Dining at the Chef’s Table: A Royal Caribbean Treat

First course of the Chef's Table dinner

Speciality dining options have become a common feature on modern cruise ships, and the Chef’s Table on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas is the best we have tried to date. The days of true “all inclusive travel” are long gone. While the cost of sailing includes meals, Royal Caribbean, like the other lines we have […]

Initial Impressions: Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas

Swimming pool on the Radiance of the Seas

We love cruising. Currently, we are about half way through our adventure around the top of Australia from Sydney to Perth on the Radiance of the Seas. (We have stopped in Brisbane and Cairns, future ports include Darwin, Bali Indonesia, Port Hedlands, and Geraldton). It is the first time we are cruising with Royal Caribbean. […]

Ten Reasons to Visit the Chocolate and Coffee Show in Auckland

Chocolate by Makana at The Chocolate and Coffee Show in Auckland New Zealand

I don’t need ten reasons to visit a Chocolate and Coffee Show. The name is enough. It lasts for only two days each year in Auckland New Zealand. And let me tell you, they are two great days for a coffee and chocolate fan like me. For those who need a bit more motivation, here […]

Collecting Cockles at Okoromai Bay in New Zealand

Ready to collect cockles (small clams) on Okoromai Bay in Auckland New Zealand

As the tide retreated we could see a few people collecting cockles at the water’s edge. I pointed them out to our Italian AFS exchange student, commenting that it is generally a summertime activity. It was only 12c yesterday, not a day I wanted to step into the water even with protective rubber boots. She, however, seemed […]

Top 10 Reasons to Visit this Year’s Auckland Food Show

Forty Thieves at Auckland Food Show

The doors to the Auckland Food Show open promptly at 10am, and along with a few hundred other people we head in for some of the best the country has to offer. Food, drinks, kitchen equipment, and cooking demonstrations, it’s all here under one roof. This is my second year attending the Auckland Food Show and […]

The Saga of a Runaway Sourdough Bread in San Francisco

San Francisco's sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery

I love San Francisco sourdough bread. While we can get sourdough bread in New Zealand, it is just not the same. Unlike most bread recipes that use commercial yeast, sourdough bread relies on wild yeast and the acid that is produced from the bacteria and  lactobacilli in it. If you think about sourdough bread, or analyse it for too long, you […]

Sarah’s Snapshots – Traditional Argentinian Food

Homemade pasta on a rack, Parana, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

A large aspect of Argentinian culture revolves around food. Typically family or friend gatherings revolve around a meal, and I have yet to go to an event without at least biscuits or mate (mah-te) being there. In fact, there are so many different types of Argentinian food that I can’t write about it all in […]

Tillamook: Let Me Take You Inside a Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, Tillamook Oregon USA

We knew the name Tillamook from the award winning cheeses we had purchased so many times when we lived in California. What we discovered was ice cream, creamy fudge, and cheese factory tour that blew our mind. Each day they make 171,000 pounds of cheese. Tillamook County is part of the Oregon coast. Its high rainfall, […]

Seattle Itinerary: Top 10 Things to Do in a Weekend Visit

The Seattle Aquarium is one of the top 10 Seattle highlights

Located on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle reminds me a bit of our current home city, Auckland. Both are surrounded by water, mountains/forests, and green park lands. The nearby evergreen forests in Washington are massive, thus giving Seattle the nickname of “Emerald City.” To hit the highlights, we have created a Seattle itinerary. We had a Seattle CityPASS. […]

Eating Onboard: How to Cruise Without Gaining Weight

A dinner time favorite, I loved this scallop dinner when I sailed with Princess cruises.

I am pleased to say that I gained very little weight after 19 days eating onboard the Island Princess. We sailed from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal and up to Vancouver. If you have never been on a Princess Cruise ship before, I am here to tell you the food is expertly prepared, appetizing, […]

Going Ashore in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

The arch in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

The highlight of Cabo San Lucas is El Arco (the Arch) and the nearby Lover’s Beach. As we could see both of these from the Island Princess Cruise Ship, and we have both been to Cabo San Lucas in the past, we opted to skip an excursion, or any type of tour and just go […]

Sarah’s Snapshots: Asado in Argentina

Cooked meat from an asado, or Argentinian barbecue, in Santa Fe Agentina. Copyright Sarah E. Albom 2016

An asado is a traditional-style Argentinian barbecue, and a common occurrence in Argentina homes. There is always an assigned cooker, or Asador (Asadora if she’s a woman), and the meat (ranging from pork still on the bone to blood sausage) is cooked on metal grille over a fire. I’ve been at two so far, and […]

Afternoon Tea Fit for Royalty at Palm Court in Auckland

Wedgewood china service is standard at Afternoon Tea at Palm Court in the Langham Hotel, Auckland New Zealand

