Dining Spot- Concord

Cantonese food touches down on Majors Bay Road!

Catching up with the in-laws for a belated Lunar New Year’s meal, I was tired with the Burwood and Strathfield dining scene, so we cast our net a little wider and lucked on ‘Dining Spot’!

The sensible cuisine to have for a Lunar New Year’s meal with the family is obviously Chinese, so I was a little bit surprised to find when searching for a South Chinese restaurant that a Cantonese restaurant had newly opened up in the unlikely dining spot of Majors Bay Road (ironically called the ‘Dining Spot’…….Me personally, I would’ve named it ‘Dining Outpost’ as it was in no-man’s land, or at least no-Chinese-man’s land). And my in-laws were also pleased to try a Cantonese restaurant outside of their usual Inner West haunts.

When you walk into Dining Spot, you’ll immediately notice the differences to the usual Cantonese restaurant. Here, it’s more airy, they actually play music, and there is some attempt at table settings and store decorations. It’s probably due to the fact that they have to win over a whole new clientele, unable to rest on their laurels like the large pre-established Cantonese restaurants can, in Strathfield or Rhodes.

My in-laws had arrived before us, and learnt that one of the partners from their usual go-to Strathfield restaurant had opened this outpost on Majors Bay, so we were confident that we’d get a decent level of service and food.

Flipping through the menu, they cover off more than just the usual Cantonese classics, and had sections for Laksas, hotpots, and a few other non-typical Canto dishes, while there were also the usual Canto suspects like Yum Cha to-order, whole Peking duck, etc. etc.

We settled on the Seafood San Choy Bow, Shan Dong Chicken, Vegetable and Tofu Hotpot, and Stir fried Flat Rice Noodles with King Prawns in Creamy Egg Sauce. The menu is actually so extensive that we narrowed down our choices by only considering dishes that they had marked with a ‘thumbs-up’ icon next to it (3 of our 4 choices were marked with the big opposable digit).

While we waited for our food, we just relaxed in the relative calm of the store. Closing your eyes you could almost imagine yourself sitting alfresco, out in the open air- as it was really that airy in there; and they were playing this CD which consisted of traditional Chinese instruments playing soothing instrumental music but within the audio itself it had chirping birds, which added to the feeling of being outdoors and tranquillity.

The first dish to arrive was the San Choy Bow (the humble edible bowl a new year’s tradition). The lettuce was fresh, but as we ate we remembered that it has been quite some time since we last ate out at a traditional Cantonese restaurant and it reminded us of how bland Canto food can be. As the seafood and veg inside the lettuce bowl were really fresh, but the tastes were a bit nondescript.

Next we tried the Vegetable Tofu hotpot, this again was on the bland side, and the tofu was the fried type, when I was silently hoping for the silken tofu.

But then we had the Shan Dong chicken, which in contrast was bursting with flavour! The chicken was fried crispy skin chicken, it was covered in the mild spicy but tasty Shan Dong sauce, and there were other ingredients like garlic, water chestnut and seaweed which added flavour and texture to the dish. So it was a redeeming dish for Dining Spot, as to this point it was cruising for a low Food score from me.

And the last dish was the noodles with king prawn and egg sauce. Yeah, this was okay, the prawns were tasty, large and fresh! And the noodles and the egg sauce were as advertised, by the long form description in the menu.

And as we ate, my wife explained to her parents all about our new lifestyle blog- Four Senses. As the last time we caught up with them before Christmas, we were already doing food reviews and they were used to us pulling out the phone each time a dish arrived. But we hadn’t started our own WordPress site yet, so the ability for them to pull out their phones and peruse the site right-there-and-then and breeze over some of our dining escapades was pretty cool.

Our end verdict for Dining Spot? 4.0 Stars from 5! (2 from 3 for Food – It was alright, but the more established Canto restaurants still turn out a more tasty offering); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (the young waiter who waited on us was super polite, excusing himself each time he approached our table and was surreptitiously topping up our water); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (this was the stand-out, Canto restaurants aren’t known for its décor or ambiance, but Dining Spot had loads of character); and 1 from 1 for Value for money (it equated to slightly over $20 per person, which isn’t bad for Cantonese).

