Cafe's and great Food all over New Zealand

You may well be visiting New Zealand - plenty do! and need to know while wandering the highways, low ways and dirt roads, where to stop for coffee. You're in the right place! There are wonderful little secret spots all over the place, some where you'd expect and others where you'd think nothing could survive.

Our family has visited and holidayed there and Ohope for many years.

Went to The Wharf Shed Restaurant at the Whakatane right on waterside lovely floor…Harry thought recycled boards very rich and deep red colour. Atmosphere -a little dark for lunchtime in my opinion. ...but hey my opinion does not count for the atmosphere, right, only the food. Only one 4 -seater table at the view - shame! Gran and I had tarakihi crumbed with herbs and chips - chips gorgeous, fish tasted a little stale to me. Salad limp and nothing special. How hard is a salad?! I had asked if the fish was ’off the wharf’ and of course the answer was ‘yes’. Mum rolled her eyes. Harry had tarakihi on  lovely rice thingy. You know, when it is mushy and not a rice pudding it has a special name ... risotto? He enjoyed it. Mum always likes it here and is particular, she wasn’t all that impressed today but has had better at other times. She did like the beer which she thought was ‘grown’ there in Whakatane? 5 out of 10
Daughter number 1 lives in Wellywood. Found an awesome Yum Cha there - big reputation, mile-long queues. Slightly organised mania, ambience of, well, an ambulance. Take a note from the (blurry) pic of the bookings register....if you want to go there, make sure you book.
Grand Century in Tory Street

Two things we learned - do not start without Laura, and Stew can lick the plum sauce off his nose.

Ancestral has just opened next to Kaffe Eiss in Courtenay Place, with a tongue-wagging decor budget and rumour has it, its good.

Given that we had only 48 hours there, we did pretty well for food and drink. Sunday night found us in Humingbird on Courtenay Place for a light snack. Favourite favourite snack has to be antipasto, and we were spoilt here. $40 for this bulging board

which we made quite short work of
earning congratulations from the staff. Intriguing was the waitress with the very pretty skin and the not-so-pretty nose piercings who glided rather than walked. We're still practising...
My old home town -
In Rotorua you must try Indigo, Hinemoa Street - two away from 'The Wall' for climbers and the art house cinema 'The Basement'.
At the lakefront end of town is Lime cafe.
On the day we went, the service was a bit questionable - we wanted to order a Caesar Salad and although it was 10.40am we were told that was on the lunch menu. However the lunch menu came into play at 11am. We agreed that if they were taking 20 minutes to deliver, we would be able to have it! Solved... just took a bit more brain power than the assistant had that day. And she wasn't even blonde.

Just 30 minutes from Rotorua you'll find the small town of Tirau (once known as Oxford). Drop in there on the way to Hamilton or Auckland and if you have time to shop you'll find all manner of ways to spend money.
There's a foodie shop now, supposedly very good - owned by a rower’s mum and dad, Julia’s boyfriend … Healey’s parents. They have a farm on the kaimais and that great shop called the Merchant of Tirau. Go there! Go now!

Whenever entering or leaving Whakatane, be sure to stop at Julian's Berry Farm. They have the entire Berry experience sorted! Berry icecreams... nyum! Fresh berries, picked or pick-your-own.

Venture north - keep going - and a little further ... nearly there - and way north of Auckland on the east coast you'll see signs for mangonui. Go there! Wait until you see this wonderful fish and chip shop over hanging the water, and  step inside to look at the beautifully full, clean well-stocked cabinets - smoked fish of all kinds, salads, sauces, platters... We settled easily for fish and chips with battered oysters and scallops - and took our wine and beers to the great communal tables near the water.

my crazy photographer art-appreciative sister was up and where else would one take her but Dizengoff on Ponsonby Rd.

You will not find anything like the Jewish plate anywhere else in Auckland.
Afterwards we went to view the Wallace art collection at its new home in Mt Roskill. The cafe there was busy but had a bit of sock-pulling-up to do... so won't recommend that just yet
this sounds wonderful - wish there was something near me like this... very useful! Cooking classes for $15 every Thursday evening in Kingsland by the Shoestring Chef - email them to learn more. It's held at Crave cafe. Crave is fantastic, a real oasis in amongst industrial buildings in Kingsland, behind the main shops. I want their lights! And their large White's Aviation photo of Auckland!

After a mini-break involving the Ellerslie Novotel, my husband and I toddled off to Newmarket for breakfast. I love Newmarket - my favourite shops are there, and it has a lovely slow pace and friendly-ish Aucklanders (is that an oxymoron?). We decided upon Zarbo - a place I've been to many times over the past 14 years since they opened.
As a Rotorua resident I can remember being amazed at the sophistication of the place back a while - but then  I was rather sheltered.
No matter - it's a great place to visit now too, and it seems every time I go in there are changes that keep it conversant with current trends ... or even ahead. I liken it to Farro Fresh and Nosh. But it's more of a 'people' place than  those, with its friendly ambience and spaces made for conversation. Family friendly....
At 10am the cabinets were full to the brim, sparkling and colourful.
beautiful colours, appetising combinations - I love beetroot and the colour of the beetroot and plum salad was simply divine.
glorious eye appeal in the hash cakes
the absolute best advertisement is when you simply can't choose.... what a great way to show the huge demand they must have - I'm betting that there's not much left after the lunch crowd.
..........and then I spotted the breads and bakery!
Fresh bread being formed and baked in front of you... entertainment and sensory stimulation rolled into one
This is smallish compared to other European-style delis, but it's also much more homely and personal. Like visiting a favourite Aunt in a familiar place....
Zarbo make and bottle many of their own products.
The range is extensive
and you can buy a copy of the cook book

South Island
My women's rowing quad and husbands hit the road for Twizel in June, where we rowed in the South Island Masters competition.

Now I don't believe everyone will find their way to this spot not an hour south of Christchurch... but we were thankful we did. A proprietor who could manage us (she took the photo),
home made preserves inside the door along with shoes for sale (!?)

and friendly locals to complement the wood fire.
Along the way in Geraldine we came upon a fab little cafe by the name of Verde. You too can find it : The Verde' Cafe Deli, 45C Talbot Street, Geraldine.
Here's us on the deck in the sun on a beautiful wintry day in June 2010. Inside, the cabinet was a glory to behold! I do love it when it's sooo hard to choose.

I remember hearing  recently of a little pop-up coffee stand on a remote road that's part of the Otago Rail Trail. Apparently there's a station manager's wife who drives down to the gate with a trailer and sets up the coffee machine and gelato stand for the day. The ultimate in Kiwi ingenuity!

If you haven't heard of the Rail Trail then you need to anyway, so go to the website and see if you might have time. It's a fantastic cycleway in Otago South Island and we all have people we know who rave about it. It's still on my to-do list...