It’s 5am here in Queenstown – as good a time as any to blog. The last 24 hours has been one great experience after another. Starting at 10:30am was the PokerStars Frisbee Golf Tournament – and despite the frighteningly early start to the event my newfound love for the sport ensured I wasn’t going to miss it. We split off into groups of four and played a quick 18 (well, 17 rather, as we somehow missed a hole) — what did I score you ask? See – that doesn’t matter. It was all about getting out in the gardens and having a great day. What does it matter who won or lost… Ok, actually, I really don’t know what I shot – and frankly I don’t think that I want to know. I won some holes, lost more than that, made some good shots and a couple of hilariously miserable ones but all in all I would be happy if every day could start with some frisbee golf.
I was due to play day 1c of the ME at 12:30 and I headed back to the hotel to pick up my forgotten headphones and grab a quick bite at the Left Bank cafe – man that place has good food. Honestly, it’s hard not to find good food everywhere you turn in Queenstown. The main event was a short day – and no, I don’t mean that it was short because I busted early (though I REALLY don’t blame anyone for jumping to that conclusion) but the actual structure of it scheduled only six hours of play for the day. I’m happy to say I made it through – albeit with a very modest stack of 19,100 (starting stack was 20k). I’ll be playing day 2b tomorrow afternoon at 4pm and trying my best playing
the extinct version of poker no-limit holdem.
After bagging up at the end of the day I headed to dinner with fellow PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang, his lovely wife, and a group of online MTT grinders I had just been introduced to and who all turned out to be great dining companions. Bryan was eager to try out a new Queenstown restaurant, Rata, and I was pretty excited at the idea too. Recently opened here is a quick snippet describing the joint in their own words:
Internationally recognized Michelin starred chef Josh Emett and highly regarded local restaurateur Fleur Caulton have recently opened Rātā.
Rātā takes inspiration from the southern landscape and everything that epitomizes New Zealand. Passionate about creating a restaurant that encompasses that hard to find ‘real’ restaurant experience, Rātā is a relaxed eating-house with a neighbourhood feel, great service and delicious food.
I’m not going to make this a full on review other than to give the restaurant my full recommendation and say that everything from the food & drink, service and ambiance was top notch. I got my first bluff oysters for the trip here which instantly started the meal off on a great note (anyone who reads this blog regularly will remember my love-at-first-sight experience with them from a few months ago). Other highlights were the Crispy braised pork terrine / caper mayonnaise (we ordered two plates and had to order two more, none lasted more than 15 seconds on the table) and also fantastic was the Charcoal grilled boneless Wakanui rib of beef / 800g – for two+. I took only one photo of the food, and it was of this:
The creamed potatoes were the runaway standout of the sides. Somehow four of us managed to muster up enough of an appetite for dessert and boy am I glad I was one of the four. The gelato and accompaniments was out of this world and I heard nothing but praise of the fondant come from across the table. Definitely check this place out.
After dinner we all went our own ways and I headed back to the room to settle in to a nice grind. Seven hours later, here we are. I didn’t intend to grind this long but the shifty geniuses at Stars’s marketing department recently came out with their new Ring Game Happy Hours promotion and after enjoying the first hour so much and seeing the next wasn’t too far away I couldn’t resist. FYI there are three one-hour happy hours each day starting at 06:00, 12:00 and 21:00 all ET (Stars time) – this translates to 8pm, 2am and 11am for those on east coast Australian time and 2hours later than that for those of us over here in kiwiland. Only 7 hours til the next one, hmmm… and on that note: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!