Alpaca And Basque, Visa WOAP 2017

Bin44 Restaurant

I just made a mistake, I google imaged alpaca and now I feel rather guilty about eating such a cute fluffy beast. One had Trump hair, guilt gone.

As a reformed vegetarian, I have surprised myself several times this year with offal eating and big meat meals. I am now impressed with myself and came home on Tuesday night with bits of alpaca in my teeth. Miss Muffin was not at all amused that her parents ate such a fluffy creature and she refused to partake in this outing.

So, the burger. It was another, ‘is this a burger?’. There was shredded meat and no patty. After a few bites I simply didn’t care, it was bloody delicious. I had questioned BIN44 staff previous to WOAP and was told that alpaca was a strong meat and would be mixed with a little bit of pork. What ever the meat was, it was lovely. A dressing of mango and lime was on the side and went well with the meat. The bun was also excellent and held the burger really well, no soggy bottom at all. It didn’t come with a side of fries but there was a jalapeno popper and two polenta fries on the top. Oh, those polenta fries were dreamy.

All up, this ingenious burger is my winner. A 10/10 for daring, taste, beer match and the whole package.

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Death From Above Burger

Garage Project Death From Above-braised alpaca loin with Brussels sprouts slaw and mango lime dressing in a Pasteleria Sans Rival hop-infused bun with polenta chips

Matched w Garage Project Death from Above.

 

Basque

How have I not been in here before? What a lovely place and very much my kind of joint. It has many choices of beer and tapas, I need to go back.

This burger was another different to the norm, made of cheese and a croquette. I love both of these things. It was a good burger and the fries were fab, really good seasoning. I did feel like the cheese could have been a little stronger tasting and maybe a bit of iceberg lettuce could have moistened it up a bit. It was very enjoyable and I would have it again. We all agreed it had a great burger to patty ratio.

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The Cheese Musketeers

Three cheese: Aged cheddar, Zany Zeus smoked brinza and mozzarella croquette patty, smoked chipotle relish, red cabbage slaw, green tea aioli and jalapeños in a Zaida’s milk bun, with paprika fries (V, NF, Pesc).

Visa Wellington On A Plate 2017 – More Eating.

I have managed to eat at home three times in a week and one of those days I had had a burger at lunch time. I am enjoying eating out but do have that holiday feeling of over indulgence. Don’t worry, I will carry on for the cause!

One thing I have learnt this week is, I do not know how to use my camera in dim light. Please excuse some of my photographs, I tried but eating is more important than the right shot in the dark.

Salty Pidgin

I had a real issue getting photographs in this lovely spot and you will have to just picture the food, sorry.

I’ve been wanting to come here for a while now but just haven’t made it. Now I have, I will be back. It is one of those neighbourhood restaurants with great food and atmosphere. It was really cold the night of our visit and the open wood fires were a lovely touch. Even though Brooklyn isn’t where I live, I would travel and be the designated driver.

This visit was with 4 girlfriends. We had been told we had to order off WOAP menu and get the Crispy Cauliflower, it was very good. I can see myself going back to have that and explore more of the menu.

Festival dish

Oxtail ravioli in rich onion broth with Kingsmeade Manchego, FINZ hazelnut wafer and cress

One of my party had the burger and she enjoyed it. The rest of us went for the Oxtail ravioli. It was delicious. Everything on the plate worked and I considered picking my bowl up to get the last bits of the broth out. It made me want to come home and explore my recipe books for similar dishes.

Dessert

Coconut semifreddo with Fix & Fogg peanut crumble and lime jelly (DF, GF)

The dessert was unusual and not something I would usually pick from a menu. I liked that, trying something different is good. It was certainly refreshing after the main.

I left feeling like this place is a real find.

Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant

I met my eating crew here. The burger intrigued us and we had high hopes for something different. Alas, we left unimpressed. We did get great joy out of watching a young man who was struggling with eating cauliflower and he seemed to be doing it to impress a young lady.

The main gripe at the table was the lack of cauliflower, it didn’t fill the bun and this was disappointing. Double what was in there would have worked better. Also, we found the mash very underseasoned and couldn’t see why it went with the burger. Some spicy crispy spuds would have worked better. Our opinions were made clear to the bar and they were happy to get feed back.

 

 

Kāpiti Fried Cauli (K.F.C)

Original recipe fried cauliflower with homemade vegan ‘jack cheese’, mayonnaise and lettuce in a Pandoro Kaiser bun with slaw, mash and Parkvale Mushroom gravy (DF, NF, Pesc, V, VV).

 

Monterey

This was my sneaky lunch time burger with some of my eating crew. Monterey does the best onion rings in the city and I do love their burgers. It is one of my spots for making sure I use the Entertainment Book voucher.

