Greetings reader!

Today is a very good day for you if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site Four Senses- Touch Smell Taste Sound! As you’ll lose yourself in hours and hours of reading, and leave with a long list of things to try, be that restaurants, recipes, products, or stuff to hear or do. Please feel free to click on the different category tags to read all the different posts we’ve accumulated over time.

The majority of posts aren’t time sensitive, so don’t limit yourself to only reading the most recent posts, but check out the vast archive of Restaurant Reviews we’ve compiled (which we’ll keep adding to on a weekly basis).

We’ll keep adding more recipes for you to try, when we can certify that they have been tried and tested by us, and proven not to give us (or you) the runs. Haaha.

Check out our Kombucha journal where we’ve documented our steps to success, and will journal our future batches as we experiment with different flavours and ingredients. Our journal is detailed enough so you can replicate and produce a brew which will rival a store-bought beverage.   

And each time we come across some good products which we think you might also like, we’ll post these things under ‘Product Recommendations’ so you’ll have all the details if you want to check them out.

We’re also known for being eclectic in our listening tastes, which include music albums, podcasts, audio books and rando stuff from Netflix, so we’ll post recommendations as we come across some good stuff which you might like to see and hear.

And there’s just so many things to see and do in Ol’ Sydney Town, so we’ll post up monthly lists of what festivals and activities you can partake in; we have a Live Gig guide which we’ll update on a regular basis; and we’ll explore a Sydney suburb each month and we’ll document each step of the way so you can replicate our travels if you like.

So in short, if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site! Happy days! As you’ve just uncovered a whole entire avenue of cool stuff to read, interact with and try! So don’t be a stranger, bookmark our site and check back often as we’ll be uploading posts several times a week. We guarantee that each time you visit there will always be something new for you to Touch Smell Taste and Hear!    

April Festivals and Things to Do!

One quarter down, only three to go! And thankfully April is a short month with Easter and ANZAC day, meaning that there are more days in the month to spend with family and friends than at work! Brilliant! Here are my top picks for festivals and things to do in Ol’ Sydney Town for the month of April!

2019 Australian Athletics Championships- 1 – 7 April

Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, NSW

The granddaddy of domestic Athletics is the annual Australian Athletics Championships- for juniors and opens, both able and para competitors, in all Track & Field disciplines! Watch over 3,500 competitors compete in the purest form of athleticism, trying to run as fast as they can, jump as high, throw as far, walk as quickly as….. You catch my drift, it’s ‘man’ vs self! Tickets can be purchased via the Athletics Australia web-site, and if you still think you have it in you to pull out a quick 100M time, entries are made through your member association.

For more info on the Championships, click HERE!    

Sugarcane Sunday Rum Festival- 14 April

Macquarie Place Park/Customs House, Circular Quay, NSW

Do you need the excuse of a rum festival to justify drinking from 1pm – 8pm? If your answer is YES! Then step-right up! Sugarcane Sunday Rum Festival is just for you! Pull on a Hawaiian shirt, and with coconut shell cup in hand, check out the rum market at Macquarie Park, have a chat with rum producers, sit in on a few masterclasses, or just head directly to the Customs House bar for island food, cocktails and some reggae-mon! Cost: $60 pp, pass enables access for 4 hours (either 1-4pm or 5-8pm), to taste test at over 100 stalls in the Rum market and a FREE kitsch cocktail on arrival. Imagine how you’ll feel the next day on Monday for work!!

For more information and tickets, click HERE!

Juggling Workshop- any-time on request

Prince Alfred Park, Charmers Street, Surry Hills, NSW (or a location of your choosing- within a 5Km radius of Surry Hills).

Have you ever wanted to impress your work colleagues, youth group, or that ‘Special someone’, by taking their computer mouse, wallet, stapler, stress-cube, sippy mug and tossing them all up into the air, handing them hand-to-hand as everyone looks on in amazement and jealousy?! This day-dream sequence can be your reality! Only if you join one of Stepan Novikov’s 1.5 hour workshops, he claims that the most uncoordinated individual will be juggling like a pro by the end of the session! Hours 2-3 introduces flaming torches, chainsaws, bowling-balls, and live chickens….. Jks Jks. Cost: $40 pp (class size 1-6), and you can book him for parties, group lesson, team building events etc.

