Dining out – Lemon Grass Thai

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month. The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant. Each person pays for their own choice of meal. Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to belong to the club to join in. The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants – the cuisines are varied and most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

Six CSFS members got together in May 2021 for our regular restaurant meeting. The venue was the Lemon Grass Thai restaurant on the corner of Corinna and Ball Streets in Woden.

The Lemon Grass is a well presented, long established Thai restaurant with a peaceful atmosphere. The restaurant prides itself on offering “the opportunity to experience some of the most authentic traditional Thai cuisine available in Canberra”.

Five of us decided to share a banquet as our group was small, free of sniffles, three of us had had our first covid vaccinations, and Canberra hasn’t had any covid community transmissions this year.

The banquet included two entrees, five main dishes, fried rice and a dessert. The quality of the food was extremely good, especially for a reasonably priced restaurant.

The standout dishes of the banquet, also known as the dishes with the most debate over who got the last food on the plate, were: the Battered Prawns; the Massaman Beef Curry which had very generously sized pieces of beef given the price of meat at the moment; and the Pad Thai with Chicken. The Homemade Thai Coconut Ice Cream was stunning in the best way, with delicate pieces of fresh coconut in a coconut-cream based ice cream.

Every dish was a generous serving with plenty of fresh vegetables. The entrees arrived soon after we placed our order and the main meal dishes arrived together with a comfortable gap after the entrees. The food was delicately spiced, colourful and looked pleasing on the plate.

The Lemon Grass gets an extra thumbs up from me for providing the rice with the first main dishes. It’s surprising how many restaurants in Canberra haven’t been able to do that and leave their patrons waiting to start their main meals. (Our record failure for late rice was a few years ago in a Belconnen Nepalese restaurant when a long-lost plate of plain rice was served with the after-dinner coffee!?! Yes, that’s one of the reasons we won’t be visiting that unnamed restaurant again.)

In summary, the Lemon Grass Thai is a peaceful, pleasant restaurant with tasty, affordable food made with fresh ingredients, staff that are very helpful and attentive but not hovering, and a homemade ice cream that is worth the visit on its own.

2021 Worldcon changes

The 2021 Worldcon, the 79th science fiction world convention, DisCon III announced some major changes to their convention in April.

DisCon III has moved from late August 2021 to 15-19 December 2021 and changed venues to a smaller hotel, still in Washington DC, after the previous hotel went bankrupt and closed permanently. The change of dates was done in consultation with members of the convention and interested parties in December 2020, with 64% of the people surveyed preferring the 15-19 December dates.

Virtual memberships are available to attend the convention online, and there is the option to anyone who has paid for a membership to change attending or supporting memberships into virtual memberships up to 1 December 2021.

Voting on the Hugo Awards will now close on 19 November 2021 – effectively 18 November 2021 in Australia with the time difference. The list of finalists for the Hugo Awards has been announced by DisCon III.

CSFS snail mail change

The Canberra Science Fiction Society has a new post office box address – PO Box 129, Woden ACT 2606. This new post box is already fully operational (any Jedi reading this, please don’t attack our fully operational PO Box).

You can still contact us via email too at canberrascifi@hotmail.com. If you prefer a link, our full contact details are on the About page.

Dining out – La Piazza

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month. The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant. Each person pays for their own choice of meal. Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to belong to the club to join in. The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants – the cuisines are varied and most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

April 2021’s choice was Italian cuisine. We gathered at La Piazza Cafe Restaurant at 3/33 Gartside St, Wanniassa ACT 2903. A very good restaurant to revisit.

They do have a banquet but everyone ordered for themselves. Their menu is very good and has some interesting dishes.

Among the dishes ordered was a fish dish with vegetables. The diner found this dish to be excellent; the fish and the vegetables tender and had a wonderful flavour. It is a dish that the person will order again on the next visit. No one ordered a pizza, each person ordering a different dish. The servings were quite large. A Caesar salad was ordered and I confirm it was absolutely delicious with heaps of chicken and other goodies. Other dishes ordered included assorted Pastas, Risotto, and Gnocchi and sides as well as breads. (Note from the person who ordered a bread, then the Caesar – don’t do this as the Caesar includes bread.)

Every dish was a large serving and absolutely delicious. There are entrees, breads, sides, children’s meals and desserts. And drinks. What more could we ask for?

The chef is a marvel. Strangely after the main dish, no one seemed to have room for dessert which was a shame as very interesting Italian deserts are listed in the menu. As well as drinks – a few of us enjoyed after dinner coffees.

Once the orders were taken, we did not have to wait very long for the meal to arrive. The staff are very helpful and attentive.

Of course, as usual, we were required to observe the usual Covid-19 requirements.

This restaurant is most definitely on my personal list for next year.

SH

May the Fourth events

The May the Fourth celebration of all things Star Wars has grown more visible since Disney’s theme parks adopted the May the Fourth celebrations in 2013. In keeping with that, Disney’s streaming service Disney Plus is currently holding a May the Fourth week.

On May the Fourth the animated Star Wars series The Bad Batch will premiere on Disney Plus, with one new episode being available each Friday. This fourteen episode series follows the adventures of a squad of clones with ‘desired mutations’ who are more individualistic than the rest of the clones. The Bad Batch is set between the movies Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: a new hope and follows on from the Clone Wars animated series.

