Saturday, 28 March 2009

Relaxing Saturday

Its very late on Saturday evening after Earth Hour 2009. We've had an easy day today. Had to try really hard not to laugh at the cat who fell out of bed this morning then just kind of stayed where he fell for several seconds before realising he was looking undignified and high-tailing it out of the room. Then a late rising, just in time for me to leave Simon at home while I picked up a girlfriend and went out for a very leisurely lunch. Even the waiter commented as we left the courtyard 3 hours later 'you've had a lovely sojourn haven't you?'. Well indeed yes, we most certainly did!

Simon and I headed up to Browns Bay with the primary purpose of checking out Janssens butchery - they make (?) continental style (and South African) sausages. We ended up buying quite bit actually! (oh, they do other meats and deli goods as well, but the sausages were what brought them to our attention).

Before we got there though, we tried to find a cafe to have a late afternoon tea. Hmm, not a successful mission I fear, so we ended up in Starbucks. (Which I won't call a cafe, but they do make good fruppucinos I will concede (shame about the coffee)).

Startbucks Browns Bay

I renewed my artistic license and took some questionable photos. I had fun though.

Our day

Reading the newspaper
(in case you're wondering, its Simon's hands. he's turning pages in the newspaper)

Then this evening, we turned out the lights for earth hour, again I took a few more gratuitous photos and then we looked through the photos of our nieces' (yes, 2 of them, twins even) 2nd birthday party.

A very uneventful blog post for a very relaxing, chilled out and pleasant Saturday. Hope yours was a good one!

Earth Hour 2009
Obviously Simon took this photo of me watching stars during Earth Hour.:)

TarraWarra Estate Tin Cows Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley 2005

It was Earth Hour this evening and to help the time go by I opened up a bottle of TarraWarra Estate Tin Cows Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley 2005 for us to consume as we gazed up at the stars. We purchased this wine from the vineyard a couple of years ago and I had no recollection of the wine although did not have high expectations.

To the nose this wine exhibited a lovely warmth with cherry, raspberry and toast aromas. To taste however, I felt it had a light mouthwash feel and a touch of raspberry. I found it to be simple, light and nothing special. It can't however have been too bad since we did continue to finish off the bottle.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Surprise Birthday Dinner at Meredith's

For the last few weeks, Simon has been enjoying teasing me about where he had booked for my birthday dinner tonight. I had a short list of suspected locations, but, as I found out literally once we got outside the restaurant, I was completely wrong on all counts! Simon would have had me believe he had booked us in for McDonald's - asking me if I like happy meals and whether I'd prefer fries or salad. But no, he had booked us in at Meredith's on Dominion Road.

So yes, absolute top marks to Simon for booking a beautiful restaurant for dinner and for keeping it secret for so long! He thought I'd worked it out a couple of times, but no, I had no idea.

We had a beautiful meal in a lovely setting, with polished but not stuffy service - which I sincerely appreciate.

My entree was a taste sensation that I could happily live through again - Tuna with Abalone (aka Paua), Crab, Mirin and Mustard. The menu was on all counts somewhat enigmatic - which made a nice change from the current tradition of detailing every single item in a dish on the menu. Much was left to surprise - for example - the mustard was in fact a mustard sorbet. And I believe it was also dressed with a wasabi caviar and puffed rice (although not puffed like rice-bubbles!!!!). The mirin was lovely and the combination of flavours delicious. I had a glass of Simmonet Chablis with this - a great match and a lovely wine.

Simon had a crayfish entree which I couldn't begin to tell you about. Perhaps he'll share later.

For my main I had the Poussin which was served with a Paprika foam, a cauliflower puree (really really good) and baby leeks. Ooh, and scallops. How could I forget! I wasn't entirely fussed on the paprika foam, I felt it detracted a little from the rest of the dish, but I just moved it aside once I'd decided that and enjoyed the dish without it. The puree was my favourite part of this dish. I had a glass of Envoy Chardonnay - I am not usually a chardonnay fan, particularly when it is wooded, but this was delicious and a wonderful match. Thanks to our server for this recommendation.

Simon had the market fish, which by all accounts was really good.

Dessert. Ah yes, the enigmatic and fascinating menu continues! This time, Nachos. Yes, a dessert entry titled simply, "Nachos". I had to have it. :-) Corn chips with chocolate mince, apricot melted cheese, yoghurt sour cream and, hmm, not sure what the guacamole was come to think of it. But as you can hopefully see from my sketchy camera-phone photo below, it was convincingly nacho like! And yes, it was really tasty! Very novel, but tasty too! Ooh, and in fine form, yes I had a glass of dessert wine with this - a Hunters 2007 Riesling - beautiful and light and luscious and hintingly flowery, without being coying or syrupy - a delightfully balanced sticky.Simon had a white chocolate tube with 'liquid mango', melon and a variety of other delectable morsels.

All in all, a wonderful birthday dinner, great food, lovely wine, excellent service and of course marvellous company! Thanks honey!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Tasca Cafe - Mount Eden

Simon recently noticed someone on Twitter who had been to and enjoyed Tasca on Dominion Road in Mount Eden. So a couple of weeks back we decided we'd give it a go for a change of brunch location (90% of the time we go to Jaffa - because it's always so good and so welcoming).

Well, we went, we enjoyed, and yesterday we went again, and again we enjoyed, and again, we intend to return!

The first time we went I had the Istanbul Street Pizza - I have incredibly fond memories of my visit to Turkey in 1999 and regularly choose items on menus that I hope will re-intensify those memories for me. It was delicious! Totally different format to what I had in Istanbul, but the flavours - oh! Fantastic!

Simon had the Moorish Eggs the first time - a speciality of the cafe - and they were decidedly delicious and I have to order them myself sometime!

Yesterday, I had another house specialty - the Piperada - eggs with capsicum, tomato, coriander and served in a terracotta dish, the name for which I cannot remember. Came with a serve of Turkish bread - and was very filling and very very delicious. Highly recommended if you're looking for a healthy, low fat, filling breakfast too.

Simon went with something a little more traditional - Eggs Benedict with Smoked salmon. Also served on Turkish bread. He liked it. He thought the hollandaise was definitely home made, perhaps lacked a little lemon, and that the salmon was good and the egg yolks a beautiful colour.

Trim Latte

Coffees were both really good - we had our usual breakfast choice of trim lattes. And I had a lovely time with my camera photographing the convolvulus and various aspects of the beautiful, secret little courtyard. Actually, it's not that little, but it is most certainly secret and beautiful!


Tasca Tapas Bar & Restaurant
338 Dominion Rd

Mt Eden
PHONE: 09 630 6345
Dineout Entry

Friday, 20 March 2009

Ransom Clos de Valerie Pinot Gris 2006

Ransom Wines is a lovely boutique vineyard located just south of the beautiful township of Warkworth about 45 min north of home. This evening I opened up Ransom Clos de Valerie Pinot Gris 2006.

I found this a hard wine to profile, yet I enjoyed it from the start. It had a very light crisp mineral nose, and was very European in its style. This was matched with a lovely pale straw hue.

To taste it had a lovely all-encompassing light mouth feel with a beautiful light apple/citrus crispness and mineral flavour with a touch of acidity. This was complemented with a lovely dry freshness, a very long tail, and an intrigue with each mouthful. It was nicely balanced, and without that oily feeling so many Pinot Gris have.

A very enjoyable drop.