Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet Treats

 Went for a breakfast/dessert date at Strawberry Fare with the girl's from work yesterday as a bit of a treat and because shock horror, none of them had been to the new restaurant before?! I know, how ridiculous! But I got that sorted! and yes the waitress did give us a surprised look when I asked for the dessert menu, do people not eat dessert with breakfast?

French Toast with Fruit
Warm Raspberry Drenched Chocolate Cake
Creme Brûlée 
The girls were pretty useless, breakfast and then not finishing their desserts. Admittedly the breakfast was huge but really, it's only like two courses, they definitely would not qualify for my buffet buddy! Looks as if I'll just need to train Jack a little harder...

My french toast was yummy but possibly a little too eggy, very minor though. It was meant to come with bacon but as I mentioned last time, pancakes, waffles and french toast just don't go with bacon... it's weird! Fruit is much healthier, therefore my french toast was much "healthier"!

For my dessert I chose the creme brûlée because the daily tasting plate didn't appeal and even though I love the warm raspberry drenched chocolate cake, I need to be less boring sometimes... not that creme brûlée is the most exciting thing ever, but I really like cracking the sugar topping. When I went last time their tasting plate had a berry creme brûlée and it was delish! This one was just alright, it was better when I mixed the berry coulis with it.

All in all, lunch with the girls was lovely, great to gossip and catch up because seeing each other five days a week is just not enough you know :p But jeepers, wouldn't it be lovely to go on girl dates everyday... one day...  
Friday, August 31, 2012

Lone Star

The plan was lunch, chocolate and a "romantic" beach walk. Originally we wanted to try Joe's Garage, but parking was a nightmare (on a Monday?!) so we flagged that and drove across the road to Lone Star.

Salt, Pepper and Sauce
Fries with Aioli
Prawn Star
Salt and Pepper Calamari
I've never been to Lone Star for lunch and to my surprise it was fairly pleasant. There were no noisy crowds, long wait periods for the food or an overactive waiter! The menu was a simplified version of dinner but enough to satisfy.
As usual we had to order fries. If Mc Donald's has taught us anything, it is that YES we want fries with that! They came with aioli, but we were also provided a squirty bottle of tomato sauce, excellent. Fries are fries, they were nice for what they were... okay I loved them, but it's really hard for me not to enjoy fries unless you try to japanify them and fail... moving right along... I ordered the prawn star and Jack, the salt and pepper calamari. We shared of course, one was willingly, the other was begrudgingly because I am SELFISH! There, I said it. Finish.
After lunch it was off to Governor's Bay for chocolate... Unfortunately She Chocolat doesn't open for lunch on Mondays, and because I didn't get my happy chocolate fix I wasn't in the mood for the beach. That and the weather was changing, I get grumpy when it's windy at the beach... So 1 out of 3 isn't normally a pass but it was still a lovely day so I can't really complain.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shanxi Noodles

Jack is on "holiday" at the moment which means.... dun dun dun... date day!

There are lot's of places on our eating list, but choosing which one to go to today was a no brainer. Shanxi Noodles! I was a little worried it would be closed by the time we got there because a lot of Chinese restaurants don't open on a Monday and/or close at about 2, luckily this was not the case.

Pretty Setting
When we got there we were very impressed with the decor. I don't know many Chinese restaurants here that bother too much with first impressions, but wow.

Puffs with Spicy Beef
DIY Stuffing
Knife Cut Noodles and Sauces
I loved the menu. It was full of coloured photos and stories. I panicked a little when I realised we had to start ordering because there was just too much to choose from, however Jack took over and did his thing while I started fiddling with everything on the table. Again, I apologise, as I didn't pay too much attention to the names of the dishes, at least it's not engrish (though I could amuse myself with that) so... yeah.

The waitress was lovely and even though I had no idea what they were talking about in Mandarin, when she explained stuff or talked, she did it to the both of us, which was really nice because normally they ignore me and I don't exist, but I existed today and I smiled and nodded at things, probably at the wrong time, but still, I existed!

So, kind of like Zest Noodle House they pull their own noodles, dumplings etc and you can also watch as the chef does his thing through the glass, very cool. I was a little upset that they didn't have hot and sour soup until Jack told me that that was not a traditional Shanxi dish... ah... keeping it authentic then, forgiven, brownie points and I learnt something new today.

Entrees were nice. The puff things looked interesting/strange when they arrived and originally Jack had wanted to order another dish but I think the machinery to make that dish hadn't arrived yet so he settled for this instead and I had so much fun with them! You lift up the puff and they are hollow for you to stuff the filling inside or play finger puppets with! Don't worry, I'm not that embarrassing, I controlled myself... this time.