Disney Plus has also announced that the Star Wars pages on its services will be illustrated with fanart from May 4th to May 9th.

Elsewhere on the internet, for players of Fortnite there is reportedly a May the Fourth event planned with “Star Wars items and skins” appearing in the game. Also, numerous places online will be holding May the Fourth related events.

Some other ideas for how to celebrate May the Fourth

  • Watch a Star Wars movie or television program
  • Play a Star Wars game, including roleplaying
  • Read a Star Wars book, comic or piece of fan fiction
  • Make some blue milk or other Star Wars style food
  • Do some Star Wars craft

Geek Markets Canberra coming up in May

Just when you thought we would we waiting a long time for any geeky events in Canberra, along comes the Geek Markets Canberra.

The Geek Markets is a free event – an indoor market featuring local and interstate geek artists, creators and traders. The market will include the kind of thing you would find in a convention hucksters hall, such as board games, comics, original art, toys, trading cards, costume accessories, toys, etc.

When and where: 15 and 16 May 2021, 10 am to 6 pm, Mallee Pavillion EPIC (showgrounds, Mitchell)

Further details at https://www.exhibitionparkincanberra.com.au/event/geek-markets-canberra/

Baen Books’ free 2021 short stories

Baen Books has released a collection of three short stories for free download for 2021.

The stories are

  • APPLESEED: A Founder Effect Legend by Robert E. Hampson
  • Latuda’s Lady in White by Aaron Michael Ritchey
  • Misfits by A.C. Haskins

Baen Books began the free story downloads back in 2011 and have shared a sample of free short stories each year since. The stories are a great opportunity to discover new authors.

There are 72 free downloads available on the Baen Books site, including previous years’ short story collections, novels and reading guides.

Have you read any of the books or stories on the Baen free books list? What did you think of them?

dear Moon project looking for crew to register for moon flight

The dearMoon project is a lunar tourism mission and art project conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. The first civilian mission to the Moon, planned to occur in 2023, will make use of a SpaceX Starship on a private spaceflight flying a single flying a single circumlunar trajectory around the Moon.

In other words, flying to the Moon and back.

Applications are open until March 14th for anyone to register for consideration to be a crew member. So, feel like going on a long flight?

Dining out – Flavours of India

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month.  The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant.  Each person pays for their own choice of meal.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t have to belong to the club to join in.  The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants for this year and the cuisines are varied – Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Nepalese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, just to name a few.  Most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

February’s choice was Indian cuisine.  We gathered at Flavours of India at G90 Corrina St, Phillip  We had dined there many times and said we would be back.  And we were.  As usual we were looking forward to an excellent meal.  Yet again we were not disappointed.

They remembered us and had reserved a lovely table up near the door.  Their staff are wonderful and so friendly and helpful. 

As usual, while we waited for everyone to arrive, we were offered drinks.  The drink menu is very wide and varied – wines, beers, ciders, spirits, soft drinks, juices, lassi and a selection of hot drinks.  What more could we ask for?

This time we didn’t have the usual banquet.  Everyone ordered their favourite meal. So on with some of our selections.

  • Butter Chicken – Barbecued boneless chicken pieces.  A favourite!
  • Sweet Potato and Spinach Chaat  Sweet potatoes, spinach, wheat crisps, date and tamarind chutney. Mouth watering.
  • Samosa  Deep-fried crisp triangles of spiced peas and potatoes, Beautifully cooked and so tasty.  You have to try them to see just how good they are.
  • Golgappa (Down Memory Lane) .  Arguably the most famous Indian street snack where every mouthful is an explosion of flavours.  So very different and soooo tasty.
  • Onions and Corn Bhaji GF*  Sweet corn and onion fritters.
  • Kosha Mangsho (Goat)  Bengali favourite of tender goat.
  • Prawn Balchao  Portuguese-influenced Goan dish comprising of prawns and other tasty ingredients.
  • Chettinad (Southern Style) Lamb/Beef/Chicken/Prawns.  An aromatic treat from the Chettiyar Business community of Tamil Nadu.
  • Rice – A fragrant accompaniment to any meal.
  • Riata – Yoghurt and cucumber to compliment the spicy tastes.
  • Papadams. – Love those crispy wafer-like snacks.

And this is not the full list of their dishes.  Just look at their menu online, or better still, look in person.

Dessert for those who wanted it –

  • Gulab Jamun and Belgian Chocolate Mousse.  so sweet and chocolate laden
  • Mango Rasmalai  Homemade cheese patties.  Oh so yummy!
  • Almond Pista Kulfi  Homemade Indian ice-cream with almonds and pistachios and berry coulis.  Mouth watering.
  • Vanilla Ice-cream.  Choice of toppings: Mango/Strawberry/Caramel/Chocolate.  Who can resist it?

Then coffee or tea to round off the meal.

What a meal!  Our dinner did not include dessert, but after the feast I don’t think anyone had room for dessert. 

What can I say to add to everyone’s compliments?  It was just so good!  While I thought the chef was top-notch after our last visit, I am now convinced he is even better.  Perfection.

We all had a excellent time and very, very much enjoyed the food.  We will definitely be back there again.

~ S.H. ~