Degustation -I got Mr Muffin involved at Jano Bistro.

Almost a year ago I  went to Jano Bistro for their degustation. Last night, I did it again and Mr Muffin came along too.

This is a minor miracle. Mr M does enjoy eating out but it is normally of the Asian variety and comes with a kick.We went along with friends who had never done a degustation either and they too were left impressed with Jano’s too.

The food looked fantastic and tasted amazing too. We talked about the wonderful thing about doing a degustation menu is eating things you would never order. We all ate just about everything on our plate. Mr M left a small part of the calamari mousse but it was finished by our dining companion.

I am now plotting our next fancy dinner out, I may have to wait a couple of months but I have plans in my head and they may involve the Artisan Dining House.

Now, I am not one for descriptions or remembering the exact description of a dish. I can tell you that all the elements on the plate went perfectly and I am just going to give a brief hint with the pictures (click to enlarge). If you want to go, you need to book and they can adjust the menu to suit dietary needs.

 

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Salmon

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Pork

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Palate Cleanser

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Fish

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Lamb

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Cheese

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Dessert

Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages – Mighty Fine When You Can’t Have Beer Or Wine.

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I received an email from PR firm Lily and Louis  about using Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages in a cocktail. I think that is a mighty fine idea if you are drinking alcohol. It then crossed my mind that these lovely drinks are not very popular in New Zealand and although we often have a couple in the fridge, I had never seen any friends with them. I think they are a very European thing? I was sent a six pack of all three flavours above so that I may share and tell you what you are missing out on.

When we visited the UK  in the summer of 2016,  Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages were everywhere. Pubs, restaurants, cafes and even the real greasy fry up cafes stocked them. We drank them on a daily basis and defiantly had more Sanpellegrino than tea.

Now, I am not going to pretend that these are some kids drink that you load up a fridge with, no, no, no…… these are special. I would say these are grown up drinks and my teenager coverts them and thinks I am fab when I let her have a share in mine.

Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages are the answer to what to take to a party, BBQ or dinner party when you are not drinking. Carrying in a 6 pack of these is the way to be the cool sober driver and your host will appreciate any left over. I often enjoy one or half of one if the teenager got lucky with dinner. I find they go well with food of all kinds.

My  favourite is the Blood Orange, the Limonata is a close second. I hadn’t tried the Chinotto before, that is growing on me. I didn’t realise it was a special type of orange, it has a taste not unlike cola but is citrus tasting too.

We buy ours from Thorndon New World. They are rather hidden. If you stand facing the fizzy drinks isle, go to the furthest left and look down the bottom. All three of the above flavours are usually available. If they don’t have them in your supermarket, ask them to stock them.

Have you had any of the flavours before?

 

 

Hummingbird Bakery Books – You Need Them All.

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I have just discovered that I am missing a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook from my collection. Don’t worry, I have fixed things and ordered Home Sweet Home.

These books are the most amazing, mine are full of bookmarks. Everything I cook comes out fabulous and they are an enjoyment just to look at when you need to feel happy. My one regret from my last trip back to the UK was that I didn’t go to the actual bakery when I was in London. Next time I will make it top of my list.

My most recent bakes have been very successful, if I do say so myself.

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Yesterday, I made the Brooklyn Blackout Cake from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (p 54) and it saw off my grumps and was a bit of a challenge. I enjoyed every moment of making it and eating it. It is the kind of cake I would be happy to pay too much for a slice of.

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A couple of weeks ago I also made the Butterscotch Pecan Cheesecake from Cake Days (p174). I did reduce the cheese layer and did 2/3 of the original recipe. I kept the amount of base, nuts and delicious butterscotch layer the same. It was so very good and my friends were all impressed.

So, off you go…… buy them all. I am not going to blog the recipes because you need these beauties in your life.

 

Calling Major Tom- Read It!

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I was lucky enough to review this book, thanks to Hachette NZ, Hachette Aus and via NetGalley. It is due to be released at the end of January.

Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett

This book made me laugh, cry, giggle and gasp.
It isn’t in my nature to write spoilers but I will say if a book about family separation, life on Mars, lighting farts, mad old ninja women and unusual friendships appeals, this book is for you .
I loved it, I would preach to people that they had to read it. I may go and stand by it in a bookshop and recommend it to strangers.

Tequila Joe’s, Eat All You Can Tacos.

*not a sponsored post

You know how you always have that one place you always talk about going to but never do?

Tequila Joe’s and their eat all you can taco Tuesday’s was just that for me and some friends. This week we finally went and we ate all we could. Each of us ladies had 6 each, shared two baskets of fries and one of corn chips. I think we did well as the tacos are not those tiny ones.

All of the tacos were excellent, the fries were fab and the food kept on coming until we could eat no more. Not only do you get various tacos but Baja fries and corn chips too. To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy the tacos as much as I did and my expectations weren’t high. I really enjoyed the evening, the atmosphere and the food. I think the pork were my favourite and I am not a big pork fan.

Check their website and Facebook for the information. I do believe they are now doing Taco Thursday too. it is best to book.

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Beef

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Chicken

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Pork

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Fish

Newtown, A Lovely Place To Dine.

A few months ago I suddenly found myself working in Newtown. This was a bit of a sudden move and a shock. Once I got over the change I realised that I had a whole new world of food to explore. With a change in role and hours, I now get an hours lunch time. This make me happy. I will update on this post as I eat more and more food.

