The best of Wellington

This year is quickly coming to a close so it’s time for another of The 5th Annual Wellingtonista Awards (or TAWA5).

You have until the 1st of December to vote and winner will be announced on the 3rd of December at Mighty Mighty.

Here’s who I love this year. I’ve left out the sections I didn’t vote in due to lack of personal experience with the places.

Best Cafe

All of the cafes in this section are amazing. I’ve been to them all at least once, but the stand out, the one I make a special trip to the beach for, on a weekday so I can get a seat, is Maranui. Their milkshakes are delicious and their vege big breakfasts are like no other. Plus Freya makes an amazing coffee.

Best BYO

Again, I’ve been to all of these restaurants, and they’re all great. But Namastey is the one I keep telling everyone about. I’ve never actually dined in before because the takeaway specials are damn good. But the food is SO good, particularly my favourite saag paneer.

Best Late Night Experience

Havana Bar on Wigan St is cozy, has an outdoor area that’s warm enough for non smokers to hang out with their smoker friends, and has live jazz on Wednesday nights. Their bar tenders are friendly as well. It’s off the beaten path so it almost feels like a secret just for Wellingtonians, well away from Coutenay Place.

The Caravan

Best Service

I love love love the little Japanese Caravan on Ghuznee Street. Me and Brend are regulars there but even when we weren’t the service was friendly. It helps that their food is delicious and cheap.

Best Regular Entertainment

Easy choice. Derby. I love derby.
Come to the Auckland vs Wellington bout on the 11th of December yeah?

Best Event

I’m sure that if I had been to Webstock I would have voted for it. I think it deserves to win. But as I haven’t been myself I decided to vote for Wellington on a Plate.

It’s food. It’s available at a special rate and often with a special menu. What more is there to say? Wellington has some amazing restaurants.

Best Outdoors Experience

One of the best things about this small city of ours is that you can be standing in the middle of the business district and get to either a bush walk or the water in less than 10 minutes. I love the waterfront.

Best Suburban Destination

Monterey is my pick for the ‘burbs. I’ve only been once, but the mac ‘n’ cheese was delicious. They have paper covering the tables so you can draw while you wait for your food, and they’re active on twitter. I hear they do a pretty mean brunch as well.

Best Art Experience

Monsters was a friends project for her event planning course. But even if it wasn’t I would have voted for it. I loved all of the art included. Particularly the zombie take on Edmonds’ Sure to Rise baking powder.

Best Shopping Experience

This one was pretty hard to pick. Two food choices! Oh no! While I absolutely adore Cultured in Petone (what’s not to love? It’s a shop dedicated to cheese), and the owner Wendy is super nice, I went for Moore Wilson’s Fresh.

My decision was based on the fact the I can walk to Moore Wilson’s, and I can buy cupcakes, bread, and meat.

Most Needed

I’d be pretty happy with anything on this list. But surprise, surprise food wins again. After a mini discussion on whether we needed good mac ‘n’ cheese in the city or donuts we decided on donuts.

I have people that make great mac ‘n’ cheese, but I have no one to make me donuts. :[

Most Missed

Cuba Street Carnival please come back! It was a sad day when we found out that there was not enough funding for the Cuba Street Carnival to go ahead next year. It seems like most of Wellington heads to other areas of the country to celebrate giftmas and New Years and we’re in need of something to look forward to right in the heart of the city when we get back. Cuba Street Carnival has it all.

Best Contribution to the Internet by a Wellingtonian

As stated previously I’ve never been to Webstock. But it hasn’t stopped me from appreciating and being affected by the work Natasha Lampard and Mike Brown do. I think their work has gone some way to make Wellingtonians the crazy internet obsessives they are. And I love it.

Best Thing About Wellington

Maranui and the waterfront already have a vote each from me. So this one goes to Celia. Ousting Kerry Prendergast as Mayor with special votes gave everyone a few very nervous days of waiting. But when she pulled through I did a little dance. Good times. Please don’t pull a Barack on us Celia.

Remember remember the 5th of November

Taken with my iPhone. Yeah you heard me. My iPhone*

guyfawkes

*Not actually my iPhone yet as I haven’t paid my friend for it. She lent it to me to try out for a couple of weeks and now she’s never getting it back. It’s been like giftmas ever since she handed it over.

I’m such a dweeb.

The zombie apocalypse started this morning

zombie

It’s 6 o’clock in the morning and B (manfriend/flatmate) is heating up breakfast when he barges into my room frantically asking if I’m still awake and telling me to turn on the light. His distress is freaking me out but the only thing that comes to mind is that a huge rat decided to come out of its home in the roof and lunged at him in the kitchen.

Not so.

He’s standing in the kitchen when there’s a knocking at the window, he looks up to find a woman standing at the window, in the rain and wind, not really doing anything. He’s trying to ask her wtf she’s doing and decides to open the door a fraction. She asks the time and says she’s staying at the hotel a few doors down. Not knowing what’s going on B says he’s shutting the door now and that’s when he runs to my room.

Understandably he’s little freaked out that she’s going to attack him when he leaves for work.

Not so.

Instead he finds her standing in the middle of the road like a zombie.

“What is it about this house that attracts all the freaks?”

Drinking Rum Is In My Job Description

cocktails

I love rum. It’s my favourite alcoholic beverage. So when Jo put out the feelers for someone to accompany her to a Monday afternoon rum cocktail championship at Bettys my hand went up immediately.

