A Smorgasbord of Stalls

Parking in Auckland’s CBD can be touch and go, especially when time is tight.  Taking public transport, when the City Farmers' Market – Britomart is only open until 12:30pm was way too risky.  Delighted to discover $2 in the parking meter goes a whole lot further on a Saturday morning. And even better, a parking spot just around the corner.

Heartmarks in Takutai Square

Heartmarks in Takutai Square

In a grassy square, surrounded by high rise office buildings every Saturday morning you’ll find a smorgasbord of stalls.  From fresh produce: artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery, Blue Frog Breakfast muesli, fresh honey, Clevedon Herbs & Produce, flowers and eggs to meat from The Butcher Provenance and fabulous tea from Storm and India too.

Artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery

Artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery

Blue Frog Muesli - nice to try before you buy

Blue Frog Muesli - nice to try before you buy

Grabbed some herb seedlings from Clevedon herbs and produce

Grabbed some herb seedlings from Clevedon herbs and produce

Morning detox teas being delivered to the Lululemon store

Morning detox teas being delivered to the Lululemon store

The location and the blend of inner city dwellers and tourists see a lot more ‘ready to eat’ food than at a traditional farmers’ market.  And more international flavours from French crepes to Argentinean empanadas, Hungarian bread puffs and Latin American arepas too.  But let’s not forget old fashioned Kiwi mussel fritters, local juices and Aotea organic coffee too.

Arepas from Latin American

Arepas from Latin American

Hungarian bread puffs topped with feta and tomatoes

Hungarian bread puffs topped with feta and tomatoes

The Kiwi mussel fritter sandwich

The Kiwi mussel fritter sandwich

Grab a coffee or a bite to eat and make the most of sitting on the grass in Takutai Square listening to the resident Britomart DJ – it’s quite a contrast to week day mornings, with city workers and shoppers rushing from one place to the next.

Aotea organic coffee

Aotea organic coffee

City Farmers' Market – Britomart - Saturdays: 8am – 12:30pm, Takutai Square, 44 Galway Street, Auckland

Time to get those herb plants into pots.

Michelle

Auckland Made: Lovenotes and Waiheke Honey

Saturday afternoon was my second Auckland Made event hosted by Yelp Auckland – an awesome opportunity to hear more about Lovenotes – a sustainable stationery business, meet Richard from organic honey company, Waiheke Honey Company and indulge in an afternoon tea feast at Scarecrow on High Street.

Scarecrow on High Street's temporary location

Scarecrow on High Street's temporary location

Scarecrow on High Street’s temporary relocation with its open kitchen, florist and grocer shop layout works a treat. Ben, the head chef’s philosophy is to eat with the seasons and use local produce where possible. With a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence our afternoon tea tantalised the tastebuds and included: pilchard with sweet onions, beetroot and blue cheese, kawhai ceviche and pumpkin balls with romesco sauce, accompanied by Forage and Bloom teas.

Pilchard on sweet onions

Pilchard on sweet onions

Beetroot and blue cheese toasts

Beetroot and blue cheese toasts

Amanda from Lovenotes shared the delightful story of Lovenotes sustainable stationery – turning office waste into beautiful stationery and seed cards before we had the opportunity to make handmade seed paper ourselves.  Given the drying time is 6 hours, Lovenotes provided basil or wildflower impregnated cards for us to letterpress the old-fashioned way with a special Auckland Made design. Fingers crossed the card I brought home grows into edible basil – apparently it loves water so vigilance is required.

Amanda from Lovenotes

Amanda from Lovenotes

Trying my hand at seed card making

Trying my hand at seed card making

Lovenotes basil impregnated seed card

Lovenotes basil impregnated seed card

Richard has been producing organic honey from his hives on Waiheke Island since 2007. The honey is as natural as you will ever get: raw, unpasterised, unfiltered, unblended and extracted from a single hive. With all natural controls there is a 5-10% loss of hives per annum and with each hive requiring 20-40 hours manpower per year between August to March, having time off over summer is a rarity. In addition to honey, Waiheke Honey Company makes lip balms and candles too.

Waiheke organic honey

Waiheke organic honey

If you’re interested in coming along to the next Auckland Made event then sign up to Yelp Auckland so you don’t miss out when tickets are made available – places are limited with events often oversubscribed.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet the business owners face-to-face and hear their stories.

Enjoying afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea

For more on an earlier Auckland Made event – Bonnie Goods at The Cheese Room click here Oatcakes, Wine and Cheese

Enjoy your week.

Michelle

 

Ten Things to do along Tamaki Drive

Living so close to Auckland’s Tamaki Drive you’re spoilt for choice of things to see and do – the obvious pull of the beach, wide boardwalks to walk, run and cycle along, with plenty of cafes to satisfy that hunger or quench that thirst. 

So here are The Foodie Inc’s ten other things to do along Tamaki Drive, from one end to the other:

1. Swim at Parnell Baths, open Labour Weekend until Easter every year. So they're currently closed but can't help thinking about summer!

Roll on Labour weekend when the Parnell Baths open again

Roll on Labour weekend when the Parnell Baths open again

2. Mini golf at Lilliputt Mini Golf

3. Hire a bike, kayak or SUP from Fergs Kayaks at Okahu Bay

4. Let the kids enjoy Okahu Bay’s playground

Okahu Bay Playground

Okahu Bay Playground

5. Swim with the sharks at Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium

6. Tackle the steep stairs from Mission Bay and enjoy the view from Bastion Point

7. Watch the landmark Trevor Davis Memorial Fountain, Mission Bay

The fountain plays several times at day and lights up at night

The fountain plays several times at day and lights up at night

8. Coffee at my local coffee place – Tana Mera, Mission Bay

9. Eat award winning gelato at The Store, Kohimarma

Award winning gelato from The Store

Award winning gelato from The Store

10. Fish & chips on one of the many beaches

If you make it as far as the boardwalk at St Heliers take the 800 metre walk up Cliff Road to Achilles Point, the view is spectacular.

 Happy Wednesday!

Michelle

Long weekend lunches

With all this hot weather, and I’m definitely not complaining, Aucklanders will head to the beaches in droves again today - most in search of a swim, a picnic and at some point, a shady spot to escape that sun.  But if you’re looking for a more relaxing way to spend your Anniversary Day or any summer Sunday come to think of it, why not jump on the North Western Motorway and head for Riverhead. 

The sign says it all - NZ's oldest riverside tavern

The sign says it all - NZ's oldest riverside tavern

Nestled on the banks of the upper Waitemata Harbour you’ll find NZ’s oldest riverside tavern - The Riverhead.  Fabulous decks and grassy lawns look out over the Riverhead inlet which provides a real challenge for boaties, with boats only able to navigate to The Riverhead’s jetty two hours either side of high tide.  As you can see from the photo below, it was low tide the day we had lunch on their deck.

Overlooking Riverhead inlet at low tide

Overlooking Riverhead inlet at low tide

Funnily enough when I mentioned to my Dad that we’d been to the Riverhead pub for lunch, his first question was “how many bikies were there?” None it happens that day but when my parents called in for lunch the following week, having been at the Huapai Golf Club down the road, there were a large number of gleaming motorbikes parked outside.  Things have changed dramatically from the early 90s when Dad was in the beer industry and The Riverhead Tavern attracted a somewhat different bikie crowd!

Enjoying lunch on The Riverhead's decks overlooking the inlet

Enjoying lunch on The Riverhead's decks overlooking the inlet

The Riverhead is now a Gastropub with a very extensive menu which will keep everyone happy, from salads, steaks, pasta, fish and chips to pizza and a kids menu too.  Open 7 days for lunch and dinner with brunch available from 10am on weekends, its only 20 minutes from Auckland’s CBD.  It was extremely busy on the Sunday we went so recommend you make a booking on 09 412 8902.  And if you love live music, Sunday afternoons (and some public holidays too) is the time to go and kick back on the grassy lawns - check out the website for details.  The Riverhead

The Riverhead's haloumi pear and rocket salad

The Riverhead's haloumi pear and rocket salad

And don’t forget to stop in at Boric Food Market on your way home to pick up some local produce for the week ahead or grab a coffee and enjoy sitting on their shady deck, before you get back on the road. Boric Food Market

Enjoy your long weekend no matter what you decide to do - I might just head for the local beach, it’s only a short walk away!

Michelle

For The Love of Tennis

“For the love of tennis”, the ASB Classic’s advertising tagline beautifully encapsulates why people, many who have little interest in tennis throughout the rest of the year, join the crowd at the ASB Classic and Heineken Open tournaments held in Auckland during January.  After all, New Zealand is on holiday, so why not!

Having experienced tennis tournaments: from a corporate box to the concrete steps of the Yock Stand at Stanley Street (it’s a long day for those who forget to bring a cushion); to three of the Grand Slams many times (yet to make it to US Open), I love the intimacy and atmosphere of the tennis in Auckland – there’s nowhere else in the world where you sit so close to the action. With Arthur Ashe’s centre court capacity a little over 23K, and Wimbledon, Rod Laver Arena and Roland Garros all holding 15K people, centre court at the ASB Tennis Centre swells to 3200 with all that extra seating, so it’s a very intimate affair.

