Oct 22, 2021 Metro Eats
Yesterday I went on a picnic with a friend and ate from Cotto , the yellow sheets of pasta slip-sliding and sticking together as it slowly got cold, trapped in plastic. It tasted good, but the situation felt weird. All corners of our conversation swerved immediately to the pandemic, and in it I recognised my own boringness, the result of doing, you know, nothing much. But I’m also sure that stagnation is hitting everyone in some sorta way, and amidst all the unproductive angsting, there’s that eventual conclusion that life goes on, yada-yada-yada. And it is going on. In fact, this week’s newsletter is just a series of stuff that’s going on. Enjoy!
The Auckland Diwali Festival has moved its celebrations online, with live cooking and dancing classes, recipes and craft activities available on the website. The vegetarian recipes are provided by Dolly Mumma, Banu’s, Mithai and Anju’s Kitchen. Both Banu’s and Dolly Mumma sell curry pastes and other Indian cooking essentials for at-home meals; I would whole-heartedly recommend going to them before buying the stuff at the supermarket, which sometimes can have little flavour pay-off.
Carmel – Israeli Street Food (known for its food truck) has opened its first brick-and-mortar on France St in Eden Terrace (where Baby used to be) serving pitas, Rugelach (with one that has ube!), babka and more.
Both Burger Geek and Miann have new branches in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby respectively. I live a couple minutes’ walk from the old Burger Geek in Eden Terrace and have a soft spot for its sharply priced smashburgs, which run at $11.90 for double patties.
Casa de H-Town dropped off some tortilla chips and pico de gallo (#gifted, thank you!) and the tortilla chips are *chef’s kiss. Extremely addictive. I was also a fan of the pico de gallo, especially the Fire variety, which I probably would have amped up even more — but as it was, the extra kick really amplified the brightness.
I finally got around to trying out the new Green Door pizza, which was just generally very tasty; the base was texturally great (crispy and crunchy). I had the margherita, which is served with some aioli for dipping into.
I was also fortunate enough to be sent some of Homeland ’s new product range and have so far tried the shortbread (good) and Peter’s Sweet Chilli Sambal, which I couldn’t resist, since I both love sambal and absolutely despise sweet chilli. Luckily, the sweet chilli feels more like a suggestion, saved from its usual too-sweetness with all the other aromatic herbs, lemongrass, galangal and chilli. I ate it with some pan-seared fish.
A new cafe, Knead on Benson, looks like it’s opening in Remuera soon.
Inner-city restaurant Hugo’s have started their at-home service, for collection between Friday – Sunday. The menu looks to change every week, but this week’s flatbread meal kit for two is $40, which seems supremely good value.
Bar Céleste are offering a special picnic pack for Labour Weekend; certainly a treat meal at $170 for four people (or six if you’re grazing!). The pack includes a heap of seafood, bubbles, and a very cute tote bag.
The falafel (which I had in a pita) and baklava at Williams Eatery is seriously good. That first bite of the baklava, while sitting in the car looking straight at a superyacht docked in the marina (cruel, cruel world) felt like everything to me in that moment.
If, like me, you were following the Elizabeth Haigh cookbook scandal, I would recommend reading this Eater article by James Hansen, which expands on some really interesting insights into the weaponization of cultural identity, and the role it plays in serving as capital in the world of cookbooks. The whole saga has made me think a lot about how drawn we are to the “authenticity” narrative in creating a sense of authority over a certain cuisine: sprinkle some anecdotes about your grandmother here, labour over a memory you had as a child there. I myself technically grew up in a “Nyonya kitchen”, but I have no real claim to being an expert on the culture because of it.
“This is another indication of how memories and stories attached to recipes have become the currency of representation in the cookbook world; another consequence of lived experience being seen as the ultimate form of credibility.”
While we ramp up production on the next issue of Metro, the first one that is likely to be made entirely during lockdown, I am once again asking you please consider subscribing if you have the means and will to do so. It’s a weird time, we keep saying (and is, indeed, the second time I’ve said that in this newsletter alone), but I’d love to keep doing what we do and more subscribers will help us do that.