Sunday, 23 September 2007

Through the South Island, and the Food We Found There

Christchurch - Queenstown. Hmm New Zealand...beautiful, peaceful and just the place to clear the harried mind if only for a week and a half. We saw out August and welcomed Spring on a road trip through the South Island. First priority was to find some snow and get a little skiing in before the season was well and truly done for the year so despite touching down at Christchurch in the afternoon, we collected a car and made a beeline towards Queenstown. A fair number of hours later and nightfall found us at the small junction township of Kurow in the middle of the Waitaki Valley. Time to find some nosh though choices were limited in what basically was no more than a one street town shutting up for the evening. A small diner, empty but for a local spied ordering takeaway fish and chips offered the most immediate option. Dinner for us however, was a serve of fries (NZ$3.50) and burgers all round (two chicken and one steak). The fries were thick-cut but curiously glowed with the distracting yellow pallor of Marge Simpson. Tastewise they weren't bad, suitably crispy exteriors and crumbly in the middle but not sure why they were a disconcerting canary yellow.

Not bad lighting; not photoshopping; not camera lens filtering, but true technicolor yellow fries...tuck in!

The burgers were by no means the mountainous stacks of Grilled-with-the-Lot goodness you sometimes get from decent country diners but were nonetheless okay for starving travellers. They arrived with lettuce, fried onions and cheese within warmed, soft white buns and that was about it. The steak in mine was a trifle fatty and sinewy with not much hope of biting through it handheld 'burger' style (NZ$8.50). The recalcitrant piece of meat came away from the rest of the burger from the first go and I had to finish the meal deconstructed. Don't you just hate that! The burgers of grilled chicken (NZ$6.50 each) that the others had were better.

Back outside the diner, the night air was sharp and crisp and the pitchblack sky was a stunning gallery with the wondrous swathe of the galaxy on exhibit. We stood and gazed spellbound until the shivering became noticeable. Then it was onwards to Queenstown!

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