Kitchens Go Compact

Posted on September 2, 2015 By

Cost and labor efficiency concerns are dictating use of more versatile food service equipment in hotels.

hotel foodservice

The days of kitchens with unlimited space and unregulated equipment usage are over. Today’s hotel food service departments are surviving lodging’s tough times by evolving into leaner, meaner machines. They’re equipping their kitchens with labor-lean and space-saving items and learning to do more with less. They’re also looking for ways to save on what equipment they do purchase, consultants say.

The trend toward smaller kitchens reflects not only increased land costs but more multi-use equipment such as pressure cookers and cook and hold ovens. Harry Schildkraut, vice president with design consultant Cini-Little International, says the downsizing trend has been going on for the last decade. “In working with the major chains, we’ve found that they want to reduce the length of the cooking line as much as possible,” he says. “They find that they can do long menus with less equipment. The equipment is more versatile, and the staffs are better trained.”

microwavesLarry Hines, senior buyer for kitchen and laundry facilities with Carlson Hospitality Group’s procurement division, agrees that kitchens have been trimmed down. “Once, you would walk into a kitchen and find 25 feet of hot-top ranges,” he says. “Now, you find broilers, steamers, special microwaves and so on.”

Besides occupying less space, newer equipment allows more staffing flexibility. “When we do a design, we don’t just look to fill a space with stainless steel,” Schildkraut says. “When we design a coffee shop restaurant kitchen that has to do room service 24 hours a day, we want that kitchen to be able to be run by one or two people at 3:00 in the morning and still handle the lunchtime rush.”

Kitchen Appliance

Kitchen ApplianceAmong multiuse equipment, pressure cookers are a popular item, both for new installations and for renovations. (It actually is an application very important, you can find out on the internet about the characteristics, features, and benefits of a pressure cooker. To ensure your safety, I suggest you buy a best pressure cooker.) “Once chefs and cooks use them, they fall in love with them,” Schildkraut says. But not everyone is sold on the value of combining several functions in a single device. “I’m not a big fan of some of (this equipment),” says Les Jones, director of food facilities planning for FORMA, which designs Westin properties. “Some of it will do several functions quite well, but others not so well, and you have to be aware of that.” But he admits that smaller kitchens demand use of these units. “If we have the space, we’ll put in the (separate) piece.”

In busy kitchens, replacing several units with one might pose scheduling problems as well. “It forces the operator to schedule more efficiently,” says Carlson’s Hines.

Besides labor and space considerations, kitchen designs must address two other issues for lodging operators: waste disposal and energy use. FORMA’s Jones says he is planning a waste management room in every new kitchen layout in response to more community demands for reducing waste. Because community needs and capabilities differ, there is no standard setup for such a room. Trash compactors, pulpers and bailers are common furnishings, as are recycling bins. “The problem with waste management is not what we can provide, it’s what can be handled by the local community,” Jones says. “It doesn’t do us any good to put in a waste management program and separate everything if the trash collector hauls it to a landfill.”

Jones says that stricter waste management rules may necessitate renovating older food service facilities to help hotels comply. “It’s going to be difficult in some of the existing properties–there’s nowhere to put things,” he points out.

Building codes in some high-pollution areas, such as Southern California, are also dictating how air is exhausted from kitchens. Facilities with broilers need to install precipitators, a special, expensive exhaust system that removes smoke and odor.

Gas, electricity and water conservation efforts are influencing equipment choice and usage. New, more energy-efficient equipment is replacing existing units, and designers are looking for single-phase rather than multiple-phase units, says Clifford Schmidt, director of purchasing for Carlson’s procurement division.

“Water is becoming a big trend,” Schmidt adds. “Years ago, a dishwasher would run continuously; now if it isn’t filled with dishes it will shut off automatically.” A Radisson going up in the Canary Islands, where water is at an extreme premium, will probably use a recycling facility to ensure the property has enough water.

Despite reduced space and capital for food service facilities, lodging operators are still innovating.

Exhibition cooking continues to be popular, especially with woodburning equipment. Shildkraut designed a Hyatt Suites Hotel with a woodburning oven and grill that roast pizzas, chicken and other items. “Chefs like them because they can experiment,” he says. “But it does take a lot of training for a chef to work with a woodburning oven.” Heat distribution and temperature are the keys.

Foodservice

Hotel Food and Beverage Breakfast ServiceWoks are also showing up more in kitchens, reflecting both a bow to the influence of Asian cuisine as well as a desire for menu flexibility. Additional evidence of an Asian influence: Westin kitchens now include an area for preparing Japanese-style breakfasts. “It doesn’t require new equipment,” Jones says, “but we’re making sure we have the space and the station to do it.”

Pizza operations are popping up at more facilities as well. Operators weary of seeing pizzas delivered to guests have set up their own pizzerias with the help of companies like Perky’s Food Service Concepts.

