The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Naughty but nice

by Heather C on December 7, 2014 in Food & Drink

Bettys teapotIn the run-up to Xmas here’s some delicious eats and drinks around town I might have had to sample recently:

  • CGR Merchant’s salted caramel infused rum and the best value $15 cheeseboard ever had.
  • Betty’s dry iced sharing teapot cocktails. Friday and Saturday evenings only.
  • Anything AroBake – baby xmas mince tarts, almond crescent cookies or stollen.
  • Thunderbird’s Monte Christo battered deep fried ham and cheese sandwich.  Only a oncer but OMG.

Tbirds Monte Christo

  • Bourbon peanut butter or sake apricots or brandied cherries with other delicious things on crumpet.  From Crumpet.  Accompanied by rum and ginger spiced posset naturally.
  • Any of French Cancan’s pastries and tarts (and nice to support them in celebration of having gained residency).
  • Canteen’s brioche French toast with toffee sauce and bananas. Probably also a oncer.
  • The Mexico carrot cake dessert.  Unlike any you’ll get elsewhere.  Heading for a twicer.

Ho ho ho.



A couple of months ago, we went along to a dinner put on by the Sustainable Business Network, which was a very interesting night but I found myself unable to write about it without seething with rage remembering the man I’d been seated next to. He owns a franchise chain, believes that the only reason there are hungry kids in New Zealand is because their parents choose to buy booze, and he doesn’t believe that sexual assault and domestic figures are accurate (they’re over-reported apparently- “well what is sexual assault anyway? Is it when a woman just says no?”). He also said that we can’t pay people more, because then all the jobs would go to Australia. I can’t imagine driving to Australia to pick up a burger, so that was a bit of a curious thing to say. However, what made me very very happy was that Marianne and Lucas from our beloved Mexican restaurant La Boca Loca were there, and made a passionate argument for paying a living wage. They’re not just talking the talk however – La Boca Loca has been certified as a living wage employer since July. And guess what? They’re still here.  So I thought it would be good to have a chat with them about what they’re doing.

image of bowls filled with delicious mexican food

Delicious food (image stolen from La Boca Loca’s site. The Wellingtonista doesn’t pay photographers a living wage. We’re lousy people.

 1. So, first and foremost – what is a living wage?

A living wage is a wage high enough for a worker to meed their needs, enjoy their life and participate in society. At the moment, research indicates that $18.80 an hour is the level needed for a living wage in New Zealand.

2. Why has La Boca Loca decided to pay a living wage, and when did you implement it?

We learned about the Living Wage earlier this year and started looking into what it was, and why it was set at that level. It seemed pretty clear to us that if we were to live up to our own standards as an ethical business we needed to adopt a living wage. Paying our team enough to live on is core to what ethical, sustainable and successful business means to us.

We started moving to a Living Wage soon after, and were certified as a Living Wage employer in July this year.

3. So it’s been (a couple of months?) now – how’s it going?

It’s going great. Our staff are happy, our customers are happy, we know we are doing the right thing and the cost of our wage bill hasn’t gone up as much as we had predicted. There’s an entire school of economic theory that could explain why that’s the case… the efficiency wage theory (which I’ll talk a bit more about in just a minute because I have a feeling you are about to ask me about the economic benefits of this approach).

4. Assume that I actually don’t care about people – what are the economic benefits of operating this way?

The Living Wage is good for business. Firstly, great people make great restaurants, so by paying the Living Wage we are taking better care of our most important asset. The better care we take of our staff, the better care they can take of our customers – and of their own families. Secondly, our customers like knowing that the people working hard to serve their meal are being paid enough to live on. Thirdly, the signs are that our costs won’t go up much – our staff are working smarter to help make this move a success – this is related to the idea of the ‘efficiency wage’. Fourthly, it’s good for small businesses like us if more people in our community have a little bit more money in their pocket – in other words, we want our staff to be able to afford to eat at our restaurant. And we’d like a lot of other people to be able to as well.

5. If the other lovely business owners who read the Wellingtonista were thinking about moving to a living wage, do you have any advice for how they can start?

It’s pretty much impossible to say what is right for other businesses. We decided this was right for our business. We would encourage other businesses to give it serious thought, to look past the rhetoric of the right that assumes that anything good for workers is bad for business – which is patently untrue. Do your own research, and decide what’s right for you, your team and your business. And if you do decide this is the right thing to do, just do it. Don’t spend too long worrying about it or slowly phasing into it. As Lucas likes to say – just rip off the plaster and get on with making it work.

6. Are you going to tell us how to make your spicy margaritas?

We are indeed. Very soon. In fact, later this week we’ll start taking pre-orders for our forthcoming cookbook which will include the recipe for the spicy margarita, thanks in part to the fact that Wellingtonista rallied so many votes for it in our cookbook competition!

Hurray for good people doing good things! This should be all the encouragement you need to spend more time (and money) on their delicious food.


Just spotted….

by Heather C on November 28, 2014 in Beer

Beer-[and Firetruck, Goose Shack and Tommy Millions]-a-licious…

(for those without microscopes – food stalls, live music, beer and other nice stuff at the Brewery on Vivian Street 12noon-8pm on Sat 6 Dec, Sat 31 Jan, Sat 21 Feb)



hack miramar logoThis guest post is from ex-’ista Mike, so it may be something you’ve seen elsewhere on the internet. Sorry! 
Following on from the successful Hack Miramar ‘transport event’ the team have teamed up with Wellington Makerspace Trust and are chuffed to announce free programming workshops for all ages on December 13th at Scots College (1 Monorgan Rd, Strathmore Park).
These sessions will run from 10am until 4pm on Saturday the 13th of December at the Centre for Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) at Scots College. Attendees can drop in during the day to take part in sessions that will start each hour on the hour.
The workshops will be based around the global ‘Hour of Code’ format which provides an easy introduction to computer programming for anyone wanting to learn a little about how computers work. In addition to learning some simple programming concepts participants will also have a chance to do exercises with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Makey Makey devices.The event is part of a series of international events being put on around the globe as part of Computer Science Education Week.
“Technology is changing rapidly and we want to make sure Wellingtonians of all ages are better prepared to be not just consumers of technology but creators as well” said Ben Wilde, Hack Miramar co-organiser.
The sessions are open to the public and to all ages from 6+, the only prerequisite is curiosity and a desire to learn something new.
“We need more kids excited about the idea of making smart things.”, said Lee Bennett, founder of the Wellington Makerspace Trust “we need more Kiwi innovators and this is a great way to get them started.”
The event is being made possible by the generous support of Scots College who have provided the use of the Graphics and Technology facilities housed within the school’s Creative and Performing and Arts Centre (CPAC).
“As a college we are committed to providing world class education for our students including opportunities to learn about technologies that will shape our future” said Graeme Yule, Headmaster of Scots College “We’re very happy to support this wider community initiative.”
More information can be found at


More posts…

Nga Manu Nature Reserve (Waikanae)

by Heather C November 23, 2014

Yep, its not food.  But I was seriously impressed with this place in our back yard that I had no clue existed. Nga Manu is the largest remaining remnant of coastal lowland swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast, and was established as a reserve in 1974.  It has developed over the years to the well laid […]

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Long live the Long Lunch

by Heather C November 14, 2014

The Mediterranean’s have it right. I went to the Logan Brown November Fresh Friday lunch club today. Sean (Clouston) decides on the dishes each week based on what’s fresh and appealing at the markets and his travels and wallah! What a fantastic way to get into the weekend groove. Today’s courses were LB bread and gazpacho […]

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Without literature, life is hell!

by Herbertimo November 13, 2014

This Saturday a large number of spots in Wellington are taking part in a pub crawl but without the pubs. And with literature instead. A LitCrawl if you will! Actually that’s a slight lie. There are not only three pubs involved (Hashigo Zake, Meow and Little Beer Quarter) but there’s a Writers’ Beer as well. Nine […]

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Review: Titus Andronicus

by librarykris November 6, 2014

One of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays presented in a hair salon around Halloween? Excellent idea. Fresh Dada presented their take on Titus Andronicus last week. . Titus (Julia Harris in the traditionally male lead role) has returned triumphantly from the war with prisoners. One of them, Tamora, Queen of the Goths, (Karen Anslow) pleads for the […]

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Another Laneways opportunity…

by Heather C October 30, 2014

On the back of the successful Hannahs Laneway event during WOAP, the Ti Kouka et al folks are at it again – this Saturday with a Day of the Dead Fiesta. These celebrations in Mexico are traditionally a three-day event from 31 October to 2 November to remember those who are no longer with us.  For more […]

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Winners at the 2014 Capital Awards

by Joanna October 27, 2014

Here’s our storified coverage live from the Capital Awards because we’re too lazy to type it all out. Hopefully this is still accessible. [View the story “Winners at the Capital Awards” on Storify]

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