Local Heart, Global Soul

March 18, 2015

A Family Sized Meal, A Treat From Oma…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this archive post my husband’s extended family have come away together to a holiday park as a group, on a long weekend so that Oma (Grandmother) can spend time with us all together.

Naturally since it’s her weekend the three families who attended took care of her costs, but as a Thank You she wanted to treat us to a dinner in the restaurant.

The Landal park complex has a variety of eateries and on this occasion she wanted us to go into the main restaurant because she and several other families are vegetarians and there would be more options on the main menu.

The children mostly went for the easy and less adventurous option of fries, nuggets and the like, but the adults went for everything from cheese fondue to surf ‘n turf.

The saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” so I suppose I better get cracking posting photographs.

I do have to say that some members of the family enjoyed their meals more than others, but in a very large group there are always different tastes to cater to some things on the menu that turned out a bit different to what was expected and in the end the meal was less important than the fact that the service was friendly, Oma was really happy and we all had a good time.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

August 24, 2014

Choosing You Meal Is Never Usually This Personal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post about us ordering lunch at a restaurant on the bay of Damouchari port, I feel I need to be a little more specific about how the ordering system works when you arrive as the tourist season is ending and are the only customers for lunch.

Yes, the menu was presented to us, but not in printed format as is normally the case, but  ‘in person” (as it were) because we were invited right into the  kitchen to take a look at what was in the pots on the stove.

It was with big smiles that the menu was explained,  we see the chef throwing in bay leaves by the handful, there is slow cooked beef,  chicken being prepared and all with plenty of enthusiasm.

It’s very rare that customers can choose their restaurant meal directly from the stovetop…

Of course during high season and during busy times this wouldn’t be possible, but  for me it’s a chance to sneak a peek at a professional kitchen and take a look  “behind the scenes”. Outside there are baskets if vegetables, and of course, in due course our meals were served to us at our able outside.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 7, 2013

The Maria van Bourgondie Both Delivers And Disappoints…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my diary as I document our last summer’s travels with our visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen”. We are currently having dinner in the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant in Bruges, Belgium, and it’s been an interesting meal so far to say the least.

First there was the Waffle saga where they would only serve waffles between two in the afternoon and six in the evening  and at no other time except this.

We finally succeeded in getting our waffle at a few minutes to six, by resorting to having dessert before our main course, but at least we then had the entertainment of  seeing one of the biggest steaks I have ever seen in my life being prepared for Velveteen on the grill next to our table.

Now the rest of our food arrives and we spend a leisurely evening slowly making our way though our chosen dishes.   The kids get sly and ask for dessert after dinner and we say they may share an ice cream between them, and only after it’s been delivered do the sly pair remind us that this is their second  dessert of the evening:  “Had we forgotten that we had waffles at the start of the meal?”

All I can say is that we were tired and a little on automatic pilot by this stage of the evening, my foot was painfully letting me know that all this walking was probably more than I could manage and that a quiet few days would be in order.  We laughed at the kids struggling though the ice cream, it turned out that their eyes were rather larger then their bellies so Himself ended up helping them finish it.

My meatballs weren’t bad… nothing special, but at least Velveteen’s steak was decent and we finally succeeded in getting our Belgium waffle.  We also educated Velveteen and the kids that “French fries”are actually not French … they originated in Belgium. Service was without a smile (but this is Flanders so no different to the indifferent service we usually get in the The Netherlands) and we were rather shocked at the brusque and inflexible manner the waffle saga played out. After a slow walk back to the hotel we asked for some ice at the hotel reception for my now rapidly swelling foot and they were at least far  friendlier, delivering a whopping party size bag  of ice which, along with painkillers numbed the pain into submission.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 6, 2013

Captivated By the Decoration…

In this travel post of our last summer’s adventures, we are dining in the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant in  Bruges, Belgium. The restaurant is laden with decorative ornaments and quirky details so even a trip upstairs to the Ladies reveals  decoration galore, which luckily had a calming effect  of restoring my sense of peace and tranquillity after a steep staircase  that was a nightmare to negotiate on crutches. The detail was hard to catch due to the low light available, but Velveteen and I definitely tried…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 5, 2013

When Ordering a Steak Gets You Supplied With A Small Beast!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of yesterday’s post,  Family Kiwidutch and Singaporean friend “Velveteen”  continue with their topsy-turvy meal in the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant  in Bruges, Belgium.

