Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

Another perfect autumn day today and we needed to do a few errands so we drove to The Palms. Lunch was a pizza at Cocopelli Gourmet Pizza Bar. We’ve been there before and the food and service is always good. Their Monday special was a medium size pizza for $25, and this was plenty for the two of us. We toasted the fact that today was the 59th anniversary of the first time we went out together.

Lunch at Cocopelli

Feeling well nourished we did our shopping and called in to Shirley Library. It’s always good to go to a different branch, and I was pleased to borrow five books from my For Later list.

A pizza lunch and books to read
there’s nothing more that I could need.

Read Full Post »

Perfect weather again on Friday and we drove to the Woodbury Cafe and Store for breakfast. After the motel manager’s underestimation of walking time the day before I wasn’t game to walk in the opposite direction to the local dairy to get a Press, but when we drove there we found it was truly close, and I bought their last two copies. That was greedy, but when we’re on holiday we like to each have a Press and do all the puzzles. It’s different on a Saturday when the paper is easily divided into two halves.

The café offered a good selection of food and was well patronised. It was delightful to see young children playing there, some in super hero outfits.

Woodbury Café
Breakfast at Woodbury – note Easter Bunny

Back in Geraldine we admired old cottages, then walked around some shops. The local tourist brochure is useful with details of historic spots. I wonder how long such brochures will continue to be printed, now that “everyone” (except us) has a smartphone with apps. In Wilson Street we discovered the Cottage Pantry and Gallery which has several rooms containing the most amazing collection of goods.

The Cottage Pantry

They had dozens (? hundreds) of jigsaw puzzles including one of Frida Kahlo and another of Cecily cards. I was tempted but restrained myself. My jigsaws tend to come from friends or from op shops and I had a couple waiting at home. In fact I bought two at the Red Cross op shop the next day.

Jigsaws at the Cottage Pantry

The owner of the General Butchery has a suitable number plate, and we saw whole carcasses being delivered there from a refrigerated truck. This must happen in the city also, but I never see it.

Note butcher’s number plate

We tasted and bought cheeses at the Geraldine Cheese Company, including Canter-brie. At the supermarket we got crackers and fruit juice then went back to the motel to lunch, along with cherry tomatoes brought from home, in their outdoor area, reminiscent of our own patio.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery. Our table beside the window had a pleasing riverside view, but the meal was disappointing. My poached eggs and mushrooms were overcooked, and Stephen’s eggs were watery. When we sat down there were two crumbs on the table. As the eatery had been open for only half an hour I suspect they may have been there overnight. There was a sign requesting patience with staff in training, but all this was a bit much. We still enjoyed browsing the foodstore and stocked up on some items.

Riverside view at Barker’s Eatery

We visited the Farmer’s and Craft Market, and the Red Cross Op Shop, then drove home through Ashburton. Ziggy had been well cared for by friends, and was pleased to have us home again.

It’s good to go to Geraldine
and leave behind daily routine

Read Full Post »

Being away from home broadens one’s perspective. I love my home and the local area but it’s always good to take a trip away. These days, for various reasons, we don’t go far, or for long, and on Thursday we set out south towards Geraldine. Seeing snowy mountains made us feel we were really travelling. At Rakaia we turned off along Thompson’s Track, always a good option because there is so little traffic. When we stopped to take a photo of the snowy Southern Alps a car going the other way pulled over briefly, presumably to check we were okay. Arriving at the intersection between Methven and Ashburton we discovered the southern part of Thompson’s Track was closed, so we needed to detour through Ashburton and Hinds. We were pleased it was a fine sunny day.

Snowy mountains

Once we’d checked into our motel we walked along a pleasant tree-lined path through Kennedy Park across the Waihi River to the Town Centre. The motel manager had told us this was a five minute walk, but it would have been 15 minutes for me, and took Stephen considerably longer. I left him enjoying a beer while I explored the centre, noting the the local RSA has a daily BYO Happy Hour, not something I’ve seen before. I walked back to the motel past the vintage Fire Bell to collect the car and save Stephen having to walk back. We dined at the Village Inn, where they offer a senior’s dinner of roast pork followed by apple shortcake, for just $21.90.

