Paying it forward in Auckland

Walking up Queen Street in Auckland recently I passed a man sitting with his belongings outside the Louis Vuitton store. Framed in the window above the man’s head was a handbag with Vincent Van Gogh’s art work all over it. It struck me that Vincent Van Gogh would likely have more in common with the man sitting on the street than he would with someone who could afford to buy a designer handbag.

The homeless people on Queen Street are the visible homeless, there are many more, some sleep in cars and some live in overcrowded accommodation.

We should be … Read the rest

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe is home to five fancy cat breeds including Ragdolls, a British Blue and a Bengal. On 13 May some little kittens moved in too. The fancy felines have two rooms full of cat gyms, hidey-holes, and furniture to climb.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Most of the cats at Fancy Meow are Ragdolls as they are an especially people friendly breed, they also have the most beautiful blue eyes.

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

It’s a rule at Fancy Meow, and a good one I think, to let sleeping cats lie so timing … Read the rest

High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate

If the sun’s shining at Zealong Tea Estate near Hamilton it’s nice to sit outside under an umbrella overlooking rows of lush tea plants. Zealong is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and the five flavours of tea produced are certified organic.

Oolong tea leaves can be used up to 8 times

Oolong tea leaves can be used up to 8 times

Tea is the star of the show at Zealong, but lunch and high tea are also served. A Signature High Tea and a Classic High Tea were on the menu for us. Tea is infused in a lot of the small dishes that make up the high tea, including … Read the rest

The Cat Lounge in Glenfield, Auckland

New Zealand’s first cat cafe – The Cat Lounge, opened in Glenfield, Auckland in early November. I went along last week for a look see. I stepped into a smart black and white cafe with a big Thank You wall acknowledging all those who contributed to The Cat Lounge via crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

The Cat Lounge cafe

The Cat Lounge cafe

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Thank You wall at The Cat Lounge cafe

Thank You wall in The Cat Lounge cafe

Two glass doors separate the cat lounge from the cafe, you can take food and drink in with the cats but I chose to have coffee and cake in … Read the rest

She Universe, Governors Bay

We lived in Christchurch for a couple of years and often on summer weekends we’d drive to Governors Bay and veer right to Governors Bay Hotel for a beer in the garden. On this sunny spring day we veered left to She Universe Cafe & Chocolaterie. There are a few unusual aspects to She Universe, one is the splendid view it shares with the hotel, another is the spiritual element of their chocolate enterprise.

Hot chocolate with a view at She Universe

Hot chocolate with a view at She Universe

She stands for Spiritual Human Evolution. The staff at She Universe practice a moving meditation called ‘The Form’ … Read the rest

Drinking for good in Wellington

Recently I wrote about Ngopi in Auckland, a Malaysian cafe that donates its profits to charity. In Wellington there is an espresso bar in a container on lower Cuba Street called Stories. Stories Espresso Bar was set up by youth organisation Zeal to provide employment and work experience for young baristas.

Stories Espresso Bar, 40A Cuba Street

Stories Espresso Bar, 40A Cuba Street

Zeal run barista courses, but the young people who completed the training often found it difficult to get a job and gain experience. This is where Stories Espresso Bar steps in, young people get work experience under the tutelage of an experienced barista, … Read the rest

Back to the 50’s in New Plymouth

New Plymouth hosts Americarna, an all American car event, and also has its own American style Deluxe Diner. We pulled in to Deluxe Diner for breakfast and were impressed with the mint green and red decor, comfy booths, and big menu.

Deluxe Diner, New Plymouth

Deluxe Diner, New Plymouth

I’m a shocker for taking too long to choose my food but buttermilk pancakes always make it easy for me, Mike settled on the breakfast hot dog, both good choices. The drinks menu is almost as big as the food menu and stretches from cherry cola floats to Spirulina, VIP malted shakes to alcoholic … Read the rest

Eating for good in Auckland

Ngopi, 79 Anzac Avenue, Auckland Central 
Ngopi is a charitable enterprise that serves Malaysian food and donates its profits to Habitat for Humanity, an organisation that builds and repairs houses, and A21 which works to end human trafficking.

Ngopi is an initiative by the House of Praise Church and is largely run by volunteers, although the Penang born chef and former owner of Albert’s Place is paid. Meals are very reasonably priced from $10 – $12.50 so you can eat for a good cause and a good price.

Malaysian meals at Ngopi - from $10 - $12.50

Malaysian meals at Ngopi – from $10 – $12.50

Ngopi has … Read the rest

Storehouse, Taupo

Storehouse cafe / homeware store / florist is in an unexpected location among the tyre fitters on Runanga Street. The cafe is in a former workshop and there’s a steel roller door to open up on a sunny day. On our visit the door was closed and keeping in the heat from the fire that was rising up to meet us on the mezzanine floor.

Storehouse, Taupo

Storehouse, Taupo

Lovely little almond and orange friand

Lovely little almond and orange friand

Food wasn’t on my radar as I’d not long had breakfast, but I decided to have an orange and almond friand anyway. Blimey it was good, enough … Read the rest

Super speedy dinner delivery at C1 Espresso in Christchurch

Mike was travelling solo in Christchurch and thecuriouskiwi mission he chose to accept was to have dinner delivered via pneumatic tube at C1 Espresso. Initially delivery speed was up to 140km/h, surely the fastest dinner delivery in town, maybe even the world? Delivery speed has since been reduced to prevent food carnage.

The greens in your fast food may come from C1's gardens

The greens in your fast food may come from C1’s gardens

We first saw (and sent a cannister flying) around a pneumatic conveyor system at The Faraday Centre in Napier. The systems were once used in New Zealand department stores to transfer cash between divisions.

Eventually the … Read the rest