The End of WOAP 2017. My Last Burger Was My Best Burger. Carrello Del Gelato and The Borough.

So it is all over. I swore I wouldn’t eat any bread with things in it for a while, that didn’t last. Just yesterday I had a Halloumi Burger at The Chippery and it was lovely.

My final two burgers were good ones. My last burger was my winner, it was mad,  incredible and a brain teaser. Anyway, the final burgers.

The Borough

This burger was good, the patty was really tasty and I could tell it wasn’t just beef. The halloumi could have been a bit thicker so that it tasted a bit more. I did enjoy it t.

I had the burger as part of the 2 course with beer menu. The dessert was a little odd, I love a good semolina cake but this was served with a chocolate ganache. The chocolate ganache was more like buttercream and didn’t go with the cake at all.

The main let down was how noisy The Borough is, I was there with a group of friends and we couldn;t hear each other. The service was also terrible. I felt like we were served by my stroppy teenage daughter. It did amuse us though.

The Borough Garage Burger

Pork and beef patty with fried Zany Zeus halloumi, Garage Project La Calavera Catrina hot sauce, beetroot relish and onion in a Nada Bakery brioche bun, with malt vinegar chips.

Dessert

Semolina lemon syrup cake with chocolate ganache.

 

Carrello del Gelato

These guys get a big title. They won my Burger Wars.

I know, a sweet burger? Yep. It was a very clever burger. It looked so much like a burger and that fact hurt my brain. My mouth kept expecting warm and meat but got cold and ice cream. When my brain got the sweet signals it was very happy.

I was stunned, as were my family. They were a bit silly and didn’t get one for themselves but I gave in and let them try mine. The Clareville Bakery doughnut bun was warm and this made it easier to eat the Cookie-crumbed burnt chocolate gelato patty. Everything about this burger came together, the sauces were great and the ‘cheese’ was the perfect thickness.

I finished Visa WOAP 2017 very happy.

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It’ll Be Sweet 2.0!

Cookie-crumbed burnt chocolate gelato patty with Bohemein white chocolate cheese, smoked salted caramel mustard and raspberry ketchup in a Clareville Bakery doughnut bun.

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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 Excitement – Visa Wellington On A Plate 2016.

2016WOAP

This week was the week of weeks for foodies in Wellington, it was the launch of Visa Wellington On A Plate. I wasn’t lucky enough to attend but sat at home waiting for the site to go live and I then vanished into the land of planning my eating.

I have a couple of events that I would love to go to and some eating planned already. I don’t want to divulge my events until I know I have the tickets, I will tell you fancy dress and spicy food feature. I am lucky to have a great friend who is going to be the buyer the of the tickets and go for it as soon as they are released at 12pm on the 13th June ’16. That friend is Lily who after a stint on Master Chef NZ 2015 is now writing her own lovely blog, Lemon Chilli.

The 2016 Burgers have 4 sweet choices this year. I think I may have to give them a try. The venison burgers also sound great. For the days when I feel like being meat free, I also have options.

In the past August has seen me eating more burgers in a couple of weeks than I eat in the rest of the year, being rather invisible at home and having a very good time. I can’t wait for 2016 and I hope it is as fun as other years.

My Visa WOAP 2015 involved many a burger, pigs trotters, lambs brains and other offal. There were lots of laughs and Mr Muffin and I had the best night out at The Roman Feast event held at The Artisan Restaurant (still thanking you MacClean) . The Artisan has an excellent sounding and challenging burger this year and another major event, you can look here for all of their offerings.

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Get browsing, get planning and get ready to get eating. Stretchy pants are advised.

Just have to add this last photo, eating a burger as big as our heads back in 2014!

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant.

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant, Bolton Hotel. Executive chef, Maclean Fraser.

When I first browsed the Visa Wellington On A Plate brochure this event sprang out at me as I had recently eaten at ARTSIAN Restaurant and loved the food. A series of events, including my declaration to try offal this year, saw me and Mr Muffin attending. We faced up to the challenge of eating all the things put in front of us and had an excellent time whilst doing so. We throughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Our evening began with a wait in the lobby, a chalice of mulled wine and a trip up the stairs to find the normally rather ordinary looking restaurant turned into a Roman themed eating den. The light was mainly from candles and all kinds of greenery, citrus fruit and grapes decorated the tables. The chairs and beds arranged along the banquet style tables were draped with blankets and cushions. The whole place looked very different to my last visit. The seating was an informal affair and we got to choose where we sat. We picked a mighty fine group to spend our evening with. Two of our party had travelled from Auckland just to attend the event and another pair were from Palmerston North.