I think it’s great for the Concord locals to have Dining Spot move in to Majors Bay Road (while we were there two different locals came in to place take-away orders), and for them I’m sure it’s nice to have some variety along their street. If you too are looking for a change from you’re usual Canto haunts, or you just need to escape the melting pot of Burwood, check-out Dining Spot! It’s a good little spot!

Dining Spot- Sunday 10 February (4.0 Stars)

PH: (02) 8317 6313

47 Majors Bay Road, Concord NSW

Mon Closed

Tues-Sun 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 10pm

La Hacienda- Sydney CBD

Peruvian, it’s just like another Spanish restaurant? Right? Or is it……

I think the choice to dine at La Hacienda was a done deal from the get go, considering Peruvian food was the talk of the week after the Peruvian girls smashed it out on MKR; and we later found out that our dining companions were off to Peru at the end of the year, so it was serendipitous that it was going to be Peruvian tonight!    

A couple of weeks ago I was in the mood for Spanish food, and being a Saturday night and not having made a table reservation I presumed it was going to be hard to be a walk-up at one of the popular Liverpool and Pitt street establishments, and prepared myself that the Peruvian restaurant around the corner was our back-up option as they also serve Spanish food right? Same same? Then I caught myself, it was a light bulb moment where I realised that Spain and Peru ain’t like Spain and Portugal (neighbouring countries), but they’re 8,800Km apart (according to Siri). *Smacks hand on forehead*. So in short, you can say I didn’t know what to expect from Peruvian food.  

La Hacienda is located on the corner of Bathurst and Sussex streets. If you drive into the city or head to the Eastern suburbs from the West, I’m sure you’ve seen it before on the right hand side as you accelerate up Bathurst St.  On this Saturday evening, it was packed-out. The first thing which greets the senses is the glorious smell of frying food, and spices! It made me so hungry. And next comes along like a sauntering Salma Hayek, the body-moving Latin music! No wonder Ricky sings of ‘Shake your bon-bon’! As its hard not to! Although we didn’t have a table reservation, but the proprietor quickly (in less than 5 shakes of the hips) made room for our table of 4.

We ordered:

A jug of Chicha Morada- traditional Peruvian beverage made from purple corn

Beef empanadas- minced meat wrapped in pastry   

Ceviche Mixto- Mixed seafood marinated in lime juice with red onions served with sweet potato and corn ($30)

Bisteck a lo Pobre- Scotch Fillet, fried egg, fries, rice, fried banana and salad ($25)

Chicken Arroz Chaufa- Peruvian style fried rice ($20)

After our orders were made, we took in our surroundings. I think it’s so refreshing to experience something completely new and different! Considering we’re down here in South CBD, it’s so cool to experience an authentic Peruvian family run business, who are ‘making it’ in this part of town! And I think they’re a literal family run business- there’s dad working the tables who exudes character and nothing is too difficult for him, ‘okey dokey’ and he’s off and he’s back again with whatever you’ve asked him for. There’s the son, who responds immediately to the ‘Service-up’ bell, bringing out the fragrant food to tables. And I’m sure it’s a family affair in the kitchen as well! The restaurant is decorated with what I presume to be Peruvian tapestries; fresh produce (chillies, limes and dragon fruit) placed out as decoration until they’re eventually needed in the kitchen; a TV broadcasting the Peruvian cable channel; and just little touches which may or may not be traditional elements of a casual Peruvian diner.   It was just all so quaint and exciting to experience something new for us. And everyone around us were also having a great time, the place buzzed with happy diners.

The first to arrive was the Chicha Morada, a dark purple coloured drink with a complex flavour, which was hard to put a finger on the exact taste. It’s non-carbonated, so it goes down smooth like a Powerade sports drink; it’s quite sweet so you’d probably don’t want to drink this all the time; the best description of the taste, is its like a cross between bubble-gum and blueberry?; and floating on top are little bits of freshly diced green apple, which gives you something to chew on after each mouthful of drink. It was nice, a must-try if you want the authentic Peruvian experience!

Then our empanada entry were served up, I think empanadas are one of the South American dishes people are more familiar with. These Peruvian ones were mostly filled with minced meat with some spices mixed through it. If you haven’t tried one before, think of a Curry puff, but with Mexican flavours?

 After the empanadas, there was a bit of a pause before the mains arrived. But it was perfect as it gave us a chance to chat with our dining companions unencumbered by mouthfuls of food. The Latin music was played loud enough that we had to lean in a bit to hear each other. But our table was round and wasn’t that large, so it actually facilitated our table conversations, but it didn’t help later when all the dishes arrived and available table space became hard to come by.  