For more information, click HERE! Um, when you finally get your mouse and sippy mug back of course.    

Sydney Royal Easter Show- 12 – 23 April

1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW

Parents! You have exactly 3 weeks to save up for the Royal Easter Show! Where country meets the city-slickers, come out for the agricultural competitions, the cute baby animals, be a child again and hop on some rides, demolish a Dagwood dog or two, and be a good dad/mum and lend a hand by holding onto all of your kids’ show bags…. Just keep one hand free so you can still pull your wallet out each time your child offers up their palm for $$$s. And if you get bored, at least you’ll have a front-row seat to watch the demolition of Stadium Australia! Um, I think I’ve just snuffed out the flame in so many respects…. Cost: At the gate Adults $43, Child $27, and Concession $33.       

For more info on the show, click HERE!

The Great CP Egg Hunt- 20 – 21 April

Dickens Drive, Centennial Park, NSW

If your kids are too young for the big boys and girls show out at Olympic Park (us locals refer to it as the OP), why not come on down to Centennial Park for the Great CP Egg Hunt! The park will be transformed into an Easter village with market stalls (clearly for the parents), a kids disco (clearly for the kids), animals (that’s for all ages), and the centrepiece of the event- the ACTIVITY TRAIL! Kids will follow a trail to earn stamps which will go towards their chocolate treat, before meeting the Easter Bunny! Targeted at 3-8 year olds, all kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times- make sure you hold onto their melty chocolaty hands plz! Cost: $17.70 per child, purchase of tickets online and session bookings is essential! Accompanying parents go free, but you don’t get a chocolate nor hug from the Easter bunny. Aww.

For more info and booking details, click HERE!

ANZAC Day Dawn Service- 25 Apr

Martin Place, Sydney, NSW

If you’ve never been up pre-light for an ANZAC Day Dawn Service, you’ll have to one of these days! The service commences at 4.30am at the Cenotaph at Martin Place, honouring the fallen- who gave their lives to ensure our enduring freedom!

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor do the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we

Will remember them.” (Laurence Binyon, 1914).

We will remember them.

For more Dawn service information, click HERE.

A Weekend of Happy Returns!

Or was it?……..

In our restaurant reviews, we always end by asking ourselves “Would we ever come back?” And I’d probably say more often than not, our responses have been “why not”. But pulling the curtain back and being truly honest with you, in actual fact we rarely return. The reasons for this is that we spend most of our weekends/meals trying places we’ve never been to before, so we just don’t have enough meals in a week to loop back to past favourites.

However spurred on by our sub-consciousness (we’ve both had dreams of eating a Griddle King crape in the past week) we decided to set-aside this weekend to re-visit a few of our favourites in ‘A Weekend of Happy Returns’!

Friday evening-Guzman Y Gomez (World Square)

Our first meal of the weekend on Fri night we grabbed take-away from Guzman Y Gomez, as last time we were so blown away by their Enchilada and Quesadillas I had vowed to return and try their Nachos (impressed by their home-made corn chips). This time we ordered two Chicken Quesadillas and Beef Nachos to share. The Quesadillas were awesome! Couldn’t fault it at all!  However the Nachoes were only ‘Ok’. When I was fortunate enough to get a crunchy piece of corn chip it was great! The corn chip was already seasoned and then you go find something to shovel onto your chip. But after eating all the crispy chips on the outer perimeter, you’re just left with the clump of sauce, mince and the soggy chips. So eating the final 2/3 is a very sloppy messy affair. Which is expected, but this meal I just didn’t have the same overwhelming sense of ‘joy’ compared to our last meal from GyG.

