Do you ever have one of those days you wish you could put on repeat? Yesterday was by far one of the best days of our lives. It started with hectic prep work, continued into an amazing function at the restaurant hosting the New Zealand Consulate General and his guests, and finished with possibly what will be the best surprise of our entire lives.
To begin with, we couldn't have asked for a better first trial run at the restaurant. The Consulate General, Leon Grice, and his 20 guests absolutely loved the menu we offered. While Gwith was busy working, I got the pleasure to dine at the table and hear all of the rave reviews. I heard everything from, "I usually never take pictures of my food but this is picture worthy," to "It's been such a long time since I had a memorable meal" and so many more compliments. Needless to say, every item we served was a huge hit, as well as our New Zealand wines. One lady wanted to know where she could get a bottle of our Sauvignon Blanc. Our sommelier had to let her know that as our wines are primarily from boutique wineries, most of our wines can only be found at our restaurant.
|Us with Leon Grice and a few of his guests|
Throughout the meal, we had at least thirty local customers walk up to the door asking if we were opened. We also started taking reservations this past week for our September 10th grand opening and our September 9th soft opening for locals. We're only seating 40 people for our soft opening and we are already 90% booked. I know everyone is dying to see the menu, and since I'm in such a good mood today, I'm going to release a couple more items! We have already announced some highlights on our website, but I'd love to mention two more items that we served yesterday.
|Crispy Pork Belly with butternut puree, roasted feijoa, baby cress, and a vanilla-champagne dressing|
|Raspberry Creme Brûlée served with coconut and a raspberry-passionfruit sauce|
|Award Winning Venison pan roasted with sweet potato, cherry compote, pistachio, and a vanilla parsnip purée|
We will be releasing the full menu soon, but I have to say, I'm loving releasing teasers at the moment! It's exciting to give everyone an idea of what we're serving without giving too much away too soon. Before I move on to the next amazing part of the afternoon, I must thank the staff that we had on board yesterday: Noe Lopez (Sous Chef), Jordan Greig (Sommelier), Brian Smith (Shift Leader), Alan Treitman (Junior Line Cook), and Miguel Villalpando (Dishwasher). For a first trial run, everyone did an outstanding job and we couldn't be more excited to have you all on our team!
Shortly after the last guest left, my parents and sister stopped by to say hello. Little did we know, we were about to get the best surprise of our lives. As we're talking to them, Gwith received a call from his sister, Muirie, in New Zealand. He talked to her briefly and then the phone was passed around to me. As I'm talking to her, the phone suddenly cut out. A second later, I glance at the front door and Muirie is walking in with our niece Alex!!!! It's been 10 months since Gwith saw them last and over a year since I've seen them. We were expecting them out in a couple of weeks but they surprised us early. Gwith's expression was amazing. If things couldn't get any better though, just moments later, our brother-in-law, Marcus, and Gwith's brother Rohan, also came walking through the door! While we expected Muirie and Alex in a few weeks, we were told Marcus couldn't make it. As for Rohan, he's never been to the US since Gwith moved out here, so that was incredibly unexpected, to say the least. It's impossible to describe how amazing their surprise was. I'm still tearing up just writing about it. The fact that they came out here early to surprise us and show their love and support for us and the restaurant is indescribable. We couldn't be more grateful to have such an amazing family and so much aroha around us.
When my family first walked in, my sister came in with her camera. Frankly, Raishel loves to take pictures of EVERYTHING so Gwith and I didn't think anything of it. We are so grateful that she captured this amazing memory on video:
30990 Russell Ranch Rd Unit C, Westlake Village, CA 91362
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.