Damned, Hell Pizza is Still Favorite Pizza

I’m from New York. I should know a thing or two about pizza. Then again, in NY pizza is a thin white crust, doughy around the outside, a bit of tomato sauce, and as much cheese as you can physically fit on top of it, so much that if you’re not careful the hot cheese will dribble down to your shoes. That’s why we fold it in half to eat it, not to mention the fact that the slice is huge, and sometimes covered in pepperoni.

Carefully crafted Chicago style pizza is a delicacy for me. Gino’s East in downtown Chicago makes a fantastic pizza. It takes an hour to prepare, and the crust is crisp and flakey around the edges, and has a full flavor, a bit like a pastry. The dough is thick, which is why the long baking time, and the cheese and toppings are melted together throughout the top of the pie, almost like a bread-based quiche.

California style pizza makes use of the state’s abundance of fruits and vegetables. The pizza has a very thin crust, and the focus is on the toppings. Tomato sauce isn’t necessarily the base. It could be BBQ sauce, a white alfredo sauce, or any kind of creamy sauce that will hold the toppings together. Like Westernized sushi rolls, the creativity is in mixing different ingredients to create a unique taste. Of course there are the classics; the margarita, the hawaiian, meat- and veggie-lovers, but there are also tasty combinations involving seaweed, Thai chicken, or anything else you can throw on there!

Hell’s Pizza in New Zealand is similar to the California style, mixing up combinations of at least 5-6 ingredients per pizza. The Damned is my favorite selection, with fresh avocado, pineapple, mushrooms, big chunks of cashews, toasty camembert cheese, and I generally substitute the onions for crushed garlic. The seafood pizza, The Underworld, with mussels, calamari and prawns is another favorite of mine. I haven’t been disappointed with any of the pizzas I’ve gotten at the Queenstown location. They use a wholemeal crust, baked to a crispy perfection and the ingredients are fresh and tasty.

Unfortunately I didn’t have as good of an experience at the Auckland Quay St location. The pizza itself was barely edible, highly greasy and the ingredients had no flavor whatsoever. Apparently the quality of the pizza varies widely amongst Hell’s locations all over New Zealand. If you’re in Queenstown, I highly recommend trying a snack sized pizza; $10 for 6 small slices is the perfect size for lunch, a late night snack, or a light eater. They also have a tasty selection of sides, like kumara chips – yum!

Hell PIzza in Queenstown is located next to Joe’s Garage, in the same laneway as Cowboy Bar and Barmuda, and just around the corner from Night ‘N Day.

Survey of Indian Food in Queenstown

Today I cheated on my favorite restaurant and went to try out Freiya’s Indian Restaurant on Camp St. They do a $10 curry and rice lunch deal and I decided to check it out today. I returned to town from swimming just around 2:10pm, went across the street, and popped inside, lucky I made it before their 2:30pm closing time.

I wanted to order a vegetarian dish and scanned the menu for something unique. The Navrattan Korma and Malai Kofta caught my attention Continue reading

Retro Day at Alpine Health and Fitness

Today is Retro Day at Alpine Health and Fitness, inside of the Queenstown Events Centre in Frankton. The gym featured free entry to all facilities and a range of fitness classes from spin class at 9pm to retro aerobics, stretching and Zumba at 1pm. Free passes were awarded for best-dressed.

I made it to the gym after the fitness classes had ended, so I didn’t see many retro outfits unfortunately! I normally swim laps every day and spend time in their hot pool and today I decided to check out the gym. The facilities are clean and spacious and they have a variety of equipment. Continue reading

Return from Dunedin


Reason #87 why I love New Zealand:
Racing along the country roads towards Queenstown at 2am listening to dub step in a car with four new couch surfing friends and a small dog.

Just minutes after midnight I stepped out into the Dunedin night air, walked down the hill and stood on the corner of South Rd. A moment later a car sped around the corner, headlights headed straight for me, and stopped just before where I was standing. Alex opened the boot and I squished my backpack in. Off we went into the night.
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Trip to Dunedin, a Journal Entry

Sunday morning I packed up my backpack as an overnight bag and walked across town to the bus stop just up the hill from Speight’s Ale House on Frankton Rd. I tried hitching a ride, but to no avail. Cars came into sight up the hill and sped away around the corner, despite¬†ample space to pull over. I walked up the road just past Dublin St where people are more likely to be driving all the way out to Frankton, stuck my thumb out a few times, and got a ride rather quickly.

The gentleman who dropped me off across the street from the Aquatic Centre suggested I skip the swim and try to catch the after-lunch crowd since it was almost 1pm. Fairly confident there would be plenty of people heading back to Dunedin on a Sunday afternoon, I thanked him, and headed in for my swim. No matter how loose my joints and muscles feel in the morning I always feel better after swimming. Between stretching out and spending time in the hot pool it soothes my whole body and everything feels right again.

I left the building around 2pm, and stood out on the main road just past the Frankton roundabout. There was someone selling honey on the side of the road and I figured the kind of tourist that would stop for roadside honey might also pick up a traveler so I was happy for the distraction on the side of the road. After a short while a man in a ute (that’s a pickup truck for folks back home) offered to drive me to Crown Range. I politely declined, not wanting to leave the safety of nearby food, toilets and my bed to stand out in the middle of no where with a cardboard sign and a prayer. I’m writing a travel blog, not a rock album.

By 2:30pm I was in a white sedan with a couple, originally from South Africa, returning to their home in Dunedin. The woman greeted me, opened the boot, and helped me with my bag. I sent Ken a text to let him know I was on my way. We didn’t exchange names, but the couple and I had a great chat about New Zealand, traveling, the US, other places in the world, and life’s experiences.

