There is one thing I can attribute to having travelled to almost every state in Australia, and that is the football. The football, I hear you say? Well, for some of you it may be referred to as the “soccer”, but whatever you call it, I’m there, going for the Sky Blues, AKA Sydney FC. Last year’s trips to both Perth & Adelaide were also made to see our team struggle its way up the ladder, and although we didn’t win this year, we (surprisingly) made it to the finals. We’re not always bad, we’ve been victors before, but the 2011-12 season left something to be desired, hence an unexpected trip to Wellington (the last of the A-League stadiums on my list) after Sydney won against the Newcastle Jets.
As the good tourist/photography enthusiast I am, we went up the Cable Car, down through the Botanic Gardens and for lunch in the rose garden café. Wellington generally seems to be a pretty sleepy city, but is often referred to as “Wellywood” due to parts of Lord of the Rings having been filmed there. In this case, the underlying culture, both culinary and art, made for a pretty interesting long weekend.
Our football endeavour began at Mac’s Brewbar on Taranaki Street Wharf, where locals and tourists alike drink in the scene (and home-brew). With a 2pm meeting time, I decided to begin the day with an Elderflower Fizz, Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka served tall with freshly squeezed lemon juice, elderflower cordial, soda & finished with mint & lime. For ten New Zealand dollars, it was a fairly good start to the afternoon. From there we headed over to the Backbencher, where we were surrounded by the “yellow army”, the name the Wellington supporters proudly hung around the pub to remind us we were in enemy territory. The below series of photos details the heart aches, and breaks, of the pre, mid and post-game itself.
You may also notice Annie, my photographer friend, decked out in sky blue gear from head to toe. Check out her page, Annie Chromatic Photography.
What better a way to drown our sorrows than visits to the local watering holes? After a re-do of the Backbencher (it got even better the second time around, which could have had something to do with the incredibly cheap and very good New Zealand wine served at the stadium, wins over cheap Aussie chardy at the SFS any day), Motel was the next on our list. Here a Left Bank Spine-Stiffener (from the pages of Charles H. Baker Jr’s – Sweet Vermouth, Absinthe, orange bitters and soda water, served long over ice) spelled the end of a rather fun evening with a sombre, defeatist undertone. A day-trip to Martinborough the following day certainly helped to raise the spirits, and there’s nothing like spending hours wine tasting only to have drinks and dinner reservations to return to at the end of it.
After having attempted several times to make reservations at Logan Brown, reportedly Wellington’s best restaurant, I decided to give up my NZ degustation dreams and instead go for something a little different. I put on my Dancing Shoes (Vodka, pomegranate syrup & fresh mint topped with sparkling mineral water) at the Library, before heading over to Chow on Tory St, which I had heard was renowned for its Castro’s Blue Cheese & Peanut Wontons, served with a berry coulis. In retrospect it was my own fault for ordering everything vegetarian and deep fried on the menu, but if I make it back to Wellington I shall make a point of trying the Seven Spice Tofu with sesame sea salt & chilli soy, and Dark Chocolate Brownie.
A visit to the shaving shop in the centre of town had me mesmerised, before we swung by to check out the outside of Logan Brown and other restaurant which came highly recommended by several in the know, the Matterhorn. We finally settled in for lunch at Floriditas, enjoying a “Morning Pick me up” White Peach Bellini, and Shaved Radish, Feta, Pea Tendril, French Tarragon, Parmesan and Pasta Ribbons. A take-away cupcake complete with Easter eggs atop spelled the end to a truly fun-filled weekend.
Next time I come back, Im going to Logan Brown!