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.

We Tried Out PappaRich In Wellington.

PappaRich NZ opened a few weeks ago in Wellington, it is just opposite the Intercontinental Hotel. Today was our day to go and try it out. To be honest, we left feeling rather underwhelmed and not very impressed with the price.

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We eat lunch out at least once a weekend and our average spend for the 3 of us is $40. This is a meal that is enough to be a main meal and often something like Indian curry, rice and naan bread.This meal cost just over $60 and didn’t leave us full. My Telur Bawang Curry Chicken Curry was $15.90, I think all 3 mains were around this. We had an iced lemon tea each too. There was nothing wrong with any of our meals, they just weren’t exciting. One good thing was Miss M found that she likes beef rendang.

 

 

All three of us thought that there are better places to eat Malaysian food and we would rather give our dollars to the little mum and pops operated restaurants. As I was eating my $15.90 meal I was thinking about the $8.50 Masala Dosa at Pandan.

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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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A Hotel Dinner – it was a winner, Chameleon Wellington

I was blown away by this meal. As I had just finished my Auckland adventure and eaten well, I didn’t think I would be impressed by hotel food at The Intercontinental’s Chameleon restaurant. I was wrong, oh so wrong. This has become a date night and a meet the girls option. Even a family celebration meal out as they have a children’s menu.

When walking into the hotel I was very impressed with the recent transformation, I had seen photographs on twitter. The bar looks lovely and the restaurant has had a marvellous upgrade. I was amazed by how different it looked, an open kitchen, clean white decor and a very fancy ceiling that must be sound proofing? The tables are marble and the seats comfortable. It is rather stunning.

I went along with Lucy from Wellington Foodies, she had received the meal as payment for taking photographs of food. I got to be her very lucky plus one and to eat from the new menu. The menu is a little different from the norm, you can choose any of the plates and which order you would like your plates to arrive in. I would happily have just one plate and some sides or have two as I did this time. I would always have dessert.

The service was both professional and friendly, the way good Kiwi service should be.

All photos are taken and owned by Lucy from Wellington Foodies.

The Food

To nibble we had a very nice warm house-made roti with sesame and coconut hummus.

We moved on to our first 2 plates, both were excellent.

My gnocchi was beautiful and the sauce was similar to my pasta in Auckland . I think it had more flavour to it and I preferred these flavours.

Lemon thyme gnocchi, roast butternut squash, Pecorino & dandelion pesto, wild garlic & ginger butter.

Lemon thyme gnocchi, roast butternut squash, Pecorino & dandelion pesto, wild garlic & ginger butter.

I even tried pāua , a first and it was rather nice. Just look at how beautiful that plate of food it is. To me , the taste was similar to raw mushrooms. Lucy finished her plate, as did I.

Sous Vide south coast paua with Portobello & needle mushrooms, snow peas, artichokes, ginger & green shallot vinaigrette.

Sous Vide south coast pāua with Portobello & needle mushrooms, snow peas, artichokes, ginger & green shallot vinaigrette.

We then moved on to what we decided on to be our main. This choosing when to eat plates off the menu seriously grew on me. For our mains we both went for game.

This ordering game meat is a new thing for me, the red currants attracted me. I loved the venison. It was like having a very good roast dinner and all the components went together brilliantly. I will have problems moving past this dish on my next visit.

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Venison loin with roasted parsnip, creamed spinach and redcurrant.

Lucy went for duck, I am not a duck fan but I tried this, it was good. The puree was lovely and Lucy cleared the plate.

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Twice-cooked duck breast with orange kumara puree, saffron, basil & orange dressed broccolini and garlic chips.

We also had a side salad, it too was beautiful. We didn’t get far through it and I don’t have a photo. It was a fresh Asian influenced salad and I would choose it again – Aromatic green salad, green mango, coriander, bean sprout, mint, ginger and black sesame vinaigrette.

We ate, oh how we ate. We also laughed, had a very good dinner and a lovely time. We finished full but managed to read the desserts menu and we managed to eat them. I was particularly greedy but I did let Lucy have a morsel or two and I tried her choice too.

Lucy had picked her choice while photographing the food a few weeks ago. It was a stunning looking dessert and was lovely.

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Chilled mango custard, roasted coconut ice cream & passionfruit jelly.

I couldn’t resist the description of the Petits fours. You just have to see the photo to know why, they tasted as good as they look and were all delicious. This was one of the most beautiful dessert creations I have ever been served, I felt like a kid in a lolly shop and was smiling like one too. Just look –

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Petits fours : macarons, chocolate mousse tulle, house made chocolate truffles.

To summarise, I was seriously impressed. The interior, the service, the menu concept and the food were all wonderful. It is a brilliant location and the people of Wellington need to go and try this food. They have a children’s menu that has good options, Miss 11 has already chosen what she would like to eat, I’ll keep you posted.