When the food started up again, they all arrived in a flurry!

We first tried the Bisteck a lo Pobre, which was an interesting eclectic dish. As essentially it was steak and fries, but it had a whole bunch of other elements served up as well. There was a fried egg which we didn’t really know what to do with (perhaps you broke the yoke onto the steak?); it came with a bed of spiced rice; some side salad; and best-of-all was the fried banana! I do love cooked fruit with savoury foods! If you were going to dine alone here, $25 for the Bisteck a lo Pobre would be a good dish to order, as you’d get so much variety on a single plate. The scotch fillet was quite thin and cooked well done, so perhaps if you order this dish see if you can specify how you like your  steak to be cooked (they don’t ask when you order).

The Ceviche Mixto was the stand-out dish for us, the flavours were what you’d associate with Latin American food. The spices, the acidity, the fresh herbs, it was really tasty! The mixed seafood was fish, prawns, and calamari. The fish was properly ceviche-d, but methinks the shell-fish were pre-boiled and then ceviche-d (which isn’t a problem, as it ensures that it’s cooked through – better safe than sorry).

And lastly was the Chicken Arroz Chaufa, which was essentially a Chinese style fried rice that was on the simpler/fewer ingredients side. It was okay, but you’re talking to a bunch of Chinese here- so I guess this dish was always going to be evaluated harsher (as you can say that we’ve eaten a fair few Fried Rices in our time). Maybe next time we’ll stick to the more quintessential Peruvian dishes. BTW, this dish was my contribution to the group table order. Sorry guys. Hehehe

And to end the night we ordered 2 slices Tres Leches, a sponge cake which is doused with 3 types of dairy products (condensed milk, cream, and evaporated milk). This Peruvian version tasted like it also had a coconut cream, which made it even more moreish and delectable!

Our score for the entire experience, 4.0 stars from 5! (2.5 from 3 for Food (it’s never going to win awards, but it’s the uniqueness which makes it a stand-out!); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (Dad’s positive vibes were infectious); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (with the Latin music playing, and with the majority of clientele around us speaking Spanish, it felt like you’d stepped into a whole other world. The music was so body-movin’ a couple actually got up and started to salsa); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for money (the cost was probably on the higher end for casual dining, but that isn’t a problem if you’re prepared for it)).

La Hacienda in Spanish means a large dwelling house on a plantation, and I think that’s a very apt name for the restaurant here on the corner of Bathurst and Sussex. Tonight has felt like we’ve been welcomed to an affluent Peruvians home, served with the best and the freshest produce the family could possibly offer their guests from the family farm, and it’s this type of variety and cultural diversity we long for in Sydney’s dining scene! We’ll definitely be back, as there are so many other uniquely Peruvian dishes on the menu which we’d like to try. And in principle we’re all for supporting restaurateurs who are staying true to their roots and serving up something authentic to their culture! La Hacienda is definitely worth trying, if you haven’t tried Peruvian food before.  

**Note: La Hacienda is only open for evening trade one night a week (Saturday nights), so table reservations are advised. While during the day time La Hacienda is a pretty solid café, serving up all of your usual café foods.

**Thanks(s): We’d also like to thank our dining companions, dining with others enabled us to try more different dishes and thanks for sharing with us your expertise with the dishes from your previous travels to South America. And thanks so much for always reminding us and arranging the dishes so we could take web-worthy pics before we tucked in. Thanks Ron and Stace!

La Hacienda- Saturday 9 February (4.0 Stars)

https://www.lahaciendarestaurant.com.au

PH: (02) 8077 8069

Shop 210, 298 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW

Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm

Sat 7am – 9pm

Sun 8am – 5pm

**Accepts cash only        

Google Home- Global radio

Hey! I’m introducing a new sub-category to this blog, as/when I discover new features on my Google Home, I’ll write all about it! Cause I’m addicted to blogging and I’m soo in love with our Google Home!

I think my passion of listening to podcasts and the radio come from my dad’s influence on me. When I was a kid my dad use to always try to convince me about the virtues of radio, and what can be learnt from being a wide listener (from the comfort of your own home). And when I was in my teens, my dad bought me a short-wave radio which promised to be able to tune in to radio stations from all over the world! But alas, it was nearly impossible to get a clear signal so in the end we ended up returning the thing to Dicky Smiths. So the other day I was absolutely blown away when I randomly chanced on this Google Home feature!

