Cheese Please! Adventures for the Lactose Tolerant

Cheese Festival in PetalumaI am so thankful I am not lactose intolerant. I enjoy cheese so much. Even I can have too much of a good thing. This is what I discovered at California’s Artisan Cheese Festival in March at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma.

The Rind restaurantThe first 10 booths were great. I enthusiastically bought cheese I liked and tasted all they had to offer. Then I hit a cheese wall–smooth, slightly creamy with a pungent smell. No one was hurt but I had to slow my tasting and drink more water and eat more bread.

Cheese is so rich that a little can go a long way. I remember this every time I dine at The Rind, a restaurant and bar featuring cheese and charcuterie. I have enjoyed several meals or drinks and a cheese board with friends. It is is tough place to find a seat past 6:30 p.m. And if you do enjoy your evening and leave late at night–please speak softly. I live just 2 floors up and I can hear your conversation.

Easy Cheese

A few months ago my dog Lulu experienced a traumatic event that has made her afraid to go on walks near our apartment. As part of her recovery I met with the behavioral team at UC Davis Veterinary Clinic and they taught me a number of dog training techniques. I learned Lulu is highly motivated by cheese in a can. (Eww, I know, but dogs love it.)

Whichever way you slice it, cheese please!

Dining New Zealand Style

This lamb burger with bacon and avocado inspired much photography.

This lamb burger with bacon and avocado inspired much photography.

There is a lot to love about dining in New Zealand. Fresh, local food is easy to find. Gluten free is catered to, although the regular breads are phenomenal so I am happy I am not sensitive to gluten. The eggs are all free range and some of the yolks are so yellow as to be neon orange from a diet of greens. The dairy products are among the best in the world. (I ran the gauntlet of US customs to bring home Edam cheese.) The beef and lamb are yummy because they are grass-fed. The wine, the bacon, the honey… obviously I could go on and on.

This lamb dish was delicious and beautiful.

This lamb dish was delicious and beautiful.

The food in New Zealand is not cheap. Even when you factor in the exchange rate (lowers price to Americans and Brits), and tax is included in your bill, and tipping is not customary, food is more expensive than in the United States. There are no 99 cent deals on any menus. Step out of the mindset of quantity over quality, “value” equals mass, and embrace the idea of high quality, tasty food served in just enough quantities.

Cafe Kohi on Tamaki Drive on a summer day.

Cafe Kohi on Tamaki Drive on a summer day.

Then enjoy dining outdoors whenever possible. And treat yourself to dessert.

The coffee is also an art form. Is it the milk that makes the flat white so special? Or the coffee? I could write a whole post just on coffee, however a young American living in Auckland has done such a good job I am going to refer you to Sedona Wilson’s blog post. Good on you Sedona for capturing the magic of a coffee in New Zealand.

P.S. Hokey Pokey is a Kiwi specialty and means it contains honeycomb.

Chocolate and Hokey Pokey ice cream tastes great at top of gondola in Queenstown

Chocolate and Hokey Pokey ice cream tastes great at top of gondola in Queenstown