Wellington On A Plate 2017

We’re just over halfway through this year’s Welly on a Plate and my diet has consisted of mainly burgers for the last ten days or so. I thought I’d give you guys a wee round up of what I’ve eaten so far, and a few other bites I’m hoping to squeeze in before the festival is done for this year.

What I already ate

Husk

My first WOAP/Burger Welly for this year’s fest did not disappoint! Husk’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ was a chickpea and smoked mushroom patty with coleslaw, avocado and Texas chilli sauce in a chilli corn bun. It had the perfect combo of flavour, texture and heat and was my fave burger so far. The patty and avocado were lovely and soft, while the coleslaw gave it a nice crunch, and the whole affair  came with a wee jalapeño popper on the side. (V, VV option)

P.S. (unrelated to WOAP) …they also make good coffee.

Seize

I was pretty excited about this one just because it sounded so different! Seize’s ‘Vegan Fried Egg Burger’ involved a house-made vegan fried egg, vegan cheese, sauerkraut and a quinoa patty on what I think was a chickpea bun. They also had a vegan festival main but I opted for the burger because I decided the festival main was pretty similar to what they normally had on menu. The ‘egg’ was made of tofu and carrot sauce and was actually pretty good! The whole burger tasted pretty great and probably was the most exciting I’ve tried so far, but towards the end I decided I wasn’t completely sold on the ‘bun’. It also came with some onion rings, which I think were fried in rice flour? (GF, DF, V, VV, Pesc)IMG_20170812_113531097_HDR

Southern Cross

I had my only full WOAP dine set menu so far at SoCro and was a little underwhelmed tbh. I chose their Kāpiti Fried Cauli (K.F.C) Burger Welly for my main and found it to be quite dry and somewhat bland. Consisting of fried cauliflower with homemade vegan ‘jack cheese’, mayonnaise and lettuce in a Pandoro Kaiser bun with slaw, mash and Parkvale Mushroom gravy,  I think this burger could have been a winner but didn’t quite hit the mark. I’d have liked it if the fried cauli was in smaller chunks (so better batter-to-cauliflower ratio), if there was (a lot) more mayo and if there was a touch of spice or at least more herbs. This dish doesn’t actually come with fries, but they accidentally served mine with fries and then brought me the mash it’s meant to come with. The mushroom gravy and vegan cheese were excellent. I didn’t even realise the cheese was vegan until I read it online later. (DF, NF, Pesc, V, VV)

For the entrée they had dates stuffed with orange, thyme and homemade cashew nut cheese in homemade bean curd ‘bacon’. My friend asked for the meat version of this (I wasn’t planning on having any) but we got given the vegan ones. I wasn’t a big fan of these wee guys because it just kind of tasted like orange and dates smushed together. (GF, DF, VV, V)

The spiced apple martini was delicious and my fav part of the menu, and came with a smaller version of the entrée dish. I asked for the vegetarian version but got given the vegan type again, which was a shame because I think the dates would have been a lot more palatable with the Havarti cheese the veg version was meant to come with. I imagine it would have been like a bite-sized cheeseboard! The cocktail was made with vodka and cointreau with star anise, cardamom, sarsaparilla and nutmeg-infused fresh apple and lemon juice. (GF, NF, Pesc option, V option, VV option)

For dessert we had homemade raspberry jam-filled lamington, dipped in Whittaker’s Dark Ghana and coconut, with whipped coconut cream. This pretty nice, but again, it wasn’t really spectacular. or anything. (DF, NF, V, VV)

Concrete

Concrete finally served me my first non-burger WOAP dish, which was pretty exciting. I went for a weekday lunch and had their vegetarian festival main, which was a maple roast pumpkin, caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart with fig, kiwifruit and walnut slaw. It was pretty yum, and appealed to my sweet tooth. I really enjoyed the fruity coleslaw, which surprised me as I’m not a giant slaw fan to start with. (V)IMG_20170814_131733373

