Monday, April 28, 2008

Wine Tasting Night

We went to another tasting at Pomeroy's on Tuesday but this time instead of beer, it was a showcase for Tohu wines. Tohu has vineyards in Marlborough and Gisborne and has a distinctly Maori element with their name possibly (and I could be wrong) based on Tohu Kakahi who was a leader in the 1870's and organised passive resistance against the occupation by the whites and the company ran by a Maori trust.

Getting back to the wine, Tohu produce around five varities including sauvingnon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir. Not only did we get to sample the wines but each glass was accompanied by hors d'oeuvres designed to compliment each other including salmon and pork belly which was on the whole quite delicious.

Two highlights for me were the Gisborne oaked chardonnay and the Marlborough Pinot Noir which is some of the best wine I've tasted in New Zealand.

Next month hosts a bourbon tasting night which should prove interesting...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hells's Pizza

This is a somewhat unusual thing to talk about but if there's one thing I've found better in New Zealand than in Ireland, it's their pizza - namely from Hell's. If there's a gourmet pizza delivery service [not a restaurant] that serves better pizza than this back home, I didn't find it.

There are many pizza's available in supermarkets, both fresh and frozen but there isn't the same selection and the quality is vastly inferior.

What separates Hell's is the gourmet aspect and the range of toppings you can put on your pizza. You can of course, like all pizzerias, choose your own toppings and I think I found my zen selection with the above: chicken, mushrooms, caramelised onions, spinach, green pepper, bacon and blue vein cheese.

It was utterly delicious and I'm not one to finish a pizza in one night - I usually restrain myswelf to leave a few slices for the next day - but this was eaten up in a short time.

Hell's is also amusingly quirky in it's Hell variation pizza names and, if you don't manage to eat everything at once, you can make a coffin out of your pizza box for the last few slices.

It's a shame this chain isn't available back home and I'd consider setting up a chain if I had the chance because I'm sure people would order in their droves.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lyttelton Harbour Cruise

We were back in Lyttelton this weekend for a harbour cruise upon the steam powered tug boat - Tug "Lyttelton".

The boat was built in Glasgow and sailed to New Zealand to her owners, The Lyttelton Harbour Board, on 10th September 1907. She performed numerous duties before being retired in 1970 when the Tug Lyttelton Preservation Society recomissioned the ship for ferrying passengers.

We were lucky to be sailing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and as we climbed on board we made our way to the bottom deck where we could see the glow of the fire and hear the shovelling of coal in preparation for departure.

Lyttelton is a small town with a population of just over 3000 and its hills are swamped with houses jostling for a view over the harbour.

The tug set off at 2.30pm and took 90 minutes to cruise out of the port and circumnavigate the harbour inlet towards the sea at times hugging the Banks Peninsula to deliver fantastic panoramic views before making its way back to dock.

It's well worth the $15 and highly recommended for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

All photos can be seen here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's War is based on the true story of Charles Wilson, a former United States naval officer and former Democratic United States Representative from the 2nd congressional district in Texas who supported the largest-ever CIA covert operation which supplied the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

The film is based on the book of the same name by George Crile and adapted for screen by Aaron Sorkin. Wilson himself is played by Tom Hanks and is backed up with silver screen heavyweights Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts.

With such a name attached to writing duties and and an A-list cast leading the film, I was really looking forward to this film. However, what should have been a serious examination of the who, what, why and how, the movie bumbles along and seemed more quirky comedy at times than a drama.

More screen time seems to be devoted to Charlies antics and behaviour than in the cause he's fighting for and when the credits rolled, I immediately thought Rambo 3 would have been more entertaining.

I would give this film 5.1 hookers in the hot-tub out of 10


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