Friday, March 17, 2006

Welcome to New Zealand

posted by Kris Ardent @ 10:20 PM

Listening to Clouds and Things, an iPod playlist by Aimee, which I somehow managed to connect to the CD player in our suite. It's so good. And it's cloudy. About to rain-ish.

I'm reading "A Consuming Passion: Inspired Recipes from Le Gavroche to Zibibbo", a gift from my New Best Friend Allen from Kentucky. Now don't get jealous ladies: you would do the same thing in my position. You should see this book. I'm going to make everything in and feed each bite to him personally. Did I mention it was signed by the chef? Allen is rad.

So I've done a little more than hang out at the Duxton. Just a little. First I drank a mini bottle of Chardonnay that the hotel staff were kind enough to drop off yesterday afternoon along with ANOTHER fruit and cheese basket. I'm told these trinkets of deliciousness will taper off soon, but for now, I am enjoying chocolates on my pillow. Again though, I did leave the Duxton yesterday, so let's get on with it.

We went to this French acrobatic show yesterday, the venue for which is seen here from MY HOTEL ROOM AT THE DUXTON, looking east. It's that dome thing. It's pressurized so it will stay standing. You enter from one of 3 or 4 doors which are (I should post a movie of people going in an out of these doors; the bluehairs are especially comical) actually just shipping containers with these big inflated pairs of doors you have to squeeze through, like being born from a giant plastic windy vagina. Don't tell me you know know what I'm talking about. You totally understand.

Aside from being reborn (twice), the show was really cool. Here is video. The music was spacey, and there was a lot of suspense, and Cirque du Soleil-style-comic-relief. But mostly it was just cool to see so many strong bodies having so much fun flying around. Makes me wanna be really strong. And speaking of, here is Christopher doing yoga at the skate park, while smoking a clove.

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day in Wellington, and man do people like to get drunk. For any reason, but especially if it's mandated by an Irish saint. So after the show, we went to meet Clodagh at the most Irish place in the Southern hemisphere. Remember drinking in college? It was like that, except more green, with just a little more shouting. Joe, Allen, Rebecca and I escaped to have a late dinner at Zibibbo, just a couple doors down from Molly Malone's or some other such Irish bar name.

Wellington food is good. Really good. And it's all "emerging" and stuff, as a class of cuisine. But Zibibbo is the direction in which I hope New Zealand cuisine is headed. Everything was fresh and pretty and only just a little fussy. The wine list was just comprehensive enough without being obnoxious. The kitchen was clean and efficient, and easily visible from our path to the table.

Guess what? I had the risotto. Portobello Mushroom Risotto with Pecorino and Truffle Oil, and a side of Wilted Baby Spinach with Capers and Lemon Zest. Mmm. A little too salty with the capers, but nicely mellowed when matched the perfectly balanced risotto. That, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (half of which Joe threw on me, probably in a preemptive jealous rage over what my inevitable, tawdry affair with Allen) for $40 NZD (about $26 USD, no tipping allowed...or is it?). While Allen was settling the bill, I drooled over the cookbook at the reception counter. On the way out, he hands me a paper bag and says "Welcome to New Zealand." Indeed.


At 3/20/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger nanavere said...

It's like an open window!!!! The channel for your art is this "emerging" cuisine in New Zealand and Allen will be your guide. Yes, it's all coming into place now...

You and your risotto, you are adorable. You have been eating that wet rice forever! Ha! Ha!


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