New Orleans’ Sunday Jazz Brunch, Logan Brown

Logan Brown

It’s that magical time of year when Wellington on a Plate is back in town. Last year we went to the fantastic Whisky Breakfast at Arthur’s, this year we decided on the New Orleans Jazz Brunch at Logan Brown. It was an obvious choice, and having never been to Logan Brown a chance to experience food usually priced out of our reach.

We were seated upstairs in the private dining area. Only four tables are up that narrow winding staircase, thankfully Sarah-Rose, Laura, and Tim were seated next to us at the balcony edge, rulers of the land. I have no idea how the staff manage to carry hot plates up those stairs.

Logan Brown

The $70 ticket included coffee & beignets to start, a cocktail, main, and dessert. Everything was incredible, the beignets were soft and lightly dusted with icing sugar, the coffee good. Our cocktails – one each of the double rum Hurricane, and the mint julep – were strong. I don’t like to be coddled with my cocktails, I want to taste the alcohol, so these were perfect.

Our choice of mains: seafood and sausage gumbo, eggs crawkitty, and sticky fried chicken seemed like perfect New Orleans choices. My gumbo was rich, the sausage added spice and I tried what was potentially my first oyster. Par cooked in the gumbo it was sour but excellent, the texture however left me glad I’d never had one raw!

Though I’m avoiding sugar at the moment it would have been rude not to eat the pecan pie dessert.

Logan Brown

Logan Brown

The service at Logan Brown was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Our waiter was attentive & kept our water constantly topped up. When our food started to get cold because we were with the tarot card reader our dishes were sent back to be made again!
Even the bartender took time to point out all the sea creatures in the rock pool built into the bar.

Unfortunately for you the event sold out ages ago. If you didn’t manage to get a ticket you should absolutely give Logan Brown’s Dine menu a chance. Your lunch or dinner may not be accompanied by the Valley Stompers Jazz Band but you should be able to catch a glimpse of the wee cray hanging out at the bar.

Logan Brown

Logan Brown

Logan Brown

Get pickled

Holy moly. Last night we went to Pickle with Brendan’s family.
We were lucky enough to try the Pickle Dinner Party which we’d seen on the menu last time we were there. Basically you choose either the $35 or $45 option and talk to the chef about what you particularly like on the menu, what you dislike, and declare any allergies. The $45 menu gets you some fancier ingredients and a couple of extra treats.

Our table of six was easy, the Pickle menu is always amazing so we all took turns reading things out and exclaiming yummmmmm. The chef could do what he liked as far as we were concerned.

It was pretty much amazing. You get to try an incredible number of dishes without getting overfull and the price makes it easy to give it a go.

Here’s what we had, all food was shared on the table, except for when it obviously couldn’t be.

  • Frickles (whole fried pickles)
  • Sliced raw vegetables with avocado and ash salt - Pickle

  • Raw sliced vegetables to dip in avocado and ash salt
  • Asian salad with pulled pork - Pickle

  • Individual Vietnamese salads with pulled pork
  • Soy soba
  • Carne salada with rocket and parmesan - Pickle

  • Carne salada with rocket and parmesan
  • Kingfish ceviche
  • Crumbed fish sliders with tartare
  • Clear tomato soup - pickle

  • Clear tomato soup
  • Salmon with cucumber balls in a butter sauce - Pickle

  • Warm salmon with cucumber balls in butter sauce
  • Lentils with fried cheese and grilled vegetables
  • Duck on black rice with orange and sesame - Pickle

  • Duck on black rice with orange, and sesame crackers
  • Chicken with basil pesto - Pickle

  • Chicken with basil pesto
  • Mini creme brulee in egg shells - Pickle

  • Creme brûlée
  • Jars of chocolate mousse with salted caramel fudge - Pickle

  • Chocolate mousse with chocolate crumbs
  • Salted caramel fudge
  • And a white chocolate, raspberry, and peppercorn chocolate bar to take home.

Phew!

(sorry about the photo quality dropping dramatically as the sun went down.)

Wayward, Newtown

Wayward Newtown

Smoked meats and giant chunks of bread, American whiskey, outdoor dining. Joe and Mike nail it again at Wayward with a small, perfect menu. Everything is affordable and unpretentious, so much so that some of the beer is offered in cans and probably what you were drinking 10 years before craft beer became a thing. (If you’re really buggin’ for a wider range of craft beer you can head inside to Monterey.)

