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Very Good Things

Recommendations on podcasts, movies, TV, books, recipes, restaurants, technology, travel, shopping and more. Things that make life more interesting or satisfying.

Month

October 2016

Nour – A New and Modern Lebanese Restaurant in Sydney

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Image from broadsheet.com.au

Nour (“Light” in Arabic) is a new Sydney restaurant that’s taken the former home of Tokonoma on Crown Street in Surry Hills. It presents classic Middle Eastern flavours in a fresh and exciting way and is unlike any other Lebanese restaurant in Sydney. Firstly, the interior is light and airy with an unconventional colour palette of pinks and purples. It’s a stunning space. Secondly, there is no sight of tabouli, baba ganoush or falafel (in their most recognisable state, anyway), nor are there any belly dancers. The menu is designed to share and you’d be hard pressed to find anything that you weren’t enticed by. I was with two super efficient friends so we ordered hastily and well, settling on Baby Prawn Felafel with smoked black tahini & coriander ($18); Hummus with zaatar smoked goats cheese, pomegranate, Persian lime ($21); Charcoal Octopus with Yemenite bread, pencil fennel, olives & harissa oil ($27); Wood Roast Spiced Short Rib with roast carrots, nigella seeds, toum béarnaise ($46); and Charcoal Eggplant with pickled green tomato, lupini beans, goat’s curd emulsion ($21). Take in the beauty on their Instagram and dine there at Shop 3/490 Crown Street, Surry Hills. More info here noursydney.com

 

Mexican Black Bean Salad – A Spicy, Simple and Healthy Recipe

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Photo: Mark Roper

Deviating from the theme of my last few posts which have been somewhat morbid, here’s a recipe to make you feel warm and happy. It’s out of the best food magazine in Australia, Delicious. and now affectionately known in my family as the salad we force my Mum to make for any gathering because it gets wolfed down every time. It’s a little on the spicy side. You will need:

  • 1 cup (200g) fresh corn kernels, or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50g jalapeno chillies in brine, drained,
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brine reserved
  • 100g sour cream
  • 425g can black (turtle) beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 truss tomatoes, seeds removed, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cos lettuce
  • Lime wedges, to serve

View the full recipe here.

Speak, Memory: A Story About Artificial Intelligence and Grief

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Roman Mazurenko and Eugenia Kuyda

A thought-provoking story about how a programmer used artificial intelligence (AI) to keep talking to her friend after his death. Speak, Memory asks whether AI can help to ease grief and ultimately, just because we can, does it mean we should? “Modern life all but ensures that we leave behind vast digital archives — text messages, photos, posts on social media — and we are only beginning to consider what role they should play in mourning. In the moment, we tend to view our text messages as ephemeral. But as Kuyda found after Mazurenko’s death, they can also be powerful tools for coping with loss. Maybe, she thought, this “digital estate” could form the building blocks for a new type of memorial.” It’s similar in concept to the Black Mirror episode Be Right Back’Read the full article here (around 10 minutes).

Black Mirror TV Series Season 3

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Black Mirror is a TV series created by Charlie Brooker. Best described as a modern day Twilight Zone, it provides a chilling insight into how technology can shape and destroy our lives. The series first aired back in 2011 (there have been seven episodes to date including a Christmas special) and season 3 will be available on Netflix on 21st October with six new stories that will no doubt again leave you disturbed and uneasy about our obsession with technology. Watch the trailer here.

I Used to Be a Human Being – Confessions Of A Manic Information Addict

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Illustration by Kim Dong-kyu based on Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, by Caspar David Friedrich (1818)

Great article about our smartphone addiction and the impact it’s had on society. A lot of what Andrew Sullivan writes here I feel many of us are experiencing but not able to articulate as well. Love the thought that perhaps the only safe space we have left is the shower.  Also “We all understand the joys of our always-wired world — the connections, the validations, the laughs, the porn, the info. I don’t want to deny any of them here. But we are only beginning to get our minds around the costs, if we are even prepared to accept that there are costs. For the subtle snare of this new technology is that it lulls us into the belief that there are no downsides. It’s all just more of everything. Online life is simply layered on top of offline life… You are where your attention is. If you’re watching a football game with your son while also texting a friend, you’re not fully with your child — and he knows it. Truly being with another person means being experientially with them, picking up countless tiny signals from the eyes and voice and body language and context, and reacting, often unconsciously, to every nuance. These are our deepest social skills, which have been honed through the aeons. They are what make us distinctively human.” Time will tell if it hasn’t already… Read the full article here.

Love Home Swap – Save On Travel

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A friend told me about this website (also an app) a while ago and I am kicking myself that I didn’t get onto it sooner. Love Home Swap is a site where you put your home up to swap with others around the world which means you can save a lot of money when you travel. It’s not limited to swapping houses at the same time though. You can also earn points by having someone stay in your home while you’re away and use those points for future holidays. There is also the option to rent someone’s home. The properties range from studio apartments to grand mansions so there is something for everyone. It’s also reassuring having a stranger stay in your home if you’re staying in theirs. There is a membership fee but they often and are currently running a 2 week trial period if you join in October. See how it all works here.

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