Dinner in Sydney
In the movie A Touch of Spice the Pappou says to his grandson, Fanis, that in the word gastronomos (gastronomer) is hidden the word astrononomos (astronomer). Well, stargazing is something I love - not in a scientific sense (ask me the zodiac signs and I'd fail you every time) - the glitter in the night sky for me is more of a whimsy, the same kind that lures me towards food. There's something fanciful about them both.
On my first night in Sydney, I enjoyed a sumptuous Greek dinner at Xanthi restaurant with my old childhood friend, Andrew Lui. The watermelon and manouri salad was a winner. I haven't eaten manouri cheese since my six month sojourn in Greece some eleven or so years ago (it's more subtle than feta). The pork belly baklava was an inventive success, the souzoukakia compared to my own father's 'special' recipe, and the tuna souvlakia were chunky and satisfying. The octopus was a little too well done and they served the baby kind that never seem to taste quite right, but the rest of the meal was 'five-times tasty' as they say in Greek.
The Aurealis Awards
The following night, after a starry walk from the hotel to the Independent Theatre, I saw some other stars - the literary kind - at the Aurealis Awards. My category was won by Thoraiya Dyer, who made a gracious speech. It's her second win running, which did not deter Margo Lanagan, DC White and me from having a fabulous time.
Winners in other categories can be found via the link. Once again, congrats to both them and all the finalists, especially Thoraiya.
Nick Stathopoulos' portrait of artist, Shaun Tan.
For lunch the next day we salivated over and then ate moussaka made by the talented artist, Nick Stathopoulos. With Nick's culinary magic, perhaps he also finds the stars above something to delight in.
Nick and renowned movie critic, David Stratton. That's Gloria Swanson from Sunset Boulevard in the background.