The Omni Hotel at Atlanta’s CNN Center named its pizza facility, Mario’s Fresh Baked Pizza, after F&B Director Mario Gomez. Perky’s supplied a self-contained unit with a refrigerator, oven, dough press and condiment storage and trained Omni staffers to produce pizzas in about 5.8 minutes. “Any member of the room service or kitchen staff can make a pizza,” says Gomez. The entire operation occupies about 18 square feet.

Pizza profits dwarf other food service items: The hotel sells a 14-inch pizza for $9-$10, and ingredients run about $2.05-$2.25. Besides delivering to guests’ rooms, the hotel serves the entire CNN center, advertising through flyers. About 20 percent of the orders are from outside of the hotel.

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Best Slowpitch Softball Bats – Helpful Guide from Experts

Posted on August 24, 2015 By

Are you worried that you are lagging behind in top slowpitch softball bats 2016 because all your competitors can easily outdo you with no effort at all? Are you putting in hours of practice and yet you cannot seem to be able to match up to their game plan? Have you considered that all this may have nothing to do with your playing abilities and may be all about the kind of slowpitch softball bats that you are using? Yes, that’s right! Did you know that your bat has a lot to do with the quality of the game that you play?

Best Slowpitch Softball Bats & Reviews

Best Slowpitch Softball Bats & Reviews

Softball slowpitch bats must be chosen with great care and they must be such that they help you play better and perform better. In fact some extra bucks are worth slowpitch bats that will actually improve your game. The right bat can take you places without you having to put in those extra hours of hard work. It is high time that you opened your eyes to the fact that it is not about superior abilities or planning that keeps others ahead of you in the game, it is rather got everything to do with the bat that you choose! Easton Salvo Composite Balanced Bat is a featured bat recommended by SoftballExpert.net

Choosing the right bat does not mean simply walking into the b store of your choice, gazing through price tags, calculating discounts and settling for the color and price that you like the best! Before all that make sure you have made a quality check.

For certain things in life, tags and brands do matter, and your bat is one of those things! The best slowpitch softball bats are made using very modern and scientific technologies and they are the best choice simply because they help improve your own game’s techniques and do not take a toll on your efficiency like ordinary bats do! Click here to visit SoftballExpert.net for more details.

Best Slowpitch Softball Bats 2016

Easton: with its great technology the Easton CNT bats are a dream come true. The area where the ball hits is really flexible and the bats are stronger than anyone can even imagine thanks to the nano tube technology. These bats will last you long and you will surely get value for the money that you spend! The stealth bats made by them are very popular and are a sure shot winner any day!

Demarini: the fusion of carbon and aluminum give these bats both flexibility and power and ensures a great strike rate to you. The power that these bats have will blow away your opponents and you will know that the bat that you use is a hot favorite among both players as well as amateurs!

Worth: their nano frames are the secret behind the great speed and power that their bats have! If you want the latest from them try the ‘Jeff Hall Mayhem M7′ which is the best of its kind and has even better features than the other models under Worth! However, the number of these bats is limited and so you must hurry if you really want to get that perfection in your batting!

Miken: they have recently come out with their ‘Freak’ bats which will help you take long shots at the ball and you can easily score with your shots! With an ESD the bats have great technology on their side and can make sure that the ball goes further than you can even imagine! The handle ensures you are in total control of your shot by giving you a better grip.

One of these slowpitch softball bats can bring back the glory that you are losing out on because of your worn out and out of fashion bat! Don’t settle for the cheapest bat but settle for the best bat in the market that will bring to you the technology that you really need!

The defensive pitcher, on the other hand, is normally used in most slowpitch games. Here, it is required for a thrown ball to define a curve with the highest point slightly over the batter’s head.

Because of this condition, the pitcher is made to throw the ball in such a slower pace so as to define the said curve. That is why most batters achieve considerable scores in this kind of softball.

Consequently, softball is based on this concept of hitting the ball and pitching that the score can be identified. A score can only be achieved if a player makes one complete rotation in the four bases.

Accordingly, the batter is considered out or is no longer allowed to hit the ball when he or she had accumulated three strikes, was hit by the ball or by the glove that contains the ball, the fielder touched the base even before the batter gets close to it, and when the ball hit by the batter was caught by a fielder and had not yet touched the ground.

The conditions of the ball being pitched and hit and the position of the players in the field while playing softball are all being decided by umpires. They render their decisions through the use of hand signals.

Indeed, softball is a more modern way of playing baseball. But the reason why most players appreciate softball more than the baseball game is that softball is a game that requires a combination of constant force and power at the same time use of strong mind power coupled with skills and determination. It is certainly an art playing softball.

 

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Get the best electric scooter for your kids at an affordable price

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

One of the best feelings can be described when an adult driving the best electric scooter offered by Bill Electric Scooter. It really feels nice to be a kid again and roam from one spot to another without any worries. It is like setting you free and enjoying the life. In every way, it is pure fun.

