Sep 3, 2021 Metro Eats
Kia ora koutou,
It’s been a while, huh? Sorry for missing the last two Friday newsletters (tbh they would have been extremely sad, anyway, as it was mostly spent finishing the issue during lockdown and, in my case, stress-playing Mario Kart). But I hope the fact that our new issue is finally out makes up for it. And it’s the big one: Restaurant of the Year.
The timing of this lockdown meant that we weren’t able to throw the party we wanted, in order to celebrate the winners. It was definitely a bummer for everyone involved — it did, as you imagine, include a fair bit of planning — but, you know, that’s just the way it goes. I’m feeling for our Estrella Damm Supreme Award Winner, Cazador, who took out the top prize this year after being runner-up twice, in 2017 and 2019, but wasn’t able to be with their team on the night. Hopefully they/we can all get together soon!
Cazador really, truly, thoroughly deserves the award. When we had dinner there for the judging process, about a month ago now, it was the type of meal where every single component just made sense together; the people, the atmosphere, the food. It was so comforting to be completely at ease and just get to sit there and have this incredibly thought-out, seemingly effortless experience happen to me. Plus, it’s just so singular. The fit-out and decor wouldn’t work anywhere but Cazador. The drinks list, the same. And the food… ditto. Congrats to co-owners Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt, plus their team. We love your work!
You can read about all the winners and our Top 50 in the latest issue, which you can buy here (including a digital version, if getting to the supermarket or dairy is not an option for you right now).
This issue also includes mine and Kirsty Fong’s investigation into Pasture, a fine dining restaurant which Metro awarded Supreme Winner in 2019. Former employees talked to us about underpayment and working in a toxic environment. All I can say is that I hope you read it, and that this feature allows for more transparent, critical discussion about normalised industry practices and how it affects our hospitality workers — the people that make it all happen. There’s also an interesting read that Grub Street released recently which works alongside this, about how food media has warped our view of what we expect from restaurant culture.
Nothing. Stay at home.
I have been on a bit of an ordering spree the last week or so, and can personally recommend these to-your-door deliveries:
Central city cafe Luna does great croissants and are offering contactless delivery on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’d recommend its almond and matcha croissants; Luna also makes very good cookies. Delivery was also $7 all the way to Browns Bay, which is a whole $6.80 less than Daily Bread.
If you’re down my way, award-winning Euro Patisserie (its Steak and Cheese literally won the Supreme Award at this year’s Supreme Pie Awards) are offering pies and sweet things (think a good old-fashioned caramel slice), with free delivery in the area.
My favourite doughnut place in Auckland Grownup Donuts is doing delivery, but they sell out quickly so you have to get in early to claim your spot. I got some today and it was a much-welcome treat.
I also finally tried the Hands Down corn tortillas which I really rate — better than Tio Pablo imo. You can get them in Auckland at Naturally Organic in Albany. Making all the many elements from scratch required for tacos is also a lengthy and time-killing process, perfect for lockdown.
I’ve also got my eye on this shawarma meal kit from Kohkoz (I’ve admittedly grown extremely tired of cooking, as I’m sure all of us have).
Plus: Coffee roasters Kōkako are helping to support its cafes and restaurants across the country by offering a recipe book called Hospo at Home, of which 10% of the profits will go to Everybody Eats and the other 90% evenly split with all the contributors. The e-book is pay-as-you-can, starting at $10.
And I put together this guide last Level 4 Lockdown on where to shop for groceries that isn’t the supermarket; it is, surprisingly, mostly evergreen.
As for cooking recommendations, you’re probably already being bombarded with a million other newsletters, publications and online media listing their favourite cookbooks or whatever, so I’ll just say this: I mostly exist off The Woks of Life recipes, so there’s that.
Last thing from me:
This isn’t food related, but I urge you to write in a submission to end conversion therapy in Aotearoa. If you’ve seen the Instagram infographics on your friends’ stories and thought, “Oh, I should do that,” and forgot, here’s your sign to do it right now. There are super clear instructions, plus templates if you need it (though it’s a good idea to include some words of your own, to avoid any copy-and-paste submissions being counted as one).