Food & Restaurant Reviews

Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market – A Foodie Paradise

Hawkes Bay Farmers Market Our recent summer holiday saw us doing a huge roadie around parts of the North Island (i.e. Rotorua-Masterton-Wellington-Napier-Mahia-Cape Runaway-Rotorua-Napier-Rotorua. I lost track of how many kilometres we travelled. At last count it was over 2000km in 10 days. It’s been great from the perspective of the stunning scenery, tip top weather and catching up with friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s ended up being a summer holiday I’ll remember for crayfish, gourmet salads, fantastic coffee, craft beer, lots of giggles and good books. I read for a large chunk of the roadie.  I am extremely grateful to be able to read in the car: No travel sickness has ever been experienced by this wanderluster!

Anyway, last weekend, on our last few days of holiday we ended up in my hometown of Napier and we boosted it to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. Wow.  So wow in fact, I took a heap of photos on my trusty Samsung S7 to share with you. Out of all of the things we saw and did on holiday, this was one of the best experiences. And I’ve been to this market plenty of times.  (more…)

My Food Bag – Putting the mojo back in week night cooking

my food bag 4You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of My Food Bag!  This is the brainchild of some savvy peeps who spotted a niche for delivering bags of delicious ingredients to your door, along with step by step nutritionally balanced and delicious recipes.  You can read all about it here. I’d better save some space: This is going be a long blog post!

My motivation for trying out My Food Bag was simple: a) They’ve finally started delivering to Rotorua and b) I’ve totally lost my mojo for weeknight cooking.  I just can’t get in the groove and we’ve fallen into the habit lately of having mince one night, chicken the next, salads for two nights, rice the next…  You get the drift. There’s nothing wrong with this, but what’s been troubling me is that I just can’t get inspired about week night cooking (weekend cooking, no problem!).  I own a crap-load of recipe books, hell, I am (ordinarily) a walking recipe book, but I just can’t think of what to cook. So I hoped My Food Bag would get me out of a spectacular cooking rut.

What bag did we order?

There’s five different bag options to suit fussy young kids, or hungry teenagers. I went for ‘My Gourmet Bag’ which feeds two adults four meals for a week.  The price was $142 (inc delivery). I decide against the My Family Food Bag option, which would also have fed our nine year old: He’s a fussy eater and I was just too nervous he’d turn his nose up. Besides, I liked the sound of eating gourmet with my hubby for four nights! Yet, to feed the boy, this meant I had to get organised and prepare some food in advance, I’m trying to cut down on cooking two separate meals! So I knocked up a Lazy Lasagna and this went down a treat most nights!

How did we find My Food Bag? Here’s a narration of our experience!

Day Zero (Sunday)

Our delivery was scheduled for Sunday afternoon between 3.00pm and 5.00pm. At 3.17pm a Courier Post van pulled up with a driver kitted out in a My Food Bag polo shirt. He cheerfully brought a box and bag of My Food Bag goodies to my door and greeted me with “Hello, you must be a new customer?  Enjoy! See you next week!”  The driver wasn’t even out of our driveway when my phone beeped with a text from My Food Bag saying “enjoy the goodness, if you have any questions, give us a ring”. It was like a Domino’s pizza delivery, only more thrilling.  As someone who has trained in customer service and sales for a living, I was thinking that My Food Bag is nailing their customer service and PR so far.

my food bag review nz
Our goodness arrived!

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Eating like a king – In Palmerston North (NZ)

Barista – This was a Monday night!

A few weeks ago a colleague and I went on a work trip to Palmerston North.  I have to fess up: Apart from the opportunity to catch-up with lovely colleagues and partake in some mall-based shopping, a visit to Palmy doesn’t usually make my heart soar with excitement.  John Cleese was much less diplomatic when he visited in 2005. He said ‘If you ever do want to kill yourself, but lack the courage, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.’ Ouch. Incidentally, Palmy North town got their own revenge by naming a rubbish dump after him.

Well, after our visit my foodie colleague and I reckon John got it wrong.  He can’t have gone out for dinner. Nope, he must have eaten in his hotel room and ordered tough steak and soggy chips from room service.  By contrast, we were blown away by the eateries we experienced in Palmerston North. Actually we are trying to engineer another few days in the good ‘old Manawatu to sample more splendid tucker. (more…)