Now, after reading all these points, if you want buy an electric scooter and want to save some money as well then there is one way that can help you save a substantial amount of money. It may take few weeks or even more to find the electric scooter at a low price but if you have patience, you will be able to get the e-scooter at a cheap price.electric scooter for adults

The initial two week time to find the reasonably priced electric scooter can help you explore the best option. You need to make sure that you search for electric scooters on all the available platforms. You can search through yellow pages, online shops and even look for the second-hand options.

How to search for the best electric scooter on the internet?

  • You need to dig through data and shortlist the best e-scooter models. To find about the different types of electric scooters on the internet, just type general search terms such as an electric motor scooter, e-scooter, electric scooter, gas powered scooter, etc.
  • The next step is to compare the price and features. It is quite obvious that you have to opt for a maximum number of features at a lesser price. If you are planning to buy a second hand e-scooter then make sure to check the actual condition of the scooter. Compare at least 10 websites so that you can get an actual idea about the price and features.

Try to maximize by using your negotiation skills

  • Have you considered negotiating on the price front? Yes, negotiation can help you get more discounts. It all depends on your negotiation skills and how good you are at convincing the sales person.
  • These days you need to opt for “mock buy” while doing shopping online. It is like adding the item to the online shopping cart so that you can check the actual price after discounts. Websites such as eBay and Amazon are considered as the best for buying the best electric scooter for kids.

The entire above said the process may consume few weeks, but it will help you to get an electric scooter at a cheap price. It is always good to wait with patience rather than spending huge chunks of money in the first go.

Is it is good to opt for second-hand electric scooters?

  • Yes, it makes perfect sense to buy a second-hand electric scooter. But again you need to have patience so that you can get the best deal. There are several sites which sell second-hand stuff at rock bottom price. Make sure to carefully check the scooter and for that it is good to visit the person who is selling the e-scooter. Check the condition such as a battery, body, and other features. See you can upgrade the scooter or can modify few things so that it can be used for a longer period of time.
  • There are many people who sell electric scooters that are in mint condition. There are many rich people out there who use their scooters for few weeks and then sell them so that they can go for a new model.
  • One of the best models of an electric scooter is Razor e200 electric scooter. If you can find this model while searching then, it would be great because Razor e300 model is equipped with multiple features and is quite durable as well.

Finally, it is your decision and it is always advised that you should consider the points mentioned above. It can help you strike an amazing deal.

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Camping in Kiwiland: tag along on an RV trip of a lifetime from one end of New Zealand’s North Island to the other (p1)

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings film adaptations, New Zealand is Middle-Earth, site of fantasy and mystery, where creatures like hobbits, trolls, wizards and dragons roam. In reality, this island nation is renowned for adrenaline-fueled adventure. That’s why we decided to fly a dozen hours to New Zealand’s North Island and explore this mystical place in a rented RV. Our goal: to cram in as many adventures and sensory highs as possible.

New Zealanders are crazy for RVing. The country has plenty of RV rentals and places to camp, and the gently winding roads are loaded with fellow travelers. However, roads tend to be narrow, so RVs are often small motorhomes. And since driving on the left can be a challenge to right-driving visitors, smaller rigs can be a good thing.

Flights from North America are long, so it’s wise to recover before renting a rig. We land in Auckland, the country’s largest city, and recoup at Auckland’s Pullman hotel, a luxury property within walking distance of the city’s shops, restaurants and marina district. We rest and enjoy restorative massages at the hotel’s spa. Then we jump into action.

After a delicious waterfront lunch, including sweet, rare Bluff oysters at the Foodstore, we join America’s Cup Sailing for a thrilling 90-minute sail. If you’ve ever dreamed of jumping aboard a lightning-fast sailing yacht, this is your chance. We motor out of Viaduct Harbor and pair up around grinders–metal cranks to raise and lower the sails. On the captain’s order, we forward crank, then back crank, putting our muscles into it as the big sails catch the wind. Soon we’re heeled over 45 degrees, hanging on for dear life and shooting across the bay at 9-plus knots. When the captain offers me the helm, I eagerly grasp the big wheel and feel the power of the waves and wind, as I steer the 83-foot yacht through swirling waters.

The next morning, we meet Maori guide Trace on Mount Eden, or Maungawhau, a dormant 643-foot volcano and the highest natural point in Auckland. From its summit, we enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the skyline and coastal waters, including 50-plus volcanic cones around the city.

Polynesians who sailed here from Asia and islands in the Pacific, the Maori used Mount Eden as a fortified village. We amble down dirt and paved tracks, while Trace points out old homesites and food-storage areas of these early settlers.

We meander through the city, stopping at Auckland Domain, a garden with two large glass conservatories housing plants from all over the world and the Fernery, a coot, shady garden with native vegetation, including tea trees, delicate bamboo orchids and five ferns native to New Zealand. It’s staggering to think the country was once covered in this dense jungle.

