Thursday, February 14, 2008

Paid To Eat

People are envious when I tell them that I review restaurants, that I am often 'paid to eat.' But it's not as glamorous as it sounds. Trust me! When you're on the road for months on end writing a travel guide, it takes a certain mental instability to put yourself through the rigours of eating breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper in restaurants and cafes every day. I've usually had enough after the first week. From then on I apply a particular kind of deranged discipline to the task.
At home in Christchurch, a one-off lunch review is much less arduous - a joy almost - and so it was today, as I settled in to savour the creative plates served with good humour, charm and French accents at High Street Bistro. And what girl isn't a sucker for a French accent at the best of times, much less on Valentine's Day! I'm human after all (despite having to endure super-human gastronomic feats). Having worked our way through grilled French goats' cheese on salad with walnut dressing (I'll spare you the French terminology); quail terrine with onion marmalade (the shared entrees); grilled salmon aioli Provencal and steak tartare (the mains); it seemed picky and rude to ignore the offer of creme brulee with Cognac-laced truffles and espresso. And the corny but winning touch, a red chocolate heart "for Valentine's Day."

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