My favourite was the spiced rye – a $6 shot of Wild Turkey Rye with spices added by the Wayward crew. It was sweet and almost worryingly easy to drink.

The fries were crispy, the smoked brisket tender and smokey, the sauce and coleslaw added moistness to dip the giant chunk of bread in. Everything served on wooden boards which made for easy cutting and scooping, and thankfully with the outdoor setting I didn’t feel too bad for being an incredibly messy eater.

Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown
Wayward Newtown

Wayward Newtown

Everything else Melbourne

Templestowe

Op-shopping

I’m no expert on vintage brands or styles. I don’t even know much of anything about current brands and styles. But I like what I like, and I like what Melbourne has to offer.

While there we stayed in the heart of Melbourne’s gentrified bohemian scene – Fitzroy/Collingwood. The area is dominated by excellent cafes and vintage shops. I spent $100 on a second hand dress from Vintage Garage in Collingwood, mostly because I loved the pattern and it fits perfectly, but also because I really loved the shop. It’s curated by a number of collectors and arranged beautifully with rows hanging clothing racks and glass cabinets displaying all manner of accessories and collectibles.

Vintage Garage really was a delight to shop in and we were left to explore the store as long as we liked.

A few streets over in Fitzroy is Brunswick Street’s Red Cross store. It stood out enough that I made a note on my phone to remind myself of the great selection, cute staff, and good music.

You really can’t go wrong if you just spend a day exploring everything on Smith and Brunswick streets.

The majority of my Melbourne purchases were made at a couple of Savers stores. Savers is a long established warehouse style recycled clothing chain with most of its branches in Melbourne. I first visited the branch in Footscray and found a blouse that I’ve worn a lot since. But one of the Kiwi staff from the Proud Mary cafe suggested I catch a tram to the Brunswick branch. (Note that Brunswick St and Brunswick are completely different areas. Every fucking name in Melbourne is duplicated at least once and it can get very frustrating and confusing!) I’m so glad I did! I picked up a huge amount of swag, including 2 pairs of shoes.

National Gallery of Victoria

I do like art, but I can’t spend a long time staring at a single painting or a small collection. I get bored. But the National Gallery of Victoria has free entry and once inside I realised I do actually love art, mostly 19th century, mostly dark.
While exploring the National Gallery I fell in love with the salon style Victorian Room. In a top corner hung Anguish by August Schenck, one of the most beautiful and distressing paintings I’ve seen.

Napoleon
NGV

Markets

The Queen Vic Market is a must visit if you haven’t been before. The food is excellent and the trinkets will make you appreciate just how much crap you could possibly have in your life. If you’re looking for cheap clothing you’ll find it here. And at $5-$10 off inner city prices (for the exact same item).

For something more special you should check out the Rose St Artist Market. It’s a handmade market open on Staurdays in Fitzroy. We left with a Carey Potter painting and a Write to Me stationery brochure.

Extras

  • If you like movies then you have to see something at Astor Theatre. It’s big and old and beautiful and has a resident cat.
  • Olympic Donuts at Footscray Train Station cannot be beaten.
  • The pho at Hien Vuong (Pasteur), 146 Hopkins St, Footscray is excellent. The large size bowls are ridiculously HUGE.
  • Dumplings from Shanghai Street Dumpling, 342 Little Bourke St are worth waiting in line for.
  • Rooftop Bar on Swanston St is moderately priced and has excellent views. The novelty of being so high up without being pushed around by the wind was not lost on this Wellingtonian.
  • The State Library of Victoria is quite stunning if you’re into architecture. We didn’t look at any of the books but spent some time looking at the exhibitions.

Sunrise
Untitled
Green
Alley
Girl and Elephant graffiti
Yarn bombed
St Kilda
Roller Coaster
Carousel
Luna park and wolf
Untitled
Baby dino
State Library of Victoria
Books
Birdman Eating
Untitled
Sebastian
Burgers and Fries
GOD
Train Station
Stop
Sunrise in Collingwood // Fitzroy // Vine covered house // Bars in alleyways // Graffiti // Yarn bombed bike // St Kilda // Luna Park // Melbourne Museum // State Library of Victoria // Birdman Eating // Alleys // Sebastian // Burgers and Fries at Rooftop Bar // St Paul’s Cathedral // Flinders St Station

Wellington on a Plate

A Monday night, dark and wet as most of them are at this time of year. My friends in high places are at the 2012 Wellington on a Plate launch, but I’m somewhere better…in bed with the WOAP site and at least 30 tabs open to investigate the offerings.

The offerings this year didn’t grab me as quickly as 2011, there’s a lot of hapuka (fish) and Parkvale mushrooms on the menus (delicious no doubt, but not exciting), but the more I look the more I like.

When the printed programme was released I painstakingly went through it marking the tastiest sounding dishes in the Dine section. I gave extra points for a menu that made me want to eat everything.

There are surprisingly (and sadly) not many vegetarian entries this year. Especially in the burger section which was won by a vegetarian burger in 2011, and yet there are three dessert burgers on the menu. Was this a result of the collective unconscious or are dessert burgers being paraded on the NY food catwalks?

My picks for each section:

Event

Arthur’s Whiskey Breakfast – $80

This will be the first time I attend something from the WOAP Event section and it really wasn’t a hard choice. Breakfast and whisk(e)y, two of my favourite things. A four course breakfast with matched whiskeys sounds like heaven.

I’m super excited to be attending on the 11th.

Burger

Mexi Jalapeño Popper Burger – $17.50

Lower Hutt’s Hot! Like a Mexican! (formerly Las Margaritas) burger is going to get me on a bus, that’s how good it sounds. Beef, jalapeno, onions, salsa, and sour cream with a side of corn chips and guacamole.

It’s also the only burger in Burger Wellington that has a vegetarian option.

Dine

Fork & Brewer Lunch – $25

This was by far the hardest section to pick just one offer from. But the Fork & Brewer know how to win a girl’s heart: with mac & cheese. Or more precisely – Mac & Beer-Cheese: Macaroni served with a Scotch ale beer–cheese sauce and smoked pork lardons.

Their lunch menu includes 2 courses and a glass of Wellington regional beer. I’d pair the mac & beer cheese with beer brioche pudding and a dark beer that will compliment the rich meal (go big or go home!).

This August is going to be an expensive month with the NZ Film Festival and WOAP both on. But they’re worth saving your dollars for.

Vivo Restaurant Review

vivo wellington

Although our new sommelier friend was loud and crass and drunk, ruined a (gross pashing) couples date, broke a glass and ended up being politely told by his friend/the owner (Blair – so lovely despite our rudeness) that it was time to leave, his wine choosing ability was not impaired. I have neither the interest or money to need to remember what we drank but I can tell you it was two whites and a red that were fucking amazing, and I’m quite glad I don’t know how much they cost or I’d be feeling more than a bit guilty.

For the sometimes wine drinker like myself who can’t tell one amazing wine from another it wasn’t so much the wine I was interested in. I didn’t realise I was there for the food either, until I tried it. And boy oh boy, did I try it. Like sex on a plate the antipasti platter was some of the best food I have tasted in my whole life. I am kicking myself for being oblivious to the delights of Vivo until now, labelling it as a wine bar I wouldn’t be interested in when really the perfect food and comfy but flashy booths are everything I have been looking for.

I know where I’ll be taking my next out of town guest!

Vivo Enoteca Cucina, 19 Edward St, Wellington

Xmas Party No. 1 – Elements Cafe

Witty, informative and tasty as a ma’a fucker – The boy

Apologies for the lack of posting yesterday. I was being fed and wined at Elements Cafe in Lyall Bay for the boys Xmas function.

The event is called ‘What’s Cooking?’ and is held a couple of times a month. It’s a relaxed cooking class where the owner of the restaurant, Scott (who is a chef) demonstrates the cooking and feeds us immediately after with dishes prepared in the kitchen (here’s one I prepared earlier!). While we are waiting for the food to arrive the wine speaker Drew tells us about the wine match for the meal.
It’s all done with a large amount of wit and humour, Drew is American and Scott is Australian so there are a lot of digs at their own cultures and comparisons made to the Kiwi culture, it’s highly instructional at the same time.

Scott offers to unveil any cooking secrets we want to know.

He wants cooking to be fun and easy, and tries to make us see that it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds in the recipes. “Blanche means plunge into hot water and refresh means plunge into cold water”!

The main course was pork belly, I don’t eat pork so some beautiful gurnard fish was prepared for me along with the jersey benne potatoes and asparagus (Scott raved about Jersey Benne potatoes, it’s something all of you who live outside of New Zealand are missing out on!). The fish was especially delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The wine match with this meal was a red, I don’t drink red wine but Drew was still very fun to listen to. He is REALLY into wine, he taught me that Malbec, a type of wine I’ve never heard of is “sexy”.

