2015 All Fresco

Owen Dippie’s Hine turned pedestrian’s, cyclist’s and motorist’s heads as it was being spraypainted on an apartment block by the cycle way on Upper Queen Street last week. This rejigged my memory of the annual All Fresco Walking Tour. My friend and I locked it in and off we went at 3pm on Saturday, meeting at the start point of the YES Collective, Level 1, 358 K Road. This space allowed everyone to have a look at ‘mini’ versions of the artist’s work before setting off to see their pieces in an Auckland city setting.

This year’s lineup included Erin Forsyth, Component, Trustme, Gasp, Tanja Jade, Cinzah, Xoe Hall, Owen Dippie, Jeremy Shirley, Haunt Ones, Jon Drypnz, Berst and Askew One. The ten new additions are based around Karangahape Road in central Auckland. You can visit all completed works now, but here some of the artists in action over the weekend. Watch out for this event again in 2016, thanks to the K Road Business Association.

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Jon Drypnz on Day Street
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Jeremy Shirley
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Haunt One on Poynton Terrace
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Berst on the left, Owen Dippie on the right
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Owen Dippie on Upper Queen Street
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Askew One talking about his work in progress
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Xoe Hall on East Street
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Cinzah talking about his piece on Ponsonby Road
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Al Fresco All Fresco Art Tour

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Let me just start by saying that I love free tours and I’ve also decided that I love the K Road Business Association for all the incredibly amazing events they have a hand in/spearhead.

Now that that’s out of the way I can tell you about the free art tour myself and two friends participated in, along with 20 or so others, on Saturday 3 May.

All Fresco is a K Road Art Festival where artists from around the country (or even world) come together over a weekend (/extended weekend) to pay tribute to one of Aotearoa’s infamous strips. It celebrates the lived history of the area, the introduction of new ideas and themes and is forward thinking in the interactive nature it has with it’s physical surroundings, transcending generations , cultures and perspectives. And it’s fun and exciting to look at, which is always nice.

Our tour was led by Jonny a.k.a. “Jonny4Higher” who provided lots of great insight to the the backgrounds of the artists, their inspirations, techniques, motivators etc. We ventured not just on K Road but also on the surrounding roads (Upper Queen Street, Cross Street, Mercury Lane, Great North Road, Maidstone Street, Crummer Road, Ponsonby Road, Howe Street, Beresford Square and Poynton Terrace) and saw works from all of these cool cats and more!

We viewed pieces that were part of previous All Fresco’s and also saw the artists at work creating their 2014 pieces. We were able to ask them questions and pass on comments about our initial impressions which was a really neat aspect  of the tour.

Here are a few snaps of a sample of the artworks we saw on Saturday and their progress come Tuesday 6 May. (I may or may not have taken some time off work this morning to wander back past a few…)

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Benjamin Work on Cross Street
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Mica Still on Cross Street
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WERT159 on Beresford Square
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Dagar on Beresford Square
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Owen Dippie on Pitt Street
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Charles & Janine Williams on Poynton Terrace
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Misery and Tomtom on Poynton Terrace
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BMD in Myer’s Park
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Tuesday on Pitt Street
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Tuesday at Beresford Square
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Tuesday on Poynton Terrace
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Tuesday on Poynton Terrace
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Tuesday in Myer’s Park (mind the tree..)

I would encourage people to go check out the new paint/spraypaint/markers that are on various businesses exteriors. There are some pretty neat stories behind them also so feel free to hit the artists up about them.

Benjamin Work’s piece celebrates Tongan (represent!) culture and their early relationship with the K Road area, the Williams duo have a saddleback singing a song of hope and aroha, which is aptly positioned by the New Zealand Fire Service, Dagar’s “Big Bots Are Pops” is a helpful hint to those people that attempt to screw the tops off crate bottles. All interesting stories to be discovered.

Can’t wait ’til All Fresco 2015!

 

Maritime Museum – definitely worth a visit!

We had plans to head to Devonport on Saturday but the weather had other ideas. While wandering in the city we stumbled across the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum by the viaduct on Quay Street. We weren’t sure what else to do indoors so we thought we’d have a look – it’s free for Auckland residents so we had no excuse really. (Normally it’s $17 for an adult which seems steep but having been through it, you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck).