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

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Outings for insiders: a virtual outdoors (p2)

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

Outings for insiders: a virtual outdoors (p1)

Somehow I don’t think my idea will sell. I don’t think everyone wants to be an environmentalist. Being part of the environment is hard work, at least for humans. Berry bushes and finches can get along without much thinking and planning, but we upright hominids, thanks to our taking over the planet, now have a duty to look out for every life form, including our own. It’s a duty many of us would just as soon ignore. It is, by the way, easier to ignore this duty by staying indoors. That way you don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on outdoors.

But if you do go outdoors, then you must deal with what you and your fellow man, intentionally or unintentionally, are doing to the air, water, food supplies and, generally, the environment we all share. You have to deal with whether or not to pave over, dam up, cut down, blow up or otherwise modify what little is left of the natural world that we’ve all agreed to call the environment.

It might save us all a lot of trouble if Steven Spielberg and Bill Gates got together and bailed us out of this predicament. Surely these two guys can create a whole new environment for us in cyberspace. With their help, creativity and leadership, we can regrow old-growth forests in a nanosecond, hatch enough spotted owls to open a general hunting season on them, purify mountain streams, scrub the air to its original, crystalline condition and fill the skies again with great flocks of passenger pigeons. With a game called “Salmon” and a joystick, we could jump chrome-bright king salmon over the hydroelectric dams that currently block the few remaining endangered runs of real salmon from their soon-to-be legendary annual migrations up the Columbia River system. We could catch them, too, by the bucketful–even by the truckload.

This is the kind of Great Outdoors Americans need. A land of unlimited plenty. A land without controversy. A land with no hard work to protect what’s left, and no harm done by drilling, filling, logging, paving, mining, damming, avarice or unmitigated greed. The great thing about a healthy and robust cyberspace environment is that it requires no deliberate planning, no conservation ethic, no compromises, no teamwork and no personal sacrifice to protect it. Just a double click of the mouse and everything is bright and beautiful. Endangered Species Act? We don’t need the nuisance of an Endangered Species Act.

I can’t wait for the cyberspace version of outdoors to get here. The sooner the digital environment comes online the better. Mind you, I’m not going there myself. I still like the old-fashioned out-of-doors, the kind where you can smell pine needles and campfire smoke. But I’m delighted for those who’ve given up on this environment and can’t wait to get on to the next one. In fact, I’ll pack them a lunch.

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Outings for insiders: a virtual outdoors (p1)

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg should create a perfect virtual outdoors so that society would not have to keep worrying about preserving the natural world. A unique definition of an environmentalist is presented.

virtual camping

IT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE THESE DAYS TO GO BERRY-PICKING or fishing or hiking or wood-cutting or biking or skiing or boating or camping or even walking in the park and not, somehow, go out-of-doors. Unless I’m much mistaken, when you are out-of-doors, as opposed to indoors, you’re in what people have come to call the “environment.”

Once you are outside, doesn’t this make you an environmentalist? True, you can have a home or office environment indoors, but the environment that’s creating all the hard feelings and political debate is the one out of doors. And that debate is beginning to drive me crazy.

When I was a kid, my fourth-grade teacher described the environment as made up of air and water and trees. If you wanted to see the environment, all you had to do was look out the window. To be in the environment, you just walked through a door to the outside and, bingo, like Dorothy clicking her heels to return to Kansas, you could be right in middle of nature’s big, beautiful environment before the door slammed shut behind you.

For the longest time I thought that except for people cooped up in their homes for health reasons, or locked down in death row, or workaholics who never left their offices, everyone was automatically an environmentalist. New Yorkers who never drove out to the country were environmentalists once they stepped outside, even if it was in downtown Manhattan.

The so-called Great Outdoors is part of the same environment as the out-of-doors–only wilder. Even if you never go into the Great Outdoors, or out-of-doors, you still have to have food to eat (generally grown outdoors), water to drink (generally piped in from the outdoors) and air to breathe (generally whooshed in with fans from the outdoors). Except in the case of space-shuttle travelers, it is very hard to escape the environment, and even then you take some of it with you.

So I’ve been asking myself recently, Who is not part of the environment, and therefore not an environmentalist? My answer: no one. Period.

This definition would include Newt Gingrich. And former secretary of the interior James Watt. It would include the president of Exxon, logging barons, mining executives and every member of the Izaak Walton League. To be an environmentalist you wouldn’t have to hug trees, volunteer to clean rivers for Trout Unlimited, join the Sierra Club, count migrating finches for the Audubon Society or do anything at all except eat, breathe, drink and go outside once in a while. Even the people trapped like rats in their concrete boxes inside the Beltway would, once they stepped outside, become environmentalists.