Desert was a meringue with cream, strawberries, and sugar syrup. It was so delicious! Even the boy liked it and he’s not a big fan of sweets. Some of the other guys in our group loved the meringue so much they stole the demo meringue off the table and scoffed it without knowing how old it was.

The wine match was a Coney “Ragtime” Riesling. It was delicious! Highly drinkable, and I don’t usually like wine.

In all it was a great night. I didn’t know what to expect when we went in but I was very impressed by everything including the decor.

Be sure to check out Elements Cafe next time you’re in Lyall Bay.

Back from the land of shopping and trams

What can I say, Melbourne was great. Far too populated and bigger than my poor legs could handle but great nonetheless.

I’ve discovered from my trip that I’m not as big a city girl as I thought I was. We spent a large chunk of our trip shopping, not buying much as I though I would though. We walked for hours and miles down Bridge Rd; Chapel St; Brunswick St; Lygon St; through the DFO; in Myer; down Swanston, Bourke, Flinders, Collins, Spencer, Queen, Elizabeth and all the ‘Littles’; Along the Yarra River; through the aquarium, museum and casino; on the St Kilda Beach; exploring Queen Vic Markets; and up to Chinatown.

Getting around

Public transport is a dream, especially when compared to Wellington. We secured a metcard week long pass on our first day there and this gave us access to the buses, trains and most importantly trams for our whole trip. We only used the train once and all other times caught the tram. You usually don’t have to wait to long for a tram where ever you’re going especially if it’s just across town. And it’s worth jumping on even for just a couple of blocks because preservation of your legs is a must.
The Skybus is a separate operation (so no using your metcard) that will get your from the airport to the Southern Cross Station (aka Spencer St Station). Tickets are $16 one way and there is a free shuttle from the station to your hotel if needed. We couldn’t find where to catch the shuttle and after being pointed in a number of different directions decided to walk the few block to our hotel. With three bottles of duty free, two carry ons, two suitcases and two jackets between us it was a bad time to find out that the city blocks printed on the map are a lot bigger in real life. We got there in the end though.
We caught the hotel’s shuttle back to the airport direct to minimise confusion or frustration, this was $55 for up to four people all inclusive.

Dining

Dracula’s was definitely my favourite part of the trip. It is very me :D
Dancing, singing goth guys and girls waiting on and entertaining you for a few hours. What could be better? The show was very funny, the audience engagement fantastic and with S being sucked into the show by one of the female performers made for a very funny night. My only gripe would be that one of the female waiters took her role as an undead zombified blood splattered servant too far and told us to go get our own glasses when we asked for some to go with the bottle of water she delivered to our table. I thought she was joking but the glasses never came. Prices are $61 each on off peak nights, $67 peak. We found 10% discount vouchers with free cocktails at the visitors centre though :]

Eating in Melbourne tends to be very cheap. It’s worth eating out for all your meals with the increased price of supermarket shopping these days. We enjoyed Italian at a place on Lygon street where you can get a huge bowl of pasta for about $14.
Chinatown is a must for visitors looking for cheap eats, we ate in Chinatown three times during our stay. I love Asian food (especially Japanese). On our last night we ate at a busy dumpling house with people constantly being ushered in and out, upstairs and through to other rooms. You can get a plate of 10 or 20 dumplings to share on a table for between $5 and $10. They also offer noodle plates, buns, sweets and are BYO.

Accommodation

We were lucky enough to know someone in the hotel industry so managed to get a fantastic one bedroom apartment on the 18th floor of the Medina Grand, Queen St at a very nice mate rate. Accommodation in Melbourne is not cheap (the same as New Zealand) but if you are looking at apartment accommodation and want to spend at least a couple of hundred a night Medina is a good option. For views you can’t go past the St Kilda Medina! We got to visit a room here with the most spectacular views over Albert Park, the city and the ocean.

