I'm allowing myself a bit of a fist pump here, I feel like I've observed a kiwi in the wild, or I'm one of the scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider who finally found evidence of the elusive Higgs Boson (don't worry, I won't be presenting this story in comic sans). because as far as elusiveness goes, Mike Duffy from Ekim Burgers is the king.
much like Nikau’s food, I'll keep this simple. There is no better breakfast in Wellington (and I’ve had my fair share) than their sage fried eggs and stewed tomatoes. It is the simplicity of the dish that allows them to celebrate the exceptional produce from around the region. Nikau don’t even serve it with toast but instead a perfectly chewy baguette that IT would be a crime to toast, fluffy white pillows perfect for mopping up all that sage butter.
In Wellington it is pretty easy to get a good cup of coffee, so I think it counts for something that out of all the outstanding coffees i have had in this city I can pinpoint the best one. actually, you know what? I’m just going to go ahead and say it was the best damn cuppa Joe I’ve had in the world.
Friend crushes… I’ve had a few. But it is easy when I meet so many amazing people as a result of this blog. I mean, these are my type of people - we can talk about our crushes on David Chang, how we are desperate to eat at Noma or bitch about how there is NO RAMEN SHOP IN WELLINGTON. I love it, I’m finally home, these people get me.
This story sums up what i love about eat and greet (can i say that?) - Amazing people, amazing stories, family, culture, AUTHENTICITY and the role food plays in relation to all of those. Family and food are everything. I grew up with parents that insisted on dinners around the table every night and i honestly believe that is why i can have this little project with my sister and class my family amongst my closest friends. The Aasaf family have not had it easy; packing a bag and leaving your homeland takes guts.
The day I went to interview Tom Kirton of Tommy Millions was the first day of the Sevens in Wellington. Sexy bananas, cowboys, pukekos all over the place. But you know, come 2am that morning those nanas aren’t going to be so perky. Tom may be the man behind the name and face on the pizza boxes, but HE always works the graveyard shift, not for the stories (THOUGH my god, he has a few) but because that is their busiest time.
There has been a lot of talk about street food on Eat & Greet - I’ve also eaten my fair share of street-side delights around the world: takoyaki in Japan, hot dogs in USA, roti in Malaysia and... purely for the story... deep-fried scorpions in China. Hang around with me long enough and you’ll hear me (and others I’ve interviewed) MOAN about the lack of street food culture in NZ. However, a chance meeting changed that opinion.
Matterhorn needs no introduction. This place has been around for a long time and is an institution in Wellington. Many a celebrity and hipster band have checked in on facebook and tweeted their twats off about it and rightfully so. This place is unashamedly cool, a little dark and mysterious but not dingy, fancy but not pretentious and utterly approachable. The chef Dave Verheul can pretty much be described by all of those adjectives above as well! This guy knows how to cook and I’ve heard him being described as the best chef in Wellington. I’m not going to argue.
Let’s hear it for the ladies! I mean, It’s no secret there are less women in the food industry than men, but from my experience those that do find themselves drawn to the industry are an incredible breed of woman. You have already met Vicky, feisty little thing she is, and pie-queen Brandie.
This next story comes with a bit of a content warning – mum, I’m sorry, there are quite a few swears coming up. But if you ever met Vicky Ha of House of dumplings, you would know that if I was to censor this interview, I wouldn’t have much left, and it would also be taking away what is truly great about her! She is sassy, honest and incredibly fun to be around. I have no doubt that when Vicky was born she didn’t cry, she laughed her almighty laugh, said “about fucking time” and walked straight out of the womb.