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Cotto – Auckland


I tried Cotto for the first time last week.

I know, I know, I am super late on the bandwagon, but I finally made it… and I am so glad I did! It was everything I imagined and more.

Cotto originally opened as a handmade-pasta pop up, but two years later they still occupy the same spot. Why, you may ask? Well, the team behind Cotto serve incredible Italian-inspired food. And some of the most flavourful dishes I have tried in Auckland. And the best part? Ordering 10 plus dishes between four will only cost you around $45, including a cocktail/beer/wine. Such a steal!

Their menu is designed to be shared and is split into four sections by price – $5, $15, $20 and $10. Two of our group were vegetarians, but when looking at the menu, all I wanted to eat were the vegetarian dishes so this worked out really well. Everything we ordered was spot on. And full of cheese. Absolutely brilliant, because cheese is life. Below are all the dishes we savoured:

$5

Farinata

A delicious crispy bread made with chickpea flour, olive oil and water and topped with sea salt, rosemary and sage.

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Heirloom Tomato and Shallot

We decided these were the best tomatoes we had eaten all summer, plus it was the perfect starter to our feast that awaited. 

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$15

Spinach and Goats Cheese Dumplings with Fried Sage

Think big buttery dumplings with generous fillings and topped with crispy fried sage leaves. This dish left me oohing and aahing for the duration of the night. These are seriously the real deal. 

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Smoked Chickpea Mozzarella Chips with Almond Aioli

Another highlight of the night!
Give me a plate of these any day and I will be one happy gal!

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Fried Eggplant with Roast Tomato Basil and Whipped Ricotta

My least favourite dish of the night, however, would have eaten the whipped ricotta on its own… may or may not have dipped my Farinata bread into it too… dreamy!

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$20

Basil Gnocchi with Zucchini, Stracciatella and Pinenuts

Soft and fluffy gnocchi and oozing with stringy cheese…! Really enjoyed this dish and could have happily eaten another plate or two. 

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Ravioli with Spinach, Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato and Dried Olives 

A lovely simple dish, but quite a small portion for the price. 

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$10

Chocolate Nemesis with Salted Caramel

A very rich chocolatey dessert, so best shared with your fellow dining companions!

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Affogato

I have never ever ordered affogato for dessert before, because hey, you can make this at home… but hello dreamy… we left with some huge grins on our faces!

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Panna Cotta with Mascarpone Plum and Grappa Sorbet

If you are dining at Cotto in the near future, order their Panna Cotta as your choice of dessert and you will not be disappointed. The panna cotta was perfectly set and melt in your mouth. A beautiful dessert and one of the highlights of the night!

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Food aside, service was efficient and the meals arrived in a well staggered manner. The atmosphere is lively, with great music and at times noisy, but the vibe cosy. Note they don’t take small group bookings, so be prepared to not be seated upon arrival, however you are welcome to sit at the bar while you wait… definitely recommend ordering a Spritz or two!

Thank you Cotto for an incredible foodie experience – I cannot wait to go back x

Cotto
375 Karangahape Road, Auckland / Instagram / Facebook

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

Duck Island Ice Cream – Ponsonby

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DUCK ISLAND ICE CREAM HAS OFFICIALLY OPENED IN AUCKLAND. 

When I found out that Duck Island Ice Cream were planning to open a branch in Auckland (their original store is in Hamilton), I was head over heels!!! And then finding out that the store would be located on Ponsonby Road, literally a five minute walk from my flat… well I was jumping with joy all over the place!

I first tried Duck Island Ice Cream at the end of 2017 when they featured at Taste of Auckland. Since then, a few friends and I have taken a roadie down to Hamilton, mainly to have brunch with a few bloggers and of course, to check out Duck Island’s original store too. I tried their Hot Cross Bun and Custard Square flavours, which tasted exactly like the real thing. 

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Cherry & Coconut / Peanut Butter / Peppermint


At last year’s Taste of Auckland, Duck Island featured again – I attended Taste three times, so this meant trying Duck Island three times – six scoops in total, including:

  • Salted Chocolate Brownie – a winner in my books!
  • Passionfruit Coconut
  • Strawberry & Beetroot Sorbet
  • Coconut Caramel Sesame Praline with Peanuts – another winner!
  • Peppermint
  • Ambrosia… complete with marshmallows and jelly!

I visited a few weeks ago with my friend and fellow foodie, Thea, and we both really enjoyed the experience. Their new store on Ponsonby Road is definitely my cup of tea – with dreamy pastel pink walls, a pink mosaic tiled bench top, pink containers stacked with waffle cones, cacti🌵 (instant love) and the many colourful ice creams on display.
THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF. 

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Duck Island offer 24 delicious ice cream flavours, with five options for ordering, including: 

  • Single for $6 – 1 to 2 flavours
  • Double for $8 – 2 to 3 flavours
  • Triple for $9.50 – 3 to 4 flavours
  • Flight for $12 – 8 small scoops of your choice + water
  • Tidler for $4 – 1 flavour

They also offer a range of toppings to enhance your ice cream experience, including: Sherbet, Sprinkles, Whipped Cream, Frosted Peanuts, Vegan Rocky Road (all 50c each) and sauces such as Salty Caramel, Chocolate Fudge and Vegan Chocolate (all $1 each). 

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I ordered 3 scoops for $8 (steal!) and loved the following flavours: 
💫 Toasted Marshmallow
💫 Caramel Sesame Chocolate Peanuts
💫 Passionfruit Coconut – current favourite!

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You can also purchase sundaes, floats, sodas and milkshakes. Plus, ice cream ‘tacos’ and tubs of the good stuff to take home too!

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Ice cream aside, service was super friendly and welcoming, plus there is plenty of seating outside, so bring your family and friends – you will not regret it!!!

Duck Island Ice Cream
182 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby / Instagram / Facebook

Duck Island Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch Club at Ozone Coffee Roasters

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About a month ago, a few foodies and I went along to the opening of Ozone Coffee Roasters in Grey Lynn, where we sampled some of their menu dishes and got to know more about their brand. At the opening, I came across a long table at the back of the eatery and thought “this would be perfect for the NZ Bloggers Brunch Club!”

So, a few weekends’ ago, I hosted my first NZ Bloggers Brunch Club at Ozone Coffee! There were about 20 bloggers in total, and it was lovely to welcome some new faces along, as well as catch up with old friends.

Ozone Coffee has been roasting coffee and building relationships in New Plymouth, London and beyond for the past 20 years. Ozone’s latest venture in Grey Lynn is an all-day eatery, with seating for 100, complete with an open kitchen, and a dedicated coffee bar, with many brews on offer and their beans are roasted on-site – make sure you take a peek at the back to see all the action!

The space is beautifully designed, with high ceilings, booth seating, and its industrial style features create a warm and hospitable feel… great for the ‘gram!

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Everyone agreed that Ozone’s menu is innovative and there is something for everyone, with allergies and intolerances well catered for. Their menu showcases sustainably sourced and seasonal fare, with dishes such as the Lamb Burger with hand-cut chips, Seeded granola with Hawke’s Bay stone-fruit and Velda’s 3-Cheese Italian Pancake. Check out their brunch menu here.

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Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

Eggs Benedict on bubble ’n’ squeak cakes with hollandaise and bacon
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Smoked Kawahai on Rye bread with karengo chili jam, fried egg, cucumber and herbs

 

 


Velda’s 3-Cheese Pancake with poached egg, silverbeet, peach chutney and creme fraiche

 

 

 

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The first @NZBloggers brunch club of the year. 🎉🎉🎉 We checked out the fairly new Ozone Coffee Roasters in Grey Lynn and it was PUMPING. What a great turnout! Babies, a pup and lots of lovely bloggers. Great to catch up with bloggers I’ve met before and met some new faces too. Love these meet-ups where everyone understands that the camera eats first. 🤣 I had Velda’s 3-cheese Italian pancake with poachie, silverbeet, killer peach chutney and house made creme fraiche. Vegetarian and naturally gluten free. This was absolutely delicious. 🤤🤤🤤 If you’re a blogger, even a micro-blogger here in Instagram, check out @NZBloggers, an awesome community of cool cats. 👌👌👌 Thanks for having us @ozonecoffeenz 😍😍😍 @_georgieats_ @lifewithlaura.co.nz @lenatalks @islandgirlblogger @bri.dimattina @therestlessempire @onceuponanegg @eatitauckland @twelvebelles @_sweetfoodielife @food2belly @inmaemaeskitchen @myblogtoinspire @theaexplores @thattrip_e_urbanlife

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Smoked cheddar fry-bread with avocado, poached egg and fermented chilli yoghurt

 


Lamb Burger with black olive mayo, cheddar, spiced peach chutney and hand-cut chips
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NB. I also had brunch at Ozone Coffee the previous week and ordered their Veggie Brekkie with poached eggs on seeded sourdough, dry cured bacon, chewy roast tomatoes, kimchi greens, halloumi and hash brown, which was super yummy!

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Bonus – Ozone Coffee is dog friendly, meaning you can dine while sitting next to your dog. Highlight of the day was seeing Daisy, a very cute dog who joined us for brunch! Thank you to Becs (Once Upon an Egg) for bringing her!

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Photo Credit: Bri DiMattina

It was a great morning out – delicious food, decor and most importantly, the lovely company! A huge thank you to Ozone Coffee for their hospitality!

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

Ash of That Trip-E Urbanlife
Website / YouTubeInstagram

Angela of A Style Collector
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Bec of Once Upon An Egg
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Belle of Twelve Belles
Website / Instagram

Bri of Bri DiMattina
FacebookInstagram

Danielle of The Restless Empire
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Emily of Food2Belly
Instagram

Evo of Island Girl Blogger
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Genie of Bunny Eats Design
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Georgie of Georgieats
WebsiteInstagram / Facebook

Laura of Life with Laura
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Lena of Lena Talks
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Enna of May and Enna
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Maggie of Sunday Dreams
Instagram 

May-Leigh of Eat It Auckland
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Niki of Sweet Foodie Life
Instagram

Thea of On Her Plate
Website / Instagram

Vaishali of My Blog to Inspire
Instagram / Facebook

If you would like to attend upcoming NZ Blogger and Brunch Club events, join the Facebook group to ensure you don’t miss out. There are some great things being planned for 2019…

Ozone Coffee Roasters
18 Westmoreland Street West, Grey Lynn Instagram / Facebook / All Day Brunch Menu

Ozone Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Auckland Fish Market

I absolutely love seafood. Oysters, mussels, prawns, hoki, kina, gurnard, crayfish, whitebait, clams, flounder, scallops, tuna, snapper, paua – you name it. 

I would eat seafood for every meal if I could… maybe just not for dessert as that is reserved for my other favourite food – chocolate. So, when I was invited to the official opening party of the Auckland Fish Market last Monday, I was super excited!

Most of you will already know, but for the last nine months’, the Auckland Fish Market in Wynyard Quarter has undergone renovations, to include eight new eateries, a courtyard bar, a world class fishmonger – Sanford & Sons and seating for 400 inside and out, making it an ideal dining destination for Aucklanders and for tourists alike. 

The newly refurbished Auckland Fish Market is a celebration of New Zealand seafood – in fact it sells the widest range of the freshest seafood available, straight from the boats to your dinner table. 

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At the opening party of the Auckland Fish Market, we sampled freshly shucked TeKouma Bay oysters, fish sliders from Market Galley, swordfish, green papaya salad from Tiki Thai, Poke Bowls from Ika Bowl and gelato from Little Lato. We later bought bao from Azabu – highly recommend the pork belly!

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Also tried an Aperol Spritz for the first time (hello, new favourite cocktail). These (and many other delicious drink offerings) were available from The Wreck, their new courtyard bar. 

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Here is the latest on the newest food offerings at the Auckland Fish Market: 

Azabu

Serving sublime sushi and sashimi, plus other Asian-style classics like dumplings, bao, tempura and wontons. Menu here.
Instagram

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Billypot

Taking on the traditional mussel and frites concept and making it more kiwi. The hero dish is mussels, coming in three flavours – one traditional herb, one garlic and one white wine. You will also find oysters, crayfish, whitebait and paua fritters on the menu.
Instagram

Mar and Tierra

Sea & Land is the literal translation for this Southern American-inspired restuarant where you will find dishes such as plancha prawns, ceviche and arepas. Menu here.
Instagram

Good Karma Truck

Head here for coffee to start your day, otherwise they offer tea, iced drinks, smoothies and dessert – they serve Little Lato gelato and sweet treats! Menu here.
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Market Galley

East meets west, with old favourites and future classics, such as fish and chips and wok-fried dishes – perfect for sharing with the family.

Super Pizza

As the name suggests, you guessed it, PIZZA! Deliciously wood-fired pizzas – my pick is their Margherita or Pepperoni. 

Tiki Thai

With the same owner as Asian-fusion eatery Tok Tok, you know this place will be a winner! A smallish menu consisting of Thai-inspired dishes with bold flavours, like Thai trevally tacos, eggplant chips, crispy pork belly and prawn laksa. Menu here

Ika Bowl

Polynesian Poke Bar serving seafood, complemented with the freshest New Zealand produce. Highly recommend the Fiery Irie bowl. Menu here.
Instagram

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I am so excited about the newly opened Auckland Fish Market and all that it has to offer. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Auckland Fish Market
22 Jellicoe Street, Wynyard Quarter Website / Instagram / Facebook

Azabu Light Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little Bird Unbakery

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Attention Little Bird Organics and The Unbakery lovers, the HYPE is real… Little Bird Unbakery is now open for dinner!

At last year’s Taste of Auckland, the festival’s first dedicated vegan restaurant, Little Bird Organics, announced they were trialling out four dishes which could potentially go on the menu of their new dinner offering at their Ponsonby Unbakery! Think Smoked Watermelon SashimiHemp Tacos with BBQ Cauliflower and Kimchee Slider with Gochujang Black Bean Patty. Yum!

Fast forward to two weeks ago, Little Bird Unbakery opened for dinners, and I can see it becoming a very popular place! It is somewhere where you can enjoy a wholesome plant-based delicious meal… and feel great afterwards. 

The idea of their new dinner offering is to showcase seasonal organic bites, meals and desserts (all dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan), paired with an all-natural wine list, organic cocktails and craft beer. The menu will change and grow over the coming weeks, depending on the seasonal produce available and feedback from the public.

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Little Bird Unbakery have only just obtained their liquor license this week, so the natural wines I was hoping for were not available. Instead, they are serving non-alcoholic cocktails made with Ecology & Co. alcohol free spirits. I loved their ‘G&T’ with lemon and tonic. Also on offer non-alcoholic wise is kombucha, cold pressed juices, tea and coffee.

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We ordered quite a feast, mainly because we wanted to try a range of dishes. The menu is split into four sections, including starters, fresh and light dishes, warm and comforting meals and desserts. All of the dishes we ordered had fresh and seasonal ingredients, and were well plated. Below is what we ate:

  • Pakoras – six pakoras filled with a cauliflower and chickpea filling (plus broccoli inside which was a lovely surprise), fried in a light batter and served with a tamarind and coriander mint chutney – YUM! ($12). 

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  • BBQ Cauliflower – one of the highlights of the night! Beautiful BBQ’d cauliflower in the most delicious tomato based sauce. You can either get half a portion ($12) or a quarter portion ($8). 

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  • Grilled Eggplant with sumac, spiced puy lentils, baby spinach, fresh herbs and pomegranate ($18). This was our least favourite dish of the night as it was not as flavourful as we thought it would be. The eggplant was also undercooked.

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  • Summer Bird Bowl ($22). Another highlight of our night. This beautiful and colourful dish consisted of slow roasted tomatoes, Kelmana greens, marinated fennel salad, courgette pasta, avocado, and ricotta stuffed courgette flower. The only glitch about this dish was when it arrived, there was an empty space on the plate – no courgette flower! When we told the staff, they quickly rushed to the kitchen and these were brought out in no time. Note you can also order the courgette flowers as a starter – highly recommend you do. 

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  • Kimchee Burger ($22). Served with cashew mozzarella, sweet chili sauce, tomatoes and bread and butter pickles, this was my main dish and it did not disappoint! There is no bread, so the bun is lettuce… which is great because it does not fill you up as much! The patty was delicious, brownie points because there is kimchi(!!!) and loved the kale chips – could eat these for days!

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Finally, dessert. Do not leave without trying their Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich ($14). This was HEAVENLY. DIVINE. MELT IN YOUR MOUTH. All those things in one. Literally died and went to heaven. Their ice cream is made with cashews and coconut, and sandwiched between a chocolate biscuit base, dipped in chocolate and rolled in activated nuts. This dessert is raw, vegan, dairy and gluten free, but honestly one of the best things I have put in my mouth this year. Highly recommend!

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I am so excited about the new dinner offering at Little Bird Unbakery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Little Bird Organics – The Unbakery
Corner Summer Street and Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby Website / Instagram / Facebook

Little Bird Unbakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Weekend in Wellington

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It was my birthday a few weeks’ ago, so I decided to spend a weekend in Wellington.

Here’s what we got up to on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy!

FRIDAY

We arrived in Wellington around 1pm and thankfully, it was a nice sunny day!

Uber seemed a tempting way to get to our hotel, but instead we caught the Airport bus to the “Wellington Railway Station” ($12 one way). The trip only takes about 20 minutes, but somehow we missed our stop, and ended up on the motorway, driving to Petone! Never fear, we had planned to visit Petone in the afternoon. Ravenous, we headed to Kilim for a late lunch.

Kilim is a family owned restaurant (there is also a branch in Napier which we have been to) and they do great Turkish fare. We ordered their Doner Kebab with chicken and Iskender Meal with falafel, which also comes with a generous amount of rice, hummus, beetroot dip, mixed salad, tabbouleh and Turkish bread. Both meals were filling, delicious and reasonably priced. Highly recommend if you are in Petone!

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Kilim / 87 Jackson Street, Petone

4pm: Check In

We caught the bus from Petone to the Railway Station, walked around the corner, and checked into Rydges, a hotel located on downtown Featherston Street in Wellington CBD. We chose to stay here as we got a great deal on Expedia, plus received complimentary buffet breakfast each day and wireless internet. The hotel has a range of facilities to suit everyone’s needs including an indoor lap pool, fitness studio, sauna, and spa and conference rooms. A taxi from the airport takes about 25 minutes.

While the Rydges is not located in the main shopping area, it is just around the corner from the newly opened David Jones (great for shopping), the Westpac Stadium (where most concerts are held), the Wellington Railway Station, and about a 10 minute walk from the centre of town.

We both agreed overall that we could not fault the hotel. The rooms were spacious and well equipped with storage space, a small fridge, kettle and toaster. The bathroom was great, and check-in was a breeze. Would definitely stay here again.

Rydges Wellington / 85 Featherston Street / Instagram / Facebook

6pm: Bubbles and Ousters at Lulu Bar & Restaurant

Prior to dinner, we had originally planned to go to a rooftop bar as it was a nice balmy evening, but it just so happened that we stumbled upon Lulu Bar & Restaurant on the way, with a great special I must add! $6 bubbles and $2 oysters every day from 5-7pm! We nabbed the last table in the outdoor courtyard, which has a Hawaiian/tropical vibe.

It was fantastic – loved the atmosphere, decor and the oysters were spot on. Their restaurant menu also looked enticing, with flavours from the Pacific. We would have eaten here, but had already booked a table at nearby Chow. Will definitely be coming back next time I am down in Wellington!

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Lulu Bar & Restaurant / 31 Courtenay Place, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

7pm: Dinner at Chow

Two years ago, we dined at Chow, and my Mum has been raving about it ever since! Chow serves fresh Asian-fusion eats and an impressive line up of cocktails. On the menu, you will find summer rolls, salads, dumplings, skewers, crispy fried chicken, bao buns, curries and noodle soups. I love that there is something on the menu for everyone. 

On arrival, we were seated in a dark corner at the back of the restaurant. I asked the waitress if we could please sit outside (it felt claustrophobic so would not recommend sitting inside), and thankfully, we managed to grab the last outdoor table, which was great as the weather was beautiful – no wind in sight!

Service was friendly and fast, and we did not have to wait long for our meals, which were fresh, delicious and perfect for summer. We loved their Prawn Summer Rolls with chives, red pepper, coriander, lettuce and peanut sauce and their Green Papaya Salad with vermicelli, Thai basil, pistachio, lime, mint and tamari, plus a side of vegetables. YUM! Will definitely be back!

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Chow / Level 1, 45 Tory St / Instagram / Facebook

Note: On our way back to the hotel, we walked through the Wellington Night Market. The smells had me drooling, thanks to all the international food on offer. 

Wellington Night Market / 107 Cuba St, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

SATURDAY

8am: Breakfast

Our room deal at the Rydges included buffet breakfast each day, served from 7am to 10.30am. Seating is plentiful in the restaurant and there are many food options available, such as fresh fruits and juices, cereals, porridge, baked goods, cold meats, breads, a variety of spreads, or choose to have a cooked breakfast featuring eggs your way, sausages, bacon, black pudding, roasted potatoes, potato rosti, baked beans, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. 

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10am: Fix & Fogg

On Saturday morning, we headed to Fix & Fogg on Eva Street. I had seen on Instagram that they were giving away free jars of their specialty peanut butter, and in return, were donating jars to the Wellington City Mission. Such an awesome cause, plus I picked up their Fruit Toast Peanut Butter which I have not yet tried before!

Fix & Fogg also have a super cute hole in the wall shop where they serve their peanut butter (plus yummy toppings) on toast, plus smoothie bowls! Having just had breakfast, I did not try either, but take a look at how delicious they look on Instagram here!

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Fix & Fogg / 5 Eva Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

Quick stop at Moore Wilson’s

Moore Wilson’s is your one stop shop for all things FOOD! This amazing store reminds me of Farro in Auckland… on steroids!!! You will find all sorts of artisan products, plus international cheeses, wines, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade breads, cabinets filled with cakes, slices and other sweet delights, plus meats, tea, chocolate, flowers… literally everything!

Moore Wilson’s / Corner of Tory Street and College Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

11am: Wellington Chocolate Factory

I booked to do a tour and tasting at Wellington Chocolate Factory. Tickets cost $16 and includes an hour tour, including learning about the bean to bar process of how their chocolate is made, tastings of their chocolate and of cacao beans, plus a delicious hot chocolate at the end. Tours run every Saturday at 11am. Book your tour here

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Wellington Chocolate Factory / 5 Eva Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

11am: Spring Spa

While I was at the Wellington Chocolate Factory tour, I booked my Mum into Spring Spa to have a foot scrub and foot massage. The tour and Spring Spa are close by (only an 8 minute walk), so this was the perfect surprise! My Mum enjoyed the overall experience – sparkling water on arrival, professional and friendly staff, the clean and bright space and she loved her treatments. Will definitely be back to check out Spring Spa in Auckland.

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Spring Spa / 108 Tory Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

1pm: Lunch at Pickle & Pie

Upon hearing that Pickle & Pie is a Wellington take on a New York delicatessen, I was super excited to check this place out, having been to New York earlier this year, and indulged in many pickles and pastrami sandwiches! 

Walking in, I loved the decor and the front counter food display which had me drooling even before I checked out the menu. Rows and rows of delectable treats, including sweet pies, scones, brownie, cookies,  tarts and cannoli. 

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While I was originally leaning towards ordering their Reuben Smoked Pastrami Sandwich, I couldn’t take my eyes off their homemade pies!

Their ‘Pie of the Day’ special includes your choice of pie with mash, gravy and pickle. I love mashed potato, so I think this won me over! They had a choice of two pies – Kumara Green Curry and Venison, Bacon and Black Pepper. I ordered the Venison pie and it did not disappoint. The pastry was flaky – melt in your mouth, the mash perfect and the pie filling generous. Their pickles are also spot on. My Mum also loved her Matzo Ball Soup with pulled chicken and rye bread. 

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As well as their great food, the cafe is bright and clean, and they have an impressive floor to ceiling wall filled with Pickle & Pie’s homemade pickles, chutneys, smoked salt, muesli and meat rubs. Make sure you purchase some on your way out. Would highly recommend Pickle & Pie – cannot wait to go back!

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Note: Prior to our trip, I won a $50 voucher on Instagram to dine at Pickle & Pie, thanks to Yum Yum Welly!

Pickle & Pie / 2 Lombard Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

Afternoon: Shopping and Street Art

David Jones

Being huge fans of David Jones (thanks to the multiple stores all over Australia), we were excited to check out the newly opened store in Wellington – in fact, we visited the store about five times during the weekend. David Jones sells beauty, fashion, jewellery, shoes, bags, accessories, swimwear, homewares and toys, both New Zealand and international brands. 

165/167 Lambton Quay / Instagram / Facebook

Smack Bang

I first read about Smack Bang on Neat Places and the shop looked super cool! They sell homewares, plus gifts for cats and cat lovers, and gifts for dogs and dog lovers. The shop’s decor is very colourful, loved the pink feature wall with the saying ‘home is where the dog is’ and the hanging plants – definitely worth checking out.

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17 Tory Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

Shut the Front Door

Like Smack Bang, Shut the Front Door also sell homewares, amongst other things. Their shop is also bright and colourful and I always enjoy visiting their stores in Auckland.

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15 College St, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

Iko Iko

Another bright and colourful shop… you can see the trend here! Iko Iko sells a quirky mix of products, including cards, notebooks, cushions and gifts. But my favourite products include their Frida Khalo ornaments and Day of the Dead items. 

118 Cuba Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

Nic Nac’s

Nic Nacs’ is a lolly lover’s dream! Rows and rows of all sorts of lollies, in all shapes and colours! Nic Nacs’ is actually a dairy, so they sell all the usuals, plus international products such as Irish tea, giant bags of M&M’s and American/English confectionery.

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128 Cuba Street / Facebook

Street Art

Head to the following areas for your street art fix:
– Eva St/Leeds St: Wellington Mural by Toby Morris and Andrew Steel
Ghunzee Street Car Park: Bowie Mural by Xoë Hall

Back wall of Walrus Gallery on Jessie St; Mural by Phlegm

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6pm: Dinner at The Old Quarter

We love Vietnamese food. So, prior to our trip, I set out to research Vietnamese restaurants in Wellington. The Old Quarter, located just off Cuba Mall on Dixon Street, serves modern Vietnamese cuisine, and has amazing reviews. Perusing the menu, I was drooling over every dish, so was SOLD. Also thought it would be the perfect place for my birthday dinner! The Old Quarter did not disappoint – they serve fresh and tasty food, plus have great cocktails, service and a buzzing atmosphere. 

We started with drinks – bubbles and a Watermelon Mojito (both very refreshing), and for starters, I ordered the Five Spice Roasted Pork Bao with crispy skin, cucumber, coriander and hoisin chili sauce – it was to die for!

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We then shared the Prawn & Green Papaya Salad with carrot, chili, mint and peanuts and the Free Range Chicken & Mango Salad with five spice free-range chicken, coriander, Vietnamese mint, cashews, fried shallots and creamy chili dressing. Both dishes were fresh and full of flavour. Highly recommend!

The Old Quarter / 39 Dixon Street, Te Aro / Instagram / Facebook

SUNDAY

8am: Breakfast

Our last day at Rydges and another delicious breakfast was had. This morning, I enjoyed a glass of fresh orange juice, a coffee, fresh rockmelon and pineapple, and a cooked breakfast featuring two poached eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, potato rosti and loads of tomato sauce. YUM. 

We checked out of the Rydges after breakfast. Reception also kindly let us leave our luggage at Reception while we explored Wellington on our final day.

10am: Harbourside Market

Drum roll please…. Harbouside Market is EPIC! We headed here after breakfast as it is close to the nearby Te Papa Museum. Enter from the marina side and you will walk past a fleet of food trucks serving delicious eats, coffee and foodie products – loved the fresh waffles with caramel sauce from Montfort! Also excited to see that Hapī has a stand here, selling their beautiful bread, kimchi and raw slices.

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Then head around the corner and be prepared to be amazed – rows and rows of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables, at the cheapest prices I have ever come across.

Harbourside Market / Corner Cable St & Barnett St (beside Te Papa) / Facebook

11am: Te Papa Museum

After perusing the Harbourside Market, we headed next door to Te Papa Museum. This museum is voted one of the world’s best museums and I always enjoy my time here. They currently have an amazing Gallipoli exhibition on, where Te Papa has collaborated with Weta Workshop.

The ground-breaking exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes of eight New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Weta Workshop have created giant sculptures of each person – 2.4 times human size, and they look REAL. The exhibition also has 3D-maps, miniatures, models, interactive experiences and many personal items have been donated. A definite must-see if you are visiting Wellington between now and 30 April 2019.

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Note: Head to Level 5 for an epic view overlooking Harbourside Market. 

Te Papa Museum / 55 Cable Street / Instagram / Facebook

1pm: Best Ugly Bagels

We had planned to have lunch at Press Hall, a newly-opened upmarket food court located on Willis Street. There were a few eateries I wanted to try, including Tommy Millions (pizza), Nam D (Vietnamese) and Bao Boy (bao). Unfortunately, when I checked the opening hours, they are not open on Sunday! Quickly searching for lunch places and someplace we could sit outside, I found out Best Ugly Bagels was nearby on Swan Lane, and as I am already a fan, this seemed like the perfect place to have lunch!

I ordered their Yodi Bagel – an all time favourite, complete with pastrami, habanero mustard, grilled Swiss cheese and topped with a pickle! It was delicious as always, and arrived piping hot. Also enjoyed a delicious flat white with almond milk, and I can honestly say it is one of (if not) the best coffees I have had this year!

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Best Ugly Bagels / 5 Swan Lane / Instagram / Facebook

4.45pm: Back to Auckland!


Hope you enjoyed my Weekend in Wellington post!

Stay tuned for more Travel posts coming soon, and Happy Eating! x

Krispy Kreme Chancery Square

 

Attention doughnut lovers, the HYPE is real… Krispy Kreme is opening a third store in Auckland CBD’s Chancery Square… tomorrow!!!

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!

In February, Krispy Kreme opened its first New Zealand store in Manukau and its second store last month at Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal. It has been a roaring success ever since!

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The new Krispy Kreme store in Chancery is extra special – it is not just a second store, but a brand-new look for Krispy Kreme – first of its kind in the world. It is Krispy Kreme like you have never experienced before! Are you excited yet?!
Details for the Grand Opening below…

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Tonight, Evo and I went along to Krispy Kreme’s new store in Chancery for an exclusive sneak peak! This new branch is dubbed as the Kaleidoscope store and is super cool.

Set to be a more colorful sensory experience, the outside resembles the dozen doughnut box with Krispy Kreme’s iconic dots, and neon signage out front. The inside of the store is playful and fun – there is a ceiling of sprinkles, neon lighting and a giant pink doughnut seat. Sold. 

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There are many enticing doughnuts to choose from, such as Original Glazed, Caramel Iced, Caramel Delight, Kookies N Kreme 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. Krispy Kreme have just brought out four new Christmas doughnuts, which are available in store now. These include: Krispymas Pudding, Wreath with M&M’s, Christmas Tree and Snowy, complete with a sour strap scarf – too cute!

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Coffee, Milkshakes, Thickshakes and Sundaes are on the menu too, plus my forever favourite Kreme Shakes. The best one (in my opinion) is the Original Glazed Kreme Shake, topped with whipped cream and a quarter mini glazed doughnut. It tastes EXACTLY like an Original Glazed Doughnut in liquid form. Swoon. Also highly recommend the Hokey Pokey, which has a nice chocolate-y taste and pieces of honeycomb to munch on. Yum!

The Krispy Kreme Chancery Square store is also available on Uber Eats, giving users in Central Auckland the chance to get delicious doughnuts delivered to their door. Check out the pick up and delivery window below!

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I am so excited about the new Krispy Kreme store in Chancery, Auckland CBD. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Krispy Kreme 
Store B/101, Chancery Square, Auckland CBD
Website / Menu / Instagram / Facebook

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

Choc-Almond Slice with Cocavo

Baking is one of my favourite hobbies. Cookies, brownies and slices are my favourite things to bake. So, when I was sent the whole range of Cocavo products recently (and having never used their products in baking or cooking before), I was super excited to create a recipe using Cocavo’s products. 

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For those of you that are not familiar with Cocavo, they are a New Zealand owned and run company which produces a unique blend of extra virgin coconut and avocado oils, bringing the healthiest cooking oil to the market. Their products are made from all natural premium ingredients and are dairy and gluten free, and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Cocavo has five delicious flavours, including:

  • Cocavo Original (used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes)
  • Cocavo Light (the light flavour does not have the aroma or taste of coconut, which makes it the perfect cooking oil for everyday use)
  • Cocavo with Chili and Lime (use for seafood or stir-fry dishes)
  • Cocavo with Cilantro, Lime and Ginger (will bring out the flavours in Thai or Indonesian dishes)
  • Cocavo with Turmeric and Lemon Zest (perfect for cooking Indian and Middle Eastern dishes)

Using Cocavo’s Original Coconut and Avocado Oil, here is a decadent recipe for my
Choc-Almond Slice. This slice is easy to make and very moorish!

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CHOC-ALMOND SLICE with Cocavo

Ingredients

Base
1 cup oats
210g nuts (I used almonds and a few walnuts)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons Cocavo coconut and avocado oil, melted

Filling
3 tablespoons Cocavo coconut and avocado oil, melted
3/4 cup of almond butter (I used Matakana Nut Butters)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla 

Chocolate Topping
1/4 cup Cocavo coconut and avocado oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used a mix of Whittaker’s, Lindt and Ocho)

Method

In a food processor, pulse together base ingredients. Firmly press mixture into a slice tin lined with baking paper, and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together filling ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture onto base and smooth out evenly with a spatula.  Place back in the freezer for 1 hour.

On low heat in a saucepan, whisk together the topping ingredients until melted.  Pour mixture over base and spread evenly with a spatula. Place in the freezer to set for 1 hour, until ready to eat.

When ready, slice, serve, eat and enjoy!

Store in the fridge or freezer. 

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Stay tuned for more recipes coming soon! x

Ditching the Dairy: Coffee Options in Auckland CBD

Having recently started switching up my coffee order to include drinking dairy-free milk, and also having no idea which cafes in Auckland CBD were offering dairy-free milk options (and specifically which ones), I have decided to create this post, so that when you feel like dairy-free milk in your coffee, you will know where to go!

For each cafe, I have also added my recommended treat/breakfast dish too, because food is life!

Note: I have researched about 20 places all up, mainly visiting these places to check out their prices and if dairy-free milk is on offer. If a place is not included, it is either because their coffee with dairy-free milk is way too expensive or the coffee tasted like burnt toast. 

Stolen Summer

Stolen Summer is at the top of my list because it is my most recent coffee discovery and currently my favourite place to get a great coffee. The cafe is small, but cute, and fairly new to High Street. The owners are friendly, the cafe fit out will look good on your ‘gram and I love their coffee. At work, we buy all our baked goods from here, and can confirm they taste great too!

I usually order a medium flat white with almond milk, which costs $5. Stolen Summer’s coffee is consistently good – I have never had a bad one! On some occasions, my coffee comes with a mini chocolate chip cookie – too cute! Tip: Bring your own keep-cup and receive 50c off! Because their non-dairy milk is an extra 50c, you basically get it for free!

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy and Almond (+50c each)

Recommended food: One of their homemade muffins or scones, made fresh daily.

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18 High Street / Weekdays 7am-3pm, Saturday 11am-2.30pm

Le Chef

I love going to Le Chef because the owner and staff are always friendly and welcoming. Here is a little secret – it is also the warmest place in winter, thanks to the brick interior!

Their coffee is excellent– always extra hot, creamy and loads of fluff, especially when I ask for dairy-free milk! They have a great special deal lasting all day, every day – order a Large Flat White and pay only $3.50! With soy and almond milk being only an extra 50c, you will only pay $4 for a large flat white. Out of all the cafe options in this list, Le Chef has the cheapest option when buying a large coffee with dairy-free milk.

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy and Almond (+50c each)

Recommended food: A freshly baked croissant or pain au chocolat!

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Upper Vulcan Lane / Monday-Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 7am-4pm / Instagram / Facebook

Chuffed

One of my favourite all-round cafes in the Auckland’s CBD is Chuffed, for its delicious coffee, food and decor. On my most recent visit, we noticed they have changed their coffee cups to pink! #YAY and great to brighten up the ‘gram! Their coffee is excellent too and like Eighthirty, they offer three dairy-free milk alternatives, including soy, almond and coconut. A medium coffee with coconut milk is $5.10. Would recommend dining here also, because their food menu is A+.

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy, Coconut and Almond (+60c each)

Recommended food: Anything from their cabinet – love their Gluten Free Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie, and the look of their savoury scones and lemon tarts!

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43 High Street / Weekdays 7am-4pm, Weekends 9am-4pm / Instagram / Facebook

Eighthirty

Walking up High Street, you probably would not notice Eighthirty cafe as it is hidden from the street. I love everything about this cafe – the welcoming staff, the fresh and clean look and design and their delicious coffee. They also have a standout pink feature wall, which is great for the ‘gram! 

Eighthirty offer three dairy-free milk options – soy, almond and coconut. On my first visit, I took a long time to decide, because I had not tried almond nor coconut milk in a coffee before. The girls behind the counter were super helpful, and even gave me samples of the almond and coconut milks to try – bonus! I ended up ordering a small coffee with coconut milk ($4.90) which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy, Coconut and Almond (+70c each)

Recommended food: Definitely a sweet treat! I love their Gluten Free Raspberry and Chocolate Slice.

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35 High Street / Weekdays 7am-3.30pm / Instagram / Facebook

Misters Real Food

Misters has the widest range of dairy-free milks available, with their homemade milks being no extra cost. These include: Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, Hazelnut Milk and Coconut Milk. They also offer Soy Milk, which is 50c extra. I have so far tried their hazelnut milk, which is slightly less creamy than the others, but gives the coffee a nice subtle flavour. A regular coffee with hazelnut milk costs $4.40. 

Dairy-Free Milk available: Almond, Cashew, Hazelnut and Coconut (Free) and Soy (+50c)

Recommended food: For breakfast, the Midnight Baker Freedom Loaf with Free Range Organic Scrambled Eggs ($11.80) is my top pick, otherwise one of their raw treats from the cabinet!

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12 Wyndham Street / Weekdays 7am-3pm / Instagram / Facebook

Coffix

Fancy a coffee while you wait for your laundry, or while you get your hair done? Well, you can do just that at Coffix, which is situated between a laundromat and barbershop on Beach Road. Did I mention their coffee is only $2.50, plus Fairtrade and organic?!

I pass this place every morning on my walk to the city. The $2.50 coffee sign entices me every time, so one day, I just had to try it! I ordered a large cappuccino with coconut milk and this came to only $4.50! A regular coffee is also only $3.50 with dairy-free milk. Like Le Chef, it is the cheapest option if you want a coffee with dairy-free milk.

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy, Coconut and Almond (+$1 each)

Recommended food: They sell the most delicious slices for $2! I am eyeing up the Chocolate Caramel one for next time! 

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2 Anzac Avenue (corner of Beach Road) / Weekdays 6.30am-3pm / Facebook

The Receptionist

The Receptionist is a small coffee kiosk located next to Khartoum Place and a few of my favourite spots (like KAYA, Revive and Auckland Art Gallery). It is owned and run by a guy called Kay (an ex-Deadly Ponies designer(!!)), who is friendly and welcoming. He offers three ‘Special Milks’ which include soy, coconut and almond. I am loving coconut milk at the moment, so I ordered a medium coffee with coconut milk which costs $5. It was delicious, creamy, and loved the chocolate on top. Will definitely be back. 

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy, Coconut and Almond (+50c each)

Recommended food: No food available the time I visited, so just enjoy the coffee!

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32 Lorne Street / Weekdays 7.30-4.30pm, Sat 8am-3pm / Instagram 

Scarecrow

I have been frequenting Scarecrow since March 2015 when it first opened. Back then, it was a small and cozy cafe and grocer. Fast forward to now, it has undergone renovations, and now has an open kitchen, a large grocer, an extensive range of food and drinks available and there is also a florist on-site. It is a great place to have breakfast and lunch, and also catch up with friends over coffee and many sweet treats. 

They serve delicious Kokako coffee – I ordered a medium flat white with coconut milk in my new SOL KeepCup, which would have originally come to $5.50, but if you bring your own KeepCup, you receive 50c off!

While waiting for our coffees, we perused the shelves which are filled with all sorts of fabulous food goodies. Be sure to check out the fresh section because we discovered Little Island’s Coconut MilkBarista Style! Having never ever seen this been sold in retail, it was an exciting discovery! Scarecrow also uses this milk in their coffees, which I think it makes the coffee taste so good. 

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy, Coconut and Almond (+$1 each)

Recommended food: Scarecrow has one of the best looking food cabinets in Auckland CBD, with a range of baked goods (love the Paleo banana bread), cheesecakes and tarts, plus handmade chocolates. Swoon. 

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33 Victoria Street East / Weekdays 7am-5pm, Weekends 8am-5pm / Instagram / Facebook

Giles Luncheonette

What I like about Giles Luncheonette is that it is one of the few places in the CBD that serves All Press Coffee – one of my favourite coffee roasters. What I did not like about this cafe was that when walking in, we received no friendly or welcoming greeting from front of house – to be frank they did not seem enthusiastic at all. I ordered a medium flat white with almond milk which cost $5 and it was okay. The reason I have included this place in this list is because the dairy-free milk available is only an extra 50c, so it is one of the few cafes in Auckland’s CBD offering it this cheap. 

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy and Almond (+50c each)

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21 Shortland Street / Weekdays 7am-4pm, Weekends 8am-3pm / Facebook

Huffer

Last but not least, Huffer. While technically not a cafe, every Friday, the Huffer store in Britomart offers free small coffees. My workmates and I usually meet here every week, because 1. Their coffee is Allpress, 2. It is free (although at the moment they are asking for a gold coin donation for the Mental Health Foundation which I think is great) and 3. They offer soy milk – at no extra charge! They always have doughnuts available too – sometimes small cutie pies and other times the Little & Friday doughnuts which are the best in my opinion.

Dairy-Free Milk available: Soy (Free)

Recommended food: Complimentary doughnuts!

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12 Customs Street, Britomart / Fridays 7am-10am / Instagram

Stolen Summer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste of Auckland 18

HEADS UP FOODIES… TASTE OF AUCKLAND IS HERE!!!

November is the most exciting month of the year, for three reasons:
1. It is my birthday month;
2. It is starting to feel like summer; and
3. Taste of Auckland has arrived – woohoo!

2018 is a big year for Taste of Auckland presented by Electrolux as they are celebrating 10 years! This iconic food festival has helped launch brands, watch restaurants come and go, and of course, provide the public with an amazing event each year. 

Taste is also being held in a brand new location – occupying the entire space of Queen’s Wharf on the waterfront! I am in love with the new seaside location, as it is more spacious, and easier to get to. You could drive, but why not walk down from work or take public transport if you can?! 

On Thursday night, I attended my fifth Taste of Auckland, including the VIP Opening, where Taste presented the ‘Best in Taste Awards’, judged by Chand Sahrawat, Lachlan Colwill and Amanda Linnell. The winning dish was Xoong’s Ruakaka Kingfish Tartare. We then enjoyed drinks and canapes, followed by eating our way around the festival. 

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From left to right: Lachlan Colwill, Chand Sahrawat, Xoong’s executive chef Cameron Knox, Xoong owner David Dau, Farina owner Sergio Maglione, The Shucker Brothers’ owners Ana Schwarz and Geoff Tippett.

Held over four days (1-4 November), Taste of Auckland presented by Electrolux is ideal for those who love food, cooking and everything in between. In other words, it is the event for ultimate foodie heaven! Taste showcases some of Auckland’s best restaurants, all in pop up style at the festival, and each restaurant offers 3-4 dishes for you to try. Check out the restaurant menus hereTaste has their own festival currency, namely ‘Crowns’ ($1 = 1 crown). You use a Crown card to purchase food, drinks and experiences. Restaurant dishes cost between 6.50 and 14 crowns, while a restaurant’s ‘Icon Dish’ (limited availability) costs between 12 and 30 crowns. Crown cards are available for purchase at the entrance, and are also included in some of the ticket options. More about crowns and tickets here

Your ticket entry to Taste also includes trying new and existing food products from all over New Zealand, enjoying healthy products at the Good Taste Zone, watching your favourite chefs cooking in action (Electrolux Taste Theatre), cooking with some of New Zealand’s top chefs (Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets) and listening to live music while enjoying the sun and sea. 

Check out my highlights below at Taste of Auckland, including my favourite dishes, food stands and photos! Enjoy!

Restaurants at Taste

There are 12 restaurants featured this year, with four making a comeback: Baduzzi and Farina (both Italian), Paris Butter (French bistro), The Vodka Room (Russian-inspired).

Plus there are 8 new featured restaurants (very exciting), including: Culprit. (Modern Kiwi yum cha), Gerome (Greek-inspired), Little Bird Organics (Plant-based), Low Brow. (Contemporary fast/good food), Miann (Desserts), The Shucker Brothers (Seafood), The Smoko Room at The Sawmill Brewery (Meats) and Xoong (North-East Asian). Check out the restaurant menus here

From the 12 featured restaurants, I tried the following over three sessions: 

Baduzzi

Baduzzi is back this year serving ‘Food of the People’ – pasta, crayfish and the most divine handmade meatballs… which I highly recommend trying! Read more about Baduzzi here

Highlight of the night was Baduzzi’s Icon Dish: Wood-fired Karitane crayfish with Burro Provencal = 26 crowns

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With Baduzzi’s Executive Chef – Ben Bayly.
Do you see the resemblance?… We share the same last name!

We also tried Baduzzi’s Slow-cooked lamb meatballs with rosemary and Mamma D’s sauce = 12 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Little Bird Organics

I was so excited to hear that Little Bird Organics would be popping up at Taste this year. They are the festival’s first dedicated vegan eatery, and have a delicious and innovative menu. They will be trialing out four dishes which could potentially go on the menu of their new dinner offering at their Ponsonby Unbakery. The idea is to showcase seasonal organic bites, meals and desserts, paired with an all-natural wine list and organic cocktails menu. Can’t wait! Read more about Little Bird Unbakery here

HIGHLIGHT: Hemp Taco with BBQ cauliflower and fermented sriracha = 8 crowns

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Smoked Watermelon Sashimi with watercress, yuzu and miso = 12 crowns

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Kimchee Slider with Gochujang black bean pattie, melty ‘cheddar’, kimchi, cashew aioli, pickles, lettuce and coriander and on an activated charcoal bun = 10 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Paris Butter

Paris Butter serves French fare, and having not experienced their Duck Fat Fries, we ordered two lots of these, which were devoured in minutes! 

Fries “sarladais” – 
Duck fat fries, dried local mushrooms, parmesan and garlic = 10 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

The Shucker Brothers

What festival would be complete without oysters? Last year, there were none, so am excited that The Shucker Brothers will be featuring at Taste this year. They have brought their ocean-fresh oysters (freshly shucked to order) that are sourced locally from Clevedon, Mahurangi and Waiheke’s Te Matuku. Yum!

HIGHLIGHT: Trevally kokoda with chilli, lime, fresh coconut and nuoc cham = 12 crowns

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Freshly shucked oysters with mignonette or lemon = 12 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Farina

Italian restaurant Farina are making a comeback and have brought their wood-fired oven to create delicious dishes. Read more about Farina here

HIGHLIGHT: Spaghettoni Parmigiano E Gamberi [Spaghettoni pasta tossed in a parmigiano reggiano wheel, aromatic king prawn salsa] = 16 crowns

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Spaghettoni Alla Nerano [Spaghettoni pasta tossed in Parmigiano Reggiano wheel with zucchini, basil and black pepper] = 9 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Xoong

Xoong is Mount Eden’s newest restaurant serving North East Asian fare, with tastes inspired by Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. Read more about Xoong here

Soft Shell Crab Gua Bao with Gochujang mayo and pickled shallots = 10 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Low Brow.

Low Brow. are currently creating a stir on Auckland’s foodie scene with their infamous free-range fried chicken…

Note I didn’t get a chance to try their dishes, but I can however recommend their
Free Range Fried Chicken which I have enjoyed previously at their restaurant! Served with ranch, original or hot spice = 8 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Miann

Last but not least is another exciting Another eatery popping up at Taste this year is Miann, the festival’s first eatery serving only desserts! I have been following Miann’s journey from the beginning and they make some outstanding desserts, plus I love their handmade chocolates and ice cream. Read more about Miann here and here.

Absolutely loved Miann’s Waffle with caramel bananas and chocolate = 8 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Beverages

You are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the beverage choices at Taste, whether it be wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic drinks. Perfect to enjoy with your favourite restaurant dishes, or while lounging in a sun chair, listening to live music and enjoying the sunshine – bliss. Check out the beverage options available below:

Wine

Sip, swirl and savour these wine options at Taste of Auckland…

  • From Hawke’s Bay, Mission Estate – my favourite winery

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With Evo from Island Girl Blogger trying Mission Estate’s Fete Sparkling Cuvee

  • Also from Hawke’s Bay, Black Barn 
  • From Malborough, Sacred Hill – currently loving their Pinot Gris!
  • Also from Malborough, Churton, Mud House Wines, No.1 Family Cuvee Estate, te Pā Wines, Nautilus Estate, Tohu Wine and O:TU Wines
  • From Auckland, Villa Maria Winery
  • From Waiheke, Man O War
  • From Central Otago, Mount Michael Wines, Gibbston Valley and Rockburn Wines

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No1. Family Cuvee Estate

Spirits

Spirits available for tasting include Blush Gin (RRP $85) who are also selling Gin Slushies (yum!), Hidden World Gin ($80), Monkey 47 Gin (RRP $90) and Thomson Whiskey. 

