Tag Archives: wynyard quarter

Midnight daze – part two

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.
~ Harlan Miller

In a few hours’ time, I will probably wish I had just yanked my bottom off the chair, pushed myself into the shower and then into bed before 3am so that I could be at work with a fully awake mind and nice big eyes. However, for now, I am still feeling way too full to contemplate lying down.

Anyway. This is a food-focused (mostly) blog, so you probably don’t want to hear me whinging on about being way too full and all that.

(Although the truth is… that humans who like food and blog about food get way too full sometimes too, just like normal humans. True story.)

Anyway, we strolled down to Wynyard Quarter today and my camera asked to be let out of my handbag.

He asked nicely, so I agreed.

So here are a few pictures hurriedly snapped as we were en route to dinner tonight, and on my post-dinner walk with G. I have this habit of walking when I’m taking photos (especially since I start lagging behind everyone else otherwise, and I am not gifted at direction so then I get lost which is not so cool), so forgive me for the ones that aren’t centered… or whatever the right word for imperfect photos is.

I thought tonight about how lucky we are to live in New Zealand.

And how lucky I am to have been born the person I am, in the country that I was, and to live and travel in the places that I have. And etc etc. It’s so easy to complain, and I’m so guilty of doing this… but it’s so good to have a moment to put things in perspective – and I realise I love a lot about my life and would not change anything in my past. Seriously. Like G said tonight, it’s like we won the lottery with the lives we’ve been given…

We ate at Marvel Grill. Everyone enjoyed their food very much, from what I could see! This is what makes me smile: waiters carrying food out like they are proud to bear those plates, waiters who tell you what sauce goes with what, what they like to eat. Chefs who grill beef with a winning grin. Everyone exclaiming as the food gets put on the table. Momentary silence because all are fully intent on digging in. Conversation which then flows like a river… because that’s what eating lovely food together does – it opens doors, paves the way for talking… really talking (not to be confused with small talk). I REALLY love that. I think that is part of the reason that I love to host dinner parties… part of it is the fun parts of cooking and feeding people, the main thing though is watching how it opens those doors and makes connections, touches something that you can’t see but which resides in hearts. It’s beautiful.

Anyway, I’m bordering on rambling. You were warned, though, right? You are reading the words of a girl who is sleepy and full. With dinner tonight, I broke all the rules, ordering John Dory with a merlot sauce (as opposed to lemon and tarragon butter?) and drinking red wine with my fish. But whatever… the fish was fresh and superb, and as good as it gets if you make the rather weird choice of adding a red wine sauce to it. G’s lamb rump came in a cast iron skillet with sweet, sweet roasted garlic and a rich jus that we dipped our fries into and lapped up like happy cats. Loved the sides of good fries (not to be taken for granted), wilted spinach with red onion and bacon bits, and flat mushrooms with (kikorangi?) blue cheese… and I was content with just visually feasting on the other food on the table.

The night… was gorgeous. I felt like I was on holiday.

And that is all. I am going to go NOW and clean myself and sandwich myself between sheets and attempt to wake up with a working brain. Goodnight, and happy happy Friday!

Marvel Grill – 34-47 Jellicoe Street, North Wharf, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland – Phone: 09 377 8828

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Art, Wynyard Quarter and Takapuna Beach Cafe

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
~ Thomas Merton

Saturday – amidst drizzle and umbrellas, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki was opened with a speech by Len Brown, music by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and a warming kapa haka display… :-) Thereafter, the crowd whooshed through the doors (me included).

Read more here, here and here.

This is a quick snapshot of a few people tuning in to the ceremonial display – (I thought they were arranged rather artistically too).

Nice displays in every room, ranging from moving displays to crazy Picasso to majestic gold-framed portraits – enjoyed.

Loved this chandelier of flowers spilling from the ceiling! The promise of Spring.

The view from a window.

I couldn’t help but feel that this gallery was a little condensed, having visited various museums and galleries in Europe (some of those places could take months to explore in full) – however, I do recognise that much effort has been poured into this gallery, and they have made it a beautiful place which will inspire all who come through its doors. Great use of space too.

Art milk!

Here’re a few more photos from my second saunter down to Wynyard Quarter (there’re a few more photos in this recent post).

The weather was highly temperamental – churros weather one moment and swimsuit weather the next! My umbrella got heavily injured in the process too (rather extreme for Auckland, I thought).

Weather aside though, it was jolly fine wandering around – and we were far from lonely; so many people were out! The ladies were at the Fashion Week sale, I think – we opted for the benches, people watching, photo taking, sunbathing (whenever the sun actually came out, that is).

Adored this whimsical piano that was near to all the fancy new restaurants/bars – oh I was almost tempted to jump on and play! Too timid, in the end. I admire the courage of children :-)

And here are some oil tanks, looking very cute.

Later in the afternoon, Cam, Matt and I trooped down to Takapuna Beach Cafe for a late lunch.

I am sorry to report that the only thing I enjoyed about this place was the view (spectacular).

The food looked mighty fine (as you will note from the photos below) – but both the service and the taste of the food were highly unremarkable. The menu had looked wonderful, so I was really disappointed. My twice-baked souffle (last pic in this post) was not fun to eat, and the parmesan waaaay overpowered the leaves in the salad. An abundance of saltiness and regretting the bill at the end are my overall impressions of my meal now. Oh, and who can forget the facial expressions of the waiting staff? Bored and sulky? I can do without that on my Saturday afternoon, thank you very much.

I think that when food is cooked and served with love (this means that ingredients are sourced with care, food is cooked with skill, precision and spontaneity, dishes are plated and served by generous and genuine people), it makes a world of difference – that is when food goes from edible bits that slip down your throat and into your belly to something magical that nourishes your body, mind and soul.

Conversely, it doesn’t matter how good a dish looks on a plate if the foundation of good food/hospitality isn’t present – it will taste empty, and the diners will be left out in the cold at the end.

And when is that ever a good thing?

Luckily, there are places like Ima and Meredith’s which serve up the good oil in Auckland.

And that’s all from me tonight. I have a few videos and things I want to get through before I reunite with my pillow for the evening! Have a great Wednesday, all.

Takapuna Beach Cafe – 22 The Promenade, Takapuna, Auckland – Phone: 09 484 0002