Wellington On A Plate 2017 – Let The Eating Begin.

A confession, I started a day early with a cheeky try of a burger. It was the Thursday and I was invited along to be Lucy from Wellington Foodies plus 1. It was a very good start and a nice surprise. I must confess that I hadn’t paid much attention to the Sojourn at The James Cook Hotel when looking at the WOAP guide. Next year it will be one of the first ones I look for. Lucy had the main menu and proclaimed that gorgeous too.

Sojourn Cafe and Bar

The burger was different (in a good way) and very imaginative. Only a few will get this but it reminded me of a meaty spicy bean burger. I would certainly recommend this and would go back. The dessert was amazing too and was of a very high standard, up there with the fancy French place.

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The Burger, CCC Mexi Tower

Tortilla-crumbed chilli con Carne patty with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, hard goat’s cheese and sour cream in a mole burger bun, with kūmara chips and chipotle mayonnaise (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Hāpi Daze

The Dessert

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Mascarpone bavarois with rhubarb and strawberry pâté de fruit, mixed berry gel and rhubarb crisp.

 

Hippopotamus Restaurant

I picked the Hippo as somewhere to go for a fancy meal with Mr Muffin. The 3-course menu appealed to both of us and this was a minor miracle.  The food was delicious and of the high standard you would expect. The service was terrible and it certainly didn’t feel like the special evening out we were aiming for. We left a bit sad to be honest and feeling like we were a bother.

Anyway, onto the food.

Entrée

We both had the soup. It came with the dry ingredients in a bowl and the liquid was poured at the table. It was delicious.

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France meets New Zealand: Marmite-based onion soup (V)

For main

I went for the gnocchi and Mr opted for the pie. For some reason, he didn’t get a syringe of tomato sauce in his and we realised after eating that others had this. Both courses were excellent. I may have a little pie envy but the gnocchi was very me and I ate some of the perfect pastry from the pie.

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Kūmara gnocchi, cauliflower purée, Lot Eight olive oil and grated cheese (v).

 

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The Humble Kiwi Pie: Black Dog beer-braised Wairarapa wild venison leg and Parkvale Mushroom (NF)

Dessert

Oh my. I had a posh Jaffa cake and it was divine. I may have not stopped thinking about it. Mr had the Milk and Honey, I can’t tell you anything about it as I didn’t get a look in.

 

Milk & Honey: Hokey pokey, ANZAC biscuit crumb, burnt honey crémeux, buttermilk sorbet, thyme, honey gel

– or –

Jaffa: Whittaker’s dark chocolate mousse, orange curd, chocolate soil and orange marmalade

 

Five Boroughs

This burger was a bit of a whim, a friend mentioned how they had plans to go but could only book if there were 6+ people. I offered us up as the extras and a table was booked. Five Boroughs was buzzing on a Sunday night and the service was friendly and efficient. The burger, oh the burger. Another clever take on the basic meat patty. The chicken roast as a burger worked very well. This is one big burger and we all adopted our own methods. I went for the cut it in half approach. I must tell you that this a whole meal and between 7 of us we managed about one portion of fries. It was good to have them and dip them in the gravy.

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Flippin’ the Bird

Roast chicken patty, Sunday roast vegetable hash, caramelised onions, mayonnaise and smoked brinza on a sage stuffing bun with chicken gravy (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Hakituri

My List-

Salty Pidgin

Southern Cross

St Johns

Queen of Jackson

Basque

The Borough Tawa

Bin44

There are plenty more places I would like to add if I get the time.

 

 

 

 

 

Visa Wellington On A Plate 2017.

WOAP17

 

That time has come, the time where I spend far too much time reading menus and planning to eat out. Most of the time these plans happen and I am not home for long for some of August.

Burgers are my thing and also eating out at new places. You can read some of my previous years’ antics here.

So far I am liking the look of my friend Lucy’s Looking Good: Food Styling and Photography. 

The High Tea events are also looking good.

Anyway, off you go.

Visa Wellington On A Plate

Let me know what you think?

 

 

Visa Wellington On A Plate, 2016.

It is August and the need for baggy pants is here. From 12th- 28th August Wellington is even more about food than usual as Visa Wellington On A Plate takes over the city. This post will be about my eating over the 2 and a bit weeks.

Welcome Home at Logan Brown.

