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Taste 2014 battled a change in location and stormy weather. Parking was insane, we went through the usual hope of thinking we would be lucky, then it slowly deteriorated to us trying every tiny spot we could find on the side of a street, to almost giving up and paying $10 to park in someone’s driveway, and finally to stalking a family as they walked up the hill. That aside, this year’s event was was beautifully decked out with florals and green lush signs. Our favourite plates were crayfish risotto from The Oyster Inn, oysters and tuatuas from Depot, and Lucky Taco minis (Taste 2013 food was more interesting and better). You have to be prepared to spend a reasonable amount of money and time at Taste, dishes are usually around 8-12 crowns ($1 = 1 crown) – though there are some odd ones out, like the 20 crown sandwich from Harbourside. See you next year, Taste!

IMG_7092 IMG_7045 IMG_7086 IMG_7053 IMG_7085 IMG_7069 IMG_7073 IMG_7084 IMG_7080 IMG_7087 IMG_7089 IMG_7095Boy & Bird is great, open from 11am till late, 7 days a week. They also take bookings (!) – you can probably stop reading now. That’s all you needed to know, right? Because there’s a 40-minute wait at Dear Jervois, 45-minute wait at Rosie, and don’t even think about Depot on a Friday night. The half bird ($19) came with chunky chips and gravy. Double thumbs up to the chips. More gravy, more ($3). We also had some coleslaw which was refreshing and delicious (small $5.50). First class combination right there. I wouldn’t recommend the Chilli Satay Chicken ($10) no matter how good it sounds on paper and stay away from the soda selection. There are of course non-chicken dishes available but for now the chips, gravy, and coleslaw are enough to take me back.

Boy & Bird
222 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

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Mt Eden Village has been graced with so many new openings the past few months, including this new number – Scarlett Slimms & Lucky. Scarlett is a gastropub replacing Eden Cloakroom. It’s rather smoky inside so the courtyard is the better option. We had the calamari with chorizo and papaya ($14). It was delicious, refreshing and full of flavour. The battered snapper with soft shell crab and shoestring fries ($28) were surprisingly well done too. The green pea tartare was on point, not too heavy nor too sour. We didn’t enjoy the mushroom risotto ($23), the radicchio (a type of white veined red leaf vegetable) was too bitter for us.

We missed the breakfast menu i.e. Whitebait omelettes with hash browns and creamed spinach, but we’ll make it next time – weekend sleep-ins are overrated anyway.

Scarlett Slimms & Lucky
476 Mt Eden Road, Auckland
Mon-Fri 12pm – late
Sat-Sat 9am – late

One of the definite highlights of our trip was the Sydney Fish Market. Boni and I are both big seafood fans, so this market was like a slice of heaven.IMG_5812 IMG_5814 IMG_5817The place is essentially a miniature mall with one large and two small seafood retailers and few cooked food places inside and out.

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We stayed indoors to eat, because who wants to fight with the seagulls.

IMG_5893The scampi and scallops were so incredibly sweet and fresh – simply the best we’ve had. I probably could’ve had a lot more if we weren’t flying that night.IMG_5889 IMG_5884 IMG_5865Since it was such a beautiful day, we walked back to the hotel over Pyrmont Bridge. IMG_5951 IMG_5961 IMG_5959 IMG_5957 IMG_5955

There’s probably just a couple of posts left from Sydney, we’re sort of hanging onto it with our dear lives (insert, holiday withdrawals). Stay with us, Auckland based eats to come sooner or later…

Like diligent tourists we visited the Sydney Opera House. We even joined a tour, which we recommend if you have an hour to spare.

IMG_5720 IMG_5724 IMG_5725 IMG_5723 IMG_5719 IMG_5714Sadly we weren’t allowed to photograph in the two large theatres because there were plays setting up and workers on stage.IMG_5726 IMG_5727 IMG_5729IMG_5702IMG_5721IMG_5705

Having woken up early enough for breakfast (brunch, we still love you more) we stopped by a restaurant on Circular Quay.
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IMG_5693 IMG_5683Contemporary art and I, we’re not the best of friends. Nevertheless there were a few pieces that we enjoyed.
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Over the weekend we photographed Yelp Auckland’s biggest event to date, with almost 130 people. Along with Brancott Estate wine, MOA beer and Antipodes water, The Pie Piper mum-and-daughter duo, Black Hoof, Clevedon Oysters and Puhoi Valley were also there for the fun. A mini Fujifilm instax printer was up for grabs for the best photo of the night and everyone got a White’s & Co. voucher.

Check out the full set of photos on Yelp Auckland’s Facebook page. Find out how you can become an Elite member here.IMG_0042 IMG_0047 IMG_0058 IMG_0060 IMG_0081 IMG_0084 IMG_0208 IMG_0213 IMG_0220 IMG_6034 IMG_6053 IMG_6065 IMG_6071 IMG_6082 IMG_6082 IMG_6103 IMG_6118 IMG_6141 IMG_6167 IMG_6169 IMG_6209 IMG_6478

IMG_5055The Grounds’ concept is brilliant. It is everything. It is a florist, multiple restaurants, an on-site bakery, a petting shed, a children’s playhouse, a takeaway, a courtyard, a market, a school, a venue. All in one. You can tell how excited we were by the sheer amount of photos in this post.IMG_4935 IMG_5041

There was a cake and pastry stall just outside the cafe as well as a lemonade stand. Although it’s beautiful, I’d suggest steering clear of the lemonade one.

IMG_4912 IMG_4909 IMG_4910 IMG_4911 IMG_5053 IMG_4939On-site bakery inside the cafe

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We waited around 15 minutes for a table inside. The cafe is very dimly lit and bustling with action, you can see the kitchen and the crazy number of dishes being served constantly. The staff are well trained and move quickly – which is necessary considering the number of people that visit.
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We ordered the banana smoothie and a refreshing watermelon juice. The smoothie was top notch – creamy and full of flavour.IMG_4952

The food itself was anti-climatic. The signature avocado was too salty and the bread tough. The quinoa cake lacked flavour and the sourness of the cucumber was overpowering. The lunch menu on the other hand looked great. Lunch is served from 12pm. IMG_4969 IMG_4970

We also had a passionfruit cheesecake – because who can resist with a dessert cabinet looking like that. While I enjoyed it, Boni not so much.IMG_5014

The Grounds aren’t located in the CBD of course, but getting there isn’t too difficult. We took the train to Green Square station and walked roughly 10 minutes. There is limited valet parking and street parking seems scarce.IMG_5047 IMG_4938 IMG_5040IMG_5051

The little store front in the courtyard seems to serve the same/similar menu, so definitely dine outside if the weather permits.

The Potting Shed is open a little later for lunch. The venue is beautiful.IMG_5058IMG_5057

“Please wait to be planted”IMG_5059

IMG_4917There was also another area behind the florist which looked stunning. It wasn’t open yet though.IMG_4916 IMG_4921 IMG_4923 IMG_4926 Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset IMG_4928Playhouse!IMG_5044Kevin Bacon and friendsIMG_4932 IMG_5048IMG_5039IMG_5037IMG_4936IMG_4937

I hope the guys at The Hip Group are reading this. I think we need one here in Auckland (or even just outside of Auckland, I’d be willing to travel there).

The Grounds of Alexandria
2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, Sydney

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