I was asking Google to play ‘NFL Live’ a podcast by ESPN, as it was the lead up to the Super Bowl and I wanted to get right into it! But instead Google started to play a replay recording of a Live NFL match! I was blown away, all of a sudden I could listen to NFL media’s radio programming. So knowing the key voice command which triggered this outcome (OK Google, play NFL live radio), I was always dropping in on the States just to see what was going on. Each time I did this, I felt a giddy feeling, like I was doing something illegal like a Russian spy eavesdropping on the US in real-time. I managed to listen to all the goings-on at NFL Super bowl media night, NFL’s awards night, the Super Bowl pre-game show, and the Aftermath show after the most snooze-inducing Super Bowl. Haaha. It was so wild, half way around the world and I can be completely tapped in!

So doing some research, I guess what Google home is doing isn’t magic, but it’s simply leveraging from apps/platforms like ‘Tune In’ and ‘I Heart Radio’- free internet radio streaming services. But the advantages are that I don’t need to download or sign-up to any new app or account, Google cuts through all those steps on your behalf. All you have to do is ask Google nicely and she’ll do the rest for you! Good SMART assistant! I’m wondering now what other global radio stations I can attach my tin-can and string to. *Strokes chin*.

Sydney Gig Guide Mar-May 2019

This is only a very small selection of the live gigs which will be going down in Sydney in the months of March –May 2019. We will be uploading new posts on a monthly basis to give you some advance notice on what awesome live gigs will be touching down in Ol’ Sydney Town!

Live music

Pittwater RSL, Mona Vale NSW

29 March 2019, will be the last date to see Sydney’s own barnstorming band –  Thirsty Merc – live at the Pittwater RSL club! Don’t miss out! If you’re planning to drive, maybe take the hatch and leave the E-class Mercedes at home? ……as that’s a thirsty merc!  

http://www.pittwaterrsl.com.au/article/thirsty-merc-live-at-pittwater-rsl

Qudos Bank Arena, Olympic Park NSW

7-9 May 2019, Post Malone will be rockin’ out at our QB arena and bringing his brand of hot ‘SAUCE’, catch the Posty and his crocs live!

https://premier.ticketek.com.au/Shows/Show.aspx?sh=POSTMALO19

Musicals

Honda Opera, Sydney Harbour

22 Mar – 21 April 2019, only in Sydney can you find the Sydney Opera performing ‘Westside Story’, exuberant dance and wistful romance, on a floating stage! That’s Sydney for you!

https://opera.org.au/whatson/events/west-side-story-on-sydney-harbour?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrcPFjbOt4AIVViQrCh1IDQ_dEAAYAyAAEgKyFvD_BwE

Lyric Theatre, the Star Pyrmont NSW

29 March –May 2019- Saturday Night Fever- Tony Manero’s quest to become ‘King of the club’ in an all new stage production, disco music & dancing revitalized for the new generation. Expect high energy, big hair, flares, and outstanding chorey!

https://www.sydneylyric.com.au/saturday-night-fever/

Comedy

Enmore Theatre, Enmore NSW  

4 April 2019, for one night only Australia’s favourite full-fee paying international student Ronny Chieng is back to make a lucky Sydney audience laugh with his latest comedy show ‘Tone Issues’. Where else can you see a big-screen star live in the flesh!

https://premier.ticketek.com.au/Shows/Show.aspx?sh=RONNYCHI19

Community Theatre

The Jenesian Theatre Company, Sydney NSW

23 March – 13 April 2019, ‘Enright on the Night’, Jenesian’s tip of the hat to one of their favourite sons! A review of Nick Enright’s whit and songs to celebrate the Jenesian’s 75th anniversary season! She’ll be right on the night!

http://www.genesiantheatre.com.au/index.php?mode=view&s=2019&i=2

Classical music

Greenway Chapel, Green Point NSW

10 March 2019, enjoy ‘The Female Composer’ performed by the Concertante Ensemble (piano, flute, violin and viola ensemble) showcasing a collection of Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Amy Clarke and Rebecca Clarke’s music. Come on Sydney! Dust off those top hats and tails, show us how refined you can be!

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-female-composer-tickets-55312718831

Product Recommendation- Bundaberg Pineapple & Coconut/Spiced Ginger Beer

I’m aware that in 2019 it’s not en vogue to recommend ‘soft drinks’ to others, now that we’re more health conscious and aware. But what if Bundaberg sparkling soft drinks are an alternative to alcoholic beverages at a party?

The very first time I consumed Bundaberg’s Pineapple & Coconut, I seriously believed that it was alcoholic, I even exhibited the ‘glow’ of consuming something alter-holic (Oh so cringing as I think back to it…..Lucky that I’m anonymous on the web……) This embarrassing moment occurred at a friend’s birthday party and we were handed a couple of drinks in long neck glass bottles- they were Bundabergs (in their old packaging) which I associate with the Bundaberg Rum polar bear. And at first taste, it tasted so much like an alco-pop that after half a bottle I was feeling a little light headed, like after consuming an equivalent amount of beer. I remember leaning over to my wife and whispering to her that she should “go easy on the alcohol” but she hisses back at me “It’s non-alcoholic!” Then I felt so silly, especially as everyone around us heard her reply back.*Shrinks in embarrassment*.

Okay, shaking off the feelings of embarrassment……. But if you haven’t tried Bundaberg’s Pineapple & Coconut drink before, imagine the flavour of a Pina colada… and just remove the alcoholic element from it and you have Bundaberg’s sparkling pineapple and coconut drink! It’s a very summery tropical flavour, and quite natural tasting (by far our favourite sparkling offering by Bundaberg).

Over Christmas, Bundaberg released a festive flavour – Spiced Ginger Beer, and we probably grabbed one of the last 4 packs in mid-January at Coles (since then we haven’t seen them on shelves anymore). The Spiced Ginger Beer tastes less like ‘spiced’ ginger beer, but rather like a Lemon Lime Bitters? Although the spices which were added to their original ginger beer was cinnamon and clove. The taste is unfortunately a bit on the artificial side, so as they disappear from shelves for another year I guess it’s no big loss.

But no-matter, Bundaberg have other sparkling soft drink flavours like their original Ginger Beer; Lemon, Lime and Bitters; Sarsaparilla / Root Beer; Burgundy (Creaming Soda); Peach; Pink Grapefruit; Guava; Blood Orange; and more!

So if you’re heading to a house-party or back- yard BBQ, and for one reason or another you’re cutting back on the alcohol (perhaps participating in Febfast- at least the non-alcohol component), consider bringing a couple packs of the Bundaberg sparkling soft drink range for yourself and to share! Granted, you won’t be laughing at every silly joke, but you’ll feel less anti-social at least with a glass bottle in hand (be that a little bit squatter in size) – it’s as close to having alcohol while being dry!

Bundaberg 4-packs can be found at Coles or Woolworths for $6.30 for 4x 375ml bottles.

Read more about Bundaberg and how they brew their craft soft drinks at:

https://www.bundaberg.com/our-brews/

Tidying up with Marie Kondo/ Droppin’ Cash: Los Angeles – Netflix

I’m thinking I must have some deep repressed desire to be back at uni, as I find myself in my spare time writing this uni-essay-like ‘Compare and Contrast’ post; but after watching these two shows, literally one after the other, I can’t help but write about their startling similarities and differences.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo- 2019

If you’ve been living under a rock (or in a bomb-shelter) since the beginning of the new year, you may be forgiven for being clueless about Marie Kondo, and the only one who hasn’t tossed out half of their belongings! I remember around 2 years ago, my Mother-in-Law was telling us about how she was reading this book authored by a Japanese woman who advises in how to clean-up and declutter the home. At the time I probably just raised my eyebrows at my wife, and hinted that her mum had just fallen for another fad of hers and was getting a little obsessive again – so in short, we didn’t take much notice and of course we didn’t follow suit.

But here again displays the power of television! According to the internet, Marie has been advising the world of her KonMari method since 1997, and to more effect since 2011 when her first book was released in Japanese. But it wasn’t until Tidying Up With Marie Kondo was released on Netflix on 1 January 2019, did  everyone sit-up and take notice; schedule-in a spring clean for the following weekend; and from all accounts charity clothing bins are literally overflowing with pre-loved clothing stuffed into them!

But for that one person who might read this post and doesn’t know Marie and hasn’t watched Tidying Up, for you here is a short  synopsis on Marie and her show which is airing on Netflix. Marie is a diminutive Japanese woman who writes of her method of de-cluttering the home; through a process of sorting through all of your belongings and only keeping what ‘sparks joy’ for you, and discarding the rest. And what you end up keeping, is stored in designated spots (by category), in designated containers, and folded (what can be folded) in a way which saves room and looks really neat! Her Netflix show is six 40-minute episodes; at the beginning of each episode a household is introduced to the viewer (ranging from retirees to young families who are just setting out in life), and the commonality they have with each other (and why most viewers can relate to them) is the fact that their homes are cluttered with stuff! And who can’t relate to this? We all accumulate more stuff than our respective homes can possibly store, and the outcome is that there is just crap everywhere! (More than any magical ‘room of requirement’ can ever hold!)

And this is where Marie and her interpreter (Marie Iida) enters, after short introductions with the members of the household, M&M are taken on a tour of the cluttered place, before Marie does a nearly-religious ceremony to connect spiritually with the household and it’s stuff, before helping the individuals/families embark on their de-clutter journey. Each episode is filmed over a period of time (approximately a month) where Marie (x2) drops in on the household several times, to observe the gradual transformation and to dispense more of her wisdom to her cult followers……Oops, I mean, guests/hosts? And over that period of time, you can truly see the change in the home, the individuals’ relationships with each other,  and their relationship towards Marie as well (as the welcomes on the doorstep become warmer and warmer as the episode goes on).

The show is both educational for the viewer, and emotional (heart-warming/ tear-jerking) for us as well. These emotions are evoked when we see couples who had drifted over time, brought closer together through the process of de-cluttering and uncovering pieces which bring back fond memories for them both;  the closure for one individual who had been newly widowed, as she cleared out her deceased husband’s closet; and seeing young couples de-clutter their small homes, readying for the next stage in their families’ lives. It’s these glimpses into real peoples’ lives and emotions, which make this show so special! So if you haven’t already seen it, and if you have clutter and a beating heart, check-out Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – just search for it on your Netflix app! I guarantee that it’ll leave a lasting impact on you.

Okay, I’ll give you an insight into our viewing habits. You can say that we’re a little obsessive and narrow visioned – meaning that we start a TV series and we’ll only watch that until we finish said season, before we start watching anything else. So when we finished our time with Marie, and applied her tidying up tips to our own apartment, the next day by chance we move right onto our next show which was like night and day!

Droppin’ Cash: Los Angeles- 2018

Okay, I don’t expect anyone to immediately know this show, as the streets ain’t exactly talking all about it on social media or on the internet. But over 12 episodes (featuring 2 different people in each ep) we’re given an all-access pass into how the nouveau-riche and famous (or perhaps the not-so-famous) like to spend their new found wealth in Los Angeles. The guests featured in the show include Rappers, Singers, Producers, Actors, and Ballers from the Lakers;  what they have in common with each other is the fact that they’re all young, newly cashed-up, and all ready to exhibit to the public their new found fortunes by slapping it onto their wrists, and shoving it into others’ faces as tastelessly as possible!   Each episode opens with a short stop-off at their crib to chat about what they didn’t have and what they have now, before heading out on a pre-scripted shopping spree for jewellery, and/or clothing,  and/or musical hardware, and/or cars, and/or the list goes on and on! If you enjoy shows like West Coast Customs, Beverly Hills Pawn, Pimp My Ride, or other similar MTV shows (as I’m sure some of these purchases will eventually pass through one of these other shows), you’ll enjoy Droppin’ Cash! Just search for ‘Droppin’ Cash Los Angeles’ on your Netflix app!  And you too will find yourself saying ‘Droppin’ Cash’ every time you go shopping, even if it’s just to the grocers for milk and bread!

And now to compare and contrast the two shows…….

The similarities start with the fact that both shows were filmed in Los Angeles; they first aired on Netflix Australia within a week of each other; and both productions are sleek, and captures really well the essence of the individuals/families they’re featuring in a relatively short/succinct amount of air-time. However the similarities unfortunately end there. The differences between the shows are startling – almost on the opposite ends of the spectrum from each other!

