Monday, 24 December 2007
In terms of finding out details about how to ski at Garmisch I found details to be lacking a bit on various websites, so here is my attempt to explain some of it from my experience.
The Zupspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and the snow (according to the guy in the snow rental shop) is the best up there, as opposed to the numerous other ski areas around. I hired skis, boots and poles from a place on the corner of Alpspitzstraße and Sankt-Martin-Straße called Thomas Ski Schule or something like that. I don't know if it's the cheapest but the the gear was good enough (€28). I was also wanting to hire goggles but they unfortunately don't hire them so I bought some instead (my other ones are a bit old anyway). They also didn't hire helmets for adults, but this wasn't a biggie for this field (imho) unless you're wanting to hit the terain park.
In order to get to the ski field I took the Zupspitzbahn (cost ~€38 including access to all lifts on mountain) which is a cogwheel train that goes up to the ski field (the Zugspitzplatz area), from it's station next door to the main train station. There is essentially nothing at this station expect for a ticket office and the train (of course). I took the first train (8.15am) and about an hour later arrived at the ski field which was practically empty. I actually took a taxi to the station it left from because I didn't want to walk with skis, boots, poles etc 1km to the station (cost ~€9). I got there early and found no queue at all. It was very easy to buy a ticket and the guy in the counter spoke great English (like most people in Germany). I then put my skis on the side of the train and went inside to the nicely heated interior with my poles and boots. At this point I hadn't put my ski boots on, but many others had. The trip was very scenic with snow everywhere.
Once off the train, I went to the outside area and put on my ski boots and put my other shoes in my day pack. I think there was an area with lockers but my bag was so light I ended up skiing with it on. The ski area starts from this area (I recommend heading left and down for intermedia and above skiiers/boarders, to the right is essentially the beginners area although it can be a good place to start for others too) and there are a couple of restaurants here with reasonably high prices; it would be worth taking a little bit of stuff up with you. A super small tube of sunblock also set me back €9.20 so it would be worth taking that with you too if it looks like it will be a sunny day. In terms of the runs, they're well marked, and fairly self explanatory in terms of how to get back to this main area (although it might take a t-bar and a chairlift to do so). Incidentally there was only the one charlist and every else was a t-bar.
The vast majority of people on the field were skiiers, not snowboarders which was something different. The field is nice and wide and a great place to practice turns, but not much in the way of things to jump off or walls to back up (that I saw anyway). I did lots and lots of runs. It is actually quite a fast field, whereby there were a number of times when you need to go at a decent speed in order to make it up the next hill, but this didn't pose a problem at all for me.
In terms of getting back down I decided to take the cable car down from the summit to the Eibsee. Whilst I had heard this was faster, in my case it definitely wasn't. The other option is to simply go back on the Zugspitzbahn (which I would recommend). I changed back to my walkign shoes at this point, but many didn't. In terms of the way I went, there is a cable car up to the summit from the main Zupspitzeplatz area which left about every 15mins (and I'd just missed one). Once finally on (standing room only) this only took a few minutes to get to the summit, where there was about a 10min wait for another cablecar down to the Eibsee (NB: you need your ticket, from the journey up the mountain, here to get through the turnstiles). This was also standing room only and took 5-10mins and went down a long way rather quickly (quite exciting). At the bottom there was a short walk (~2min) along a path covered in snow (which was just ok in my shoes) up to the train station where there was a 35min wait until the Zugspitzbahn arrived, which I then boarded (NB: you need your ticket, from the journey up the mountain, here to get through the turnstiles) and eventually (~30mins later) arrived back where I started at the Zugspitzbahn main station.
So that was my day. Great fun and good snow!
From here we head to Munchen, where we will be met by Georg and escorted to Moosburg where we will spend christmas eve with family friends. It will be excellent to experience something like christmas with locals and we're both thoroughly looking forward to it, although have no idea what to expect!
Until next time, Seasons Greetings all.
