Wellington To Waikiki- What We Ate In Oahu, Hawaii.

(Not a sponsored post)

We went back to Waikiki for another holiday. The last time was three years ago and Miss turned 12 while we were there, she was just 15 on this trip. Both times we had excellent holidays. This time was particularly a memory maker.

I am going to write mainly about food and how we ended up in a few places. We have decided if we ever go back, we will do far more the of the lest touristy restaurants and a lot more hole in the wall joints. I am sure we will be back in a few years to shop, swim and go on more amazing adventures.

One of the best things to happen to Oahu is Open Table.  

If the restaurant of your choice isn’t on Open Table check their website for a reservations tab. There are a lot of people every single night heading off to dinner. Many have to queue and wait for a while at bars or on the street. If you have a booking, you just walk on in and often get a great table. It really worked for us.

I am going to tell you about a few of the restaurants we went to and I will do another post about what to get up to.

Breakfast

Wailana Coffee House

Love this place. You simply have to go at least once. It is the full diner experience and you most certainly can’t book. You have to wait. My pancakes were the best pancakes I think I have ever had and the coconut syrup is pure Hawaii. They are open 24 hours so there is no excuse not to go.

M.A.C 24-7

Insane portions. I am not kidding when I say us three adults could have easily shared one small stack portion, two huge pancakes. I opted for the current special, Apple Pie. It was lovely and I think I seriously only got a 1/3 of the way through. They have a pancake challenge, have a look on their website. We saw the challenge pancakes go out and they were absolutely huge and we were left pondering how on earth you would actually manage to finish them? There is a honours board up on the wall and some of the times are mind-blowing.

Barefoot Beach Cafe

This place is a lovely walk along the waterfront and a great spot. The menu has a good mix of things. I had the Acai Bowl and loved it. It had lots of honey and plenty of fresh fruit. Mr ate Spam for breakfast here and I even tried a bit, too salty for me. Miss had a great French Toast which I just had to help her finish.

Duke’s Waikiki

They have a fantastic breakfast buffet and it is well worth a visit. Booked this one too and got a great table right by the waterfront and it was lovely. I would definitely go back to this buffet for the fruit, cinnamon French toast, and the pancakes. Loved it and the huge vat of coconut syrup kept me happy.

The Main Players

Tommy Bahamas 

Book this one for sure. This is your put on your new glad rags and head out for a casual fancy dinner. We went twice and booked both times. The first time we were on the 1st floor and the second time we made it to the roof. Both times there were people waiting for tables who looked none too pleased with our sauntering in and taking a seat. The food here is good, say yes to the bread with the fancy butter. The service and food here were impeccable, we were seriously impressed. Even the burger was pretty damn fancy. I loved the fish tacos. The first time you go, have the full-size desserts. I could tell you not too but you know it will happen. That is another photo I want to see!

Flour and Barley

Great pizza and a fab HAPPY HOUR. We went here on our first night and the wings, cheap beer and Big Apple Pizza went down very well. I mustn’t forget the garlic bread that tasted like old school Pizza Hutt in a good way. We also went to the late happy hour and were equally as happy. There is a great table right by the pizza oven, makes for great viewing.

Maui Brewing Company

I do love a beer and they have plenty of choices here, I really liked the Big Swell IPA. They also had a great breakfast menu and lunch/dinner. The breakfast menu has some great alternatives to the obvious and I loved the avo on toast with the sriracha salt. Top tip, as you look at the building go to the left and take the escalator. The other side involves lots of steps, maybe you do want to walk up that side for a bit of a walk? In the evening this place was buzzing. One evening we were having a post-dinner drink in the open when the heavens opened, it was fun and the staff coped really well moving the drinks, tables and keeping an eye on their customers.

