July the 4th & then some!

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The weekend started with a bang.  It being 4th of July and all.  It was our friend Kirks Birthday and I attended his celebratory bbq bash where he made his Great Grandmas Fire Engine Red Cake and we enjoyed fireworks through a chain link fence. Only in New York can this be enjoyed.  Well not entirely enjoyed but the company was wonderful.  I then went home and took the late morning train to meet up with the beach crew for the rest of the weekend.

As usual we hit the beach bar for a quick arrival drink, abortion then headed for camp.  The weather was amazing and for lunch I brought egg salad sandwiches.  Great for the first day.  The rest was spent soaking in the sun, swimming in the ocean and playing the ukulele.  When dinner came around we were very excited to bust out the newest crazy meal we had thought up.  Meatloaf sliders. Yes that’s what I said.  They were a huge hit!! And really worked out great on the beach.  We accompanied them with coleslaw.  Which didn’t work out as well.  But you can’t win them all.

The next day was the usual breakfast, eggs, bacon and potatoes.   What wasn’t the usual was that our friend Naoum decided to join us.  We were beyond thrilled.  We picked him up a the dock and sang the New Zealand welcome song Haere mai.  He arrived just in time for lunch which was our Spam musubis.   We then constructed a kite made from the mylar balloons we found on the beach.   It took a while but well worth the effort.  For dinner we went for a classic, bacon wrapped hot dogs and macaroni salad.  needless to say there was nothing left.  The night was spent having cocktails and playing our favorite card game.

Our last day was lazy and spent doing what we do best.  Breakfast, swimming, sunning, playing the ukulele and making beach  pizzas for lunch.  Sadly it had to end so we packed up, flew the kite one last time, hit the ferry,  grabbed the train and headed home for Chinese food and a movie.



Meatloaf Sliders
Recipe type: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 Pound of ground beef and ground pork combined
  • 1 Small green pepper chopped
  • 1 Small onion chopped(yellow or white)
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ Cup of quick oats or bread crumbs
  • A couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • A little bit of catchup
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
  2. Mix with hands(my favorite part!)
  3. Make slider size loaf patties
  4. Grill till done all the way through
  5. Serve with your favorite burger toppings
  6. Best with potato slider buns

From NYC to the NZ

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We had a great adventure this winter visiting Jason’s family and homelands.  The weather, stomach food and landscape were everything you could imagine and more.  Made all the more amazing by Jason’s wonderful and loving family who took in this yank with open arms and hearts.  We started off in LA visiting my family and friends.  We only had a day but we all made the most of it.  Next we were off to Australia and the beautiful Gold Coast.  We stayed with Jason’s granddad, information pills who ran us ragged!!!  Broad Beach was amazing, sick with warm water, bluebirds, good food, a little rain here and there, but also some wonderful sunshine.  I had my first of many fish and chips at Johnny’s Fish and Chips, as well as my first flat white, a.k.a as coffee here.  The next day we walked down to Surfers Paradise Beach and ended up at Pete’s Fish Market where we bought some fresh prawns that we grilled for pasta.  After a few days of running around we spent our last day taking it easy, lounging in the pool and jacuzzi.  We weren’t barely dry before it was time to catch the plane to New Zealand.

Our first stop, Auckland.  We arrived at night so we missed seeing one of the newest additions to the family but we had a great late night catching up with Mike and Shona.  The next day was a trip to Piha Beach with it’s beautiful black sand beaches and Lion Rock laying there with the grace and beauty of well, a lion.  The water was cold, but that didn’t seem to stop any one from having a good time, so of course we joined in.   Unfortunately little Cindy wasn’t up for a swim.  For lunch, we had  fish and chips.  It was day one and I was already in love with this beautiful land.  The next day was brunch at Mike and Shona’s favorite spot Circus, Circus.  It did not disappoint.  I had eggs benny and Jason had a more traditional breakfast with poached eggs, beans, grilled tomato, sausages, hash browns and toast.  Both were amazing.  And to wash it all down with?  What else, a flat white.  That afternoon we caught up with our dear friend Gemma at Point Chevalier Beach for Auckland’s Big Gay Out.  We also had the pleasure of meeting her mum and had  a wonderful snack of ceviche in coconut milk,  bbq’d lamb with grilled eggplant and lovely white wine.  Though we never did get to see the famous wine cellar.  For our last supper we had, what else,  grilled lamb and lots of wine!  Although our last day was a short one, we did managed to squeeze in the Sky Tower and some lovely cosmos.  Not a bad sendoff.  Thank you Mike, Shona and Cindy!!!

