Last Night and Beyond

(February 7th 2007)

Last night we ate in White the hotel restaurant (yes they let us in). The waiter came over and asked us if we had any questions about the menu (nice touch, didn’t make you feel like an idiot making that first move…”uhh what the hell is white speck?”) and we ordered. Amanda had seared scallops with minted pea puree, a trio of basil, white speck with a lime butter sauce for starters and a seared and poached chicken breast, pumpkin and carrot gratin with mango and bell pepper salsa for her main course. I had cured and seared salmon in a chive and ginger crust with pickled fennel and saffron solution for my starters and chargrilled beef fillet with a kumara rosti, watercress and mushrooms with a beef comsomme. Each course came with it’s own wine selected to go with each different dish and I had them all, hehe. To finish we both had roasted strawberries with manuka honey semi-freddo and a lemon vincotto syrup. I only mention the entire menu as it was possibly the best meal I have ever had (at least up in the top two or three). By the way if you don’t know, white speck is crispy ham (sounds like bacon doesn’t it?) and kumara is a type of sweet potato which is everywhere over here and delicious. Slept well after that although my body clock isn’t adjusted as well as I thought as I was up, wide awake at just after 5 am this morning.

After breakfast we used day 2 of our Explorer bus ticket to see a bit more of Auckland. First though, I popped into the main shopping area in town to buy an extra bag to take care of extra purchases we might collect along the way (I’ve already bought the obligatory All Blacks rugby shirt). The bus took us along the same route as yesterday but this time we got off before Sky City and went in search of a drink and maybe a bargain of two. Parnell village is a suburb of Auckland and has loads of small shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. A lot of the buildings are pretty old and kept looking as they did back in the day. Amanda spent her birthday money on a beautiful glass bowl in a gallery which thankfully they are shipping to us back home as it would have been a nightmare to pack and look after while we are here. A quick pint in a bar (I really love the local brew Macs Gold, can’t get away from Macs can I?) and then we caught the bus to Victoria Market.

I admit the market was a bit disappointing. Mostly tat, but feeling hungry we looked for some munchies. In the food area was a sushi place, a kebab shop and a chinese buffet style takeaway. The chinese looked pretty good so we had noodles and sweet and sour pork for me and noodles and chinese vegetables for Amanda. The lady piled the food onto paper plates and with two bottles of pop the bill still only came to less than a tenner. To top it all, the food was lovely…result.

Mmm more food tonight. This is turning into a food report rather than a holiday blog.

Off to the Bay of Islands tomorrow. We’re collecting the car at around 11 am and heading north. The place we’re staying in doesn’t have internet access as far as I know so this may the last entry for a few days. If thats the case, I may still write it and upload all the entries in one go once I can get a decent connection, otherwise a mega entry in a few days or so.

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