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So, last night I had such a good feast at an event. The event was Welcome Home and at one of my favs, Logan Brown. If you are in Wellington I urge you to go, there are tickets available still for 23-25 August and at $99 a ticket, it was well worth it.

The evening was about eating food from Wellington’s newest ethnic communities. You can read the official story here. I am not going to describe all of the dishes as that is part of the evening but I will leave you with some photographs. This food was between two of us and we both really enjoyed the whole huge meal. Everything was beautiful and I have a new love of rehydrated tealeaves. If you want to see the menu it is here.

 

My first Burger Wellington, Arizona – Danny’s Champion Pheasant.

Arizona’s own pheasant patty with pistachios, house smoked garlic butter, gorged raisins and Capital Produce celeriac remoulade on a Brezelmania saffron burger bun. Garage Project beer match: Hakituri (+ BEER $30)

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I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while and he suggested a few burgers, this was my pick. I have to be honest and say I was a little bit hesitant about trying a pheasant burger. Pheasant isn’t new to me but I hadn’t tried it for years. This burger is not 100% pheasant, it has a bit of chicken and the pistachios mixed in. This makes for a very tasty patty. The whole burger was good but did have to be eaten fast before the celeriac remoulade soaked through the base.

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The polenta fries were an added bonus, there wasn’t any mention of them on the Wellington On A Plate listing and they were good. The beer was a great beer match. All up, I enjoyed this burger, the beer and bonus polenta fries. It was interestingly different.

Artisan Dining House – Longbush ‘SPAM’ Burger and a Magical Dessert.

Longbush ‘SPAM’ patty with Meat Direct crumbed lambs brain and homemade apple and pineapple relish on a bun, with chilli butter potato peels.

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By golly, such a British thing to say but so fitting for both the burger, the dessert.When I first read the menus for Visa Wellington On A Plate Artisan was the first place I purposely searched for. MacLean Fraser is a chef I admire and know will produce interesting food. No run of the mill patty would appear on this menu.

Today I tried that burger and the amazing potato peels and would give it an easy 10/10. The patty and relish went so well together, the fruit working with the SPAM perfectly and the bun was light and fluffy.

I returned home telling Mr Muffin that he may need to come back with me and fully embrace the SPAM. My ulterior motive being to have the dine menu and that mighty fine and crazy dessert again. That dessert, a bowl arrives looking a tad strange with a layer of white chocolate, warm sauce is the poured on to the chocolate and the magic begins. I will leave my description there as you need to form your own opinion. Only a few days left now, get ringing to book your table -phone 04 462 3770.

I dined with my fellow Brit, Lucy from Wellington Foodies who took the wonderful photos.

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The Excitement – Visa Wellington On A Plate 2016.

2016WOAP

This week was the week of weeks for foodies in Wellington, it was the launch of Visa Wellington On A Plate. I wasn’t lucky enough to attend but sat at home waiting for the site to go live and I then vanished into the land of planning my eating.

I have a couple of events that I would love to go to and some eating planned already. I don’t want to divulge my events until I know I have the tickets, I will tell you fancy dress and spicy food feature. I am lucky to have a great friend who is going to be the buyer the of the tickets and go for it as soon as they are released at 12pm on the 13th June ’16. That friend is Lily who after a stint on Master Chef NZ 2015 is now writing her own lovely blog, Lemon Chilli.

The 2016 Burgers have 4 sweet choices this year. I think I may have to give them a try. The venison burgers also sound great. For the days when I feel like being meat free, I also have options.

In the past August has seen me eating more burgers in a couple of weeks than I eat in the rest of the year, being rather invisible at home and having a very good time. I can’t wait for 2016 and I hope it is as fun as other years.

My Visa WOAP 2015 involved many a burger, pigs trotters, lambs brains and other offal. There were lots of laughs and Mr Muffin and I had the best night out at The Roman Feast event held at The Artisan Restaurant (still thanking you MacClean) . The Artisan has an excellent sounding and challenging burger this year and another major event, you can look here for all of their offerings.

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Get browsing, get planning and get ready to get eating. Stretchy pants are advised.

Just have to add this last photo, eating a burger as big as our heads back in 2014!

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Degustation at Jano.

Last night I went to Jano on Willis Street with three lovely friends. You may be looking puzzled and pondering where on earth Jano is in Wellington? It is up the top end of Willis Street in a cute yellow cottage that was once Citron.

