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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Glen Fern Villas & Speights Restaurant, Franz Josef

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For the record, I'm posting the New Zealand pictures in no particular order. I had intended to post the trip in order of what we did but I don't always feel like posting about meat pies so I'll post about something else instead.

Only thats not really true.

I'm pretty sure I can always post about meat pies.

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About 10 days into our trip we had taken the TranzAlpine train across the Southern Alps and then driven past some fantastic rock art and found ourselves in Franz Josef.

I hadn't thought much about this part of our trip. I had booked the glacier hike and then stopped looking into it. I'm not sure why.

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So it was a total treat when we drove up to the Glen Fern Villas. We had spent the entire time in hotels and this little villa was a fantastic change! It had a separate bedroom and living room AND a kitchenette. If you ever find yourself in the area you should definitely stay here.

When B and I first started looking into this trip we both decided that we would rather spend money on food than hotels. The hotels that we stayed at were fine but not spectacular. But staying here really broke up the monotony.

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The kitchen is furnished so all we had to do was head into town for groceries. I wish my drawers would look like this at home.

Oh and the gentleman at the front desk asked me what kind of milk (cream, skim, etc.) I like in my coffee and then gave me a little 1/2 pint of it. I thought that was super cute.

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We headed into town about 5 minutes away in search of some food.

I loved this little town. It felt the way little towns that are next to National Parks do. I had flashbacks from being in Yosemite. People were walking around with gear and planning activities for the next day.

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After 6+ hours of being in the car (besides all the little side jaunts and picture stops) B was in desperate need of a beer. Desperate.

We spotted Speights Landing Bar and Restaurant. It seems to be the happening place around here.

I think that comment made me sound like an old lady. Happenin'.

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We started with New Zealand green lip mussels in a wine and tomato sauce.

I'm not huge into mussels because I made the mistake once of biting into one and looking at it. ~shudder~ But we hadn't had them yet and they were on my mental list of things I needed to try while there.

Its not that I don't like them, I just can't look at them when I eat them.

These were really good. Not mushy or overly chewy. They were supposedly served with salsa but I find that in New Zealand this just means a tomato sauce because its nothing like what we consider salsa. This was almost like a pasta sauce.

The mussels themselves were sweet. What is it about NZ seafood being so sweet? Is it the cold, fresh water?

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This is the Akaroa Salmon (I can cross that off my local to-try foods) topped with grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon. You could wrap anything in bacon and make me happy.

That ginormous wedge underneath is scalloped potato. Genius. Its cut like a pie and it solid enough to hold shape but completely tender when bitten into. The red sauce is cranberry sauce and the white is.... hollandaise.

It wasn't until recently that I realized hollandaise is really "butter whipped into submission". I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. I will not let knowledge get in the way of my eating.

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Pile 'o meat. The actual name for this was Johnny Cash something or other. Before I saw the plate I noticed the woman at the table next to us smiling and pointing to the dish.

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B loves ribs. Under there, somewhere is broccoli and the bowl on the side is full of mayo for said broccoli. A bowl of mayo?

It was really tasty and sticky and yummy and sticky.

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Speights take on the pavlova. (tried pavlova, check). This dish makes me laugh. There is a lot going on here. It reminded us of a person we once worked with. He was just learning the pastry station and all that goes into it. He would then try to put all these aspects into every dessert he plated.

We have the pavlova itself, swirly sauces, chocolate pieces, powdered sugar, tuile cookies, the cup for the ice cream is actually sugar, ice cream , whipped cream quenelle, fruit and large mint garnish.

Don't get me wrong, the dessert was good. The only thing I don't really like about the pavlova, and this sounds reeeeaaaaaly stupid, is that it smelled like egg whites. Of course, it is egg whites. I'll have to try this again some time.

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Outside these two were playing their music. At this point it was something that sounded distinctly Irish. It gave me the warm and fuzzies. I love Ireland.

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After grocery shopping (in the only market) we took one last look at the mountains. We were hoping the clouds would clear before we got on that glacier the next day.

Doesn't the fire look cool in that picture?

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That night we settled in to watch..... Lord of the Rings :)

The sunset was amazing.

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I stood here wondering how I came to be so lucky. I'm married. We have such a completely loving relationship. We've had our own ups and downs and yet here we are. Married.

Married and on a dream vacation. The best honeymoon ever. Excuse me while I cry a moment.

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In the morning I woke to the smell of breakfast. By the time this hit the table I was wondering if the other guests in Glen Fern Villas were on their way over.

This is breakfast for 2, B style.

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I went outside to see if it was still cloudy and this guy came walking by.

We don't see things like this often. I'm surprised my squealing didn't freak him out. He walked over and posed a bit.

I swear New Zealand has the friendliest animals ever.

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And guess what? The sun was shining. It was bright and clear as we prepared for our adventure on a glacier.

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As we prepared for this.

Do you see that little red speck on the bottom? Thats a man.

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If you look closer you'll see little ridges along the ice. Those are stairs. Ice stairs.

Did I mention I'm scared of heights?


  1. Looking at your food photos is no good for my waistline!

    Josh is laughing (hard!) at me... because he *gasp!* could read what I wrote! I have to be careful what I write when he's around!!

  2. oh flip, did you go up those terrifying stairs?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Glaciers! and Fjords.. I know you talked about fjords.. Glaciers and fjords are my favorite geological processes.. Yea I'm a nerd.

    You know, every time you post you talk about food. And every time I read your blog, I walk away hungry. Not good! :)

  4. wow, I hate heights, HATE. but the food made me swoon and I force fed Mary who has better things to do, a summarized account of your entire post. Everyone knows dandycandy around here. I love it, I love that B made you breakfast and that your married too! Because its so much fun!

  5. Wait, did Jana just say "Dandycandy?" OH MY WORD. That is hysterical!! I love and I'm adopting it right this minute. Now THAT should be your twitter name, although Adrain (who also knows dandycandy around here) laughed so hard about "spontaneousclap" I thought he was going to burst a lung.

    I was going to comment on ice stairs but I got so distracted by Jana. Man... the three of us could tear it up, couldn't we? LOL

  6. Your posts always make me smile, I love that you took a moment to take it all in and that this was the best honeymoon ever! so two seem to be match made in heaven!! Now the ribs I could do without, i'm just sayin'!

  7. You didn't, did you? You went up that?? And I'm not even afraid of heights. Forget Barnheart, we'll call you Braveheart. : )


  8. ice stairs?!??! whhaaaa? Thats crazy and awesome at the same time! and all that food.... ooh my.. *drools* - yes, dont make the mistake of half biting a mussel and looking at it!!!

  9. Awesome. "Topped with grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon" was my favorite sentence in this post, although "I think that comment made me sound like an old lady" was a close second hahaha...

    I'm always saying that! I mean I complimented one of The Kid's friends on her handshake style the other day. O-L-D.

    That pavlova looked really... complex. ;)

  10. WOW! First off that food is so fancy I wouldn't even know how to eat it. I've said it are brave:) Then comes the huge glacier with ice stairs...really brave!!!

  11. Oh, that breakfast sure looked goooood!

    I'm scared of heights too. Those ice stairs look terrifying!

  12. "Whipped into submission"! LOVE that movie!!!!!

    WoW I had to read it twice when you said Southern Alps I thought Alps in NZ? Well, yes ma'am! I'm no expert, but those mountains look lkike the Alps to me!
    What a trip ... and how nice that B could make you breakfast in the Southern Hemisphere!

  13. In that last photo the stairs look seriusly scary more so than in the other photos.


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