Friday, 30 November 2007

A double-header

The silly season is well and truly upon us. Tonight saw two great get-togethers with friends.

First stop was the Vespa Lounge. This is a favourite haunt for our main drinks organiser, who loves the fact that we can get together after work in a place that's not too crowded and actually talk to each other without having to shout. Sure, it's pretty quiet in the early evening, and we often start out by having the place to ourselves, but that soon changes as this very stylish bar fills up for the night and parties on until the wee small hours of the morning. (By the way, am I the only one who has been in Wellington long enough to remember Vespa's famous cocktail shakers? Those were the days!) Complete with Italian Vespas outside the front door, an extensive wine list, and great DJs playing through the night, this is a very cool place to hang out with friends. The food is a scaled-down menu ordered in from Hummingbird, but somehow it still manages to stay hot even after a quick stroll around the corner to Blair St.

Next stop for dinner was One Red Dog on Allen St. I run hot and cold with this place; the food is usually good, but the service has its ups and downs. As a group of 12, we ordered the set Christmas-type menu for $30 per head. This got us a couple of yummy antipasto platters to share, along with the cheesy, yet essential, Christmas crackers. Of course, these came complete with useless plastic toys, terrible jokes, and hideous paper hats that we had to wear until dessert. The main course consisted of a selection of five of their gourmet pizzas, including two Christmas varieties (turkey, cranberry and brie; and an interesting ham off the bone, kumara, asparagus and mustard sauce creation) and a mixed green salad. Topping it all off was a decadent chocolate fondue, with marshmallows (the firm ones that don't fall off your fork), kiwifruit, bananas and pineapple pieces.

I'm still not completely sold on the service here (what does it take to get some water bottles filled?), but the food tonight was generally pretty good. Just make sure you leave plenty of room for dessert... yum!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

La Vie En Rose

Today I saw La Vie En Rose (2007), a French movie (with subtitles) about the life of singer Edith Piaf which had been highly recommended from various friends. Be prepared: this movie is good, but very long (2:30) and certainly feels it. (I could have chopped out about half an hour quite comfortably.)

Also known as La Môme (2007), the movie documents the life of Edith Piaf, born on the streets of Paris in 1915, and her rise (and fall) from fame through her singing career. This 'little sparrow' (a tiny 4'8" woman) started out living on the streets with her mother before her father picked her up and dropped her off to live with her grandmother, a brothel madam. Edith was loved and cared for by Titine, a brothel worker, before her father returned and took her away to a life in the circus, where he was an acrobat/contortionist. Life goes on for poor, sickly Edith, who follows in her mother's footsteps and becomes a singer herself. The tale of her tragic career and personal life unfolds through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards - sometimes a bit confusing to follow, but generally very well portrayed.

A bit about the Empire Cinema in Island Bay ... I grew up knowing this building to be a hardware store, but heard my grandmother talking about the 'picture shows' she would see there as a little girl growing up in the bay. In 2005, it was restored and transformed into a gorgeous Lighthouse-style cinema with three boutique theatres and luxurious couches to recline on as you enjoy your cinema experience. If your movie starts before 6pm on a weekday, it only costs $10. They make great gelato and have heaps of free parking. (They're also literally two minutes down the road from me - really handy.) To top it off, I managed to get the whole cinema to myself today. Go, the Empire! :-)

Café Chick says hi

After ages slogging over a 'serious' blog, and even longer recovering from blogging overload, I'm now tempted to dip my toe in the water and try again. BUT, no more of this serious stuff for me. Oh no, this blog is going to be occasional, totally self-indulgent, and simply a collection of stuff I like, don't like, have seen/done recently, have not seen/done ... get the picture?

I live in Wellington, New Zealand, and enjoy this city's vibrant café culture, hence my name (Café Chick). Other than that, I'm into reading, music, dance, family, good coffee (I'm an unashamed coffee snob), eating out with friends, travel, and sunshine, so that's what you'll hear about, along with whatever else takes my fancy.

So, I'll get posting and see where we end up. I have no idea who might read this (or if anyone will - oh well!). Drop me a line and let me know what you think ...