Saturday, 14 November 2009

Cruising to Peppermint Bay, then finishing off the day at RVL

Big day for Rita yesterday which started with a pesky work function – a full day catamaran cruise to Peppermint Bay and back, then a dinner trip to RVL as a birthday treat for youngest Rita offspring. I can feel the sympathy for Rita’s life now!

The Peppermint Bay trip was impressive. I came away feeling so proud that tourists to our fair city who fork out the dollars to take this trip get superb value for money, plus some. The fact that it was a perfect day yesterday went some way towards making it so brilliant but that didn’t take away from the overall experience.

You needed to check in at 11.00, prior to an 11.30 departure. I believe the cost was, for our group booking, $78 per person. Checking out their website, it says it’s $108 per seat, for the Lounge area where we were seated. This included the bento box style lunch provided by Peppermint Bay and collected from there around lunch time, to be eaten onboard while we cruised the Channel some more.

Continual commentary was provided by a few staff but was mainly courtesy of Rob – a hugely entertaining and intelligent young guy with an instinct for the art of performance! Rob has obviously researched the history, zoology, ornithology, geology and geography of the Huon and Channel area thoroughly, as well as a good bit of the social history of Hobart too – which made the information he imparted extremely riveting even for us hardened locals.

The cruise encompasses a brisk trip down the Derwent with intermittent slower stages of the journey as we passed places of note. We stopped awhile round the Tinderbox area, close to shore, while crew lowered a camera into the water so we could see what was beneath the surface and on the seabed without having to go to the effort of learning to dive, then actually getting into that freezing water! It was truly amazing.

The bento box, for what they try to achieve, is all you would expect under the circumstances. It contained a bit of everything, was tasty, and fulfilled lunch expectations. I can think of no other way it could be done for the numbers they cater to, in such a confined area as the boat, so have absolutely no problem with it, though I suspect others might complain. It contained various salads, cold meats, smoked salmon, cheese, pate, oyster, PB’s own ciabatta and a gorgeous little dessert which many in my party left, so which I volunteered to polish off for them = bonus!!

We stopped for a break mid-afternoon at Woodbridge, were let off at PB and allowed to wander round the village, or to sit and relax in the bar at PB if that was what your heart desired. For Rita, it was an ideal chance to catch up with Paul Foreman and see how he's travelling in his relatively new work environment at PB. He is, in fact, going well. He had a new menu starting yesterday so was slightly under the pump, but commented I had caught him at a good time, so I didn't feel too bad about taking him away from the kitchen for an hour or so.

He is excited about everything coming up for PB, including the new gallery and accomodation which should all be happening within the next few years. He showed me the new menu on which I saw many items I wanted to try, so will give it a while then get down there to eat.

Dinner at RVL was breathtakingly stunning. I think Steve excelled himself last night, and Miss Bec declared it the best meal she had ever eaten – a big call from her, given her family background and interest and passion for food! Outstanding for me was the scallops entrée, and my duck main. I didn’t get to taste Bec’s hapuka main as it was too fiercely guarded, and to be quite honest, the tastes I had in my mouth from my own duck were so exquisite that I didn’t want to dissipate them, so didn’t push the issue!

The dessert was a Jaffa choc mousse which we shared, and which was perfection plus, with Miss demanding that she be allowed the social no-no of licking her plate clean! I sampled a mouthful, and empathized with her desire to lick the plate.

It was intriguing to meet the fabled Ed Charles of Tomato blog fame (who looked nothing like his blog pic) and great to re-meet Maggie after last weeks food bloggers lunch at Victor’s. Steve attempted to accuse me of possessing a groupie fixation on Ed but I wasn’t having a bar of that! Face it Steve – the food is what it’s all about – as I’m sure Ed will agree!

Posted on by Rita


ut si said...

Happy b'day to Bec. x

Anonymous said...

What a blissful day! Sure beats waiting for a shed to go up - and it didn't!

Ed Charles said...

It is about the food. A groupie fixation? That's why I visited the cumperstuffer.

Anonymous said...

Sounds as though Steve & The Red Velvet team are all trying very hard with so much postive feedback on this & other blogs, might be time to give it a try.