Their burger entry is different from others and it was very tasty. Our eating conversation involved discussing if it could be counted as a burger as it wasn’t a patty. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the delicious beef or pretzel roll, but is it a burger? If they had this on their menu I would get it again and encourage others to try it for a change.

Oh,  and the fries were excellent. They were nice and crispy with lovely flavours.

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The Steinbeck

Beef slow-cooked in Kererū Moonless Stout with bacon jam, Kāpiti Pakari aged cheddar, jalapeño, crunchy greens and aioli in a pretzel bun, with Cajun fries (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Loral Royale

 

St Johns Bar And Restaurant

I didn’t get any decent photo’s here with my camera either but I did get a decent belly full of food! This was another burger free evening and a very nice grown up meal out. This venue was picked because of the main being something neither of us would have at home, a plate of brassicas. In case you haven’t guessed by the choice of dinner, I was out with another friend and not Mr Muffin.

The main was delicious, a little more of the Zany Zeus halloumi would have been good. It was a lovely plate of nicely cooked veg and dressing. A refreshing dinner in the midst of burger meat!

The dessert was perfect, it oozed in a way that would please even Ramsay. The Carrello del Gelato raspberry sorbet impressed too.

 

Selection of brassicas with grilled Zany Zeus halloumi, roasted lemon purée and kale shards (GF, V)

Whittaker’s 72% dark chocolate fondant with Carrello del Gelato raspberry sorbet.

Queen Of Jackson

Another night out, another burger. We love this pub and often visit before heading somewhere else for dinner. Last night we stayed and ate.

This burger is huge, we saw many people giving up and using a knife and fork. Shame on them! It was squashable and we did the cut in half and use our hand’s method. For someone who isn’t a big meat eater I was worried that I might not enjoy this, I did. My only gripe would be that the bottom of the bun got rather soggy. I loved the pulled pork and came away thinking how I must perfect it myself in the pressure cooker.

I do apologise, my photo could have been better.

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Trump Tower

1/2 pound beef patty with pulled pork in bourbon sauce, cheddar, pickles, iceberg, tomato and Queen Lizzy’s burger sauce in housemade milk bun (GF, NF)

Wellington On A Plate 2017 – Let The Eating Begin.

A confession, I started a day early with a cheeky try of a burger. It was the Thursday and I was invited along to be Lucy from Wellington Foodies plus 1. It was a very good start and a nice surprise. I must confess that I hadn’t paid much attention to the Sojourn at The James Cook Hotel when looking at the WOAP guide. Next year it will be one of the first ones I look for. Lucy had the main menu and proclaimed that gorgeous too.

Sojourn Cafe and Bar

The burger was different (in a good way) and very imaginative. Only a few will get this but it reminded me of a meaty spicy bean burger. I would certainly recommend this and would go back. The dessert was amazing too and was of a very high standard, up there with the fancy French place.

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The Burger, CCC Mexi Tower

Tortilla-crumbed chilli con Carne patty with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, hard goat’s cheese and sour cream in a mole burger bun, with kūmara chips and chipotle mayonnaise (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Hāpi Daze

The Dessert

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Mascarpone bavarois with rhubarb and strawberry pâté de fruit, mixed berry gel and rhubarb crisp.

 

Hippopotamus Restaurant

I picked the Hippo as somewhere to go for a fancy meal with Mr Muffin. The 3-course menu appealed to both of us and this was a minor miracle.  The food was delicious and of the high standard you would expect. The service was terrible and it certainly didn’t feel like the special evening out we were aiming for. We left a bit sad to be honest and feeling like we were a bother.

Anyway, onto the food.

Entrée

We both had the soup. It came with the dry ingredients in a bowl and the liquid was poured at the table. It was delicious.

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France meets New Zealand: Marmite-based onion soup (V)

For main

I went for the gnocchi and Mr opted for the pie. For some reason, he didn’t get a syringe of tomato sauce in his and we realised after eating that others had this. Both courses were excellent. I may have a little pie envy but the gnocchi was very me and I ate some of the perfect pastry from the pie.

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Kūmara gnocchi, cauliflower purée, Lot Eight olive oil and grated cheese (v).

 

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The Humble Kiwi Pie: Black Dog beer-braised Wairarapa wild venison leg and Parkvale Mushroom (NF)

Dessert

Oh my. I had a posh Jaffa cake and it was divine. I may have not stopped thinking about it. Mr had the Milk and Honey, I can’t tell you anything about it as I didn’t get a look in.

 

Milk & Honey: Hokey pokey, ANZAC biscuit crumb, burnt honey crémeux, buttermilk sorbet, thyme, honey gel

– or –

Jaffa: Whittaker’s dark chocolate mousse, orange curd, chocolate soil and orange marmalade

 

Five Boroughs

This burger was a bit of a whim, a friend mentioned how they had plans to go but could only book if there were 6+ people. I offered us up as the extras and a table was booked. Five Boroughs was buzzing on a Sunday night and the service was friendly and efficient. The burger, oh the burger. Another clever take on the basic meat patty. The chicken roast as a burger worked very well. This is one big burger and we all adopted our own methods. I went for the cut it in half approach. I must tell you that this a whole meal and between 7 of us we managed about one portion of fries. It was good to have them and dip them in the gravy.

