Favorite foods and drinks (including pubs restaurants etc.)



There’s a winery just down the road, Omata Estate, that bottles a magnificent syrah and also makes a rosé with syrah grapes. (Click for full size)

I tried it at a tasting: really good. Their website said they wouldn’t open for another week, but the woman at the ferry office had heard that they were hosting a private function. She called and they said I could squeak in about two.

When I arrived, the group was leaving. They said the kitchen would stay open another hour. I tasted their range and then ordered a smoked fish board (huge). Talked the wine sales woman into joining me and then a couple of the servers sat down as well.

When they found out I knew some Mäori, they asked me all sorts of questions: what the name Omata means (the place of flint or a cliff of hard rock); what a taniwha was (a water spirit that could be a sea monster or assume human form and marry).

Anyhow, we had a grand chat as we demolished the platter.

Oh! Did any of your mates guess your wine at the blind test?


Sorry for the late reply, wrapped up my job (and subsequently my time in hospitality and wine) this week and feel very strange about it.

I may have said it before but I am highly jealous of your life right now and enjoying reading about it immensely. Good rose, often with underrated rose grapes like Syrah, is a god send.

No one guessed my super-traditional prosecco, it had them all stumped which was satisfying. I went second to last so had had a fair bit to drink by the time we got to it which may have resulted in me giving the most horrendously unfunny hint of all time:

“No one can guess the grape? I think it’s glera-ingly obvious.”

My restaurateur got me a few farewell presents, most impressively a bottle ofBodegas Tradicion Cream VOS which is one of my all-time favourite drinks and incredibly hard to get a hold of in the UK (not to mention decently pricey) so I’m saving opening it until closer to Christmas.


What’s next for you? More work in food and wine? You seem to have the touch.

My life in New Zealand for three weeks was grand. A fading dream.

Now I’m back in Wyoming, with winter coming on, doing late-seasonal chores (digging fall beds, mixing soil for the winter greenhouse, etc.) and helping my not-so-old but chronically ill and very stroppy Mum.

Care to swap? (Giggle!)


I am moving back into theatre (which is actually what my degree is in) but taking my few years of hospitality management and applying it to sales management. I’m now in charge of ticketing and sales for my city’s second largest theatre which is…anxiety inducing. But so very exciting.

I am going to miss hospitality though, I only got into it as a waitress while I was finishing my degree and that was over two years ago now, I don’t know what happened or how it happened so fast. I think now I’m going to have to be someone who just buys wine instead of sells it.

I went to a michelin star place for dinner last night and I could tell that their profit margins are huge, it’s expensive on the other side, where’s all my free stuff!

I think of pretty much everywhere in America to be hot most of the time, are the Wyoming winters harsh? It’s dark and cold over here which makes me want to sit in front of the fire with whisky instead of work. But at least now I’m not working in restaurants I might be home before the sun is down more.

What are you growing? I’ll take your greenhouse and mum if you take my crippling anxiety about not being good enough for my new job.


Sounds as if you’re well placed. A cousin got a theatre degree and ended up at a university. She teaches and does a bit of directing, but mostly produces plays and musical comedy, with a faculty member or a visiting star director. She’s very good at practicalities and prefers to be unobtrusive.

I live in the Rocky Mountains, at 2300 m. At our elevation, the summer sun is hot and we get up to 32°C, but nights are cool or cold. There are only 45 frost-free days each year. Winter nights can get down to -40°C (also F) and average around -10°C.

That’s why we have a greenhouse. I (science chick) designed it and a contractor friend of Mum’s helped me build it. The roof and walls are multi-layer polycarbonate panels. The floor (the main thermal mass) is a meter of compacted sand in an insulated foundation, with foamboard and reflective insulation all around. There are big black water tanks facing the winter sun (more passive heatsinking) and a 1600 l. tank under the floor with a coil of PEX tubing through it, that carries an antifreeze solution from a flat-panel solar batch collector, driven by a DC pump powered by a 20W PV panel, located next to the flat-plate collector. So when there’s enough sun to heat the glycol solution, the pump starts up.


The water in the sub-floor tank can get up to 50°C. A second pump pushes it through a maze of PEX tubing under the floor which keeps the thermal mass above 12-13°C all winter. There are radiant heaters on the ceiling on a thermostat. So we have ripe tomatoes at Christmas. I also grow strawberries, kitchen herbs, and a variety of greens.



I’m sure you’ll do peaches at your new job. Believe me, you do not care to be arsed with my terror of a mum.


I don’t know what it is, but this reminds me of Italian good to me.


I’m finding myself increasingly disatisfied with local restaurants, but not because I make things that are any better.

But I started baking again (pasties that is), and enjoy a nice baguette.