Viva Mexico

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Love Viva Mexico. We have been making the odd visit to the Left Bank Cuba restaurant for years and now I get to go to the far more spacious Newtown branch. The food is the same fab tasty dishes and it has a look of holiday about it, you certainly don’t feel like you are sat in Newtown. For lunch there are two $12 options- Quesadillas or Huarache Patria. You can choose various fillings for both. The photo above is of my vegetarian quesadillas, I really enjoyed the meal and it was nice and filling. I also have a soft spot for the Huarache Patria and I choose green sauce and beef.

The Ramen Shop

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I have been wanting to go to The Ramen house for a very long time. Previously they weren’t open when I had my lunch break but now with the luxury of an hour I can slurp at leisure. The day I visited with a friend I really liked the look of the Chilled Kimchi Noodles, not Ramen, I know. They were so very perfect and tasty, they were everything I hoped they would be from the menu description. My friend did something he has never done before, ordered a vegetarian dish. He went for the Shoyu Shiitake, I tried one of his pickled shiitake and it was delicious. He was very impressed that he enjoyed a vegetarian dish so much and we both left talking about next time. I am already dreaming about the Spicy Chicken Ramen.

Curry Pot

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We are big fans of eating at Indian restaurants at lunch time. They are often incredible value and you get to choose a main dish, rice and a plain naan for around $10-$12. At the weekend we often eat Indian food as our main meal. Near my workplace there are four Indian restaurants to choose from, yes, four. Lately the Curry Pot has been a favourite as they do a good lunch deal and great food. Their Palak Paneer is probably my favourite out of all the places we visit.

Mediterranean Foods

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This place has had one big make over and is now stunning. I haven’t actually had lunch here yet but will soon, they have a pasta dish of the week for $10 as well as other items on the menu. You can find out what the dish is on their Facebook page  and even watch how it is made. When I last went there it was for metre long pizza , I was very lucky and won the pizza on FB. They have a good few competitions. The pizza was delicious and we will certainly be back. It is the kind of place I would choose for a birthday dinner. I must go for lunch and a good browse around the shop.

 

 

Eating Auckland, OK it was work really but I did eat rather a lot.

*not a sponsored post*

In my other life I work for a major Australasian bank. Training for a new role took me up to Auckland last week. This was for 4 days with a rather nice hotel room and a fairly decent expenses budget. My first thoughts when booking the trip all involved food and eating out. I wasn’t keen on the idea of eating out alone and so I asked for company. I used social media and soon got myself 3 dates and some locals food knowledge. I love social media and I love food. Work is pretty great too.

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My lovely view.

Sometimes being the oldest in a group of people is a good thing. I had the foresight to join the club of the hotel I was booked in and give my club number when checking in. I also got to the hotel first and that may have influenced my excellent room. I was on the 13th floor, with a king bed and a city view with glimpses of the harbour. I stayed at Rydges Auckland and found the location fantastic. I felt safe walking around the area by myself and the hotel is a nice size.

So ….. the eating.

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I had what was probably my favourite meal of 2016. It blew me away. Back in July I went to Ottolenghi’s and I did love it but thought the portions could have been a lot larger. This meal in Auckland was more what I imagined and so very good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. This is what I wrote on Zomato.

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The atmosphere, surroundings and service were spot on. The food was incredible and even the bathroom is nice.

Between two of us we had the Afghan bread, smoked yoghurt labna, fattoush, wedding tabbouleh and the slow braised goat. Every dish was full of individuality , taste and flavour.

Next time I up up in Auckland this will be my first stop. I now have a new food aim, to eat their breakfast. In an ideal world I would try all of both menus. My one regret is I couldn’t fit pudding in.

Thank you for a lovely evening out Sarah, it was lovely to meet the real you.

The Federal Delicatessen

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Love this place and I just couldn’t resist a return visit. OK, so I went twice.

My first visit was for dinner with Wendy Wings and her lovely daughter. You can’t book so we waited for a table at the bar where you get to watch the kitchen, it is a pretty fab spot. I love the diner feel of the place and it has a happy feel. This visit I had a hot dog, poutine and New York Cheesecake. It was all spot on and I also loved the Black Cherry Soda.

My second visit was for breakfast and I just had to have the Griddle Cakes – blueberry buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon butter & strudel nut crunch. They were as good as I remembered from a past visit and I could see them being carefully cooked and the blueberries in the top being individually popped. The coffee was good too, I do love a bottomless cup.

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White and Wong

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I met another social media friends here who works for the same bank as me. He choose the place and it is a lovely location. We sat outside watching the harbour. White and Wong is good but not the cheapest Asian. The food was lovely and so is the location. I rather loved the steamed pork buns and the custard buns we finished with were rather fab.

Thanks for the company Andrew and Greg.

Heaven Scent

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I have to admit that I didn’t get the chance to try a pie from Heaven Scent. I did however have two breakfast (not at the same time). This place is right near The Rydges but if you weren’t looking for it you wouldn’t know it was there. It is upstairs in a loft space and it light and airy. My first visit I had the lovely muesli and the second time I had a delicious apricot and walnut brioche. The coffee was good too.

Federal and Wolfe

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This cafe is not far from the hotel either and rather lovely. I had a great start to my day as you can see above. Yes, I ate the lot and still managed lunch. The whole pile was delicious. You seriously can’t beat a good NZ avocado. The ricotta was lovely too, everything was great.

That was my main eating. I also went to the Albert Street Food Court because you have to, got a take away cake for Milse, a sneaky slice of Sal’s Pizza which was spot on and a healthy lunch from The Little Bird Unbakery. I mustn’t forget Mexicali Fresh, that is my kind of fast food.

Oh how I love food.

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