After two days away from F.A.W.C events (self-enforced break from way too much good food and wine) I made my grateful return on Wednesday night for Black Barn's Comedy Feast. And as one of the comedians, Urzila Carlson, put it: "Tonight you get great food, wine and a show. It's the stuff dreams are made of."
Urzila is one of the New Zealand's most successful female comedians and she was joined by her fellow 7 Days panelist, self-confessed foodie and avid food blogger Jesse Mulligan and winner of this year's Billy T Award for comedy, Guy Williams.
The thought of an evening of Terry Lowe's wonderful food, Black Barn wines and a few laughs along the way seemed a winning combination, and it was.
The restaurant was bursting at the seams, 120 people seated at long tables, with the expectant hum and chatter of people all there ready to have a fun night out.
The show was hosted by Urzila who, despite being a South African, has a wonderful Kiwi ability of making fun of herself and others, in a gentle and hilarious way.
The first course featured my new found love of oysters (thanks to the Oyster Saloon) along with a delicately flavoured kingfish carpaccio.
Next up was Jesse Mulligan who was a crowd favourite with his tales of his international travels and culinary adventures. The main was a somewhat ambitious dish of a duck confit and brioche stuffed whole poussin. I had visions of Terry and his team trying to stuff 120 of these fiddly birds this afternoon; I was just happy we were able to reap the benefits.
Guy Williams rounded out the comedy, with some anecdotes from his own life smattered with references to popular culture. I was surprised none of them used the US election result as fodder (maybe that was too easy) but was impressed at the research they had done into what was happening in the region.
"As comedians we eat on the road all the time; it is either very good or very bad; we are thrilled that this time it is very much the former," said Jesse. It was Urzila's fourth gig in Hawke's Bay, a place she claims is the only place she has actually holidayed in the four years she has been working as a professional stand-up comedian. Guy was making his first trip to Hawke's Bay and despite spending most of the day watching the US election unfold and schooling himself up with our community newspapers, he was already impressed!
The next day the trio brunch at Napier's Mister D, and I have to confess, as I type this I am sitting in Mister D enjoying their ricotta cake. My regular readers will know how I feel about breakfast; it is, without question, my favourite meal of the day. And this is pretty much perfection on a plate.