Checked Something Off the List! (and Wellington on a Plate stuff
Forgive me if this blog post is boring or just seems lazy – I have a really bad cold (thanks, Grant!) (that was a sarcastic thanks for getting me sick, and a very genuine thanks for letting me sleep until 1:00 today because of said sickness) (and for making me ginger-lemon-honey tea)
Spring weather has arrived in Wellington! (which is really, really hard to get used to considering it’s almost September). Grant and I had lunch outside at the cafe across the street from our house to take advantage of the gorgeous sun:
Also this week we went to a fancy schmancy dinner as part of Wellington on a Plate at the French Restaurant “Hippopotamus”.
We were super excited about it (after many hours of looking through the WOAP catalog and painstakingly choosing where we would go for our splurge dinner). Basically, it was a four course tasting menu, with wine pairings, AND I got to check something off of my 30 before 30 list (remember that?); number six: try sweetbreads. The second course consisted of some fish with sweetbreads and I really liked them (even if I didn’t take the good advice of Ms. Bobo to have them breaded and fried first). Ok, on to the food pictures:
Our first course was “Panacotta de chou-fleur d’Otaki et son saumon marine” (Otaki cauliflower panacotta with beetroot marinated salmon and Greytown saffron dressing)
The starter was probably my favorite part of the meal – the cauliflower panacotta was AWESOME (I will definitely be attempting to recreate it at home) – and even though I don’t like smoked salmon (I know, it’s so wrong not to like that, right?) this was really good – plus I’ve never had caviar (I’ve tried a ton of new stuff during WOAP, and I didn’t really think there was much I’ve never had, who knew?) Anyway, I love caviar. It’s good stuff.
The next course was “Filet de dorade sur ris de veau” (Yellowbrick Road line caught snapper fillet on local sourced lamb sweetbread, Parkvale mushroom and broad bean fricassee)
So, first off: sweetbreads are GOOD. Definitely not as weird as I thought they would be – for some reason I thought sweetbreads meant testicles, but apparently not, I think they are thymus glands? According to wikipedia (don’t judge me!) they can be a number of different things. Anyway, this dish was sadly under seasoned – it just needed ….. something. Alas, Grant and I couldn’t put our finger on it.
Next up: “Cotelette d’agneau sur lentilles braisees” (Manuwhaku farmed lamb cutlet on braised lentils and Harrington gipsy bacon, with pea puree and port wine jus)
I LOVE LAMB! And so naturally, New Zealand is a pretty great place to be; I’m almost positive I’ve eaten more lamb since moving here than I have during the rest of my life combined – and that is not for lack of eating it previously – it is just so abundant and wonderful here. I never liked it in the states though – but the chef at the Overlook that did our wedding dinner (Chef Mike is THE BEST – I think he even personally made and brought my mom a drink when she was particularly stressed at the rehearsal dinner). Anyway, he told me that actually, lamb in the US, tends to not be nearly as good as lamb elsewhere, because of the lax restrictions put on it by the USDA. Not sure if it’s true, but a) I tend to trust Chef Mike and b) I really didn’t like lamb in the US when I tried it. But I digress- this lamb (at Hippopotamus) was very, very good – Grant and I were struggling not to just pick it up and suck the bones clean. The pea puree was quite special, and the lentils were good lentils. I like lentils. (even if the show The Young Ones tend to paint them in a less than appetizing light:
On to dessert! A dark Ghana chocolate and caramel mi-cuit on chocolate sauce and Carrello Del Gelato caramel ice cream:
Now, as I am sure most of you know, I am a dessert girl — hardcore. If Grant and I went on some sort of dating game, or relationship game, or lame-sauce reality show and he had to answer the question “what phrase does Katherine say the most?” he would undoubtedly answer “I need something sweet!”. So it shocks me to say that although the ice cream was great, the cake was way too rich and sweet. Overall a “meh” but with good espresso! (plus, I thought it was rather lazy that they used the same salad garnish for every single savory course).
The restaurant was located in a museum of sorts, and here is some art we saw on the walk in:
So there you have it! And yes, this was sort of a ringer to get my 30 before 30 list started (I’m just gonna call it my 3b3 from now on) (Actually, no I’m not, that looks stupid). I knew that sweetbreads were on the menu for this dinner, so of all the foods I haven’t tried that I want to try, I chose that one. One down, 29 to go!
Overall, the dinner was really good, and other than the under seasoned fish I couldn’t think of anything wrong with it. Grant and I walked home quietly together because neither of us wanted to be the first one to say “you know what? that wasn’t great” because we had spent a quite a bit of money, but then it came out, and then we worried we were just dead inside and needed to either take a Walden year (but instead of living in the woods, live in Troy, MO and eat nothing but McDonald’s for a year) or start some sort of culinary underground fight club. Luckily the whiskey breakfast we went to yesterday cured us of those worries, because it was a delight (can’t wait to hear about it, can you?)