When we ordered the noodles we were told that the large was large and we wouldn't be able to finish it, is that a challenge I hear?!

We failed :( I was disappointed in myself. There was a lot of noodles. Apparently only one Japanese guy since opening was able to eat and finish the large by himself... Kobayashi? anyway, I'm not sure if the sauces come on the side or Jack asked for them on the side because I think normally you choose only one sauce, but since we ordered the large he chose two so we could have a bit more variety... the black spicy beef sauce was my favourite. 

Bathroom Sink
During the meal Jack commented that they had a nice bathroom so after lunch I took my phone in to have a look and take a picture as you do. They had cute Chinese lantern lights, lucky bamboo and mini flower displays on top of the toilets, but what made it extra special was the pretty bathroom sink... I want one of those...

and we've decided that we need to have dinner here and eat with more people so we can order more dishes next time. I'm so excited that we've found a new eating place! Food dates are the best!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eggs on Toast x 2

We went to Hanmer Springs a while ago and stayed at Select Braemar Lodge as a bit of a treat and it was wonderful!

Definitely will go back again but not too often (unless I become super super rich), puts a bit of a dent in the wallet but these things, you have to do once in a while, for sanity and well being so it was worth it.

We did have dinner but pictures are not ready yet i.e so much effort for now, might have a nap after this to be honest, really tired! So here we have breakfast at their Altitude Restaurant and Bar.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Viennese
With the breakfast option it included the "lite breakfast", which was juice, cereals, toast, muffins and croissants, which of course we made good use of. I think Jack was a little disappointed it wasn't a full on buffet breakfast (I train him so well hehe), but it's not a busy place, there was only one other couple there so totally understandable and they had eggs benedict, his favourite, so it was fine, problem solved.

The eggs were basically the same thing but with different sauces and presentation. I ordered mine because I didn't know what viennese style poached eggs were, and well... I'm still not very sure... is it the sauce or glass? Nevertheless they were lovely, but had I known that I wouldn't have solved the mystery anyway I would have ordered the big breakfast thing with hash browns and sausages... I love sausages! 

Next time.
Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Very Naughty Craving!

I've been very busy with work... and the Olympics. Olympics as in pretty much glued to the t.v... other than that, I've been so tired and what do I do when I'm tired? Eat food that is very bad for me! sigh

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Syrup on Black Sesame Toast

Monday, July 30, 2012

Something in the water...

A little backdated because it's been a very busy month and I have been very good with my eating, I mean I haven't eaten McDonald's in nearly a month (because the queues are so long hehe...).

Anyway, we decided to go back to Mosaic by Simo because we wanted to try their casseroles this time and Jack really liked their spicy lamb sausages, so much so that I don't think he actually knows the name of this place, but mention the yummy sausages and strange water and he'll know where to go... more on that later...

Sausages and Lamb and Quince Filo Parcel
Moroccan Lamb and Sausage 
Moroccan Meatball
The sausages were great and I like how they cut it up and made it look pretty with the lamb filo parcel and salad. Jack enjoyed the filo parcel but I don't think I like quince, that or I bit into something I don't like, but I still ate it.

The casseroles came with rice, smoked barley or salad. We chose all three of course and they were pretty awesome. I didn't end up eating a lot of the sauce because I enjoyed the accompaniment so much by themselves. We were sharing but I decided the eat the meatball one more because I do like meatballs and his one had dried fruit in it. I'm not a fan of dried fruits, it makes me pull weird faces and the automatic reaction would normally be to spit it out if I don't control myself. It makes me uncomfortable. I did enjoy the sausages and lamb though after I made sure no fruit was stuck to it.

Finally, the water. There must be something in it to either change the flavour or make Jack crazy. I'm not even sure if I taste it but you know when someone talks and talks about it you think you taste it too... I just want to fit in :p so yeah, I still don't know what makes the water different, if they did have a secret they wouldn't tell us and well, all we know is, the food is good but the main reason we will be back is for their sausages and water... what a sneaky way to keep us coming.... 
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh So Joyful!

On Friday night I was suddenly hit with a cold and the only thing I could think about was how I would not be able to enjoy Joyful if I was sick... sad but true.

Saturday happened, took a lot of cold medicine to suppress the symptoms but side effects included chest pains, vomiting and totally spacing out (possibly even the sudden violent outbursts at Jack but yeah...). That did not stop me thinking about pan fried dumplings and wontons though... and then it happened... we had Joyful for dinner! I had to make it happen though... Someones birthday? My shout! It's all about them... (not really I just wanted me some goodies!)