IMG_3421

Each place had a name card, I was The Perfect. We soon got talking to our table as the ice was broken with our cutlery being thrown over our shoulders onto the table and the menu presented. It was announced that there were no rules when you dine like a Roman and shortly after that the feasting began. All evening the food was served in very generous portions, the wine flowed and a festive atmosphere remained. Mr Muffin declared that whatever event was to be held at ARTISAN with chef Maclean Fraser, we will be attending it next year.

Where else can you go to an event and hear these lines?

“You have demolished the chicken but you do still have some in your beard”.

“I will take the pigs teeth home for Miss Muffin and the snout for Milly dog”.

“I don’t know what the bits are but I am telling myself they are walnuts……..they are walnuts?”.

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You wouldn’t want to be a vegetarian at a Roman Feast! I have mentioned before that I am not a big meat eater, all that changed at this feast. I ate meat, trotters, brains and various other parts of animal that I probably don’t know about. Best of all, I enjoyed it. It was a great way to leap over the offal hurdle and into the world of a proper meat eater. I feel I earned my badge last night and enjoyed getting it.

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To begin we had delicious warm bread with a side of full fat milk. The hint of honey made dipping the warm bread in milk a little less strange and it was good.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

The goat stew came next, it was delicious. The goat was in cubes and there were no bones, previously when we have had goat it has been off the bone. This dish changed my mind and I would now buy and cook with goat. This was a fragrant dish and reminded me a little of Malaysian rendang. The liquamen, we discovered, is a fish sauce used by Romans and is similar to Asian fish sauces.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

I don’t know what I expected but it didn’t look like this in my head. I think I was expecting something standing up and looking rather frightening. This looked far more like a sausage and was a lot more appealing than the picture in my head. However, this dish was still the first real eating challenge of the evening as it was different and the little trotter could be seen. I may have had a little nervous giggle or two. At our table we dug in. It was delicious and amazing. The trotter skin formed a casing for the filling as it had been deboned and then stuffed with the chicken and livers. The truffle sauce was a wonderful addition. It was excellent watching other people eat and how they handled the end. I ate to somewhere near the end of the trotter and others ate around and left a tidy mound of nails and bone.

Pullus Farsilis. Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

Pullus Farsilis.
Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

A whole small chicken was shared between two people. Yes, you read correctly. The chicken was placed on the table and a carving knife stabbed into it. This touch was funny as it was things like this that kept the evening amusing. Every group around us tackled the carving last differently. Some carved delicate slices off, other shared directly from the bird and we cut it completely in half.

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The stuffing with the mystery texture.

This was a big small bird. The stuffing was challenging to some as there were unusual textures. It may have been the brains or simply the spelt. Whatever it was we ate it and a few mantras of ‘it is just walnuts’ could be heard. I really enjoyed it and Mr Muffin was amazed that the taste was familiar enough that he must have had it somewhere before.

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Aliter Porcellum. Roast whole pig head carved banquet style with endive salad.

Being served half a pigs head between three was a very new thing to all. When it was put down it looked like a pretty ordinary cut until your eyes adjusted and realised that yes, that was a snout, there were indeed eyes and you could turn it over and have a good look at the inside of a pigs head.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Much laughter was had around the whole room as this head was tackled. The pork meat was different and the crackling was excellent. It was very crisp. A member of our end of the table was challenged to eat the snout and whilst finding his way down he discovered that the snout holds some very good secret meat. Next time you are served a pigs head, don’t forget to find the secret snout meat. He also had a little try of the snout. We weren’t that brave and brought ours home for our dog. She loved it.

This dish was the end of the meat courses and we were feeling rather full. Those sitting on beds had a nice lie down and a Roman rest before dessert.

Having a rest.

Having a rest.

 

Before dessert was served dry ice with the scent of vanilla refreshed the air. It felt like it cleansed the palate too.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira. Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira.
Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

This was delicious. I loved all of it. My ultimate favourite was the date stuffed with almond. I expected a marzipan type of texture but it was exactly what it said, an almond in a date. I had to convince others it wasn’t the stone. A few people around us had left when the meat finished (strange, I know) so we helped finish their desserts too. The dessert , served with a glass of port was a fantastic end to a fantastic evening.

Thank you Maclean Fraser, ARTISAN restaurant and the Bolton Hotel.