La Bella Italia- Petone Wins Again.

Last night I went out for a meal with a friend. Normally we go to a place where the Mr wouldn’t eat and decided to throw a bit of variety in and head out for Italian. We both like to use the Entertainment Book voucher and that did help with making the decision to go to La Bella Italia.

We met for a sneaky pre-dinner pint at Sprig and Fern. I enjoyed a limited addition red IPA. As it was a Friday night it was bustling and a great atmosphere. After our pint and chat, we walked to the industrial area where La Bella Italia is based. We had booked and on arrival, I was happy we did as it was busy.

My dining partner and I often order exactly the same and have very similar tastes. This time we realised we were both conflicted between two choices. We took the logical route and ordered one of each and shared. Both dishes were delicious and sharing was a fantastic idea.

The dishes we shared were-

Cannelloni di Crespelle -Crepes filled with spinach, ricotta and pecorino cheese with sage butter.

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They were good and very tasty. Rather than the cannelloni tubes, they were actual delicious crepes. We both really enjoyed these. I would have this dish again and eat it all. The balance was perfect.

Margherita- Fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes – san marzano

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We attacked the pizza before I got a good photo. This pizza was excellent, I think it would be my favourite in Wellington. It reminded me of the pizza I get in my hometown (Brighton) where there is a big Italian community. The base tasted of being cooked in an authentic way, the cheese was stringy and there was a good splash of a decent olive oil. I would go back for pizza.

For dessert, we didn’t share. That is not something either of us would do! I choose the Bombolone. I did enjoy them but I can’t say they left me amazed, they were just good. My dining companion had the Attaccadito and found it a little dry. On the way out I noticed an orange and almond cake in the cabinet and next time I will inquire about that.

We did have a lovely meal and a lovely time. It is a great place for people watching as there is no place to hide and it is well lit. I look forward to going back one day.

Bombolone -A warm cinnamon donut with vanilla gelato

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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.

Co’Ed Cafe on Queens, Lower Hutt- What A Find!

A while ago the Little Cafe popped up by the library and theatre in Lower Hutt. I meant to go when it first opened. It is now The Little Cafe and Co’Ed on Queens . Co’Ed sums up nicely what they are about in their twitter bio

“Coffee, it’s the world in your hands. Our passion is quality barista & cafe training for all, with a focus on diversity in the Coffee Industry”.

It is set partly inside a cafe with tables out in the spacious corridor, it is rather lovely and anyone who misses Reka should head straight there. We enjoyed hotcakes, very good coffee and chatting with a staff member about how she should love her tattoos. She was rather taken aback that I have a half sleeve, work in a bank and am rather older than her. She was lovely.

There is also a Co’Ed on Kings, I will let you know what I think when I go there. I would certainly head back to the Queens cafe and try all the huge slices.

So next time you are in the Hutt, ditch the mall coffee and head on out. that is an order. They are in the Entertainment book under Little Cafe.