Last night yielded some great food and bar recs for New Zealand. Over Blue Moon beer, Merle Haggard and Irish drinking tunes, even better. I met and talked to Chef Daniel Billo at The Club 23 in Brisbane ("Land of the Stars"). He's a tall, tatted CCA alum, and just returned from New Zealand. Four cooks (chefs ?) and I stopped in at The Club 23 for drinks after working an eight hour catering shift in South San Francisco. Dan just returned from New Zealand, and said Cin Cin on Quay, where he used to work, is a great spot for eats. I am so dropping his name, per his request to "freak out" his former co-workers. He gave one bar rec: The Fiddler.
I have been doing most of the research for our trip. We are going there to visit relatives and relax. The three week trip begins at the end of the month, and is likely to cover the north island only. That's because the main focus is to see and catch up with family in Whitianga. It will be summer when we arrive, sweet! My aunt has tried to set expectations on the cuisine, saying something along the lines of it being "a bit more simple" than what we may be used to. Not a problem.
If you have some eating and drinking recs, feel free to comment or drop me a line.