Tree-lined path beside Waihi River
Geraldine Fire bell

Our motel was very acceptable and reasonably priced ($145 per night). It was extremely quiet and dark. We left the bathroom door slightly ajar with the light on so we could see if we needed to get up during the night. I missed having a clock beside the bed, and at one stage needed to put my radio on with headphones to know what the time was. With the use of the WiFi I was delighted to find I could do Wordle on my ten year old Tablet, although the screen kept fading out.

We’ve often visited Geraldine on the way to somewhere else, had lunch and a walk around the shops, but this is the first time we’ve stayed there. It’s an attractive place with a rural small town atmosphere. Many of the shops have boot scrapers outside for muddy agricultural boots. There are historical spots, and a picturesque river with good walking tracks on either side.

A good place for a trip away
that can be reached in half a day

Read Full Post »

I like this sign on the toilets at the Richmond Club:

I felt immediate delight
because this statement says we’re right

Read Full Post »

An early morning appointment at Hoon Hay allowed no time for breakfast at home. As we drove back along Lincoln Road we decided to stop at the Addington Coffee Co-op. We first found a car park behind the Woodstock Bar next door, checked at the Co-op, then moved the car to the correct car park behind the café. The Co-op was busy and buzzing.

Addington Coffee Co-op

It’s several years since I’ve been there (pre-pandemic), and I was pleased to be able to support a business with such good values. Their profits are redistributed to the local community and to some of the producers overseas who create the products they sell.

We both ordered Eggs Benedict, with bacon for Stephen, and mushrooms for me, then sat down to read the Press. Several copies were provided so we were able to have one each. The staff were extremely obliging. They told me they would usually put two teaspoons of tea leaves in a pot, but gave me the 1/2 teaspoon I requested, saying to ask if I wanted more leaves.

Our meals were well-presented and well-cooked, but the ciabatta buns they were served on were difficult to cut, and I left part of the crust of mine.

Breakfast at Addington

We browsed the Addington Store which stocks mainly Trade Aid type goods, then headed back to the central city. Lately we’ve tended to have breakfast at the cheap City Mission Thrive Café, and it was good to go somewhere different for a change.

We’d been away out to Hoon Hay
and thought we’d stop at this café

Read Full Post »

A friend’s significant birthday was the incentive for a group of us to drive north to Rangiora for lunch. We’d booked at Nomnom Kitchen which offers South East Asian cuisine, but the premises were not immediately obvious. Luckily we had the street number and soon discovered the restaurant was in Hunnibell’s, the oldest commercial building in High Street. built about 1872. Perhaps it’s because it’s a Category II historic place there’s no sign indicating the restaurant.

Hunnibell’s building

My Vietnamese ginger and garlic stir fry was delicious, and we lingered chatting until after the official closing time of 2pm.

Stir fry lunch at Nomnom

Afterwards we explored the local shops. Rangiora is a good place to browse because there are many independent shops and few chain stores. At various op shops I bought Teva sandals, CDs, and a pair of bright purple jeans. In Stevens, on the advice of friends, I bought a Jarkey which they assured me will make opening screw top jars easier. These days I am losing my grip and often have to ask Stephen to open jars for me.

By now it was time for afternoon tea, and we were pleased to find the Coffee Run Cafe, a locally owned cafè on Good Street, which has a Volkswagen themed décor. They are down an alleyway currently disrupted by roadworks so it was satisfying to be able to give them our patronage.

Coffee Run Cafè

We drove back to town in the rain after a delightful day. The date was the twelfth anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, and this was the first anniversary when I’ve not placed a flower in the river beside The Bricks. We spoke briefly of the earthquake at 12.51pm, but it was good to have a different focus for our day.

This twelfth commemoration day
was spent in quite a different way

Read Full Post »

If your birthday is a public holiday it can be hard to find a restaurant that’s open for a meal out. A generous daughter discovered that High Tea was available at The George on my birth day, and arranged for us to go there at lunchtime.

Our table had a good view of Hagley Park for me, and a reflected view of the park for Stephen. The Bistro restaurant was busy, and we enjoyed people watching while we sipped champagne and contemplated our High Tea Tower.

High Tea at The George

This had an attractive selection of savoury and sweet items, which together made a very substantial lunch. It did take a while to attract a waiter’s attention to get my pot of Earl Grey tea and Stephen’s coffee. We wondered whether, like so many hospitality venues, they may be short-staffed.

