Sampling the local Mokau fare
News is a funny game. On a slow day, almost anything can make the paper if there are empty pages to fill.
This is especially true of a slow weekend, when there have been no car crashes, no drunken mishaps and no ill-prepared tourists getting themselves stuck up the mountain to report on.
So that's how, on a drizzly Sunday in mid-November, we ended up in Mokau, chasing down a pilot who had been forced to make an emergency landing on the beach.
And that's also how, after what seemed like an hour of searching for the mystery pilot and failing, we ended up at the warm and dry Whitebait Inn at the southern end of town.
Because it would have been wrong, as the photographer pointed out, to waste the trip to Mokau without sampling the local fare.
After much indecision about whether to get a whitebait fritter or not (I didn't, because I feel whitebaiting should be banned, and the photog didn't because he's too stingy), we ordered between us one scoop of chips, one piece of fish and one hamburger ($14.70).
The chips passed muster, but probably could have been cooked a bit longer - although the serving was extremely generous and they were served piping hot.
The fish, however, was delicious. At $3.80, it was on the expensive side of things, but worth it: crisp light batter and melt-in-your-mouth flesh.
And as far as hamburgers go, the Whitebait Inn's was a winner. It had a home-made patty, lots of sauce and was chokka with fillings. Yum.
So, thankfully, the trip wasn't wasted after all, even though we never did find that pilot in Mokau. He had already driven home to Norfolk to wait out the bad weather and would pick up his little plane the next day.
Taranaki Daily News