Latest Posts

5 Reasons Why I Love Gemmayze Street


I would love to share with you one of my favourite hidden gems in Auckland –  introducing Gemmayze Street in St Kevin’s Arcade. Here are five reasons why I love Gemmayze Street and why you should visit pronto. 

1.  The owners. Chef Samir Allen runs the kitchen and produces the most beautiful, divine, mouthwatering and moreish Lebanese food (more on that below), while his mother, Liane Farry, is front of house. I read in one review that said she was ‘scary’ – she is definitely quite the opposite. Always friendly, always welcoming, and once on a very busy night, Liane took over our table of five and we received great service!

2.  The beautiful Lebanese food. I have dined at Gemmayze Street four times now, and the food has been excellent every visit. I generally order my favourite vegetarian dishes (a selection of mezze), and also a larger dish if I am feeling super hungry. These dishes come highly recommended:

Hummus – this is my family’s favourite dish, for it’s beautiful flavour and texture, creaminess and lovely presentation. Dip your complimentary flatbread in it and I guarantee you will swoon.

IMG_9955

Falafel – served with parsley cream and pickled turnip, this dish is my second favourite, for its generous serving and overall deliciousness. I could literally eat Gemmayze Street’s falafel everyday if I could and/or turn vegetarian if I had a limited supply of their falafels.

IMG_1330

Tabbouleh – I have fond memories of my Mum making this dish when my sisters and I were young, and she continues to make it to this day. It is a fresh, healthy and delicious salad made up of Bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes and lemon. It is super easy to make too. I love ordering this dish at Gemmayze Street, not only because of it reminds me of Mum, but also because it is the perfect fresh accompaniment to all the other dishes.

IMG_1324

Frekkeh Risotto – In January of this year, Gemmayze Street updated their menu and this beautiful risotto was added as one of their larger dishes. It is served with broccoli, garlic, olives and a bright egg on top. It was a delight to eat and is a delicious vegetarian option.

risotto

3. The presentation. Each dish is perfectly plated, with a mix of different colours and textures. The food is made for sharing, so each diner also gets their own special colourful plate – every time I visit I am excited about which coloured plate I will end up with. Also, I love the unique wine and beer glasses!

IMG_1332

4. The service etc. Consistently good service, with water glasses always topped up, and attentive wait staff who are always on hand to explain the dishes and make suggestions for both food and drink. In regards to booking, I would recommend booking online via their website in advance. Gemmayze Street are only open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, so it does get busy and it is a popular place for work and celebratory functions. Even though when I have dined there (around 6pm) it has been quiet, after 30 minutes, the whole restaurant has filled up quickly. 

5.  The decor and location. Tucked away at the back of St Kevin’s Arcade, Gemmayze Street takes up the space where Bestie is a cafe during the day. The restaurant is set up like a real Lebanese restaurant/cafe – there are rugs, colourful table settings, mix and match furniture, greenery, photos of Lebanese families by the bar area, and traditional artefacts, plus the tables occupy one whole end of the Arcade, making it a great place for dining al fresco. If possible, request a table near the large windows – you will get a full view of the Sky Tower. At night, the view is magical… just like Gemmayze Street is too. 

Gemmayze Street
Shop 15-16, St Kevin’s Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD / Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm until late / Website / Instagram / Facebook

Gemmayze St Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eden Noodles Cafe

 

I tried Eden Noodles Cafe for the first time last Friday.

I know, I know, I am super late on the bandwagon. It might be that for a long time, I was put off by the long queues out the door or the fact that I can’t handle extremely spicy food. Anyhow, I finally made it… and I am so glad I did! It was everything I imagined and more.

Eden Noodles Cafe is located on Dominion Road in Mount Eden and specialises in Sichuan cuisine. The menu is lengthy, and all dishes are reasonably priced. You can order fresh and handmade dumplings, noodles, soups, wontons, hotpot, rice dishes and Sichuan snacks. Their main drawcard is the Dumplings in Spicy Sauce. Ya Qin Zhang, aka ‘The Dumpling Queen’ makes between 3000-4000 dumplings a day at Eden Noodles Cafe. She can even make them with her eyes closed!

IMG_3316
Ya Qin Zhang aka ‘The Dumpling Queen’

We ordered a FEAST, because, well, I didn’t want to try only one dish, and it was also my first time trying Sichuan cuisine. We ordered the following: Pork and Chive Dumplings in Spicy Sauce (20 for $12), Dan Dan Noodles with Crispy Pork on top (medium for $8.50), Cucumber Salad ($8), Sichuan Pickles ($4.50), Wonton in Chicken Soup (small for $5) ‘Make Your Own’ Hot Pot ($13) and Spicy Pork Ribs on Rice ($13).

Every dish was super tasty, especially the Dumplings, which pack a punch! They are the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy… all the good things in one! I also highly recommend the Cucumber Salad, which balanced out the spice nicely. The Make Your Own Hotpot was a super fun experience too – you can literally choose any ingredient you want and it was delicious! However, I did not enjoy the Sichuan Pickles – so weird.

