Welcome to a special edition of ‘Five Things!’ As many of you know, I spent a bit of time browning myself and enjoying summer in the Southern Hemisphere at the beginning of this year. Armed with my journal, I had every intention of documenting the details of my trip. Instead, what I ended up with was two entries, written either on the plane or in the airport, word-vomiting all of the highlights that I could remember. Yes, you will be privy to this information as soon as I can make sense of my notes (involving many arrows) and chicken scratch. I did, however, manage to play the tourist, and get some lovely snapshots of the things I saw. I confessed to my travel buddy that one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country is to eat all of the strange foods I can find, and to peruse the supermarkets for unnecessarily long periods of time. After running up and down the aisles of Countdown (the Kiwi equivalent of Safeway) the very first time, I created an edible bucket list that I dreamed of fulfilling as quickly as possible. And I did. So, here you go!
Five Things….That I Ate in New Zealand
(Kiwi-style Chicken Burger in Tauranga)
One of the first things I learned about cuisine in New Zealand is that they like to top their burgers with big slices of beetroot. This was a very good surprise to a girl that has loved beets since before she can remember. Another variation includes a fried egg and some bacon. Yum! Enjoyed this lovely meal at TOI, a cafe adjacent to a climbing gym by the name of “Vertical Assault.” Semi-awkward gym name, if there ever was one.
(Tip Top Ice Cream, Boysenberry on the left, Candy Floss on the right)
To say that I liked the ice cream in New Zealand would be an understatement. Let me be frank and say that all of their ice cream tasted like butter. Yes, very distinguishable butter flavor. Who doesn’t like their butter with a little sugar? I also enjoyed the variety of unique flavors that they had: Candy Floss (aka Cotton Candy), passion fruit, orange chocolate chip, tropical, something called “Gold Rush,” raspberry lemon fizz, lime swirl, and Hokey Pokey. “What’s hokey pokey?” You might ask. The explanation on the carton was: hokey pokey flavored ice cream, with hokey pokey pieces. Make sense? After a taste test, we found out it was just sugary sweet toffee.
This might fall in to the “Things I Drank” category, but I just had to share. After living off of instant coffee while camping, nothing is better than real espresso with nice, thick foam. We wandered in to this lovely cafe in Ponsonby while visiting Auckland. Not only was the coffee lovely, but so was the beautiful garden patio out back. Despite the fact that the garden was filled with the most massively aggressive little birds I’ve ever encountered, we enjoyed some much needed down time here. Remember, just because the birds are small, doesn’t mean they won’t pull your cookie right out of your hand as you eat it. Defend your pastries, everyone.
Pardon the blurry car photo, but I had to share. If a cheese puff and a Cheez-it had babies, they would be Cheezels. And also amazing. I first purchased this treat from a gas station in Matamata on our way to the Shire. Everyone was silent until we finished the bag, refusing to get out of the car until the last Cheezel was consumed. I brought two bags back with me, but alas, they are already gone.
(Best. Dinner. Ever. Jammin’ Cream Donut ice cream.)
This, ladies and gentleman, is a photo of myself, in the car, eating ice cream for dinner.
As many of you know, being an independent adult, I have made it my mission in life to do and/or eat all the things my parents told me not to. That is how this photo came to be. I am clearly very excited. But, who wouldn’t be a pint of cinnamon-and-cream flavored ice cream with donut pieces and raspberry jam swirl in your hands? I dare you not to be thrilled. And, yes, Hawaiian Airlines, this is the reason why I did not want you to wake me up and serve me dinner at 1am. I was full. Thank you very much.