Apr 14, 2022 Metro Eats
Kia ora koutou,
A few years ago, Joe Nunweek wrote this story for Metro’s website about the existential emptiness of cooking from meal kits. It received a wave of backlash – and by wave, I mean mostly this one Twitter thread about how single people without kids are not the target demographic of these kits, and that the piece was smug and callous and annoying. Unfortunately, after a week or so of cooking from a food kit myself, I have found myself reacting in a similarly smug and callous and annoying way. For me, it had leached all the joy that comes with home cooking: thinking about what you feel like eating, then forming a plan to make what you feel like eating happen, then cooking the thing you feel like eating and then, finally, getting to eat the thing you feel like eating. The best!
With meal kits, that process is replaced instead by a) thinking about what you feel like eating and then b) eating something you don’t feel like eating. It became obvious to me two nights in that it was yawningly unfulfilling and made me feel sad. However, I bought the kit thinking the total opposite: that it would invigorate my patterned eating, force me to consume things I wouldn’t normally do otherwise, and release me from the “shackles” of devising what to eat that night. I think, more than anything, I had greatly underestimated how important food, even weekday meals at home, had an impact on my mood and perception of personal autonomy. Which is extremely dumb of me, considering what I write about.
Flatting, and only having to cook for yourself, is of course a very different situation than having to cook for a family, which is perhaps the nuance the original piece was missing. These meal kits will work for people in different situations to me – and what is smug, callous and annoying is judging people in those positions. However, if you wanted to try a meal kit for reasons that I did – thinking it would magically reframe your taste prejudices and add new meals into your rotation – then I think you would be disappointed. The meals, pretty much designed to cater to as many people as possible, are bland and boring as a result, and I, funnily, eschewed one night for eating rice and tofu (I mean, homemade tofu, but still).
Have a good break,
We’ve just put our Metro Eats for under $25 up online, which is essentially a reimagining of the Top 50 Cheap Eats. I got rid of the Cheap, but am happily still celebrating these places’ deliciousness. It acts as a great guide to all the best places to eat in Auckland, plus branches out into: the best fish and chips, best fried rice, best chilli oil and best pizzas for under $25. Lots of places to try, lots of places to potentially get mad at us for either including or not including. A thanks to my judges, Sam Low, Anna King Shahab and Ruby White, who judged mostly during lockdown and therefore mostly through takeaways.
Beau is firing up the Green Egg (one of my friends has the Green Egg and it looks so damn cool) for a street side BBQ on this Saturday, 12pm-4pm.
Pici is doing a pop up at Acho’s on May 1st from 6pm-late. Looks like there will be some lamb on the menu? DM them to book.
Plus: Metro x Cloudy Bay Wonderscape
If you’re looking for the ultimate treat-yourself experience, we’d recommend heading along to Cloudy Bay’s new event Wonderscape, which aims to celebrate the very best of Aotearoa’s natural wonder with food, wine and sound. This one-off event will take place on April 30, with only 30 tickets on offer. Luxury is imbued in every part of the day: from the trip to Waiheke on superyacht Rua Moana, to the beautiful setting for lunch at Mawhiti, to the food curated by Hercules Noble and, of course, plenty of Cloudy Bay wine. To find out more about the event, you can read our full story about it here. You can also head straight to cloudybaycurated.co.nz to purchase your tickets and find out more about some of the Wonderscape at Home options also on offer.
Otis Gardner Schapiro’s ( Lilian ) new cool sports bar Schapiro’s has just opened at 224 Symonds St. It’s in a very good-looking heritage building, with a fit-out by the guys at Millé. It’s a framed jerseys vibe, but with appropriately fancy tiled floors and wooden joinery.
A spacious new bar/pub, The Bridgman, has just opened on Dominion Rd at 234, right on the corner. You can’t miss it – the exterior has been painted a light seafoam blue, and if you peer inside from the street you can spot the generously stocked bar and arched mirrors.
Auckland favourite Eden Noodles is opening a new branch in Newmarket soon, near 424 Khyber Pass Rd underneath Red Fire BBQ.
There’s a new cafe opening soon, The EOS Coffee, on the 19 April, down in the CBD by Queens Arcade. It’s being opened by Hoony Chae from Mojo, who I wrote about here after seeing him compete at a Latte Art Throwdown.
A new branch of Good Dog Bad Dog has opened in Onehunga, right next to Slabs Pizza.
There’s a new fried chicken place, Birdy Bytes, at 60 Ti Rakau Drive in Pakuranga, which boasts a slightly odd tagline of being the “taste of Neo-Auckland”, whatever that means.
It’s been a hot minute since my last newsletter, and since then I went for my birthday dinner at Ahi . It had an old school, corporate vibe that makes sense in the context (Friday night, its location in downtown CBD), with a surprisingly loud soundtrack in the background. The best part of the meal was the snacks (isn’t it always?), especially the extremely yum wallaby tartare – I wasn’t completely sold on the scampi corndog, since the batter overwhelmed the taste of the delicate scampi, which is one of my favourite types of seafood. The presentation and dining room was beautiful of course.
I went to the new It’s Java location on Karangahape Rd, which recently moved there from Grey Lynn. I had the ayam penyet, an Indonesian fried chicken dish. As always, the sambal here is absolute fire (in both senses of the word).
There’s a Colombian stall in Elliot Stables called Hop In Latino. It was my first time at Elliott Stables in a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised how busy it was on a Saturday night. I went with my flatmates who are from Colombia, so we let them order and I just ate what was presented to me. I tried refajo, which is a mix of soda and beer that apparently is drunk a lot during game days. It’s immensely drinkable, with that light frothiness that is weirdly endearing. My flatmates also insisted we tried lulo, which is a sour juice that’s squeezed out from an orange-like fruit. I really liked the empanadas.