Yard House

You can’t go to Waikiki without a trip to the Yard House. We went for dinner early one evening and had to wait a bit for a table. There were 5 of us, it was a Friday and RIMCAP was on. Even early it was busy and we had to wait outside with the UFO buzzer. If you like beer you are in for a bit of reading, they ain’t joking when they say the beer menu is huge. I had the Belching Beaver Seasonal, how could you not with a name like that? Their house IPA is decent too. The one food item I went to Waikiki for was the onion ring tower they do here. It is seriously impressive. We also enjoyed the boneless wings, even if there was celery on the plate. I would like it noted that the celery did not get touched by anyone. The food here is bar food but good bar food.

Buho

An interesting spot on a rooftop. You take a lift up and arrive on the lovely rooftop. The food here varies between the authentic kind of Mexican and Tex Mex. We found that the price on the menu didn’t reflect the size of the portion. The tacos were small but priced similarly to the burrito that was huge. It is worth a trip for something different and I really enjoyed the Mole Enchilada as it had a spicy kick. The service was quick and the staff efficient. Finish your meal with a churro, just don’t order one each. The chocolate in the glass is unbelievably good. I want to see your churro pics, please?

Odd Places

Hula Dog Hawaii

This is a little food truck and you have to find it. It will be our first stop next time. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but I loved my Island style Hula Dog. I think it was the Guava Mustard. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to check where they are.

Leonard’s Bakery Hot Malasadas

Mmmmmmm you can’t go wrong with doughnuts. We went to the shop and ate them piping hot and the food truck which is in the bottom carpark of the WaikeleOutlet Mall. They cook to order and if you go to the shop, be prepared to queue and the wait is worth it. I liked the macadamia nut one best.

Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack

For my birthday we did a private tour with Kevin from Escape Waikiki, I am going to do a whole post one day devoted to the man and his tour. On our tour we went to Ono’s and it was fab. It is one of those places that you would never go to unless told or taken. I have one warning, the garlic fries are very very very garlicky. You have been warmed. I had more fish tacos and loved them.

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Queen Of Jackson, Petone.

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The Queen Of Jackson, Petone- I wish I had food photos. I wish you could see all the food and all the lovely things. You would need to smell it and see how each dish varied. BUT….

I didn’t take a single food photo and I can’t show you anything, You will have to take my word for it. I was too busy chatting and having a mighty fine beer or two. The food was so damn fine. Ottolenghi meets New Zealand fine. I mean that and that is big praise.

On my last trip back to the UK I planned a trip for me and my bestie, we went to London. We stayed in a very lovely hotel and I fulfilled my dream of eating at Ottolenghi. It was lovely and I enjoyed the food. I can tick that one off my list. The food today at the Queen Of Jackson in Petone was easily up there with the Spitalfields experience, if not better.

The occasion for eating there was a bit of an early birthday celebration for me. I invited 7 friends for their set menu, this had finished the day before and we ended up getting a better deal.  The new deal is 4 plates for $50 and you leave your table by 7.00pm. Between 8 of us, we had 8 plates and two bowls of fries. It was plenty for a lunchtime and an absolute bargain. The food with the fab beer selection is heaven.

Every dish was delicious and I will be hard pressed to know what to have next time. I am not the biggest meat eater but I ate all the meat. I may even have had my mind changed about pork belly.

The dishes we had were-

Warm cauliflower salad, mint, currants, spring onion, yoghurt

(lovely, how can cauliflower taste like this?)

Israeli couscous, apricot, apple, mint, cumin, baba ganoush

(so full of flavour)

Salt & pepper squid, nam jim dressing

(didn’t try, left it to the lovers)

Pulled pork tacos, bourbon sauce, apple slaw, pickled jalapenos

(delicious, great corn tacos and fab pork)

Chicken karaage, sriracha kewpie, kimchi slaw

(huge pile and so very tasty)

Pork belly, parsnip puree, fried chorizo & pinot noir sauce

(changed my mind about pork belly, that parsnip mash mmmmm)

Spiced lamb meatballs, Israeli couscous, feta yogurt

(so very tasty)

Seared beef tri-tip, french fried onion, habanero mustard

(yum, I finished this one up and scraped up all the mustard)

And two bowl of the Triple cooked hand cut fries, aioli.