We started dinner with waffle desserts and now it’s time to order our main course.

Velveteen orders a steak from the grill,  which happens by chance to be situated right next to our table so we get to watch and photograph it being cooked.

Both Himself and I are well used to Dutch portions of meat, the quantity of which can be summed up in a word: Tiny.

Therefore we were both wide eyed when Velveteen’s steak was added to the grill, the size of this steak was humongous in size  and most unexpected !

It was a great slab of meat, more like an entire small beast than just a steak, and as big a single piece of meat as I have ever seen served in a restaurant in all my time in Europe.

The steak is flame grilled on the cast iron stove, with is beautifully decorated with Delft’s blue and white tiles,  and when it’s almost done, it is carved off the bone (one that Bruge’s famous  doggy Fidel would have envied) and then returned to the grill for the last minute or so before being carved into thick slices which were practically mini-steaks themselves. The plate it was served on was so large, it was really hard to show just how much meat was sitting there…   Himself and I joked that it was just as well Velveteen had had her long awaited waffle first, because there might not have been space left after eating this!

I’m not personally a fan of meat cooked as rare as this, but Himself had a piece and both he and Velveteen declared it to be delicious. I have to admit that steak isn’t something that he and I indulge in at home, since in the Netherlands you get so little meat for such a ridiculous price and the few times Himself has tried, the chefs have generally massacred it. I think it comes down to the logical deduction that you should always try and eat something that is a speciality of the region you are in, and which the chefs are experienced in cooking, otherwise the results tend to be less than wonderful. Here at least the steak was edible and enjoyed, and seeing the process of it being cooked added it’s own flavour to the meal.

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

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(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

November 4, 2013

Drastic Thinking Is Needed In Order To Achieve The Taste Of Success…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my travel diary finds Family Kiwidutch and our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” (her Internet nickname to protect her privacy) in Bruges, Belgium.  Velveteen and I have just left the canal tourist boat trip, and gone to meet up with Himself and the children for dinner.

We arrive at the Church Of Our Lady meeting point at ten minutes to six in the evening and since it’s still raining hard, decide not to mess about looking for a restaurant too far away, which is how we ended up at  the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant  just around the corner.

We are handed menu’s at five minutes to six and after greeting the older lady who comes to serve us I happen to mention in Dutch that I’m delighted to see Belgium Waffles on the menu and how  very much we will be looking forward to dessert later on.

Imagine our shock when she replies with a stony face in Vlaams “No, there are no waffles after six o’clock”.

We look at her in amazement, and I ask her if it’s ok then if we please order both our main menu and  our dessert right now, before  six p.m.   …we will have ordered before six, so surely that would be acceptable? My request is met with a flat “No’ and a look that tells me she is rather surprised that despite her spelling it out, that we are obviously rather slow to realise that no waffles after six, emphatically means no waffles after six.

Himself and I explain the difficulty to a disappointed Velveteen, who by now is seriously starting to wonder if her waffle wish is cursed after three failed attempts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Suddenly as the waitress lady turns to leave I have a brainwave and call her back with a question… “Since it’s still a few minutes before six is it still possible to have a waffle right now please?” She looks surprised, but says, “Yes”. I instantly order five waffles and tell the kids they are ten seconds to order a topping or they will be too late making the order.

They are so delighted at the prospect of eating dessert before the main course that they uncharacteristically manage to make a selection in a nano second  (I think they were probably more afraid of me changing my mind than running out of time).

So this is how Family Kiwidutch and friend Velveteen manage to eat an evening meal in reverse: dessert followed by the main course.  Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr. of course can not believe their luck and can’t wipe the smiles off their faces.

Once Velveteen gets over the incredulously  unyielding manner of the “rules” surrounding obtaining a waffle in Belgium, she is delighted that we found a way to still enjoy one. So what we act like crazy tourists and eat our meal back to front?

We eat our waffles with an extra large dose of satisfaction that we managed to “beat the system” albeit in an unconventional way…  Now we can waffle on about the Belgium Waffle Saga with a grin on our faces and the taste of success in our stomachs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here are the links to our previous Waffle dramas…

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=waffles

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/new-1248/

August 2, 2013

Saracens Head Menu, How Much… For HOW Much???!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

With some help from Himself and the kids Velvetine and I have installed ourselves  in our hotel  room at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmow and now the troops  declared  themselves hungry and thirsty so the next logical step is to adjourn to the hotel restaurant for lunch.

As with any visit to the United Kingdom we are usually hanging out for a fix of fish and chips, and so duly asked if it were available on the menu please.

It was, but only on the children’s menu and the mention that we had just arrived from abroad and were really looking forward to fish and chips along with a polite request for the adults to please have a child  (or even and adult) portion of fish and chips was as equally politely  refused.

We were rather taken aback but they were adamant, no fish and chips would be served to adults.  We had no clue if this was standard attitude in the UK these days or if it was as it seemed to us, just plain weird. Half of us were keen to go elsewhere for fish and chips for all of us, but we had hit on that age old restaurant dilemma, we didn’t know the town, or where to find fish and chips, we had made ourselves comfortable, it was hot and the cold drinks we had ordered had arrived, and the kids now wanted said fish and chips from this menu.

The adults craving fish and chips were now in the uncomfortable position of the possibility of looking elsewhere with no guarantee of success so sucked it in and took a look at the menu to look at alternative options.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Under  the heading of “light lunch”  we chose “Pan fried Mackerel fillet  on toasted ciabatta served with herbed potato salad (£11,–)” and a “home-made british beef burger, mature cheddar cheese with smoked bacon, skinny chips and mixed salad (£10.50) “, fish and chips  for the kids and added  a portion of pork scratchings because we none of us had ever tried them before and were intrigued.

Our lunch arrived and we were all very hungry. I have to say it was all delicious but clearly “light lunch” actually meant miniscule portions more than mega healthy menu  and all three adults were still hungry after we’d eaten. (the pieces of bread the mackerel was served on were about as long as your thumb). The waitress came to ask if our lunch was ok and Himself  mentioned that it was delicious but there didn’t seem to be much of it, she shrugged  her shoulders in response and said that was how they served it here.

Now somewhat annoyed by these facts we decided to cut our losses and get an earlier than planned fish and chip dinner. The final blow came when the bill arrived, …with added cold drinks for five people the bill came to roughly £55,–  (approx Euro 70,–) which seemed an awful lot  of money for so little food.

It certainly made the job of deciding where to have dinner easier:  at these prices, anywhere but here.  It’s entirely possible we are out of touch with UK prices… is this maybe now the norm? We remembered it being far far cheaper in the past, have things changed so much in recent years since we were last here?

There is certainly nothing wrong with the food, but the tiny amount for so much, has definitely put us off returning  here again. Live and learn.  We leave still hungry, poorer and wiser.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 6, 2013

An Unexpected Meal For Two almost Thai’s Us Up In Knots…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It often happens that one of our kids has a play date somewhere for a few hours but it’s fairly rare that both of them are out of the house at the same time.

If we arrange a babysitter it is because Himself and I have a special event to attend and so it’s even rarer  that we find ourselves without kids and no actual appointment to go to and a few free hours to ourselves.

Recently I took some annual leave and spent most of it organising kid stuff,  and helping out several family, friends and neighbours who required  sudden and urgent  help due to life throwing them some nasty and unexpected “curve balls” ( I use this phrase without knowing it’s exact meaning but I like the way it sounds). One suffered a cancer scare and needed an immediate operation to remove a very large tumour (luckily benign, but unluckily so large as to be interfering with other bits of anatomy and causing pain), Mother In Law had problems with her pace maker, another friend has visa issues, and we had house troubles when the electricity and computers (at different times) failed for no apparent reason.

We had fingers in pies all over the place, after-hours repair specialists in,  and extra kids all over the place, as we cooked extra meals, provided  taxi service  and baby sitting services. I’d put my back out and after my physio hammered on all the spots where it hurt, loosened up enough to walk like an 80 year old instead of a 120 year old.  (We went to see one of my Sister in Law’s in a performance and I was embarrassed to see that my 90 year old mother in law was walking faster than I was).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One weekend,  after a busy day  my sister in law phoned. They had been out  and about, were reasonably close to our place and her kids wanted our kids to visit and play, could they swing by our place and collect them for an evening  please?  The kids were already pleading for us to say yes and within half an hour we were suddenly and unexpectedly child free.

There were leftovers that  needing finishing in the fridge  but we looked at each other  and grinned: dinner out!!!  just the two of us, alone! … and preferably somewhere that didn’t  serve pizza or kid friendly food.

We instantly decided to head to the beach for dinner at one of the restaurants on the Promenade. We had tapas in mind.. or anything else that contained a ton of herbs, spices or shot of the exotic.  It was the first evening with decent weather for ages, we were still a good two kilometres from the beach when we got stuck in a traffic jam and it became clear that every man, woman and their dog had the same idea we did.

Twenty minutes later we had advanced so little down the street that I still had the same pretty building in view of my camera lens, albeit a photo in the rear view mirror instead of  from the front windscreen.  This was ridiculous.  Agreement saw us turning off into the nearest side street at the first opportunity and  high tailing it away from the hordes heading to the  beach as fast as we could.

Next came the problem of finding a restaurant … for some reason it appeared that every place we saw was Italian… we went towards the centre of town but they are digging roadworks all over the place and between my back and my foot I wasn’t  feeling like negotiating the detours and hiking to my dinner destination.

It was still very early in the evening and several places looked promising but a quick look at menu boards outside  left us less than inspired. We figured out we didn’t fancy Chinese food, or Greek or the Egyptian shawarma places.  More roadworks lead us all over the place. I’ve lived in this city for twenty years now and on this evening we drove down more streets that I’ve never been in before than I have in the last ten years in total.

We end up driving down the Laan van Meerdervoort (the longest street in the Hague) and see a restaurant by the Conradkade. More menu card reading… it’s packed outside and all the nice seats in the sunshine  have been taken by people smoking like chimneys and the menu sports mushrooms in almost every meal, a no-go for me since I’m allergic to the blighters.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are about to give up and go home to our fridge full of leftovers when Himself spies a menu board just around the corner. ” Thai Restaurant De Sampan”… hmm, sounds like just the ticket.  We go inside, it’s small and quiet so we take a seat by the window and wait to order.

Drinks are ordered and we patiently wait to be offered a menu.  Instead we receive a small plate of krupuk  (prawn crackers) and a spicy dipping sauce. Ok… we are hungry so we begin to nibble. I’m just about to ask about the whereabouts of the menu card when suddenly two bowls of soup are placed on our table.

Surprised, Himself  blurts out that “Sorry, we haven’t ordered soup and we were just waiting for the menu card please“.

Then all is revealed:  this place has no menu in the conventional sense. There is a set menu for a set price that changes every day of the week and every customer gets what’s on offer that day. The soup has mushrooms in it, we quickly explain my allergy problem and ask if  more than just the soup contains mushrooms. Luckily tonight’s menu doesn’t and they even have chicken soup without mushrooms that they bring instead.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After the soup we are presented this the option of rice or noodles and choosing rice, receive four small bowls each that contain identical contents. Everything including the soup was spicy,  I can handle  a “reasonable” amount of heat and it was good for me most of the time. I got about three mouthfuls of chilli peppers during the meal that were distinctly  out of my comfort zone, but with an extra order of rice to help defuse the fire, I actually really enjoyed my meal.

Himself,  more seasoned when it comes to heat said only the odd mouthful was decently hot.  Dessert afterwards was very simple and refreshing: strawberries and whipped cream.

The service was very good (something not to be expected as standard in the Netherlands) and we enjoyed our relaxing meal for two very much.