IMG_3319
Pork and Chive Dumplings in Spicy Sauce

IMG_3318
Dan Dan Noodles with Crispy Pork on top

IMG_3334
Cucumber Salad 

IMG_3337
Sichuan Pickles

IMG_3333
‘Make Your Own’ Hot Pot with shredded tofu, pork luncheon meat, beef slices, crab meat, broccoli and noodles

In terms of dining times, we arrived early (around 5.30pm) and we were seated right away. By the time we left (7.30pm), the queue was out the door. There are only about 10 seats and the restaurant is tiny. If you can’t get there around 5.30pm, I would recommend getting takeaway. This seemed to be a very popular option for the locals.

So, what did I think overall? Eden Noodles Cafe is definitely worth the hype – check it out now.

Eden Noodles
105 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland / Website / Instagram

Eden Noodles Cafe 四川担担面 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Orleans – Britomart


I have visited Orleans on a few occasions – mainly for their Waffles with Fried Chicken and Maple Chili Syrup (a special lunch deal on Wednesdays, which, by the way, is awesome) and at night when they have live jazz music. You can also sit at their bar and have cocktails and small plates, or go there for a delicious Southern meal, complete with dessert. Orleans, located on Customs Street East in Britomart, does all this and more.

IMG_2103

A few weekend’s ago, I met a friend for drinks and small plates – we were there to check out Orleans’ new menu and were super excited to try some different dishes, as opposed to just ordering fried chicken and waffles. 

Firstly, the drinks. Orleans serve an extensive range of drinks – they have an excellent cocktail menu, plus serve bourbon cocktails, Hardshakes (milkshakes with liquor), wines by the glass, bubbles and a few beers. On the night my friend and I dined at Orleans, they had a special cocktail of the week – ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2‘. I love this film, so could not go past without ordering one. My friend also ordered a wine, and me, another cocktail… their St Louis Sour with Absolut Citron vodka, rhubarb, raspberry and lemon. It was an absolute dream to drink… plus it is my favourite colour, it is sweet and sour and had a delicious foam on top.  

IMG_3036

For small plates, we ordered the Curly Fries, Orleans Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Cornbread Grilled Cheese and Spiced Roast Pumpkin Salad.  

Our favourites were the Curly Fries and Cornbread Grilled Cheese. Both were great snacks to our cocktails and were gone in a flash. However, the Orleans Buttermilk Fried Chicken was tasty, however the serving size small (compared to the Fried Chicken at say, Mexico). The Spiced Roast Pumpkin Salad was okay, but nothing special, and the serving size was huge! I felt quite ill after eating all that pumpkin. Looking back, maybe we ordered the wrong dishes, although the waitresses thought they were great choices. 

IMG_3021Curly Fries with creole salt, chipotle mayo

IMG_3022Cornbread Grilled Cheese with bacon butter and onions

IMG_3019Orleans Buttermilk Fried Chicken with ranch, scallions and fermented chili

IMG_3031Spiced Roasted Pumpkin with burnt cauliflower, whipped feta, maple pecans, rocket, marinated onions and puffed rice

Unfortunately, we did not have any room for dessert (I blame the pumpkin!). Orleans only serve one thing, and that is PIE. There are four flavours to choose from, including Cherry, Coffee and Bacon, Chocolate, and Pecan – I have heard they are pretty good.


Overall, there are a few things I like about Orleans, and a few things I dislike. While the drinks and service were great, some of the food was a bit of a let down. However, I will definitely go back and give them another chance. Next time, I will go all out, and order the ribs, wings, and waffle stack and all things meaty and Southern. Oh and some pie. I think that is what Orleans is all about. 

I was sent a voucher to dine at Orleans, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Orleans
Roukai Lane, 48 Custom Street East, Auckland CBD
/ Website / Instagram / Facebook

Orleans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bottomless Brunch at The Lula Inn

IMG_3199IMG_3231IMG_3224

Last weekend, I strolled down to Auckland’s Viaduct to have brunch. But not just any old brunch…. Bottomless Brunch at The Lula Inn!

Here is the lowdown of what is included:

  • 2 hours of Bottomless Brunch – check out the menu here.
  • Choose a brunch meal, plus receive unlimited Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, Prosecco, Pineapple Mocktails and Citrus Boost Sodas.
  • Access to discounted food and drinks (additional to the cost of the brunch) on the day, like $15 espresso martinis and $10 cocktail of the day.
  • Live music / DJ set while you brunch!

Sounds awesome doesn’t it?

I was there for the monthly NZ Bloggers Brunch Club event, where a bunch of bloggers meet up and brunch together! The thing I love most about these events is meeting other bloggers whom you follow on social media, but otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to meet. 

I arrived around 11am, took my seat and started with a cocktail… a Bloody Mary! While this is not usually my drink of choice, it was surprisingly good. But, it was so spicy! At the time, I didn’t think I could drink these for the next two hours…

IMG_3204

So this was followed by a Mimosa…

IMG_3210

Followed by five more Mimosas… yes this is bottomless brunch done right!

We also ordered a meal from their brunch menu. Options include: Coconut and Cranberry Muesli, Pancakes, Cured Salmon Potato Hash, Bacon Benedict and Bacon and Egg Burger.

I have a mega sweet tooth, so I usually order pancakes, waffles or French Toast, but this time, I decided to mix it up a bit, by ordering the Cured Salmon Potato Hash. While it was tasty, it was missing that je ne sais quoi, i.e. that little extra thing that makes it just wonderful. And so much so, you want to return to the eatery and try everything on their menu. 

IMG_3223Cured Salmon Potato Hash with poached eggs, horseradish, beet kraut and watercress

Other bloggers ordered the Bacon Benedict and the Bacon and Egg Burger. To me, the burger was the stand out dish of the day. If I get a chance to come back to The Lula Inn, I will definitely order the burger. 

IMG_3221
Bacon Benedict with poached eggs, hollandaise, kale and sourdough

IMG_3217
Bacon and Egg Burger with mushrooms, hollandaise and ketchup

While the dish I ordered was not the best brunch dish I have had in Auckland, this was rectified by the unlimited mimosas, the water views, the sunny weather, and most importantly, the lovely company! There were lots of laughs, jokes were shared, and I left feeling happy. Plus to top off a great afternoon, a few of us had Island Gelato afterwards…

IMG_3240

Check out the blogs and social pages of those who came along:

Angela of A Style Collector
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Laura of Bitch, Peas!
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Cass of CassandraMyee
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Georgie of Georgieats (…hehe me…)
Instagram / Facebook

Emma of Emma Louisa
Website / Instagram

Evo of Island Girl Blogger
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Lena of Lena Talks
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Megan of Megan Hallier 
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Bec of Once Upon An Egg
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Belle of Twelve Belles
Website / Instagram

Danielle of The Restless Empire
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Anjali of The Splendid Shambles
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Thanks to Laura and Lena for organising another fun #BRUNCHCLUB event, and to The Lula Inn for hosting us. I look forward to attending future events! If you would like to attend upcoming events, join the Facebook group to ensure you don’t miss out. I heard there are some great things being planned for 2018…

* Disclosure – we received a small discount on our Bottomless Brunch ticket at The Lula Inn. Considering it is bottomless prosecco, it is great value at $44.50!

The Lula Inn
149 Quay Street, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland
Instagram / Facebook / Details

The Lula Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wu & You – Mt Eden

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Tuesday night, I was invited to the opening of a new restaurant in Mt Eden Village, namely Wu & You. It was a fantastic night, thanks to the mouthwatering food, cocktails, ambience and service.

Walking in, I loved the vibrant decor. Bright neon pink lights had me oohing and aahing, and the colourful flowers and murals (by local artist, Emily Gardner) featured throughout the space brighten up the industrial walls.

Plus, everything is PINK! From the menus, to the beautiful ceramic plates, and the ladies bathroom. There is also plenty of seating to choose from, as well as a lovely courtyard out the back (complete with a striking mural of Wu) – an area which would be perfect for your next celebration.

IMG_3142IMG_3165IMG_3143IMG_3361

Heading up the kitchen is Cairan Flaherty, who has experience working in restaurants all over Ireland, and more recently at TriBeCa in Parnell. Working alongside Cairan is Yeong Seon Choi (Sunny) who has worked in some of Auckland’s most popular modern Asian eateries including Cafe Hanoi, Saan and White & Wongs. Owner, Jonathan Rickard, also has over 20 years’ hospitality experience and owns and operates the popular Circus Circus and The Garden Shed, both of which are also located in Mt Eden Village. 

We first enjoyed a selection of cocktails – there are nine in total, and all were refreshing and delicious (bar the Espresso Martini and Bloody Mary as these were not available). My top picks are the Jackie Chan with gin, fresh grapefruit juice, honey, lemon and topped with matcha and apple foam; the Mei Mei with gin, yellow chartreuse, fresh watermelon juice (bonus right there), fresh lemon juice and ginger; and the Oh Bali! with Stolen white rum, lemongrass and kaffir lime syrup, lime juice and sparkling water. 

IMG_3141
IMG_3153

And now for the most important part, the food. Wu and You’s menu is East meets West, with Japanese, Malaysian, Korean, Thai and Chinese influences. The menu is split into five sections – ‘Little Guys’, ‘Bigger Guys’, ‘Loners’, ‘Sides’ and ‘Happy Endings’.

Dishes are designed to be shared, and from perusing the menu, this is road you will want to take as there are many delicious dishes you will want to try… some of which I have not seen on an Auckland menu yet! We enjoyed the following:

Freshly shucked Bluff Oysters served with nashi pear and black vinegar
IMG_3151

Himalayan Salt Slab-Cured Kingfish, with edamame, red chili, quinoa, pear and lemonIMG_3167

DIY Vegetable Rolls – Chinese style pancakes, tofu, raw vegetables, peanut dipping sauce
IMG_3171

Bang Bang Chicken Salad with crispy vegetables, chili bean and oyster sauce
IMG_3174

Green Papaya Salad with Seared Tuna, red chilli, snake beans, peanuts and chili jamIMG_3187

And, last but not least, Tacos. Wu & You have taken tacos to a whole new level, and they are EPIC. Nori sheets, which are tempura fried to make them crispy, replace your standard tortillas, and there are two options to choose from – Norigami’s Salmon Taco with Atlantic salmon, sushi rice, spicy Napa cabbage, Japanese mayo and chili oil, or my favourite, Mr Krab’s Nori Taco with tempura soft shell crab, sushi rice, guacamole, sliced jalapeno and a drizzle of curried mayo on top. Heaven.  

IMG_3177IMG_3179

Other dishes I will be coming back to devour are the Wu Fried Chicken, Octopus Doughnuts with Gochujang, Tuna Sashimi Pizza, Pork and Shrimp Dumplings and the Sushi Fries.

Last but not least, we had our Happy Endings. We tried their Berry Fortune Cookies – my message said “#WuSays tomorrow is another day for tacos and cocktails” which seemed fitting, since this is exactly what I will be doing in Mexico in four months’ time!

IMG_3190

We also enjoyed their Strawberry Bao-Nut (a bao shaped doughnut filled with strawberry ice cream and freeze dried strawberry) and a new dessert on Auckland’s foodie scene, the Golden Gaytime Paddle Pop. Inspired by Australia’s Golden Gaytime ice cream, but better. Think creamy frozen New York Cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate ganache, drizzled with miso caramel, and finished with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs. Mmmmm. 

IMG_3195

I am in LOVE with Wu & You. Reminiscing back to the night, with the bright pink neon signs, pink walled bathroom, colourful murals, delicious cocktails and food… this might just be my new favourite restaurant!

Wu & You
399 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland
Open daily from 11.30am-12.00am (courtyard closes Sunday at 6.00pm)

Instagram / Facebook 

Wu and You Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mexico – Britomart

IMG_3080

Mexico is one of my favourite eateries in Auckland, for its vibrant and fresh Mexican cuisine, extensive tequila list and super funky and delicious Frida’s margaritas. 

IMG_2918

Their menu boasts a wide range of dishes, and there is definitely something for everyone’s tastes. I also love the fact that their menu is so versatile – you can come here for margaritas and some snacks, or have a three course meal, or just order a three lots of their famous fried chicken and you will be set for the night! 

Speaking of fried chicken, my favourite dish on Mexico’s menu is, and always will be, the Mexico Fried Chicken. It is spicy, served with the perfect sauces (chipotle mayo and jalapeno mayo) and I guarantee you will be licking your fingers. I even ordered it for my birthday buffet lunch last year, check it out here.

IMG_1938

Mexico

Last week, Mexico launched their new Autumn menu. It is full of earthy local produce, like beetroot, celeriac, butternut pumpkin and black plums, plus there are brand new tacos, snacks, specialties and salads. Mexico has also taken note of fan’s requests to have more vegan and gluten free menu items, so they have added three new dishes with the Guajillo Mushroom Taco, Pan Roasted Cauliflower Taco and Crispy Chickpea and Pumpkin Salad.

And for all you margarita lovers, there are new Frida’s Margaritas flavours! I’m eyeing up the Pineapple and Cracked Pepper and the Raspberry and Elderflower. If you want something without alcohol, there are also two new sugar-free sodas to choose from – Classic Lemonade and Turmeric and Ginger Tonic.

IMG_3049

I visited Mexico in Britomart on two occasions to check out their new menu – for a weekday lunch, then lunch on Saturday. Starting with drinks, I LOVE their new Raspberry and Elderflower Margarita. I have had it twice because it is divine… refreshing, sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to the spicy dishes. Also, the Mango and Passionfruit Margarita went down a treat too. And for a great non-alcoholic option, we recommend their Turmeric and Ginger Tonic Soda (pictured above). Delicious!

IMG_3054

For snacks, we loved their new Beetroot Hummus Dip, served with cricket tortillas. Super crunchy tortillas, which I enjoyed. On the second occasion, we tried the dip with fresh tortillas, which were equally as good. 

IMG_3056

Another highlight were the Croquetas, filled with potato and smoky queso (cheese), green onion, candied almonds and remoulade. These were melt in your mouth!

IMG_3065

Along with their lip smacking Fried Chicken, Mexico are also known for their tacos. On the first occasion, I enjoyed the Beef Carnita Taco, with white sesame, chipotle, coriander, crispy ginger and Baja Fish Taco, with red slaw, mayonnaise, chili and coriander (not pictured). Second time, I tried one of Mexico’s new tacos – the Pan Roasted Cauliflower Taco… it is vegan! While I loved the colours, I found it strange… having not had cauliflower in a taco before! It was also too spicy for me. Thank goodness for the margaritas!

IMG_3076

Continuing with the vegetarian dishes, we also tried their new Crispy Chickpea and Pumpkin Salad with cucumber, lime & chipotle dressing and candied sesame. It didn’t scream Mexico to me, but it was tasty nonetheless and had wonderful textures. 

IMG_3089

Like the Croquetas, another highlight were the Chimichangas, which are essentially deep fried burritos. At Mexico, these are bite sized and are filled with fried mushroom, leek, chili, queso and cactus and served with a salsa asada – beware it is hot! I had never tried Chimichangas before, so this was a joy to eat. Perfectly fried, flavoursome and we could have ordered seconds…or thirds!

IMG_3084

And now, for my second love (after the Fried Chicken) – Quesadillas. This delicious morsel is basically a tortilla filled with cheese and heated. However, you can add any fillings you like. Mexico does a great vegetarian one – Portobello Mushroom, with spinach, smoky queso and chili, served with a blackened onion crema. And, my oh my, that crema! They also have two other options – Chicken in Mole Amarillo and Coffee Agave Lamb, which sound divine, so much so, I will have to come back and try them both!

IMG_3085

Aside from the food, another reason why Mexico is one of my favourite eateries is the decor. Having being a fan of Mexican sugar skulls (and skulls in general) for a very long time, whenever I walk into Mexico, I feel right at home. The colourful walls are covered in memorabilia from Mexico, including artworks of Frida Kahlo and influences from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), plus loads of cacti. It is definitely one of the most fun restaurants to visit in Auckland!

IMG_3074
IMG_2921
IMG_6960

If you are not able to get to Mexico in Britomart, there are four other locations in Auckland – Ponsonby, Ellerslie, Takapuna and most recently, Sylvia Park. Plus, there are restaurants in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Happy taco-ing!

I was sent a voucher to dine at Mexico, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Mexico
23 Britomart Place, Auckland CBD
/ Website / Instagram / Facebook

Mexico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Krispy Kreme New Zealand Launch

IMAGINE…
1 dozen HOT Original Glazed Doughnuts.

A Chocolate, Vanilla or Caramel Thickshake.
An Apple Crumble Doughnut filled with Custard.
A Chocolate Iced Doughnut with Sprinkles.
Doughnuts which look and taste like our iconic Vanilla Slice.

A Choc Honeycomb Shake with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce. 
Kookies N Kreme Doughnuts.
An Original Glazed Shake with Whipped Cream and a Mini Doughnut. 

If any of the above salivates your tastebuds, then you will love the new arrival of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which has just landed in New Zealand! In fact, the first flagship store opens THIS WEDNESDAY (28 February) at 3 Ronwood Avenue in Manukau.

The event kicks off at 8am, and the first 100 people in the queue receive 1 dozen Original Glazed Doughnuts! Plus every guest will be treated to a free Krispy Kreme doughnut on arrival, along with the chance to participate in in-store activities, giveaways and there is a live DJ until late.

And, if that’s not enough to tempt you, Shaquille O’Neal (of NBA fame) is Krispy Kreme’s official ambassador. Check out his Krispy Kreme – Welcome to New Zealand video here

ags
From left to right: Angela of A Style Collector, Georgieats (Haha Me) and Shannon x

Last Friday, I was invited to the media launch of the new Krispy Kreme store in Manukau. This world-famous doughnut and coffee chain first opened in 1937, and the brand is still going strong, having celebrated its 80th birthday last year (on 13 July). There are over 1,000 stores around the world – with New Zealand now in the mix, 35 countries selling these divine doughnuts!

IMG_2417

Walking into Krispy Kreme, the store is absolutely HUGE! To the left, you can see the full production line through glass windows. Rows and rows of doughnuts moving along the conveyor belt… I could literally stand here gawking for hours!

IMG_2352

There is also plenty of seating (booths and tables), the decor is super cool, and of course, the doughnuts are all colourfully decorated on display for you to buy. There are 13 doughnut flavours to choose from, such as Original Glazed, Caramel Iced, Vanilla Slice, Apple Custard Crumble, Kookies N Kreme, Tiramisu and Strawberry Jam. Doughnuts range from $3 to $3.50 and if you get a box (say 4, 12 or 24), the price is cheaper per doughnut. Check out the menu here

IMG_2333

Coffee, Milkshakes and Thickshakes are on the menu too, but also… KREME SHAKES. We were lucky enough to try two of them last Friday – Choc Honeycomb, topped with whipped cream, honeycomb and swirls of chocolate sauce, and my favourite – the Original Glazed Kreme Shake, topped with whipped cream and a mini glazed doughnut. The best part? It tastes EXACTLY like an Original Glazed Doughnut… in liquid form. Swoon. 

IMG_2344IMG_2354

After sipping our Shakes, and oohing and ahhing over the doughnuts on display, Andrew McGuigan, CEO of Krispy Kreme Australia and New Zealand, spoke to us about the brand and then we split up into three small groups for activities. For the first and second part, our group was taken behind the scenes…

IMG_2367

We got right up close to the production line, including seeing what ingredients go into the doughnut mix and the consistency of the dough, then watching the doughnuts moving along the conveyor belt, first being deep fried, then cooled, then glazed, then they were ready to eat… BY US!!! They were warm, soft and melt in your mouth. If Willy Wonka had a doughnut factory, this would be it. 

IMG_2361

We then moved on to the decorating stage – we dipped the glazed doughnuts in strawberry icing. It’s quite a fun process, but you have to be quick! The trick is to hold the doughnut with your first three fingers (the second finger in the middle of the doughnut), dip it into the sauce, pull it out, swirl it around so some of the icing drips off and quickly turn it upside down in a swift movement. Finally, drizzle your doughnut with some strawberry sauce!

IMG_2382

Last but not least, we decorated two Original Glazed doughnuts each! Krispy Kreme had set up two candy stations – jars filled with marshmallows, Jaffa’s, milk bottles, sour gummys, 100s and 1000s, and bowls of M&M’s, pineapple lumps and gummy worms, plus different coloured icings.

IMG_2337
IMG_2408IMG_2403
Colourful creations by Angela of A Style Collector

I love pink and red, so wanted to do something colourful (oh and to match my dress!), and also a doughnut that resembled the Cookie Monster. It was so much fun getting to decorate doughnuts!

IMG_2404
IMG_2474

After decorating, we received a goodie bag to take home – a dozen Original Glazed Doughnuts (which I shared with my workmates and family), a Krispy Kreme takeaway coffee cup, drink bottle, sunglasses, stress ball, frisbee (!!!) and sunglasses.

IMG_2450

ag
Photo Credit: A Style Collector’s Instagram

IT. WAS. THE BEST. AFTERNOON. EVER. 

I am so excited about the new Krispy Kreme store. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


And before you go…. here are a few fun facts about Krispy Kreme:

  • The first official Krispy Kreme store opened in North Carolina, United States in 1937~
  • The world-famous doughnut and coffee chain celebrated its 80th birthday last year (on 13 July)~
  • Krispy Kreme has over 1,000 stores in 35 countries around the world~
  • Shaquille O’Neal (of NBA fame) is Krispy Kreme’s ambassador. Check out his Krispy Kreme – Welcome to New Zealand video here.
  • The first Krispy Kreme store in Manukau, Auckland, has generated 150 to 200 jobs – WOW!~
  • The glaze is the most important part of a Krispy Kreme doughnut… mmmmm~
  • The brand is all about having fun and sharing great experiences, not mainstream~
  • The Manukau store will make a fresh batch of doughnuts EVERY DAY~
  • Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts are unique to every country – for example, at NZ’s first store, they have a ‘Vanilla Slice’ doughnut on the menu, which looks exactly like the iconic Vanilla Slice you would buy from your local bakery~
  • There is a Drive-Thru at the new store in Manukau. The Drive-Thru will open from approximately 9am on opening day, then 24/7!


Krispy Kreme 

3 Ronwood Avenue, Manukau, Auckland / If taking public transport, Manukau Train Station is literally a 7 minute walk away from the Krispy Kreme store. #Winning

Website / Menu / Instagram / Facebook

Krispy Kreme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawke’s Bay Travel Diary

Over the summer holidays, I spent a week in Hawke’s Bay, a region in the North Island of New Zealand, which is home to fresh, delicious produce and beautiful wines. In fact, Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand and the second largest (after Marlborough). There is lots to do in Hawke’s Bay, from dining at the many restaurants and cafes, sampling local wines, climbing mountains, exploring beaches, or picking up your produce for the week at the amazing farmer’s market.

Check out my highlights for my favourite things to see, eat and do in Hawke’s Bay…

#1  Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market

IMG_2386IMG_2387
IMG_2413

Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market is one of my favourite markets to date for its abundant range of produce, and the fact that everyone is catered for.

Highlights included: FIGS from Te Mata Figs, plus fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, nutty and wholesome gluten free breads, organic blueberries and ice cream from Bay Blueberries, gluten and dairy free treats and products from HAPI, mouthwatering macarons from Monsieur Macaron, hot chilies like jalapeños and Padron peppers, honeycomb honey sourced from Cape Kidnappers and SO much more!

The market is on every Sunday from 8.30am till 12.30pm. 

Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds, Kenilworth Road, Hastings / Website / Instagram

 

#2  Church Road Winery

IMG_2435
IMG_2426

To me, summer days = platters, wine(s) and picnics. And the perfect place for these summer days? Church Road Winery of course!

Having been fans of Church Road Winery for a long time, we decided to have lunch here. You have the option to sit inside or outside or relax on a picnic blanket on the grass, which is what we chose to do. For lunch, we ordered wines – highly recommend their 2017 Rose, which was perfect with our platter to share. We loved all the different dishes  on the platter – Maharaja chutney, marinated olives, pickled vegetables, cured meats, basil pesto, cherry vine tomato salsa, smoked salmon dip, arancini balls, citrus prawns, Hohepa Danbo cheese and Whitestone Brie, served with crackers, croutes and house made bread. 

Although we shared this between the two of us, you could definitely share it between three people. The house made bread was still warm out of the oven and the Maharaja chutney was divine, so much so, we bought a few jars from the gift shop afterwards. 

While we didn’t do either, wine tastings and museum tours are also available at Church Road Winery. 

150 Church Road, Napier / Website / Instagram


#3  Mission Estate Winery

IMG_2449

Just down the road from Church Road Winery is Mission Estate Winery. As mentioned above, Hawke’s Bay is home to New Zealand’s oldest winery – in 1851, French missionaries sailed to New Zealand and planted vines – introducing Mission Estate, located in Napier.

Since trying Mission Estate’s wines last year, I have fallen in love. My favourite wine at the moment? Mission Estate’s 2017 Pinot Gris. It is a beautiful drop and I highly recommend trying it. 

While we didn’t dine at Mission Estate’s restaurant (having already had lunch at Church Road Winery) or do a wine tasting, we did have a lovely walk around the grounds and various dining areas, plus I purchased some of their beautiful branded glasses – at only $5 each, they were an absolute steal!

198 Church Road, Napier / Website / Instagram 

 

#4  HAPī

IMG_2526IMG_2524IMG_2501IMG_2509

Hapī is WOW. Their ethos “you are what you eat” and that “physical and mental wellbeing is a true reflection of how you fuel your body” rings true to my New Year’s Resolution for this year, so I was really excited to check out this cute cafe, located in the heart of Napier.  

