What a find! Bunker cafe is hidden away – just off Great North Road – not the easiest place to find, however when you do: bliss. I personally love ‘hard to find’ quirky, urban cafes that don’t do conventional. ‘Bunker Cafe’ is just that; a converted container surrounded by designer bean bags, wooden benches, pews and a concrete garden. Atomic coffee is on offer, along with oversized sweet & savoury brioche, gourmet pies, sweet fare and gastronomic European sandwiches filled with a multitude of choices. I decided on the bacon & egg ciabatta that was winking at me. Everything is takeaway: served on disposable plates. Service is fabulous and personable. Parking is scarce. Ambience is a writer’s dream. You better go now before everyone knows about it!
I am an arthouse (film) girl; so naturally when the opportunity arose to attend ‘Show Me Shorts’ Film Festival at Capitol Cinema (previously Charlie Greys), I went. I enjoyed the short films very much. This Neo-Greek building is slightly dated; however still beautiful. The wine list is better than I expected, not bad for $9. The foyer was filling up with people by the minute; the atmosphere was friendly and eclectic, all demographics in the audience. Doors open, everyone scurried for their seats: grand and deliciously comfortable with ample leg room.
The screening ‘Listen Up’ has a run time of 79 minutes and we’re told in the programme “These short films have tales to tell from the margins of society.” Can’t wait; I love great storytelling. The music video “Cry If You Want To” by Mulholland (NZ) was definitely an ‘intergalactic’ experience with visual intoxication. “The Last 40 Miles” by Alex Hannaford was an animated American film, featuring ‘Ronald’ who was on death row, who travelled with two prison guards to the execution chamber. He reminisced about the ‘what ifs’ while in transit. Extremely gut-wrenching and captivating, based on a true story. “The Phone Call” by Mat Kirkby was a conversation between a helpline call centre woman called Heather, and the man on the other end of the phone, gave a fake name: Stanley (Jim Broadbent). I felt what ‘Heather’ felt: desperate to know what was wrong and why he was unhappy. This UK film was dramatically complex when their truth fuelled friendship; for the duration of the phone call. Isn’t it amazing how strangers can turn your life upside down? I hung on every word and hoped for a good outcome – brilliant film. “In The Rubbish Bin” by Riwia Brown was another animated NZ film, about a child called Pippa who spent her birthday with her teddy bear, Chubby. Pippa ended up in a rubbish bin to shelter from the rain. This NZ film is an intense roller coaster of emotions in 4 minutes. “Box Of Sound” is an American music documentary by Chuck Przybyl who creates music from his environment and circuit benders reinvent cigar boxes into synthesisers. Incredibly fascinating, with a touch of pizzaz. “Toilets” by Gabriel Bisset-Smith is a UK film about three characters who continually meet up in loo’s over a period of time. Two women, and one male who party, experiment with drugs, sex, friendship and support each other through life lessons: Comical, light-hearted and human. “Sounds Perfect” by Allan George is a NZ mockumentary about the adult film industry. Dave is the audio enhancement engineer who is extremely creative when recording ‘sex’ sounds. Highly entertaining, with much hilarity from the audience. Last up “Condom” by Sheldon Lieberman is an Australian film about a 6yr old boy who finds a used condom and wants answers from his Dad. Absolutely laugh-out-loud. I think all parents will embrace this footage and smile. What a successful screening: insightful, dramatic, hilarious and brave.
Are you having a fancy dress party? This is the place to venture to – if so. Word. Whether it’s an Elizabethan gig and you’re looking for ruffs, pantaloons, jerkins, corsets, queens & kings wigs – they have this covered. Or maybe you’re after Bollywood attire? I have indeed hired ruffs, tutus, props, wigs and costuming from First Scene. It’s rather overwhelming place to visit – so make sure you ask someone for assistance – if you’re short on time. I particularly like the selection of false eyelashes, theatre makeup and their shoe selection. All the staff are suitably friendly and helpful. Based just over the hill from Kingsland’s Main Street (shops and cafes) so very convenient and centrally located with parking right outside the building. Cool. Majestic. Transformative. Check it out.
