The Jersey Boys in Sydney, and an Aussie Pie!

Poster from jerseyboysblog.com

My brother T watched this last year on Broadway, and loved it. Now, T is not really a big musical fan, and for him to rave about one (with retro music as well!) just meant that Jersey Boys was a production that had wide appeal. And what appeal! In 2006 it won 4 Tonys, including Best Musical.

Of course, with the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, how could it miss? My brother didn’t realize it, but he already knew a lot of the music, just because the songs of Frankie Valli are considered to great “oldies” standards today. Who wouldn’t know “Walk Like A Man”, or “Sherry”? A lot of their songs are used now in movies as part of the soundtrack. Their songs are always chosen in karaoke bars, and everybody knows the words to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”.

For me, I love musicals and oldies music, so T immediately told me that I HAD to watch this. No need to convince me (there was even one summer where I listened to “The Best of Frankie Valli” incessantly, so I was already a fan of his), but I didn’t see a trip to New York in the near future.

Since C had a dinner scheduled on our one night in Sydney, I was left to find my own entertainment. Imagine my joy when I found out that Jersey Boys was showing in Sydney! Just around 5 blocks from my hotel in fact!

(Note: I found out it was showing by going to the Sydney Visitor Centre. All tourists should make this their first stop, as the Centre will tell them where to go, what’s currently showing, and even make arrangements. Such convenience! Visit them at  http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/sydney-For_visitors-Sydney_Visitor_Centres.htm)

I was able to get a ticket at the Ticketmaster booth (again, near my hotel), so I was all set. Even though the play was popular, it was easy to get a ticket for 1 person.

Splurge for an orchestra center seat!!

Curtain up at 7pm so that meant a quick, unfussy dinner.

Since I was in Australia, I just HAD to eat an Aussie Meat Pie! I got one from a kiosk called “Pie-Face”, a very cute kiosk selling all sorts of sweet and savory pies. Check them out here: http://www.pieface.com.au/.

I chose the classic Steak Pie. It was served piping hot, with an appealing puff pastry crust.

Why the sad face? You're delicious!

One cut and the savory gravy oozed out, and the aroma of slowly-stewed beef wafted up. Mmmmmm…..!

The steak pie was delicious! Nothing fancy. Just a good flakey crust, tender, bite-sized steak (and they didn’t skimp on this!), and lashings of gravy.

After devouring my pie (in a flash!), I walked over to Theater Royal, where Jersey Boys was playing. See what a great seat I got at the last minute.

Before the "no picture taking please" announcement

Again, this seat was only possible because I was only one. The play was pretty much sold out.

Jersey Boys didn’t disappoint. It about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the points of view of the 4 main characters, each representing a “season”. “Spring” (or the beginning) was told by the group’s original leader, Tommy DeVito. “Summer” (when the group started getting popular) was told by the member who wrote all the songs, Bob Gaudio. “Fall” was when the group started having problems, and was told by member with the lowest profile, Nick Massi. And finishing off with “Winter” was Frankie Valli, when all the original members of “The Four Seasons” leave, and Frankie becomes a single-name act.

The music is the draw of the play, as the engaging tunes have everyone clapping along and bobbing their heads. It was also very interesting (for a fan like me) to know the trivia behind some of the songs (for example, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was almost never released).

I thought they did an amazing job in casting, as finding someone who could hit Frankie Valli’s high notes AND look like him couldn’t have been easy. And the cast, with their Jersey/Italian accents, sounded so mafioso that you almost expected Tony Soprano and Sonny Corleone to come out and belt out a tune.

The audience left the play in high spirits, dancing to the music and probably buying the soundtrack. Who could resist?

Boppin' to the beat

Paddy’s Market in Sydney

My friend asked me to get her a bracelet (thin, leather kind) from Sydney, and I wanted to get her something that was characteristic of Australia. I was thinking of some kind of Aboriginal bracelet, so I looked at the guidebooks to see where I can get Aussie handicrafts.

The guidebook pointed me out to Paddy’s Market, which fortunately was walking distance from our hotel. It was located in a big complex called Market City, right next to a Light Rail Network station.

See Paddy's Market's green sign?

Paddy’s Market, staying true to its name, even had a fresh produce section, where boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables were being crated in (I apparently got there quite early, and products were just being delivered).

Gorgeous fruits and vegetables!

Paddy’s Market reminded me of our divisoria, where you had a lot of stalls that sold a lot of made in China stuff. I saw a lot of cheap shades, jewelry, clothes, hats, and Aussie souvenir items (like Aboriginal crafts and boomerangs!). I even saw Uggs!

I finally saw a stall that sold the kind of bracelets I was looking for. Leather braided strips, but for that Aussie touch……..