Saturday lunch- Griddle King (Central)

Since we first tried Griddle King only a fortnight ago, I convinced 3 of my colleagues to try a Griddle King crepe, and each of them loved their first Asian wraps! And I was pretty jubilant that I’d introduced others to something new.   And my wife craved Griddle King so much, that one day at work she was almost tempted to sign-up to Uber Eats so she could get a crape delivered to her workplace! Haaha. So G-King was definitely on our list for our return patronage. This time I ordered the Cuman beef Crepe (marked by a thumbs-up) while my wife was so impressed by what I had last time so she ordered the Miss Kim again. And by this stage I was starting to sense a trend- unfortunately the crapes weren’t as good as our first experience. My Cuman crape was tasty and the beef was well cooked and tender, however it lacked a sauce and the construction of the crape wasn’t great so it kept threatening to fall-apart on me. My wife’s Miss Kim just didn’t live-up to expectation- the veg wasn’t as fresh as before, and the listed ingredient of coriander was missing, replaced by limp lettuce. So we both left underwhelmed.

Sunday lunch- Encasa Rapido (Sydney Westfields)

And for lunch today, we headed back to Westfield Sydney for the Spanish baguette (Bocadillo) from Encasa Rapido. This time I ordered the Portuguese Grilled Chicken (after being told that they had run out of the Cubano), while my wife ordered the Argentino. By this time, I was telling myself to lower my expectations- but I was still quite disappointed with my Portuguese chicken. The chicken was well cooked, but it didn’t have any flavour, it didn’t taste grilled, the sauce was plain mayo without any spice so it was unspectacular. My wife’s Argentino was a tasty spicy sausage which we both liked. So my wife was pleased but my overall feelings was that I was unimpressed- not so Hapido.

You know that saying, “never meet your heroes” as you’re just bound to be disappointed by them? I think in my case it’s “Never go back to a restaurant which you’ve raved on about”, as you’re only bound to be disappointed by them. As I’ve placed them on a lofty pedestal, expectation set so high that each restaurant were bound to fall short of, leaving me disappointed, underwhelmed, and unimpressed.

So unfortunately it wasn’t a weekend of happy returns, but a weekend of smashed dreams. *Sad look*.

**Comment: Not liking to leave our readers with a feeling of negativity, feel free to click on the headings as they’re linked to our more glowing/positive reviews of our first experiences at Guzman Y Gomez; Griddle King; and Encasa Rapido-  where I was much more hapido.

Google Home- Your Dining Concierge

I know I could’ve easily done it myself, ‘Just Google it’ from your phone or laptop! Right? But I was too lazy so I tested if my Smart assistant could do this task for me.

“Ok Google, what time does Griddle King close today?”

I really didn’t expect her to give me an appropriate answer, but lo and behold, Google was able to tell me that they were open till 7.30pm that night, and they had opened that day at 7.30am. Wow! What else can Google tell me!?

Phone number? ‘Check’.

Address? ‘Check’.

Distance from me? ‘Check’.

Walking directions? ‘Check-ish’, Google only tells you which major road to walk down, but not turn by turn directions.

Google rating? ‘Check’.

The only questions Google was unable to answer was, the average cost of meals, or whether or not the restaurant was currently busy-  which a conventional Google search can bring-up.

But overall I’m pretty pleased, discovering a new task Google can do for me! Playing the role of my personal Dining Concierge! Only if she could make a reservation on my behalf, that would be the ultimate pinnacle of her assistance!

Product Recommendation- Bamboo Steamer

I’m not sure if you can tell this about my personality from my posts alone? Or is it Post Malone?……. But I can be extremely impulsive!!!! Last week I had a craving for Asian buns (namely Mantou) so after work one day when I caught up with my folks for dinner at their’s, I suggested to go for a walk with them so on the way I could pick up a bamboo steamer from their local Asian grocer.

But my mum instead turns around, pulls open her cupboard and hands me a brand-new unused Bamboo steamer! And tells me that I could have it. *Shrugs*.

I assume most people are familiar with the above sight? You’d recognise it empty (after you’ve devoured whatever tasty dim-sim which used to sit within it), and you’d also recognise them stacked-up 10 high, recalling the sight of them obscuring the view of the diminutive Yum-cha trolley pushers?

But you and I can now have our very own Yum-cha at home! Just grab a selection of frozen buns and dim-sims from the freezer section of your go-to Asian grocer, and have yourself a cheeky after work Dim-Sim spread! Who needs to wait for the weekends?!

