Queen Of Jackson, Petone.

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The Queen Of Jackson, Petone- I wish I had food photos. I wish you could see all the food and all the lovely things. You would need to smell it and see how each dish varied. BUT….

I didn’t take a single food photo and I can’t show you anything, You will have to take my word for it. I was too busy chatting and having a mighty fine beer or two. The food was so damn fine. Ottolenghi meets New Zealand fine. I mean that and that is big praise.

On my last trip back to the UK I planned a trip for me and my bestie, we went to London. We stayed in a very lovely hotel and I fulfilled my dream of eating at Ottolenghi. It was lovely and I enjoyed the food. I can tick that one off my list. The food today at the Queen Of Jackson in Petone was easily up there with the Spitalfields experience, if not better.

The occasion for eating there was a bit of an early birthday celebration for me. I invited 7 friends for their set menu, this had finished the day before and we ended up getting a better deal.  The new deal is 4 plates for $50 and you leave your table by 7.00pm. Between 8 of us, we had 8 plates and two bowls of fries. It was plenty for a lunchtime and an absolute bargain. The food with the fab beer selection is heaven.

Every dish was delicious and I will be hard pressed to know what to have next time. I am not the biggest meat eater but I ate all the meat. I may even have had my mind changed about pork belly.

The dishes we had were-

Warm cauliflower salad, mint, currants, spring onion, yoghurt

(lovely, how can cauliflower taste like this?)

Israeli couscous, apricot, apple, mint, cumin, baba ganoush

(so full of flavour)

Salt & pepper squid, nam jim dressing

(didn’t try, left it to the lovers)

Pulled pork tacos, bourbon sauce, apple slaw, pickled jalapenos

(delicious, great corn tacos and fab pork)

Chicken karaage, sriracha kewpie, kimchi slaw

(huge pile and so very tasty)

Pork belly, parsnip puree, fried chorizo & pinot noir sauce

(changed my mind about pork belly, that parsnip mash mmmmm)

Spiced lamb meatballs, Israeli couscous, feta yogurt

(so very tasty)

Seared beef tri-tip, french fried onion, habanero mustard

(yum, I finished this one up and scraped up all the mustard)

And two bowl of the Triple cooked hand cut fries, aioli.

(the fries here are always delicious)

 

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Artisan Dining House- Have You Been?

 

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Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef fillet with beans, mushroom tortellini, consommé and snow.

I am often asked about where to dine for an important occasion or to satisfy that need for impeccable service and exceptional food. When I hear other people answer this question the obvious Logan Brown and Boulcott Street Bistro just about always come up. They are both nice places but Wellington does have other options. One of my suggestions is always Artisan Dining House at The Bolton Hotel. 

Last night we had a wonderful meal at Artisan and I will keep suggesting it to anyone who will listen.

My meal was the entry for Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018 and I would call it a winner. If you have an occasion coming up or just need a great meal out you really should go and try this beef dish. I was impressed with how all the components worked together. It really is worth a trip to try this while you still can. Mr had the venison and was equally impressed.

As well as great mains the beer selection and desserts were mighty fine too. I enjoyed the Panhead Supercharger. For dessert, Mr was in heaven with one of his favourites, rice pudding. This rice pudding came with an extra special touch, a collection of do-it-yourself additions as well as quince. I chose the Organic chocolate and cherries with honey and yoghurt and it was amazing. I didn’t share.

 

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Let me know when you visit and try to go soon to have the Silver Fern Farm 2018 entry. Just so you know, it is in the Entertainment Book.

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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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30 Day Entertainment Book- Excellent For Your New Zealand Or Australian Holiday.

Kangaroo and cheeky fantail.

15% off at Australia Zoo.

This is not a sponsored post, just passing on my knowledge (I can be thanked in food! )

The Entertainment Book is a New Zealand and Australian thing. It is sold by charities or organisations and a fundraiser and is fantastic. I have included it a good few posts as we get it every year for the Wellington region. As mentioned in a previous post, we got one for our holiday in Port Douglas and Cairnes a few years ago.

Lamb Pizza

25% off the bill at Miss Moneypenny’s, Noosa Heads.

Previous Entertainment Book Posts.

This year there was a new idea, a 30-day book. I say book, we used the fab App.There isn’t really a book. With this new feature you can pick a start date and you have 30 days from then to use it. This came at a perfect time for us as and our family holiday to Noosa and Brisbane (Brisbane 17/18). It was easier to use in Brisbane but we got great use out of it and not only did the Entertainment Book save us money but it also saved our sanity.

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25% off at Phat Elephant, Brisbane.

On the App there is this fabulous button and I was mocked by my family for my love of this button, it is called, Near Me. It finds where you are and pulls up the information for all the things around you with offers in the book. It is great. Many of our eating decisions were made based on if they were in ‘The Book’ or not. This wasn’t just for saving money but because if a place is in The Book then generally they are used by locals and worth a visit. Some you may have not have even noticed or gone to if you were an average tourist. We went to a lovely Italian we wouldn’t have visited otherwise and ventured more out of Noosa Heads because we had ideas of what was there.

We used our Book not just for food but for adventure too. We went on The Wheel Of Brisbane because The Book got us 50% off. Our Australia Zoo tickets were 15% off and booked online.

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50% off The Wheel Of Brisbane. My selfie.

I have been passionate about The Entertainment Book for a while now and I often tell people about it.  I do like to feel as if I am clever and saving a few dollars here and there. We paid $30 for 30 days and gained this amount in savings in 2 days. It is so worth it, even if your family do mock you every time you stand still and shout, ‘I’m just going to press near me’.

Our value received was calculated by The Book to be $245.

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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.

A Walk In The Woods And Then Yatra.

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I have a 13 year old, she is a very typical 13 year old and we always love each other. That is all I will say.

This weekend she was grounded for doing the things 13 year old people do. Being grounded means a family walk with no technology. In the past couple of months we have had a couple of good walks including the beautiful Pencarrow Lighthouse.

Today we headed for Pakuratahi Forest , just past Upper Hutt. Tanes Track was a lovely a 1 hour round walk including the small diversion to go and look at the old railway tunnel. I must admit we didn’t walk through the tunnel, just in a bit. It is long and Miss wouldn’t come in.

The walk was of course followed by food. We didn’t picnic but headed to Yatra Restaurant in Upper Hutt. Now Yatra does not do the usual lunch time deal but they are in the Entertainment Book.

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Yatra is a beautiful little place, the tables are chunky dark wood with engravings and the water cups were stainless steel. We loved it. The food was excellent too.I think the onion bhaji were some of my favourite ever and the portion was huge.

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I had the Reshmi Paneer for main and really enjoyed it. I must confess to bringing half home as it was a big portion. The plan was to eat it for lunch tomorrow but I ate it for tea tonight. I am not a fan of left overs so this was a miracle. Mr had Chilli Chicken and it had a good tang, I would eat it too. Miss had the Chicken Tikka Masala and made a very good dent in it. The chicken was in good size chunks.

Next time we go to Yatra we will have two mains, a bread each and the onion bhaji. There will be another grounding, another walk and an excuse to go to Yatra.

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.