This characterization would clear up a lot of confusion, especially since it would give people with such dramatically differing views like Washington Sen. Slade Gorton, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Idaho Rep. Helen Chenoweth equal standing–at least when they step outside. With my definition of an environmentalist, politics don’t matter. Don’t want to be an environmentalist? Stay inside. Want to protest against the environment? Stop breathing.

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Eating well in the wild: it’s not as difficult as you think to eat well on a camping trip (p1)

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

Beside preparing a very best family tent and camping gear, car campers and backpackers should bring plenty of staples such as beans, grains and spices along to make healthy, delicious meals. Practical tips on how to prepare food and equipment for a camping trip are presented along with several recipes such as apricot couscous and sweet pan-fried apples.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My husband and I braved the wilds of the Southwest in the heat of the summer a few years back. We took to the road with our truck and our Coleman Red Canyon tent — no cookbooks, no oven and no restaurants to turn to when the going got tough. It’s a bit more of a challenge to eat well when you’re camping or backpacking, but not nearly as difficult as you might think.

Pack staples, such as grains, beans, spices and salt, in sealable plastic containers and plastic bags. Put liquid ingredients, such as soy sauce and oil, in recycled glass bottles if you’re car camping or in plastic squeeze bottles if you’re toting your supplies on your back. Label everything to avoid confusion. Store food where it is easily accessible with the most often used ingredients near the top. Luckily there is always clean storage(s) within best camping tents and ours is one of them.

Bring along a few basic instructions: cooking times for different grains or beans and ratios of water to dry ingredients. It’s easier to refer to a few notes until you can commit them to memory than it is to wing it when you’re starving.

camping-gear

Pack the essentials: a cooler, camping stove, a medium-sized saucepan and a large skillet, a few wooden spoons, a good knife and a cutting board. If you can fit it into the car, a pressure cooker opens up a world of opportunities, such as grains and beans that can later be turned into soups or cold salads.

Remember that water is not always readily available. If you’re car camping, bring along an extra water jug to get you through to the next time you find a tap. Backpackers especially will need to bring foods that require limited water.

Bring lots of stove fuel. It can be difficult to find the particular type you may need in some areas so it’s wise to stock up when your sporting goods store has its next sale.

Be ready for setbacks. Almost every afternoon, just as we set to cooking dinner, a powerful thunderstorm and gorgeous light show would begin — and then we’d get deluged with intense rainstorms. Have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. My husband was my backup; he was willing to brave the rain if it meant his belly would be filled. Leftovers can make another backup if you don’t have a single-minded camping buddy.

Continue with part 2…

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Camping in Kiwiland: tag along on an RV trip of a lifetime from one end of New Zealand’s North Island to the other (p6)

Posted on August 12, 2015 By

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

Next we head to Hawke’s Bay, a two-and-a-half hour drive through golden hills ribbed with conifers. We’re more comfortable driving on the left and navigating roundabouts now, and we make good time. We arrive in Napier and check into our grassy, shady site at Kennedy Park Resort. Soon after, Gareth Kelly, owner of Odyssey New Zealand winery tours, picks us up in his black Hummer for a progressive dinner with wine tastings at several area wineries. It’s an enjoyable evening, and we return to our home on wheels and tumble, tired and contented, into bed.

HAWKE’S BAY TO WELLINGTON

The seaside town of Napier on Hawke’s Bay is known as Art Deco City. In 1931, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake reduced the city to rubble. It also raised 2,000 acres out of the sea, “gifting” the town much-needed flat, buildable land. They rebuilt in Art Deco style, and today the town celebrates with events like the Art Deco Festival that draws thousands.

We meet Tony and his 1949 Packard for a driving-and-walking tour of Napier’s Art Deco past and present.

He tells us about the town’s history, teaches us about Art Deco and the architects who shaped the town, and shows us several impressive buildings, including the theater and the National Tobacco Company with its bronze doors and jade green tiles.

Hawke’s Bay is wine country, and we’re scheduled for a winery bicycle tour. However, rain and wind convince us otherwise, and instead, we stop at the Silky Oak Chocolate Shop and Museum, and load up on creamy sweets for us and friends back home.

Lunch is at Elephant Hill winery, an impressive modernist space surrounded by grapevines on a hill overlooking the sea. We enjoy a salad of buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes, a puff-pastry tart and coconut-poached John Dory, a local white fish.

In the afternoon, we pile into a Land Cruiser with Jo, a local artist and driver for Gannet Safaris Overland tours. We pass through a locked gate and then bounce along a dirt track to a green expanse of hills and sheer cliffs known as Cape Kidnappers. At 7,000 acres, the Cape Sanctuary is the country’s largest private wildlife restoration project, and Jo points out harrier hawks and shell ducks, along with native trees and bushes, including the famous manuka honey bush. But it’s the gannets we’ve come to see–large black and white seabirds with yellow heads, long bills and 6-foot wingspans–that dive for fish at 100 miles per hour.