Obviously you don’t need a Bamboo Steamer to enjoy Yum-cha at home, but here are 5 advantages (that I can think of at least) why a bamboo steamer is superior to using a porcelain plate:

One. Evenly cooked – the bamboo steamer with its slatted bottom, ensures that the steam cooks the bun from the bottom up, thus ensuring a more even cook.

Two. Avoid soggy bottoms- when you use a plate, you run the risk of water pooling on the surface of the plate leaving you with a soggy bottom (and no one likes a soggy bottom). The slats in the bamboo cooker ensures that all moisture which lands on the surface drains back down to the bottom of the wok, which gets re-steamed.

Three. Stackable- as the bamboo steamer is designed to be stacked one-on-top-of-each-other, if you want you can elect to purchase 2, and using a deeper pot, you can cook double the amount of dim-sims at the same time!

Four. Reduced over-hang – depending on the size of your wok or pot, in the past if you use a plate, it might be so wide that there isn’t much space in-between the edge of the plate and your cooking device, thus inhibiting the movement of steam. But because the bamboo basket has no over-hang, it allows free movement of steam, which equates to a faster cooking time and an evenly cook bun (important if your buns are meat filled).

Five. Easy to pick-up – as bamboo doesn’t conduct heat like a porcelain plate does, when it’s ready, it’s super easy to remove from the wok with fingers! No risk of shrieking in surprise by how hot the plate has gotten, and then dropping it!

The only other apparatus you’ll need is a wire tripod frame to balance your steamer over the 1cm depth of water. And perhaps a sheet of paper towel or a leaf of lettuce, to place at the bottom of the steamer, to avoid the bun-bottom from sticking (as everyone likes an intact bottom).

To this day I don’t know how much a bamboo steamer actually costs. I’m thinking it can’t be much more than $10 if that?

Kmart sells one for $10, while if you gain more confidence in brand names, Avanti has one for $24.95.  If you’re inspired to get a bamboo steamer, happy steaming! Say hello to Tuesday night Yum-cha at yours!

Audiobook Review- Origin

Where do I begin? There’s so many thoughts and angles running through my mind when I was listening to the audiobook, and same now as I attempt to write this audiobook review, I honestly don’t know where to start. But starting from the beginning? From the origin, would be a good start? Right? Hehehe.

So the latest audiobook my wife and I have just finished has been Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’, the 5th and the most recent (released in 2017) instalment in the Robert Langdon series (can you believe it! Dan has been writing the Langdon series for over 17 years now!). So now I can say that I’m officially up-to-date with all of Dan’s books.

Trying not to give away the entire book’s plot and ending, but let’s just say Dan’s fifth book also follows his nearly predictable story formula, that being someone dies (dies, dies, loses a hand, dies, dies) and Robert has 24 hours to solve an art/literary-centric problem, or something very bad would happen…..not just to him, or the city he happens to be in, but something bad would happen to all of mankind! The book format is so cookie-cutter predictable/replicable, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan has an excel spreadsheet template where every 3 years he sits down and inserts a new country, notable artist and secret society in his macros enabled workbook, and then it spits out a result! The bare bones/building blocks of his next multi-million dollar best seller!

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Origin’ had us entertained for the entire 18 hours 10 mins duration, but was it one of Dan’s better Robert Langdon efforts?

Ok, first of all I’ll tell you all that I liked about the book, before discussing the things that I didn’t like.

Like! It was thought-provoking – that is one enduring feature of Dan Brown’s writing,  you can be confident that a lot of time has been invested in devising a unique and controversial/shocking grand idea! And that Dan (and his wife) had spent a lot of time researching all that is connected to the area of discussion, the location and the artist/artwork. And I imagine all readers greatly appreciate him for that. And to date, each of his ‘grand ideas’ has sent ripples through society, so much so that after the Da Vinci Code, the church had to publish a counter-claim book to refute all that Dan had claimed to be fact in a fictional novel. Each time it amazes me how he has this incredible way to weave in just enough truth among all of his own imaginations, so that the gullible might just believe, putting their faith into doubt. That’s some incredible power of influence one man has over the world’s population. And it’s obvious that ‘Origin’ has received just as much of Dan’s brain-power as his previous books, that the grand idea from ‘Origin’ might just be explosive and compelling enough to change some people’s minds/behaviours after reading the book.  

