Eight Bells

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Catch Up

How to catch up on what has become a couple of weeks blogging in one afternoon. Lucky me I'm sick at home today after getting another cold, sigh.
I think the answer is to give you some very quick meal descriptions and a brief run down of the Auckland trip and then get back into the daily blogging again so here goes.

Wednesday 2nd.
We left Hamilton for Auckland via the cat hotel 'Cats 'N Clover' in Osborne Rd to drop off HRH Isis Bull-Beresford. Last time she stayed there she sulked for 2 weeks and lost 500g! We were hoping for better behaviour this time around. Cats 'N Clover is a great cattery and at $9 per night very reasonable.
We arrived in Auckland around midday and checked into the Heritage on Nelson St. We have had very good luck at the Heritage as far as customer service etc goes and it is now our regular hotel for Auckland trips. Unfortunately this time around we had some utterly crap service and our entusiasm for the hotel is somewhat diminished. 4 star hotel? Not this time I'm afraid. Thanks Ricky, you are the worst front of house hotel staff member I have ever encountered. I hope 5 bus loads of American tourists descend upon your desk 10 minutes before you are due to clock off on a friday night. Mind you I wouldn't be surprised if you just buggered off and left the remaining staff to cope by themselves. You are an ass.
Once we were finally in our room we dumped the bags and headed to Papkura where Julia wanted to visit a particular shop 'The Kitchen'. We had a good look around and then it was back to the hotel for a swim, sauna and general lie around until dinner.
Very close to the Heritage is one of the finest restaurants in New Zealand The Grove. Take some time to check out the site and if you can visit at least once in your life. The Grove is truly exceptional.

Roasted crayfish tail w cauliflower purée, pomegranate molasses, lemon salad & curry oil.
Roasted free range pork fillet w confit belly, apple puree & roasted fennel, jus of quince.

Tian of blue swimmer crab and avocado w fennel sorbet & vine ripened tomato couli.
Hare loin w pancetta, parsnip and baby cabbage, roasted chestnut w chocolate & coffee.

We shared
Rhubarb and fromage blanc tart, lemon & chèvre sorbet.

I won't tell you what we had to drink but I will tell you it wasn't a lot, it was very expensive and it was worth every penny.

Thursday 3rd.
We started the day with breakfast at Zarbo which is always lovely. They have a very good selection of products that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else (hibiscus flowers in syrup?! Needless to say we bought some.) and the house brand condiments are great lots of infused olive oils and such like.
Centrepoint fabrics is right next door so that was next and then it was off to Global Fabrics and then Trelise Coopers outlet shop in Grey Lynn for her sale. Julia didn't find anything today though, very sad, yeah really.
The main reason for our trip was to visit the Food Show and it was time to head to the Auckland Show Grounds. We had purchased the slightly more expensive limited release Thursday tickets to try and avoid the heaving masses that would no doubt descend upon the show on Friday and Saturday. It was the right decision. We wandered around for a couple of hours taking it all in, we bought a few essentials (saffron extract, vanilla sugar, you know, those kinds of essentials). We talked with a few of the stand holders and managed to end up with a huge amount of free samples most of which were in some way chocolate related (which is a real shame because I just can't abide chocolate).

Then it was back to the hotel for another swim and a sauna (it's a tough life) and tacos for dinner and V for Vendetta on the idiot box. V was good but unfortunately the hotel television was utter shite so we're going to have to rent the movie again at some stage. Boooooo Heritage hotel you lost more points for this.

Friday 4th
We're regular Yum Cha goers in Hamilton and there is an excellent chinese restaurant that does a great Yum Cha in Market Place on the viaduct. Sunshine Chinese Restaurant. It was a great experience, the staff were fantastic and the food just as good as we had hoped, shark fin dumplings and chicken feet anyone?
From there we walked along the waterfront where superyacht Kokomo was berthed and then up Queen St to Karangahape 'K' Road visiting various shops along the way.
We were back on K Road later that night for a special performance. We went to Finale to see the show and visit a good friend of ours who just happened to be in the show. The show was fanatstic as always and a great part of the entertainment for me is seeing the reaction of first timers. The restaurant is usually booked solid by hens nights, office functions etc and it has to one of the most entertaining nights out available in Auckland. Great fun thanks Fonda, see you next time.

Saturday 5th
Mt Eden to Cook the Books where I finally bought a copy of The Silver Spoon which I have been lusting after for months. Then to Sabato which is pretty much heaven for anyone interested in cooking.
The highlight of the trip for me was our visit to the zoo. It was absolutely pissing down the whole time we were there and there were probably only 20 people in the whole place. It was magic. I've never been to the zoo in the rain and it is completely different. The animals smell a lot when they are wet, some animals don't come out at all and others like these cheetahs find shelter right up against the glass of their enclosure so you get a view of them that you would never normally get. I could have watched them for hours.

And this guy was very cool

After the zoo we went back to the hotel, had the obligatory swim and sauna and then it was room service steak (more points off for the Heritage, rare does not mean blue and when I pay $30 for a steak I want meat not fat and gristle thankyou) and Saffies Vs Wallabies Tri Nations rugby. The poor South Africans must have been absolutely gutted when Mortlock's kick in the last minutes went over for an Australian victory 20-18 but they must also have taken a lot of pride from the match after being beaten 49-0 by the same team only 2 weeks ago.

Sunday 6th
The Auckland trip is over so it was off back to Hamilton. But not before a visit to Dress-Smart which for those of you who don't know is a huge outlet store mall in Auckland. We really went to look for shoes for Julia but hey is it my fault if we happened to come back with 9 items of clothing for me and nothing for Julia, no, I knew you would agree. It's not everyday you can get $1100 worth of shirts for $250 now is it.
We picked up the cat on the way back, who actually seemed to have gained weight while there, thanks Cats 'N Clover we will be back. And finally here is Sundays dinner. We picked up these square pizza bases from Sabato. Yum!


At 1:12 PM, Anonymous plk said...

best post yet

At 10:30 AM, Blogger lobsie said...

ummm...ok...what happened to your motel fiasco? I know I've read it....

At 1:43 PM, Blogger lobsie said...

Yah!!! You are back :-) And the recipes are back and I can eat again!*terrible having to rely on your recipes in order to eat!*

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Julian said...

hehe thanks lobsie


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