Pan Fried Dumplings
Deep Fried Wontons
Wonton Soup
Roast Duck
Deep Fried Garlic Ribs
Stir Fried Green Beans
Dinner was at 7.30 because that's the only time we could get a booking. It was really busy. New place was great, so much closer to home and work. Jack and I already agreed that we would go after work for supper on Thursdays!

Food came really quickly despite the crowds, dumplings were perfect. Oh how I missed them! The deep fried wontons were huge. Jack was nearly full from the dumplings and one and a half wontons... pathetic I know, I may have to abandon the idea of making him my buffet buddy.

My favourite was the wonton soup, of course. The soup needed a little more flavour but that could have also been because I was sick so it's all good, the wonton meat was as springy as ever and because I strategically placed it closer to me, I got to have extra. I almost forgot I was sick. You can not get better wontons anywhere. Seriously! I need that secret recipe! Dad worked there for a while and his wontons are good and got better, and Jack agrees that dad's wontons are better than most restaurants, but not good enough to beat these ones damnit... sigh

Because you can't just eat dumplings and wontons for dinner (you can but I don't want to look cheap if I'm paying for dinner and make them eat the entrees) we also ordered the roast duck, ribs and green beans. They were nice and filled everyone up lovely despite being the "small" size, we even had leftovers to take home... no wontons though, those babies were all in my tummy!

I'm so happy they are up and running again, they still sell their birthday/celebration cakes and have mini cakes you can order for dessert, but the rest of their bakery business is going to be open at another location sadly at a later date. I miss their breads... I can't wait for that to be open too,then it would be awesomely prefect, but their wontons will keep me super happy for now... :)
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shanghai Bistro

Couldn't be bothered cooking the other night because it was only the two of us so we went out for a little dinner date. I love dates! :)

We were very excited because a new Shanghai restaurant had recently opened, which means..... xiaolongbao! oh yeah! Actually when we got there we noticed the new restaurant next door that looked a whole lot more exciting because they also had buns AND hand pulled noodles! ...but they weren't officially open so we disappointingly had to stick with our original choice...

I can't speak mandarin chinese and sometimes that is a disadvantage because whilst Jack went to scope out the restaurant next door leaving me to get a table, I got pushed in front of twice for a table. I think Jack thought I was pissing around when he came back and everyone was seated except us.

Soup Dumpling
Hot and Sour Soup
Apparently they can only steam 3 dozen xiaolongbao at a time and as we were last to be seated *grumble* we had to wait a bit before we got our dozen because you don't go to a Shanghai restaurant and not order them! They were pretty good and the wait was forgiven.

The hot and sour soup wasn't that bad either but it didn't have woodear fungus and generally just lacking in ingredients but flavours were nearly there.
Sweet and Spicy Fried Tofu
Spicy Chicken Hot Pot
Candy Meatballs
I may have made the candy meatballs name up but I'm sure I heard someone call them that... they were soooooo tender. Apparently if made properly you don't even have to chew because it just melts in your mouth but I think that would be a very high up chef skill, nevertheless these fellas got very close. It was almost weird but a very interesting experience.

The tofu was yummy. I don't normally like tofu but the sauce was really addictive and nice with rice...

Chicken hot pot came with a fiery flame and started spitting spicy juices at us throughout the meal which is fine because oil based foods need to be kept hot and boiling. Lots of chicken, Jack ate a few pieces and I had to finish because he sucks and my goodness every time I scooped around the pot I found more chicken! 

Overall the food at Shanghai Bistro was decent but I could not stop thinking about it's neighbor Shanxi Noodles. There were a few things on the menu that we would be interested in trying next time maybe but probably not the following...

Dodgy Looking Duck...
I seriously hope that duck soup does not have a duck head floating in it staring at you. Perhaps they got pictures of food from the internet? Is that appealing to anyone? It's looking at you?!

On a side note, Joyful is officially open today and was going to make a trek out there to get wontons and pan fried dumplings but I spoilt my appetite with some ice cream (two big scoops with whipped cream and chocolate fudge sauce) and too much dinner... and maybe some Godiva chocolates... and a handful of nuts, to be fair are good for me (wontons and dumplings were meant to be supper... see that's why I put on so much weight). I won't be kept away for too long though, they're so much closer now that it might possibly become a weekly thing like the good ole days when dad worked there and brought them back for my sister and I every Friday night after work. I can't wait!

So excited!
Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fast Food in Rotorua

After lunch at Eight *drool* we set out for a long drive down to Rotorua. By the time we got there it was dark, the place we stayed at did not look like the pictures, in fact I was convinced that it was haunted and ended up screaming in the middle of the night when I saw a shadow... which was just the chandelier but yeah... anyway, after we checked in we went for a dip in the thermal pools and had a very disappointing dinner which probably set me towards the bad mood and may have resulted in the whole ghost thing... dinner is very important! It can mess with your head.