Money

The strangest thing about Melbourne (and I think this applies to Australia in general) is that everyone uses cash. Coming from New Zealand where EFTPOS was trialed very early on (if not first) most people pay for most of their transactions electronically, either using an EFTPOS (debit) or credit card. EFTPOS terminals are in almost every shop including dairies and many delivery drivers now also carry portable EFTPOS machines. The fees are not high and bourne by the customer not the retailer. It is common to pay using EFTPOS for transactions as small as 50 cents and payment can be divided amongst a few different card, people or cash/credit/EFTPOS.
It was very strange to be out at a pub in Melbourne and instead of buying something on their EFTPOS or credit cards people would leave the pub, go down the road to an EFTPOS machine, withdraw money and come back to buy a drink with the cash!
Many shops have cash only signs and large numbers will not let you pay by EFTPOS for purchases under $2 or by credit card for purchases under $20. On the way home in the Melbourne airport we had exactly $20 and 5 cents (yep Aussie still has 5 cent pieces) so S bought a $20 book. The lady at the desk didn’t count the money properly and said he was a dollar short (after she had already started putting the money in the till) and when S offered to pay the extra dollar on his credit card they looked at him like he was cracked and said they couldn’t possibly because everything is linked to the computer and they could do cash or credit card, not both. Luckily the staff managed to scrounge up the extra money needed and a kind customer offered us her 40 cents change.

I’m glad I’m home now. It makes me appreciate Wellington and it’s small town feel, now we really need to do something about the transport system. The best bit…

hardly any Aussies :D

JK

xxoo

Four Kings

I really can’t say enough about Four Kings, this restaurant is great!

Four Kings is the new sports bar, it’s located on the corner of Dixon and Taranaki Streets in the Hope Gibbons building. It has an outdoor eating area accessed from inside the restaurant, a large bar with a whole heap of LCD screens and an area for diners only to the right of the bar, they also have a more private (but not completely closed off) room available to the left of the bar.

Downstairs is the Four Kings lounge which has booths, lazy-boys and TAB facilities. According to their website there is more than 70 LCD screens.

I’ve been to this restaurant twice now, both times on a Friday night with a small group. I’ve had the fish of the day both times and this is served on delicious mashed potatoes with wilted spinach. It’s real comfort food, without being gross and greasy. They have a steak menu in addition to the main menu (and the food looks really good, even for me as a vegetarian).
Sol has had the ribs both times. The ribs are huge and come on a bed of thick cut potato chips. They have been different both times though, the first time the chips were seasoned with something really yummy and the second time there were less chips and they were unseasoned but there were more ribs! The ribs are cooked so nicely that the meat falls off the bone. You’re also given a finger bowl and lots of serviettes to clean yourself up after getting rib sauce all over your hands.
These meals are quite large so you probably wont need an entree or desert. Next time we are planning to skip the main meals and go for the entree and desert only.
Meals average at about $24.

The waiting staff are also excellent. We made a bit of a mess both times with the water on our table and there were no funny looks or grumps at us and the initiative was taken by our waitress to clean the table up without us asking (like it should be but often isn’t). The waitress even recognised us the second time we went even though the visits were a few weeks apart.

You really need to go and take a look for yourself. The service is so bad at so many restaurants that it’s a real treat to find somewhere like this that has so much to offer and isn’t over priced. They accept the Entertainment Book card as well.

Dockside

Dockside

My Grandparents were in Wellington with one of my Granddad’s French cousins last night so we all went to dinner at Dockside.

I’d done a bit of a search on Google to have a look at the menu and prices, and I had talked to people that had been there before and the general consensus was that the food was nice but expensive and the servings were small.

It was a Wednesday night so not too busy but we had booked anyway as we had a table of 7. The menu looked delicious (the menu changes daily) with about 6 different fish dishes on it. I wanted to make sure on the serving sizes so asked the waitress if we needed sides and was told it depended on the dish you were ordering but sides were serve about 3 people.

We ended up getting 3 sides for the table, a Greek salad, green veges and potato gratin. There were a couple of chicken orders for the table and we were warned these would take 35-45 minutes and asked if we would like some bread to start, we went for a garlic bread and breads with dips.

The breads for the table were huge. There was enough for a large slice of garlic bread and a roll with dips for each of us; the starters were priced between $8 and $28. I can only assume the sizes we were given were the usual sizes and not made bigger (and charged at a higher price) just because of the table size.

When the meals came out we were all surprised at the size. There looked to be quite enough on each of the plates to fill you up, especially with bread for a starter. I had the kingfish which was coated in sesame seeds and pan fried. It came on a crispy noodle salad and accompanied by a crab spring roll. Add some green veges and potato to the mix and I was left feeling overly full.
The sides only got half eaten and there was food left on most people’s plates.
The mains were nice, and a reasonable size but I wouldn’t say they were fantastic and I’ve certainly had more impressive meals at other restaurants. But it wasn’t bad.

The average price for mains was $35
Dinner for 7 people including 2 starters, 3 sides and a bottle of wine came to $390.