Sunday, December 15, 2013

Food adventures

Today I had some food adventures, a Kiwi classic reborn and the return of a specific kind of cuisine. The results were mixed.

McDonald’s is bringing back the beloved Georgie Pie pies to New Zealand, slowly rolling them out across the country. As it happens, one of the locations with the pies was near to where we were today with Nigel’s brother and his two daughters. So, we stopped there for lunch so I could have a pie.

I mentioned Georgie Pie way back when this blog was still new, but the gist of it is that McDonald’s bought the Georgie Pie chain so it could get the good locations for its own fast food outlets, then it closes the rest and kept the intellectual property under lock and key. Every time there was a serious talk about bringing back Georgie Pie, and someone suggested that McDonald’s had abandoned the brand since they’d done nothing with it in the many years since buying it, McDonald’s would claim to be working on something.

At the moment, they only have the Georgie Pie’s Steak Mince ‘N’ Cheese (this mince is what we Americans would call “ground beef”; you can also get lamb mince, pork mince and chicken mince in supermarkets). The pastry was really nice, baked well and flaky, and while the filling tasted good, the pie was only about half full, which was a real disappointment—especially because the pies cost many times what they did when the brand disappeared. While I might try one again sometime, I certainly won’t be in any hurry. Ones from petrol stations are often at least as good (and cheaper), and the reincarnated pies are certainly not as good as the original Georgie Pie was.

Tonight we all went out for dinner to Abruzzo Italian Ristorante in Birkenhead, which only opened a few weeks back. It’s right next door to a Greek-influenced Mediterranean restaurant that also serves many Italian dishes.

I had their Margherita Pizza, as I often do at such restaurants, and while the cheese was great, the base and sauce were good, it was no better than any other I’ve had; in fact, others are every bit as good or better. However, one of us had the Fegatini Marsala, “Sauteed chicken livers with mushroom, onion, sundried tomato in a garlic marsala sauce,” which was said to be awesome. I think everyone else was underwhelmed by their meals. Still, we’ll try it again, though I think I’ll try something else next time.

The service was good and attentive, and, it must be noted, there were attractive young men on staff there. That never hurts.

For many years after I moved to New Zealand, there was an Italian restaurant in Birkenhead. Before I got a chance to go there, they closed and a Japanese restaurant opened in the location (I did try the Japanese restaurant and didn’t think it was very good—and I like Japanese food a lot!). While I like Italian food, I seldom think of going out for it (which is why I never got to the former Italian restaurant).

Birkenhead has a growing selection of restautants and cafes serving all sorts of different kinds of food from all sorts of ethnicities (there’s even a nice tapas restaurant with food that defies easy categorisation). This is a good thing, in my opinion.

So, today’s food adventures were of mixed success. Since we’re both on summer holiday now, I think we’ll be able to try a few more that we’ve never been to, and that’ll be fun—I hope!

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