For me, it was one of those places that you think you must try and then you forget to go. This time I remembered and my friends and I made a concerted effort to book a table. We were spurred on by the Entertainment Book voucher and the fast approaching end of the 2015/16 book. We all left feeling very happy that we made the effort and felt like we had had a special meal out.

I have to say, we were not easy customers. If a song could have played as the four of us walked in I am pretty sure it would have been Taylor Swift, I knew you were trouble when you walked in. We were not intentionally awkward and we were very much accommodated.

Out of the four of us, two of us wanted to know what the menu would be and two of us didn’t. I was on the not wanting to know team. Eventually , we came to a compromise and the two fuss pots specified what they didn’t want. These demands included no dairy, no lamb and no raw meat. Each person was given the right meal for each course . On top of that each plate was also impressive. The only gripe through the evening was that some of our party felt the need to season some of the plates. I would put this down to personal taste. The salt and pepper grinder was worth asking for just to have a play.

The service through out the evening was brilliant, right down to the French accent. Jano really is a lovely bistro with the whole package. Go on, stop putting it on your list. It is certainly now one of the tops on my must use the Entertainment Book voucher list and my fancy meal out list. I hope they are part of Wellington On A Plate this year.

Here are a few photographs of my courses in the order they were served. The degustation was 7 courses and these were taken from the A La Carte menu. It is a great way to broaden your horizons and eat things you may not have ordered. I wouldn’t have picked the venison or the pork and they were my favourites.

Just look at the cutlery and plates, aren’t they lovely too?

 

 

A mango and vodka amuse-bouche , a lovely palate cleanser.

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Jano Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Goodbye 2015, The Year of Leaping Food Hurdles.

 

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At the beginning of this year I decided 2015 was the year of eating.

My aim was to get over my meat based phobia and just eat things without over thinking them. As 2015 comes to a close I am happy to report that I had an excellent eating year and jumped food based hurdles. However, I still do not like bacon despite trying it over and over again.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to have two events that enabled my trying new things.

Our family trip to Cairns and Port Douglas meant trying all things Aussie. My birthday was spent stroking wallabies and later eating the furry cute things. Now that is something I never thought I would say. We ate many a strange Aussie thing at Ochre that night. Green ants are nice and crunchy.

The second event was attending the Wellington on a Plate Roman Feast at ARTISAN. Not only was that an excellent night out but a brilliant way to try all the things. Mr Muffin is still talking about the event and how we will be booking whatever MacLean Fraser is hosting. That night brings a smile to my face as we had such a wonderful feast and laughed so much.

In 2015 I was discovered The Chameleon Restaurant. That was all thanks to my friend (posh) Lucy. It was there that after 14 years of living in New Zealand I finally tried Paua. I was actually surprised I liked it. I think the beautiful presentation and gentle slicing had something to do with it.

Another New Zealand food I tried was Mutton Bird. I would like to thank Ms Forde for cooking it. I did try but just couldn’t like it.

2015 was a great food year and an all round great year. For me it was also marked by an achievement, my first year in 6 years with out a visit to the tube of doom, otherwise know as an MRI.

So, as we leave 2015 I wish you and yours a happy new year.

My eats.

Mutton bird

Lambs Brains

Lamb Sweetbread

Paua

Scallops

Crocodile

Emu

Kangaroo

Wallaby

Green ants

Pigs trotter

Pig head

2015 also was the year Miss Muffin overtook in height. I knew this day would come but I didn’t expect her to be just 12 yrs old when it did.

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant.

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant, Bolton Hotel. Executive chef, Maclean Fraser.

When I first browsed the Visa Wellington On A Plate brochure this event sprang out at me as I had recently eaten at ARTSIAN Restaurant and loved the food. A series of events, including my declaration to try offal this year, saw me and Mr Muffin attending. We faced up to the challenge of eating all the things put in front of us and had an excellent time whilst doing so. We throughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Our evening began with a wait in the lobby, a chalice of mulled wine and a trip up the stairs to find the normally rather ordinary looking restaurant turned into a Roman themed eating den. The light was mainly from candles and all kinds of greenery, citrus fruit and grapes decorated the tables. The chairs and beds arranged along the banquet style tables were draped with blankets and cushions. The whole place looked very different to my last visit. The seating was an informal affair and we got to choose where we sat. We picked a mighty fine group to spend our evening with. Two of our party had travelled from Auckland just to attend the event and another pair were from Palmerston North.

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Each place had a name card, I was The Perfect. We soon got talking to our table as the ice was broken with our cutlery being thrown over our shoulders onto the table and the menu presented. It was announced that there were no rules when you dine like a Roman and shortly after that the feasting began. All evening the food was served in very generous portions, the wine flowed and a festive atmosphere remained. Mr Muffin declared that whatever event was to be held at ARTISAN with chef Maclean Fraser, we will be attending it next year.

Where else can you go to an event and hear these lines?

“You have demolished the chicken but you do still have some in your beard”.

“I will take the pigs teeth home for Miss Muffin and the snout for Milly dog”.

“I don’t know what the bits are but I am telling myself they are walnuts……..they are walnuts?”.

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You wouldn’t want to be a vegetarian at a Roman Feast! I have mentioned before that I am not a big meat eater, all that changed at this feast. I ate meat, trotters, brains and various other parts of animal that I probably don’t know about. Best of all, I enjoyed it. It was a great way to leap over the offal hurdle and into the world of a proper meat eater. I feel I earned my badge last night and enjoyed getting it.

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To begin we had delicious warm bread with a side of full fat milk. The hint of honey made dipping the warm bread in milk a little less strange and it was good.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

The goat stew came next, it was delicious. The goat was in cubes and there were no bones, previously when we have had goat it has been off the bone. This dish changed my mind and I would now buy and cook with goat. This was a fragrant dish and reminded me a little of Malaysian rendang. The liquamen, we discovered, is a fish sauce used by Romans and is similar to Asian fish sauces.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

I don’t know what I expected but it didn’t look like this in my head. I think I was expecting something standing up and looking rather frightening. This looked far more like a sausage and was a lot more appealing than the picture in my head. However, this dish was still the first real eating challenge of the evening as it was different and the little trotter could be seen. I may have had a little nervous giggle or two. At our table we dug in. It was delicious and amazing. The trotter skin formed a casing for the filling as it had been deboned and then stuffed with the chicken and livers. The truffle sauce was a wonderful addition. It was excellent watching other people eat and how they handled the end. I ate to somewhere near the end of the trotter and others ate around and left a tidy mound of nails and bone.

Pullus Farsilis. Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

Pullus Farsilis.
Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

A whole small chicken was shared between two people. Yes, you read correctly. The chicken was placed on the table and a carving knife stabbed into it. This touch was funny as it was things like this that kept the evening amusing. Every group around us tackled the carving last differently. Some carved delicate slices off, other shared directly from the bird and we cut it completely in half.

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The stuffing with the mystery texture.

This was a big small bird. The stuffing was challenging to some as there were unusual textures. It may have been the brains or simply the spelt. Whatever it was we ate it and a few mantras of ‘it is just walnuts’ could be heard. I really enjoyed it and Mr Muffin was amazed that the taste was familiar enough that he must have had it somewhere before.

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Aliter Porcellum. Roast whole pig head carved banquet style with endive salad.

Being served half a pigs head between three was a very new thing to all. When it was put down it looked like a pretty ordinary cut until your eyes adjusted and realised that yes, that was a snout, there were indeed eyes and you could turn it over and have a good look at the inside of a pigs head.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Much laughter was had around the whole room as this head was tackled. The pork meat was different and the crackling was excellent. It was very crisp. A member of our end of the table was challenged to eat the snout and whilst finding his way down he discovered that the snout holds some very good secret meat. Next time you are served a pigs head, don’t forget to find the secret snout meat. He also had a little try of the snout. We weren’t that brave and brought ours home for our dog. She loved it.

This dish was the end of the meat courses and we were feeling rather full. Those sitting on beds had a nice lie down and a Roman rest before dessert.

Having a rest.

Having a rest.

 

Before dessert was served dry ice with the scent of vanilla refreshed the air. It felt like it cleansed the palate too.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira. Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira.
Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

This was delicious. I loved all of it. My ultimate favourite was the date stuffed with almond. I expected a marzipan type of texture but it was exactly what it said, an almond in a date. I had to convince others it wasn’t the stone. A few people around us had left when the meat finished (strange, I know) so we helped finish their desserts too. The dessert , served with a glass of port was a fantastic end to a fantastic evening.

Thank you Maclean Fraser, ARTISAN restaurant and the Bolton Hotel.