and went to The Merrywell in Crown to try out the Merrywell Burger. Inititally this all started when I took some of the guys to Huxtaburger back in December and since then they’ve been crazy about it. Our plan was to complete the Top 10 Burgers of 2012 list from The Burger Adventure, with dinner at Rockwell & Sons being our next stop.
That night there was six of us: myself, Thai, Neil, Law Jamie and Age. We talked about the next place we should go to was The Merrywell. And it was decided we would all suit up for it. It’s been nearly 2 months since that outing and we finally set a date, got ourselves some suits and made our way to the city that evening.
I’m not sure what sparked it, but getting suited up has been on the agenda for 2013. For me I’ve always wanted to suit up: it’s common knowledge within the group that if I could wear a suit a day, I would. Slowly more of the guys would dress up more stylishly (hey, we’re turning 25) and I think the pinnacle was when most of them dressed up for Raye’ going away party.
Meeting up with Age outside, the guys smoked whilst I went about taking photos of them. Like I always do. We entered the premise, sat at our tables and made our selection for the night. Generally we try to stick with the signature burger when we do these ‘tasting’ sessions: four of us got The Merrywell Burger (Jam got an egg with his), Law got the BBQ (he generally likes to order something different from the rest) and Neil got the KFC-esque chicken sandwich.
We scoffed it down with our drinks, in particular Neil and his soda spider. Oh Neil.
Afterwards we sat around bloated from our meals and yet it was only 9pm. There was only one thing on our minds and it only needed one person to suggest it: Brunetti’s. It many ways it makes sense as everytime we’ve gone to Huxtaburger (or any burger joint for that matter), it’s ritual to go to Brunetti’s for coffee and possibly some desserts.
Heading towards Brunetti’s, we managed to find the new theme song for this session. That will be coming up very soon. As we got out of the car and made our way to Brunetti’s, I was in awe when I realised what had happened. For a long time we’ve known that Brunetti’s (in Carlton) would be moving to the vacant area where Border’s use to be. The last time I had been was when I had Beatbox with Neil which would have been over a month ago or so.
We arrived in front of the new Brunetti’s. And my lord was I in for a shock.
It was amazing how much more spacious it was; hell they’re even serving pizzas now as well. Wandering around like a kid in a candy store, I gotta say I really do like what they’ve done. The only thing is, now that there’s so much more space it meant it was now filled with even more people than before. And a part of me will always have a soft spot for the old location - oh the night spent there drinking coffee, eating cake and just kicking back with good company in that space.
We ordered our coffees (thanks Neil!), sat outside and began what would be a night filled with hearty laughs and amusing conversations. All I can say is: damn I really do want Neil to own his own TV station. Some of the TV show ideas we had were brilliant.
We drove home listening to Smooth FM and singing along to the classics. Boys, can’t wait for the next one: Belle’s Diner!
Hardware Societe: Act III
Raye’s Outdoors: The Breakfast Club
Hardware Societe - Melbourne CBD
The weekend before Raye left for Europe, it was decided we visit Hardware Societe one last time for Brunch that Saturday morning. ‘The Breakfast Club’ as we’ve labeled upon ourselves comprised of myself, Raye, Law, Neil and John (who couldn’t make it that day) all woke up early that Saturday morning, awaiting for Neil to pick us up in timely fashion.
Raye’s Outdoors: The Day You Went Away
On Thursday the 4th, a cool April morning at approximately 1am, our friend Raye left for the UK. Although she’d be stopping by Dubai for a week, the remainder of her trip will be spent in London where she would (hopefully) be working as a registered nurse for a span of preferably 12 months or more.
This trip has been brewing for some time and for many, it’s a day we’ve dreaded coming and didn’t even think it would happen. The original date she was suppose to leave was in April 2012 but that continued to be delayed. In some ways, good for us but not so fun for her.
In many ways, Backseat Ballads wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for her and her easily amused/adventurous ways. As explained in my previous entry, the trio (consisting of me, Raye and Peter) would go on our random cruising trips either checking out nice houses in rich areas, late nigh coffees or exploring the great outdoors. It was by December when our proposed daytrip to Maroondah Dam would become our very first camping trip with Law as well.
We had created a list of 5 places we had to see before she leaves and amazingly we managed to tick off the whole list. A lot of these trips were initiated by Peter who wanted to try to make the most of his time with Raye in grand fashion, what better way than exploring the great outdoors and seeing what Victoria had to offer? (You can read his entry here). Obviously it spiraled into something bigger than the three of us and for that I am so thankful. We like to think she is one of the ‘forefathers’ who helped establish Backseat Ballads: she may not post on the website but without her involvement I wouldn’t even be here writing this entry.
Some are trying their best to cope without her being around, some are doing ok. Personally, I’m doing fine. Though that’s not to say there haven’t been times where I’ll think ‘I should msg Raye and see if she’s up to do something’. And it’s then when I realise I can’t do that anymore. My random dessert eating/cruising around to cheesy love powerballads/exploring buddy isn’t around anymore. Kind of sucks I think.
But as the cliche goes: life goes on and change is inevitable. I don’t think she’ll ever read this, personally it might be best if she doesn’t. I honestly wish her the best with her travels and hopefully her nursing registration does go through. Although it is saddening she won’t be a part of the adventures we’ll go on from this point on, she’ll be having her own and one day we’ll reconvene and share these experiences. In a car. With the Raye’s Outdoors mix is playing in the background.
Best of luck Raye, we’ll miss you. I hope you continue to learn how to cook because I expect an awesome home-cooked dinner when you come back!