Kanteen

EASILY THE BEST WOAP DISH I HAVE EATEN THIS YEAR, BY A LONG SHOT. ALSO THE CHEAPEST. I CAN’T RAVE ABOUT THIS ENOUGH. ALL CAPS ISN’T ENOUGH TO EXPRESS MY FEELS. So I was pretty excited when I was browsing menus and came across this, because pani puri is my absolute fave Indian street food. Kanteen’s version of these deep-fried wheat balls were stuffed with agria potatoes, chickpeas, Zany Zeus smoked yoghurt and tamarind water. I was a bit worried that they’d ruin them by Westernising the dish too much, but they were great! Even though they were sweeter than I’ve previously had them, they were still spicy and crunchy and a real experience (you have to pour the green water into the balls and then eat them whole). For $15 you get a tray of these puppies AND a little pot of t leaf’s Kawakawa tea. AMAZING! (NF, V, VV option)IMG_20170816_121843948

Basque

Another day, another burger. Such a hard life! I took someone who doesn’t like burgers here for their birthday (hehehe) and even they agreed that the Zany Zeus smoked brinza in Basque’s three cheese musketeers burger was something else. The burger also featured aged cheddar and mozzarella in a croquette patty, smoked chipotle relish, red cabbage slaw and jalapeños in a Zaida’s milk bun, with paprika fries. This one was simple and complicated at the same time: it didn’t really have much in it apart from cheese and cabbage, but the different types of cheese definitely built up the layers of flavour. I was also a real big fan of the green tea aioli which came with the paprika fries. I don’t drink beer but I got the Garage Project Pernicious Weed beer match for the birthday boy and was told it was very good. I had a little bit and it was fragrant but pretty much tasted like beer to me. (V, NF, Pesc)

IMG_20170816_202202320

What I got locked in for this week

I’ve got tickets to the sold-out Umami Origami at Egmont St Eatery with the awesome Chef Zach Tinsley. I’m looking forward to four courses of vegetarian, gluten-free and aesthetically pleasing goodness. Also can’t wait to hear about the background and inspiration for the dishes from the man himself!

What I hope I get to eat/drink

EATS

  • Wellington Food Truck Rally – I love our food truck scene! And I love that all the food truck owners are mates and swap food with each other. Good vibes and good food, what could be better?

  • Five and Dime – I’m keen for their ‘Impossible Burger’ because I’m dying to know what an ‘impossible’ vegetarian patty tastes like.
  • The Botanist – Because how could you not as a vegetarian food blogger? I don’t know whether I’d go for the smoked kūmara, quinoa and ricotta burger or the goat’s cheese souffle from the dine menu, I suspect I’ll have a lot of trouble deciding!
  • Little Beer Quarter – A vegan ‘Friday Night’ Alamir kebab with Southern fried tempeh followed by a Kiwi bakery-style donut, filled with Wooden Spoon Smokey Pokey ice cream and rhubarb coulis sounds incredible.
  • Laundry – This dine menu sounds amaze, with guacamole and handcut tortilla chips, chimichangas, vegan chilli on Mexican red rice and vegan cheesecake, YUM!

DRINKS

  • Boulcott Street Bistro – How good does salted caramel, cinnamon-spiked Earl Grey syrup and spiced rum sound tho?
  • Dragonfly – I’m a big kid who probs couldn’t pass on Chambord jelly in a Whittaker’s chocolate cup. Or anything else novel, ever.
  • Monsoon Poon – Is it even possible to say no to a PB&J cocktail? Spesh when it’s a hard shake.
  • Motel Bar – How often do you have the chance to try a daiquiri made with Zany Zeus halloumi-infused golden rum?
  • The Black Sparrow – A dessert cocktail crafted with Smoke & Oakum’s Gunpowder Rum and Kererū porter-infused chocolate syrup, with a Fix & Fogg Chocolate Peanut Butter macaron? Unghhh.

 


Pretty much this is my (delicious and exciting) partially completed to-do list. So… what’s on yours?


 

Boquita

Ahhh, I’m so happy I finally made it to Boquita! I’ve been trying for like a year but one thing or another kept coming up every. damn. time. Boquita was more delicious than I could have imagined, and I went on my birthday = TOTAL PERFECTION!

IMG_20170727_174033350

Boquita is La Boca Loca’s baby sis, and imo even better than the original (Soz LBL). It’s casual, quick, in town, 100% vegan, and caters to other dietary requirements too.

I wasn’t super hungry so I went halves on everything with my dining companion – which, btw, is not a great idea bcz how do you split a taco/should’ve just eaten errythang myself.  I just reallllly wanted to try all the flavours! So let’s begin with the only non-taco thing we got: a tempeh empanada. Unfortunately, my half of the empanada didn’t end up with too much tempeh, but it tasted good from the little I did manage to sink my teeth into. The real star of the show tho? Those beautiful rainbow sauces with sesame and sunflower(?) seeds on top!IMG_20170727_173454247

And now, for the main event… a platter of tacos! These were so exquisite that I can’t even. Definitely among the best (if not THE best) vegan food of my life #hearteyesemoji. We opted for one each of a tofu, tempeh, potato rosti and falafel taco and every single one of them was a 10. Honest to Jove. If I haaaaaad to pick a favourite though, I think I’d pick the tofu. Or the falafel. Or…IMG_20170727_172640599

Beyond the food, the staff were lovely and the service was amazing considering we were only buying like $10 each worth of food and they were going as far as hanging our coats. The space, although small, is just perfect for what Boquita is all about: down to earth, casual, funky, and unpretentious food made with love ❤


UPS: EVERYTHING! I’M IN LOVE!

DOWNS: NOTHING! I’M BLINDED BY LOVE!


 

Oikos Hellenic Cuisine

The talented team behind the Greek Food Truck have embarked upon a new and immobile but still wheelie good (geddit?) venture in Miramar. I recently visited for a midweek dinner to check out their tapas style menu.

My friend and I shared the homemade pita bread and the sesame crusted feta with honey and thyme (which the waitress suggested we pair together) as a starter. This turned out to be a good idea because as much as I love cheese, the feta is strong with this one and also the fresh pita was definitely too good to miss. The honey-feta combo was delicious and brought back lots of mems about my 2014 visit to Greece, which I think is a good indicator of the authenticity of this dish.

IMG_20170713_182633761
A a ‘main’ I decided on the Melinzana Imam – remembering that I use the word main quite loosely since their menu is comprised of small plates. This dish included half a baked eggplant served with tomato, red onion, mint, whipped feta, crispy garlic and sesame. As well as being vegetarian, this option is gluten free as well. Out of everything I ate at Oikos this was my least favourite dish because I found the texture of all the ingredients to be very similar, except for the crunchy onion. Still, the flavours were spot on and the whipped feta was a real treat.
IMG_20170713_184311872

I also sampled the Dakos salad made with rye rusks, tomato, capers, feta, olives and oregano. So, basically, a Grecian/deconstructed version of the Italian bruschetta. And boy, do I love bruschetta! Simple and rustic, but full of flavour and oh-so-herbalicious. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as a salad that doesn’t feel like a salad.
IMG_20170713_184341377

And of course, dessert! Loukomades are Greek honey donuts with walnuts and cream and they are delicious! You can’t see from the photo, but underneath all those donuts and  dollops of cream is a warm pool of honey. This dish reminded me a lot of an Indian dessert called Gulab Jamun, which is a similarly deep-fried dumpling in a sugar syrup. Loukomades can apparently be traced back to around the time of the first Olympic games, while Gulab Jamun has also been around for a long time and resulted from Persian influences in India. I think it’s probably a reasonable guess that they are somehow related given the trade between Ancient Greece and the East. Which makes them all the more interesting for a nerd like me to eat in 2K17!
IMG_20170713_191933415

So what are you waiting for? Get thyself to Miramar to check this place out, because it’s def worth the trip.


UPS: Yummy, authentic, helpful staff and some exciting/not-your-usual options

DOWNS: All the ingredients of one of the dishes were a little too squishy


 

Wellington Women’s Expo 2017

There was no post last week, I know, I’m sorry! I’d give you an excuse but I just don’t have one! Let’s just all forget about that and move on to that time I went to the women’s expo a week+ ago. Once you navigated through all the slimming detox juice stands (come on, society), the expo did actually have a pretty good food and (real) drink section. My three fave finds were:

1. Raglan Coconut Yoghurt

I love coconut yoghurt – it’s such a tropical escape for the tastebuds and seems to be pretty good for you too! Raglan had a deal for two 400ml jars for $15, but the generous lady at the stall gave me a 700ml jar of the Greek yoghurt one instead! In general, I’m not a huge fan of banana as a flavour but I was pretty into this banana yoghurt. Instead of flavouring this yoghurt has heaps of real banana puree in it, and some lovely cinnamony spices as well.IMG_20170714_095056175