Afterwards we drove home, and both had an afternoon nap. That may have been the effect of the champagne, or perhaps the effect of getting older.

I very much appreciate those who sent messages and cards for my birthday, all of which helped to make the day special.

A High Tea lunch just made the day
arranged from far off in U.K.

Read Full Post »

Stephen’s favourite activity is to eat out, so one of his Christmas presents from a daughter was a Christmas Eve dinner at Venuti, our favourite Italian restaurant. I’m lucky that he was happy to share his present with me.

We arrived early to be sure of nearby parking, and strolled down to Victoria Square where the dandelion fountain was playing and people were starting to set up for Carols by Candlelight at 9pm.

Venuti was taking bookings from 6 to 7pm, so they could close at 9pm and go home to do their Santa duties. We were happy to eat early and support their being able to finish ready for their two weeks’ holiday.

Our table was by the window and we enjoyed watching the passers-by who included many members of the Salvation Army Band complete with instruments, and members of the combined Christchurch Choir carrying songbooks, all headed for Victoria Square. We also saw people with bags of takeaways, and uber eats being delivered across the road. All this while we relished our delicious meals. Stephen had his favourite Margherita pizza while I chose grilled gurnard with caponata (eggplant relish), vegetables and salad.

Dinner at Venuti

To finish we shared a serving of Tiramisu – always our choice at this restaurant and always delectable.


We drove home in daylight, thus avoiding any late-night hoons, in plenty of time for a Christmas Eve Zoom with the distant daughters.

The meal is always such a beauty
at favourite restaurant Venuti

Read Full Post »

Monday is my routine cleaning day, but this morning when I turned on the vacuum cleaner it made ominous dying noises. We’ve had it for forty years and had recently noticed that it was sounding sick. It was time for a replacement. Since reading about them in the Guardian I had fancied getting a Henry, a bagless cleaner

While I finished other chores Stephen searched to see where Henry might be available, and we went to Godfrey’s who specialise in vacuum cleaners. The salesman, Sam, was very helpful, but they had no Henrys in stock. When we discussed the merits of bagged and bagless cleaners I decided I’d rather have a bagged one because with bagless versions you have to clean the filter regularly. There were no other customers in the shop and Sam demonstrated various models for us. Eventually we chose a Sauber Pro Pets with a turbo head which we were assured would be good for removing Ziggy’s long fine hairs.

After making our purchase and loading it in the car we decided to lunch at nearby Urban Espresso.

I chose a chicken and veggie filo, but was disappointed. The filling was so richly creamy that I couldn’t really taste the chicken or veggies, and I didn’t finish it.

We got home and unpacked the new cleaner. It takes a little more effort to use than the old one, but certainly does a good job. Sam had warned me that the bag might be filled with our first clean because old deep dirt would be picked up, but that didn’t happen. Maybe the old one didn’t do too bad a job.

New cleaner stowed away

From now on we’ll be extra clean
with cat hairs banished from the scene

Read Full Post »

The dining room of Warner’s Hotel in Cathedral Square was full of smartly dressed people, with many civic dignitaries present on an evening in 2001. The occasion was the 100th anniversary of a dinner held in honour of Captain Robert Falcon Scott before his epoch-making voyage of discovery to the Antarctic. The original menu from 100 years before had been re-created, and there were many courses. The only one I now remember was jugged hare.

Scott married his wife Kathleen in 1908, so she would not have been at that original dinner, although she was in New Zealand for his 1910 expedition. A book “Widows of the Ice: the Women that Scott’s Antarctic Expedition left behind” by Anne Fletcher , dealing with Scott’s ultimately doomed second expedition, was published this year. As well as Kathleen, the book features Oriana Wilson and Lois Evans, and tells how they came from different backgrounds and how they dealt with the intrusive publicity when the tragic outcome of the expedition eventually became known.

At our dinner the guest of honour was Sir Edmund Hillary. After the meal many people brought $5 notes and asked him to sign them because the note bears his portrait. I didn’t do this, it seemed rude to me – a bit like the intrusions journalists had made into the lives of the widows of the ice.

A dinner to commemorate
the men who later met sad fate

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »