Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Day 30: Glenorchy to Te Anau
Day 30: Glenorchy to Te Anau
Pics: Our room and bathroom at Blanket Bay, two (typical, nothing special) shots across the other side of Lake Wakitipu, pet at the River Café, our first spotting of a Prius, the room at the Te Anau hotel and villas
Breakfast of muffins, berries and yoghurt, and Spanish omelette for THB (well, only half of the omelette, THB maxxed out) and blueberry pancakes with bananas and bacon on top for DB. We buy a BB Lodge baseball cap for THB, and the total bill for the two nights comes to $350…oops, sorry, that’s what the GST (tax) comes to….the total for the two nights, with the breakfasts, dinners, pre-dinner drinks, snacks, wine with dinner (extra), lunch the first day (extra), and the hat (extra): $2750. Given the setting and the service and the quality of the food and the sense of being (for the most part) there on your own (even with 13 rooms), a splurge that met expectations. Chatting up TT, priceless!
Here’s the menu description of dinner last night:
Thai carrot and coconut soup, with crispy shallots and lime oil
Maple glazed Canter Valley Duck Breast with celeriac remoulade, beetroot, red walnuts, poached apple, pinot reduction, watercress
Mixed green leaves salad with pear, toasted pecan and seeded mustard vinaigrette
Prime NZ Beef Tenderloin with smoked kumara puree, braised oxtail and mushroom spring roll, shitakes, bok choy and hoisin jus
Pan seared Hapuka fillet with potato fondant, little neck clams, courgettes, sweetcorn, and saffron nage
Vahlrona Manjari terrine with macerated strawberries, hazelnut crumb, milk sorbet
Mint chocolate chip and peanut butter ice creams
Amisfield Pinot Gris
Book Review: The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm, Terra Brockman, Kindle edition. THB includes the subtitle because it sums up the book, told in weeks numbered from 1 to 52 (yeah, it’s numbered, that doesn’t automatically mean that THB, on Day 30, is going to recommend it), beginning in November. Henry is the brother of the author, and the book is focused on his and his extended family’s extraordinary dedication to running a sustainable farm (Henry has not had the farm designated organic, though he farms organically) that’s income is solely based on selling at the Evanston (Illinois) Farmers’ Market and through subscriptions (weekly deliveries of boxes of produce) for approximately 9 months a year. The book is a revelation about what happens behind the scenes of the booths at the markets, well-told and without (much) sentiment, detailing the effort required to bring us high quality food. The author is clearly against non-sustainable practices (which pretty much equates to all industrial meat and produce production), and yet the book shows that the gap between Henry (labor intensive to the max) and the business of industrial farming (oil-chemical and mechanized) is so large that is hard to see how to get from one to the other. HIGHLY recommended (and THB has some other “farmer” books to recommend if you are interested)
We leave around 9:30, ending up at Te Anau, one of the main jump off points for Milford and Doubtful Sounds, around 2:30. The drive, as is always the case around here, is gorgeous. Lunch at the River Café, at the intersection of Highways 6 and 94, our turnoff to Te Anau. DB has the burger and fries, THB a chicken salad, soft drink, $35. From THB’s standpoint, we’ve seen a lot of these limited menu type places on the road. Seems pricy for what you get, or more likely it is just that THB’s lunch options at home seem so much more varied: burritos, freshly made sandwiches, pho, and various specialty trucks in the hood, all above average and under $10 with an iced tea (n/a around here).
THB does recognize that he just got done saying that his lunches have been slightly more expensive for the value for what we’re getting in NZ and spent the last two nights at Blanket Bay Lodge. Hmmmmmmmm…there will be a meditation on it at the end of the trip.
Dinner in town: a billy (bucket) of mussels with a salad for DB, sausages with kumara mash (a form of sweet potato), two glasses of wine and a beer, $75.