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Across The Ditch To New Zealand - 2014

Thursday 17 April – Auckland

It’s been a while since I last took a holiday so I’m off to New Zealand to see what our neighbours are like. I flew Air NZ which was an excellent experience with comfortable seats and leg room, friendly staff, ample entertainment and delicious food.

I . . . → Read More: Across The Ditch To New Zealand – 2014

New Zealand, Auckland - Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand - Quiche & Rocket Salad

In a purely residential area lies this quaint little French café that has a strong following from the locals. Unlike other cafe’s, they don’t have a menu. There are a bunch of pre-prepared items to help yourself to and pay at the counter. You can have those items dine in as I did, where my quiche was warmed up and I was also offered a simple but delicious rocket salad. The quiche had lovely bacon surrounded by a fluffy filling and excellent pastry. I also treated myself to a delicious chocolate éclair. Delicious. . . . → Read More: New Zealand, Auckland – Chateaubriand

New Zealand, Auckland - Corelli's Cafe

Corelli's Cafe French Toast

There are several cafes to choose from in Devonport along Victoria Street. I chose Corelli’s Café which has an outdoor area surrounded by lots of green plants. Sitting outside, they have a nice selection of items to choose from the breakfast menu, plus a waffle menu too. I chose the French toast and was served a very generous meal, 3 slices of fluffy French toast emitting a lovely aroma, enjoyed with maple syrup, slightly sour yoghurt, slightly tart raspberry coulis, and lovely sweet grilled bananas. They also have smoothies and juices, so I enjoyed a refreshing glass of apple, carrot and ginger juice. Lovely place with friendly service. . . . → Read More: New Zealand, Auckland – Corelli’s Cafe

New Zealand, Auckland - French Cafe

French Cafe - Roasted Quail

As I slowly savoured the first few items that were presented, the couple next to me who were just leaving mentioned I was in for a treat. How right they were. Fine dining at it’s best, I enjoyed a selection of delicious, creative, and well executed dishes that delivered on flavour, all enjoyed in intimate surrounds with professional service. From the appetizer of the potato crisp, to the amuse bouche of pumpkin soup, to the house made bread with flavoured butter varieties, the start of the meal was excellent. I really loved the creativity shown in the first course of snapper cerviche. Perfectly balanced flavours presented an excellent dish. The next course was the highlight for me. The roasted quail was superb with that earthy chestnut puree. The last course of snapper was an equally delicious dish. Despite having to forgot dessert, the palette cleansing ginger and pear granita was just the perfect end to the meal. . . . → Read More: New Zealand, Auckland – French Cafe

New Zealand, Auckland - Orleans

Orleans - Peanut Butter Sandwich

An American bar with an old style feel serving up an array of American styled dishes from a modern era, the restaurant executes on interior, charm, feel, menu, and taste. I ordered the pig po boy and received a delicious version of oh so yum pulled pork. The size is small but compact leaving enough room to enjoy a dessert. I opted for the peanut butter sandwich which was a clever play on the savoury version, instead styled as a dessert. The bread was substituted for a slice / biscuit containing sultanas and not sweet, encasing the peanut butter flavoured ice cream. The grape jelly kept everything in balance and the milk was needed to cleanse the palette despite the gooey sticky peanut butter not being present. While service was fantastic at the beginning (the matra’d is fantastic), service was a bit slow at the end in getting me another glass of water but I liked the vibe, the menu, and the delicious food served up. . . . → Read More: New Zealand, Auckland – Orleans

USA, New York - Per Se

Per Se - Nova Scotia Lobster

An interesting experience in a setting with wonderful views, ambience, and professional service. I much preferred the style of menu in tonight’s dinner compared to 11 Madison Park if comparisons can be drawn. Many of the dishes were lovely, some fantastic, but what was a recurring issue, maybe issue is too harsh a word, was that some elements just didn’t marry up effectively. The halibut, lobster, quail, and cheese were examples. Fantastic proteins cooked to perfection but let down slightly, or worse with the halibut, by elements which didn’t truly complement the dish. The additional elements should have their place to counteract other flavours (eg sweet v sour), or provide a textual contrast, and most importantly complement and better yet, elevate, the overall dish. But on several occasions, this didn’t occur. The salmon cornetto, caviar, summer melon, and desserts were excellent meals and overall I had a positive experience and was comfortably full. It did come with a hefty price tag though, so on that basis I’d still lean towards The Ledbury as my first choice and Petrus second. Just my opinion and what suits my tastes. Others will no doubt disagree. I’m very happy to have experienced dining at such a well regarded restaurant. . . . → Read More: USA, New York – Per Se

USA, New York - 11 Madison Park

11 Madison Park - Course 7: Option #2 Seared Foie Gras

I’ve never had a degustation with so many courses and while I was full, I wasn’t uncomfortable fortunately, but not far from it. It was also my first time to a world ranked restaurant and a 3 Michelin star restaurant. We entered at 7pm and left at 12:20am – yes, over 5 hrs of eating and drinking! However, it was all delivered at a comfortable pace. I loved the duck and sea bass and was amazed at what they did with tomato in creating a confit, jelly and soda. However, I can’t say I was blown away with what I ate. Maybe I’m unfairly drawing comparisons to other restaurants with courses, but the London restaurants, The Ledbury and Petreus, were far superior in flavour and far cheaper. The setting of the restaurant at 11 Madison Park is modern and smart, while the service was highly professional. Some meals had a bit of theatre and drama and while the food was prepared to a high standard and quality, in some dishes I didn’t think the ingredients always paired well in terms of flavour. There were some really clever techniques employed such as the numerous ways they utilised tomato, but in the end, it’s all about the taste and it didn’t reach the high levels I was expecting. . . . → Read More: USA, New York – 11 Madison Park

The City That Never Sleeps - New York, USA - 2013

Friday 12th July Really excited to be in the big apple, yes, last stop is none other than New York. After the red eye flight, a 1 hr drive from the airport, and then a short wait while we got our shared apartment sorted, I really needed sleep.

Time flied and I haven’t eaten anything . . . → Read More: The City That Never Sleeps – New York, USA – 2013

Off To Sin City - Las Vegas, USA - 2013

Sunday 7 July Vegas baby! So we checked out of our shared apartment suite at Staybridges which was lovely and wonder why Perth can’t have accommodation or apartments like this. We had a 1 hr drive with a quick stop at Walmart. It’s like Big W and Woolworth’s in one with a pharmacy, eye doctor, . . . → Read More: Off To Sin City – Las Vegas, USA – 2013

Wine Country - Napa Valley, USA - 2013

Friday 5 July Seems like a lull over San Francisco as the streets are empty and most places are shut. Obviously big celebrations for 4th July mean a break the next day.

We roamed the streets looking for a place Anthony Boudaine had recommended but after the long walk, it was shut. So we headed . . . → Read More: Wine Country – Napa Valley, USA – 2013