The next morning McD's saved the day with their mc muffins, hash brown and free wifi and off we went to explore the beautiful Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

Beautiful Colours
Matcha Pool?
Google maps took us to the wrong place, which turned out to be the right place because we got the names confused and therefore we ended up at Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Wasn't really prepared for a 2-3 hour walk, mentally and physically but at least I wasn't wearing a skirt. 

It rained heavily on and off. For two hours we did not see a single soul and with the bubbling steamy water and heavy rain I thought we were going to die... We finally made it to the bus stop after two and a half hours because we had to skip some of the advanced tracks (there were warning signs that said it wasn't recommended for children, elderly and unfit persons... unfit person tick!) and finally people!

Lion Cubs
Kune Kune
With time to spare the brochures said we could pet lion cubs at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park... who could say no to that?! On the way I joked that the only wildlife they had were lions... I wasn't wrong... nevertheless it was AWESOME! The cubs were so cute but being cubs they got tired easily and lay in their pen for the majority of the time we were there... and the farm animals! Jack did most of the feeding because I was awfully scared they were going to eat my hand and when I tried I looked like that...

Yeah... I loved it. Small wildlife park but more hands on. Would love to go back, the animals were sooo cute! 

Before the long drive back to Auckland we stopped at Wendy's to refuel. We don't have a Wendy's back home because of the earthquake so it was really a treat.
Spicy Chicken Burger
BBQ Bacon
The chicken burger was a bit dry but everything else was good... in respect to what we had eaten since the night before. We upsized and I'm not sure how big the drink was but for the three and a half hour drive back I only managed to finish half of it... 

oh and we nearly hit a guy in Huntly... to be fair, everyone nearly hit the guy... probably his intention though... but we made it safely back to Auckland in time for dinner and so that ended our mini road trip.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eight at The Langham

Eight is an exciting culinary destination offering eight open, world kitchens taking diners on an unforgettable culinary journey.
At Eight dining is a journey, and every destination is as fascinating as the next. No two meals are the same. What is the same is the quality, passion and freshness of the food prepared at each of the eight kitchens that comprise this exciting culinary journey, as you create your own personal degustation.

Plate 1
Indian Curries
I was at the doctors today for a routine check-up and she doesn't normally tell me to hop on the scales but she took one look at me and told me I'd put on weight :( I put on 4 kilos! It's on my record now too!

Possible contributing factor (of many), Eight at The Langham! Above are just a small selection of the goodies I ate for lunch that day. It did get a bit messy and over indulgent after the first few dishes. The sushi and dessert stations were my favorite because I didn't have to wait for the chef to cook it. We ate for two hours and Jack had to give up, I could still keep going but it's not fun eating alone... and they had a pink chocolate fountain!

Definitely worth the price and can't wait to go back. Need to work out a strategy for eating though, because while eyeing what every other table was doing I noticed that they must have been seasoned buffet eaters and worked as a team, for me with food it's every man for themselves but then you waste time and don't eat as much, need to work out a strategy and train Jack's stomach!

Thank goodness we don't have awesome buffets down here...  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Night Market @ Westfield Glenfield North Shore

So after dinner at Tatsumi we checked into our hotel, sat around for a bit and then ventured off to the night markets for food... and yes we were very full from dinner, but the night markets only happen on the weekends and it was Sunday already!

Wow. There were so many stalls and everything looked and smelled so good. We walked around for a bit to try and walk off dinner (didn't help) and then made the hard decision to settle on a few things to eat.

Crab and Prawn Yaki
Spicy Grilled Squid Legs
Caramel Filled Churro
After Japan day's disastrous takoyaki experience, I wasn't too enthused with these little morsels. However, this stall we found didn't just offer takoyaki, they had crab and prawn "takoyaki"! They were amazing. After eating one of these juicy pillowy balls I remembered I was still extremely full from dinner but I could not let my stomach down! 

We should have stopped after the balls but you know... we found a grilled lamb and squid stall. Back home at the lantern festival we got ripped off by the lamb kebab stall so we did not have high expectations but not only were these kebabs cheaper, they were much tastier too! The squid was hard to eat until Jack told me that if I was going to eat street food I was not allowed to be a lady! Got it!

Dessert was a jumbo churro filled with caramel. Jack wanted the cheese filled one but they sold out. I don't normally like caramel but yum... and how do you take a picture of a jumbo churro without it looking dodgy?

Morning in Auckland
We stayed at the Hilton. Get this, we even got a drink from the mini bar! How luxurious. HA HA! It was really nice. 

Adidas Horse
and there was a horse in the opposite building to greet us... ? 
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