Spotted - Hopewell, Marlborough Sounds

After my freshly caught meal at Hopewell, I asked my dinner guest, Y, if she would be my Spotted for this month.

Y is a teacher in Germany who has decided to take five months off to travel in New Zealand and Asia. She is an avid rock climber, and travelled all the way to NZ just because she heard there was good climbing here. Of course, she is also very keen on good food.

This month's spotted interview is at Hopewell, Marlborough Sounds.

Dinner at Hopewell

Where are you from: Hanover, Germany.

One word that describes you: Variety.

Favorite ingredient to cook with: Soy sauce.

Weirdest thing ever eaten: Whitebait nigiri sushi in Japan.

Your last meal would be: Starter would be fresh oysters. The main would be anything that my ex-boyfriend cooks. He is so good at cooking. Dessert would be a really good chocolate ice cream, and then I'd finish with an espresso with grappa.

Collecting Seafood in Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Collecting Seafood at Marlborough Sounds

I never thought I would ever collect my own seafood, let alone do it in New Zealand. Our first stop in New Zealand was Marlborough Sounds, an extensive area of bush-clad hills and beautiful blue bays.

Marlborough Sounds
Marlborough Sounds

We stayed at Hopewell, an extremely accommodating and wonderful lodge that I highly recommend. This lodge is very remote, and has both backpacker and private lodging. We had to drive 3 hours through the sounds on extremely windy roads just to get there. It's either that or a $300 round trip ferry ride.

Hopewell, Kenepuru Sounds
View from our Room at Hopewell

We loved being so far away from everything and spent our time kayaking, hiking, and in the evening, collecting seafood for dinner.

There is an abundance of mussels, cockles, and oysters in the Marlborough Sounds. At low tide, CK and I would grab a bucket, put on some rubber boots, and collect whatever we fancied for dinner. It was one of the coolest experiences ever. We collected cockles, mussels, and oysters. All were fresh and slightly salty from the salt water.

Cockles, saltwater clams, are buried in the mud, so you have to dig for these suckers. I found the meat slightly sweeter than the clams I've had in the past. Out of everything we collected, the cockles were, surprisingly, my favorite.

Cockles in the Mud
Cockles in the Mud


Oysters were the easiest to collect. There were so many of them it was unbelievable.

Oysters at Marlborough Sounds
Collecting Oysters

Look, oysters galore. Yes, those are all oysters you see in the photo! And to think, back home, I would pay $4 for just one oyster.

Oysters at Marlborough Sounds

I found the mussels hardest to collect. Because the mussels tightly attach themselves to rocks with byssal threads, aka beards, you have to tug really hard. The beards cannot be removed until the mussels open up from cooking. New Zealand is known for their Greenshell mussels. As the name implies, the shells are bright green, and they are much larger and meatier than most mussels. Most were about 4 x 1.5 inches in size.

Collecting Seafood at Marlborough Sounds
CK Collecting Mussels

We cooked the cockles and mussels by steaming them with fresh lemon juice. Hopewell had some lemon trees and all we had to do was pick them off the tree.

Steaming Mussels and Cockles
Steaming Cockles and Mussels

In order to eat the oysters, I had to learn how to shuck them on the spot. It was super fun once I got the hang of it. While shucking oysters, our gracious host, Mike, deep fried a few for us to try. They were wonderfully delicious. Never thought to deep fry oysters. We ate most of the oysters raw with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

And finally, our feast. We met a friendly traveller from Germany and had dinner with her that evening.

Seafood Feast
Feast of Mussels, Oysters, and Cockles

Here are some photos from our kayaking outing. Look how blue the water is!

Kayaking in Kenepuru Sound
Kayaking in Kenepuru Sound

We stopped at a remote scenic reserve and enjoyed lunch with some Weka birds.

Kenepuru Sound
Ferndale Scenic Reserve

They were all over the island, and I admit, I was somewhat scared. I had no clue what they were, and they were not afraid of humans at all.

Weka Birds
Weka Birds

I made CK eat his lunch with one paddle in his hand in case one attacked. They are flightless birds that are about the size of chickens. When I returned, I found out they were harmless...we had a good laugh about how scared we were.

Kayaking in Kenepuru Sound
Kayak Parked at Ferndale Scenic Reserve

Emirates Airline Food - Sydney to Christchurch

View landing into Christchurch

This was our view as we landed into Christchurch. Our trip to New Zealand was amazing but much too short. I wish words and pictures could describe what we saw and experienced.

I chose to fly to Christchurch with Emirates specifically for the food. For a 2.5 hour flight in Economy class, you get a nice meal that includes a starter, main, and dessert.

Before the meal, a hot refreshing towel is brought to you. On the flights I've been on in North America, hot towels are only provided in business class.

After the towels, you are presented with a menu for the flight. For the Sydney - Christchurch flight, brunch was served.

The starter was fresh seasonal fruit.
For the main course, it was a choice between a swiss cheese omelette or pesto tortellini.
Dessert was New York cheesecake with a sweet caramel sauce.

Cheese, crackers, chocolate, and orange juice were also served.