Thus, today I'm simply going to write about what we did and saw yesterday, or at least in part given that we jammed in over 270km yesterday!
9am-ish we picked up a rental car, which we were a little suprised to discover, once we got to it a block from the office, that it was still completely covered in ice which we had to scrape down before we could even consider going anywhere. At 72 euro for the day, I'd have thought Avis could have actually prepared it for us. Perhap I expect too much. Ah well, you've been warned. There is my protest, online for the world to read. :-)
From there we headed north towards Munchen and Augsburg and within about 5 minutes of driving we were greeted with the incredible, icy beautfy of snow encrusted trees, fences, houses and blanketed hillsides. It is so amazing to be confronted with something completely outside of my usual experience. So often when we travel we are seeing things that are a variation on the familiar. This however was something completely new and splendid for me. I was completely in awe of it all. Absolutely amazing. I'm not even sure that we really got photos, although expect we managed to gather our jaws up and contain amazement for long enough to get a couple of shots towards the end of the day. Truely, I felt like I had walked through the back of the wardrobe and emerged in Narnia.
20km or so along the road, we turned off to Oberammergau (sp?) where we had a bit of look around. I saw a cool carved frog prince in the middle of the street that I photographed, then a little further on we found a strange ice scupture of, hmm, what on eart was it. Half of a pipe standing on its end? Something like that! Anyway, when we returned back past the frog, I idiotically declared to Simon 'Oh! That's carved from ice too!' Duh! Silly girl! I had thought it carved from stone when I photographed it. :)
From Oberammergau we headed further up the road, turning in to the final part of the Romantic road towards Schwangau and Neuschwanstein castle. Wow! How completely surreal! You're driving along this road surrounded by the most amazing winter wonderland, gazing at the many mountains that surround you on all sides, and then all of sudden notice this vainglorious edifice on the hillside! What an incredible indulgence - never completed and lived in by Ludwig for only 170 days! Astounding! We eventually found the road up to it, but were the only car amongst hundreds of walkers and several horse and carts. I felt somehow we weren't meant to be there given the lack of other cars or even tyre tracks. However there were no signs, and when we did get to the top there were a few cars in the carpark. We marvelled at just how far people were trapsing up a hideous hill in freezing conditions to visit the castle. True to our usual form, we declined to go in (this is a habit we should perhaps consider getting over at some point, but personally I find the natural beauty of a place to be what I find the most inspiring and calming part of travel). We did however take several photos. The panaromic view over the valley from that height was quite incredible, but impossible to photograph. I've snapshotted it in my memory instead. :)
From there we crawled our way down the hill and back out the main road, past Fussen then headed for Reutte in Austria. And crossed the border. With no fanfare or acknowledgement other than the street markings changing to a slightly different format.
We tried and failed to find somewhere for lunch in Reutte then proceeded towards Innsbruck, however obviously missed the one crucial sign as we discovered ourselves heading towards somewhere entirely opposite to Innsbruck, requiring Simon to perform one of his favoured u-turns. :)
Eventually we found the correct road, and then pulled in to the grounds of the Erhard (???) castle ruins where we found a most unassuming little pub/cafe to have lunch at. As we walked in and found a table, the occupants of the only other table in use each greeted us! So nice! We had a very hearty meal!
From there we continued on towards Innsbruck but decided we would continue on the shorter route, directly back to Garmisch. At some point, we have no idea when, we crossed back into Germany. Still very odd.
The mountains were truely incredible. I took several photos of what we thought was the Zugspitze (where Simon skiied the other day) while in Austria, only to turn a few more corners and discover the Zugspitze in all it's glory, leaving me to dismiss the other mountain as 'some puny other mountain'. In such abundance are they!
I am left with the most incredible images of white, crisp, magical countryside. Never did I think I could enjoy winter so very much.
Saturday, 22 December 2007
We have had absolutely splendid weather, with only a very light drizzle the night we arrived in Frankfurt and then a tiny bit of rain on the following afternoon when we arrived in Wurzburg. Since then it has been quite beautiful. Yes, cold, but beautiful clear skies throughout.
So, since ROBT where I last blogged from, we have had 3 nights in Nurnburg, 2 in Regensburg and have now had 2 nights in Garmisch, with plans to hire a car tomorrow and go for a drive up to Neuchwanstein castle and probably back via Austria, just because we can. :)
I wasn´t overly enamoured by Nurnburg. The Christmas markets there were certainly the largest we have seen, but also felt quite commercial and it was also about the only place we´ve been where it seemed that there were more foreigners than Germans. Most of Nurnburg was destroyed during the 2nd world war, however much of it has been restored using the original stones. Beautiful buildings, but I personally didn't get the same atmosphere from Nurnburg than our other destinations in Bavaria.
We did however find a splendid Italian restaurant - which confused the hell out of language skills - speakings bits of German, Italian AND english. Oh my goodness! Fabulous atmosphere, divine food, and then we went back the following night. :)
Regensburg I fell in love with during the taxi ride from the Hauptbahnhof to our hotel. Oh my word, another place where words simply cannot do sufficient justice in describing it. I will try at a later date when I also have the advantage of adding some photos to aid my story. Our Hotel alone was quite delightful, with a 4 poster bed and antique furniture everywhere.
Merry Christmas to you all - I don´t expect to be writing again until after that!
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
We're in Rothenburg ob der Tauber at the moment, and truely, it is quite magical. (Forgive me the odd typo - the keyboard is German and I don't have access to the control panel to change the input).
It is certainly a little on the cold side and I am glad for all of the merino wool we stocked up on, but it's quite a delicious, crisp cold, rather than the damp, icky cold we get a home over winter.
I honestly do not know how to do this place justice using mere words. Our hotel alone is like stepping back in time, and is just so magical. Its all dressed up in its christmas clothes, but so tastefully done. The window displays in all the shops along the street are fabulous, with fresh pine sprigs all around them, candles, Father Christmas' of all shapes and sizes, and mistletoe - which I'd previously only ever seen on TV or in photos!
The bakeries are a feast for the eyes - all with their own various renditions of the Schneeballen (once you've had one you're unlikely to require another!). The delicatessans (or perhaps they have a different name) are fair bulging (pun slightly intended) with all manner of sausages and salamis and a variety of other things that I don't have a hope of identifying - but may just buy anyway so we can find out!
We've been quite suprised, but equally delighted with the sight of people in restaurants with their dogs on the floor beside them - and I don't mean little Paris Hilton style dogs either, I mean alsatians, and others of similar size! Quite different!
Our host here at the Goldener Hirsch is quite a delight all of his own! Simon thinks he's a bit like Basil Fawlty - and I don't disagree! He's quite wonderful and has an unexpectably effusive sense of humour.
Ah so much to see and take in! I'm in my own private heaven surrounded by so much medieval history, buildings, monuments, roads, and on and on. Ooh, and with impeccable timing, a horse and carriage just rolled past the window. Hehe. Bliss. I could stay here forever. Or at least enjoy dreaming about it forever.
Friday, 7 December 2007
Hopefully we'll get to internet cafes regularly enough to keep updates here, we'll see how we get on. Probably no photos until we get back though, at which point I can assure you there'll be plenty.
Watch this space!
Sunday, 18 November 2007
The staff set the expectation with us up front that they were ridiculously busy and that food was taking about an hour to come out. This was fine with us, and I really appreciate being told this as we were going into the cafe and not finding out until after we had ordered. Setting expectations is so important, it's easy to do, but so many places fail in this regard.
True to the form of what we came to expect from Benediction, the food, coffee, service and overall vibe were great. There were a number of the old favourites on the menu, but there were also a few new entries or a slight twist onthe old ones. I went for eggs benedict on a kumara mash and this was beautifully done. I can't recall what Jane ordered, but that's not as huge surprise as I tend to focus on my meal... but I recall that she did enjoy it.
