Visa Wellington On A Plate, 2016.

It is August and the need for baggy pants is here. From 12th- 28th August Wellington is even more about food than usual as Visa Wellington On A Plate takes over the city. This post will be about my eating over the 2 and a bit weeks.

Welcome Home at Logan Brown.

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So, last night I had such a good feast at an event. The event was Welcome Home and at one of my favs, Logan Brown. If you are in Wellington I urge you to go, there are tickets available still for 23-25 August and at $99 a ticket, it was well worth it.

The evening was about eating food from Wellington’s newest ethnic communities. You can read the official story here. I am not going to describe all of the dishes as that is part of the evening but I will leave you with some photographs. This food was between two of us and we both really enjoyed the whole huge meal. Everything was beautiful and I have a new love of rehydrated tealeaves. If you want to see the menu it is here.

 

My first Burger Wellington, Arizona – Danny’s Champion Pheasant.

Arizona’s own pheasant patty with pistachios, house smoked garlic butter, gorged raisins and Capital Produce celeriac remoulade on a Brezelmania saffron burger bun. Garage Project beer match: Hakituri (+ BEER $30)

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I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while and he suggested a few burgers, this was my pick. I have to be honest and say I was a little bit hesitant about trying a pheasant burger. Pheasant isn’t new to me but I hadn’t tried it for years. This burger is not 100% pheasant, it has a bit of chicken and the pistachios mixed in. This makes for a very tasty patty. The whole burger was good but did have to be eaten fast before the celeriac remoulade soaked through the base.

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The polenta fries were an added bonus, there wasn’t any mention of them on the Wellington On A Plate listing and they were good. The beer was a great beer match. All up, I enjoyed this burger, the beer and bonus polenta fries. It was interestingly different.

Artisan Dining House – Longbush ‘SPAM’ Burger and a Magical Dessert.

Longbush ‘SPAM’ patty with Meat Direct crumbed lambs brain and homemade apple and pineapple relish on a bun, with chilli butter potato peels.

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By golly, such a British thing to say but so fitting for both the burger, the dessert.When I first read the menus for Visa Wellington On A Plate Artisan was the first place I purposely searched for. MacLean Fraser is a chef I admire and know will produce interesting food. No run of the mill patty would appear on this menu.

Today I tried that burger and the amazing potato peels and would give it an easy 10/10. The patty and relish went so well together, the fruit working with the SPAM perfectly and the bun was light and fluffy.

I returned home telling Mr Muffin that he may need to come back with me and fully embrace the SPAM. My ulterior motive being to have the dine menu and that mighty fine and crazy dessert again. That dessert, a bowl arrives looking a tad strange with a layer of white chocolate, warm sauce is the poured on to the chocolate and the magic begins. I will leave my description there as you need to form your own opinion. Only a few days left now, get ringing to book your table -phone 04 462 3770.

I dined with my fellow Brit, Lucy from Wellington Foodies who took the wonderful photos.

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The Excitement – Visa Wellington On A Plate 2016.

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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.

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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.

Visa Wellington On A Plate 2015.

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It is that time of year again, the time where much of Wellington is as obsessed with food as I am.  It is Visa Wellington On A Plate time!

My magazine with all the menus and events is looking rather tattered and google gets the web page up rather quickly. I have browsed so much I can almost tell you who is doing what. I am currently in awe of a friend who has detailed burger list and I have my dates lined up and hoping to add a couple more. My family knows they won’t  see me every evening for these two weeks.

I did go to an event with Mr Muffin, he enjoyed himself as much as I did as we ate and dined like Romans. You can  read all about it here.

For my first burger I went out for a date that was made on twitter with a few good women. We had a very long twitter thread going and eventually arrived at a date we could all do and chose our Burger Wellington eating joint. The reason for our choice was the 3 burgers on offer and the fact that I rated the burger last year.

City Dining and Bar

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This isn’t some where I would normally consider eating at but it was busy and it is advisable to book. I think the three burgers and a vegetarian option are a good draw card. I had the Mazzerati Burger, as did most of our party.

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Corn fritter with fried Zany Zeus halloumi and avocado salsa on a Pandoro brioche bun, with rosemary fries and saffron aioli.

The was burger was very good and I really enjoyed it. The corn fritter was a decent burger size, halloumi was a great edition, the bun was lovely and the salsa was good and garlicky.

I also enjoyed the rosemary fries and could have eaten far more of them. I didn’t need more but I wanted them! The saffron aioli was also rather fab and declared very butter like and perfect. I don’t think any one had any left in their little pot. The people who opted for the milkshake enjoyed those too.

Another great Visa Wellington On A Plate 2015 burger from City Dining and Bar.

The Old Bailey.

OB Jerk Chicken Burger.

OB Jerk Chicken Burger.

Jerk-style chicken breast with crunchy slaw, caramelised pineapple and Kāpiti brie in a Zaida’s bun, with fries

I booked a table to ensure that we could get in on a Friday night. It was a good job I did as the pub was packed and there was a lot of eating happening. Both of us went for the burger, we did consider the 2 course menu but just kept coming back to the burger. It was a good choice.

The burger was actually chicken pieces, the fries were good old shoestring and there was a side of aoioli and ketchup. It was great not having to ask for both to be provided. The burger bun was stuffed with plenty of succulent chicken which had a great jerk flavour. We both really enjoyed the burger and were rather stuffed afterwards.

I would consider eating here now, I guess that is how WOAP works for businesses.

Pan De Muerto.

Burger Mexicana.

Burger Mexicana.

Corn and cinnamon-crusted chicken breast with char-grilled Anaheim chilli pineapple and guacamole in a house-made bun, with Mexican street corn and corn chips

Blimey, this burger is rather large. I did ponder how I was going to get my mouth around it. All 5 of us did the cut it in half and dive in method. The chicken was very well crumbed, very tender and the rest of the filling went very well. I have to confess that I could very easily go back and eat this again. I really did like the crumb and the sides.

The sides were corn on the cob with a spicy taste and the corn chips with a fresh salsa. These added a nice little extra and made a change from fries. All up, a fantastic burger.

The Butcher and Brewer

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This pub is where The Empire used to be about half the way down Jackson Street. I really like the new feel of this place and I choose it for a group meeting venue during Wellington on A Plate. The menu and the burger menus impressed me. The only time I had eaten in here previously was to order onion rings whilst having a pre-dinner drink, they were damn fine onion rings too.

I tried to resist the burger but I was drawn in by the meat, meat and more meat.

Beef with streaky bacon, pineapple, guacamole, pulled pork and Kererū dark beer cheese in a Kaiser roll. Garage Project beer match: White Mischief

This burger was grand. It was a tower of meat and another very great burger. The patty was tasty and had a lovely texture, I even enjoyed the taste of the bacon and the pulled pork was a great touch. My only negative would be the bun, it couldn’t really hold its own against so much filling and I did resort to using a knife and fork.

After the burger I decided to veer off the WOAP menu and order the Mini Doughnut Medley. I had no idea of what to expect but when the little deep fried morsels arrived I grinned like a Cheshire cat. This was one fab dessert and I am plotting and scheming my way to have it again, I loved it.

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