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Flippin’ the Bird

Roast chicken patty, Sunday roast vegetable hash, caramelised onions, mayonnaise and smoked brinza on a sage stuffing bun with chicken gravy (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Hakituri

My List-

Salty Pidgin

Southern Cross

St Johns

Queen of Jackson

Basque

The Borough Tawa

Bin44

There are plenty more places I would like to add if I get the time.

 

 

 

 

 

Visa Wellington On A Plate 2017.

WOAP17

 

That time has come, the time where I spend far too much time reading menus and planning to eat out. Most of the time these plans happen and I am not home for long for some of August.

Burgers are my thing and also eating out at new places. You can read some of my previous years’ antics here.

So far I am liking the look of my friend Lucy’s Looking Good: Food Styling and Photography. 

The High Tea events are also looking good.

Anyway, off you go.

Visa Wellington On A Plate

Let me know what you think?

 

 

The Chocolate Tour – My First Box

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The Chocolate Tour

Facebook

Instagram

A while ago I started looking for a subscription box, I love getting mail and opening boxes. Thinking about it that is rather strange as I don’t like opening gifts from people I know. In my search I looked at all sorts but didn’t find anything that floated my boat. I did consider a socks one, but nah. One day my quest was over.

Fellow blogger, Wellingtonian and Mum Rosa started a chocolate subscription box. Yes, you read right a chocolate subscription box. New Zealand is fast becoming recognised as an excellent chocolate producer. Today my first box arrived. I managed to hide from other’s photos on social media and even wait until after dinner before opening it.

 

Opening it I must to confess to feeling a little nervous and worried that I might be disappointed. I shouldn’t have bothered with the negative thoughts, it contained a fantastic stash of chocolate goodness. This months box has the theme, The Inner Child.  So far I have just eaten the J’aime Les Macaron’s Choc Pop. It was so very good and I am having an internal argument about what to eat next. I must finish here and solve the argument!

*This is not a sponsored post.

Sorry I didn’t use a fancy camera but I needed to get to the good stuff.

How Do You Eat Out So Often?

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I get asked how we eat out so often on a regular basis. The answer is pretty simple really and I will give you a couple of tips. I got thinking about this today when Mr and I were at Gr8 Tandoori Indian in Lower Hutt. Their lunch menu is a main, rice and plain naan for $9.90 , you can pimp your naan for $1. Today we splashed out and had Onion Bhaji for $6. Oh those fried morsels were good, so good. Our two mains and bhaji came to $28.40 and was easily enough for a main meal, in fact we declared our selves Christmas Day full! I sometimes pay that in a cafe for a coffee and breakfast for 1.

Lunch Time

Eating out at lunch time can be really cheap. We enjoy Indian and Asian food, often they are the places with the good lunch time deals. The portions are never stingy and always enough for a main meal. Our favourites change and do often base our weekend outing on where to have lunch!

Drink The Water

In New Zealand cold water is put on the tables in most restaurants. If you eat out at lunch time and stick to the water it makes your meal pretty cheap. On occasion one of us might splash out and have something but generally we stick to the water. A beer could nearly the same as your whole meal at lunch time. If you want the beer, have the beer…. I am Emma the Enabler and not a party pooper.

Be Brave

Go for lunch in the place that looks dingy and dark. Walk in the door of the noisy  place with picture food. Try things you wouldn’t otherwise pick. If you are not paying full price for an evening meal it is a good excuse to give something different or somewhere different a go. You may find the perfect lunch spot and it may always remain a lovely lunch place but keep you happy.

Discount Vouchers

When we do eat out in the evening we will more than likely choose somewhere in the Entertainment Book. Having the app on our phones has meant we have used it so much more. Using the vouchers is also a way to discover new places and helps with the being brave part.

Go Out Separately 

I am the one who eats out the most in our family. We do not always eat out together and when you see my food pics, I am often out with friends. This cuts the cost of eating out and means that as the foodie, I get to eat out more. We do do pocket money accounts and I then have my own food fund.

Joining a group of like minded foodies is also a good way to eat out without your partner or non foodie friends. Wellington Foodies is a great place to start and I have met some fab people through belonging to this group.

I am not going to write a list with links, you need to discover these places for yourself. Ask away  on FB if you would like any top tips or have something to add.

Comes and Goes- Shut Me Up

Sorry, this photograph has to be big. Just look at that.

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The Nest- Pumpkin seed crumbed soft boiled egg , filo pastry nest , beetroot ketchup, feta and mesclun salad.