Like! Dan’s ability to evolve with the times- I don’t think anyone could ever say that Dan is behind the times- although his main character is so caught up with things from the 15th Century.  But Dan has shown through ‘Origin’ that his books and his fictional characters interact with the book’s present day, which deeply resembles the real present day, e.g. embracing smart phones, social media, AI, autonomous vehicles, and online conspiracists, all of which played a prominent role in the book. But not only has Dan kept up with the times, but is ahead of the curve, take Winston for an example (AI Smart Assistant) – Winston played an almost leading role in the book and he’s a computer! You might be thinking now, “So what?” AI Smart Assistants is nothing new, we interact with these things almost on a daily basis today. But remember, this book was released 2 years ago, and Dan probably started writing this novel 2-3 years before that, so he was imagining a highly intelligent Smart Assistant in 2014-15, you’d have to admit that he was ahead of the technology curve there!

Like! Transported virtually to another place – the last overwhelming positive of ‘Origin’ was Dan’s ability to take reader’s on a virtual visit of another notable location, this time to Spain! His ability to describe visuals in words is something remarkable, which transcends all other authors in the game today. From the opening chapters of the book I felt as if I was with Langdon at the feet of the giant spider at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and later I felt like I too was craning my head to see better in the merky darkness of the crypts within Sagrada Familia! And maybe it’s just me, but I’ve learnt much about Spain since listening to the book, afterwards I spent some time Googling if there was actually a Spanish Royal family and if the Palmarian Catholic Church really exists (BTW, they both exist and I’m surprised that Dan doesn’t get sued more often for defamation….. but I guess if he’s willing to make up rumours about Jesus, I guess everyone else below that is a much softer target). So yeah, I loved being transported half way around the world without leaving the comfort of my own home, and I’m actually surprised that no tour company has tried cashing in from Dan’s books, and has designed a guided tour package around the locations Robert Langdon has breezed through in the books thus far. Now that’s a business concept you can take to the bank!

However the dislikes that I have against the book, is just as long as the ‘likes’.

Dislike! Too many inconsequential characters and side stories – in my opinion, Dan introduces too many minor characters, for which he invests time and chapters to build up their back-story, and cuts away to these side stories too often, sacrificing the flow of the book. At times it felt like every third chapter (and there are 100 chapters or more?) cuts away to another inconsequential character, none of which adds any value to the overall story. In my opinion, this unnecessarily dragged out the book by at least a quarter, and it felt a little tough going at times?

Dislike! The lack of action, famous works of art, and deciphering symbols/artwork/literature – Dan’s books are known for being like a scavenger hunt for clues hidden in famous artwork and symbols, but in ‘Origin’ this element was missing, by and large. Aside from the need to crack a 47 character PIN, the book lacked the same level of deciphering we’d come to expect and enjoy. So from the usual mad dash, rushing from point to point, clue to clue, it felt more like dropping down to the convenience store for some milk, meaning that it was way too easy to crack this code and it wasn’t suspenseful at all! I mean it, at all!

