We met in Wellington and I’m the only one who remains a resident. My girls. My bitches. My favourite people in the world. They were all back for one weekend only, and with Friday off from work and hangovers to nurse, these 4 lovely ladies (with one notable absence) collectively became known as date #9. Rachel, Laura, Laura and Olivia offered some fresh perspective on boys at the halfway mark of the burger dating challenge. I was giddy with excitement. We returned to the Tasting Room where we all used to drink and two of us used to work. We began at 1pm with jager-bombs. We ate venison burgers washed down with bottles of champagne. It was pretty much amazing.
There was a lot of loving at the Tasting Room on Friday. Lots of loving. Loving, and champagne, and banter, and wise words on dating. There was hyperactivity, excitement, and the singing of people’s names. Smack-talk, inappropriate comments, nicknames, stories and delicious food.
We were seated and treated to a bottle Mumm and a round of jager-bombs. On dating, there was plenty to be said. One began with the announcement of her first proper date where she was so nervous she spewed. Another was wowed once at a very fancy restaurant and when asked whether he paid it was met with a resounding “shit yes!” On that though there was no expectation from us five that the boy would pay. He was welcome to pay the first time if he wanted to of course. Independent and fancy-free, yes we are.
On dating rules and etiquette: There are no rules. There is no etiquette. “Just hang out!”
The dating disaster stories came out with champagne bottle number two. One told of a boy who liked buying her flowers (a big plus) although on their first date he bought her a Poinsettia plant which was a bit much. It was agreed that nothing says long-term commitment like a plant, which is not the message anyone’s wanting on a first date. The conversation and mexican food was obviously good enough to entice her into date two, which is when things really turned bad. They ate Kebabs at a Turkish restaurant and then she fell asleep during King Kong with garlic breath. He was keen, she was not - and after a few dates the final straw was the invite to his family Christmas. That segued nicely into the question: is honesty the best policy or is the ‘phase-out’ communication-cutback the better option?
Being honest and up front was by far the winner. Any game-playing was met with “stupid”, “weak” and “ridiculous”. We also slagged off texting as being part of the problem with communication issues, but more about that shortly.
Our lovely and beautiful hostess (and dear friend) Ella brought a wonderful story about an all day-date she’d once had which involved playing pool, a 6-pack on Oriental Bay and then a movie to which her date bought her the CD of the next day. Good work on the follow-up, we all decided. Ella also brought bad news: they were out of Mumm. Would Veuve be ok? This was one reaction:
It was agreed that in blossoming relationships these days there was too much texting, and that maybe phone calls could well be the way of the future. Hell, bring back love letters! Communication is crucial. And on that note, the Venison burgers arrived.
The Tasting Room’s contribution to Burger Wellington is the Bambi beet’n’ blue - venison and Kapiti Kikorangi patty with truffled beetroot relish. It’s $22, and it also features crisp lettuce, tomato and a big juicy portobello mushroom. With shoestring fries, it was damn damn tasty. From us all, who were by now more than a a little giggly on bubbly, commented that all the elements of a good burger are there - it was meaty and juicy without being sloppy, had great textures, particularly with the crisp lettuce and the blue cheese was the deal breaker: “it’s like a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited! Although, I’d probably rather not invite everyone to a party in my mouth.”
It was all very exciting. While eating, one told a story about a date she went on recently. They’d met at a party, and then arranged to meet for a drink. The reliable 4pm Saturday afternoon at the pub timeslot. She said it was so blatantly obvious they didn’t like each other, but at the end he “dropped all this awkward shit on me and said he was seeing someone.” Pathetic.
We all absolutely dominated the meals. The flavour combinations and fresh ingredients and the decent meat patty with that mushroom meant the burger was awesome.
And after the night we’d had the night before, I even ate my fries.
So from five girls who like beer and lipstick and champagne and good music, what would we like to tell the gentlemen of New Zealand on dating, chivalry and general etiquette?
2. Also, suck it up. Man up. Ask girls out on dates.
3. It’s OK to drink Rose.
4. BURN ALL SATIN BOXERS!
5. Just be normal! Be yourself. “But not if you’re psycho” “No wait! Especially if you’re psycho!”
The general message was chill out. We agreed there was a bit too much drinking and pashing, and definitely not enough no-frills dating.
And on that note, the burgers were finished and we settled in for the afternoon. As more friends arrived we stayed in our spot and reminisced and yarned and laughed and laughed. There was a lot of love at that table. It even ended with a kiss (at the noodle shop at 3am).
The vital stats:
The girls gave the burger a solid 9/10.
This date gets 11/10.
Thank you to the Tasting Room for being incredibly generous and generally wonderful.