(the fries here are always delicious)

 

Rice Kheer In The Pressure Cooker Shouldn’t be This Easy! (Rice Pudding)

I have talked about fellow blogger Two Sleeves and her Indian cookbook for the pressure cooker before. Tonight I used her Rice Kheer recipe as a guide for making my Rice Kheer. I changed it up a bit because I just have to. It was delicious. Her recipe says it serves 6 but that would be very small portions, I would say 4.

I like mine thick but if you want to thin it out add more milk or even a bit of cream. You can eat this at any temperature and it works. Mine was just warm as I took the pressure cooker lid off after 5 minutes on keep warm, gave it a stir and put the lid back on with the cooker unplugged.

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Rice Kheer - Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cups raisins or other small dried fruit (I used goji berries)

1/4 cup nuts cut into pieces (I used almonds and cut each into 2 pieces)

4 green cardamom pods

1/2 stick cinnamon bark

1/4 cup basmati rice

2 cups of milk (I used trim milk)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (I used demerara)

Method

Heat pressure cooker in saute mode

When hot add the butter when melted add nuts, fruit, cardamom and cinnamon

Cook for 2 minutes or until you can smell the cardamom

Add the rice and stir until coated

Tip in milk, water and sugar

Put the lid on and set to pressure cook for 15 minutes

At the end of cooking leave the steam to release naturally

Serve as is or with more nuts, fruit and a bit of cream

 

 

 

 

Artisan Dining House- Have You Been?

 

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Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef fillet with beans, mushroom tortellini, consommé and snow.

I am often asked about where to dine for an important occasion or to satisfy that need for impeccable service and exceptional food. When I hear other people answer this question the obvious Logan Brown and Boulcott Street Bistro just about always come up. They are both nice places but Wellington does have other options. One of my suggestions is always Artisan Dining House at The Bolton Hotel. 

Last night we had a wonderful meal at Artisan and I will keep suggesting it to anyone who will listen.

My meal was the entry for Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018 and I would call it a winner. If you have an occasion coming up or just need a great meal out you really should go and try this beef dish. I was impressed with how all the components worked together. It really is worth a trip to try this while you still can. Mr had the venison and was equally impressed.

As well as great mains the beer selection and desserts were mighty fine too. I enjoyed the Panhead Supercharger. For dessert, Mr was in heaven with one of his favourites, rice pudding. This rice pudding came with an extra special touch, a collection of do-it-yourself additions as well as quince. I chose the Organic chocolate and cherries with honey and yoghurt and it was amazing. I didn’t share.

 

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Let me know when you visit and try to go soon to have the Silver Fern Farm 2018 entry. Just so you know, it is in the Entertainment Book.

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Art Deco Festival – Tick!

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Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Napier for the Art Deco festival. It was marvellous and so much more than I expected. I went with a friend and we had an absolute ball. Not a lot of booze was involved and the snaps were real. It was one of those weekends I will always have fantastic memories of.

My friend won the trip for two from the wonderful Coast Radio. Yes, people really do win those things. This prize included flights, accommodation and tickets to events. Even without a prize to enjoy, I would go again.

I had a vision of what the weekend would be like, it surpassed all of that. It was like stepping back in time and everyone was very happy. I haven’t dressed up for a party for a long time, we spent the whole weekend in costume. I raided the op shops and got some great dresses and shoes.

It was not only the dressing up that made the event but Napier being pedestrianised and the only cars and bikes around were from the Art Deco period. Throughout our time there was constantly something happening, many of the events were on the street, at the sound shell. or in the air. We attended the free dog parade, the Army Band and the very cute Soap Box Derby.

