Tofu Tuesday Returns: Captain Tofu Grislybeard

I know some of you have been missing Tofu Tuesdays. Last month was the longest time Tofu Tuesday had gone on hiatus in the 4 years this blog has been going. I hope this photo and doodle makes up for it. I had fun making it. I may have laughed maniacally as it all came together.

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It is now over 2 months since Tofu’s surgery. He has been getting along just fine without his left eye and his fur has now grown back completely. He is as handsome as ever and twice as mischievous.

Want to see past editions of Tofu Tuesday? Check out the category page here.

Monday Bunday returns: The Wild Rabbit

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The nostalgia of the road-side inn with pub and rooms upstairs has come a long, long way.

The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Oxfordshire, UK doesn’t conjure up tired, old rooms where pungent travellers rest their weary heads (after drinking and eating too much in the pub downstairs). Far from it.

Built in 1950, The Wild Rabbit was renovated last year to a high standard. With a very nice restaurant and traditional village pub attached, guest are welcome to stay in one of their 12 very comfortable rooms. Their rooms have sweet names such as the Hare, Otter and Mouse rooms.

Every room has a TV, iPod docking station, Nespresso, complimentary coffee, tea and biscuits, fridge, wi-fi, bathroom with powerful shower, dressing gowns and complimentary toiletries. Individually hand crafted beds, plush linen, stone walls, muted colours, sweet artwork. You’ll feel right at home…if your home happens to be as well styled as this.

I’m in love with their whole aesthetic. They really are the “whole package”. I could imagine a weekend away and not having to leave The Wild Rabbit building at all.

Unfortunately, being an English countryside restaurant, they do serve rabbit on the menu, but I am willing to overlook this.

Make a booking or check out their website here: www.thewildrabbit.co.uk

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31. Welcome Eatery

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.

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The atmosphere is…welcome
A big space with business customers and very cheery staff. Their mantra is “Fast, Fresh & Friendly”. Some nice graphic elements (hand painted lettering) if you are into that sort of thing (I am).

Come here for…
Big smiles and a big feed. A good place to take clients to for a bite, coffee and a little work.

The most interesting thing on the menu…

  • Polenta with bean ragu and goats cheese

Unexpectedly wonderful…

  • Braised beef cheek sandwich, juicy and tender.

I would come back to try…

  • Some of the nice looking cabinet food.
    Client meetings with good food.

Catering to…
Breakfast and lunch office workers. The menu is short but evolving. Healthy and raw options. Heaps of cabinet food. Plenty of vegetarian options.

Expect to spend…
$10-$20 per person

The service is…
Overwhelmingly friendly. Very attentive.

Avoid if…
Friendly strangers frighten you.

Welcome Eatery
Orion Building, 181 Grafton Road, Grafton
Open weekdays only
http://welcomeeatery.tumblr.com

 

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30. Ortolana

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.

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The atmosphere is…orto
An airy, light-filled conservatory space with a bistro/cafe inside. Beautifully designed, the space reflects the food.

Ortolana is your cool cousin who went away for a year to study in Italy and came back with big words and designer clothes that made people either roll their eyes or immediately worship her.

Come here for…
Fancy European style food using fresh ingredients. They claim their food is simple I feel it’s verging on pretentious. The food has a lightness to it that will appeal to clean eaters. A menu worthy of it’s own Google Search or culinary dictionary. Some words feel like they’re made up. Best to close your eyes, point at something and hope it’s a good one. Could be a good place to impress someone.

The most interesting thing on the menu…

Things I cannot pronounce such as:

  • Nooch
  • Escabeche
  • Stracciatella
  • Gnudi
  • Olio nuovo
  • Fazzoletti
  • Pillus
  • Cotoletta
  • Pangritata

Unexpectedly wonderful…

  • A list of ingredients from their farm
  • Sparkling water by default
  • Outside seating with blankets to keep off the chill

I would come back to try…

  • More food I cannot pronounce.

Catering to…
Whole food enthusiasts, garden to table eaters. Healthy foodies and fine foodies. My body is a temple foodies. Vegetarians are well catered for but make sure the mystery word in your order is not actually another word for meat. GF options available but not marked on menu.

Expect to spend…
$30-40 per person

The service is…
As expected, pretty good. Sparkling water topped up regularly.

Avoid if…
You dislike micro-greens. Avoid if you hate surprises and need to know exactly what you are eating. Ortalana’s menu is difficult to comprehend and has no descriptions. Almost every dish has an uncommon word thrown in.

Auckland Restaurant Month special:
$40 FOR THREE COURSES

Courses include piadina with mushroom, mozzarella and mustard greens, fazzoletti with pumpkin, quark and hazelnut and gelato on a stick to finish.

Ortolana
31 Tyler Street, Britomart
Open 7 days
http://www.britomart.org/ortolana

Photos taken by my sister Joey on my birthday. 

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29. Besos Latinos

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.

