Monday, 6 February 2017

Christchurch Cafe Culture

Our New Zealand adventure finally began following flights to Singapore, then Melbourne and finally Christchurch. The last flight was my favourite: a three hour hop with very friendly NZ flight crew, three seats between the two of us and lots of leg room as we were on the front row.  Also the plane breakfast had hash browns. Correct.
We had racked up a total travel time of over 45 hours. Plus another 11 hours of time travel. Like, whoa.
We hopped on a shuttle bus to the motel which has completely lovely, with an incredibly friendly owner who gave us a map and recommended places to visit and settled us in. The room was huge and amazing; it had a little kitchen, earthquake advice, tea supplies, a hot shower, and warm comfy beds.  Weirdly, the bed came with instructions about how to sleep in it, but given that I discovered and read these having already burrowed into the covers, I found my usual technique of winging it and just getting into bed had worked.
Let’s face it: we were both shattered.  But it was around 3:00pm local time and I refused point blank to let us sleep until the night time.  Jet lag is in the mind, and I was determined that we would defeat it. So we spent our first afternoon in New Zealand tucked up in our beds watching the Rio Olympics opening ceremony. Classy.
We held out for dinner until about 5:30 and then popped out for Indian. We were met with huge portions, excellent naans, and we discovered it really is flipping freezing in winter in New Zealand.  Even though the restaurant was 2 minutes down the road, we really had a wrap up warm to keep the frosty July weather at bay.
This was the start of my Christmas delusion.  It was dark early.  It was very cold.  My breath was misty in the air.  That can only mean one thing: the festive season is nearly upon us.
Feeling full, we staggered home and slept. Whoop!
In fact, we slept for 14 hours. Yikes!
I fell out of bed in a hurry at 11:15 am with half our day in Christchurch gone. Matt was worried we would miss breakfast. I was determined that we wouldn't.

The first order of the day was obviously breakfast. We headed for a place called C1 Espresso which I had found in a free leaflet I picked up at the airport. And it was SO GOOD! Slightly hipster, with leaf tea served in match boxes, and curly fries delivered via pneumatic tubes.
Seriously. A bell goes “ding!” and you pop to the nearest tube to collect your canister of curly fries.

Matt went up to the counter to place our order (of curly fries, naturally) but apparently hadn’t clocked the system, and found himself somewhat confused. They staff told him they would arrive near our table and we could collect them. They also asked him what name to put on them.
He returned to our table, muttering that he didn’t understand why they couldn’t just bring them right to us, instead of to somewhere near us, and why did he have to think up a name for the fries? Jet lag was clearly messing with his brain, but he perked up when I pointed out the zooming tubes of fries zipping about the ceiling, and after a hot chocolate with a marshmallow fish, he was almost back to his old self.

On a side note, marshmallow fish is a thing in New Zealand.  Cool. Bit odd, but cool.

Breakfast was a hit. I had the most wonderful cinnamon porridge with caramelised bananas, which was so warming and wholesome in the wintry weather. I also had hash browns. And pneumatic curly fries. Because I was on holiday and I LOVE IT!!!

C1 Espresso was a fabulous introduction to New Zealand café life. I worked my way through a couple of the teas on offer, enjoying collecting the little match boxes the tea was served in, with a serving for now, and a helping for later. Even popping to the loo was fun as the toilets are behind a secret sliding bookshelf and have Harry Potter Audio book playing.

A return visit was definitely on the cards, and when we fetched up in Christchurch again a couple of weeks later, Matt and I hit C1 espresso again. It was still awesome, I had English Breakfast tea and collected another matchbox with Her Majesty on it, and ordered chocolate beetroot cake. It was a deliciously dense chocolate cake, encased in thick layer of milk chocolate, filled with salted caramel sauce and served with a syringe of raspberry coulis to inject into the centre. I for one love to play with my food and it this was totally legit. And delish.
It didn’t last very long.
Why, oh why, are all my favourite coffee shops thousands of miles away?
Kisses xxx
P.S. Double the travel posts this week; in a couple of days I'm sharing a few thoughts and pictures on some of the sights Christchurch has to offer.  Spoiler though: I really was taken with this little city.

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