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Monday, March 21, 2016

NZ's Ultimate Road Food - the Not So Humble Pie

Mostly savory pies in this case in a bakery
in New Zealand South Island's Omaru.
What do you eat when you're cheap, road-tripping and want a hot little something to eat? 

Dig into New Zealand's hand-sized yet not-so-humble, ubiquitous and usually savory (rather than sweet) pie.  They're steamy-hot, and nearly always less than $5 NZD, or about $3.50 USD.  

Even the smallest towns, you can count on finding someplace that sells pies; even if it's the hot serving case at a gas station or small-town Four Square market.  If they carry only one item, it's pie.  Mince (that's hamburger to us from Stateside) or steak and cheese are the most common.







McDonald's gobbled up Georgie Pie's sites and their
Kiwi fans finally convinced them to reintroduce
them to their menu.

Even McDonald's New Zealand got into the act, though they did so kicking and screaming.  

Ironically, it all started when they gobbled up Georgie Pie, a proud Kiwi franchise that began specifically in 1977 to offer a better alternative to the big international fast food franchises like McDonald's.  McD's acquired them in 1996 primarily for their excellent locations, bid bye-bye to Georgie Pie, much to the disappointment of their fervent fans.

Finally, a Facebook campaign, "Bring Back the Georgie Pie" convinced McDonald's eventually, in 2013, to reintroduce Georgie Pies, albeit in a fairly limited fashion.


Savory New Zealand pie, "before."
I swung by the Kensignton Whangarei McDonald's to see what they offered.  "We only sell the bacon-and-egg or sausage-and-egg pie here in the morning," I was informed.  Ah... a bastardized egg McMuffin.  I passed.   

For the record, those that do sell the "real" (well, reformulated) Georgie Pies, they come in three savory flavors, steak, mince & cheese, butter chicken, and as well they also sell plum and custard.  I have not tried them, and probably will not.




Same savory pie, "during."  Oops!  Gooey, good, though.
Don't try this while driving!  (I didn't - thanks, Wayne)
I digress.... back to the ultimate road food experience....

The trick in eating New Zealand pie is not goobering up the car with gravy or crumbs when the crust is flaky.  Napkins are key, regardless of how neat an eater you may be.  The other trick us maintaining a non-slip yet oh-so-gentle grasp on your succulent little treat, while "delicately" slurping it up a like a big dog.

Meanwhile, my not-a-breakfast-person and also celiac husband kindly indulges my piggishness as the mouth-watering aroma permeates our car.  Friends Patty and Steve of Armagh introduced us to Jesters pies, who sell a several of their flavors in gluten-free versions.  Wayne finally got to try them.  Turns out, they're just not his thing.


Jester's New Zealand pie franchise includes some gluten-free
versions, though the texture is not as nice.
What's the best New Zealand pie?  According to New Zealnd Times, an annual Supreme Pie tasting that included 4,500 pies from 444 Kiwi bakeries, the winner is Viands Bakery, for the second year running.  Based in Kihkikihi. they aced the top spot with a Cointreau pie and also placed second in the seafood category with a scallop, shrimp and prawn with sweet chili and coriander (that's cilantro to most of us) pie.

Maybe I'll never get a chance to try New Zealand's best pie.  I'm okay with that.  Like pizza (and sex, claims my husband), believe New Zealand's not-so-humble-pies, are good, even when they're bad.  Fish and chips?  Well, that's another blog, but I am willing to agree to disagree when it comes to fast food faves.


Whangarei's Hare Krishna Cafe, next to the Saturday Grower's
Market, also sells a sort of pie.  Ironically, they are located
next to a Domino's Pizza.
Location Location
After undergoing much major and minor work, our boat’s finally back on a pole mooring in Whangarei’s Town Basin Marina (lat/long in an update - forgot to bring it with me to the library where i'm currently drafting this post thanks to their free power and wifi). 

Sailing by the Numbers
Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles (visiting USA, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos [Ecuador], French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand).  Budget permitting, we will resume serious cruising when cyclone season ends in ~April 2016.  We have not yet decided whether to sail to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu then Australia (~4,000 miles), or just to Vanuatu then Australia.  We plan to sell our boat in Australia and return to work - somewhere.