Dislike! Unbelievable fiction in a fictional book – I know that if  you’re writing a fictional novel, the author has a certain freedom to embellish and stretch what is considered believable, to suit the story – as hey, you want something a bit out there to help you escape from the reality of life! I get that. But there were 3 details or scenes in the book which I found too hard to believe (or it was just annoying!). The first was the fact that Edmond Kirsch (the source of all the book’s drama) was a self-made billionaire! This was hard to believe as by profession he was a computer scientist and futurist. At no time in the book did they mention anything he was able to discover and sell to the world which made him his wealth, but it only positions him as a well-known futurist. I’m sure other futurists in the profession would also like some of that fake cachet and cash Dan was liberally bestowing on young Edmond’s shoulders. The second unbelievable element was a particular scene, although small and not having any impact on the story, but it really annoyed me! This was when Langdon and Ambra were fleeing from the authorities and they had a plane to catch, in 8 minutes they had to run up a mile long grass hill – even in the book they voiced their disbelief that they could make it (considering Langdon was in tails and dress shoes, while Ambra was in a fitted dress and no doubt heels). But low and behold, the power of literary license to bend time and space, so the next time the book cuts back to Langdon and Ambra, they’ve made it to their rendezvous point never expressing any exhaustion or complaint that they’d run a mile up-hill on grass in inappropriate foot wear!? I’m calling BS here!!!! And the last unbelievable detail which was the power and authority given to Mónica Martín, Public Relation Coordinator for the palace. I work in a corporate environment and I’m quite familiar with job titles, if someone’s job title is a ‘Coordinator’, they haven’t progressed very far up the corporate ladder and should not have much authority (for goodness sake, she’s not even a PR Manager!). And in the book she was able to have the Commander of the Guardia Real (that’s like the top dog of the most elite security force in the land) arrested??? That’s like having the sous-chef of the Whitehouse, ordering the arrest of the President of the United States! Unlikely, right? It’s these details which made it hard to fully immerse myself into the book, as my BS radar kept going off, intruding into the story.

End verdict – although we enjoyed the book, and it had us metaphorically turning the pages, and we were left wondering “Who dunnit?” right to the very end…unfortunately after 5 books spanning 17 years, Dan hasn’t gotten better at this ‘story-telling thing’, and if I had to rank ‘Origin’ among his other 4 Langdon best sellers, unfortunately I’d put it last, behind the ‘Lost Symbol’ (Book 3 in the series). However if you’re a Dan Brown fan, and you’ll sleep better knowing that you’ve read all of Robert Langdon’s tweed-suited escapades, by all means appease your feelings of FOMO, as I was in the same position as you!  But if you’ve never been into DB’s books before, then don’t start here, ‘Origin’ is an easy miss. If there was any saving grace, at least the narrator Paul Michael did another fantastic job as the voice of Langdon, if Tom Hanks was half as convincing as Paul Michael, the movie franchise would be in a much better state…. Ouch! Shots fired!

To listen to ‘Origin’ by Dan Brown, click HERE!

Deciphering Dan Brown: excel spreadsheet template

Not only Langdon can decipher patterns, this is my attempt to find patterns and break the code of Dan Brown’s literary formula! Keep reading on to see what I predict to be the structure to Dan’s 6th instalment in the Langdon series!

Locations to date:

Rome/Vatican city; Paris/Zurich/London; Washington D.C.; Florence/Venice/Istanbul; and Bilbao/Barcelona.

Featured Artists:

Gian Lorenzo Bernini; Leonardo da Vinci; Giorgio Vasari; Sandro Botticelli; Dante Alighieri; and Antoni Gaudí.

Unmasked Secret Societies:

Illuminati; Opus Dei; Free Mason; World Health Organisation (they’re the worst! Haaha); and the Palmarian Catholic Church.

Female leads:

Vittoria Vetra (adopted daughter of murdered CERN scientist); Sophie Neveu (granddaughter of murdered Louvre Curator); Katherine Solomon (sister of kidnapped Smithsonian Secretary); Sienna Brooks (doctor/bystander); and Ambra Vidal (work associate of the deceased).

Villains:

Middle Eastern Hassassin; albino giant Catholic monk; tattooed steroidal Free Mason; leather clad female assassin; and fanaticised former Spanish Navy Admiral.

So reading into the pattern, the 6th book will be set in a modern Western city – Melbourne, Australia, with cuts to the Vatican City. Now that Dan is trying to explore more modern artists- my code deciphering skills say that the next featured artist will be Australia’s Pro Hart! The shadowy Secret Society which will be unmasked will be the evil ‘Brotherhood’ of the Companion of the Order of Australia, as they try to protect their own, the main puppet master (George Pell). The female lead will be the sister of one of Pell’s young victims, and the day-to-day villain will be Robert Richter – disgraced Pell barrister. Shameful guys, shameful. *headshake*.

Nah, my deciphering is just tongue in cheek, no one would buy/read a book featuring these clowns!