Highlights of 2019 part 2: tastes and travels

For part two of my personal highlights of 2019, I’m going to turn to tastes and travels. Whereas travels are well documented in the diary, food adventures are harder to identify, and I know I will miss something here. But anyway, here goes.


I think top of the list must go to our visit to Hiakai. The food was superb, the service excellent, and it was an occasion to be remembered. You can read more about our visit here. Note: the restaurant appeared on Time magazine’s ‘One of the World’s Greatest Places’ of 2019. Other restaurants we loved this year in Wellington were the always good Field & Green, Ortega Fish Shack where we went for our wedding anniversary, Capitol where we will return for New Year’s Eve, Logan Brown where I went on my birthday, the vegetarian Hillside Kitchen and Cellar, and our two locals, Tinakori Bistro and Cosa Nostra.

There were some good things on the Wellington on a Plate food festival too, from a wonderful, simple pasta dish at 1154 Pastaria to the amazing dessert at Field & Green to the Wagyu beef patty with cheddar cheese, tempura oyster mushrooms, mesclun, tomato and barbeque aioli on a smoked rosemary and charcoal bun at Kelburn Village Pub. I also learned how Pravda make their delicious cheese scones.

Desert, pasta and a burger – but not all at once….

Good food isn’t just about the fancy, it is also about moules frites, oysters at the Beervana beer festival, and, of course, the wonderful toasts at Squirrel cafe on Saturday morning. At home we have enjoyed Jerusalem artichokes, lots of asparagus, stone fruit, berries (the strawberries seem to have been particularly good this summer), mushrooms…well, the list could go on for ever. I’ve made meatballs regularly, cooked up vincisgrassi and moussaka to enjoy over a couple of days, made some good soups, and salads based around grains. For my birthday, I made a perfect apple cake.


At the start of January, we went to Brisbane for a few days, which was a great start to the year. We saw koalas, visited museums and did a lot of walking. At the start of March, we had a long weekend over in Greytown in the Waiarapa, which made a nice late summer break. Our main holiday this year was over in New Caledonia in June, which was lovely, even though it was winter. It wasn’t as hot therefore as when we first went there in January 2015, but we had a great and relaxing holiday. Check out this post about Amédée Island.

New Caledonia

In July, we went up to Auckland for a long weekend, with the goal of seeing the Frances Hodgkins’ retrospective exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery, and also enjoyed a trip over to Devonport. My final non-work related trip (I have had a lot of work trips) was to Melbourne in September. The primary purpose of this visit was to go and see The Australian Ballet’s production of Sylvia. This was a real highlight of my year, and a wonderful weekend break at the end of winter.

View from St Kilda

So that was a brief round up of more highlights of 2019. Now to look forward to 2020!

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


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