Recently I attended a Yelp event: Yelp Pairs Cider & Cheese at The Dairy, Ponsonby Central. Hosted by the cool crew from Yelp Auckland namely Alex the Community Manager and Tara, Owner of The Dairy & Foxtrot Parlour. A good crowd attended (as always) and we were educated about the hip ‘Zeffer’ Cider brand established in 2009 and has been successfully winning awards internationally. All the cider was partnered with heavenly cheese from The Dairy: St Benedict Buffalo Brie with Zeffer Crisp Apple, Mahoe Blue with Zeffer Pear, Wangapeka with Zeffer Hopped Up Pippin and lastly Earth Sheep Cheddar with Zeffer Mahana Red Apple. It was indulgent, superbly overwhelming and undoubtably enjoyable – with all the tastings and information buzzing in my head. I loved all the cheese and craved more. My favourite cider was the Crisp Apple that is honest, simple and deliciously dry. Cider is slowly taking preference in the supermarket aisles and as for the cheese – you need to shop at Ponsonby Central, and be wowed at The Dairy.
Interesting name isn’t it? ‘Boy & Bird?’ Owned and operated by Mike Van de Elzen, ‘The Food Truck’ guy & Marie Colosimo. This red-and white decor has a young, American-diner style influence with matching teatowels, as napkins. After enquiring about the wait time at 6pm: every table was occupied with small children and accompanying family – it would be approx 15mins. Apparently you can book tables here – great, now I know. We were offered a table outside under a roof heater, which was pleasant while pondering the menu/s. The wait staff were exceptional: very articulate and communicative. Wine by the glass was reasonable, around $12-$13 for a good drop. Offered complimentary chicken-flavoured popcorn which was tasty, at $4. Mains were inexpensive from $10 for a quarter chicken, to $16 Caesar salad. I had the Quarter box with chunkies (fries) and slaw with a small jug of gravy for $15! Yummo! Also, a glass of Spanish red wine and a deconstructed cheesecake – with almond crumbles & citrus for afters. Pleasantly satisfied. Menu also includes non-chicken fare too, like gnocchi or schnitzel. Good addition to Ponsonby Rd, just by Prego or the top of Franklin Road. Go people.
After attending another enjoyable, vibrant ‘Yelp Elite’ event last night, I was lucky enough to sample some clean, fresh, non-alcoholic soda/s in various flavours: Salted Lychee, Pear & Basil, Watermelon & Mint, Elderflower & Herb. Hopt only hit the market about three months ago and is ubercool. There were scrumptious canapés for each sampled beverage: mini potato cakes topped with feta and pea mash, rice-paper filled with pork and Asian vegetable, sashimi, and bruschetta with haloumi. Stand-out catering by Quay Street Cafe. Bravo. I loved the Hopt soda ‘Elderflower & Herb’ the most, especially with gin! The Yelpers made their own Hoptails, (soda, white spirits, citrus & herbs) demonstrated by Ryan – the dapper brand ambassador for Hopt. Available everywhere from 1 October!
I have heard a lot of great commentary about “Best Ugly Bagels” so decided it was time to experience first-hand.
Outside people populated all the tables, eating their delicious bagels and sipping their “Havana” coffee with delight.
All the crew were working industriously making these wood-fired bagels from scratch. Very impressive to watch.
In the shop you can opt for DIY or order Al Brown’s way. You can take out 6 packaged bagels (plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, cinnamon & raisin) with all the toppings to boot. Bagels cost $12.
I was dubious about the coffee as a coffee snob, however it exceeded expectation.
When I placed my order, the American-dressed, animated staff member forgot to charge me for half my order, so instead of paying for 2 purchases (which I didn’t mind) she cancelled the transaction saying the bank fees were to high, and punched in correct amount.