We didn’t even get inside the main museum before we made our first discovery – a knot challenge!

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Having sailed on the Spirit of NZ when I was at high school, I thought I’d have this down-packed. Although, I struggle to remember other elements of high school so I’m not sure why I thought those memories would be so heavily etched in my mind. So turns out I was wrong and I completely sucked at the challenge but it’s all about participation anyways… I did manage to (I think) master the knots in the end.

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They are the bowline, sheet bend, reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches respectively.. or so I hope.

After this excitement, we headed on into the actual museum. It is huge! I’m talking, you could easily spend a whole day in there. There was something for everyone, young and old. The museum looked at many many different aspects of maritime history including, but not limited to the following:

– Maritime traditions of Oceania: different boat designs, their materials and navigation techniques.
– Discoveries made on our shores by the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French and of course the British.
– People who migrated to Aotearoa, the conditions of their travels and their settlement stories.
– Sailing, the America’s Cup and of course Sir Peter Blake.
– NZ maritime disasters.
– Kiwi’s relationships with the sea and holidays spent there.

As I said, you could easily spend all day there. We were there for a good couple of hours and here are some of our highlights:

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This would’ve come in handy pre-America’s Cup racing… noted for next time.

 

 

Image The Father of Auckland, Sir John Logan Campbell (1817 – 1912) was born into an aristocratic family in Scotland. At age 22 he voyaged to Australia to become a farmer but soon changed his plans due to a drought there (some things will never change) and decided to come to New Zealand instead, arriving in the Coromandel in 1840. Campbell eventually settled in Auckland and started making his fortune. He set up a store in the port where he imported and exported goods for settlers, he bought a ship to transport kauri spars and gum, flax and copper to England. Later, he went on to buy farms, a mill and a brewery. Campbell is also the person to thank for Cornwall Park – one of his gifts to the city. Not a bad effort of contribution for a lifetime. In 1902, when he was knighted, he was said to be “one of the oldest and most deserving of New Zealand’s colonists”. So there we are. You just learnt something new I’m sure.

One of the novelties while we were exploring were seeing all of the menus on the various ships arriving to our shores.

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When entering the immigration section, you could tear off a ticket. This gave you an identity to research throughout your time in this section. At the end, you spun the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and discovered your fate. The kids and American tourists that were present really got into it (as did we).

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Of course I had to have a few America’s Cup snaps…

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In memory of the Orpheus disaster of February 7, 1863 where 189/259 men believed to have died.

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Good ol’ beach store and bach

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So much free fun and a perfect place to go when the weather’s not the best (or unpredictable, as it seems to be all the time as of late). There are some really beautiful views over the water from the museum so you don’t feel boxed in at all.

Visiting this museum, I really appreciated our rich history with the water. I had never really thought about it before (sorry) but the connection Kiwi’s have with the sea are so strong. We met a lady with Dutch ancestry along the way who enjoyed rediscovering her family’s journey to New Zealand – not an atypical visitor I’m sure.

We are truly lucky to be living in such an amazing country and should treasure and sustain the beauties we possess.

Our View

‘Our View’ (an exhibition of editorial illustration from Fairfax Media, in partnership with Auckland Council Libraries) is currently on display on level two at the Central City Library (Lorne St) and, turns out, doubles up as some great shelter from Mother Nature.

I had to hold back a few giggles while I read the blurbs and cartoons, and weaved my way through student Facebook users/studying-procrastinators. Needless to say, I felt quite at home.

There weren’t heaaaaaps on display but from the high calibre that was there, here are some of my favourite picks of the day.

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Bob Darroch – definitely how I feel some mornings!
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The Little Things – they sell some neat/hilarious products on their website also. I must remember this when it comes to the annual purchase of the following years calendar.
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The Little Things
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The Little Things
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Peter Bromhead – Not only a cartoonist, but a very well respected interior designer.
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Allan Hawkey who currently works for the Waikato Times
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The ubiquitous Al Nisbet

If you’re around the CBD this month, head on down to check out the artwork. It will be on display until April 30.

As I say, there aren’t that many pieces so you can definitely do it in a lunch/tea break. Confession: I actually didn’t even know there was a library there (fail!) so it was informative in more ways than one.

It’s interesting to see people’s take on issues that have occurred in recent times. I didn’t see any overly controversial stuff, which was probably intentional, but there were some that were highly entertaining.

Go check it out.

 

Nepal Day / Block Party Fusion. Why not?

IMG_1914 IMG_1918Two events caught my eye on Saturday in Tamaki Makaurau; Nepal Day and Block Party. I know they don’t really ‘go together’ but oh well.

Nepal Day was celebrated at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall.  I’m still unsure as to the significance of the date but perhaps it’s because it was close to the Nepalese New Year which is actually today (14 April). Celebrations all ’round!

I sort of assumed that it was going to be a day of colourful performances, culture and let’s not forget yummy food. In one sense I was right in assuming that, but I wish I had a heads up about the dress code. I did feel a little bit like a tourist (which didn’t help by myself and a friend hovering around the table sprawled with tourist brochures) surrounded by women and men in their national outfits. And Len Brown. And Sir Ray Avery.  Both in suits. We, on the other hand, were sporting a typical casual short/pant + t-shirt combo. Kiwi-styles. Well, we were just “keepin’ it real”…

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So, backtracking to Sir Ray Avery.. he actually has a strong connection with Nepal having designed and commissioned Intraocular Lens labs there, making such technology more affordable to Nepalese citizens. (FYI – to save you Googling ‘intraocular lenses’, they are implanted in the eye to treat cataracts and myopia).  The Fred Hollows Foundation, to which Sir Ray Avery is the Technical Director of, provides 13% of the worlds market in intraocular lenses, which he gifted. He spoke on the day, something that I regret only catching the end of especially since I’ve been telling people that he was there all I’ve heard is “Ohhhh, he’s SUCH a GREAT speaker!”. Thanks guys.

Now, the food. SO GOOD. For only $5 we got this feast

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It consisted of a chickpea salad, fried bread (always a winner in my eyes) and I’m going to say some kind of potatoey salad? I’ll have to double check that. Nevertheless, it was delicious. I’m not sure where you can buy Nepalese food in Auckland but I’m sure going to try and find out!

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So, after planning a future trip to Nepal and learning some interesting facts, we caught the train into Britomart to attend the Block Party held at the Cloud on Queen’s Wharf (after spending almost ONE HOUR to get an AT Hop card, but that’s another story…).

 

We love games and we love sunshine so the afternoon worked out quite nicely for us. There was an eclectic mix of things on show; music, large games (chess, connect4, jenga), table tennis, henna, second-hand clothes and trinket sales, drawing stations, photo set and cushions and rugs. There was also the cutest family doing some kind of impromptu photoshoot on the wharf which we loved watching also.

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We played a large game of chess for what seemed like forever and yes, I lost. Neither of us had played chess for a while so we could feel (and see) people watching our game  and judging our tactics, or lack thereof. At least we had some local music to listen to and distract onlookers with. Very convenient indeed.

At the end of the day, we naturally detoured to Orleans for some chicken waffles (you have to try them!) before heading back on the train.

It was a great day learning about Nepal and soaking up the sounds on Queen’s Wharf and revisiting the innocent ‘old-school’ game scene.

Refreshingly fabulous.

 

Going Green at the Go Green Expo

Faces were turning green with envy at all of the amazing products on display at this years Go Green Expo held over this past weekend.

Eco Store, juices, wines, Trade Aid, sodas, bikes, furniture, composting systems, laundry powder alternatives, cosmetics, public talks … and these were only some of the things on display.

I managed to snag two $5 tickets from good ol’ Grabone for myself and a friend. After catching the 007 bus there (I will forever find that bus number hil-ar-ious) on Saturday morning, we were away laughing at the ASB Showgrounds. Because neither of us own homes (yet) and LOVE food, naturally we bee-lined for the food section, and that is where we found this hugely popular stand with a beautiful (and if we’re honest, teary) ethos.

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The Organic Mechanics, or Organic MCs, had a decent crowd of people lining up for their smoothies. A line that apparently one of their blenders was oblivious to at the time… (as is life). The smoothies were served in Ecocups,  and the vibrancy the boys put into their creations were most definitely present in the taste. What did I try? The Athena – feijoas, coconut water, banana, apple, dates and coconut oil = yummo! They also have an excellent facebook page where they have a range of awe-inspiring posts. Definitely worth a “like”.

Right next door to these guys was another hugely popular stall with Daniel from COYO “heaven in a mouthful”.

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They offer both coconut milk yoghurt and coconut milk icecream alternatives with the yoghurt at the Expo to sample. I tried both the plain and the mango. I am a sucker for thick yoghurts and tend to buy different ones each time I do my weekly shop. I can tell you that this is definitely one of the thickest (and yummiest) yoghurt ranges I’ve tried. (FYI – the Puhoi Valley range would be up there, creamy wise). The real drawcard with COYO though, is that it’s 100% dairy free, gluten free, soy free and the health benefits of coconut are second-to-none. This business idea was thought up by Henry Gosling at 3am in 2009. Having grown up in Fiji and used coconut in most aspects of cooking, he had a few ideas about how to make this product work. You can find these products in most wholefood and health shops or you can use their Store Locator to do all the hard work for you. I’ll definitely be tracking down some of their coconut icecream!

Coconut seemed to be a strong theme of the day. I saw lots of different coconut oils, butters and sugars (which tastes surprisingly similar to brown sugar). The health benefits of this ‘Tree of Life’ are obviously spreading and people seem to be quite keen to incorporate these products into their cooking.

Here’s a selection of a few other things I saw (and rated). It really helped having so many testers available so I could try lots of ‘firsts’. I can now say that I have sampled fresh organic wheatgrass juice and yet, I still don’t know how I feel about it. The smell wasn’t so pleasant. The actual drinking of it was okay and the after taste was really nice and sweet almost. I’m still confused and I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it out. Perhaps that’s the point? So here goes…

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It wouldn’t be a Go Green Expo without the Eco Store – and what amazing deals they had!
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the COOLEST eco-friendly stationery
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Certified organic liqueurs
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Appreciating their amazing cardboard furniture
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New non-alcoholic soda drink from Lion Breweries (conclude how you will). My fav – #2: Pear and basil.
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Furniture made entirely from recycled tyres (and at a good price too!)
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A competition that I’m going to win, because there ARE 160 containers in there…
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Laundry balls that are better for the environment and your clothes.
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You may have seen this little guy on Campbell Live
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Disposable palm leaf plates made in India.
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Can be bought from the Kokako Organic Coffee Shop in Grey Lynn

It was really neat to see the streamlining of the Fairtrade and Organic certifications of products. Stall holders and visitors were both in high spirits sending off great vibes – I suspect from all of the energy boosting treats available and the affordable deals placed on products.

It was a great day out and I even came away with some ‘homework’ – Ecoman by Malcolm Rands. “From a garage in Northland to a pioneering global brand”. Can’t wait to get stuck in and learn more about the Eco Store’s humble beginnings!

 

 

Alberton Garden Gala

 

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On Sunday 30 March, Alberton opened it’s doors (well, it’s gate and charged half price ($5) to look around the historic house) to the public with some performances and a few stalls/activities on show and aptly called it a Gala. After hearing about this from a friend who frequently walks past it’s Mt Albert location, I decided to check it out.

It was such a beautiful summer-like day with lots of young families with dogs. My great stall-discovery of the day (because I’m allowed to name such discoveries) was that of a gentleman called Graham Lamont. Everyone, meet Graham.

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Graham: Winner of Best Stall Discovery prize

Graham is a lovely man from the Shore who sells relishes, chutneys and lemon honey. He gets his fruit and veg from the local Asian supermarkets because of their high turnover of produce and has a great spice provider over the bridge also. Graham does not frequent markets because of their ‘ridiculously strict rules’ so he was unable to tell me where we could find him. This, I have found, is even more disappointing than once anticipated as I find myself already half way through my tomato relish and it’s only been two days…

While I was strolling around I also managed to pick up a copy of “In Old Mt Albert” by Dick Scott which looks at the comprehensive history of the area. All it cost me was a gold coin donation to the Mount Albert Historical Society – great investment right there! You can also go online and read their newsletters which have interesting snippets of history. It’s so great to see that they’ve got it all electronic for people to access – on to it.

Now, while I was visiting Alberton I did manage to get inside the place and have a nosey around, after paying my admission fee of course. It was quite busy so I did get a few elbows (one of the Sunday Star Times crossword clues that day) while reading info boards and became very conscious of how slow I am at reading, especially “under pressure”. Nevertheless I enjoyed my visit and urge you to go have a look when you’re in the area next. As I do want people to see the place for themselves, I thought I’d give you a bit of a look at some of the great wallpaper prints within (c1880). They had a massive restoration of their wallpaper recently with funding from the ASB Community Trust and it looks flawless!

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While viewing the interior, I did learn a little bit of history too (how could you not…). So here’s a snippet:

Allan Kerr Taylor was born in Serinjpatam, India to two Scottish parents. Allan, his five brothers and their father traveled to NZ in 1849 where, soon after, three of his family members bought farms in Tamaki called Glen Innes, Glen Dowie and Glen Orchard whose name has disappeared over time and is now known as St. Heliers.

Allan built the ‘farmhouse’ (Alberton, and if that’s a farmhouse I want to live in one!) on his plot in Mt Albert in 1863 which was modified and extended over time. In 1872 architect Mathew Henderson designed the distinctive Indian inspired ogee domed towers, half doors and the wide veranda seen today. After Allan’s death in 1890 Sophia, his second wife, really came into her own. She was said to have been the family ‘letter writer’ (I love her already), poultry farmer, and made their ten children do housework with the older two preparing meals to help out their financial situation.

I think if Sophia were alive today, we could be friends.

The day, for me, also consisted of a few cultural performances which were vibrant and well received.

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Christine Major & the Morris Dancers
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Jazz Band
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Scotland the Brave
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A Touch of India

The best part of the day? Seeing all the young children engaged in conversations about the “olden days” and talking to their parents about the history of Alberton. Their glowing faces as they discovered new rooms and noted the different way of doing things before we had all the mod-cons of today.

So, there are some kids out there who you can still pull away from those beeping, swiping, handheld pieces of metal to learn about their local history… and some adults too! Check it out!

The view from Mt Albert on my 'scenic' route home.
The view from Mt Albert on my ‘scenic’ walk home.

 

 

 

K Rd Culinary Treats

Today myself and a friend, and a trio of lovely ladies were shown around some amazing eateries on the infamous Karangahape Road.

I came across this ‘Free K Rd Food Tour’ after ‘liking’ the K Rd Business Association’s Facebook page thanks to Facebook’s targeted marketing.. well done.

We all met up with our tour guide, a true K Rd local and well-dined individual, Daniel Davis at 2pm.

Our first stop was 518 K Rd – La Noisette where we met the owner and chef, Oscar. She was BRILLIANT! She was so passionate about her business and love of all things food-y.

Some interesting tidbits:
– She imports her chocolate direct from Belgium because they have the best chocolate (don’t know many that would disagree with her there).
– They make everything on site – even the pastry for their croissants!
– She has only been open five months, has two employees (one being her brother) and is open Mon-Sat 7.30-5.
– Being relatively new to the road, she has really been listening to her customers – They wanted her to stay open later, she now stays open ’til 5. They wanted more tables to sit at (currently there are three), she said no. Why? She believes that when you dine in, you need your own personal space. You shouldn’t feel like you have to get out quickly to make room for the next lot of customers. She believes in enjoying the whole experience when sampling her food.

This really struck a chord as these days it seems to always be about the bottom line when it comes to cafes and restaurants. It was so refreshing hearing such truths and feelings from a cafe owner.

At this stop we enjoyed a 70% texture (chocolate ganache covered in hard set chocolate and choc shavings), a deconstructed eclair and a yummy coffee.

