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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Review Of The High Tea At The Bolton Hotel And A Metre Long Pizza Experience With Mediterranean Foods.

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My latest High Tea Society Review At Bolton Hotel, Artisan Restaurant is up and it is a goody. I am currently trying to convince the family to go on holiday to Singapore so I can’t get myself a teapot. Postage from the website may be cheaper but Singapore has so much food to try and the Postie doesn’t.

Last weekend on Facebook I had some great news, I won the special Monday metre long pizza at Mediterranean Foods. Yes, 1 meter long. I was very good and shared with my family and friends. It was very impressive and very good. We got to choose 3 different pizzas to be featured. We had Italia, SicilIa and Chioggia. It fed 5 of us and for $55 I think that is pretty good. The novelty of the huge pizza was easily matched by the great taste. The restaurant and shop have been refurbished and look fantastic.

 

 

Yes, I have had a week that has been all about food. That is every week but this week has been extra foodie with the pizza above and a few changes at work. I started new hours at and this meant a whole hour for lunch. Working in the suburb I work in means I have plenty of choices for lunch. This week I had a very good Palak Paneer with naan bread ($9.50) at The Curry Pot  and Huarache Patria ($13 beef with green sauce) at Viva Mexico. Both were so very good and rather cheap.

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Today I also had pancakes ($16) at the new cafe in Petone, Seashore Cabaret. They were the best pancakes I have had in the Wellington Region, the coffee was also good and I love the decor. I wasn’t expecting the place to please me, but it did.

If you are Tim my personal trainer, I would still give myself 7/10 for my diet. There was fruit and veg involved.

Taste of Raj, Petone – A Great New Indian.

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Taste of Raj, Petone.

Last week we notices a new India in Petone. This weekend we arranged to go in blind and give it a try with some friends. It is located down the supermarket end of Jackson Street and has a rather bright sign in the colours of the Indian flag. It was formerly Black Olive and is a lovely space for a restaurant.

When eating in Petone it is always a good idea to book to avoid disappointment, Taste Of Raj wasn’t full this time, I can see that once word gets around booking will be a necessity. My advice would be to get in their first and be the cool one in the know! Anyway, onto the food, it was good, so very good.

We were a party of five and we did the traditional over order on the starters. We did manage to make a very good dent on the Onion Bhaji, Chicken Lollipop, and the Tandoori Dawat mixed platter. We all enjoyed the mix but agreed we wouldn’t order that much again. I was particularly taken with the fish tikka and that is something I wouldn’t usually order. The mixed platter arrived on a very decent bed of vegetables which also got a good picking over.

For mains we each picked a dish and went for the bread basket. Mains were Chicken Korma (mild as ordered by Miss M), Lamb  Dhansak, Murgh Tikka Makahani Palak, Chicken Jalfrezi and Vegetable Kohlapuri. I chose the later and had never heard of it before, it was a lovely tomato based sauce packed full of vegetables. All of the mains were declared excellent and we are all big fans of Indian food. The bread basket was huge and the above photograph only shows on basket, there was so much naan that two baskets were needed. They checked on our progress and if we needed any more rice a couple of times, which was nice.

All up, a excellent meal and we would all go back. We have talked several times about ‘next time’ today. That is always a good sign of how good somewhere is.

Go in, give it a try and don’t be put off by the signs. I sincerely hope they stick around as the whole meal was a lovely experience.

Gr8 Tandoori – At Last, Somewhere To Lunch In Lower Hutt.

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Gr8 Tandoori, Lower Hutt.

Today my little family went to a new Indian restaurant in Lower Hutt and I am pleased to announce, we loved it.  It was delicious and full of fresh spices. It is in a funny little spot and well worth finding. If you come out of the mall at that crossing where you can cross all the ways, walk in front of Cash Converters and go left in the little parking lot. It is next to the Cheesecake Shop.

When we walked in it looked fantastic and smelt wonderful. The decor is modern Indian and lovely. The seating is tables and booths and the kitchen open to view. Our visit was for Sunday lunch as they have a special lunch menu and we love our Indian lunches. They are good value and include rice and plain naan bread for around $10.  You can upgrade your plain naan for a $1 and add a soft drink for the same amount.

This time we went straight for the main but on our next visit we will certainly try some starters. Miss Muffin was very Kiwi and ordered a Butter Chicken (mild) with a plain naan, Mr M had the Chicken Balti (Indian hot) with a plain naan and I used the opportunity to eat some cauliflower and had Aloo Gobi with a garlic naan. The portion sizes were large and the serving bait dish was stacked full of food, the portion of rice was also a very good size and the naan were big and very fresh.

We all enjoyed our food. Miss Muffin finished most of her meal in record time. Mr Muffin liked the heat of his curry and the fact that the naan was not dripping in oil or butter. I loved the freshness of my cauliflower and potato and the taste of cumin. This was a very successful lunch stop and we will be back. We often struggle to find somewhere we want to eat in the Hutt at lunch time, problem solved. I think we will soon be going in the evening to meet friends who love their Indian food too.

Petone- it is NOT THAT FAR PEOPLE.