 

This is not something I normally say but, I was wrong.

I have been laughing about how Insta/Snapchat the food at Comes and Goes in Petone is and being rather judgemental about how it could not taste as good as it looks. It sure does taste as good as it looks and my mind was blown by this dish, The Nest.

The Nest is two pumpkin seed crumbed soft boiled egg , filo pastry nest , beetroot ketchup, feta and mesclun salad. Just look at that, it is a plate of beauty and the taste was amazing.

I do have to warn you, we had to wait for a table on a Friday early lunch time. I am so pleased we did wait, it sure was worth it.

So I eat my words, not only is the food Insta/Snap worthy it tastes mighty fine too.

One more photo……….

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Degustation -I got Mr Muffin involved at Jano Bistro.

Almost a year ago I  went to Jano Bistro for their degustation. Last night, I did it again and Mr Muffin came along too.

This is a minor miracle. Mr M does enjoy eating out but it is normally of the Asian variety and comes with a kick.We went along with friends who had never done a degustation either and they too were left impressed with Jano’s too.

The food looked fantastic and tasted amazing too. We talked about the wonderful thing about doing a degustation menu is eating things you would never order. We all ate just about everything on our plate. Mr M left a small part of the calamari mousse but it was finished by our dining companion.

I am now plotting our next fancy dinner out, I may have to wait a couple of months but I have plans in my head and they may involve the Artisan Dining House.

Now, I am not one for descriptions or remembering the exact description of a dish. I can tell you that all the elements on the plate went perfectly and I am just going to give a brief hint with the pictures (click to enlarge). If you want to go, you need to book and they can adjust the menu to suit dietary needs.

 

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Salmon

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Pork

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Palate Cleanser

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Fish

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Lamb

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Cheese

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Dessert

Tequila Joe’s, Eat All You Can Tacos.

*not a sponsored post

You know how you always have that one place you always talk about going to but never do?

Tequila Joe’s and their eat all you can taco Tuesday’s was just that for me and some friends. This week we finally went and we ate all we could. Each of us ladies had 6 each, shared two baskets of fries and one of corn chips. I think we did well as the tacos are not those tiny ones.

All of the tacos were excellent, the fries were fab and the food kept on coming until we could eat no more. Not only do you get various tacos but Baja fries and corn chips too. To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy the tacos as much as I did and my expectations weren’t high. I really enjoyed the evening, the atmosphere and the food. I think the pork were my favourite and I am not a big pork fan.

Check their website and Facebook for the information. I do believe they are now doing Taco Thursday too. it is best to book.

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Beef

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Chicken

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Pork

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Fish

A Day Off, Baron Hasselhoff’s And The Beach House and Kiosk.

Yesterday was the first day of summer down this end of the world. In Wellington it started out grey and eventually turned into summer. It was a perfect day for heading over to the south coast of the city and for a bit of an adventure.

I picked up my friend Lily to head to the Beach House and Kiosk. I decided a detour down Adelaide Road with a stop off at a chocolatier’s was in order and I am mighty glad we did.

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Excuse the not very good photo but you get the gist.

Baron Hasselhoff’s was amazing and I think I speak for both of us when I say we left happy. It is a small place with chocolates that amaze. It reminds me of visiting choccywoccydoodah in Brighton. You can see the mind at work making the delightful chocolates. These are not your run of the mill chocolates, they are thought out and considered flavours. They are very different chocolates to I have had anywhere else and I will certainly be treating myself to a box of 6 soon.  While in there we had a good chat with the owner and did rather a lot of trying samples, buying chocolates and eating them right there, it was fun. I loved the Rose, raspberry and pomegranate molasses and was surprised by the liquorice root mallow puff.

After our chocolate stop we headed to the cafe at the end of the road and around by red rocks. The cafe that was here previously had rather a sad reputation and was a bit unloved by locals. It is the first stop for many people who have emigrated here or are on holiday, it was our first cafe in New Zealand. Wellington…… you need to rethink that!

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The cafe has been renovated and is now the Beach House And Kiosk, it is stunning. The views around there are the same jaw dropping views and now the cafe is back to matching the scenery. We both loved the decor and the ambiance. It feels good and is a place I would drive out of my way to visit. The cakes on the counter looked lovely, the service was nice, friendly and Kiwi. The food we ordered was also excellent. Our one gripe was the duck fat spuds could have been cooked and little more.

The old owners of Elements and Zoe, one of the chefs from Elements are running this place. It showed in the food, the menu and I will certainly be back for more.

We shared a roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad and duck fat potatoes. Lily didn’t want the pecorino cheese on the spuds so I had mine on the side. Both dishes were lovely and we were left full. The smoked yoghurt with the cauliflower was a big winner. Oh, I forgot, we also fitted in half a doughnut each. That was good too.