I wouldn’t necessarily rate this as haute cuisine, it’s a small menu cooked decently, this is more of a place where you’d go when you want a break from cooking at home and want to  know you will enjoy  your meal, rather than a a place where you’d  plan a  really special event menu that will blow your socks off and probably has a price tag to blow your budget as well.

It’s a meal you can enjoy and leave happy rather than disappointed… true it’s Economy rather than First Class, but you definitely get your money’s worth and it’s Economy done very decently indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 11, 2012

Win Some, Loose Some, but Mostly Winning…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcome to my retro-tour of our  recent adventures in New Zealand.

It’s supposed to be a New Zealand summer but a tropical cyclone that’s been doing damage in Australia has now crossed the Tasman and  is how eaking out the last of its fury on the central and upper parts of New Zealand’s North Island.

Basically that means it’s been raining swimming pools in the last day or so and whilst that hasn’t stopped us for doing a few things today it has meant that we now return dripping to the hotel looking  like four drowned rats.

We all had rain jackets on but somewhere in the middle of the guided tour of  Whakarewarewa it became apparent that they were no match for the deluge.

We got back into our room as quickly as possible, I took a hot shower and then a short nap whilst Himself and the kids donned swimming attire and headed out for a warming soak in the jacuzzi. Afterwards  when we all felt warm and rested and the hunger pangs kicked in. We felt too lazy to go and look for dinner outside of the hotel and Himself fancied a glass of wine or two with his meal so we thought we’d try one of the several restaurants inside the Distinction Hotel.

There were several restaurants we drove past today that looked interesting and  since I’m on pain meds for my foot I’m not drinking alcohol at all,  in theory I’d make a good designated driver, but of course my foot injury also means I can’t drive so that puts paid to the best laid plans of mice and men.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Therefore the  restaurant we are going to tonight is called the Pavilion Restaurant and it’s one of several inside the Distinction Hotel: there is a kids menu, so the first thing is on the agenda is to settle in our fast tiring  kids with the meal of their choice. Predictably this means that Little Mr.  goes for chicken nuggets and Kiwi Daughter goes for pizza , both options  served with fries and a small salad.

Himself opted for the rack of lamb with star anise, sze chuan pepper crust on garlic cabbage , onion confit and pinot noir  glaze, which looked amazing and which he said was flavoured and seasoned to perfection… but was sadly as tough as old boots.  Like many students trying to pay the bills I’ve done my share of waiting tables so what happened next really surprised me.

The waitress came over once we had received our meals and asked if everything was ok, Himself  diplomatically said that he was really sorry but that the lamb rack, although it tasted delicious in flavour, was so tough it was an effort to chew, and he didn’t think it was an acceptable meal. Instead of taking his plate back to the kitchen the girl walked off, I thought to tell the chef. Then I noticed that instead of going into the kitchen she just stopped at the bar/reception area and started doing what looked like administration or something.

I told Himself that she didn’t look like she was going to do anything at all about his meal and that I was perfectly happy to go to see the chef myself and explain the situation. As often happens when nice customers complain, Himself was already feeling guilty that he’d had to say anything in the first place so he asked me not to, as not to dampen the atmosphere of the meal.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Coupled with the fact that our kids chose this moment to start showing their tiredness, I decided not to pursue it …

…so I didn’t, but  when a few minutes later a couple came in and sat at the table next to ours and I heard the lady exclaim to her partner “oh the lamb looks nice, I think I’ll have that“… I did quietly lean over and tell her that  I couldn’t help but overhear her remark, and that I wanted to  give them fair warning that on Himself’s experience that the lamb was beautifully flavoured but tough almost to the point of inedible.

Luckily  the lady was delighted to hear the warning and thanked us before making a different menu choice.

The owner/chef that I worked for in my waitressing days told me that  customers should always politely tell the chef if something isn’t ok with their meal… it’s then up to the chef to immediately fix it. If he doesn’t then the patron has every right to tell  all and sundry about their bad experience at said restaurant, so therefore the job of wait staff is to ask if everything is ok with the meal while there is still time to put things right.

