Thursday, August 12, 2010

Girl Geek Dinner - Lagerfield

Girl Geek Dinners are held all over the world to encourage women working/participating in geekery typically dominated by menfolk to come together. In Wellington, the wonderful Amber organises these and I went to one in April and was hooked, so when I saw tickets were up for the next one I pounced!

This time around the venue was Lagerfield, on Blair Street, which is very handy to our place. I was pretty impressed with the decor - it was very cosy (the waitstaff did have some problems getting to all of us, but they worked around it), with lovely atmosphere, and the tables were beautifully set (although ours did have some dubious place settings on the corners, which we fortunately didn't need).

The room quickly filled with a very friendly and varied group of women (and two men!). As you can imagine having 60 women in a space this size did create quite a bit of volume but it was definitely fun - and though loud conversation was still possible and I really enjoyed meeting the women I sat with.

The menu was fixed and included 'Ocean and Earth boards' and breads to start, then five choices for the main and two for dessert. The dinners are heavily sponsored so the cost to us diners was only $25 - how good is that for a three course dinner? - and there are always a bunch of cool prizes to be won as well.

 The ocean and earth board (I guess surf and turf really is a bit overused) was pretty good - I loved the calamari rings, which were nice and hot and well seasoned, and the fried meatballs. The feta was pretty good although I think cow feta (and I love me some goats cheese) and there were also some very tasty and moreish olives floating about, which I think I ate about half of when they landed in front of me while one of the speakers was talking about her work in software patents.

Our mains came out not too long after the starters, and as it was such a large group I think they served all the meals of each type at the same time, which is somewhat understandable but a little awkward when you have your dinner a few minutes ahead of your dining companions. Never mind, though - it gave me a good window to take photos in. Sadly none I took of my steak really came out - it wasn't very much to look at anyway, but I really think I should stop talking hypothetically about getting/making a diffuser for my pop-up flash and actually sort it out so I can get some lighting in 'ambient' restaurant settings. And I call myself a geek girl... I  ought to be ashamed! (you may notice that the dessert photos are much better lit, thanks to the diffuse light offered by a projector and a large screen next to the table - though that may be a less viable solution for normal dining)

Anyway, I digress! So I had the steak, which seemed to be the dish of choice (as ever, I think). I found the steak quite nice, although I did hear someone else say theirs was a bit gristly. I really enjoyed the mushrooms - they were richly flavoured and complemented the steak very well. However, the mash (and I do like my mash) was a bit average - pretty bland, slightly lumpy, and I know I could do better at home. But hey, two out of three ain't bad, as they say...

The roasted portobello mushrooms and the wild mushroom and goats cheese tortellini both sounded very alluring - the tortellini especially (to me anyway), and I heard murmurs of approval for both of these dishes, so it seems they were well enjoyed. I didn't see anyone with the fish (which was tuna, which many people objected to for environmental reasons) or the chicken - but perhaps if any attendees are reading this they might provide a brief judgement in the comments on any of these four dishes?

The two dessert options were chocolate brownie (with tamarillo and vanilla ice cream) and apple crumble (with feijoa ice cream) - and funnily enough, I normally avoid both these items on dessert menus; brownies due to the utter disappointment that invariably accompanies them 90% of the time, and apple crumble because - well - it's really not hard to make a fantastic apple crumble at home and a lot of the time I prefer mine over what I get in a restaurant. Not to toot my own horn or anything. ;-) I guess I'd better write up my apple crumble recipe sometime soon, huh?

So I chose the brownie and I was quite impressed. The tamarillo was fantastically tangy - I haven't had tamarillo for ages and am kicking myself at neglecting it for so long - and gave the brownie a bit of kick, which it needed. The texture of the brownie was lovely - soft and moist, and rich in flavour. I did feel the brownie was a little cocoa-y, rather than chocolatey, if that makes sense - and might have done better with some more zing (chilli, maybe?) but it worked well if you got tamarillo with it. The brownie itself was actually quite large - a bit too large, even (not something I'd normally complain about, but I ran out of tamarillo and ice cream!).

The apple crumble was professed to be pretty good, and I know the feijoa ice cream was highly anticipated, and it sounded like a great match - but again, perhaps my fellow diners might be able to elaborate.

The speakers were really great - there were two main speakers, both of whom were both interesting and inspiring to listen to, and provided some good food for thought - the company was fantastic, and the food was enjoyable (much better than the last one!). The Lagerfield staff seemed to be very friendly and accomodating and I had a really great evening. One of the amusing points of the night was that, being a room full of technophiles there was a stream of Twitter updates from various people in the room - but that kind of added to the fun of it all! Definitely the best part of the evening is meeting so many different (and yet in many ways like-minded) women in a social setting - it is a really valuable opportunity and great fun all bundled up in to one. And of course, a ginormous thank you to Amber who spent much time and energy organising everything! I'm looking forward to the next one already. ;-)

Geek Girl Dinners are an opportunity for women to talk about technology over food and drinks. The first one was held in London in 2005 and now they are held all over the world. The NZ website is, or check out for an international view.


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  2. Hello Mrs Cake - came here via Wellingtonista :)

    I had the vegetarian option and was glad I had also stuffed myself on that moreish feta and olives - because the sprinkling of roast potato chunks was topped by only 2 field mushrooms. It was very tasty but had to be supplemented by some toast when I got home!

    And I would dare say your apple crumble would have easily surpassed theirs - the topping was like dry shavings and the apple uninteresting.

    Fortunately the company was great and the speakers a wonderful distraction! See you at the next one...

  3. Hi Bel, thanks for popping by! I did notice the mushroom option looked a bit, uh, small. Shame to hear the crumble was so disappointing - but great company counts for a lot and the speakers were marvellous. :-D


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