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Our next stop was Safka, a specialty food store that primarily stocks (yummy) food from Scandinavia and Germany. Products in-store are labeled with the country of origins flag and an English description. Located at 501 K Rd, this small shop was pretty busy when we were there today! It opened it’s doors about one and a half years ago and has been continually expanding it’s range since.

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We sampled a traditional Swedish snack consisting of cumin seed crackers with codroe paste and cucumber. We washed that down with an Austrian Almdudler soft drink which was very refreshing and left with a chocolate covered plum (w liqueur) in tow which kept us going until our next stop – the Cruelty Free Shop in Kevin’s Arcade.

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Although we just popped in (they had a big order in and were unable to host us as originally anticipated), it was great to have a bit of a looksy around the store. Having such a great range of vegan products and knowing that everything there is cruelty free, I know for sure that it would certainly make shopping a lot easier for some!

We then went across the road to 150 K Rd – Ironbar who have only been there since February of this year. We were greeted by the owner, Michael and invited to sit in the very secluded and lovely courtyard at the rear of the site. We were introduced to the French chef, Clemence, and were treated to some mouthwatering morsels.

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With the most expensive main (the steak, what else?) being $20 and wines and spirits being $8, this is a super affordable breakfast/lunch/dinner spot. The ambiance is great with indoor and outdoor seating and tasteful decor. They have different events going on all the time for changing audiences e.g. jazz bands and hip hops groups performing in the same week. Again, the passion is clear here in the staff and the service and food they offer. Definitely a place I will return to, and let’s face it, probably frequent.

The final place on our tour was Verona. An establishment that has been around for some 20 years at 169 K Rd but has only had it’s current owners for two. Most of their produce is sourced from their garden in Leigh, which is also used for their ‘parent’ business, the Sawmill. I cannot even begin to explain the flavours and textures. You will just have to try it for yourselves.

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The day was a great success having left with a great appreciation of those businesses starting up in such a well established area. The pure talent and love from all of the owners was so awesome to see. A bonus of the day is that we will be receiving a recipe from each place. My friend and I have decided that we’ll have to have an ‘Appreciation Evening’ where we whip up (well, attempt to) all these goodies. I will post photos when that happens.

If the K Rd Business Assn do decide to do something similar again, I would encourage everyone to get on board. Spending time in the area and taking time out to get to know the backgrounds of the owners behind the shop fronts is priceless.

Seeing different Kiwis pursuing their dreams was definitely the winner on the day.

Thanks K Road Business Association and all of the shops and cafes we visited.

 

 

Phoenix Fe(a)st.

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Yum. So many yummy food stalls at the Phoenix Fest at Nixon Park on Saturday. The sun was out and so were all the Kingsland ‘locals’ with their Monteiths beer in hand. The entertainment was great, both on (Opensouls and Ladi6) and off stage!

The festival is back after 6 years and let me tell you, I will not make the same mistakes next year as I did this year. That’s the beauty of mistakes I guess… growth and all that.

Five commandments of attending the Phoenix Fest
As a result of mistakes made by our group, collectively (so as to not ‘point fingers’).

1. Thou shalt not ‘preload’ with food before attending. Don’t let those bakeries and dairies tempt you on your way. The $5 deli sandwiches at the event were amaaaazing.

2. Thou shalt not expect free/cheap Phoenix drinks at the event ($5!!!! Drinks bottles are a must/having a friend with a full drink bottle is a must…).

3. Thou shall be ready to see a lot of cute kids who look similar to the 2013 Australian Big Brother contestants. This allows for game play based on finding the whole ‘set’. Just not loitering around children’s playgrounds. (So many Tims and Jades!).

4. Thou shall be informed as to the band playing and not get their hopes up for one with a  similar sounding name.

5. Thou shalt not walk home barefooted on the cycleway in the late afternoon heat, unless one wants blisters all over one’s feet. And not be able to walk comfortably/properly for a considerable amount of time after. And has a friend/friends willing to take up this post.

Spoiler: If one does walk on the cycleway, one must trample multiple times on the disgusting graffiti work of some dick (see below)

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Now we have this on record there are no excuses next year, right guys?

Also, who wants to invest in some paint to go over that ^!?