Emirates Airline Meal - Sydney to Christchurch

I chose the pesto tortellini as my main course. I expected the pesto part to be the sauce. Instead, it was tortellini stuffed with pesto, and topped with a rich three cheese cream sauce and roasted capsicum relish. On the side was steamed broccoli.

Pesto Tortellini - Emirates

The pasta was ok, just a tad plain. I wish I had gotten the swiss cheese omelette instead. You know how it works, you want what you can't have.
Other perks on the flight included:

- Free magazines. I picked up Vogue Australia, and Vogue Living Australia.

- Complimentary stuffed animals for young children.

- Extensive in-flight entertainment. They had over 100 movies, TV shows, etc. I couldn't believe the selection they had. They also have a large selection of World movies in languages such as Mandarin, Bengali, Tagalog, and Farsi.

MOO Gourmet Burgers, Sydney

MOO Gourmet Burgers, Sydney

Sydney is a food haven. There is so much good food in this city, it's sick. I wake up every morning dreaming about what to eat for brekky, lunch, and dinner.

I've been waking up at 3AM every morning because of the jet-lag, and the first thing I do is ask CK what we should eat for lunch and dinner. It is driving him crazy, but luckily for me, he is too nice to tell me to shut the F*** up! We end up having about a 30 minute conversation on my potential meals of the day, and then we go back to sleep. Ahhh, I love being on vacation.

Yesterday, we went on my favourite walk: The Coogee to Bondi Walk. It is a 6 km stretch along five beautiful beaches in Sydney. It is a must when I visit. Take a look at the scenery...amazing ain't it?

Gordons Bay, Sydney
Gordons Bay

Surfers at Bronte Beach, Sydney
Surfers at Bronte Beach

Mackenzies Point, Sydney
Mackenzies Point

Surfers at Mackenzies Point, Sydney
Surfers at Mackenzies Point

Mackenzies Point and Bronte Beach
Mackenzies Point and Bronte Beach

Rockpool at Bondi Beach, Sydney
Rockpools at Bondi

After the 6km trek, we stopped in at MOO Gourmet Burgers to re-fuel. MOO is a new burger joint that opened 2 months ago. The owner is the grandson of Mick Adams, Australia's first milk bar owner. The milk bar first opened in the 1930's, and the black and white signature burger at MOO is named after his grandfather's Black and White Milk Bar.

MOO Gourmet burgers is a trendy little spot in a prime location. It is directly across the street from Bondi beach, and CK and I enjoyed our burgers while enjoying our view of the Pacific Ocean.

MOO Gourmet Burgers, Sydney
MOO Gourmet Burgers

The menu at MOO is quite extensive. In addition to their certified Australian Angus beef burgers, they also offer veggie, chicken, fish, duck, lamb and pork options.

We grabbed ourselves a bottle of certified MOO water (Sydney tap water), and ordered our lunch at the counter.

MOO Water
MOO Water

To start, CK and I shared a basket of hot chips.

Hot Chips
Hot Chips

I wanted something sweet, so I ordered a MooTeaser milkshake. This was a milkshake with maltesers, chocolate syrup, ice cream, and malt. The milkshake was amazing, and I felt like I was slurping a chocolate bar. It was definitely worth the $6.50.

MooTeaser Milkshake
MooTeaser Milkshake

My burger was the signature MOO burger: 100% Certified Australian Angus beef, beetroot, egg, pineapple, cheese, mixed leaf lettuce, tomato, & tomato relish served on a light sourdough bun. I asked them to hold off on the bacon and mayo. The burger was delicious. It was spiced really nicely, and the beef was tender and juicy. As soon as you bite into this burger, the egg yolk will run and coat both the burger and your fingers!

MOO Burger
MOO Burger

CK ordered the Wagyu beef burger. This was a 100% Wagyu beef patty with mixed leaf lettuce, slow roasted tomatoes, home made mayo & tomato relish. This was also served on a light sourdough bun. He enjoyed his burger, but wasn't blown away like I was with mine.

Wagyu Beef Burger
Wagyu Beef Burger
This place rocks, and I'm drooling while writing this post. The food is awesome and so is the view.
I'm heading to New Zealand for a few days so I'll see you when I get back. Bisou.

MOO Gourmet Burgers
70A Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia
Telephone: (02) 9300 8898

MOO Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon

Skittles Sensations

Skittles Sensations

I just had spicy Skittles for breakfast!

CK and I have been busy making mix CDs for our upcoming trip to New Zealand, and instead of wasting time making breakfast for the two of us, I busted open a bag of Skittles that he bought for me.

CK stumbled upon these Skittles Sensations a few months ago, and saved a bag for me. He wanted me to try their berry chili flavor, which tasted like a berry Skittle with lots of Cayenne pepper. It was pretty neat.

The Skittles Sensations come in blue and black packaging, and I believe, they are a limited edition Skittles because CK hasn't been able to find these since his purchase a few months ago. According to Wiki and this Facebook page, Skittles Sensations were released in 2008.