It is therefore bad form of the patron’s part to leave the restaurant and then complain if they had said everything was ok, when it wasn’t.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In our instance however I can clearly see that the chef had no chance to fix Himself’s meal because the ignorant girl never passed on the message that the lamb was tough, and since I don’t expect chefs to mind-read, it’s not fair to afix any blame on the restaurant’s kitchen  itself,  just the silly woman who for whatever reason, wasn’t doing her job for them and the public they served.

New Zealander’s are not in the habit of leaving tips, in fact sometimes the service charge is already added into a bill anyway, but I’ve been long enough in Europe now that when I see really good service I tend to leave a little extra.

Needless to say that didn’t happen at all on this occasion.

Interestingly though,  life is often a matter of swings and roundabouts because the next day when Himself went to Reception to square up our bill, the smiling gent behind the desk looked at the meal of the first night (the Maori Hangi meal and dance show) and told us that actually all of the cost had been already been covered by flat rate fee that the bus tour group had paid, and that since we had been tacked on as a few added extra’s to that group, that they decided that they weren’t going to charge us for that meal at all.

Had the girl from the second night eventually mentioned something about our meal complaint later? …Who knows?

Either way  it all panned out for us more than fairly I thought and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back there to stay or have a  problem to recommend the Distinction Hotel to anyone I knew who might want to stay in Rotorua.  Lack of service from one,  was avalanched by the great service by the rest.

Himself’  doggedly persevered with a small part of his lamb, then gave up, left the rest and at least enjoyed a delicious New Zealand cheese platter for his “desert”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I opted for “Fish of the day created by the duty chef”  and not only enjoyed it but shared with Himself since his wasn’t  up to scratch…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and my dessert was “steam pudding with white chocolate and anglaise sauce”… (anglaise sauce being a sort of custard of course)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi Daughter ordered a “blue lagoon”that consisted of lemonade and ice-cream  (this is a combination I called a “spider” at this age)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…and both kids found space for ice-cream despite their tiredness.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All in a meal of highs and lows… but it all worked out in the end. It’s not even that late in the evening, but we are all tired so it’s back to the room for a very welcome early night. Tomorrow is another busy day…

March 10, 2012

Touring in Style and in Sheer Terror…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still at the Caves Restaurant (of yesterday’s post) just south of Kaikoura, in the South Island of New Zealand.

It’s a warm day and we’ve elected to sit at one of the tables outside in the shade of the building and therefore we can people-watch and vehicles and people come and go.

Families pile out of station-wagons, 4×4’s  or minivans piled high with camping gear, some cars are towing caravans or boats, older couples drive clean, scratch free and very tidy looking sudans, some young guys drive a hatchback that has a hatch half tied down with rope to accommodate the surfboards sticking out of the back, motorcyclists in leathers pull in…

One bike roars in with a passenger on board… as they dismount I see it’s a couple an they go inside for a meal.

The bike catches my eye… a sheepskin seat cover… and one that looks seriously comfy ! On the hot day in leathers it must also surely be about 300% more comfortable on than a sunbaked vinel seat… so Cool on so many levels!

Then a family towing a boat pull in… if you are sharp eyed you’d see the Ruldolf the Red Nosed Reindeer stuck onto the bow of the boat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Well his head is at least… Where’s the rest of him? Ouch let’s not go there, it might be wiser not to know.

Christmas Day was just a few days ago so clearly Rudolf has skipped the North Pole and come down-under for a Summer holiday.He looks happy.

I do have an evil thought however that I’d looove to sit in the back seat of their car and take a snap out the back to see what Rudolph looks like on the front of the boat on the open road at 100 kilometres an hour.

It ain’t happening of course because it’s not our car and because this car-sick Kiwi hasn’t got a hope of looking out any back window whilst travelling at speed without turning nasty shade of stop-the-car-NOW green.

Yep, you know I have a warped sense of humour…

Fortunately I only think this about soft-toys and wouldn’t dream about it if it concerned a real animal so I don’t think that’s a criminal offence. At least I hope not.

I have however worked out that the most likely cause of Rudolph’s red nose is most probably due to his serious over-consumption of alchol because he’s scared witless about this very boat ride.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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