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The atmosphere is…besos
Latin American art and motifs set the scene: flowers, candles, a water fountain and religious motifs. A big space with exposed brick walls and high ceilings. A hacienda courtyard comes to mind. Mexican artist Cecilia Mijangos, partner Executive Chef Luis Cabrera and their crew bring a uniquely authentic Latin American experience. The music is spot on. A lot fancier than your average taqueria (taco shop).

Come here for…
South American inspired food. Traditional dishes from Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, Jamaica , as well as Latin American cocktails, wines and beers. Great for both groups and intimate dinners.

The most interesting thing on the menu…

  • Foot long tacos
  • Palitos de Queso – Fried Blue cheese sticks wrapped in pastry stuffed with dried cranberries
  • Venezuelan Arepa – Venezuelan corncake stuffed with cheese and beef or chicken

Unexpectedly wonderful…

  • Their classic margaritas
  • Flan Frida Kahlo (creme caramel)
  • We also tried their foot-long taco at Street Eats last Saturday. It was amazing.

I would come back to try…

  • Peruvian Ceviche – Fresh fish of the day marinated in lime juice with green chilli, corn and coriander
  • Fish Tacos – Fresh fish of the day with chipotle mayo, corn and red pepper chutney

Catering to…
Everyone. Vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free options clearly marked. Plenty of options for small or large appetites. Though there is no kids menu, there are a few dishes would be suitable for children’s appetites such as the empanadas or the arepas. Meals can be made as mild or as you like.

Expect to spend…
$30-$50 per person

The service is…
Wonderful! Stunning! The best! Their staff are super friendly and happy to answer our many questions and make suggestions when requested. Cecilia made sure we were well taken care of. The passion here is contagious and it is clear they love their restaurant and their menu. “Besos Latinos” translates as “Latin kisses”. Very fittting.

Avoid if…
You are looking for Tex Mex or Californian burritos.

Auckland Restaurant Month special:
$25 FOR TWO COURSES AND A MARGARITA

With chipotle salsa and corn chips to start and your choice of tacos for main, with options including pork tacos Yucatan style or vegetarian tacos. Served with a classic lime margarita.

Besos Latinos
M16, 39 Elliot Street, Auckland CBD
Open every day except Monday
www.besoslatinos.com

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28. Cafe People

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.

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The atmosphere is…Picture 1
Gorgeous artwork by local artist Flox at the entrance. The cafe decor itself is all clean lines and white chairs. Pretty minimal.  Mostly families having brunch when we visited.

Come here for…
Brunch or lunch.

The most interesting thing on the menu…

  • Breakfast salad
  • Croque Monsier

Unexpectedly wonderful…

  • Coffee
  • Their baked beans

I would come back to try…

  • Moroccan lamb

Catering to…

  • Omnis and vegies. Vegetarian and gluten free options available but unmarked.
  • Business lunch crowd, they have a boardroom that can be hired out.

Expect to spend…
$20-30 per person

The service is…
Friendly.

Avoid if…
You have another favourite brunch spot. This place won’t scratch that.

Cafe People
38 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby
Open 7 days
www.cafepeople.co.nz

 

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27. Antoine’s

In celebration of Auckland Restaurant Month, I will be posting 31 quick-fire reviews on 31 restaurants and cafes in the Auckland CBD and city fringe.

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The atmosphere is…Picture 4
Hushed but homely…if your home is an expensive house in Parnell. Feels posh but comfortable. Music playing at an almost inaudible level. On the evening we visited, there was more staff than diners.

Come here for…
Nostalgic (1970’s) fine dining with table service. We came to find out why Antoine’s has been in business for over 40 years.

The most interesting thing on the menu…

  • Sautéed lamb brains with leek tartare, black pudding, tempura snails and teriyaki vinaigrette
  • Antoine’s tripe served in a cream, sherry, onion and green peppercorn sauce
  • The specials of the day included a dish with a beef tendon spring roll

Unexpectedly wonderful…

  • The complimentary bread roll.
  • The hushed, attentive service.
  • Huge portions of meat which were very tender.

I would come back to try…
Their Chicken, leek and wild mushroom pie…if someone else was paying. I love pies so I’m just curious what a $50 pie tastes like.

Catering to…

  • The old money and those looking for a nostalgic, slightly French influenced menu.
  • Offal  and raw meat lovers: tripe, lamb brains, ox tongue, beef tendons, duck livers, chicken livers, veal sweetbreads, beef tartare, steak tartare, tuna tartare.
  • Vegetarian options available. Gluten free status unknown.

Expect to spend…
$100-$150 per person

The service is…
Super posh and very good, though more butler than waiter. Water kept topped up (we paid $14 for water). Table crumber used to sweep away crumbs, tableservice where the waiter transfers the food from serving plate directly to your plate. Leaving the plating up to the hands of the waiter.

Avoid if…
Money does not grow on trees, as this is possibly Auckland’s most expensive dining experience. EFTPOS is not available and all prices excludie GST. Avoid Antoine’s if you are in a hurry, our visit took almost 3 hours.

Antoine’s
333 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland
Open every day except Sunday
http://www.antoinesrestaurant.co.nz

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