Courtside at ASB Classic - January 2015

Courtside at ASB Classic - January 2015

The crowd’s very relaxed and all sorts of people go along.  Some are simply there to soak up the atmosphere, have a few cold beverages, catch some sun and brag to others when back at work.  For many, including young kids, it’s their first experience of live tennis.  And then there are the diehard tennis fans that have been going for years.  Of course there’s always a few with absolutely no clue whatsoever about tennis crowd etiquette, gently chided by the team of volunteers for getting out of their seats at the wrong time – crowd watching can be lots of fun too.

It must be tough on the players being so close too - it’s no wonder they don’t smile much during a match. Trying to concentrate with the crowd's noisy cheering, chanting and clapping, they would be so aware of the gasps, murmurs, and even the odd coaching tips - sometimes mid-rally, coming from the crowd. 

Venus Williams, centre court with Yock Stand in background

Venus Williams, centre court with Yock Stand in background

New Zealand’s ability to attract top-ranked players is incredible, with the hard work behind the scenes paying off, providing a fantastic summer spectacle.  With 8 days left of fantastic international tennis in Auckland; ASB Classic finals are Saturday and the Heineken Open men’s tournament starting Monday 12 January, don’t miss the opportunity to see international tennis stars up close and personal.  And while some sessions are already sold out, it’s not too late to grab some tickets,

Happy tennis...

Michelle

On Holiday in Auckland

I love staying at home over Christmas and New Year.  While the neighbourhood is often eerily quiet, I love the leisurely pace of long summer days and the simple pleasure of making spontaneous decisions on how to spend time.  Here are a few suggestions for things to do in and around Auckland over the holidays:

BBQs, Picnics and Parks

Get your friends together for an impromptu BBQ.  While our Boxing Day BBQ has become a regular event, with three of us friends since we started primary school, there’s no real plan, it just evolves on the day.  And because everyone brings something to share, something to BBQ and whatever they fancy to drink, it's a very relaxed affair. 

Pack a picnic - with so many fabulous picnic spots you’re spoilt for choice, from the inner city beaches of Mission Bay, Kohimarama, Takapuna and Point Chevalier, to making a day of it and packing up the car and heading to Maraetai, Long Bay or Omaha.  Or what about boogie boarding or surfing at Piha, Muriwai or Tawharanui.  Don't forget your water bottle, sunblock and hat.  And please swim between the flags if the beach is patrolled. Auckland Regional Parks

Enjoying Omaha Beach

Enjoying Omaha Beach

Walk one of Auckland's 48 volcanic cones for magnificent views of the city including: One Tree Hill, Mt Eden and Mangere Mountain.  Or head out West to the Waitakeres – there are fantastic short walks from Arataki Visitor Centre with its panoramic views of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours.

What about checking out the summer music programme at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Manurewa or take a drive to Snells Beach, near Matakana and enjoy the 2km walk through Brick Bay Sculpture Park with its contemporary sculptures by New Zealand artists, all for sale.  Finish with a well-deserved lunch in the stunning glass pavilion cafe of Brick Bay Wines.  Or if you can wait until 23 January Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke is on again - only 35 minutes ferry ride from Auckland CBD, it is definitely worth the trip.

Brick Bay Sculpture Park - image 2010 (Jeff Thomson work is sold).  Check Brick Bay Sculpture Park link for current artists

Brick Bay Sculpture Park - image 2010 (Jeff Thomson work is sold).  Check Brick Bay Sculpture Park link for current artists

Auckland's Festival of Tennis

Get up close with the fabulous line-up of international tennis players at the 2015 ASB Classic and Heineken Open, between 5 and 17 January.  This year’s festival of tennis also promises food, fashion, music and more. For more information or to book your tickets go to Festival of Tennis.

View from Yock Stand, Heineken Tennis Mens Final 2014

View from Yock Stand, Heineken Tennis Mens Final 2014

Fun Family Day Out

Parnell Baths has the largest salt water pool in New Zealand. With a huge grassy area and large shady umbrellas perfect for a picnic, it's a fun and affordable family day out. On a hot summer’s day, when the carpark is jam-packed, leave your car on the waterfront and walk across the bridge. Children under 16 are free, 16 and over $6.30 and non-swimmers $1. (Note: closed Christmas Day)

Parnell Baths December 2014

Parnell Baths December 2014

Wet Weather?

And if it’s a wet day, there's always the Auckland Museum or Auckland Art Gallery (both open every day except Christmas Day).  Catch up on the latest movies, with many new ones released on Boxing Day. Or enjoy coffee in your local neighbourhood cafe - something I'm doing right now as I write this post. You never know who you might bump into – people are so much friendlier when they are on holiday.

Feeling Lazy, then Relax!

One of my favourite things to do, once the Christmas rush is over, is to relax on a lounger in the garden with a pile of magazines or that book I've been meaning to read all year.  And if the neighbour starts up their lawnmower, just turn the music up a little louder!

Happy Holidays!

Michelle