I would definitely go back, and in fact Jane has gone back there for brunch today with Trudy. Somehow I think their brunch might be a bit better than what I cobbled together.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
I've been enjoying making delicious fresh salsas of late. Mostly tomato, coriander (which I used to hate and now adore), wine vinegar, olive oil, chillis and seasoning. Last night I removed the chillis from the mix as Simon had doused the potatoes in chilli before introducing them to the bbq, and then added avocado and switched Lemon juice for my usual wine vinegar. Oh my word, how delicious, and beautiful to boot! (No photos sorry).
Asparagus grilled directly on the bbq is another of my favourites at the moment. So easy and so tasty. Of course, in my opinion its not often that asparagus isn't tasty.
Back to coriander for a moment - I am indebted to the Hay Hay it's Donna Day bloggers for introducing me to the Donna Hay magazine. I have recently started purchasing this and was excited to find her simple (embarrasingly simple - one of those 'now why didn't I know that' moments) instructions for storing fresh herbs. I love having herbs growing in the kitchen, but invariably coriander, whether growing or picked, wilts and yellows on me within a couple of days of buying it. So this time I followed the Donna Hay instructions - wrapped it in a damp paper towel, sealed it back on its tray in glad wrap, and proceeded to use one bunch of coriander for over a week and a half - when it was still succulently green and crisp and delicious. And now I've run out. Argh!
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
the Friendless 21st Century (my title)
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Simon had a big weekend at work a couple of weeks ago (did I mention I was behind in my posts?) so I took the opportunity to go and visit Charlotte & Kevin and Astrid.
This meal was the night after the Cauliflour swirl soup, and I used the remainder of the cauliflour part of the soup as my stock base for my risotto (a little unorthodox, but waste not want not). The chicken I did in a style that we usually use to cook veal - coating it in flour, frying (which I rarely do to be honest) in butter and olive oil, then pouring over lemon juice and a dash of vege stock to make the most delicious sauce. And it worked so well with the risotto, I was quite delighted! (The lovely yellow around the edge is mostly lemon juice, not butter!)
I should comment on these bowls too - they were a gift from one of Simon's aunts a couple of christmases ago. There are 4 in the set, each one hand painted with a different pattern. And we absolutely love them! As you can no doubt tell from the number of meals I present in them! They've inspired me to paint some more of my own.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
This I made during Simon's manic week of working long hours, when I found it quite relaxing to spend my journey's home in the car on my own (we usually drive to work together) planning what to concoct for dinner.
I had purchased a new box of veges from Naturally Organic a couple of days earlier, so I chose 5 ingredients (although once I got to the kitchen I think I only used 3 of them) and compiled this little number.
Before:and after (yes, I finally used a real camera instead of my cell phone):
So the final result is a cauliflower and swede soup, swirled with broccoli and leek soup, both with loads of seasoning, but it was so long ago now I can't remember which ingredients went into which pot, topped with Parmesan crisps. I enjoyed making this, and was reasonably pleased with the end result, although to be honest, I didn't particularly like the flavour of the broccoli component - I think broccoli soup requires blue cheese to actually work. I'm open to being convinced otherwise though!
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
This wine is currently in perfect drinking condition, has a lovely golden hue and a beautiful aroma. It is a big wine with strong flavours throughout and lingers long on the palate. Rose Water and Ginger are what I deem as the dominant aroma and taste, but a slight acidic undertone breaks it up beautifully and avoids an overly powerful bouquet.
We drank this wine with a summer Italian style dish consisting of a Homemade Coriander Salsa, Garlic Ciabatta, and Fresh Salmon with a touch of Fennel, and it worked surprisingly well with this herb induced set of flavours. It was the challenge of finding an appropriate wine match for this meal that resulted in this bottle escaping the cellar last night.
I thoroughly recommend this wine and look forward to drinking the one remaining bottle we have in the cellar.
