Eichardt’s, Queenstown, NZ

The last (dinner) stop in Queenstown was a place called Eichardt’s.


We went to the bar area for wine and tapas.  Another great menu!  This time the wine choice was a flight of Pinot Noir. It was comprised of Mount Edward ‘Eichardt’s’ 2013 Gibbston, Wild Irishman 2013 Bannockburn and Misha’s Vineyard ‘The High Note’ – 2009 Bendigo.

The first on the tasting was ok.  The 2nd was quite solid with very nice fruit notes.  The 3rd was absolutely amazing.  There was the slightest hint of leather, almost like a Pinotage with the traditional fruit.   I still had many stops to go on this trip so it wasn’t easy to buy one.


For dinner we grabbed several of their tapas.

Seared Otago nectarine & goat’s cheese salad with local rocket, shaved fennel & candied almonds.

Grilled bruschetta of local wild mushrooms, thyme and feta

Sourdough bread with Cairnmuir olive oil & macadamia nut dakkah

Wild game terrine, sourdough toasts, homemade pickles and relish



All of them just melted in the mouth.  Absolutely outstanding.  Between them and the wine, great final dinner in Queenstown.

Coyote Grill, Queenstown, NZ

Next place to check in a NZ town if of course a Mexican restaurant, right?  After getting back fairly late from a tour it was close to the hotel and looked pretty good, so why not?  So we checked out Coyote Grill.


One of two mandatory orders was right (and done right away) – chips & guac.  The other that wasn’t (margarita) was simply replaced with sangria.

The guac had a perfect texture and spice to it.


Two appetizers were ordered after that for dinner.

Prawns (that’s what they call shrimp) Veracruz– sautéed with mild guajillo chili and slow cooked garlic IMG_5406

Duck Tostada – shredded roast duck served on a crispy corn tortilla with salsa


The shrimp had a nice kick to them and whatever seasoning they used on the duck was amazing.  And for appetizers, these were big dishes.  Perfect end to a long day.

Smiths Craft Beer House, Queenstown, NZ

Another spot visited in Queenstown was the Smith Craft Beer House.


You can pretty much deduce what they have based on the name.  And you can order a sampler of whatever you like.  Based on their large selection, the bartender chose several for the table based on our taste.  The six that came to the table were:

From left to right:


Garage Prospect, Teas & Tea, Spicy Brown Ale, 6.2% — very dark

Horse Box, Vigilante, IPA, 5.8% — tasted a bit like tea

Horse Box, Storm Hopper, APA, 5.7% — crisp and not too hoppy

Beer Barrons, Lady Danger, Red Ale, 6.5% — red definitely describes it

Wigram Tornado, IPA, 6.6% —  bit of fruit, not much else, slightly bitter

Tuatora/Coucher, Summer Gold Golden Ale, 4.5% — light, totally an ale

For lunch we ordered a pizza, half with cheese half without.  The crust on this thing was amazing.  So light and fluffy!  One of the best pizzas I’ve had.  Great stuff.


Fishbone Bar & Grill, Queenstown, NZ

New town, new country, of course new exploration.  The hotel where we stayed recommended a great seafood restaurant for the first night in Queenstown; Fishbone Bar & Grill.  Of course, you have just a bit of water around you when you’re in New Zealand so there is likely to be some decent seafood.


And to kick off the meal in the new country we started with some vino, of course.  We opted for some Rockface Pinot Gris from Waipara, NZ.  Pretty dry, which is why we picked it to pair with upcoming seafood.


For dinner we decided to go with 3 appetizers.  They were good sized as we saw them going to other tables, which is why we went this route.

Seared Tasman Sea scallops with tomato and fennel ragout, shaved fennel, orange and fresh fennel pollen

Sesame-crusted west coast Albacore tuna sashimi with Daikon, cucumber and bok choy, black garlic mayonnaise

Salt & chili arrowhead squid with radicchio, endive, orange, and squid ink mayonnaise.