We motor up a steep hill, and at the top, thousands of gannets mill about. Perched 600 feet above the ocean, this barren rock is the perfect gannet breeding ground. The birds are unperturbed by our presence, and we snap photos to capture this magical moment.

After a restful night at Kennedy Park, we head for Wellington, our last stop on our New Zealand adventure. It’s a four-and-a-half hour drive under a brilliant blue sky through lush green hills on a good two-lane road. Along the way we’re entertained by a series of distinctly Kiwi road signs like “Merge Like a Zip” and “Plan Your Corners.”

We catch our first glimpse of Wellington Harbor and the city. Nestled between forested hills and the water, the nation’s capital is a walkable cosmopolis of about 200,000. It’s not especially RV-friendly, so we leave the rig at the city’s only “RV park,” Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park, a paved lot with portable toilets and showers next to the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry terminal.

We cab over to the i-Site visitor center, and eight of us cram into a 4×4 driven by Billy, an affable Kiwi with Seal Coast Safari. We drive up steep green hills on the edge of town and through a private gate into the Te Kopahou Reserve, climbing up and up with magnificent views of the sea. It begins to rain, Billy shifts into four-wheel drive, and we motor down onto a rocky beach. We bump and roll over big boulders and rocky sand, and ford beach streams. A half hour later, the rain has stopped, and we’re on an isolated beach with dozens of seals, some weighing more than 400 pounds. They lounge on the rocky shore and swim in the tumbling waves, as we eagerly take photos.

Back at the RV, rain and wind from a passing cyclone howl all night, but by morning the sky is blue. Wellington is a foodie town, and we meet Zest Food Tours for a walking-and-eating exploration of the city. Our first stop is Mojo, a local coffee roaster, where we sip the Kiwi favorite, a “flat white” espresso with steamed milk. Then it’s onto Gelissimo, where they use locally sourced ingredients to make gelato and sorbet in unusual flavors like ginger beer and blood orange. Next, it’s Wellington Chocolate Factory, where they make chocolate from cacao beans from all over the world, and Moore Wilson’s Fresh, an urban market that specializes in everything Kiwi, from grass-fed meats and locally made cheeses to pasta and produce. We end our delicious tour with tea and sweets at Floriditas Cafe, a local restaurant and bakery.

In the afternoon, we catch a shuttle to Zealandia, a bird and wildlife sanctuary in the hills above the city. A fully fenced urban eco-sanctuary, Zealandia creates a safe haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native birds, reptiles and insects, and is just 10 minutes from central Wellington. Set in verdant Sanctuary Valley, with a lake and steep mountains covered in lush native bush, the 630-acre park features a paved, handicap-accessible walkway. We step off the path frequently to read educational signs and enjoy bird sounds around shady feeders, including the kaka (forest parrots), the endangered hihi (stitchbird), tieke (saddleback) and kakariki (parakeet). While it’s difficult to see birds through the thick brush, we enjoy the hike. On our way back to the information center, we’re treated to a rare sighting of two critically threatened takahe (birds about the size of turkeys), and they pose for photos.

The next morning is our last in New Zealand, and, after stopping at Mojo’s Coffee, we walk to Te Papa (treasure box), New Zealand’s national museum. We meet Tina, a Maori guide, for a tour of some of the museum’s 110,000 Maori items. Tina shows us a number of historic artifacts, explaining their cultural importance, and shows us the work of modern Maori artists, including some beautiful glass panels. There’s also an elaborate Maori meeting room with modern carvings, a fascinating example of traditional craft reinterpreted by today’s Maori.

We end our tour in the museum cafe with traditionally inspired Maori refreshments: kawakawa tea (bush herb) with manuka honey, rewena (potato bread) with fern-frond pesto, green-lipped mussel and seaweed salad, and sweet potato chips with horopito (native bush pepper) mayonnaise. Since Maori culture is such a big part of New Zealand, and we began this adventure with a Maori tour, this taste of Maori makes a perfect–and appetizing–end to our high-flying journey.

TREASURE ISLAND

The author’s harbor-to-harbor RV route from Auckland to Wellington spans most of North Island, one of two main islands in New Zealand.

KEEP TO THE LEFT

To get behind the wheel of a rented RV in New Zealand, all you need is a current driver’s license from your home country. Remember to drive on the left and measure your speed in kilometers per hour. Also be advised that New Zealand does not allow left turns when the traffic signal is red.