Monday, 13 August 2007
Sunday, 12 August 2007
Charlotte inspired me some months back and I've been buying the odd organic box of fruit and vege from Naturally Organic (it's just like christmas coming home of an evening to my delivery and unwrapping all the items and pondering what on earth I'm going to make with some of them! Swedes are my main challenge this week!) So it will be a vegetable fiesta for dinner tonight - I've found this has also been a great way to restore my pleasure in cooking.
Both Simon and I had been getting a little bored with cooking of late, and I've found that by having to research vege's that I wouldn't usually buy and having to get really creative with my cooking has put much of the spark back in it for me!
Speaking of home cooked meals, we made an absolutely delicious meal the night Simon's folks came up from Wellington to stay for a weekend at the end of July. hmm, although I've just had a mind blank on the starter. But for main course I made a beautiful lemon, rocket risotto (I don't order risotto when we dine out now, as I usually conclude that mine are better), which we served with a trusty Veal in Lemon dish that Simon made. This is absolutely to die for and takes all of 15 minutes (tops!) to make. We'll make it again soon and the photograph it and put the recipe up here.
Right, the remainder of domestic Sunday awaits (my way of getting all the household chores done without thinking of them as evil hateful chores!)
We wandered along to La Cigale on St Georges Bay Road today, to pick up some french cheeses for Kevin for his birthday. We didn't realise that the fromagerie is not really open on a Sunday, however the guy from the cafe was extremely accomodating about this, allowing us to sample the cheese we were interested in and even making some suggestions for us (along with recommending we come along on a Wednesday when they have all the cheeses available for tasting!) Certainly another nice find.
So they seated us under a very pleasing heater, side by side so that neither of us was sitting in the wind and it was actually very pleasant! Especially once they filled up a bit in side - it was clearly quite noisy in there, while we had our own private dining room, and a fabulous vantage point for watching passer-by.
What we ate:
- Jane - Veal Sweetbreads with chorizo and beurre blanc - really nice, beautiful chorizo
- Simon - Grilled marinated Lamb Fillet on a salad of vine-ripened tomatoes,
goats cheese, pickled garlic and roquette leaves.lovely smokey flavour
- Jane - Oven roasted crisp Pork Belly served on a Polish red cabbage choucroute
with mashed kumara and crackling.- this was lovely, an appropriate serving size (which is always important with pork belly), lovely crackling and mash, wasn't quite so fussed on the red cabbage
- Simon - Confit of duck, toulouse sausage, white bean cassoulet - something different for Simon to order, but he was really pleased with this.
- Jane - Pannacotta of Valrhona chocolate served with poached seasonal
fruit and Mascarpone- this was quite divine! A very smooth, thick pannacotta, not too sweet.
- Simon - Lemon mousse on sablé with mint coulis, stone fruit compote and
passionfruit Sorbet.. Oh my word! Its not often that we rave about desserts, in fact more often than not we find them a bit of an anti-climax to an otherwise lovely meal. But this was to die for! We'd go back just for this dessert! The Lemon mousse was so light and deliciously lemony, the passionfruit sorbet packed full of flavour. Fantastic!
What we drank
- Jane - Dr Loosen Reisling - lovely and citrusy - this was a recommendation from the sommelier to have with the pork. Quite a bit of residual sugar, and definitely a good match. Lovely.
- Simon - Menhir Primitivo Quota 29, from Puglia, Italy. Absolutely beautiful, served at the perfect temperature and had a very warm nose to it - which followed through into the palate as well. Also a recommendation from the sommelier
- Coffees - not so good, but still drinkable (unlike the ones we had at Chevalier point in the morning). I expect their brunch coffees are better, and we don't tend to judge a restaurant on the quality of their coffees at an evening meal.
The Decor and Atmosphere
As noted above, we were outside, and it was quite perfect.
Fantastic! Excellent attention to detail, fabulously knowledgable sommelier. Despite being the only people sitting outside, we were really well looked after, with only one slightly longer wait when we were ready to place our dessert order - by which time inside was absolutely packed.
We paid just over $150 for 3 courses, a wine each and coffees. For the quality and overall experience, this was good value for money.