10 of the top bartenders from around New Zealand competed for a chance to be flown to Cuba and represent NZ in the Havana Club final next year. I expected to see lots of interesting ingredients and fancy tricks and I wasn’t disappointed.

Arriving at 1 when the event was supposed to start meant we were unfashionably on time, but it also meant we got in on the free drinks (!) from the first round. Ginger beer, lime, and dark rum to start with. Yum.

Nearly all of the contenders were as good at entertaining as they were at bartending. With 10 minutes to create 3 drinks they still found plenty of time to make crude jokes and banter with the presenter. With cocktail names like butter my nuts, and one of the contestants claims that his pina colada will make 18 year olds putty in his hands, it didn’t take much more encouragement for Jo, Laura, and I to giggle loudly things like “give it a wet shake” and “it’s all about shaking the flesh”. More free cocktails probably helped. Jo’s twitter hashtag for the event was proving more and more accurate – #cockchamp.

Cockchamps

Christchurch competitor Charles injected a kiwi flavour into his drinks and his humour. His first cocktail being a brojito which contained watercress and L&P and came with a side of fry bread in the shape of a pig face.

My award for most entertaining went to the final competitor of the day who was running very late due to being held up in customs. He arrived in a red bow tie and butchers apron claiming he was late because he was 3 cigars and a bottle of rum over his limit and had to “dispose” of them before he could get on the plane. He ended up going 4 minutes over his time allowance and said he’d have to share his photos of Cuba with the winner because there was no chance he’d get to go again.

In the end it was the sole female entrant – Claire Harlick of Matterhorn – that won. Girls just do it better.

Most entertaining trick – Pouring flaming liquid between jugs
Coolest looking drink – Pina colada in an old fashioned milk bottle
Tastiest cocktail (from the few samples we got)- A chocolatey porter beer concoction from Johnny of Hawthorne Lounge
Most impressed by – How many ingredients these perfectionists make from scratch!

My creation

Afternoon Raj

Afternoon Raj water

While you could call me biased – I know a few of these guys personally and have been a big fan since I first heard them – there’s really no need to doubt my word though.

Afternoon Raj is a five piece band that mixes prog rock with reggae, dub, and ska influences. I love to skank so I have a huge amount of fun dancing to these guys! The Raj’s ringleader James Mason draws the crowd in with a huge smile and a genuine love for what he’s doing. Bede, Matt, Andrej, and Nick impress with guitar solos and great beats.

The crowd grows every time I see them play and more than a handful of us have learnt the words to their older songs. They know it and use it to their advantage! Their show on Saturday, at Wellington’s cool kid venue Mighty Mighty, kicked off with number one crowd favourite Lickity Split, a song that creeps up and kind of explodes. After a few originals guitarist Bede Eagle stole the mic to sing a cover (turns out it was another original!), I’m not sure what song it was but Brandon Boyd (of Incubus fame) could easily have been the one singing it. And then the short set concluded with a few newer originals.

Quite frankly I was relieved when the set finished, I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion. In a matter of 30 minutes I managed to go from tipsy and excited for the music, to AHH WOoo *dance* *dance*, to omg I think I’m going to drown in my own sweat, to I need fresh air and a chair or I’m going to throw up. It was awesome.

Afternoon Raj is the sound of Hawkes Bay in the big city, it’s the sound of summer, and it’s for dub and rock fans alike. These boys may work in offices by day but they’re drunk musical hippies at heart, singing at concerts bringing awareness to global warming and generally trying to save the world.
They’re yet to record an album, an album I’m looking forward to having on repeat, and I’m nervous about how they’ll capture their perfect live sound. They’re smart guys though, I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

Check out Afternoon Raj on Facebook and MySpace. (Don’t take the recordings on MySpace as an indicator of their talent, just an indicator of the style.)

Hear them in real life on the 6th of November at Watusi for a gig I am sadly going to be out of town for. :[

afternoon raj icecream

Photo credits to James Schollum

WordCamp NZ 2009 – I’ll Be There!

Wordpress fan art dandy pink

A couple of weeks ago I learned through the blogging grapevine that WordCamp is coming to New Zealand for the first time. And I immediately thought what the hell is Wordcamp?

From the WordCamp NZ site:

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to WordPress.com and WordPress.org users alike.

There should be interesting speakers and networking opportunities for both bloggers and developers. Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress, is a keynote speaker for the event! Early bird tickets are a steal at only $75+GST for both days and the price includes a tshirt. If you order before the 23rd of July your tee will be ready on the day so you can be an ├╝ber nerd. Kinda like wearing a band’s tshirt to their concert. Except the only people likely to draw similarities between going to a concert and going to a geek gathering are the type of people that go to WordCamps.

Anyway…when I found out the event is being held only a few blocks from my house in Wellington, and after I convinced Chickie Little to come with me, I lost any excuses for not going. So on the 8th and 9th of August you’ll find me at the Mt Victoria Bowling Club attending WordCamp NZ. If you’re a WordPress user and you can get to Wellington on the 8th and 9th it would be great to meet up. Let me know if you’ll be around!

Hier Und Jetzt – 12 June 2009

On my iPod: Circus by Britney Spears and It won’t be soon before long by Maroon 5. I love both of these pop albums and have had them on repeat all week.

On my wishlist: Dear Girlface has a range of these super cute deer for sale. There are pairs of them available for use as wedding cake toppers as well. How adorable is a little deer with a pegleg and an eye patch?! Too adorable!

Darling Deer - Peggy

New blogs I’m following: Rabbit Write, Psychotactics, Kiwianarama,

Favourite photo: Alter Ego

Alter Ego