Found 4 blog posts for the month: December 2012

How do I summer

For the first time since I arrived in Auckland, it has been brilliantly sunny. I took advantage of the great weather by doing some laundry, naturally, and within a few hours all my clothes were dry! It's amazing!

I did more than just laundry though, a bunch of us went out to Karekare Beach, near Piha, just to chill in the sun. Though some dark ominous clouds rolled over around 3pm, they were nothing more than extra sunshade and the conditions remained warm and pleasant.

Just got back from an epic Korean BBQ place out on the shore called Arirang with my friends from CompSci. So much news to catch up on... no one ever keeps me informed :(! There was a huge amount of food and I was blown away by how cheap it all was as well. I tried freshwater snails for the first time, as well as cold noodles, and was spoiled for choice with the multitude of delectable side dishes. Nothing in Wellington comes close to the quality AND quantity at this place. Huge thanks to Laura for sorting everything out and cooking all the meat for us.

Yesterday I caught up with some ex-colleagues - Vaughan and Roy - as well as Alan, who had driven my car up to Auckland from Wellington via Taupo. We played a few games of pool and had a great meal at Erawan Thai on Jervois Rd. It was a little weird seeing my car up here when I didn't drive it up... after dinner we went our separate ways and I ended up at Ben's house for some board games (and Spaceteam!) until 1am. Citadels is slowly becoming a favourite of the group!

On Thursday I went for yum cha with my sister and her family. Nephew is still as adorable as ever, and was well behaved at the restaurant. It's so good to go with my sister because I get to eat things that my friends don't normally eat, like tofu and tau fu fa. I spent the afternoon just catching up with them, and then playing with my nephew after his nap. I feel so proud to be his uncle!

And finally on Wednesday, I went into town to check out Boxing Day sales. Yeah, it's not really like me at all. Queen St was full of people (lots of Asians lololol) looking for bargains; peering into some of the small shops, they're crammed packed with people who can barely move around, such is the utter madness of these Boxing Day sales. As for myself, I purchased a few items from the Warehouse: some bedsheets, new shoes, some socks.... nothing really that exciting. I remember walking around thinking about how much I hate shopping and that I can finally say I did the Boxing Day thing and that the amount I save doesn't feel like it justifies the chaos I experience in the shopping malls. Never again.

It's Christmas Time

I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of all my friends in Wellington posting these pictures of the glorious weather, while in Auckland it's overcast and windy and wet. In any case, the weather has never stopped us celebrating Christmas and having a good time.

Yesterday I introduced my friends to Spaceteam on iOS and also played a bit of Citadels too. Dragon Gate! In the afternoon I had to rush off to Pak n Save to prepare for a small Christmas Eve dinner at home, as well as supplies for Christmas lunch the next day. It was totally chaotic there, with hundreds of others running around the supermarket trying to finish their last minute shopping. Thankfully I was done with plenty of time to spare and had a good meal with Mat and Jono, despite two last minute cancellations from Tom and Andrew.

And today's Christmas plans were great as well. So nice to catch up with my sister and her family - my nephew is almost two years old now (how time flies...) and full of laughter and energy. Now that he's walking and talking, he's a lot of fun to play with and absolutely adorable. He even knows how to high five! I'm sure there will be many more memorable moments to come.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, wherever in the world you may be!

Wrapping up for Christmas

We had a game pitching session at the start of the month in the hopes we'd be able to generate some ideas for a Game Jam session in the last week of the year. Thanks to some quick last minute work by Jimmy, I put forward a pitch for an idea that had been festering for a few years. From the 19 pitches that were presented, 9 were chosen by senior management to go through as prototype candidates for Game Jam, mine included!

The great thing about the format of Game Jam this year is that everyone voted for pitches that they wanted to play and wanted to work on, and then everyone was assigned to a team they voted for. Having the initial buy-in meant that each team was passionate about the idea and were motivated to do they best they could. It works in a similar way at Facebook and Valve, I believe; you recruit your coworkers by marketing your idea and if they are interested, they'll join your project team.

In any case, what my team achieved in a single week was phenomenal, and indeed the other 8 prototypes were absolutely stunning as well. There was a great sense of camaraderie and appreciation for the amazing amount of talent the company has, and it was truly a wonderful way to end the year. I had a lot of fun in this past week, and we will be eagerly waiting to see which games make it to fu production next year.

In celebration we had some food and drinks at the Fork and Brewer on Friday night, and then the last badminton for the year on Saturday morning. In the afternoon I cleaned all the things and scurried off to the airport for the last flight to Auckland.

Ironically the Metservice has forecast rain for the next 10 days in Auckland, while Wellington gets a better forecast next week. Sure enough it rained a bit today, but that didn't dampen plans to play DotA2 and meet up with my workmates for some delicious Peking Duck at Sun World, and a few drinks at the Cock and Bull to end a great night.

Holidays are awesome.

Labour Weekend and Tatsumi

I've been meaning to write this up for some time but immediately after Labour Weekend, it was just full on work to get DreamWorks Dash n Drop out on the App Store. And we did it, and it was great, yaaay. More on this in another blog post...maybe.

I had a good Labour Weekend. I finally got to visit my friend Deanna's famous Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar, and I came away with four delicious cookies to share with my family. I met up with the old Grammar gang in Mt Eden for a nice lunch. I even got to play some badminton with Julia and Steven! Of course I got to catch up with family - my adorable nephew had just started walking and was even saying a few words! So cute.

I also had a mind-blowing culinary experience at a restaurant called Tatsumi. My parents had been raving about how good this place is ever since they had a 10 course degustation there. I just had to try it. I said I'd take them there for a meal over Labour Weekend and my stepmum gleefully made all the necessary arrangements. Tatsumi is on Davis Crescent, just near the intersection of Khyber Pass and Broadway. Originally from Christchurch, their premises were struck by the earthquake and condemned, forcing them to relocate to Auckland. They describe themselves as "European-inspired Japanese fusion style" and you'll certainly see how the food at Tatsumi has been so masterfully crafted to bring together these two cuisines to create something rich and absolutely delicious.

Since my parents had already sampled the degustation, they decided to go a la carte. I, on the other hand, was ready for a 10 course meal.

10 Course Degustation

  • Tempura Oyster
  • Chef's Choice of Assorted Appetisers
  • Variety of Sashimi
  • Tempura Soft Shelled Crab Salad
  • Crispy Skin Salmon Teriyaki
  • Braised Pork Belly
  • Scampi Miso Soup
  • Assorted Nigiri Sushi
  • Passionfruit Sorbet
  • Green Tea Fondant

Tempura Oyster: Light and crispy, like all good Japanese tempura. Also pictured are the appetisers that my parents were given, but I can't remember what they are.

Chef's Choice of Assorted Appetisers: clockwise from top is the fresh oyster, salmon sashimi with camembert (yum!), beef tataki, fish croquette with tartare, crispy lotus root, beans with sesame oil drizzling and in the center, pan fried salmon.

Variety of Sashimi: only the freshest tuna, salmon and snapper sashimi is served.

Tempura Soft Shelled Crab Salad: incredibly delicious, again with the light and crispy batter of the tempura, but with an added crunch from the soft shelled crab. Decorated with salmon roe and a generous portion of creamy Japanese mayonnaise.

Crispy Skin Salmon Teriyaki: simple and satisfying, comes with two onion rings, wasabi mashed potatoes, and portobello and blue cheese tortellini which I was happy to offload to my parents.

Braised Pork Belly: I remember this being a little too salty for my tastes, but I was very impressed by the ornate candied ginger apple slice sitting between the potato croquettes and the skinless plums.

Scampi Miso Soup and Assorted Nigiri Sushi: the scampi miso soup was divine; the scampi provides such an intense and tasty seafood flavour that truly brought out the best of miso soup. Unfortunately the shell was too hard for me to really dig into the scampi.

Passionfruit Sorbet: refreshing and fruity; of course, this is merely the appetiser of the desserts...

Green Tea Fondant: served here with a candied orange slice and raspberry ice cream, the green tea fondant is sublime; the interior is an intense green filling with an amazingly smooth and viscous texture.

It was so good.