November 16th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Wellington, New Zealand

Traveling to Wellington, New Zealand was fun. We enjoyed having a six day break with the urban family - Mandy, Emmy & Madellen - in a three bedroom two level apartment, right in the centre of the city. I loaded the photos up to facecrack because it's easier, but if you are keen to see, click here: for city views, some oysters and Te Papa Museum.

One of the best bits of fun we had was at the humble playground - you see the sensible kiwis cap their public liability payouts, so you can still have fun (and of course risk life and limb). Here the crew is rolling around together - these rolling tunnels are trickier than they look! I stuck up a gallery of them here:

We also did the Martinborough wine region which you can check out here: as well as see some of the great food we were forced to endure! 

When we weren't shopping (the shopping there is excellent, and well priced) I forced them all to do daggy tourist things, like the Wellington Zoo. The poor Sun Bear suffered from a distinct lack of sun. See more here:

The architecture was strange (they have problematic earthquakes, one of which I slept through) and the shopping was great. This is the famous Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street which is the best place for alternative fashion and tattooed eye-candy. See more here:
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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Christa 'We Love You Christa' Hughes with Dick Hughes

Saturday I felt like I got a bit of a treat when I saw Christa Hughes and her Daddy in The Famous Spiegeltent. Her Daddy is Dick Hughes, the legendary jazz pianist who was the first jazz pianist to perform at the Sydney Opera House back in 1973.

The gig was absolutely sublime. You could really see where Christa took her inspiration from. I loved Sugar, Summertime and the St Louis Blues... plus of course her duet with her father (who sounds a bit like Louis Armstrong) of Everybody Loves My Baby.

I felt really privileged to see this gig - particularly since it was the return of Dick Hughes to The Sydney Opera House after 35 years. With his age (77 I think), it's unlikely they'll perform together again like this.

Plus the set and setting made it really special - The Famous Spiegeltent really is atmospheric. The tent is being dismantled as I write this, onward bound to Melbourne.

Bravo Christa! You can see more photos here:

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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Sven's Viking Pizza

Who would have thought that my favourite pizza in Sydney would have a Swedish origin? I certainly didn't until I tried
Sven’s Viking Pizza at Bondi Junction, which is apparently the southern hemisphere’s only Swedish Viking-themed pizza place. I suppose though, when you think of the Viking history (a history of pillage and conquer) it isn't surprising firstly that they have pizzas, and secondly that their pizzas reflect the best bits of a variety of countries.

In the restaurant, you relax on a rustic tree-stump stool at a recycled red gum feasting table amidst wall-hangings that include genuine reindeer hides from the Arctic Circle, Nordic helmets, genuine reindeer antlers and shields.

Start with a real taste of Sweden, the Frö ($21.50/11 inch, $25.50/13 inch) available in all good Swedish pizza stores (basically if you're in a Swedish pizza shop, and this isn't on the menu, the shop is not authentic I am told). It’s an absolutely delicious mix of wafer thin slices of beef eye fillet, béarnaise sauce, fresh mushrooms, onion and cracked black pepper on a thin, crisp puff pastry base. Who would have thought to put béarnaise sauce sauce on a pizza, bar the Vikings? This pizza is what will make me come back! According to amiable owner/chef Sven Gustafsson, it’s a sure-fire hangover cure too!

Also impressive was the Ask ($21/$25) which sees slices of döner kebab join fefferoni (green chilli), roma tomatoes, onion and Swedish kebab sauce on another crisp base. All of the pizzas use quality ingredients, including Tasmanian Smoked Salmon; Sven says emphatically: “You have to have quality.

Salads including an intense Caesar Salad ($14.50) round out the menu; plus there is beer and reasonably priced wine – try the lovely 2007 Greystone Pinot Gris ($8/glass, $39/bottle) from New Zealand. Swedish music - Abba and Swedish born Jose González – keep you thematic; as do bathrooms labelled ‘Inga’ and ‘Sven’.

Prior to the pizzas you even get a complimentary Swedish 'coleslaw' - to me it tasted strongly of carroway seeds, but I was told there were none in it - just cabbage and an (unidentified) herb vinaigrette. It was good because it stimulated the appetite (as pickled things tend to do).

The next time I am in a drinking mood, you'll find me here, for pizzas with sauce! (Why didn't I think of that?)

Sven’s Viking Pizza
354 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Ph: (02) 9389 3393

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