Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Canopy Restaurant, Franz Josef

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May I first say that B and I don't eat like this all the time. We love food. We love all food, not just the fancy stuff. I mean, just think about my passion for meat pies.

When we arrived in Franz Josef the gentleman at the villas suggested this new restaurant. He had me at "5 star dining without 5 star prices."

This first course (out of 5) is automatically sent out. Left to right you see fried goat cheese, baguette with ham I've temporarily forgotten the name of, basil gelee on olive tapenade, balsamic reduction and confit tomato.

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I know this plate looks more like art then food but you have to trust me. I'm not going to be wowed over by something that just looks pretty. The truth is, everything tasted like, like, like it was bursting with flavor. I think a lot of that has to do with fresh locally grown/crafted ingredients.

But also, it was incredibly thought out. Do you see that little smear of liquid? Not quite as thin as water, not quite as thick as syrup.

That little bit of sauce was intensely pear. Things like this amaze me. The chef created this and thought hmmm, I need just the slightest bit of this to make the goat cheese really sing. And it did. The food sang. My heart hummed along. My love handles vibrated.

That little drop of sauce was the most memorable part of the meal for me. It represented the attention to detail and the devotion to making a dish with perfect balance. Maybe I'm just blown over because I have a hard time with the less is more concept and I respect people that can really pull it off :)

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Restraint is not my strong point.

Which is part of the reason I seem to eat enough food to sneak it into 95% of my posts.

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Forest Mushroom Cappuccino. To be honest I wasn't paying enough attention and I thought it said carpaccio. I was a little confused when he set down the cappuccino cup. Confused and excited.

What the heck is a mushroom cappuccino? Its basically a brothy mushroom soup, deep and earthy with a truffled parmesan foam on top. Actually you can see the additional truffle oil on top. Possibly porcini powder on the foam but I'm not quite sure.

It was muy delicioso.

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Tasman Bay Scallops with crispy spiced potato, microgreens and a mild curry vinaigrette with citrus powders.

The scallops (with roe) were so sweet and tender and the vinaigrette was light enough it didn't overpower the scallops. The potato was crispy on the outside and so soft on the inside. The little bit of citrus was perfect with the fried potato.

Does anyone know what those purple microgreens are?

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B and I were switching half-way through each course. The couple next to us were smiling whenever we would do this. Shortly after the gentleman left and came back with his camera. We shared a knowing laugh and both continued taking pictures of our food.

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Cantervalley Duck Ravioli with smoked beetroot chutney, green apple, black sausage and game consomme. This was really cool because he poured the hot consomme over the dish while he was at the table. The clear broth picked up all the beetroot color and saturated the dish.

The duck in the ravioli was so flavorful. Total comfort food.

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Oh no! What was this called? I must remember to bring a notepad and write these things down. Like snapping photos isn't enough. I also need to take notes. Can I get any dorkier? Is dorkier even a word?

This was braised pork belly on celeriac puree with apple chutney and bacon, all in a sauce. It sounds so much better when they say it.

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It was completely porktastic and I mean that as the best compliment ever.

The hardest part about sharing is stopping at the half-way point so that we can switch dishes.

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This dish is for all you vegetarians. I've slowly found out that some of you are vegetarians and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to read my posts. I'm not quite sure how you make it through, but you've stuck with me anyway.

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This is what a vegetarian entree should be. It was hearty, flavorful and filling.

Crispy potato-wrapped eggplant with spiced green lentils and saffron braised baby fennel.

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Hawkes Bay Lamb Duo. Char grilled rack and lamb merguez brioche with baby peas (pikopiko) and a manuka honey glaze. Oh and mint gelee. This chef really loves gelee. This one was just a wee bit too solid for me but it was very tasty.

That fancy lamb merguez brioche is basically pastry filled with lamb sausage. See, no need to be intimidated by big fancy names! But lamb merguez brioche sounds so much nicer than fine dining pigs in a blanket.

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I'm sorry, can we go back to the eggplant dish? The potato on the outside gave it such a nice crispness and the seasoning had an Indian influence. It was layers of flavor. Layers of happiness. We both loved it. I didn't miss meat at all with this dish in front of me.

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For dessert I ordered the cheese plate.

I recently heard that there are people in the world that do not like cheese. I think this may be an urban myth. Please tell me your stance on cheese immediately.

All the cheeses were locally made. On the left we have cheddar with honeycomb, then brie with pickled young walnut and last but definitely not least was the soft blue cheese with quince paste.

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A moment on the young walnuts. I've only ever had them in preserves which is something that you really must try. They are softer and easily cut thru with a spoon. They don't have much of a walnut taste. Have you had them before?

I think I need to do a food giveaway. I'll have to think about this.

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B had the dessert sampler. Oh my heavens.

Did I mention that earlier in the day we had hiked on the glacier? The reason I mention this is that it just didn't seem like the day could get any better. But it did. The day got better with each and every course.

On the left was a chocolate mousse with chocolate shortbread, then a banana dish that made me thank God for taste buds, a mini white chocolate and kahlua shake and an orange brulee with a tuille sail and a chocolate mast. Cute, yes?

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All of the desserts were rich and delicious but this one was my favorite. On the bottom were sauteed bananas, then a layer of something sweet and crunchy and topped with this decadent custard. The way it coated your mouth.... what I wouldn't give for one more spoonful.

By now you all know what a freak I am about food. But I'll tell you a little secret. I plan out my last bite.

I take a bite of everything and pick my favorite. In this case it was the banana dessert. So I set aside a large spoonful of it and finished my cheese plate. I drank some water as I didn't want to contaminate my last bite with the taste of blue cheese.

I drank my champagne. Then I took that last bite of dessert. I held it in my mouth a moment trying to memorize the taste.

I didn't have anything after that. I do this often. I want to hold onto that flavor for as long as possible. Its like taking a bite of your favorite fatty food after months of dieting. Total appreciation.

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There must be some kind of group therapy for people like me.

Oh wait, I believe its called blogging.

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The hotel could be another post in itself. Its cutting edge. Green, sustainable and yet still luxurious from biodegradable carpets to recycled building products.

Te Waonui is a wonderful place. Stop by for dinner at Canopy Restaurant even if you aren't staying there.

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After dinner we headed over to the glacier hot pools. These hot pools are filled with pure glacier water and heated until you feel like you could melt into them.

We didn't really give ourselves enough time there. But you know, the next time we find ourselves in New Zealand we'll be back to enjoy more time here and time for a massage and maybe even a private hot pool. I can dream, can't I?

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The beauty of this is that you are literally in the rain forest.

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Canopies are overhead covering majority of the pool without blocking any sunlight (or moonlight) but shielding you from any rain that may come your way.

It really is magical.

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Fox Glacier

It was the perfect end to another memorable day in New Zealand.

Are you tired of New Zealand storeis yet?


  1. "..then a banana dish that made me thank God for taste buds..."

    You were born to write about food, girl!

    Glacier hot pools. I so love the sound (and the idea) of that!

  2. I need to quit coming by here before breakfast! I kind of need to eat the house right now! Yum. This whole honeymoon sounds amazing!

  3. such lovely pictures! love it~oh, and btw, I love cheese, too!

  4. I like cheese. Let me just get that on the record first.

    I came over here today especially to invite you and B over to dinner tonight but really these food pics are setting the bar too high. I'll have to cancel till I've experimented with just slightly diluting my pear syrup. Sorry about the short notice. Is there a help group or something you could go to instead just till I reschedule?

  5. YOU are such a foodie ... and what food to be a foodie about! Again ... Who knew that in the land of the Hobbits you could fine such cuisine!
    The pics were wonderful and your writing extraordinary!
    Great post!