I don’t think you could find a piece of food left on these plate.  The tuna was perfect crusted in sesame seeds and the perfect size, the squid had been cooked to perfection and was the perfect texture and those scallops, oh those scallops.  This place needs to open a location in DC.

Miles Better Pies

So I’m not a pie eater.  But when you’re on a tour and you have to stop and get a high recommendation from a driver sometimes you listen.  We were on our way to Milford Sound, New Zealand and took a break in Te Anau.


The driver pointed at this little tiny shop called Miles Better Pies and more.


This is a long-standing shop that primarily makes meat pies.  I don’t eat a ton of red meat but something he said clicked.  They have venison pie.


I don’t like crust but wanted to check out the inside.  After finding out the filling had no dairy, bring it on.  The filling was chunks of meat vs. ground and had mouth-watering flavor.  So…amazing…  One of those places where you just kind of leave the fork hanging in your mouth.


Forrest Brewing Company

On the return day from visiting the 12 Sisters, we took a different route.  This let us stop at a brewery vs. a winery (for both drink and food).  The location, Forrest Brewing Company.


I decided to do a tasting and what’s nice is they don’t give you 4oz pours so you can easily taste everything on the 6-taster flight.  The pour is just shy of 2oz.  With this it comes on a nice wooden palate and you get:


Pilsner (no formal description) – nice and crisp

Silver top (no formal description) – bland/flat

Pale Ale (…lovely apple flavours then a lingering nudge of caramel malt. The finish leaves a refreshing crispness. The Cascade hops lend a lasting touch of bitterness gently balancing the malts. We let malt, Otways water, hops and yeast do all the work, you won’t find any preservatives in here. Best served cold and enjoyed whilst fresh. ABV 4.8%) – good bite

Irish Red (Coloured copper red with earthy malt flavours of dark caramel, chestnut and a touch of roasted barely. A spicy hop note dominates leaving a crisp refreshing bitter finish. We let malt, Otways water, hops and yeast do all the work, you won’t find any preservatives in here. Best served cold and enjoyed whilst fresh. ABV 3.6%) – just a bit awkward, would need to try it again when not sampling others

Sista Ginger (Our Forrest ginger beer recipe contains only the freshest natural ingredients, freshly grated ginger, hand squeezed lemons and choice exotic spices. We use slow fermentation to achieve a crisp, slightly cloudy, lightly carbonated and refreshing alternative to malt beers. Brewed using our ale yeast, it’s happily alcoholic.  ABV 4.1%) – clear, like water, not great

Pobblebonk (Our Autumn seasonal beer is a French style Saison de Miel. Named after a local frog and using Otway’s Strawberry Clover honey, plenty of orange zest, it’s even got a stella hop…s Pouring golden orange with white foaming head, it’s a fruity number with peppery spice, clove, orange and honey notes. An interesting beer yet refreshingly easy to drink. One for a sunny afternoon by the river or slow contemplation on the veranda. ABV 7%) – citrus all that way

For lunch several of us had:

Eggplant Brulee Salad – Caramelized with sticky soy sesame marinade, Asian noodles, snow peas, yellow capsicum, bean shoots, greens, fried shallots.

Porterhouse Sliders

Feelin’ Crabby – softshell crab sandwich





All the food was great and the beer was quite nice to enjoy/taste.

Lorne Hotel, Great Ocean Road

Had a nice stop for lunch on a drive out the Great Ocean Rd in Australia on the way to see the 12 Apostles.  The place we found to eat was the Lorne Hotel.



Started off with some brew – Carlton Draught and LazyYak Pale Ale.  Just nice light beer, perfect for mid-day.


For lunch, the decisions came down to a Roasted Beetroot & Quinoa Salad, a Greek Salad, both with Prawns and a lamb dish.  Presentation and taste, all delicious!





While on our wine day, we of course had to eat.  In wine land, we found a nice little café, the Epicurean.