Skittles Sensations

Here are all the flavors from Skittles Sensations:

Chili Berry - tasted like berries with cayenne pepper. Surprisingly, quite spicy.
Sour Apple - this was good, but being the sour whore I am, it would have been nice if it were more sour.
Lemon Tingle - tasted very similar to the original lemon flavor.
Juicy Orange - refreshing orange taste, and again, similar to the original orange flavor.
Cool Raspberry - This was cool indeed. Tasted like it had a bit of menthol in it.

Skittles Sensations Flavors
Eating the Cool Raspberry and Chilli Berry together is like a taste trip. Spicy, cool, and fruity all at the same time.

Spice I Am and Sydney Favourites

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

After 24 hours of travelling, I have finally arrived in Sydney. This city has become almost a second home for me. This is my 6th time visiting in 4 years, and as soon as I landed, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to go.

One: Modern Gothic Architecture. I have been obsessed with modern gothic architecture lately, and Sydney is full of it. While strolling around the city, I kept stopping every few minutes to admire the intricate patterns of buildings and apartment terraces.

Two: Thai at Spice I Am. I had a huge craving for Thai food today. There is literally a Thai restaurant on every block in this city, so there is a lot to choose from. One of the most authentic and distinct Thai restaurants is Spice I Am in Surry Hills. It is a bustling little place that serves great Thai dishes using the freshest ingredients. CK and I stopped in for a quick lunch.

Spice I Am, Sydney
Spice I Am

I ordered the Lemongrass Salad with a side of white rice. It is a salad of finely chopped lemongrass and basil topped with king prawns. It was tossed with a lime juice and sugar dressing, and garnished with cashews.

Lemongrass Salad
Lemongrass Salad with King Prawns and Cashews

This dish didn't look like much at first, but it was packed with flavor and was extremely spicy. The portion was deceivingly large, and I was full for way longer than expected. Look at how well chopped the ingredients were.

Lemongrass salad
Lemongrass Salad with King Prawns and Cashews

CK ordered the pad cha, phuket style. It was beef stir fried with curry paste, peppercorn, basil, and thai eggplant. This dish was also extremely spicy and flavorful. CK really enjoyed it, but my tongue was too numb from my salad to fully taste this dish.

Pad Cha
Pad Cha, Phuket Style

One thing to note about Spice I Am, it is cash only so leave your debit and visa cards at home.

After our meal, I went to my current favorite cafe for a flat white. Three: Flat White at Single Origin. Look at the beautiful latte art. They've really perfected the technique.

Flat White from Single Origins
Flat White from Single Origin

Afterwards, I spent a good part of the afternoon at my favorite book store in The Rocks, four: Ariel book shop. I loved perusing through their books, and ended up buying The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester.

Five and lastly: Sydney Opera House. Following my book purchase, CK and I walked over to the Sydney Opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge to enjoy the great views and warm weather.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Spice I Am
90 Wentworth Avenue
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Telephone: (02) 9280 0928

Spice I Am on Urbanspoon

Lufthansa Airline Food - Frankfurt to Toronto

Lufthansa Business Class Menu

As you are reading this, I am on a plane to Sydney. I'm finally going to see my hunny after 7 long months. Because of this, I figure a post about an airplane meal would be fitting.

I have a large collection of airplane food photos. CK and I started taking pictures of such meals when we discovered, a website dedicated to airline food. We used to travel together quite a bit, and had planned to post all of our airline meals onto this site. Of course, we got lazy and never did.

Last Spring, I got to fly business class on a Lufthansa flight. My flight from Germany included a dinner followed by a breakfast.

As a starter snack, I got a bag of dry roasted macadamia nuts. This was the first time in a long time I have seen nuts served on a flight.

Lufthansa - Macadamia Nuts
Dry Roasted Macadamia

For my dinner, I had an appetizer of smoked salmon carpaccio, mixed greens salad, and an assortment of cheeses. I also got a cool pretzel bun on the side.

Lufthansa - Dinner

The smoked salmon carpaccio was very nice. It was garnished with an olive, fresh dill, cracked black pepper, and a slice of grapefruit.

Lufthansa - Smoked Salmon
Smoked Salmon Carpaccio

The cheeses included herb roulé, havarti jalapeño, and cheddar cheese. On the side were veggies and a piece of dried fruit.

Lufthansa - Cheese and Fruit
Assortment of Cheeses

My entree was the duo of shrimp and sea cod accompanied by wild & white rice with chopped green onion, and broccoli. I was disappointed with this dish but I should have known better than to order fish on a flight. I was curious to see what the fish would be like on a business class flight, and it turned out to be dry and chewy. The rice was also a little sad. It was basically white rice with a few specs of wild rice. The shrimp, however, was ok.

I definitely should have ordered the beef tenderloin or agnolotti pasta instead.

Lufthansa - Shrimp and Cod with Rice
Duo of Shrimp and Sea Cod

They offered a crème brûlée for dessert, but I passed and asked for a platter of fresh fruit instead. The fresh fruit also included some biscotti.

Lufthansa - Biscotti and Fruit
Fresh Fruit and Biscotti

Breakfast was German style: cold meats and cheese. The meats were turkey breast and salami, and the cheeses were emmental, port salut, and cream cheese. On the side were fresh fruit and a bun.

Lufthansa - Cheese and Meat Breakfast
Cold Meats and Cheese