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Radio Hauraki Craft Beer Trail

And, for all you beer lovers, there is a special area dedicated to beer, namely the ‘Radio Hauraki Craft Beer Trail’. Here, you can go on an adventure, and discover your favourite brew, while talking to the owners behind the brand. When it comes to beer, the simpler for me, the better. One of my favourite breweries was present – Good George – I love their lager, as it is a nice refreshing drink to accompany all the food!

Other breweries present are Lakeman Brewing, Laughing Bones and Liberty Brewing, or hop over to the Pale Ale Bar with brews by Tuatara, Black Dog and Lagunitas. Also featured are New New New, RenaissanceHarrington’s Breweries, Funk Estate, Ultimate Brew Company, plus Te Aro are bringing their craft beer all the way from Wellington!

Electrolux Taste Theatre

This year, I didn’t have the chance to attend one of the free cooking masterclasses as part of the Electrolux Taste Theatre – mainly because I was too busy eating my way around the festival! This part of Taste showcases cooking demonstrations from some of New Zealand’s top chefs and food personalities. If I were attending Taste every day, highlights  would include watching Megan May of Little Bird Organics on Friday afternoon, Nic Watt from Masu on Friday night, Sachie Nomura from Sachie’s Kitchen on Saturday afternoon and Josh Barlow from The Sugar Club on Saturday night. Full timetable here.

Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets

If you dream of cooking like a professional chef, then be sure to book into the Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets! It is a hands-on and intimate cooking class with some of New Zealand’s leading chefs – the line up this year includes Lesley Chandra (Sid at the French Cafe), Nobu Lee (Clooney), Jason Kim (Sidart), Gareth Stewart (Euro), Nishant Arora (Cassia), Dariush Lolaiy (Cazador), Man Mohan Singh (1947 Eatery) and Neil Brazier. You will learn cooking secrets and tips, before sitting down to enjoy the meal with a te Pā wine and a sweet treat. Tickets cost 15 crowns and are limited to 16 people per session. More about Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets here.  

Producer Food Stands / Tastings

Another great reason to visit Taste of Auckland is the producer food stands and tastings! For me, I love the opportunity to try and buy new and existing products, meet the owners behind all my favourite brands, and sample, sample, sample! Below is a list of my favourite products from last night (along with festival specials):

Culley’s Hot Sauces 

My favourite hot sauce brand in Auckland. They also make delicious gluten free corn chips, spice mixes, and most recently, BBQ Sauces! This year, Culley’s are celebrating Day of the Dead with their new limited edition sauce – only available for purchase at Taste

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Festival Specials: Day of the Dead sauce $10, 1 bottled sauce $8
(Retail price: Bottled Sauces $8)

Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Food Snob

If you are looking for products for your next platter party, then definitely check out Food Snob. I love their huge green olives, stuffed bell peppers, Mediterranean Medley, and cheeses galore… try the haloumi!

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Festival Specials: Any 2 cheeses and/or pottles for $10. Any 2 for $15 (Dutch Gouda, Cumin Gouda, French Camembert, French Brie)
(Retail prices: Pottles $5.90 each, Sheep Feta $6, Havarti $8, French Camembert $11)

Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Puhoi Valley

Selling their cheeses and yoghurt. They were very generous with their tastings of cheese… we just kept coming back for more! They have some new cheese available for purchase (launching at supermarkets next week) – love the Washed Rind!

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Festival Specials: Cheeses: 2 for $10, 3 for $14. Yoghurt: 2 tubs for $8, 3 tubs for $11. 
(Retail prices: Cheeses about $4.50-$10, Yoghurt $6).
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Little Bird Organics

One of my favourite clean-eating eateries in Auckland, who are selling their raw, vegan, gluten and dairy free sweet treats at Taste, as well as their food products – my favourites are their macaroons and their most recent release, Good Cookies!

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Festival Special: Buy 2 products, get 1 product free
(Retail prices: Good Cookies $6, Macaroons $11.75, Grawnola $17.90, Crackers $11.25)

Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Kaikoura Cheese

Owners Daniel and Sarah originally lived in Christchurch, but after the earthquakes, moved their family to Kaikoura. In 2011, they opened the award-winning Kaikoura Cheese and it has been a roaring success ever since… just check out the reviews! All of their cheeses are made with Jersey cow’s milk cheese…. mmmmm! Kaikoura Cheese is available at Sabato and The Dairy in Auckland. 

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Festival Special: 200g cheese for $12
(Retail price: Kaikoura Love and Fury, 
$26.50 for 200g)
Socials: Website / Facebook

Duck Island Ice Cream

I was so excited to see the return of Duck Island Ice Cream at Taste as I love their ice cream! I went three times to Taste and enjoyed the following flavours:
– Salted Chocolate Brownie (a winner in my books!)
– Coconut Passionfruit
– Strawberry & Beetroot Sorbet
– Coconut Caramel Sesame Praline with Peanuts (another winner!)
– Peppermint
– Ambrosia (complete with marshmallows and jelly!)

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Festival Special: $6 for one scoop (two flavours), $8 for two scoops (three flavours)
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Petal Cupcakes

Forever a favourite for their mouthwatering cupcakes. My favourites are their salted caramel and passionfruit – melt in your mouth!

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Festival Special: Cupcakes $5 each (which come in a cute Petal box)
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Pic’s Peanut Butter

Good news for all your peanut butter lovers out there because Pic’s Peanut Butter is debuting at Taste this year!

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Festival Special: 2 small jars $10, 1kg tub $15
(Retail prices: Small jar $6.50 each, 1kg tub $16, PB Slugs $5 for 6pk, Boysenberry Jelly $5)

Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Trade Aid

Trade Aid is a social enterprise helping talented people around the world improve their lives through fair trade. The company was founded in Christchurch in 1973, and today, Trade Aid is New Zealand’s largest fair trade coffee importer. They also produce fair trade chocolate, tea, nuts, seeds and baking products. I am a huge fan of their chocolate, which is available for tasting and purchase at Taste

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Festival Special: Chocolate, 3 blocks for $12
(Retail price: Chocolate $5 each)
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Häagen-Dazs

This much-loved American ice cream brand launched in New Zealand last year and is already becoming popular among us Kiwis. Häagen-Dazs are selling small tubs of their ice cream at Taste, with flavours such as Belgian Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Salted Caramel, Caramel Biscuit and Cream and Vanilla. 

Festival Special: Small tubs for $1 – such a steal!
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

All the details…

Taste of Auckland
Dates Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 November 2018
Times Friday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 10pm) Saturday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm) and Sunday (12pm to 5pm)
Venue Queens Wharf, 89 Quay Street, Auckland
Tickets Available on the day or via the Taste website – GA from $30, Premium $65 and VIP from $95. A new multi day pass with access to all six sessions is also available. By recycling crown currency cards and other fundraising measures, the festival aims to provide 4,000 lunches for kids in need via social enterprise Eat My Lunch.
Getting there Walk from work, Uber, take a bus or train, catch a ferry, or park in the nearby Downtown Parking Building or Britomart Car Park
Socials Website / Instagram / Facebook

This post is not sponsored, however the lovely people at Taste of Auckland, Lemongrass Productions and Sauce Shop PR provided my entry. All opinions are my own.