Sunday 26 February 2012

A week in para para paradise: The Piha Cafe, Piha

We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow ~ The Beach Boys, Kokomo

Ahh Dunedin.  I've been back down south for a whole week now and already it feels like I'd never left.

Not without the initial adjustment pains mind you: adjusting to going to lectures, adjusting to the freezing cold, adjusting to doing the whole long distance relationship thing again.  It's been like getting back into a pair of jeans that have just gone through the dryer.  A bit tight and uncomfortable to start off with but comfy again with a bit of wearing.

It definitely helped that we hit the ground running.  Lectures, labs, and miserable weather galore.  In fact, it was just our second day back and we were already performing our first craniotomies.  I was literally holding someone's brain in my hands.  Once the centre of their personality, all their thoughts, hopes, and dreams.  Incredible, awe-inspiring, just wow.

Despite all that excitement, I couldn't help but long for the balmy summer days back in Auckland.

Just before I headed back south, C and I took a week vacation at his family bach in Piha.  It was the one week over the entire summer when Auckland had amazing weather.  Score.  A whole glorious week of lazy mornings, nana naps in the arvo, and strolls through the beautiful Waitakere Ranges.  It was our little place like Kokomo.

The boys came and stayed for a couple of the days and since some of them were heading back to the UK and Australia, for their last morning in Piha we treated ourselves to brunch at The Piha Cafe.

Originally, there was a bit of controversy over the opening of the cafe.   Local Piharians are staunchly protective about keeping their slice of paradise pristine and uncommercialized.  Awesome for us visitors wanting to admire the scenery, not so awesome for businesses wanting to get a foot in the door.  After years of wrangling with resource consent shenanigans, fast-forward to 2012 and The Piha Cafe is a firm fixture on the Piha scene, offering some of the best views a cafe can offer, along with great tucker at very reasonable prices.


Tuesday 14 February 2012

Ice ice baby: Ambrosia Ice Cream

All right stop.  Collaborate and listen.  Ice is back with a brand new invention ~ Vanilla Ice

Amazing sun-drenched holiday in Piha last week.  Like.

All of a sudden being in my last week in Auckland before I head back down to the chilly south sans husband.  Dis-like.

My, my, how fast time flies when you're having fun.  

Just to prove how fast we are scurrying over the hill these days, my very dear friend Tuxy came back to NZ for the first time in four years since moving to the UK.  Four. Whole. Years.  But it feels like she'd only popped away for a couple of months and as we yakked away in the sunshine it felt like we were 12 year olds again gossiping about boys, wearing scrunchies, making mixed tapes, teeny-bopping to the Spice Girls and vowing to marry Leo.

Yes, we were children of the nineties.

{ambrosia ice cream: a brand new invention}

Being a child of the 90's also meant we grew up on kiddies birthday parties with delightful party nibbles such as fairy bread, cheerios with T sauce, and of course that creamy dreamy fav: ambrosia.

If you didn't grow up in New Zealand, you might not know what ambrosia is.  The concept is deceptively simple: take yoghurt, mix with whipped cream, add marshmallows, berries or other fruit and crumble in some meringue. Very much like a slightly healthier version of Eton Mess.  It's light and creamy and on a hot summer's day it's what definitely what you want, what you really really want.

And just how did I get from ambrosia to ambrosia ice cream?  Well, now this is a story all about how ambrosia got flipped-turned upside down, and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you how ambrosia became Ambrosia Ice Cream.

Saturday 4 February 2012

A study in lanterns and dumplings

The lantern festival marks the 15th and final day of the Chinese New Year holiday and every year the Asia New Zealand Foundation puts on the Auckland Lantern Festival: a lavish three day long extravaganza with glorious techni-coloured lantern displays filling Albert Park and street stalls of delicious asian food lining the length of Princes Street.

You really get the sense you're in some exotic bustling marketplace in South East Asia rather than the immaculately colonial Albert Park next to Auckland University.

Me and my girls from high school went last night on a beautiful if somewhat muggy Auckland evening and ate our weight in dumplings, noodles, donuts, and steamed buns.

{$4 for 6 pork dumplings. I kid you not. Make sure you get plenty of soy sauce and sweet chilli on these bad boys}


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