A weekend ritual

Get up late, walk to the end of Oriental Parade, get halfway back before realising it’s 3pm and we haven’t eaten lunch, lose pace due to sheer hunger. Eat all the things.

Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade
Oriental Parade

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

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast since booking tickets back in June.

On arrival at Arthur’s we were taken up the stairs and shown to our designated seats…not with our friends. We hadn’t booked tickets together but had naively assumed we’d be able to sit wherever we liked. Thankfully the team at Arthur’s (and Martha’s!) know service well and didn’t let it register on their faces just how annoying we were being messing up their seating arrangements. It was all okay in the end, Brendan and I sat at “the best table in the place” with Laura, Tim, and Paul.

Cranachan

A menu sat at on our plates showing us what to look forward to and coffee orders were taken (not included in the price but rich and delicious). An introduction to the Whisky Breakfast and Arthur’s was made by co-owner Anita (McLeod, wearing the McLeod tartan) and we were given a brief history lesson on the building. Courtney was introduced as our taste master for the morning and our first course of cranachan was served with Macallan whisky.

Kedgeree

Next the kedegeree was served with a Japanese whisky. We’ve been wanting to try Japanese whisky for a while and this one bought out spiciness in the kedgeree beautifully. Courtney told us to save out money for something better though. The Yamazaki has taken advantage of recent awards won by Japanese whiskies and flooded the market. I loved the smell of Yamazaki, it reminded me of fruit mince, and the taste was fine if a bit sharp. But Courtney suggested us buying one less bottle or saving a bit longer to get something better like Nikka Yoichi.

Rabbit Pie

A rabbit pie with whisky onion jam was served with the Islay classic Laphraoig. I love Islay whiskies with their strong smokey peat flavours.

Finally we were served a whisky hot chocolate with shortbread. Ardmore whisky mixed with dairy milk chocolate that we just didn’t want to end.

Despite the incredible food and whisky on offer the highlight was hearing Courtney talk about the whiskies and her job as the spirits equivalent of a sommelier.

Selling spirits for Moore Wilson’s she sometimes had a few hundred open bottles sitting on her shelves, Courtney refused to let a customer spend big money on stock without having tasted the product. Likewise she said she doesn’t approve of people selling spirits if they don’t like drinking themselves, and she’s sick of bar staff at good establishments knowing long histories of their cocktails and nothing about the whiskies behind the counter.

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast tickets sold out weeks after going on sale but if you’re attending on either of the next two Saturdays you are in for a treat!

Whisky Breakfast menu

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.

Zoo Do

I’m so lucky to have friends that give a middle finger to the rules of what an adult should and should not do. This is how I came to spend the night at Wellington Zoo with 30ish other adults and two kids at the type of sleepover usually reserved for school groups and children’s birthday parties.

Our zoo minder Kim did her best to change her usual sleepover routine into something more suitable for the big kids and we had a lot of fun despite the wet night, thin mattresses, and snoring. The morning after was beautiful and bright; the animals were out and about celebrating the first sun in days. We explored the grounds before the zoo opened and forgot that we hadn’t slept the night before.

During our morning explore I added a new animal to my favourites list. The Nyala males are beautiful punk looking antelopes and the females are pretty and Bambi like with their red fur and white markings.

Squirrel Monkey
Lemur
Untitled
Nyala
Nyala
Baboon
Graffes

Iguana
Sunbear
Dream cats
Meerkats
Chimpanzee
Giraffe

Carlucci Land

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The rain could not keep us from Carlucci Land for long.

Despite the biting wind and our hangering bellies (we went straight after work and stupidly neglected to bring snacks) we battled through 18 holes of mini golf on a crazy course covered in metal sculptures we were encouraged to interact with.

Sure it’s not a very manicured or maintained place: the greens have been reused from old tennis courts and are covered in bits of trees; there’s an angry rooster which was, thankfully, safely tucked away in the shed while we played; and the course is full of potentially unintentional sinkholes.

We had a great time though. It took six of us around two and a half hours so we didn’t finish till just before closing time. Probably because we spent so long on the shit talking aspect of the game.

There were mandatory scorecard nicknames (Sexy Jesus TYVM) and 66.6% of us got into the hole in one club!

MINIGOLF
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Crocodile
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Extra notes: Lots of interesting putting stances from Laura, brandishing of putters like croquet mallots and hockey sticks from Pia (and the penis statue she found in the bush), hip thrusting from me, backfiring of the shit talk for Brend, winning in a totally understated way by Fi, and Tim not losing despite every indication that he was going to.

Mt Victoria

I’ve lived in 6 different houses since moving to Wellington. Three of them have been in Mount Victoria, including the one I’m in now. And it’s no accident.

Mt Vic is sunny, close to town, full of cute houses, and full of cool people. Kate and I took a walk around the burbs for a bit of sun and exercise and cat spotting.
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Big downside of living in a city built on hills = no garages = cars parked in front of all the pretty houses.

Wellington Art

I think it’s the lack of talent I posses when it comes to wielding a paint brush, a HB pencil, or a spray can, that makes me love street art so much. As long as it’s got some artistic merit and isn’t just some dickhead scribbling their tag on my fence.

Wellington has some pretty great street art around at the moment. It helps that the more scribbly stuff is either colourful and confined to designated graffiti areas, or social commentary.

The polls might show that as a country we’re right leaning National lovers, but the Capital’s graffiti tells a story about leftist liberal greenies.

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Fluoride causes cancer
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botans + 1
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