Quarter of a Century
The last few weeks have been a rather strange one to say the least. I’ve been meeting up with a few old friends; catchups that we’ve organised months back but have simply never found the right time to actually hang out. And as I talk to them and my other close friends, it seems we all tend to return back to one topic:
We’re turning 25 years old.
A Rite of Passage
This is an entry I first wrote when I started this blog early last year. Obviously alot has happened since then, but the sentiment still remains the same. Was hoping I could find photos from my school camps but that has been a futile mission, nevertheless I hope you enjoy reading this… which probably accounts to like 3 people haha.
Maroondah Dam Revisited
I’m trying to come up with a good title and these were the potential titles:
Full Circle: Maroondah Dam Revisited
Back 2 Square 1: Maroondah Dam Revisited
Triangles: Maroondah Dam Revisited
How 2012 Shaped My Life.
Do you see a trend happening?
I’m writing this well past my personal deadline but it’s never too late for anything. Food for thought but don’t get bloated, just a note to myself. I was asked to do a reflection of our first camping trip, well, more like relegated to write one up. Initially and now, I believe that it was appropriate for me to do this. If you asked me 18 months ago that I’d be witnessing beautiful sunrises, stunning sunsets, be scaling mountains, trekking through the Australian bush and overall viewing Victoria in a different way, I would have told you, “You’re lying! I never hit you! You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”
2012 was a year where I found myself at a crossroad in my own personal life. I can clearly remember the day where I was in my room contemplating what I would do to change and give myself a positive outlook on what was happening at that time.
A lot has changed since. Early 2012, I found myself reconnecting with old high school friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. To be brutally honest, you could say I ‘abandoned’ them. 2010 – 2011 were points where I just needed to be secluded from the world; push people out because it would be easier that way. It wasn’t easy at all. It wasn’t until one of my close friends invited me to a camp that a few of them were going to embark on during the summer. That’s where it began.
I hadn’t ever been on camp before, aside from the school camps you go on. But those are totally different experiences when you actually pitch tents and see things in YOUR OWN FREEDOM. That’s the best part of it all. I won’t lie, I was kinda nervous seeing the guys again in such a long time, and just being thrown into a camp for 2 nights with them would seem and feel a bit intrusive. But what the heck, they invited me afterall.
Baroka Lookout, Grampians: This was the place that truly became the catalyst for my wanderlust of wanting to travel and seeing everything that I could possibly see. It wasn’t even overseas or in another state; and that was the beauty of it. Here in my own backyard in Australia were these places that I had never ever seen or heard about, and I was able to bear witness to these places. The hot Victorian sun scorching down, the fear of heights as we scaled up the mountains in our car on windy roads, the hazy blue and miniscule looking towns and mountains in the distant horizon. This was it. I wanted to see, hike and camp some more. And with my refound companions, I didn’t want to have it any other way.
The first camp for me as mentioned was at the Grampians. It’s kinda funny, I didn’t think I would be learning life lessons from hiking and trekking out to places. If you really want to see it, you gotta earn it. You have to physically dredge through whatever weather, be it blazing hot or freezing cold, and keep going for that goal. Thinking of giving up? You’re probably already half way there. Really want to give up? You’re giving up a highly potential gorgeous view with some of your best mates, that you can take glorious photos of and make everyone on your instagram and facebook jealous of. You also give up those minutes of serenity and meditation when you finally intake and view your surroundings. Of course, the same can be said for all of the other camps I’ve been on. You get to learn so many things whilst out on these adventures. The night time stories that you can tell each other; whether it be the personal deep and meaningfuls, the stupid drunken analogies being said, tent talks, and even true colors being shown in the heat of frustration.
And then you also get the really memorable and fun side to camp as well; the controversial and questionable song choices that people choose to listen or want to hear/sing/dance along to, the mishaps that happen to the unfortunate (pants being split, wearing the wrong shoes, forgetting sleeping bags etc.), and uncontrollable laughter at complete boredom; meaning VERY DEBATABLE conversations, top 5 lists, would you rather questions, fireburner at the campfire, and of course crae-j and tswizzle appreciation time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m very thankful for having been invited to partake in these amazing life changing adventures. I know it’s hard for others to see because they don’t know half the stories that have happened during these outings, and to many it’s “just camp”. Understandable. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just the one that got to appreciate it more than others because I know that these opportunities are far and few; there’s just nothing like having stories to tell to others and why you are so passionate about it.
Aside from camp, lots of other things have happened in 2012. Meeting new people has become instantly refreshing, it’s great to be able to have interesting and new perspectives on old things you’ve had a viewpoint on for your whole lifetime. I finally started to become more active physically as well, exercising and keeping an eye on my health is quite the challenge, along with kicking those tobacco sticks. I miss it sometimes, but then I don’t. It was a vice that I really needed to let go of as well.
My taste for music has also expanded and broadened out to artists that I never thought I would ever be listening to. Don’t get me wrong, I love my heavy music to bits and I don’t think I’ll ever let go of that. But there are times where I’m just not angry anymore. It’s okay to listen to music that you enjoy. Like I’ve been telling other people, who gives a shit? Why live a life being scared of being judged on your questionable music taste? If you enjoy it, that’s all that matters. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
I’m just really excited for 2013, already so much has happened within these 30 days. I got chased by people in a car and managed to escape them. But I’ll have to tell that story another time. I’m hoping to read a lot more books, especially the Game of Thrones series and stories from Haruki Murakami. All these new things I want to try out and see.
I can’t wait.
Anyway, thanks to everyone within the group, you all know who you are. Thanks for being patient, and most importantly understanding. Trying to be positive really does have its perks.
I guess this is what it means to be in your mid twenties.
Here’s to 2013, the year where most of us are turning 25. We’re getting old, but we’re always still young at heart.
Bring on the camps this year.