I keep trying to find a new spice blend, but find it challenging to find one that works with Chicken, Porc, and Beef.

I like Latasian cuisine, which is a hybrid of Thai and Mexican food. With a pinch of Indian seasoning.

You can eat so much spicy food, you can get bored of it.

When I feel up for extensive cooking I make Cajun Fried Rice.


My ‘go to’ spice mix for generic cooking is celery salt, mustard powder and garlic. I find it makes a good basis for most meat and vegetables. You can add other spices to it as you see fit, or you can fry it into chopped onions and mushrooms to give you the start of a vegetable stock,


After you mentioned your preference, I made some toasted celery salt, using toasted celery seeds crushed in a mortar and kosher salt. Very nice in a Bloody Mary.


And not too exotic that it can’t be prepared at home.


Just made another batch. But I don’t have any vodka (Auntie drank it up.)

50k to town, and the snow is blowing sideways. Guess the Bloody Mary will have to wait.



Aperol Spritz anyone? One of my favs! :cocktail:


Looks beautiful. I’ve gone on and off with Campari. The problem with that sort of liqueur is that a bottle is pricey, and a risk. Last summer I was drinking pastis, and Pernod isn’t cheap. Don’t have any friends hereabouts who fancy that sort of drink, and they regard it as an affectation.


Tried to recreate a dish I had in New Zealand: buffalo mozzarella in a broth of slow-roasted tomatoes that were drizzled with honey and olive oil while cooking. I halved tomatoes from the greenhouse and popped them on a rack in a countertop roaster.

Roasted at 225°F for seven hours, then cooled, they looked like this—

Couldn’t find buffalo mozzarella in town, so I bought cilengine (fresh mozzarella balls in water). Hit the tomatoes with an immersion blender zzzz-o-o-o-p. Made a broth with chicken stock, roast garlic, salt, pepper, and basil, then simmered the mozzarella balls 'til they started to melt a bit.


Served with a pinot gris from Oregon: not bad. Next time I’ll go with a dry rosé.


I really like Curry, Its so flexible you can literally make one from Chicken,Beef or Fish. It has allot of styles from Indian to Japanese Curry. Another is Mexican food I just love all of the Tacos and El Pastor! Leave a plate of some near me and it will disappear faster than you can say “Can we share this?”

As for drinks I really love tea! I do however hate people who act like snobs drinking tea who believe they are above all. I cringe at behavior like that, I mean for crying out loud its just a drink! Anyways mini rant aside I do have allot of styles that I drink from:
English breakfast tea with sugar and milk. From time to time I would have some Black tea with condensed and sugar (Hong Kong style),Green tea Latte (Green tea mixed with sugar,milk and other spices) and finally Raspberry tea. I do hate the Lemon lift tea…No matter how hard I try to fix it, It always ends up like a travesty.

If you ever come in the Philippines try out 24/7 Chicken and Ma Mon Luk. These restaurants are the best!


My favourite curry comes from a recipe I got from a Pakistani friend of mine. It’s not a hot curry (ginger rather than chilies), but it has plenty of flavour and works with almost any meat or vegetables.

And tea is good.


Bought some Aperol, which is a lot less pricey than Pernod. For the spritz on the label, you need sparkling wine, alas! All I have are full bottles, and they don’t keep well after opening.

So I guess it’ll sit on the shelf 'til I can make it to town and get some of those splits or quarters. That makes an Aperol spritz an expensive drink, or one best enjoyed in groups.


Never really taken to curry, which is odd. In Auckland, we used to cruise the streets with lots of mum & pop Indian cafes, opening the doors and sniffing.

I like curry, but it doesn’t excite me like Mexican food. I have about six or eight different sorts of red chile, and buy green chiles in the fall, roast them on the grill, clean them, and vacuum pack them for rellenos and such.

I should give curry another go. Does the Pakistani recipe have asafoetida in it (I recall you mentioning it).


My version of it certainly does. But that’s the joy of cooking. You experiment and alter recipes to suit your own tastes.

As I tell my daughter, when she does the cooking, she can do things the way she wants them!


My favourite chicken is an adobo recipe that I was told originated in the Phillipines.

I use chicken thighs, simmered for an hour in 1 part vinegar, 2 parts soy sauce, 3-4 parts water, lots of sliced garlic, bay leaves, and pepper. Have a grill with hot coals. Carry the chicken pot out and use tongs to put the hot chicken on the grill. Scorch/crisp both sides. Serve with rice and a fruit salad.

Because the chicken is fully cooked when it goes on the grill, it’s great for parties. Leftovers are good in soups and stir-fries.

The hot marinade can be chilled, with the fat skimmed, frozen, and re-used a couple times. It also makes a great base for hot and sour soup.