Monday, August 28, 2006

Flash flood!

What perfect timing to have the skies suddenly open up and bucket down on the 5pm struggle-home crowd in the city. Buildings turned into waterfalls and streets into rivers. People were ducking and diving about, grinning at the rain and each other as they gave up on any attempt at staying dry. A woman grabbed my arm and shared her umbrella with me. "You look like a drowned rat," she laughed as we waltzed together to shelter.

The bus was full of damp smiling people gazing out the window at the rain like children who have never seen such water fall from the sky. We squelched and dripped the ride home as the downpour slowed to a drizzle and the euphoria faded to a glimmer. I took off my soaked shoes and splashed shamelessly in the puddles the whole way down my street.

Dost Mine Eyes Deceive Me?

Call me crazy but did it rain last night? Rain, as in precipitation from the sky, the stuff of life, liquid gold... actual water?! Inconceivable!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Month of Sundays #1: Newmarket Hotel

This is the first in a (possible) series. We've decided to expand our knowledge of Brisvegas by going to a different pub each Sunday (or every few Sundays) for a quiet beer. The choices will be essentially random, with the only criteria being that it must be a pub we've never been to before. You can look forward to plenty of uninformed comment on Brisvegas watering holes. Please feel free to suggest venues, correct misinformation or express alternate opinions in the comments.

Newmarket Hotel
Cnr Enoggera and Newmarket Rds

Risen from the ashes of the old Newmarket Hotel, this pub is perched on a corner overlooking a couple of busy roads and a shopping centre carpark. The $7 million spent on the refurbishment shows - the space is light and airy, with interesting features like the huge stained glass panel behind the bar, big windows and curious light fittings. According to my intrepid Brisvegas local, they've kept the original shell and layout of the old Newmarket Hotel, which is nice to hear as the old girl was first opened in 1879. It's also a bit Tardis-like - from the outside it doesn't look like it could fit a lounge area (complete with folksy-singer-girl-with-guitar), bar area, a restaurant and a gaming room, as well as a generously sized balcony on which to sit and watch the traffic zoom past.

It's not the most atmospheric of places - the six lanes of Newmarket Road just outside certainly do the pub no favours - but clever use of glass, steel and concrete inside help the Newmarket Hotel fit in with the industrial surrounds. They've tempered the steel with plenty of softer textures - think wood laminate and velvet curtains. Although you suspect the decor may date in a couple of years, it looks fresh and clean and adds to the open feel of the place. The bar was crowded; the restaurant was empty when we arrived mid-afternoon and attracted a few wine-drinking couples by the time we left.

Looking into the restaurant from the balcony

Beers were reasonably priced, between $4-$6 for a schooner, with a good range of on-tap and bottled beers. The barman went to extraordinary lengths to get a well-poured schooner after some keg issues, which was amusing as well as appreciated. We ordered a mezze platter to share ($22 for a two-person serve, $30 for three) from a fairly standard pub fare menu. It came out quickly and with minimal fuss. Definitely better than your average pub fare, with delicious bloody mary oyster shots and crisp salt and pepper calamari alongside some other nibbly pieces.

Platter - somewhat diminshed before we could get the picture taken

Also well worth a mention are the lengths taken to make you want to stay and get comfortable. The staff are unobtrusive and pleasant, and there are newspapers, Monopoly and Jenga scattered around the restaurant tables inviting you to settle in for the afternoon.

Did we settle in for the afternoon? No, but there were plenty there who looked like they were going to. And it's on the list for going back to once we've done the rounds of the rest of Brisbane.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What's happening in QLD right now


Pete called it today.

Of course, we were all expecting it. I got one of those letters announcing it this morning, along with a whole bunch of other people. I imagine the temp that sent those out a day early got their contract ended.

ABC's running an election site, a forum, and Antony Green gets a look in too.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ekka Fresh!

I just returned home to find that my housemate bought me a dagwood dog at the Ekka this morning - with sauce and everything! So I whacked it in the microwave and had my Ekka experience without the entrance fee. $3.80 though - i mean, that's twice what they cost at the uq refectory (and the refec was never cheap, not even when we were paying union fees). Out and about in the city today: You can tell it's show-time by the number of lost cowboys wandering the streets.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My first Ekka

I'm going to the Ekka this weekend. I've never been before so I'm filled with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I expect fairy floss, and small children, and random crafts.

Now, I'm going twice (don't worry, I'm not some sort of show junkie, I'm being paid to be there), once in the daytime and once in the nighttime. So I'm after tips, memories, thought and stories of the Ekka in years past. What should I definitely do? What should I skip? What traps for new players are there?

Tell me your Ekka secrets, people.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What's Happening In Brissy Right Now

  • Police are searching Brisbane school playgrounds for rat pellets following a contamination threat. Rat pellets were found at Kidsafe in Chermside and a note on a Nundah fusebox threatened that 3 more school sites in the greater Brisbane area had been contaminated in the same way.
  • Premier Beattie this morning has finally announced a state of water emergency. He can now use special powers to force local councils to get water wise.
  • Tonight is the Australian census!
  • Brisbane is gearing up for the annual Ekka (RNA Exhibition), which starts this Thursday. Expect fairy floss and dagwood dog overdoses at your local hospital. Oh and not to mention a shitload of 'flu.
  • According to the Google search engine, Brisbanites search for the terms "the meaning of life" and "aliens" more than any other inhabitant from any other city in the world.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hark! Gentlepersons...

If you've got $15 (or $40 for a family) and nothing better to do this weekend, try the Mediaeval Fayre at Musgrave Park, West End. Lords and ladies will abound. I went their last year and had a great time - highly recommend it (if only for the live jousting - awesome!).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Inside BrisVegas: Food

I'm going to be provocative and state that Jackpot Noodles in Toowong (45 Sherwood Rd, Toowong, Ph: 3870 0488)) absolutely, completely and forevermore have the best noodles in Brisbane. My personal favourite is their Singapore noodles - for $6 you get what can only be described as a bucket of noodles. Good to share or to have some for dinner and some for lunch the next day (or, if you're eccentric like me, cold for breakfast the next morning). I defy anyone to prove there are better noodles out there! Consider the gauntlet thrown.

But maybe we should also take a broader view. Maybe we should even make this educational. No, don't go yet! This will be fun... I think.

I ask fellow Brisvegians to tell me: where are the best places to eat? I give you the following categories:

Best Noodle Place (my vote is Jackpot Noodles)
Best Thai Place
Best Chinese Place
Best Italian Place
Best Greek Place
Best Australian Place
Best Steak Place
Best Pizza Place
Best Burger Place (no mega food-chains please - that's cheating!)
Best Deli Place
Best Coffee Place
Best Bakery/Patisserie Place
Best Ethnic Place

Have I missed anything?

You should justify your answers! Taste? Value for money? Ambience? You're a shareholder in the restaurant? Speak up, Brisbane!