Relatable Vs Unrelateable- Where you and I can relate to the families in ‘Tidying up’, as they’re so normal and their problems are just like yours and mine. Meanwhile, there is no way any of us can really relate to the ‘characters’ from ‘Droppin’, as they’re definitely a unique bunch! Not to mention marijuana isn’t legalised in Australia, so most of us ain’t waking-up in the mornings and smoking big fat blunts and allowing our day to go ‘down that road’.   

Decluttering Vs Accumulating-  In ‘Tidying up’, all the families start-off with all this STUFF! Like a room full of Christmas decorations; boxes of trading cards; a wall of sneakers; kids toys all over the floor; closets and piles of clothing around the place; all of which had accumulated over time, with the aims of the show to declutter and to rid themselves of all this excess baggage! When on the flip-side, over on ‘Droppin’, most of the guys came from an underprivileged upbringing and now that they have $$$ bills y’all, they’re getting out there and spending, and spending large!- with the aim to accumulate as much STUFF as they can by walking into a luxury/custom store and buying multitudes of stuff until the total adds up to 4 figures, 5 figures, 6 figures! Not exactly the same “Stuff” which the middle class back in ‘Tidying up’ were trying to get rid of, but stuff all the same at the end of the day when those luxury items no longer “spark joy”.

Helpful Vs Pointless- And where Marie is entering into people’s lives to help them painfully part with their life-long accumulation of stuff, which ultimately helps them live a more fulfilling life; over on ‘Droppin’ individuals are buying up more and more stuff, in attempts to create ‘more joy’ for themselves through self-prescription of retail therapy, which unfortunately is a little pointless as we all know the emptiness you feel when you finally get something you’ve been longing for and it doesn’t hit that spot which you thought it might? And is this a perfect example of  the collectivist and individualist mentality?(okay, I’ll stop dragging out all the uni terms that I can still remember)……but in the end, are these guys in ‘Droppin’ truly happy afterwards? With a mouthful of platinum and diamond teeth? With a bedazzled dinosaur tooth? With gold plated rims on their Rolls? I don’t know?  

Where one is about minimalism, the other is about extravagance! Where one is about closing the door on one chapter of life, the other is just getting started and prying open the doors of life! Where one is introspective, the other is brash and without thought!  The contrast is truly startling.

So in your relationship, where you might have an issue of clutter/hoarding, perhaps bringing this topic up with your partner in the past always results in a heated argument. Or perhaps you and your partner may not have developed a good habit of keeping a tidy home.  Sit down together and watch Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, as I’m confident the most hardened hoarder or individual stuck in their ways will be moved to take a long look at how they’re living, and I’m not surprised if the most obsessive hoarder would take steps to improve their home situation by decluttering…To the benefit of all who dwell in it!

While Droppin’ Cash can also serve a purpose…… I think we all aspire to be rich one day! So we can buy whatever we want, to our hearts content! However after seeing those guys,  spend their money on crap- gaudy ridiculously expensive impractical crap!- I think many will actually come to the same conclusion as I did, that it’s probably good not to be filthy rich like that. As if wealth can turn you into that? Then I think most people will be glad that they have what they have, and it’s all about learning how to be satisfied and joyful with what you do have.

So there are important lessons which can be gleaned from both shows, and you can tell how impactful ‘Tidying up with Marie Kondo’ has been over the past weeks- my wife tells me that charities are asking people to stop donating their clothing as they are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have received. And we’ve witnessed this first hand, as at many community meeting places, a sign and a pile of ‘help yourself’ items have been popping-up, where people are trying to off-load their pre-loved goods free to a good home- I’m absolutely certain this is in direct response to ‘Tidying up’! (And those who are picking-up these freebies, I’m sure are those who haven’t watched it).  And if we all learn to live a more   minimalist lifestyle, and place a lesser strain on our environment by consuming less – pulling fewer resources out of the ground, and burying fewer things back into the ground through land-fills after we’ve tired of them – I think the world is better off, thanks to Marie Kondo! Someone give that woman a knighthood, a Nobel Peace Prize, or make her the next President of the United States! Haaha. BTW, fun fact, while I was fact-checking, I learnt that Iida, Marie’s interpreter, is actually one year older than Marie Kondo!  Now I didn’t see that coming.

Hit us up below if you’ve watched both shows, let me know how much stuff you’ve held close to your chest and thanked, before throwing them out. And let me know if my opinion of ‘Droppin’ Cash’ was a little harsh? Yeah?