They have both a cafe and restaurant.  We opted for the former.  There was this amazing sandwich that had a black bun.  Why black?  It was died with squid ink!  How cool?  On the bun was smoked salmon, lettuce and other great stuff.  The reason I couldn’t enjoy this is because all were premade and they also had include some delicious cream cheese. They had a nice salad with fennel and tomatoes and great mix of lettuce.  Perfect mid-day refuel before wine continued…




Winery Stop 5, Montalto

Final stop of the day, Montalto.  This place opened in 1997.  They were very rushed and didn’t seem that eager to let/want you to enjoy their wine.  And honestly, most of it wasn’t all that great anyway.


2015 Pennon Hill Sauvignon Blanc – very dry

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio – green apple at start, no finish

2015 Montalto Estate Pinot Gris – oak taste, more flavor

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Noir – some sort of bite to it

2014 Pennon Hill Shiraz – light for a Shiraz

2015 Montalto Apple Cider – dry

That was the last one we visited.  Nice spread all around and great way to check out the area.

Winery Stop 4, Red Hill Estate

Red Hill Estate was established in 1989 with 46 acres of land and 23 acres under vine.  They have great views of the Mornington Peninsula, too.  We went through their tasting (note, we were splitting tasting after the first one, we were not crazy people, and even then small sips were being taken).


Vintage Brut (This magnificent sparkling wine is made from 52% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier. Created using the traditional “Methode Champenoise”  system, this 2011 Vintage Brut exhibits a fine and persistent bead, a lively palate and a fresh acidity, which lingers harmoniously with the aged complexity.) – tiny apple flavor, young

Cool Climate Pinot Grigio (Displaying aromas of refreshing citrus and lime zest, some confectionery notes and a hint of musk on the nose, it is soft on the palate with freshly cut pears, some minerality and neat acidity back bone.) – pears, light flavor

Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc (Flavours of green pea pods freshly picked from the garden flow into a herbacousness that keeps evolving into lime juice and Honeydew melon. Toward the end, and through the middle of all these flavours are tropical juices and passionfruit.) – huge nose, passion fruit

Cellar Door Release Chardonnay (On the nose there are pronounced aromas of citrus and caramelised pear, whilst on the palate it is beautiful fleshy with soft, crisp acids and delicately balanced flavours of baked fruits and pastry.) – butter and oak all the way home

Merricks Grove Chardonnay (With a fine, delicate bouquet of melon and toasty oak, this wine is an absolute delight; a clean minerality on the palate and complex layers of melon, peach and oak. A cool climate classic.) – not that exciting

Cellar Door Release Pinot Noir (Our 2014 Cellar Door Release Pinot Noir is a riot of mixed berries on the nose that work harmoniously with an underlying sprinkle of dusty oak. After an initial burst of juicy raspberry and fresh cherries on the palate, this superb wine finishes with a touch of spice that is both lingering, satisfying and strangely moreish.) – cool climate, earthy, some spices

Merricks Grove Pinot Noir (Made from 100% Mornington fruit, this immense Pinot Noir has lashings of raspberry and cherry compote on the nose whilst on the palate there is an abundance of soft, rich and comforting raspberry rhubarb that effortlessly mixes with a dusty oak finishing and gloriously fine tannins.) – fruitier than the prior pinot

Regional Release Heathcote Shiraz (The wine is deep purple in colour with aromas of dark cherry & raspberry and has subtle hints of spice & white pepper that lead to an intensely flavoured, well rounded (yet relatively soft) mouth feel of dark fruits, blackberries & oak influenced raspberries.) – Bring it home, awesome, pepper and berries

Regional Release Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon (The wine displays rich and succulent blackcurrant and red berry characters that mix with a hint of cassis. On the palate the wine is enhanced by some subtle oak influence and finishes with smooth gentle tannins and a firm structure.) – thick, not great

Old Tawny (no winery description) – tastes like fruitcake