At Hapī, the food is plant based, full of nutrients and very delicious. If you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free or just love eating all of the above, then Hapī is your place! Read more about Hapī here

89 Hastings Street, Napier / Website / Instagram


#5  Te Mata Peak

IMG_2467
IMG_2459

Te Mata Peak stands at 399m high and provides spectacular views over Napier, Hastings and the Hawke’s Bay Hills. You can walk up it, down and around (there are six different walking tracks to choose from), you can cycle, or and if you are into mountain biking, then there are a few tracks for you too!

We arrived around 9am to walk up the peak – any later and it would have been too hot. There is parking at the main entrance and a large map, which clearly outlines all the different routes.

Te Mata Peak is a great way to get into nature and do something different, because, really, it is hard to stay away from all the amazing eateries and wineries in Hawke’s Bay!

Te Mata Peak RoadHastings / Website


#6  Hawthorne Coffee

IMG_0894

I first tried Hawthorne Coffee at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market, and while the wait was super long, it was worth it. Their coffee is creamy, delicious and smells out of this world. I also picked up two bags of their coffee to take home, which is priced at $10 a packet – usually $13-$13.50 online!

A few days later, we stopped by their cafe after exploring Te Mata Peak. The coffee, again, was perfect. Now, back in Auckland, I’m enjoying their plunger coffee at home, which smells and tastes heavenly. 

Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market and 23 Napier Road, Havelock North / Website / Instagram


#6  The Fruit Shop

IMG_2568IMG_2574

Looking for $3 pumpkins? Or how about bags of fresh apricots for $6? Or maybe Feijoa fruit ice cream? Then, you have come to the right place – introducing The Fruit Shop.

Their Instagram bio claims it is “Hawke’s Bay’s best fruit destination”… and I think they are right on track! While I loved the fresh fruit and vegetables at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market, the fruit and vegetables at The Fruit Shop are more reasonably priced. Plus, real fruit ice cream – and not just the usual strawberry and blueberry, but FEIJOA. Ultimate bonus!!!

We literally filled our car with sooooo many goodies from The Fruit Shop and took these all the way back to Auckland. I would highly recommend a stop here!

1010 Pakowhai Road, Hastings / Instagram / Facebook


#7  Kilim Turkish Cafe & Restaurant

IMG_0915

I love Turkish food. Especially homemade falafel, hummus, Iskender Chicken and Lamb, tabbouleh and Turkish bread. Kilim is a family owned restaurant in Napier, and does Turkish food well – very authentic and tasty. And yes, their falafel is primo!

We dined here once (and also got takeaway on a separate occasion) and it was a lovely night. The staff were welcoming and friendly and our meals arrived promptly. They do BYO = double bonus, plus NO CORKAGE = triple bonus!!!

We loved their Iskender Meal with Chicken, which also comes with a generous amount of rice, hummus, beetroot dip, mixed salad, tabbouleh and Turkish bread, and also the Salad Bowl with Falafels with salad, hummus, beetroot dip, tabbouleh, sweet chilli and Turkish bread. Both meals were filling and delicious. Recommend.

193 Hastings Street, Napier / Facebook

 

#8  Chantal Shop

IMG_2514IMG_2516IMG_2519
Note: This is not my kid, but isn’t this cute?

Bulk Food Heaven is how I would describe Chantal Shop. Rows and rows of bins filled with all your favourite nuts, grains, seeds and flours. I picked up some raw cashews (as I was making this) and they were delicious! 

If you are looking for all things organic, raw, vegan, dairy and gluten free, then you have come to the right place. They sell a huge range of fresh foods, products (including some of my favourites – Serious Popcorn, Tio Pablo corn chips and Little Bird Unbakery macaroons) and many cold drinks (perfect for a hot summer’s day or taking on a picnic), plus if you are feeling like a wholesome breakfast or lunch, check out their cafe serving wholesome food next door.

45 Hastings Street, Napier / Website / Instagram


#9  Cape Kidnappers

IMG_2536
IMG_2542

Cape Kidnappers is a headland located on the east coast of the North Island and is the site of the largest and most accessible gannet colony in the world.

The gannet colony is closed to the public (as the land surrounding the Cape is all privately owned), however there are a few ways to get there. You can either get up super super early and walk across the beach to the colony (about a 5 hour trip return), however you have to walk it in a certain time frame as they tide has to be out when you do the walk. You can also do tours – either via tractor or in a 4WD vehicle. 

Because we had not booked a tour or risen early, we decided to explore the area and check out the beach. The Te Awanga Motor Camp is also near where you start the 5 hour return walk, which is worth a look around. We spoke to some locals – they have been coming to the motor camp every year for about 30 years and I can definitely see why. It is very peaceful, quiet and a great spot for fishing, swimming or relaxing with a good book. 

If you don’t fancy doing any of the above, then you can view the full length of the iconic cliffs of Cape Kidnappers from Marine Parade in Napier!

Clifton Road, Te Awanga / Info


#10 Birdwoods Sweet Shop

IMG_2492
IMG_0892

Birdwoods Sweet Shop is one part of Birdwoods Gallery and Cafe, located in Havelock North.

We looked around the gallery, real fruit ice cream shop and cafe, however, they only have plunger coffee available, so we had coffee elsewhere. We did enjoy checking out their old fashioned sweet shop. I felt like a child all over again! 

Memories flooded back of afternoons spent running down to the dairy to buy tons of lollies and the bubble gum with the stick-on tattoos inside.

Birdwoods Sweet Shop has a wide range of confectionery – rows and rows of jars filled with sweets, like gobstoppers, giant marshmallows of all different shapes and flavours, jubes, jet planes, milk bottles, bon bons, Jaffa’s, plus gummy pizza and hamburgers, spaceman sticks, giant chocolate fish and bubble gum.

While I wanted to buy one of everything, I chose a delicious dark chocolate marshmallow filled slice (above) and some lollies to take back home. 

298 Middle Road, Havelock NorthWebsite


#11  Hunger Monger

IMG_2596IMG_2601

Last but not least, Hunger Monger. Run by Polish couple, Fraser Slack and Agnieszka Wills, the menu is predominantly seafood, where diners can enjoy oysters, Aussie prawns, grilled fish, Cook Strait octopus, squid, sashimi and salmon to name a few. Also, 98% of their wines and beers are local to the area – many I had never heard of before.

We enjoyed their Tempura Prawns with dipping sauces, Grilled Fish with Salads, Grilled Fish with Kumara Miso Mash and Broccolini and for dessert, Deconstructed Tiramisu. The food was beautiful, and the service excellent too. Read more about Hunger Monger here

129 Marine Parade, Napier / Website / Instagram


A fantastic first visit to Hawke’s Bay – cannot wait to go back!
x

Tatua Mint Chocolate Crush

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day with a Treat for Your Sweet from Tatua!

I love chocolate. And desserts. And sharing these with friends, so I was super excited when the good folk at Tatua kindly sent me a yummy package to recreate a delightful dessert on Valentines Day – Mint Chocolate Crush

IMG_2832

The recipe is simple and super quick to prepare – I whipped it up in my office at work, so you can literally prepare it anywhere, any time. All you need is Tatua’s Chef de Can Chocolate Mousse, mint slice chocolate biscuits, chocolate spiral wafers, chocolate sauce and mint. I am a huge fan of Tatua’s chocolate mousse (and dairy whip) – it is something I will eat straight out of the can, but it is also delicious in a dessert too!

TATUA MINT CHOCOLATE CRUSH

Ingredients

1 packet mint chocolate biscuits
Tatua Chef de Can Chocolate Mousse
1/2 cup chocolate sauce (the Delmaine one is delicious)

Spiral wafers and fresh mint for garnish

IMG_2838
IMG_2841

Method

Crush or chop the mint biscuits into bite sized pieces and some smaller. 

Layer dessert glasses with crushed biscuits, Chocolate Mousse and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Finish with spiral wafers and a sprig of fresh mint. 

Enjoy with a loved one! x

IMG_2858

This is a not a sponsored post, however all the ingredients to make the Mint Chocolate Crush dessert were gifted to me by Tatua. All opinions are (and always will be) my own.

 

Cadbury Caramilk Cookies

I love cookies. And I love Caramilk. So, why not get them together for a taste explosion?!

Cadbury has just recently re-rereleased Caramilk. This delicious chocolate was originally created in 1994 and its smooth caramel and white chocolate and combination soon became a hit among kiwis. And now, it’s back, back again, for a limited time only! It is creamy, milky and as my workmate said, tastes just like Russian fudge. Heaven. 

IMG_2720

I have used this cookie recipe here – to me, it is the best ever! This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

Cadbury Caramilk Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1x Cadbury Caramilk block (190g), roughly chopped
  • 180g unsalted butter, slightly melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Extra – 1/2 block of Cadbury Caramilk, chopped into quarter squares*

IMG_2738

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two (or three if needed) trays with baking paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and Cadbury Caramilk and set aside.

In an electric mixer (I love the KitchenAid Stand Mixer), combine the butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla essence and continue to mix. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir to combine well.

Using a tablespoon, roll cookie dough into balls and place them on the lined baking trays, about 5cm apart.  *Flatten each cookie and place a quarter of a square of Cadbury Caramilk in the middle of each. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Serve with a glass of milk or a nice hot cup of tea. 

IMG_2732

Cadbury Caramilk Cookies

I love cookies. And I love Caramilk. So, why not get them together for a taste explosion?!

This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1x Cadbury Caramilk block (190g), roughly chopped
  • 180g unsalted butter, slightly melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Extra – 1/2 block of Cadbury Caramilk, chopped into quarter squares*

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two (or three if needed) trays with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer, combine the butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla essence and continue to mix. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir to combine well.
  3. Using a tablespoon, roll cookie dough into balls and place them on the lined baking trays, about 5cm apart.  *Flatten each cookie and place a quarter of a square of Cadbury Caramilk in the middle of each.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
  5. Serve with a glass of milk or a nice hot cup of tea.

For more Cadbury Caramilk creations, check out Emma’s Caramilk Bars here and Anna’s Caramilk Cheesecake here.