Saturday, January 24, 2009

We saw food - and ate it!

Our first week back home, has flown by.
I was back to work each morning from the home office, while the kids played and watched telly. It mostly worked out fine, although there were a few moments when I had to feed or water them, admire drawings, or occasionally, break up a brawl.
C. actually asked to go to YMCA Vacation Care for a couple of days, and it worked out well. Apart from playing games like basketball and soccer, they went to mini-golf one day, and the highlight, fishing from the old Mangere Bridge on another.
Husband and I had visions of our Little Dude ending up in the drink, but apparently, he was well behaved, and even caught, gutted, and cooked a fish himself. (And ate it. His verdict: Sweet, a bit salty, and kind of fishy. No surprises there then.) He came home exhausted but happy (and just a little bit stinky!)
H. and I took the opportunity for a little quality girl time on those days, having lunch with K. in the city – one of the benefits of living so close to work – and doing some shopping for the birthday boy, who can you believe it, turns 8 on January 26?
Not content with getting a holiday for his birthday each year because it falls on Australia Day, C. was chuffed to discover he’d get one in Auckland too – due to Auckland Anniversary day.
Speaking of which, it’s a weekend of celebration here, and Husband and I took the opportunity to check out the Auckland Seafood Festival, which we’d been looking forward to for weeks. The festival involves much tasting of fresh New Zealand seafood, plus the wines and beers to accompany it. Plus there are cooking demonstrations, and competitions like fish racing, oyster eating, and kina shucking.
We left the kids happy in the expert care of our French babysitter Jeane, who soon had them making and eating French crepes, washing up, and frolicking in the pool.
The Viaduct was full of strolling entertainers, as well as fabulous yachts and other boats in time for Monday’s Auckland Regatta. The sun was shining, the sea was a gorgeous mirror of green, and the atmosphere was great.
However, at the entry to the seafood festival, we found a seething mass of humanity clamouring to be let in. And the queues weren’t moving.
Realising we’d probably spend half our child-free time queuing in the hot sun, and the other half being jostled and elbowed by the crowds, we decided to abandon the festival idea and find a nice, civilised restaurant instead.
This time, we chose Imperial, which was cool, relaxing and friendly, and had great views of the marina. Apparently, it was the world's first Heineken bar, and is also the first and last place in the Viaduct to see the sun each day.
And as it happened, we got our seafood anyway. After a platter of dips and breads (yummy), Husband enjoyed soft shell crab and Mediterranean risotto, which was to die for. My tastebuds were tantalised by nori-tempura fish and prawns, with a ginger cucumber salad. Oh my goodness, I’ve enjoyed a lot of delicious meals in New Zealand, but this was probably the best ever. It was divine! Husband, who ended up sharing my meal, agreed. Washed down with a glass of - what else? - Heineken, it was certainly a meal to remember and I can't wait to go back.
Today, we took the kids to see Bolt, as an early birthday treat for C. We loved the movie, though I had a squirming little girl on my lap for most of it!
It was lunch at the St Luke's foodcourt after that.
Tonight, Husband is doing the traditional Sunday roast, and I'm charged with making a strawberry and banana cake for the birthday boy.
Just another weekend in Auckland!

A glorious Auckland day - if only it was always like this!

Lunch at the Imperial
Breads and dips - mmm
Husband's soft shell crab risotto
Nori-tempura fish, prawns and cucumber and pickled ginger salad - the combination of flavours was divine!

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