Friday, September 13, 2013

Etcetera ... Weekend in Wellington

Almost a year to the date since my last stay, I was back in Wellington for the weekend.  This time it was for a work conference so I stayed on for the weekend and Bill joined me. 

I was happy with whatever weather Wellington was going to throw at me, as long as there were no earthquakes.  So, thank you – the ground stayed still and I got a mixed bag of cold & wet and warm & sunny. 

I also got a cold, starting with a sore throat before I hit the airport for the early morning flight.  I am pleased to say it didn’t affect my tastebuds so I was able to indulge in all things food, starting with chocolate and a visit to the Bohemein chocolate store on Featherston Street.  We saved these until we got home when we realized we’d bought far too few but oh some of those flavours – lemon and thyme ganache (top left) or balsamic vinegar and honey ganache (bottom left), all with silky smooth chocolate.  Good thing one can order online.


After a wander around the streets on a cold and wet early Friday evening, we were happy to open the doors to the warmth and conviviality of Ombra.  Lack of sleep and my head cold meant an early dinner which was just fine as 5pm dining means you get a table straight away!

Some wait people you just fall in love with.  Earlier in the day at conference we had a workshop on assertiveness training.  This waitress needed none of that.  Warm and assured she led and cajoled us through the menu.  No, we were not to have that choice, she firmly opined, she would bring us something else. Everything she presented was perfect.  

Polenta chips

We kicked off with the Polenta Chips with fried sage leaves followed by Baccala (salt cod) Crostino and then Beef meatballs with Capers and Chickpea Puree.  A little breather before the San Marzano Tomato, Fior di Latte and Basil pizzette which was so good that we ordered another pizzette - under strict instructions from our waitress that it would be the Coppa, Artichokes and Mint this time.  Bill managed to fit in a chocolate and caramel mousse whilst, in a rare moment, I was no longer Miss Sweet Tooth. Warmed, fed and watered we forsook the rest of Wellington’s nightlife and headed back to the hotel feeling well pleased with our choice.

San Marzano pizzette

Early to bed means (mostly) early to rise and I couldn’t resist a return visit to Floriditas for breakfast where it was eggs all round.  Scrambled eggs on toast with vine tomato salad for me and ham off the bone and poached eggs with hollandaise for Bill.  Personally I prefer my scramblers cooked a little less set than theirs but there was plenty to sustain us for more walking around the city.


Bill's eggs with mine just visible in the background

I was hoping to bump into fellow food blogger, Shirleen and I did at the City Market on Sunday morning.  Whilst I had a craving for a bacon buttie, her recommendation made me opt for dumplings instead.  Dumplings for breakfast is way out of my comfort zone but these were exceptional - only to be expected of course coming from Vicky Ha of The Dumpling House.  

I settled down to a plate of Nepalese Spiced Lamb Five Veges; Korean Sesame Beef Sprouts; Crystal Prawn Garlic Chives and Shanghai Pork Savoy Cabbage topped off with sesame chilli oil and kasundi whilst Bill joined the long queue for the other recommendation - a hearty bowl of ramen noodles from The Ramen Shop.

A young helper making noodles
Ramen noodles

Over the weekend, we shopped (for the record, Bill bought more than me); visited Te Papa; the City Gallery; explored the waterfront; went to Moore Wilson; walked the Botanic Gardens via the Cable Car. I really enjoyed a tour of the Beehive as part of the conference. We caught up with family on Saturday night over dinner at their house, which was lovely.  I didn’t get to all the places I had on my list but there’s always another time, isn’t there?