Auckland has been having one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. What better way to spend such a day than by taking a ferry across to Waiheke Island and exploring the vineyards followed by a swim in the sea? My Mum & I enjoyed a Friday doing just that and we couldn't have chosen a more friendly vineyard to visit. Casita Miro is situated in Onetangi, on the top of a hill, and specialises in Spanish cuisine, as well as that of the wider Mediterranean Rim. The menu includes tapas (snack plates) and raciones (shared plates), as well as a 'Fiesta' set menu for groups of 10 or more.
The Clevedon Village Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 8.30am - 1pm. My Mum and I, along with my best friend, enjoyed a recent morning there and stuffed ourselves silly. Seriously, there is so much food you are going to want to try, you should really go with an empty stomach.
I have fond memories of the first time I discovered the Cathedral Cove Naturals brand. I was on a road trip with my best friend and we stopped in Hahei for the day. I saw that there was a macadamia orchard there, so of course we stopped and met with the founder, Hamish Pilkington, who was only too kind to give us a sample of each of his products. Along with the macadamias, I took home a bag of the Lightly Toasted Organic Muesli, and fell in love with the flavour and the simple, natural ingredients.
That trip was some years ago now, and since then I've lived mostly in New York City. I returned back to Auckland this August and on a supermarket trip I saw a jar of Cathedral Cove Naturals Coconut Yoghurt on the shelf. Of course I had to try it! It was the Raspberry Chia Coconut Yoghurt and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. Super creamy, with the tang of the raspberries, and a distinct coconut flavour, this yogurt was divine just by itself.
Last week I was fortunate to get to preview the offerings at Tramezzini's first brick and mortar location on the Lower East Side. Tramezzini began their business as a vendor at the weekend food fair 'Smorgasburg' in Williamsburg and Prospect Park and was founded by brothers Filippo and Massimiliano Paccagnella, and their friend Davide Pedon, all hailing from Venice, Italy. For those of us not yet in the know, a tramezzino is an Italian sandwich made with soft, white bread with the crusts removed.
The month of May is Cheesecake Month at Breads Bakery. And the star of the show (for me anyway) is the Cheesecake Babka ($14.95). For May only, you can also get your hands on a lemon ricotta cheesecake and a pomegranate cheesecake in a jar. The classic New York cheesecake is available all year round. To say this Cheesecake Babka is amazing, is an understatement. This is without a doubt, one of the best things I have ever eaten in my whole life. Our office has a tradition of getting something sweet for everyone to enjoy on Fridays. So this particular Friday, we decided to get the Cheesecake Babka. I couldn't shut up about how good it was, and the others couldn't stop marveling at how exactly they do it. How does Breads Bakery make something so damn perfect, that it's the stuff of dreams?
It had been on my list for a while to try the 'Special Swirl' soft serve at Cha Cha Matcha. Every month they introduce a special flavor that is swirled with their matcha soft serve. This month's flavor is vegan Tangerine Dream. Located on Broome Street in Nolita, the cafe showcases the flavor of authentic Japanese Ceremonial matcha.
Cha Cha Matcha was founded by recent New York University graduates Matthew Morton and Conrad Sandelman. The two met while studying business management and hospitality and both had a fondness for matcha. Morton is the son of Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton. They wanted to see if a matcha bar would be viable in New York so they traveled to Japan to visit small, independent tea farms and decided to partner with one in Uji, outside Kyoto. The goal was to create a matcha blend that was smooth, with more caffeine (to appeal to New Yorkers) and less bitterness. Since opening in April 2016, Cha Cha Matcha has enjoyed great success, with long lines extending out the door every weekend.