….a baby shark’s tooth!

The owner of the stall was a charming man who eagerly agreed to my request for a picture. In fact, he insisted of having a picture with me!

Holding my hand was his idea!

The Sydney Fish Market Part 3: Oysters Oysters Oysters!!

When I think of Sydney, fresh oysters come to mind. Heaps of fresh oysters in the half-shell, chilled, slightly briny, slightly sweet, swimming in their juice. Since they were so fresh in the market, there was no need for any elaborate sauces. Just a simple squeeze of lemon and they were ready to eat!

The first counter that greeted me as I entered the Fish Market was Christie’s. As you can see, they freshly shuck the oysters right in front of you, and lay out the different kinds in a showcase window.

There were several kinds to choose from, and when I asked for help, the servers would ask me whether I liked them sweet or salty.

If I wanted sweet, this is what they would recommend:

If I wanted salty, they’d recommend these 2. These ones were farmed….

…..while these ones were wild.

I asked what the difference was, and the server just said, “Actually to me, they all taste the same.” How disappointing! But I suppose if you’re surrounded by oysters everyday, you do get a little blase!

So, like a true, indecisive gourmand, I ordered all (total: 2 dozen!). Don’t get shocked. They’re non-fat anyway :).

For me, I liked the wild ones best. I couldn’t really tell if the sweet ones were really sweet, or the briny ones really salty, but the wild ones had the best texture, and were the meatiest.

Aside from oysters, there was also lobster! I did eat one (or one-half of one) but would have preferred a simple steamed one, rather than one covered in cheese. That seemed almost criminal to me.

For those who aren’t oyster fans, never fear. There is also, believe it or not, fresh fish (see the sashimi counter in Christie’s) which you can ask to grill. Prawns and shrimps abound as well.

And fresh fruits! I just had to take a picture of the “topless pineapples”.

The Sydney Fish Market was such a clean place as well. No “fishy” smell! They open 7am until 4pm, so if you can start the day right with the freshest catch of the day!

The Sydney Fish Market Part 2: Doyle’s

Doyle’s is a pretty popular restaurant in Sydney. They started with a branch in Watson’s Bay in 1885, and have since then opened more branches. Here’s their link http://www.doyles.com.au/.

This branch is in the Sydney Fish Market, which is logical, since Doyle’s is famous for its seafood.

I was craving for steamed mussels, and I saw it on their menu! Unfortunately, it was only 10:15am, and the sign said Doyle’s opened at 11am, and that was the time I had to leave to go back to the hotel! Curses!

However, as luck would have it, the friendly waitress (Mimi was her name) saw my disappointed face, and asked the chefs if they could just whip up the steamed mussels just for me.

Mimi is Doyle's secret weapon

Lo and behold!

Steamed mussels in white wine sauce, garlic bread, and a glass of sauv blanc!

Let me tell you, Aussies are really such nice people!

One more picture with Mimi and the Mussels. Doesn’t that sound somewhat like an ’80s band?

Mimi and the Mussels

And here’s the aftermath!

A clean sweep. Even the garlic bread was demolished.

I must admit, I would have preferred mussels without the white sauce, but hey, they opened up the restaurant for me, so I can’t complain! The mussels (Tasmanian, of course!) were tender. Not rubbery or tough. So I was more than happy.

After my mussels, I just had to go over to the kitchen and thank the chefs!

I really do appreciate it when the service staff go the extra mile for a customer, and I always make sure to thank them, so that they know their extra service was appreciated. Of course, I tipped them well, as well!

The Sydney Fish Market Part 1: Getting There

One of my best discoveries this trip was the Sydney Fish Market. If you like fresh seafood, and want to get it cheaper than most restaurants in Sydney, then the Fish Market is the way to go.

Getting there was a breeze, since the Fish Market is considered to be one of more popular spots in Sydney. I took the Light Rail Network (LRN), which is basically the tram system of Sydney.

The Fish Market is one of the stops of the LRN, so it was very convenient. You get your ticket from the conductor on the tram, so you don’t have the dilemma of having exact change. The tram is also very clean and comfortable, with wheelchair access and handicapped seating. What can you expect from a first-world country!

Silent and sleek. The Light Rail Network is a great way to see part of Sydney!

The conductor was nice enough to chat with me regarding what else to see in Sydney, where my stop was, and his recommendations for Canberra (my next destination). I guess it was a pretty slow afternoon for him to be this chatty.

Clear signs to the Fish Market were posted all over, so its hard to lose your way. As I said, its a pretty popular destination, for both locals and tourists.

As I said, you can’t get lost!

Next entry: Doyle’s of the Sydney Fish Market