Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday adventures

Today was a good day. We had food and adventures, and adventures with food. And we even had a little rain, for the first time in ages.

We went out for lunch with a couple friends, which was nice in itself, but it was also Japanese, my favourite. It was a great time.

Then, it was time for errands. There’s nothing unusual in that, but at one point we were at Pakuranga Plaza, a shopping centre I’ve never been to before. I thought it was quite nice—small, as malls go, but bigger than the local shopping centre I go to the most. I also noticed that the clientele there was far more ethnically diverse than any NZ mall or shopping centre I’ve visited. We may have stopped for an ice cream while there…

I mentioned to Nigel that I’d seen on Facebook that Martha’s Backyard had put a bunch of stuff on clearance to make room for a new container coming, and since it was on the way, we stopped in. The results are in the photo above.

It’s worth noting that Martha’s has a lot of non-food items, including US flags and bunting and such, but what’s always drawn me are the food products, junk food in particular. I can get substitutes for pretty much all the products I used to use in the US, sometimes better than what I liked, and increasingly I can get American products at my local grocery stores. Countdown, for example, has a section of American products, and New World sells Pop Tarts in boxes (Coundown sells packs of two, which, if I really thought about it, is a better option…).

Even so, Martha’s sells things I can’t get anywhere else, even if I can get others from the same manufacturer at my grocery store. Pop Tarts are a good example of this, actually: Martha’s has the unfrosted version, which I prefer, while the grocery stores sell only the frosted version. Sidenote: When the chocolate frosted ones came out when I was a kid, I tried one and I thought my teeth would fall out from the sugar in them. This is why I don’t like the frosted version: They’re far too sweet for me.

Most of the other stuff in the photo I’ve bought before, but some bear special mention. For example, the garlic salt is because Nigel was curious what it was like, as compared to our usual local brand (it’s small, so if we hate it we can throw it out without any real loss). The sauerkraut is because we like to make our own Reubens and sauerkraut isn’t necessarily always easy to find. The ranch dressing was on clearance (and, actually, cheaper than locally-made salad dressing, which is probably better for me, but we’ll just ignore that). The Chex Mix is the cereals aren’t easy to get here, so making it myself isn’t easy (it’s not bad, by the way).

But the special guest star this time is the German Chocolate cake mix, which I can’t buy in New Zealand (Betty Crocker cake mixes, along with Australasian brands, are on our shelves, but they’re pretty standard ones; I usually make cakes from scratch, but even there, the real ingredients aren't all that easy to find in NZ). This matters because that was may favourite cake when I was a kid, and it’s what I always got for my birthday cake—every single year. My birthday is Wednesday, so I decided I’ll make myself my favourite birthday cake that I couldn’t have otherwise. Maybe I’ll mention it again when I make it.

So, today was a day mostly about food: We had lunch with friends and had what is pretty much my favourite kind of non-European food. We had a snack at a mall I’ve never been to before, and I found that interesting. Then, for the first time in a couple years, I got some naughty American food products I can't otherwise get. But it was also about relaxed good times together for Nigel and me. What more could I ask?

Today was a good day.

No comments: