Archive for the ‘eating out’ Category

(EB) Plum on Cuba Street

April 23, 2012

I’ve been to Plum before. They have wonderful desserts. One day I went there with friends for an afternoon drink and snack (we’d been somewhere in town that morning), stayed chatting and found it was dinner time so ordered dinner.
It;s a lovely place with mirrors all along one wall and a good, comfortable atmosphere.My friend, Mona, and I started our level two burlesque class today. I suggested we eat using the Entertainment Book and gave her a few options. She sensibly suggested “anywhere on Cuba” as the dance studio is there. So we went to Plum.

I had the Free Range Corn Fed Chicken Breast Stuffed w Herbed Cream
Cheese On Sautéed Mushroom, Artichoke & Bacon Lardons (full price $25.00) and Mona had the Seared Aoraki Salmon on ratatouille (full price $26.00)
Salmon at Plum on Cuba Street
which melted in the mouth – it was wonderful.

We shared a side order of Gourmet Potatoes Tossed In Salsa Verde ($7)

The service was good and we had a glass of white wine each before going off to giggle with our new classmates.

Venue: Plum on Cuba Street
Offer: BOGOF (up to value of $35)
Visited: Tuesday, 18th April 2012 at 6pm
Verdict: Fabulous food, nice venue.


EB: Concrete Bar in Cable Car Lane

April 23, 2012

We go to the pub quiz at the Green Man on Monday evenings. We meet others from the Wellington Wonders meetup group and the meetup officially starts at 6.30pm, for the quiz that starts at 7pm. This means eating out (or taking a packed dinner as well as a packed lunch) as it leaves no time to go home first. The food at the Green Man is variable in quality and overpriced so, if we remember, we try to eat somewhere else. It occurred to me that we should have been using the Entertainment Book (EB) for this.This week (16th April) we did. I chose ‘ Concrete Bar on Cable car Lane, about halfway between my office and the Green Man. The offer for 2011/2012 is ‘one complimentary main course when another main course of equal or greater value is purchased’ Maximum value $30 (BOGOF).

I took a look at the menu and found that mains were only served at lunchtime, that the evening menu was tapas, so I called them. A very friendly and helpful girl took my call. She explained that on Mondays and Tuesdays we could order from the lunch menu. She took a reservation and said she would tell the chef we would want to order from the lunch menu. The 2012/2013 offer is for 25% off the total bill.

Two of us arrived and were seated by the window where we could look down and see if the third was on his way. We were given menus, cold water and asked if we wanted to order drinks (we didn’t – I try not to drink during the week). Joe and I ordered the rosemary roasted New Zealand lamb cutlets served on a rocket, cucumber and parmesan cheese salad. The cutlets were topped with a mint, pea and parmesan pesto and a balsamic reduction. The full price was $22.50 (so we paid $11.25 each). It was lovely. The salad very fresh and the cutlets so delicious I wanted to eat the bone. The portion was a lunch size, or a dinner size if a side of carbs were added.

Rik had the chicken quesadilla – also delicious was a very tasty filling. His chips were great too. His choice cost $16.50 and we didn’t get a discount ont hat as we’d used it on the more expensive lamb dishes.


Venue: Concrete Bar on Level 1 of Cable Car Lane (just off Lambton Quay)
Offer: buy one main course get another free
Visited: Monday, 16th April 2012 at 5.30.
Verdict: Great food, good service.

Eating the Entertainment Book

April 22, 2012

Here in New Zealand (and in Australia, too) we have something called the Entertainment Book. The books are sold by organisations to raise cash for charity. They contain hundreds of money-off vouchers (25% off, or buy one get one free are the main ones) for lots of shops and services but mainly for cafes and restaurants. They come out each year in late March or early April and the voucher are valid immediately and expire on 1st June of the following year.
I’ve just bought the 2012/2013 book which means it’s time to use up the vouchers in my 2011/2012 book. I didn’t make enough use of it this past year. I’m going to make better use of the new one. I’m also going to blog about the food I eat and the places in which I eat it.

This coffee walnut cake is from Cafe Mamba up Plimmer Steps off Lambton Quay. It’s a cafe and I met Rik there for lunch one working weekday. Its decor is very basic, the ceiling is concrete and this, coupled with the music that was playing made it very difficult to have a conversation.
They do an all day breakfast and I opted for that rather than one of their pasta dishes which is what I probably should have had. The English breakfast tea was very good – I think they must have used boiling water rather that just very hot which far too many places do these days.
I didn’t feel comfortable getting my camera out to snap my meal but I’m sure you know what an English breakfast looks like. the sausages were a little weird, but many kiwi sausages are. The bacon was good, the eggs (I chose scrambled) were fine but the mushrooms were awful.
The place was very busy so I assume that some of their other dishes must be really good because there is plenty of competition in the area.
I bought some coffee walnut cake to take away. Rik ate his piece that afternoon but I had mine the next day. It was still moist and tasted delicious.

Venue: Cafe Mamba on Plimmer Steps
Offer: 25% off total bill (up to value of $25)
Visited: Wednesday, 11th April 2012 at lunchtime
Verdict: Too noisy to sit in, don’t bother with the big breakfast, the coffee walnut cake is worth buying but take it away.

Day 00: October 15th: From London to New York

October 31, 2009

What I ate today:
An airline meal (Delta – Milan to JFK): Chicken with risotto and almost raw brocolli. I also ate the cheese and crackers that came with it but not the salad (I made the mistake of putting the rather nasty dressing on it), nor the roll. Are cattle class airline rolls ever edible?

An airline egg and tomato roll: this was given to me as breakfast on the first (BA) flight from London Heathrow to Milan. I didn’t eat it at the time – it did not look nice and I just couldn’t face it. Rik kept it for me and gave it to me later. Despite being a textureless bap type piece of bread and some egg and tomato chopped so finley you could safely feed it to a small baby, it didn’t taste too bad. I wouldn’t want one again though!

After getting to our hostel, too tired and jetlagged to to any further, we went into the second eatery we stumbled across. This was the Palacio Azteca at 1374 York Ave (between 73rd St & 74th St) New York, NY 10021 (212) 249-7313 (no web address found).
Day 00: Chips & salsa Palacio Azteca Day 00: Dinner at Palacio Azteca
I had a rather nice piece of steak, some shrimp (prawns) a tasty salad, served wtih green salad, Mexican rice (as far as I can tell it just means it has some tomato in it) some guacamole and a bean thing that was far nicer than it looked. It was a lovely meal in a small cafe-type establishment. No drink licence but you can BYO and we were directed to a beer shop a few doors down. They were also happy to bring us tap water and we got complimentary chips’n’dip while we waited.
Rik’s meal was similar bbut with spicy prawns and no beef.

The travel blog for the day can be found at

Tandoori chicken lunch box

July 24, 2007

Tandoori chicken bites
I made these for lunch again this week. The recipe is from the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) Low-Fat Meals in Minutes. The original recipe is for eight people but I have halved it and use it for lunch for two people for two days.

chicken tikka bites and grilled veg

250g chicken breast fillets
1 TBS tandoori paste
quarter cup (65 ml) low fat yoghurt
quarter tsp ground cumin
quarter tsp ground coriander
For the dip
quarter cup (65 ml) low fat yoghurt
quarter tsp ground cumin
quarter tsp ground coriander
Cucumber seeded and finely chopped (book says Lebanese but I don’t think we have them in the UK)
Half TBS lemon juice
Half TBS finely chopped coriander leaves (optional – I usually forget)

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces
  2. In a bowl, combine the chicken with ¼ cup of yoghurt, the tandoori paste and quarter tsp each of cumin and coriander.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least three hours).
  4. Thread the chicken onto skewers and cook (barbecue, grill, or griddle) until browned all over and cooked through.
  5. For the dip: combine the yoghurt, spices, lemon juice and cucumber. Stir and serve.

Nutritional info per quarter of this recipe: 140 kcals; 5.2g fat; 4g carbs; 19.3g protein; 0.2g fibre; 0.3 F&V

Fine eaten cold in a lunch box.

I made three fairly long skewers this time. I ate one for my lunch and left the other two, wrapped in cling film, in the fridge. One is for my SO (with strict instructions that he only has one) and I shall have the other tomorrow or Thursday. They keep quite well.

To pack, I take them off the skewer and put them in my box with some salad and a little pot of the dip.
chicken tikka bites & dip
They are great with mini pitta bread. However, I was having homemade rice pudding this afternoon so felt that I didn’t need the extra carbs/starch.

The Photo-Dieter Eats Out

July 13, 2007

At The Spice Lounge in Milton Keynes

chicken suganda

For three weeks I have been photographing everything I eat and learning to eat healthily-sized portions. I’ve logged the food in WLR to keep track of the calories, the fat and the fibre.

On Wednesday my partner and had ticket for the theatre and went out for dinner first. We went to The Spice Lounge in the Theatre District. That description tickles me. It’s technically correct, I guess, as it is the district where the theatre is located. To my mind, ‘the theatre disctict’ should be where there are theatres (plural) not one theatre and several bars and restaurants. Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner and used to having lots of theatres to choose from. That’s also probably why it seems so strange to me to be able to stand by the theatre bar and look out over miles of fields. But I digress.

We’d almost walked into the Spice Lounge before but had decided that it must be closed, despite the unlocked door, as it was so dark and nobody was around. Friends had been before and loved it but they had gone there for a Saturday night out. It’s a bar with a dance floor, they have live music and the restaurant area is on a mezzanine.

This time there was a notice outside advertising their early-bird special – 50% off your food bill if you eat between 5.30 and 7.30. We figured this meant they were open. Ignoring the lift, we walked up the couple of flights of stairs and into the to the dance floor/bar level which was very dimly lit. Someone must have heard us talking because, before we had a chance to decide that it was too dark and too empty we were approached by a member of staff with a friendly, welcoming smile. I explained that we wanted to eat before going to the theatre and had seen their offer. He asked what time the show was and, hearing that it wasn’t till 7.30, assured us there was plenty of time for us to enjoy a full meal and showed us to a table for two overlooking the dance floor on which only coloured lights were dancing.

We had poppadums with the traditional accompaniments of red onion, yoghurt and mango chutney while we looked at the menus which were rather difficult to read by the dim overhead lighting and the candle on the table.

I can see now that it was a mistake to order a starter and a main course with side orders of rice, naan bread and saag aloo, as wells as poppadoms and a pint of lager. However, we did restrict ourselves to one of each to share.


Indian fud

The food was excellent and the service was very good. Our starters were cleared and the main course brought just as we’d finished – no impatient hovering waiters and no frustrating wait between courses as the seconds tick toward show time. We weren’t asked too often ‘is everything all right’ either. We were both impressed.

Because I’m photo-dieting I only put on my plate as much as I thought I might eat. I figured that if I wanted more, that is really wanted more, I could serve up some more and take another photograph. I am pleased to report that I left some of the food on my plate.

I didn’t even glance at the dessert menu. Next time (and we will go back soon) I might have a starter and dessert, no main course.

I always feel a little self-concious when photographing food in a restaurant. I’m concerned that they may think I’m reporting on them or something. Perhaps, though, they might think that I’m doing a foodie review – they have become popular in food magazines and on television. I guess that’s not a bad thing. But I might have a photo-dieter badge made up, or some cards.