Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Auckland Day 2: So far away, yet close to home

Our second day in Auckland found us both well-rested and refreshed (sense sarcasm here). We indulged again in the breakfast buffet, which was as good as ever, and then took off in our rental car to explore the area around Auckland. We were headed to this bee-keeping place (don’t ask), but it was closed, so we spent the morning touring around various wineries. One case of wine shipped home later (heehee), we were back in Auckland, ready for lunch.

Now, the day before, right after we head eaten at Aquamatta, we spotted a Wagamama nearby. My mom LOVES Wagamama, which is a chain of noodle-bar-esque type restaurants that’s based in the UK. They recently opened two restaurants in the Boston area, their first in the states, and my mom hasn’t been to them yet. But hey—travel all the way across the world, see a Wagamama in Auckland, and all of a sudden she’s got to go. Sigh. In any case, I wasn’t really hungry (see: overindulgence at breakfast buffet), so we headed to Wagamama for lunch.

It was a typical Wagamama setup, with long wooden communal tables and waiters toting PDAs, except this particular outpost was almost completely empty at lunchtime (first moral of this trip: Auckland is not crowded). We looked over the menus, skipped dishes that consisted primarily of ingredients we had never heard of, and placed our order.

My miso soup came out first. It was standard miso, nice and warm, and it came with a cute little dish of pickles. Awww.

Itty bitty little pickles

After I finished my soup, we watched my other dish and my mom’s entrĂ©e being completed in the open kitchen lining one side of the restaurant. Then we saw the dishes placed on the counter and slowly cool while the one waiter futzed around at the cashier. Finally, he noticed that—hey!—there’s food in this restaurant, and he brought over our two dishes.

My other dish was wok-stir-fried greens. It was a pretty good selection of Asian greens, including baby bok choy, which I love, in a tasty soy-based sauce. Yum, but could have been a little hotter (duh).

Simple but well-executed

My mom got a seafood Thai red curry. She really loved this dish, and I tried a few of the udon noodles forming the base of the seafood pile. It was…weird. The top note of the sauce was coconut milk, so it tasted warm and soothing, like a dessert. But then it had the curry kick. It was bizarre and addictive and I kept on downing the noodles hoping they’d taste different, but they didn’t. Hmmm.

Nicely plated... with pretty green-lipped mussels

Anyway, that was it for lunch. We then walked to Newmarket, a so-called “cool shopping area.” By the way, it looks sort of close to our hotel on the map, but it’s not. Also, it’s not cool.

No comments: