The Tea Lady in Birkenhead Point is all retro charm, with china cups, a host of brews, chilled tea infusions and even "coffee if you must". We like its little gift items, including jars of tea for $19. One of the less traditional mixes is The Cafe Latte blend, which has a base of black tea and adds cocoa bits, chocolate chips, coffee beans and milk granules. You'll find Lynette Dore's tiny tea shop at 100A Hinemoa St, in a very browse-able little strip of shops.
Dance for Africa
A fascinating event worth clearing your diary for is the Watoto Restore Tour being held this Friday at the beautiful Cable Bay Vineyard on Waiheke Island. This unique event sees music, dance, drama and multimedia performances by former child soldiers from Uganda. Tickets are free and you are encouraged to bring your own picnic hamper and relax on the lawn with a glass of Cable Bay wine. There will also be a small range of food stalls.
The event has been arranged by the Waiheke-based Village Project which has an ongoing relationship helping to support and build a village in Uganda. All donations on the night will go directly to assisting trauma rehabilitation for former child soldiers, medical intervention, education, helping orphaned children and more. Book your Fullers ferry ticket and get a free bus ride to Cable Bay.
A lunch to remember
There are many fabulous Christchurch fundraisers happening around town, but one that has got our tastebuds tingling is "Five Chefs For Canterbury" a seven-course lunch being held at Villa Maria Estate on March 20. This is bound to be no ordinary lunch, however, thanks to the impressive line up of chefs. There's Des Harris of Clooney, Michael Meredith of Merediths, Stephen Warn from the O'Connell Street Bistro, Mike Van De Elzen from Mt Eden's Molten and Sid Sahrawat from Sidart. Also there to help out will be chef Jonny Schwass whose award-winning Christchurch restaurant was destroyed in the earthquake. John Hawkesby and Kerre Woodham will host, plus there'll be live music and an auction. Tickets are $250 per person and include wine. To book, ph (09) 255 0660.
We're loving the zingy refreshing taste of Nelson based Wai-Kawa's bitter lemon fizzy drink infused with horopito - it's delicious on a hot day. As is their Kiwi cola flavour. This is infused with kawakawa tea or "bush basil" which is said to have medicinal qualities. Yay, fizzy drinks that are good for you. $3.99 a bottle from Nosh.
At the bar
New York drinks writer and historian David Wondrich is in New Zealand this week to judge the annual 42Below Cocktail World Cup. Described by the New York Times as a "living ipod of drink lore and recipes", he shares a drop of his knowledge with Viva.
The biggest trend recently in cocktails is ... Quality, pure and simple. It's no longer enough to splash some booze and some artificial sour mix into a glass in approximate proportion and call it a cocktail. Now, you have to make an effort. That's a good thing.
A great bar in New York is ... where the staff care about what they're doing, the customers are civilised, the drinks are delicious and the music allows conversation to proceed over it. Or the one full of drunken firefighters.
At the Cocktail World Cup I'll be looking for ... people who have their own ideas and don't just follow trends. Even if doing that means making something really simple and telling me a great joke to go with it.
In my cocktail cabinet at home I have ... Actually there's more than one cabinet, but you'll find everything from absinthe and aquavit to - ok, I can't think of anything starting with "z", but you should see my "w" section.