Summer blues ...
In a less cruel world, I'd get to eat what I like and it wouldn't matter - not. one. iota. But I can't and it does, so I am feeling rather hopeless as I dither between avoiding the kitchen and having frequent urges to bake a cake.
At least in Edinburgh, I had six months (six whole months) to work my way from December food and wine over-indulgence to the month when I would finally be shedding clothes for summer. Although I hasten to add that the removing any layers in Scotland was, and still is, more an optimistic view that there would be a summer rather than the actual reality. Still, you get my point.
So here in New Zealand we roll Christmas, New Year and summer holidays (gasp - more food, less clothes!) into a couple of weeks and now I find myself back at work and everything feels a little tight.
However, I promised myself when I started this blog that I would not mention the four letter "D" word on these pages and I will remain true to my word. So that's all I am going to say on the subject - it's only a shame you can't see my miserable face.
... and sunshine
Big day out (not to be confused with the Big Day Out) started when my daughter was very young and it really was a huge occasion for me to break away from parenthood for a few hours and enjoy a day of food, shopping or movies with a friend. Daughter’s grown now but the tradition continues.
The absolute first thing I must do is have a coffee. If I've not satisfied this little craving before 11.30am, I start to get a little edgy. First stop then was Raven & Cook in Epsom. Made over from a former fish shop, the café is a pleasant addition to the shops at Greenwoods Corner with white tiled walls and chain curtains (although the main attraction seemed to be the bright blue espresso machine). I can’t vouch for the food as I didn’t have any but my friend has been back and liked it.
Then it was into the heart of the city where it was quieter than usual with a lot of Aucklanders still on vacation. Some of the multi-storey offices such as the Vero and Lumley buildings on Shortland Street have significant pieces of art or sculpture in their foyers or elsewhere so we took a peak inside to soak up some culture. I did try in Vero’s deserted foyer to take a photo but as soon as the iPhone was lifted, out came a security guy whose speed and dexterity would have been more suited to the American presidency instead of a wee food blogger with a camera. More info on the public art in this area and Vero’s Wall of Words and Drummond Sculpture, can be found here and here.
Across the road, and before I could say “gelato” my friend was inside the Kapiti cheese and ice cream store on Shortland Street whilst I dithered outside gazing at the many ice cream flavours wondering whether I should. A spoon was thrust in my face. What is it? I asked. Just try came the answer. That girl was psychic. One spoonful of the lemongrass and ginger ice cream and I was instantly decisive. Those flavours were so refreshing and the ice cream so creamy, I could hardly be persuaded to sample Jane’s choice in case it tainted the pleasure that was mine.
This meant lunch was a little later than usual. Jane wondered about Depot, but knowing her preference for light and airy (and it was such a sunny day), we headed off to Soul Bar on the Viaduct where I ate their very famous (their words) scampi cocktail with whipped avocado & Moroccan ketchup, savoured a glass of wine and had another coffee. Just the ticket.
A little face pampering from the lovely team at Bobbi Brown in the Viaduct and a little more shopping and we were done.
Finally, and I am so happy to be saying this, Auckland is starting to cherish its heritage buildings. I am so impressed that it is turning its old buildings into new spaces that breathe life and attract people - that is what a city is all about.