I can’t believe the amount of people who think Petone is like a million miles away.from Wellington. From our house, up near Mount Kaukau, we can be there and parked in 15 minutes. Parking is easy and the drive is pretty.

In the past few years Petone has grown into a foodie heaven. It is another place we love to do our cheap family weekend lunches. It has good foodie shopping as well with Ontrays, The Dutch Shop , Ankurs Nice n Spice , The Spice Rack and probably a couple I have forgotten.

It is also a great place to go in the evening, it has some great watering holes. The Sprig and Fern is at the Wellington end of Jackson Street, there is also the Speights pub but we have never been in there. Down further there is Queen of Jackson which is fairly new, has a great beer selection and has a roof top terrace (will be visiting it soon) and close by is the former Empire, now called The Butcher and Brewer.  We will also be visiting and eating at The Butcher and Brewer, our plan is to get The Big Butcher as we will have my parents visiting . I will come back and report.

Just a quick plug before I get onto writing about where I have eaten- Petone now also has a brewery , down the side street by Mcdonalds is Baylands Brewery and Beer Supplies. 

So time for me to lecture you, I will start from the Wellington end of Jackson Street.

K Sing- 

Mains around $17, large portions

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This is another family Saturday lunch place. We came here on whim about 4 years ago and have been coming back every couple of months since. Miss Muffin (11yrs) is just beginning to explore more dishes and grow her taste buds, her normal order is chicken satay, summer rolls and plain rice.
I am not going into big descriptions of the food because you need to experience the wonderful fresh tastes yourself. The portions are large and the menu is the same at lunch time as in the evening. In the evening you do need to book and it has the added extra of being BYO wine and beer. Their home steamed peanuts in sesame are for sale near the till, they are good.

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Kilim

Mains around $15 at lunch

Love, love, love the vegetarian meze plate with all the bits. This is one of the places I come with girlfriends for a plate of yum and a good chat. For a kebab place it is more pricey than average, I think it is worth it. For some reason husband and daugher are not fans. I am happy to keep it as my place.

First Choice-

Mains around $17

This is a funny place, the food isn’t what you would call authentic but is still good. I would liken it to chip shop Chinese in a restaurant environment. When we have been we have enjoyed eating in a group of people and sharing lots of dishes. The cumin lamb has been a favourite.When eating in here there is a real mixed bunch of people. Some eat Chinese and others steak, egg and chips. You can even get a slice of white buttered bread.I wouldn’t go here for the real Chinese deal but more the Western idea of what Chinese food is. It is good food.

Taylors on Jackson- NOW CLOSED

Mains around $30

I have posted about my feelings about Glen’s food before here. As I can cook I choose to eat out food that wouldn’t be so easy to do at home, this is that food. You can read others reviews all over the internet and see that I am not the only one loving the flavours and combinations, have a look on Zomato.  This is a great place for a celebration, a chat and dinner with friends and because you need to believe in unpretentious good food.

Mr Ji’s Kitchen-

Lunch meals (includes rice) around $14, in the evening around $18

Another Saturday lunch time haunt for our little family. We have been coming to Mr Ji’s for a good few years now, mainly at lunch time but there has been the odd evening meal too. At all times we have found the food excellent and with lovely big portions. Our lunch time order is usually some pan-fried dumplings, spring onion bread (kind of like roti), main ,for me- shredded pork with garlic sauce , Kung Pao chicken for Mr and either noodles or satay chicken for Miss. We also have the tea.The portions at lunch time are huge and easily enough to be a meal. They always have a good serving of veg with them and it is different veg for different dishes.We have always had good service and have never had to wait too long for food.

And now  couple of additions that aren’t in Jackson Street.

La Bella Italia-

Prices vary, can use Entertainment Book.

What a fast, efficient and lovely place to have a sociable meal in. My only complaint would be that the portion could have been bigger as all my pasta vanished far too quickly.Walking into here it is hard to believe that you are not going to walk out and actually be in Italy. It is rather disappointing to be in an industrial part of Petone but you can see the sea.This place is a definite on the using the Entertainment Book voucher.

Maharajas-

Mains around $18

Have just had dinner here on a Tuesday night.  I went with another foodie who had never been before, we left full, very happy and talking of our return.
If you drive to go here and get put off by the outside, please go in. The resturant is out the back and a lovely set up. This is a family business that has been running for nearly 25 years, the owner told us that tonight.
When I told my husband I was coming here with a girlfriend, he was jealous. That is how good this place is.  We have been a good few times and have not had a bad meal. The one particular thing that keeps us coming back are the  kathi rolls, read the menu and look at the starters.
If you want real Indian food and to taste great fresh spices, come here.

Crazy Cakes and Donuts-

About $3 a donut.

This place is my guilty secret, as I bake a lot I am rather fussy when it comes to slices and cakes. Crazy Cakes and Donuts wins me over and keeps me happy everytime.These are not the deepfried cinnamon and sugar type of donut but more the bread kind. I like them that much that I have figured out if you buy the kids bunny shaped donut you get more. I always go for the iced variety and the husband tries all different kinds from the Filipino side on the right.This is a family run business, give them a go.