Wednesday, 22 October 2008

City of the tropics

But often the essential is indeed a smile. One is paid by a smile, repaid by a smile, quickened by a smile. And there is a kind of smile, too, that is a death warrant.
- Letter to a Hostage by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

Flying in from Auckland where it had been drizzling and windy the week before we left, we got quite a surprise to find that Christchurch was positively tropical! Flowers were in bloom and there were monarch butterflies everywhere in the botanic gardens.

We made the most of the gorgeous weather by trailing after J's parents for a hand at
geocaching. This is basically like one huge worldwide treasure hunt with a GPS. Good fun but the heat was wearing us out by the late afternoon.

As far as eating in Christchurch goes,  you really can't go past a falafel souvlaki from
Costas. After one of these, kebabs can no longer satisfy!

Last time we were in Christchurch we tried to go to
The Lotus Heart restaurant in Cathedral Square but it was closed for some unknown reason (we made it to their cafe though). This time I was determined we would get to eat there so on a Friday night (after checking the website several times for any hints that they might be closed again) J, my friend B and I headed off in search of good food. Thankfully this time we were in luck...

After much decision I ordered the dal and a side of roasted seasonal vegetables (I think it was kumara, potato and beetroot). It was so delicious, especially the vegetables which J kept stealing off my plate!

Dessert was a must since it's not every day I can eat anything from a desserts menu. We all seemed to think alike and all ordered the Banana-Nut Pie for dessert. A bit too healthy tasting for my liking since I was, well, feeling decadent enough for dessert! But full marks for presentation!

On the way out I got an oaty energy cookie to take away with me. Warmed up the next day it was delicious.

We actually managed to venture further afield than Christchurch this time but that is still to come otherwise you would go cross-eyed from staring at your screen for too long.


  1. ooh that looks like fun! i love how the rice is in a pyramid :D very creative.

    that falafel souvlaki looks so delicious! what is the red sauce like?

  2. falafel... drool. I need to make some soon!

  3. the last picture is of the cookie or the pie? I'm dense. either way, totally catching my eye and my drool. know what I mean.
    I'm also craving falafels now.

  4. d'oh, I told you I'm dense. I hadn't noticed the pic of the pie BEFORE the one of the cookie. I swear, I should really drink more coffee some days.

  5. mmm yummy looking food!

    That falafel looks scrummy. A shame the dessert was a bit disappointing but it is always a nice treat as a vegan to be able to enjoy dessert in a restaurant!

  6. Vaala,

    Your country is absolutely stunning, yours is the second blog I have visited with beautiful pictures of nature. You are so lucky!!!God bless!
    BTW, The pictures of your food here made me so hungry, I could not stop looking at it!!!
    Talk to you again soon!

  7. Good to see so many falafel lovers out there. Just thinking about falafels is making me crave them!

    tofufreak - the red sauce is a really delicious tomato sauce...SO good! Possibly one of the things that makes Costas the best souvlaki place in Christchurch.

    celine - not to worry, I misread what caption belongs to what when I see photos all the time and what is supposed to be a cookie ends up (in my head) looking like a very strange kind of tofu scramble!

    nazarina a - I agree, New Zealand is gorgeous, especially the South Island :)