Lovely restaurant, we'd most definitely go back.
Saturday, 11 August 2007
- Canton Cafe (Kingsland)
- Soul Bar (struck off after Simon visited recently with work)
- O'Connell Street Bistro
- Number 5
- Chamber Wine Bar
- the Grove
We've been out a bit lately, but haven't made the time to write things up.
A few summaries:
- the Engine Room (again!) - fabulous as always
- Der Metz - HUGE portions, but otherwise nothing special (and quite slow)
- Mozaik Cafe (Albany) - brunch - some different, mediterannean style items, really nice, we'd go back
- Latin Larder - fantastic coffee, great brunch
- Grand Harbor - always reliably great yum char
- Chevalier Point Cafe - quite stark, a bit slow, coffee not so good, food ok. will go back for an afternoon soda simply because of the lovely location (but note I didn't say food or coffee)
- The Williamson Cafe - excellent new find for weekend brunch
- Nada - STILL (and always!) the best bakery in the country. Shortbread to die for, mudcake like you wouldn't believe and the best breads around. And the personal deliveries from Johnsonville are always a treat! (cheers Michael!)
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
What we ate:
- Entree (Shared): Rare beef salad with pomegranate, pine nuts, fresh mint, dates - TO DIE FOR! I literally savoured every single mouthful of this. Wow. Oh - and it was an attractive dish as well! (see sneaky cell phone pic - not quite so attractive as we'd devoured half of this before I remembered to take a photo. But it was beautifully presented.)
- Main: Kingfish on Saffron Risotto with Spinach and Fennel Salad & Tapenade - beautiful. The salad was lovely - I think this is the first time I've actually eaten Fennel! My goodness!
- Dessert (shared): Panacotta, Roast Peaches, Praline - wow - the panacotta was so rich and milky and smooth and delicious! The Praline was fabulous - not too cruncy, but not soft, and deliciously nutty.
- Main: Harissa Roast Chicken with Pearl Barley, Aubergine and Tahini - this was beyond words delicious and I sooo want the recipe for the pearl barley. Everything was in wonderful balance, bursting with flavour and nothing too overpowering. I'd order this if I went back. My fish was good, but this was truely rave-worthy.
What we drank:
The Decor and Atmosphere
Lovely as always, very simple and clean. The smell of fresh mint hit me as soon as I walked in and it was divine. The music was really nice, quite contemplative adn atmospheric, most appropriate, and a good volume.
Excellent. As always, very professional, helpful, not stuffy. It wasn't what I would call 'stand-out' service, but excellent all the same - if you know what I mean by that subtle distinction. (I still tipped them - so it was better than average!). Oh yes - and it was encouraging hearing the staff describing dishes and wines with knowledge and confidence.
Mains up to $30, starters $16-$18. Simon thought the starters a little pricey, but I expect to pay this in a classy restaurant. No complaints though.
Yes, this is also one of our favourite restaurants. :) Interestingly, we went to Ciao the following evening - this has previously been one of our very highly rated restaurants, however it very much paled in comparison with The Engine Room. More on that later (and that's not to say it was bad, but it is an indication of the quality of The Engine Room.)
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
After the show we headed up to Red for dinner, and met Simon there. We wanted to go to One Tree Grill from a location standpoint, however they're closed on Sundays. :(
Ok - last time I blogged Red, I commented that Simon was including it on his list of favourite restaurants. This time - I have now decisively placed Red at the top of my list and hereby name it my favourite restaurant. Fantastic meal, great service, really friendly, really helpful, excellent attention to detail. Ooh, and gorgeous wine.
What did we eat this time?
- the shared tasting plate of the hummus (with a delicious lemony twist), olives (full of flavour), duck pate (sooo smooth and delicious) and a variety of breads.
- the Venison again. :) And a delicious red wine that he can't remember what he ordered. Oops!
- Lamb rump on mint and sweet pea risotto. Fantastic - the lamb was beautifully smoky and the risotto a really nice match with this.
- Calamari - this was quite honestly THE most tender calamari I have ever eaten. I didn't know that calamari had the potential to be melt-in-the-mouth tender, but this was truly that tender. I'll be ordering it next time we visit.
- seasonal vegetables - beans and broccoli and delicious (but then I'm a bit partial to green beans!)
Thursday, 25 January 2007
We got up early and headed up to Matakana, arriving at 9am, 1 hour after the Farmers Market had opened. What a fabulous market! Of course, I love ALL farmers markets (at least, I haven't found one I didn't enjoy yet!). The setting is fabulous, with the band, the stream, and the general hub-bub of every enjoying fresh air and friendly gathering of supplies.
Some of our favourite finds:
- spiced salad mix - wow! This was absolutely fantastic, and a real hit with the guests we served it to. An incredibly varied collection of edible leaves, flowers, pods and veges. We'll definitely be buying this again (sorry, can't think of the name of the business, but will check it this weekend when we return)
- Simon had a whitebait fritter which was absolutely delectable - just like mum cooks them! Whitebait and egg. Nothing else to take away from the flavour. Excellent!
- Although we didn't buy any, the vietnamese rolls looked lovely.
- The coffee was great, and well worth the wait
- Heron's Flight red pepper jelly - we've bought this before and already knew it was a favourite, but haven't had any for a few years. This is soooo tasty on bagels with a bit of tasty cheese.
True enough, that alone didn't take 7 hours. So...
- 1 hour to Matakana,
- 1 and a quarter hours at the Village Farmers Market,
- 15 minutes fighting our way OUT of the market (I thought bus must have arrived, there were throngs of people streaming in at 10am as we were leaving, madness!),
- 1 hour or so at the other market (where a bought a fantastic shoulder bag (photograph to come...)),
- next on to Ascension Vineyard to pick up our free bottles of Pintoage. Then we purchased a dozen wine as well. Such an expensive hobby! So that took another hour (or close to it)
- 1 hour back to Auckland, then we went and spent
- 30 minutes at the Fish Market, where we bought Blue Cod and Orange Roughy for lunch, Tuna for dinner and Scallops for another meal during the week, and also bought veges and cheese from the deli, oh yeah, and we bought organic venison and beef. All delectable. :)
Thursday, 4 January 2007
We're currently in Melbourne, and have been in Victoria for the last week. And having a fabulous time! And yes, we have some fabulous restaurants to blog, including:
Portofino on Bank - Port Fairy (OMG what a divine meal!!!)
Knife Fork Bottle & Cork - Melbourne
Queen Victoria Markets - Melbourne
Essense - Docklands, Melbourne
Spaghetteta - Lygon St. Melbourne
Colonial Tramcar Restaurant - Melbourne (going there tonight)
Sumo Salad - a franchise, but brilliant concept!
Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man - Melbourne
Ooh - nearly forgot - Beechworth Bakery (!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!) - Healesville
Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary - Healesville
Some of them will probably only get a couple of lines mention, and not right now - still too much to see and do!
We were at the QV Markets this morning - what a splendid place! We made a point of getting up early (really early) and were there before 7:30am. They're predicting 34 Degrees today, so I'm planning on spending 11-3 out of the sun if at all possible. I'm amazed that the markets have been there for 128 years! That's incredible! And honestly, the quality and variety of products available is just fantastic - I don't know why anyone living in Melbourne would ever visit a traditional supermarket for their food shopping! Very cool.
The other thing that has been incredibly conspicuous (and pleasantly so) is how friendly everyone is. And I'm not just talking about the hotel and restaurant staff who are paid to be nice (not that that's ever a guarantee they will be), but even people on the street. Everyone has time to say hi, they offer help if you look like you need it, everyone has a warm smile and a genuinely friendly hello. Amazing - it's been really really nice.
Well, time is ticking on my internet access so time to sign off for now. Will be back soon with updates on the fabulous things we've seen, done and eaten and drunk.