Next was the South Island adventure with a great big welcome from more of the Tagg clan who greeted us with hugs, kisses and welcome home’s at the Dunedin airport.  We were then promptly whisked away to lunch at Margaret’s house.   After being on a small cramped plane it is exactly what we needed.  The garden was exquisite, you could sit in it for hours.  We then spent the next few days lounging around Jason’s father John’s and his girlfriend Hee Ji’s house/jacuzzi and running around seeing Dunedin.   Our first stop was Otago University where Jason’s dad works and were Jason along with his brothers went to university.   We made a quick stop at Danish Delights Bakery for snacks and lunch supplies to take to Sandfly Bay where we met a very lazy but loveable sea lion.  That night we drove to Careys Bay Hotel and Seafood  in Port Chalmers for an amazing dinner.  As if that wasn’t enough, we spent the next day seeing old haunts, driving back to Port Chalmers to spend some time at Jason’s favorite beach Purakaunui Bay where we had a quick dip in Canoe Beach. But not before we took a ride on the the tree swing. We then headed up to Fleurs Place in Moeraki for more amazing sea food.  Jason had the Bacon wrapped Blue Cod, and I drooled.   It’s and hour or so outside of Dunedin but it is a must go. We even got to meet Fleur herself!!  Such an amazing women.  Plus as an added bonus you  can stop and see the  Moeraki Boulders.  Truly an amazing natural wonder.

Just when we thought we might get a bit of rest we sped off with Margaret, who took us to the Catlin’s.   We made a quick stop at Dollyworld and Teapotland(I’m sure you can see why).  Upon arrival we stopped at Curios Bay Fossilized Forest  where we almost go blown away.  Then the Waipapa Lighthouse.  Stunning view, especially knowing that your at the most southern part of the world that is closest to the South Pole besides Stewart Island.  We scrambled and made it to the Chaslands Area Cathedral Caves just in time.  If we had arrived any later we would have been in high tide!!   Although I almost did get swept away by the tide taking a picture of Jason and his mum.   That night we stayed at The Whistling Frog Cafe and Bar.  Our chalet was perfect, and so was our dinner.  The next day as we headed out we stopped at what would turn out to be one of many waterfalls, McLean Falls.  It was a beautiful walk to a beautiful waterfall, so green and lush.  A great way to start our day.  We managed to get in a few more quick stops like the Estuary Boardwalk and  The Lost Gypsy Gallery on our way back to Dunedin.    When we arrived back in town made a quick stopped at Signal Hill that has the most amazing view of the city and habor below it.  As well as marveling at Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

After our short whirl wind tour of the Catlins, we said a momentary goodbye to Margaret and a hello to the McTaggley’s.   Also known as Andrew, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Laura.   Upon our arrival on that night, Kathryn made a delightful Pavlova and dispensed some sage advice.  Ask anyone who has made or attempted to make a Pavlova and you get a knowing smile or the knowing horrified face.  It seems everyone has one or both of these kinds of stories up their sleeve.  Jason and Kathryn were no exception to this rule. They were quickly swapping battle stories of Pav’s lost and won.  We spent the next couple days  molding clay, reading books and playing the ukulele, while managing to get in some sites.  Like the tranquil Chinese Garden, which is the only truly authentic Chinese Scholar’s Garden in the Southern Hemisphere.  I say tranquil, but the girls kept us moving right along.  They also took us for a swim at the Moana pools.  Our last night was adult’s only.  We hit the town and showed it no mercy!!! And our throbbing heads showed us no mercy the next day.  But we had a blast.  The Octagon will never be the same.

We finish our lovely stay back where it started, at Margaret’s, with a wonderful lamb dinner and a fond/sad farewell to the McTaggley’s.  The next morning we are sent off with a wonderful care package of lamb sandwiches, fruit, tea, coffee and fruit cake with more farewells from Margaret and Andrew.  With the sun on our backs, we headed out alone to the great beyond of Central Otago, then up the west coast and back over to Christchurch for our final night and departure.