Delicate flavours, elegant ambience, and five-star service define the Afternoon Tea at Palm Court in Auckland’s Langham Hotel. From the moment hubby and I entered, we were treated like royalty. It was a posh Afternoon Tea, and one which we hope to repeat soon. We opted to begin our afternoon tea with a flute of champagne, despite that fact that I am […]

Giapo: Taking Ice Cream and Gelato to an Art Form

Colourful ice cream creations from Giapo in Auckland New Zealand

Giapo. Just thinking about their ice cream and my mouth is watering. Who would have thought the best ice cream in the world is found in Auckland New Zealand? Giapo has turned ice cream into an art form, a perfect handmade combination of flavours. The secrets are passion, attention to every detail, and fresh New Zealand ingredients. The shop […]

Our Favourite Wellington Restaurants

Salad at Karaka cafe in Wellington New Zealand

Wellington restaurants have it all. Our favourites are generally comfortable, somewhat casual, and always serving great food. The city offers traditional, international, and eclectic options. Wellington may be a city known for its coffee but take a look at some of the food we tried at several Wellington restaurants and see if you agree it is also a city for […]

Enjoy These Far North Restaurants in New Zealand

Mangonui Fish Shop is a landmark amongst the Far North restaurants in New Zealand.

Traveling to the top of New Zealand’s North Island means going rural, but if you know where to look, there are plenty of great Far North restaurants. From fast food to fine dining, we covered the full gambit of options on our recent road trip.  Here are our top three favourite Far North restaurants in order from east […]

Mexico Restaurant in Auckland: Colourful, yet Haunting

Artwork on a wall in Mexico restaruant in Auckland New Zealand

I am not sure what initially brought us to the door of Mexico Restaurant, but it was the haunting decor that brought us into this Auckland eatery in the up-market, trendy Ponsonby neighbourhood. Practical Information on Mexico Restaurant: The ingredients are fresh and the flavours authentic. The menu changes every three months, based on seasonal ingredients. There […]

Bellota Tapas Bar: Bizarre Memories of a Spanish Home Exchange

Spanish Croquetas at Bellota Tapas Bar in Auckland New Zealand

Each time we travel somewhere new the world seems to get a little bit smaller. Last week was no exception, and we only went to Auckland, an hour from home on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Having recently learned of an authentic Spanish tapas bar called Bellota, we were flooded with memories from our long term home exchange in the Costa Brava […]

Calling All Foodies: Don’t Miss the Auckland Food Show

Auckland Food Show in New Zealand

Despite my new healthier eating habits, I was excited about heading to the Auckland Food Show.  My expectations were high, after all, I love food. And this is one show that doesn’t disappoint, far exceeding any expectations I had.  From the moment we entered we were bombarded with culinary sensations to tempt the palate. This […]

V is for Vineyard; Grape Picking at Villa Maria Winery #AtoZ

Hand Picking Grapes at Villa Maria Vineyard, Auckland New Zealand

For a little country, New Zealand produces a lot of wine, enough to rank us 14th on the list of the worlds top wine producers. The country’s 700 vineyards are scattered up and down both islands with the majority falling in one of the eight major growing regions, mostly to the east. Our subtropical, cool […]

Riverhead Tavern, Red Boats, and a Relaxing Afternoon #AtoZ

The Red Boat leaving Riverhead Tavern, Auckland, New Zealand

An afternoon at Riverhead Tavern is about the journey, as much as the destination. My adventure started in Auckland, where I boarded the Red Boats for a 90 minute leisurely cruise on a river system I had yet to explore (see the map below). We traveled on the calm waters of the upper Waitamata Harbour […]

Coffee Training is Why Auckland Cafe’s Are Great – #AtoZ

Student latte in barista class

I know Seattle is the city people think of for coffee, but those are people who have never been to New Zealand. As a coffee lover and world traveler I am convinced that some of the world’s best cafes are in Auckland. Now I know why. It’s the barista training. Meet Dave: Why would we […]

Wellington’s Best Desserts are at Strawberry Fare

Sticky Date Pudding at, Strawberry Fare, Wellington, New Zealand

Strawberry Fare calls it a Black Forest Tower. I call it chocolate perfection on a plate.  It took only a few bites before I realized: this dessert is exactly how I envision heaven (only heaven has fewer calories). Wellington may be packed with restaurant options, but Strawberry Fare is my clear favorite. We went for […]

Auckland’s Seafood Festival – A Culinary Anniversary Treat

Oysters on the half shell

Calling all foodies: the Auckland Seafood Festival is not to be missed. If you are a fan of seafood, be sure to come hungry. There are a few items to sample, although be prepared that most items cost a bit of additional money. It’s a culinary treat, and one of many exciting activities taking place […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #23 – Chocolate Fountain

Chocolate Fountain

Recently, my sister received a chocolate fountain as a gift (for the last few years her go-to answer for what she wants is a chocolate fountain, and she has said it so much it has become a bit of a joke. However, mum and dad decided to surprise her) and of course that meant we had […]