Tequila, sangria and ugali

I haven’t really spent the whole week at bars, but Tequila Joe’s and Avida were both on the agenda this week, as was the new Afrika on Cambridge Terrace (formerly the Moroccan Casablanca). Tequila Joe’s is in the former Shinobi Sushi premises on Vivian Street near the corner of Tory; the result of a Detroit […]

Eats, rides and city living (and now earthquakes!)

This post is an introduction since the folks at Wellingtonista have kindly invited me to join their merry band (and I now have an unexpected day off since the office is closed). So a little about me ….  I LOVE Wellington, food, events, eating experiences, movies, solo Saturday morning wanders, soaking up the city vibe, […]

FishHead DineOut awards: get your vote in!

Just a reminder that voting in FishHead magazine’s DineOut awards 2013 closes this Friday the 19th. Get in now and vote for your favourite restaurants, bars and cafés throughout the Wellington region, and you’ll be in to win a coffee grinder and a year’s supply of Havana coffee.

Bars and Bites

This is in the vein of The Wellingtonista Bar Fly-les, but I thought I’d give it another name since it’s about food & coffee as well as drink.

  • Have I been unobservant, or has Offbeat Originals only just started offering lamb as an option in their famous burgers? And tapenade as an accompaniment?! [insert drooling noises here]
  • The Buena Vista Social Club seems to have been successful as a certain mayoral campaign. It has closed (rather inconveniently for certain fringe shows), though it is apparently due to reopen as a gay bar called S&M. No comment.
  • If you’ve been putting off enjoying Simply Paris’ excellent cassoulet, patisserie, Merguez frites baguettes or pain perdu by their bizarre choice of “Nespresso” in place of coffee, then rejoice! for they now have a proper espresso machine and Orb coffee. You’ll still have to put up with the twee décor and occasionally slow service, though the more than occasional hotness of their staff should make up for the latter.
  • Forgive me for shouting, but … TIKI TIKI TIKI! It’s not quite the proper Tiki Bar that the Wellingtonista have long been gagging for, but Matterhorn are having a Tiki Bar weekend this weekend, complete with vintage tiki mugs, dry ice, special cocktails and silly hats.

Coffee in Newtown?

Can anybody help me locate a decent coffee in Newtown during these interminable public holidays? Peoples’ is shut until Monday, as is the café at the Med. The only option I have located thus far is Eva Dixon’s at the Zoo (which was a lovely walk in the sun) but resulted in a small latté in a large takeaway cup topped by prodigious amounts of froth, cost me $5.20 including the surcharge, and tasted like filth.

So, tomorrow I need a better option. Any ideas?

UPDATE: Thanks to the helpful comments I headed north today to find that The Ballroom, The Recovery Room and Pranah are all closed (which I suspected after having the same problems last Easter). And I did feel fairly strange prowling the corridors of the hospital looking for the Fuel kiosk which was also closed.

So, I’m off to the movies at Island Bay where, hopefully, the Empire can serve me up a brew before Alvin and The Chipmunks.

Auckland vs. Wellington

A different long weekend away provides another opportunity to reexamine the age-old battle. After our first chapter, Secret Agent Robyn came down from Auckland to check out our city. This is her report…

Getting there: The airport bus runs past my place every 20 minutes. I waited for 30 minutes, but there was no sign of the bus. I started to panic and called a taxi. $50 later I was at the airport, but too late for check-in. Oh no! But fate smiled upon me — due to ‘weather’ in Wellington, the plane was late, so they could check me in after all. In Wellington, the taxi to my hotel was cheap, but slow in a way that proves the bypass was a dumb idea. Wellington wins this one for delaying my flight.

Wellington vs. Auckland

A long weekend away provides the perfect opportunity to re-examine the age-old battle. In our first chapter, our agent goes to Auckland. In our next chapter, an enemy agent will come here…

Airport access: Getting to Wellington Airport, from Thorndon via a quick stop in Hataitai to pick up my suitcase took less than half an hour, and the only cost was some grovelling to my mother. Getting to the CBD of Auckland via a shuttle took an hour and cost $26 – that’s 15 minutes longer than the actual flight, and only $13 less than the ticket. Wellington 1, Auckland 0.

Airports: Wellington airport has only one terminal, which is blissfully fast food chain-free and it’s a sexy big space. You can get Fuel coffee, and Wishbone food (which caters to a wide range of dietary requirements) but it’s loud and bustly, and the stools they have at counters are shiny metal and you slip off them. Meanwhile, Auckland Airport may have Burger King and MacDonalds, but they also have a juice bar with those posh award-winning recoverable design style chairs. A tie.

If Only: Striving for perfection in the real world

In the corner office of our wonderful Ivory Tower (literally now, thanks Noizy for shelling out for that rebuild) we look down upon the seething populace of Wellington that we love so dear and think to ourselves: if only…if only they were as perfect as we are. At which point it’s time for our 11am massage and manicure.

This time gave us the chance to construct a short list of establishments around Wellington that could be better if only they changed some things.

The Port Café

What they have going for them: Fantastic daytime sun, great city views, really good fish & chips, and a BYO license.
What they need to change: The décor! Plain white walls and concrete floors alone do not add up to stylish minimalism: that requires elegant proportions and exquisite detailing, whereas this place just looks cheap and unfinished. The chairs were salvaged from the bargain bin at Warehouse Stationery, and the only attempts at actual design (model ships and some blue downlights) make it look tawdry and twee. Either get in a proper interior designer or drop the prices and be a plain old chippie.

more after the jump..

Mighty Good Times

This newbie member of the Wellingtonista was beaten to punch when it came to reporting on the glad-wrapping record attempt at the Mighty Mighty. However I thought I would add my two cents worth about the night and the overall friendliness of the Mighty Mighty for the female solo traveler.

 First off, why was I heading into the night to be mummified in the first place? Well sometimes you have the kind of week where you wish that someone would render you mostly immobile by glad-wrapping your arms to the side of your body. While this does present technical difficulties when it comes to drinking beer, it does keep your hands off the keyboard for awhile! The experience reminded me somewhat of Tokyo morning rush hour trains, the term "sushi zume" packed like sushi seemed pretty apt as the final circular wrap was made around 41(?) people. The chances of being groped were about the same (you might be surprised how creative some people can be even with their hands firmly wrapped to themselves) but there were fewer suits and more hippies and smiles on this love train. Oh and free jagermeister.

The Wellingtonista guide to drinking for free

Now, don’t get me wrong: we Wellingtonistas are not usually parsimonious when it comes to paying for drinks. On the other hand, we’re a canny and logical bunch, and it only takes about 10 free glasses of house wine to save up enough for a Mega Mai Tai, so in the long run it pays to seek out gratis grog.
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Let’s start with the obvious: gallery openings and launches. You can get lucky by simply cruising the streets on a midweek night seeking the tell-tale sounds of clinking glasses and poststructuralist discourse, but dedicated cheapskates know that the best way to guarantee results is to get on the mailing lists.