2. Basilur Tea

These guys had some BEAUTIFUL Sri Lankan tea available to sample which was also packaged in some BEAUTIFUL containers. And it was all so cheap, like about 70% off/ $5-$15! Therefore, I bought a lot of tea which wasn’t really a necessitea (:B). The two on the left are black teas, one with orange and one infused with something else – I can’t remember and it’s all in a different language, so that one’s a surprise! The two on the left are both different varieties of green tea, a light one with strawberry, rose and cranberry, the other very fruity with pineapple, mango, rosehip, jasmine and strawberry. I was honestly in heaven and spent so much time at this stall that my friends both decided to leave me to it, which I was totes ok with!

3. Kapiti Artisan Bakehouse

Before I went to the expo I made plans to seek out this bread from last year’s event, because that’s how good it is! I bought one each of my two fav flavs. The gluten free garlic bread is especially good because it’s so greasy and garlicky. In fact, I like it more than the normal version of their garlic bread! It seems to have more topping to bread ratio and goes a little crispier (probs because of all that delicious grease). Also, when I took the balsamic roasted onion & parmesan focaccia to dinner recently, it was a biiiiiiiiiigggg hit.IMG_20170714_095001660


So those were MY top three, what were yours?? Let me know in teh comments below plz! x


 

Bastardo Ristorante

A few weeks ago I went to check out Bastardo Ristorante for dinner with some mates. In case you haven’t heard, Bastardo is the American-Italian restaurant which has taken over the old Pan De Muerto site (the Tory St one). Although there were some things I really loved about this place, there were also some things I thought could be improved.

Each table was given a complimentary bread basket to start – I don’t have a photo of ours because we were all speedy little gremlins and polished that off pretty quick. The bread basket had a lot of variety and all the bread was very nice, but really needed some butter or oil to go with. However, I think this may have just been an oversight because it looked like another table did have a little butter bowl.

The waitress was pretty helpful when I told her I was a vegetarian, and gave me some options of meals which could be vegetarianised on request. It was a tough choice but I eventually settled on the pumpkin cappellacci with butter, sage and hazelnut cream. This dish tasted DIVINE! It was creamy, rich and nutty, everything I love. I also added some parmesan from the table for that extra cheesy kick.
IMG_20170610_200837785

Although my meal tasted amazing, I was disappointed that my vegetarian dish was so much smaller than those of my carnivorous companions. It was such a significant size difference that the meat eaters brought it up before I did! For around the same price all the meat dishes were full plates of food and some were even accompanied by a side salad, while mine only had about eight or nine pieces of pasta, as pictured. I never understand why some places make vegetarian dishes so much smaller, I have a tummy to fill too you know!

Dessert was also delicious though, and I got two to fill the void in my belly (every cloud, silver lining and all that). Dessert is brought around on a little trolley ( “Anything off the trolley, dear?” …HP anyone? No?) and you can pick and choose what you want off of it, with most of the desserts sitting around the $5 mark. I went for the tiramisu (of course) and also a pannacotta. Both were perfect and made me wish I could just take the entire platter out of the waitress’s hands (“We’ll take the lot!”).

So, would I go back? Yes, because all the food was quite scrumptious and I would like to try some of their other dishes. However, if I ordered another vegetarian meal and found it to be a lot smaller than everyone else’s again, I wouldn’t be inclined to make a third visit.


UPS: Complimentary bread basket, delicious mains and dessert, table parmesan, novelty dessert trolley, reasonably priced desserts, meals can be vegetarianised.

DOWNS: No accompaniment with bread, vegetarian main was a lot smaller than other mains.


 

Fieldays

So, this month I went to Fieldays. I know what you’re thinking and trust me, I thought it too. Vegetarian? City gal? Agricultural expo? Hamilton? Wut. Luckily, I found my safe space in the Kiwi’s Best Kitchen food tent and ate/drank enough free samples to forget my woes a lil bit. I got some free stuff when I was out and about too and as you may know, free and food are two f-words that truly speak to my soul.

My fave find was this craft gin (who even knew craft gin was a thing?) and I was surprised tbh, because do you know how much wine was around me? But Thomson’s Victor gin was something else. It smelled so lush and floral, and tasted really botanical too. I could have happily G & T sipped away my week if I had the time.

Thomson’s is a fancy little (mostly) whisky distillery based in Auckland, who are kind of just starting to filter into a bigger market because obviously their product needed some time to develop. I tasted their craft whiskies as well and found a favourite in the smoky South Island peat, but for me it had nothing on their victorious Victor gin.

The worst thing I ate was also the first thing I ate, so in a way I guess that was good because it was all uphill from there. It was a $10 burrito from a food truck called Escargot. Donald Trump’s words have more substance than this overstated roti filled with pasta sauce. On the upside tho, it was well-grilled.

IMG_20170613_130808599

Now let’s talk about some free stuff, starting with coffee (because everything should begin with coffee). Hyundai gave away the best free coffee, but the waits were long. Fonterra also had free coffee but it was wayyyy too milky (shocking, I know). But most importantly, coffee carts everywhere were selling the exact same coffee and people were paying for it. WHY FOOLS?

The Zespri growers tent also had a couple of free eats. Their mushroom soup was surprisingly good, but the real star was the sneak preview of their red kiwifruit, which you weren’t allowed to take pics of. I did use said kiwifruit to make a (also free) smoothie – the colour is completely from the red kiwifruit, there was nothing else red in there. I loved the red fruit because it was much less tart and even sweeter than the gold fruit, let alone the green. I am SUPER excited for it to become available for purchase.

 

Sovrano is one of those companies who seem to attend every expo that ever existed, so I’m sure everyone has tasted one or two samples of their limoncello or orangello. However, their newest product is not citrusy at all but is still delicious! Caffelisir is a smooth coffee liqueur, and you can probs try it for yourself by attending any expo anywhere.IMG_20170616_150938233

Another winner was Pete’s Natural lemon chilli soda, but beware, it was actually spicy! Which was exciting, but also, I don’t know when you’d wanna drink this? Possibly only when you want to impress your friends with your spice tolerance levels (or acting skillz).IMG_20170616_141839597

Now let’s move onto things that were good enough for me to buy and bring home, starting with this Giesen hard apple cider and wine. If you like bubbly and light drinks (which I do), you’ll probably love this. I really like that it’s sweeter than some wines, but not as sweet as a lot of ciders. Neither the cider or the wine dominates so you can really taste that you’re drinking a mix of both, which sounds like it should be bad but is actually delicious. Giesen also had a large range of wines and I had trouble choosing only one, but I decided to go for one of their pinot gris’ which had some nice pear flavours, much like the ciderwine.IMG_20170616_142152759

 

The other thing I went to town on was cheese (it seemed like a gouda idea at the time). From Meyer Gouda Cheese I bought their fenugreek, Italian herb, sheep milk and goat milk variety. Again, it was too hard to be selective because their range was quite vast.IMG_20170616_215322155


Did you go to Fieldays and have some amazing eats? I heard there was some v good Vietnamese around which I didn’t have time to check out. Let me know what I should try if I ever go back (I mean, it’s unlikely but  you never know)! xo


 

2017 Wellington on a Plate

UPDATE: Sooo, the WOAP website now has an option where you can search by dietary requirements, which is SUPER COOL, but also, if they had that option when they originally released the menus I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this post haha.

Wellington’s biggest food fest, Wellington on a plate, will soon be upon us and the 2017 menus have just been released. I have once again compiled a list of the veggie options, because, once again, you can’t seem to search the official website with ‘vegetarian’ as a keyword. As much as I love WOAP, I really feel like they’re doing the veggie community a disservice by not making it any easier for us. Having said that, this year’s event is looking like it could be one of the best yet for vegos because it seems like a lot more restaurants have at least one veggie option, if not more (yay!).

Burger Menus

So you actually CAN search the WOAP burgers by protein/vegetarian options, but since I was doing the dine menus anyway, I figured I’d just get everything in one place for you (but really mostly for me to come back to).

Basque

The Cheese Musketeers: Three cheese: Aged cheddar, Zany Zeus smoked brinza and mozzarella croquette patty, smoked chipotle relish, red cabbage slaw, green tea aioli and jalapeños in a Zaida’s milk bun, with paprika fries (V, NF, Pesc). Continue reading