I felt a bit of discomfort in my leg, and tried to stretch out as much as I could without completely lying down in the back. We were winding through very scenic countryside and I wanted to admire the view. I had to take a tramadol in the morning because I woke up with enough lower back pain to make a car ride without it a bit miserable. The trade-off, however, is never knowing if I will get motion sickness or dizziness. The trick is to just get enough rest, and I felt tired enough to sleep through most of the ride.

We made great time, arriving at the hospital in the city just before 6pm. I went with Ken to the fourth floor to see Donna in her freshly-harvested state. We didn’t visit long; all three of us were about to fall over from exhaustion, and I went with Ken back to the house. As in Queenstown, most of traveling around Dunedin involves a hill of some sort, but fortunately also involves a view!

View from Clyde Hill

I looked out over the Pacific Ocean from their back yard. From the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean, I had traveled the island coast to coast. That’s the lovely thing about living on an island – it isn’t terribly difficult to find the sea!

After a quick dinner I watched Wind in the Willows, and fell asleep to the sequel, Willows in Winter. A quiet night after a day of swimming and traveling. Continue reading

Saturday News

Waking up to another snowy morning

Aren’t we three weeks away from the first day of summer? Ok, maybe four. Winter always tries to make a comeback in the South in late Spring. Several centimeters of snow fell overnight, especially on mountain peaks and passes. I just hope it doesn’t affect the poor little lambs as it did last year during the cold snap.

Cycling near Sunshine Bay

I went cycling this afternoon towards Glenorchy but didn’t get far up the road since there is no path, the shoulder is narrow, and the motorists are not particularly tolerant of cyclists. There is a nice single track mountain bike park farther along the roadway but I suppose the irony is that you have to drive to it!

These hand crafted soap cupcakes look delicate and tasty!

After my short ride I enjoyed fleeting patches of sun while listening to live music at the Saturday Craft Market by the Wharf, but spent most of the day reading, writing, and watching TV. I rarely keep up with the national or world news back home but in New Zealand I pay attention to it on a fairly regular basis. It’s one of the ways I explore the culture and history of New Zealand and the nature of the news stories are different from those in the US.

For those who are curious or interested in how the Christchurch CBD is doing, the status is not so great. Many buildings have been demolished and many are awaiting a similar fate. The iconic central Cathedral still stands, but has taken serious structural damage inside and out. The next step is to secure the building to recover historical artifacts inside.

Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand, and the largest on the South Island. Home owners are having a tough time with their insurance claims and people are awaiting the go ahead to rebuild. This weekend a new tour is being conducted by CERA, the organization in charge of earthquake recovery management, within the CBD. They aim to display the current state of the CBD and inform people about the recovery efforts.

I’m told by recent visitors to Christchurch that it is an eerie scene. I’ve posted the video in the full entry. While the video merely shows the current infrastructure and explains the recovery scheme, it may still be upsetting to people who have lived or been in Christchurch.

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Amendment: Travel must be part of the picture

As I was deeply contemplating my career opportunities during my time in San Diego I reached the conclusion that I wanted to enter the field of science communications. My life, as I know it, does not have set chapters, a beginning or end to any phase. It is not a story book, but merely continues and my adventures, education, and employment bend and weave through time and space. I am not the typical cookie-cutter young adult American, graduated from University and thrust out into the adult working world. That’s just the way it is, and that’s the way it is becoming for more of our generation. The necessity of marriage, property ownership and financial security are concepts fed by industries and long-established cultural practice. They are not requirements for my nomadic and adventurous lifestyle. I am proud of what I am, what I have achieved and what I have become as a person. Even my alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute promotes the concepts of diversity and entrepreneurial spirit. Yes I’m going to change the world, but I’m not going to do it your way. I’m going to do it my way.

I am making an important amendment to my career goals. Continue reading

Spring Snow in Queenstown

This is nothing new, but I figured I would post anyway! I woke up at 5:30am to the sound of cool pelting rain outside my window and a light mist hanging over snow-covered trees on Queenstown Hill. When I came back from breakfast I had snow flakes on my sweater, and when I walked into town around 1pm I was still getting snowed on! I managed to get to the aquatic centre to swim, but used the bus to get out to Frankton ($5 on Connectabus) and hitch hiked back to town. I took my time swimming laps and relaxed in the hot pool while watching the fierce snow and winds outside. I left just before 5pm, when the weather let up.

When I returned to town I had the $10 pad thai dinner at Tham Nak Thai. They have a selection of $10 meals, and $13 for a combo with veggie spring rolls and a beverage. I decided on the jasmine green tea. The quality of the meal was good, the tofu and veggies cooked nice and tenderly without any superfluous use of oils, sauces, or salt in the dish. The dinner was definitely a good value, but as someone who isn’t a huge lover of noodle dishes it wasn’t anything special enough to bring me back again and again. Tham Nak Thai has several other light dishes on their $10 menu from 5-7pm nightly.

Tandoori Palace still favorite restaurant in Queenstown

I had my favorite dish, the lamb pasanda, at Tandoori Palace, and it was every bit as delicious and perfect as I recalled. The spices complimented a very tender and tasty lamb and the sauce was soft and creamy, the perfect texture.

Tandoori Palace on Shotover St in Queenstown has $12.50 curry and rice meals from 5-7pm every night and $12.50 curry, rice and naan deals for take away all night!

Lamb Pasanda from Tandoori Palace