Scope, Rotorua

Scope – Wild About Flavour, add the hunting magazines on the rack and you have a few clues that wild food is a theme here. The menu includes a  Mai Mai Duck Open Sandwich ($23) and a Venison Burger ($23). Venison and blue cheese pasta is sometimes on the specials menu, and a venison sausage is part of the Hungry Hunter Big Breaky ($23.90).

A large deer antler chandelier hangs over the counter and stag heads feature on the unusual wallpaper. There are also handy stag head coat hooks on the back of the toilet doors.

Wild food is a … Read the rest

Paying it forward in Auckland

Walking up Queen Street in Auckland recently I passed a man sitting with his belongings outside the Louis Vuitton store. Framed in the window above the man’s head was a handbag with Vincent Van Gogh’s art work all over it. It struck me that Vincent Van Gogh would likely have more in common with the man sitting on the street than he would with someone who could afford to buy a designer handbag.

The homeless people on Queen Street are the visible homeless, there are many more, some sleep in cars and some live in overcrowded accommodation.

We should be … Read the rest

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe is home to five fancy cat breeds including Ragdolls, a British Blue and a Bengal. On 13 May some little kittens moved in too. The fancy felines have two rooms full of cat gyms, hidey-holes, and furniture to climb.

Most of the cats at Fancy Meow are Ragdolls as they are an especially people friendly breed, they also have the most beautiful blue eyes.

It’s a rule at Fancy Meow, and a good one I think, to let sleeping cats lie so timing and luck determine which fancy felines will be up and about to play … Read the rest

High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate

If the sun’s shining at Zealong Tea Estate near Hamilton it’s nice to sit outside under an umbrella overlooking rows of lush tea plants. Zealong is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and the five flavours of tea produced are certified organic.

Tea is the star of the show at Zealong, but lunch and high tea are also served. A Signature High Tea and a Classic High Tea were on the menu for us. Tea is infused in a lot of the small dishes that make up the high tea, including the aromatic mousse in a chocolate cup, and the black … Read the rest

The Cat Lounge in Glenfield, Auckland

*Unfortunately The Cat Lounge closed on 21 August 2018. Barista Cats in Auckland city is still operating.*

New Zealand’s first cat cafe – The Cat Lounge, opened in Glenfield, Auckland in early November. I went along last week for a look see. I stepped into a smart black and white cafe with a big Thank You wall acknowledging all those who contributed to The Cat Lounge via crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

Two glass doors separate the cat lounge from the cafe, you can take food and drink in with the cats but I chose to have coffee and … Read the rest

Drinking for good in Wellington

Recently I wrote about Ngopi in Auckland, a Malaysian cafe that donates its profits to charity. In Wellington there is an espresso bar in a container on lower Cuba Street called Stories. Stories Espresso Bar was set up by youth organisation Zeal to provide employment and work experience for young baristas.

Zeal run barista courses, but the young people who completed the training often found it difficult to get a job and gain experience. This is where Stories Espresso Bar steps in, young people get work experience under the tutelage of an experienced barista, and customers get a good cup … Read the rest

Back to the 50’s in New Plymouth

New Plymouth hosts Americarna, an all American car event, and also has its own American style Deluxe Diner. We pulled in to Deluxe Diner for breakfast and were impressed with the mint green and red decor, comfy booths, and big menu.

I’m a shocker for taking too long to choose my food but buttermilk pancakes always make it easy for me, Mike settled on the breakfast hot dog, both good choices. The drinks menu is almost as big as the food menu and stretches from cherry cola floats to Spirulina, VIP malted shakes to alcoholic milkshakes, and free fluffys … Read the rest

Dunedin Chinese Garden

The Dunedin Chinese Garden was built to acknowledge the contribution that Chinese people have made to Dunedin and Otago, many arrived during the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860’s. “Lan Yuan” is the Chinese name for the garden and it was designed and built as a Scholar’s Garden. Opened in 2008, the garden is unusual in that it is an authentic Chinese Garden, one of only a few outside China.

What’s an authentic Chinese Garden? It’s built by Chinese builders and artisans using traditional methods, and all above ground materials come from China. In keeping with that, all of the … Read the rest

Super speedy dinner delivery at C1 Espresso in Christchurch

Mike was travelling solo in Christchurch and thecuriouskiwi mission he chose to accept was to have dinner delivered via pneumatic tube at C1 Espresso. Initially delivery speed was up to 140km/h, surely the fastest dinner delivery in town, maybe even the world? Delivery speed has since been reduced to prevent food carnage.

We first saw (and sent a cannister flying) around a pneumatic conveyor system at The Faraday Centre in Napier. The systems were once used in New Zealand department stores to transfer cash between divisions.

Eventually the pneumatic tube system at C1 will deliver food cannisters from the … Read the rest

A short, steep climb to Astro Cafe, Lake Tekapo

If you’re staying at Lake Tekapo Holiday Park or are visiting Tekapo Springs there are walking tracks nearby that take you to the summit of Mount John, and the glass house style Astro Cafe.

There’s a choice of two tracks – a steep one hour climb, or a longer gradual climb. I chose the one hour track which took 45 minutes with a couple of stops to rest the screaming calf muscles. The first 30 minutes of the walk is shaded by tree cover, the last 15 minutes is exposed*, the trees disappear to reveal the view that makes Astro … Read the rest