Made me smile.
She asked my name and announced on their in-house microphone. Just in case, I couldn’t hear, with the (bustling) crowds inside and out.
After receiving an intriguing email, from ‘Farro Fresh’ about their up-and-coming “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” being held today – my foodie curiousness kicked-in.
I had previously purchased some Farro money, to the value of $20 in-store, as banknotes were unacceptable at the festival. This touch of fun, added to the community-feel and vibrance of the event.
Firstly, after securing a prime-positioned car park (within a stones-throw from the festival), I proceeded to the first welcoming artisan supplier. I tasted some delicious gratifying “Proper Hand-Cooked Crisps” in sea-salt that are made in Nelson. They are 100% natural, gluten-free, GMO-free and don’t leave you feeling guilty.
Right next door was “Catherine’s Block” wines from the Wairapa. Each (generous) serving was $5, poured by gregarious, smiley-faced staff that looked at me strangely, when I asked them if they have a twitter-handle. No they don’t – only Facebook and a website. No mentions or tweets on this occasion then!
From the $5 menu on offer; I decided to go with the pan-seared salmon fillet with kasundi & sheep yoghurt. Explosive flavours, great service, NZ salmon: sold, naturally. I also sampled a ‘kiwiana’ BBQ sirloin steak and rocket pride. The horseradish cream left my sinuses clear – that is for sure.
My pick of the “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” was the “Paleta” mini-ice blocks in Raspberries & cream. Served by Hayden, who spoke passionately and genuinely about their hand-crafted product: made from Fresh cream, Raspberries, Fresh milk, Organic cane sugar, Carob gum Natural flavour on a sustainable hoop-wood stick! So all-in-all: deliciousness and ice-block perfection.
After yelping, tweeting and instagramming – I left the festival with a tummy-full of contentedness.
Another sterling and stupendous ‘Yelp Elite Event’ held at Jetset Bohemian, in the hip spot of Grey Lynn.
A team of awe-inspired yelpers each donated a pair of second-hand sneakers or $10 for #GivingShoesDay #GivingTuesday to send some relief to the victims of the Philippines Typhoon #TyphoonHaiyan
Bird on a Wire was present with their offerings of ‘Korean BBQ Chicken Roll’ and the classic ‘Bird On A Wire Chicken Roll’. What can I say: Scrumptious!!!! Thanks Sophie!
Also Rochfort Rees wine, that I will admit I had not heard of, until now! Sampling the super premium Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris was a delight! The virtual winery whose philosophy “is to make wine that is simple in its complexity.”
Simple yet perfect.
Jetset Bohemian opened late for the yelpers’ pleasure: beautiful vintage pieces, scarfs, hats, you name it! I adored their newsprint-like carrybags, very cool.
What a night of yelping!
Have you been to Auckland’s best kept secret? Apparently, ‘The Kapiti Store’ has been residing in Shortland Street for 2 years, without my knowledge! Time to make up for lost time, I think.
‘Yelp Elite’ team was in for a treat, without a doubt.
There were 5 delectable cheese’s on offer, matched with some top notch Church Road wine.
The #yelpsdairydream event was hosted by Rachel from #kapitistore who educated and inspired the yelpers to taste the Aorangi, Ramara, Smoked Havarti, Tuteremoana and Kikorangi cheeses, with appreciation and a deserving palate.
The selection of Church Road wines on offer from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon complimented the fare exquisitely.
Last up was the ‘Kiwiana’ icecream to die for. The (quad) flavours were Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch, Lemongrass and Ginger, Nectarine and Muscavado icecream which was (literally) knockout gastronomy.
Thanks to the other #kapitistore crew, Meg and Paul who had a full-tank of product knowledge, were quick to refill wine glasses and make the experience, unique and standout sublime.
‘The Kapiti Store’ is about to go global and I know why.
Yelp and more yelp.