For those of you who have been thinking "Wow, slack posting huh?" I wanted to let you know that I've re-branded my blog a bit i.e. made it obvious that it is well and truly about food, and started Eat It Auckland which you can visit here.
I've transferred all the good stuff from Cents and the City as well, so you can still read back-reviews, and I'm continuing to let the good times roll. So please update your bookmarks, follow me on twitter if you haven't already, and stay tuned for more eating adventures at Eat It Auckland!
Posted by Girl in the City on Saturday, March 3, 2012
Posted by Girl in the City on Monday, January 23, 2012
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting the Matakana Village Farmers Market with Sam and Tanya. Already a seasoned visitor to Matakana, Sam has been waging an intense war with annaisannamatthews on foursquare (or something like that) for the mayoralty of the farmers market. As it stands, Sam has recently regained control of the Market, but the situation could change at any moment. Stay tuned.
The Matakana Farmers Market is a permanent fixture in the village, a faux-rustic wooden board complex, much sturdier than the likes of other markets you'll find in Auckland and else where (which are often just a multiplex of Warehouse marquees.) But it's cute, and it caters astutely to the tastes of the Jaffas (like myself) that frequent it every Saturday morning. It is the place to be, darling. The Market is open from 8am - 1pm every Saturday, and as I found driving back through the Village on a particularly gorgeous sunny day (whilst it rained down in Auckland), the place can become chocca. So, if you're like me and believe in the philosophy of the early bird gets the worm, 8am, or soon after, is an ideal time to find a park while there is still plenty of them and enjoy theMarket at a leisurely pace.
Viet Q Foods makes some delicious summer rolls in prawn, pork and prawn, and vegetarian ($12 for 4). These things are as good an example of a summer roll if ever I tasted one. Did you just say 'Is that a pansy I see in that roll over there?' Why yes it is! Edible flowers makes an appearance in many things sold at theMatakana Market, the vegetarian summer rolls included. You have the option of a traditional fish sauce based dipping sauce, or a less conventional hoisin and peanut one (I was partial to the fish sauce one, Sam preferred the other.) So fresh and tasty, they make you feel positively virtuous, unlike eating some of the things to follow...
Silvana's Sicilian Foods is a stall specialising in traditional Sicilian treats including Sicilian cannoli, arancini, take-home lasagnes and more. The moment I laid eyes on the cannoli, I knew I had to have them. Even if it was 8.20 am (which I'd ordinarily deem too early for creamy-custard fillings) I'd been after these babies for a while, and I was finally going to taste one. At $2 each, they're a steal byMatakana Market standards. Let me break it down for you: the outside was like a sweet and crispy, deep-fried wonton wrapper, enclosing an rich vanilla custard cream. They're delicious, don't get me wrong, but I was left wanting a little sumthin-sumthin, like a lick of caramel a la brandy snaps. There were a number of things I had to forgo in the name of saving space, but next time I'd love to try her suppli, rice balls filled with porcini mushrooms and blue vein cheese, and her involtini di melanzani con ricotta (eggplant rolls filled with ricotta.)
iCater serves all sorts of dishes from breakfasty items to these cute little boats ($7 each) and some delicious barbecued mussels wrapped in bacon. The variety made it hard when it came time to choosing which dish to have, the smoked snapper kedgeree being an obvious choice as it was breakfast time. After humming and haa-ing I plumped in the end for the duck and lentil chilli which, while nice, lacked the serious spice I'd expect from a chilli. The garlic, chilli and coriander garnish on the top however really brought the dish to life. Next time I visit I'll be going with my gut (both literally and figuratively) and ordering the kedgeree.
Cobara Authentic Foods makes a mean pottle of dukkah ($11 each), with spicy, Tuscan and fennel-rich variations if traditional isn't for you. After the monetary set-back of procuring a container of dukkah, I thought I best spread my (limited) wealth elsewhere, but they also make a range of nut butters, the almond butter being a surprising unsung hero of the market and personal favourite.
Lothlorien Winery make a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including a delectable apple and feijoa juice ($5 a bottle). What's really cool is that all their samples are served to you in glass shot glasses. Classy touch. Sam was goading me to sample their stronger stuff, but I thought I'd leave the feijoa wine and liqueur for the time being.
Other stalls and happenings of note:
Windfall Foods makes a fantastic tomato relish. Like seriously. If you have a weakness of preserves, pickles and other stuff in jars, this stall is right for you.
Mustard Makers don't just make mustards, as their name would imply, but also these jars of dried spices and herbs which you can mix up at home to make fresh and easy tzatziki and herb and onion dip. The spicy chilli jar doubles as a dip or marinade base.
The time that Sam made me do a shot of wheat grass and filmed me doing it. It wasn't as unpleasant as I thought it would be, but it did remind me of a number of things mushed together that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Goes down easier than an shot of tequila, but that aftertaste must be quickly remedied with a shot of something from Lotherlorien Winery or similar.
Matakana Market is open rain or shine, but make the most of the improving weather and take a scenic drive up North to enjoy the Market while the weather is golden.
Matakana Village Farmers Market
2 Matakana Valley Road,
Open every Saturday from 8am - 1pm
Posted by Girl in the City on Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Posted by Girl in the City on Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Posted by Girl in the City on Monday, November 28, 2011
Having worked literally a hop, skip and a jump away from Moshim’s Supermarket on Stoddard Rd on-and-off for years, I under appreciated what culinary delights lay in wait in the pokey, poorly-designed plaza.
Posted by Girl in the City on Thursday, November 24, 2011
Awesome news! I'm a finalist in the The Bloggers Awards 2011 which celebrates great online writers! Please take two seconds of your time to click the badge above and 'like' Eat It Auckland (my newly rebranded blog; same content, different skin) if you've enjoyed reading Cents and the City and my Craccum column over the years :D
Posted by Girl in the City on Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Since my previously meat-eating friend turned turned away from his life of sin, and now only feasts on vegetables and 'mock-meat' (why vegetarians would want to eat something that is in the likeness of what they have vowed not to eat, I'll never quite understand. Oh wait, yes I do, because it's awesome) I've been discovering more and more vegetarian restaurants and dishes which make a meat-free life bearable.
Dosa Plaza is a bizarre, but nonetheless delicious joint situated on Dominion Rd in the heart of Mt Roskill. Their specialty are dosa, a fermented pancake made from rice flour and lentils. Their tag-line boasts 'the world's widest menu in dosas' and they're not kidding. Menus must be sat down with and perused thoroughly here, and those incapable of making decisions at the best of times best stay away. I did feel that menu items such as the 'American chopsuey dosa' were unnecessary, if not a little disgusting sounding.
However our starter of pani puri was nothing short of scrumptious. You are given thin and crisp shells of chickpea batter which you delicately crack open and fill with the three condiments that accompany it: a very tasty chickpea curry, a sweet and sour water and a tamarind chutney. It's all crunch, and luscious chutney and curry in one mouthful. Mmm mmm!
So Sam's American chopsuey dosa was not ghastly, but who would want to eat something so far fetched from India in a dosa-house? My masala dosa combo was simply enormous, something I hope my amateur photography can convey clearly. This dosa was crisp, and stuffed with a somewhat bland spiced potato crush, dotted with black mustard seeds, but the dhal curry and coconut chutney that accompanied it more than made up for the potato's short-comings. But wait, there's more! There was also the addition of lentil patties done two ways (who would have thought one, rather boring looking pulse could have some many fascades?): as a spongey, snow-white cake and as crisp, deep-fried doughnut. As with all things in life, deep-fried won-out, but that didn't stop me from eating both of them anyway.
100% vegetarian, Dosa Plaza is a vego's haven. Everything is self-serve here, McDonald's style, despite Sam and I being the only customer's in the huge restaurant last Friday at lunch. Be wary of a rather obnoxious electronic bell and sign blinking the number that coincides with your order ticket signals 'order-up!' The muzak that plays in the background is of a new breed, and shockingly bad; we heard an interesting rendition of Europe's 'Final Coutdown' while we were there. In spite of all of this, provided you stick to the traditional menu - I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, there is some delicious vegetarian food to be had.
Pani Puri $7.50
Masala Dosa combo $13
American Chopsuey Dosa $11
875 Dominion Rd
Ph. (09) 629 6290