  6. You had me at fried goat cheese!! I love cheese. Next time please pack me in your purse and slip me bites of food. Just like a chihuahua. Sort of.


  7. I also cannot fathom that there are cheese-haters in the world. Cheese is like, 2 of my 5 major food groups! And this post has made me hungry...again.

  8. I'm not tired of them yet! But I still wanna see some more wedding stuff... is that odd? I love me a good wedding story.

    I feel that I may have rocked your world a bit with the whole, "There are people who don't like cheese" business... I'm also dumbfounded. I feel that they need us to open their eyes. They just do not know. (I excuse lactose intollerants from this)

    later gater

  9. I have to tell you, your food shots are awesome!! I think that making food look good in photos is really tough and here I am a 8:36 am ready to eat blue cheese and guzzle meats! :)

  10. Dawn,

    How can I ever be tired of your New Zealand trip? I love it all! The glacier hot pools look so inviting. I think I would have to try them. When does your trip end?

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  11. Cheese is one of my favorite food groups in the whole world! In fact I think I will have some right now.. nom nom nom!

    Instead of a food giveaway, I think you should organize a get-together with blog friends at a yummy restaurant! Meeting internet friends + food = fun times, I'm just sayin'... :)

  12. I've been away from blogging for over a month. Are you still on your honeymoon? When I left, I was reading about and seeing pictures of your wedding. Hmm. Anyway, I'll take a mound of fried goat cheese please. :)

  13. Life is not worth living without cheese.

    I plan my last bite too..hehe..so that's why I'm a blogger..aahh..it's all coming together now!

  14. SOOO YUMMY!! Remind me not to read your posts until after I have eaten, because I am making me a PB&J and after seeing such yummy food on your site... it just sounds so blah...which it is, but just even more then before :)

  15. Great website! Lovely photos too. I have the hardest time taking good photos in restaurants. Mushroom capuccino sounds interesting but good!

  16. Cheese is a food group, a yoga pose, free fall into bliss, a way of life. That's my stance and I'm stickin' to it.

    Laughed out loud at this "My love handles vibrated"

  17. WOW...seriously AMAZING...all of it!!!!!!!!!!! You should be a food critic Dandy, you do an incredible job of describing food!!! :)

    :) T

  18. Oh. My. Word. That food sounds incredible. How can anything else measure up after that?

  19. First, I must pay homage to that banana desserts.........................

    Okay, I made it through this post just fine until you told me about the banana dessert. It sounds right up my alley.

    Second, I must confess until I was about 25 I thought cheese was that artifical flavored processed really gross stuff called american cheese, velveeta, cheese whiz, and the stuff that was in a pack for Kraft's mac & cheese. I now know better and a turophile!

  20. OOps, I'm a turophile and a sorry typist!

  21. Who could get tired of it?! It's addictive.
    I have to appreciate all of the amazing food through someone else...I am so picky. It's fun to watch someone who loves so many foods have such a good time though. :)

  22. OMG!!!! My mouth is WATERING! Oops, now I need to get a new keyboard! Wow, wow, wow...that meal looked amazing, and by your description, tasted incredible too. I am a huge cheese fan...love the stinky cheese shops in France.

    We would like to have you over for dinner sometime, but as your friend Mise said, you have set the bar so high that, well, it ain't never gon' happen!

    Anyway...love reading your blog. I enjoy getting to know you better this way.

    And, I like the "new" layout of your blog!

  23. I love having cheese plates for dessert. That one looks wonderful. It all looks wonderful.

  24. I feel hungry just looking at your photos! I totally agree with you, I have such respect for people who have such sensitive palate and know just what flavours need to be added or complimented!

    Also - I LOVE cheese!

  25. Gotta go now. You've made me completely crave, I mean NEED a midnight snack.


  26. Even through the pregnancy sickness & nausea ... these food pics look delicious!!

  27. those micro greens are micro opal basil. one of my favorites

    1. Thanks Brandon! I'm so excited to find that out!


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