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Day 13: What I’m Eating and Drinking

August 23, 2017

This is it – we're down to the last days of Visa WOAP 2017 (or, as one of my mates calls it, the No Cooking Festival). Before I dive into my picks for the last stretch, let's take a moment to salute the incredible hospo staff who have been working extra hard to keep our tummies full and thirsts quenched – y'all rock!

What I’ve been eating and drinking

  •  A vegetarian, a former vegetarian, a vegetarian in training and a carnivore (it me) walk into a bar… Moon 1, to be exact. Moon 1 is our weekly quiz venue of choice, so we thought we’d pop along early to try out their VWOAP burger, The Johnny Devlin. This burger features crumbed cream cheese, portobello mushrooms, salsa rossa, and rocket in an Arobake brioche bun. It got the tick from my team, who have all suffered through lacklustre vegetarian burgers in the past – this is most definitely not one of them. “I’m so full of cheese,” one of them said on multiple occasions throughout the night. We may have lost the quiz, but we’re winners because we ate this burger.
  • I rounded up a group of workmates to head down to The Thistle Inn for their burger, Mansfield's Saucy Story Pt 2. The general consensus around the table was this is a damn tasty burger, and a formidable one to tackle too featuring a thick venison patty, lots of red cabbage and bacon kimchi, and a generous slather of Zany Zeus yoghurt. Perhaps not quite the sort of thing Katherine Mansfield would serve at a garden party, but simply marvellous all the same. The Garage Project beer match – Trois Fleurs – is an inspired choice, with its light refreshing zing cutting through the stronger flavours of the burger.
  • Matterhorn’s Urban Hive is my favourite cocktail so far: dark rum, honey, lavender, malted barley 'tea' and Wellington Chocolate Factory craft beer bar chocolate. The flavours are exquisitely balanced, and drinking this on a blustery Sunday night reminded me that Spring is just around the corner. For an extra chocolate hit, the accompanying chocolate cannelloni, lavender mousse and brownie crumb is divine.
  • I was not one of the lucky few who got tickets to Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate, but I did head down to Midland Park yesterday for the accompanying pop-up to grab a gourmet takeaway lunch. There are three choices, and each comes with a salad and a bag of sweet treats. I went for the cured salmon, which was great, but the leek and mushroom pie and pulled pork bun looked good enough to stir up a bit of order envy. The pop-up is on for one more days (24 August) in Midland Park from 12pm.

What I’ve heard is a good time

  • I’ve heard very positive reviews from a number of independent sources for Coene’s Tripp'd, Flipp'd, Dipp'd burger (two smoked lamb patties and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with double cheese, pickles, mustard and ketchup). It comes with a side of gravy for your chips or the burger itself – either way, it sounds like a damn good time to me.
  • It looks like many of you are fans of Mr Go's Kiwi China, China Kiwi burger (braised beef cheek with pickled kiwifruit and chilli jam, and mayonnaise in a steamed milk bao bun) with comments like "unmissable" and "OH MY GOD IT WAS DIVINE" being thrown around on Twitter.  I hear their gunpowder rum and coffee-based cocktail is also worth checking out, so why not make a night of it and try both?
  • If you want to venture outside of Wellington CBD for a meal, my insider sources tell me that you should check out the burgers at Greytown Hotel and The Waterfront in Raumati. The Still Room, across the bay in Eastbourne, is also worth a visit for their cocktail and festival dish (a wild hare, mushroom and stout pie). 
  • It's your last chance this Saturday to catch Beats, Brews, Buses and Views with popular food truck Beat Kitchen. Escape the city for a night and enjoy canapes and a three-course dinner matched with Baylands Brewery beer brewed especially for this event, all in the stunning surroundings of Woodroyd Estate.
  • Reading is fundamental, so swing by The Library to imbibe a drink or two from their Cocktails and Literature menu. These drinks take inspiration from books such as Pride and Prejudice (additional zombies optional), American Psycho and classic Kiwi novel Came A Hot Friday, which comes served in a gumboot.
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What’s coming up

  •  The Food Truck Rally makes its last few stops in Wellington CBD, Porirua and Upper Hutt this week. Head down and overwhelm yourself with all the delectable options on offer. Check out the last remaining stops here.
  • Made by a Samoan is happening on Friday 25 August. This party will be a fantastic way to usher in the last weekend of VWOAP with an eclectic mixture of food, cocktails, photography and music. Check out chef Monique Fiso’s Instagram feed for a sneak peek at what to expect.
  • On Sunday, the ConversatioNZ Symposium will take stock of Aotearoa's food scene and look towards the future. Guests include Attica's Ben Shewry, LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold, and Pomegranate Kitchen's Rebecca Stewart. Check out the full symposium schedule and pop along for some food for thought.
  • Also on Sunday, Golding's Free Dive turn their attention away from beer for a day to pair classic Kiwi pies with premium Pinots from our local wineries.
KOKO SAMOA: Semifreddo, Emulsion & Raw | Whipped Coconut Milk | Toasted Peanuts 🍫 Experimentation with raw Koko Samoa blocks continues for #WOAP next month. Known for waving the Māori flag, but I'm proud to be afakasi Samoan too ✌🌺 #samoanfood #kokosamoa #islandstyles #rawcocoa #coconut #afakasi #halfcaste #proudfob
A post shared by Monique Fiso (@momofiso) on

A final reminder: you've got until midnight on Thursday to rate every burger, cocktail and festival dish that you've enjoyed. Each rating is an entry into the draw to win one of three prizes. Check back here on Friday morning when we’ll announce the finalists in each category, then pop along to the  VWOAP! Festival Awards Evening on Thursday 31 August to cheer on your favourites and be among the first to find out who will have ultimate bragging rights when the winners are announced. It's going to be a fun, informal night of canapes, drinks and stories out to wrap up this year's festival.