KIWI CAMPGROUNDS

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation manages more than 250 public camping areas. North Island also has its share of commercially operated campgrounds, including the following four along the author’s driving route:

NAPIER Kennedy Park Resort, www.kennedypark.co.nz

ROTORUA Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park, www.bluelaketop10.co.nz

TAUPO Taupo DeBretts Thermal Resort, www.taupodebretts.co.nz

WELLINGTON Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park, www.wwmp.co.nz

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Kea Campers New Zealand

nzrentals.keacampers.com

New Zealand Department of Conservation

www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation

New Zealand Tourism

www.newzealand.com/us

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

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Camping in Kiwiland: tag along on an RV trip of a lifetime from one end of New Zealand’s North Island to the other (p5)

Posted on August 11, 2015 By

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

The next morning, we’re back on the adrenaline trail with a half-day white-water raft trip with Tongariro River Rafting. The Tongariro River is renowned for trout fishing, but it’s also famous for 64 thrilling Class III rapids. Dressed head-to-toe in neoprene, we join two women from Australia and our guide, Ryan, and board the six-person raft. I’ve rafted in large boats with lots of people paddling. Today, it’s just the four of us and our guide against a river known to dump rafters into its chilly depths.

Accessible only by raft, the Tongariro River cuts through native New Zealand beech forests and towering limestone and volcanic cliffs. This ribbon of water presents itself as deep pools and long runs of shallow, crystal-clear water; at other times it’s a maze of boulders the size of cars and boisterous rapids that have us clambering to stay in the raft.

When we approach rapids, we listen intently for Ryan’s commands: “Paddle right. Paddle left. Back-paddle. Hang on.”

I’ve got “hang on” down. Each time we climb a roller-coaster rapid, my foot jams under the seat in front of me and I tightly grip the wet rope to stay safely onboard. By the time we reach the calm waters at the takeout two-and-a-half hours later, we’re happy, tired and feeling like we’re sisters with our raft mates.

LAKE TAUPO TO HAWKE’S BAY

Back in Taupo, we take a break in the RV, and I hit the park’s hot mineral springs to work out the paddling kinks. And by early evening, we’re raring to go again, joining Sail Barbary for their Maori Rock Carvings Cruise.

Captain Sarah eases us out of the marina, but without a breath of wind, there’s no reason to hoist the sails. Instead, we motor along, and Sarah offers drinks and tells us about this massive lake. “We’re actually sailing on the second largest volcano in history,” she says. “The lake is in a collapsed caldera of a volcano that was so big it darkened skies in China.”

The super-volcano that created Lake Taupo is quiet but not dead. It erupts every 1,000 years or so. “If Lake Taupo’s volcano wakes up,” Sarah deadpans, “no one on North Island is going to have enough baked beans in their cupboards.”

The breezes are warm, as the sun slants over volcanic peaks surrounding the lake. This body of water is so large and deep, it has its own horizon and creates its own weather patterns. The lake’s average depth is 325 feet, and 610 feet at its deepest.

We round a thumb of land on the lake’s west side and come to massive Maori rock carvings staring out at us from a flat-faced cliff. The largest, more than 30 feet high, is of Ngatoro-i-rangi, the navigator who guided the Maori people to Taupo more than a thousand years ago. As we look closely, more carvings in the surrounding rocks emerge–a fish, a giant lizard, a reclining woman and more. Accessible only by boat, the carvings were created in the 1970s by master Maori carvers and have become an important cultural and tourist attraction.

I’m enchanted by Lake Taupo and love being on its deep blue water. So the next morning, we join Captain Simon and First Mate Millie from Chris Jolly Outdoors for a fishing excursion aboard the Waikare II, a 57-foot steel-hulled gunship built during the Vietnam War. Today, it offers visitors catered trips to fish for huge brown and rainbow trout in Lake Taupo.

Trout aren’t native to New Zealand, but with the lake’s cold, clean water and abundant food sources, they’ve thrived, and many grow A to 5 pounds or larger. Simon and Millie rig up our gear, and soon we’re trolling. It’s not long before my friend reels one in. It’s a rainbow but doesn’t meet the nearly 16-inch [A0 centimeter] minimum size, so we carefully let it go. Then I pull in a beauty –at least A pounds and well over the required length.

Within an hour, we’ve caught 11 fish, and we keep three big ones (the limit is three each). Captain Simon fillets our catch and thinly slices us some trout sashimi. It’s mild and tender with a clean fresh flavor, and served with a ginger-soy sauce. Millie delivers a gourmet lunch–bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese, salads, ciabatta rolls and tiny lemon tarts for dessert.

Back at the dock, we give Captain Simon one of our fish and head back to the RV with a huge amount of fresh trout we happily dine on for days.

Kiwiland Camp: Part {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

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Eating well in the wild: it’s not as difficult as you think to eat well on a camping trip (p3)

Posted on August 11, 2015 By

Return to part 2

Apricot Couscous

Apricot Couscous

Couscous is the perfect camping food. Made from tiny grains of semolina wheat pasta, it requires nothing more than being reconstituted with boiling water or fruit juice. In this recipe, a bit of dried fruit enlivens this simple, grain and the scallions add punch. Backpackers might want to substitute dried chives for the scallions, which need refrigeration.

