15 May // floriditas, back to back
As well as two beautiful and talented sisters of my own, I have a sprinkling of friends that feel like sisters, and a smattering of males who have grown up as my honorary troupe of brothers. They're the ones who first got me drunk on Lion Red in the Coromandel, were probably the reason I was single all through High School and they're the ones who phone in their support when shit hits the fan. It was their shirts I was ironing when I was a fellow groomsman for one of them who got married a couple of years ago. Here in the capital, I also have adopted myself a couple of honorary little sisters.
Having caught up with a friend Saturday morning in the late autumn sunshine, I was meandering down Cuba St when I ran into one said-honorary-little sister, who was having the weekend off from second-year study. She was looking extremely sassy in a fawn vintage coat and a bowler hat, and we yarned and giggled the afternoon away with citrus-based sweeties and coffees at Floriditas.
Although I don't make it there that often and although I'm yet to make it there for (what I hear is wonderful) dinner, there is one thing that strikes me about this cafe. It dishes out consistently excellent food, service and coffee. There is nothing I appreciate more in a cafe than it being consistently excellent. The delightful Miss H's lemon curd butterfly cake looked positively lip-smacking, and my sweetly-sharp lime brulee tart was encrusted in a perfectly crisp buttery pastry case. The coffee is Supreme, and reliably good.
I also happened to come here for lunch last Sunday, and when I ordered the Chicken, Thyme and Riesling Pie, I was laughing at the fact eateries and chefs now feel the need to specify what wine they use in dishes. No longer content on mussels in white wine sauce, or chicken and white wine pie, now it has to be pork braised in pinot gris, or eye fillet with pinot noir reduction. Anyway, the pie was in traditionally homemade pastry, which reminded me for some strange reason of visiting years ago an old school bakery somewhere near the highlands in Scotland; buttery flaky goodness in every mouthful. The beautifully balanced filling was piping hot, with thyme and wine perfectly matching the chicken. The bitterness of the side salad offset the richness of the pie, just as any good accompaniment should. It was also noted with good humour that a pie in a bakery can happily go for about $5, but chuck some salad on the side and put it on a lunch menu and you're skyrocketing prices acceptably into the late teens. I didn't mind, lunch was divine.
A small thing though - my brunch companion last week enjoyed the pork and sage sausages with Floridita's famous poached eggs and it's magically luscious hollandaise. As an onlooker my only gripe being my despair at why cafes serve two eggs on one slice of bread. Bread is cheap and brunch tends not to be, why the one slice stinginess? To be fair, having witnessed waitressing wastage, maybe they'd noted a few too many Atkins diet disciples pushing the bread aside. Who knows, but in my world two eggs equals two toasts. Maybe it's just me!
It's still one of my absolute faves.
Floridita's - 161 Cuba St Wellington. Open Morning, Noon and Night.
Later on Saturday evening, I assisted above-mentioned honorary little sis whip up a very simple salad to take along to a pot luck. She "freakin' loves" baby spinach, so mixed into a bag of it, to cater for many a gluten-intolerant-vegetarian, went goats cheese feta, hazlenuts, some slithers of fresh orange, and a dressing - which in the end went: olive oil, the juice of half an orange, the juice of one lime, red wine vinegar, a dash of balsamic, and salt and pepper - whisked together well. She thinks she can't cook, but make this salad and chuck a frypanned piece of salmon on top and you have yourself a million dollar meal.