Birthday dinner in another fabulous New Plymouth, New Zealand restaurant…

View of Mount Taranaki, while on our way home last night after my birthday dinner.

Thanks to our family, friends, and readers and our thoughtful landlords, Trish and Neil, for the wonderful birthday wishes I received in the past 48 hours.  It means the world to me and I appreciate each and every acknowledgment.

Returning home last night, we found this pretty plant from Trish and Neil on the doorstep.  Wow! 

How is it possible that the relatively small city (compared to many other major cities in the world) of New Plymouth, New Zealand with a population of over 74,000 including all the farm and surrounding areas, has such great restaurants as far as we’re concerned?

Sure, we’ve only dined out twice. But, when perusing the list of 126 restaurants reviewed in the area, we see a general consensus of overall quality food even in many of the more out-of-the-way casual establishments.

A table was set for a large group at the Orangery.

Last night’s choice for my birthday dinner was The Orangery located in the Quality Hotel in downtown New Plymouth. A 20-minute drive from the farm, the scenery along the way is so breathtaking the drive is over quickly. 

The restaurant was cozy with comfortable seating and arrangements.

Nothing in the town is hard to find with the clearly marked road signs with well laid out streets. There’s a number of one-way streets. But Tom’s learned to navigate the area with ease often surprising me as to how well he’s learned his way around.

Tom was looking forward to bread!

As a passenger, I pay little attention to how we get to a specific location than the interesting scenery on our way. Last night’s drive to town was no exception. Before we leave “home” Tom takes a quick look at an online map, finds the location and without hesitation finds our destination. His innate ability to find most locations always adds to the ease of our travels. 

Wearing the same clothes as in many photos.  I’ve noticed little holes forming in this top and sadly must say goodbye soon.  Does this mean I get to buy something to replace it? Tom will cringe at the thought of going to the mall.

Of course, I’ll give him credit for having a great sense of direction when I’m totally inept in this area. I can get lost in the grocery store. It’s not that I’m not capable. It’s merely a matter of paying attention. With a short attention span, I really have to focus to find my way anywhere. 

This serving cart was rolled to our table in order for Denise to make Tom’s entrée tableside.

Luckily, as a couple, we fill in the blanks for one another even when dining out: Does he want to eat his salad or vegetables when he’s focused on the potatoes, meat, and bread?

At The Orangery last night, although we ordered different main courses, he supplemented my lack of starch, sugar, or grains by handing over his salad. As usual, with no premade salad dressings work for my way of eating when they’ve been made with soy or vegetable oil, which I don’t consume. 

Diane fired up Tom’s Steak Diane Flambé using Pernot and white wine while I took this shot. 

I usually order a cup of full-fat sour cream to which I add my liquid sweetener (which I carry in my pocket in a tiny bottle), salt, and pepper for a delicious tasting dressing I use almost every day. I’ve given up trying to find mayonnaise or salad dressing when all are made with soy, “seed” or vegetable oils, none of which I consume. 

Last night’s ordering was a little tricky when many items were made in sauces using flour, corn starch, or sugar.  After handing the food list on my phone to our conscientious server she showed it to the chef, who suggested I pick out a protein source I’d like and he’ll make it befitting the list.

Tom’s main dish included a side of mashed potatoes (not shown here) and a salad which he handed to me.

The food was wonderful, fresh, perfectly prepared, and served. Tom ordered the Steak Diane Flambé served tableside with mushrooms, garlic, onions, mashed potatoes, and a side of bread. I ordered the prawns sautéed in garlic butter, a side of avocado in place of veggie, and a mixed greens salad. Adding Tom’s salad to mine I had enough to eat between the salad, avo, and prawns.

Guess who ate this entire loaf of bread with special New Zealand butter? I tasted the delicious unsalted butter.

The biggest problem for me when dining out is the prospect of leaving hungry. Without bread, potatoes, or any starches, a portion of protein, salad and a small serving of a suitable vegetable may not be substantial enough to fill me up. 

Based on the fact I don’t eat any more often than once every 22 to 24 hours due to my commitment to a ketogenic, (LCHF – low carb, high fat, moderate protein) intermittent fasting way of eating, once I begin eating the one meal, hunger kicks in. It’s funny how that works.

My fluffy dish of sour cream and sliced avocado. Tom’s huge bowl of mashed potatoes is beside his plate.

As it turned out the meal was satisfying and I left feeling comfortable, not too full. Tom, on the other hand, was stuffed and uncomfortable. It’s funny how that works.

We had a very pleasant dinner in the lovely décor of The Orangery heading home before dark when we were able to take the above main photo of Mount Taranaki. Upon driving up to our cozy temporary New Zealand home, we noticed a beautiful flowering plant with a card from Trish and Neil wishing me a “happy kiwi birthday.” 

The combination of Tom’s salad and mine created an ample portion.

These thoughtful owners have made this experience on their alpaca farm memorable with their “over the top” consideration and kindness. We couldn’t be more grateful. When I wrote a heartfelt thank you email, I promised to diligently care for the blooming plant to ensure they can enjoy it later when we must leave it behind when we fly to Sydney on April 15th.

It was a happy birthday in many ways; hearing from loved ones, many messages by email with more wishes on Facebook than I can count. Tom’s sweet message on Facebook, a public declaration of his love, also warmed my heart. 

My prawns sautéed in butter were cooked perfectly and well seasoned.

This morning we left before 9 am to head to the Farmers Market Taranaki for eggs and produce including a trip to the grocery store. Thus, the late posting today.  When we returned “home” we spotted Miss Jessica looking our way from the paddock. Yes, it’s a good life in New Zealand…a very good life.

Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2015:

A year ago today we headed to Waimea Canyon but the “vog” was so thick we couldn’t see a thing. For more details of our Kauai overnight road trip, please click here.