2 1/2 cups water, orange juice or apple
juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 packet vegetable stock powder or
2 tsp. vegetarian "chicken"
stock powder (optional [see
glossary, p. 110])
2 cups uncooked couscous
2 scallions, thinly sliced or 1/2 Tbs.
dried chives
8 dried apricots, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring water, orange or apple juice and salt to a boil in saucepan. Stir in vegetable stock powder if using. Add couscous, scallions or chives and apricots; return to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fluff with fork to separate grains. Makes 4 servings. PER SERVING: 372 CAL.; 12G PROT.; 0 TOTAL FAT (0 SAT. FAT); 78G CARB.; 0 CHOL.; 302MG SOD.; 6G FIBER. VEGAN

Hot Buttermilk Cereal

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made before you ever leave the house. Combine the dry ingredients, then place them in a plastic bag. When you’re in the woods, it’s pretty much heat and eat.

4 Tbs. dried buttermilk powder (see
note)
1/2 cup uncooked hot breakfast
cereal, al, such as Malt-O-Meal or
Wheatena
2 graham crackers, finely crushed
2 Tbs. cold cereal nuggets, such as
Grape Nuts
3 1/4. cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine buttermilk, cereal, graham crackers and cereal nuggets in plastic bag; seal and store until ready to use,

At campsite, bring water and salt to a rapid boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer. Gradually whisk in combined dry ingredients. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 minute. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Dried buttermilk powder is available in natural food stores, some large supermarkets or by mail order. Instant dried milk powder can be substituted, but the cooked cereal will not be as thick or have a tangy, buttermilk flavor. PER SERVING: 175 CAL.; 8G PROT.; 2G TOTAL FAT(1G SAT. FAT); 31G CARB.; 10MG CHOL.; 747 MG SOD.; 2G FIBER. LACTO

Sweet Pan-Fried Apples

Clarified butter, also known as ghee, is a wonderful food for the journey. it has a nutty, rich flavor, needs no refrigeration and can be heated to relatively high temperatures without burning.

1 tsp. clarified butter or ghee (see
note)
2 tart apples (such as Granny
Smith), cored, peeled and thinly
sliced
Pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
Melt clarified butter in skillet over medium heat. Add apples and salt; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drizzle syrup over apples and continue to cook 1 minute, covered. Remove cover and cook 2 minutes or until apples are lightly browned but still keeping their shape. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Ghee can be purchased in Indian specialty stores or made at home by slowly melting unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed pan until the whitish milk solids separate and sink to the bottom, leaving a golden liquid floating on top. Simmer the separated butter until the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown. This gives the ghee a nutty, caramel-like flavor and aroma. Pour off the golden liquid into a clean, dry glass jar and discard the milk solids. Keep refrigerated. PER SERVING: 103 CAL.; 0 PROT.; 2G TOTAL FAT (1G SAT. FAT); 22G CARB.; 5MG CHOL.; 21MG SOD.; 2G FIBER. LACTO

Hearty Asian Stew

This recipe culls its great taste from a host of prepared foods. Fresh ginger packs easily and is ideal for sparking up simple foods. The seasoning mix that comes with the noodles is often made with salt and meat stock so I chose to omit it from the recipe and season the stew instead with a splash of tamari and fresh ginger.

3 cups water
1/2 Tbs. tamari (see glossary, p. 110) or soy
sauce
3/4.-oz. packet spring vegetable.soup
mix
1/2 8-oz. pkg. (2 pieces) Asian-style
teriyaki baked tofu, diced
3-oz. pkg. ramen instant noodles
1/2 cup snow pea pods, halved
3/4 tsp. grated fresh gingerroot
Combine water, tamari or soy sauce, soup mix and tofu in saucepan. Bring to a boil; add noodles. Reduce heat, cover and cook until noodles are al dente, about 7 minutes.

Add pea pods and gingerroot; cook 1 minute. Makes 4 servings. PER 1-CUP SERVING: 74 CAL.; 6G PROT.; 3G TOTAL FAT (0 SAT. FAT); 8G CARB.; 0 CHOL.; 339MG SOD.; 2G FIBER. VEGAN

Cinnamon-Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancake

Eat these plain as they come off the griddle or stack several on a plate and drizzle them with maple syrup to assuage those early morning hunger pangs. Toss a baby food jar of applesauce into your camping gear; light and compact, it will get you through two batches of pancakes. The key to this recipe is high heat, a watchful eye and quick reflexes.

1 cup pancake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 medium banana, mashed
1 1/2 Tbs. applesauce
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Heat skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine pancake mix, water, cinnamon, bananas and applesauce.

Add oil to skillet. Drop pancakes in skillet by large spoonfuls. Turn when bubbles form on the top; let underside cook until golden brown, then remove to serving platter. Makes 10 (3-inch) pancakes, PER PANCAKE: 56 CAL.; 1G PROT.; 1G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. PAT); 11G CARB.; 0 CHOL.; 147MG SOD.; 1G FIBER. VEGAN

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