The ticketed events we went to included the Prohibition Party, Falling in Love Again and the Gatsby Picnic as VIP’s. We added the Death By Chocolate, this was a funeral for Chocolate held in a funeral home and included eating rather a lot of chocolate. It was fabulous. The table of older ladies in full black dress celebrating a birthday certainly added to the atmosphere.

Anyway, enough going on from me, next years dates are out and you should go.

We stayed at the lovely Motel De La Mer, it is right opposite the splash pad and the cleanest place I have ever stayed. I would certainly stay again.

For food, we discovered Chantal Organics shop and cafe. The food was so very good. I will dream of a day I can go back.

 

 

Saffron Haveli- A Great New Lunch Spot

Something exciting happened on Saturday, we found our city Indian lunch spot! You know where Strawberry Fare used to be, well it is there. They have done it up rather nicely and the chairs are still the same. It is now called Saffron Haveli 

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The menu has some different dishes on it and even at lunchtime, there are plenty of choices. I commented that I wanted to go back this Saturday for lunch and Mr laughed like I was joking, I wasn’t!

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This is one of those places that is located in a little bit of an odd spot and they need you to turn up. Let me know if you do?

I can recommend the Bhurji Paneer Masala and it is going to be hard to go past that dish to try other, I will try my hardest. Mr had the Haveli Chicken Rahra and it was good too, he has Indian hot and it had a good kick to it. We also shared Pani Puri and had fun eating it.

 

 

Salty Pidgin- Ticks All The Boxes

Happy 2018, I know I am a little late. I have been very busy with parents visiting from the UK for a few weeks over Christmas. We had a wonderful time and ate out rather a lot.

I was given the task of coming up with a nice place to go out to eat that wasn’t Asian and a little bit fancy. This was to be our last supper. A few years ago this would have been an easy task, but now Wellington is such a foodies delight it was a little more difficult. I went through the obvious fancy pants places but didn’t feel happy with any of them. Then Mr reminded me of how much I had talked about ‘that place on the corner in Brooklyn’ and the decision was made – The Salty Pidgin. The wonderful photo below is taken from the website.

Taken from the Salty Pidgin's website.

 

The Salty Pidgin is a Bistro. Many places say they are but don’t measure up to the claim. It is casual but smart and the kind of place where it is nice to wear something smart or pretty but not too fancy but to feel like you are going out to dinner. It is on a corner and a bright open spot. In the winter they have a wonderful open fire. All of these nice bits helped me choose but the biggest influence was the all-important menu.

The menu was a winner because it does fancy dishes and pide which is a Turkish pizza. I love a good fancy dish with some tasty sides, Mr and Miss love a good pizza and some fries. My parents are easily pleased.

The other winning feature of the menu is the choice of wine and beer. It is all too common to get either or, not here, they have a good list of both. Even the non-alcoholic pages are good, I had a Six Barrell Soda.

I could go on for ages about how wonderful the dishes were but you need to go and try. I’ll give you a little bit of an idea and ramble on a bit. They have very, very good fries with a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We had these as a starter at Miss’s request. It was a great idea.

The Venison with a side of broccolini.

For main my dad and I both had the venison and agreed that it was delicious and very generous. I do believe I counted 5 medallions of meat. Everyone else went for the pide and were equally impressed. Mr tried the lamb’s shoulder pide and marvelled at the idea and wasn’t very good at sharing. Miss had the tomato and despite the teen angst, smiled. My mum had the beef kofta and was very happy with her choice too. I did manage to try a small bit of each pide and thought them marvellous. However, the venison was my happy place as was the side of broccolini with harissa. We all finished our meals and had desserts.

Special of the night- nectarine and almond clafoutis

The dessert menu wasn’t your usual and between us, we tried the special of the night cooked to order nectarine and almond clafoutis, ginger creme brulee and a very fancy rice pudding. All very lovely and inventive.

The best part was we all left the Salty Pidgin having had a wonderful evening. We couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place and had a better selection of food and drink. I know where I will be going next time someone wants to go out to dinner…… any one?

That is me in the blue dress!

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