Last night S and I dined at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen as per a good friend of ours’ recommendation. She said it was excellent so we had to try it for ourselves. And overall, it was pretty spectacular!
Several things stood out: the slow-cooked beef (housemade) gnocchi (probably best in town), the tolerable noise level (I am so used to dining at Italian restaurants where I can’t even hear myself), the artsy pasta guide on the inner bathroom doors (who doesn’t like a good read whilst on the toilet), and the physical location of the place (I love anything close to New Regent!).
And of course it wouldn’t be a review if I’m not a slight bitch about it so… We ordered polenta fries as a starter, they were forgotten, and brought to us midway through our mains (yeah, yeah, first world problems). Speaking of polenta fries, they were good but not as amazing as The Bicycle Thief’s. In my opinion, those are much better. As for the pappardelle ragu, I think Cafe Valentino does theirs better, and the pumpkin brûlée, well, it was pretty unique in flavour but also highly diabetic. In other words, too much sugar (you know, even for a brûlée).
Despite the grumble, I’d rate our experience an 8/10!
Last night I went to the CHCH night noodle market with my momma and later, my sister and brother-in-law joined us. Being CHCH, I also bumped into one, two, three friends. I had fun. In all honestly, the food was average (yeah, yeah food snob) but the ambience was great! I absolutely love CHCH in the summer. The market is on until Sunday, prices range from $5 to $15, and you can find more information HERE.
Speaking of noodles/Asian food, pretty please with a quail egg on top check out my new Savvy Tokyo article, 8 Japanese Films for Foodies HERE.
So I asked for two chicken and one eggplant/tofu BAO but I got given a duck instead. Now tell me, since I’m not a BAO enthusiast, is the bread supposed to taste like cake (it was super sweet)? Looked better than it tasted (oh no she didn’t!).
These however were real good. Maybe a little dare but I think totally worth it. Not too sweet, very natural tasting and chic, too! Double win.
Yummy but served warm/cold. More on the cold side. But tasty regardless. As you can see, I did my best to abuse the DIY topping station. In all fairness, the dumplings were generously filled to the brim with plump shrimp and prawn.
My dad is good at a lot of things but I’d say he’s most well-known for his kebab. He lives and breathes it. Seriously, the guy loves kebab so much, if he could, he’d marry it (sorry mom). For this reason, he knows all the “Persian” eateries in Christchurch like the back of his hands. I use quotation marks here because most of these restaurants are a fusion of Persian and Turkish. Newly opened Prince of Persia is actually authentically Persian. Their kebabs identical to the kebab restaurants of our motherland. Their tablecloths the same as the ones in our dining area. The food comparison by the way, comes from my mother, AKA the queen of complaints. This woman complains everywhere. Too salty, not hot enough, too little this, too much that. But at Prince of Persia she LOVES, and I mean licksherplate loves everything. So I highly recommend it. Persian food at its best.
As well as Persian-mom-approved food (try the ghormesabzi, it’s unreal!), Prince of Persia is affordable (starting from $13…), spacious and child-friendly. Visit their website HERE for more info.
I’m not ashamed to say that one of my favorite hangouts is the supermarket. And that on Pay Days it’s the first place I go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a glutton, I’m just…a lover of health-foods. So, I tried this pourable organic bush-honey yoghurt (though it doesn’t state that it’s pourable, it just is) and I loved it. It’s sorta expensive but I think it’s worth it. Yay for local food.
Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places was the second book I read for my A Book A Week New Year’s resolution. Described by The Guardian as the new The Fault in Our Stars, the last chapters had me bawling! It is a teenage love-story about suicide. 4.2/5
Speaking of bawling, LION had the entire theatre in tears. What a touching film! I definitely recommend it. To anybody and everybody. Did you know that in India alone, over 80,000 children go missing each year? I don’t know about you but my mind can’t even begin to fathom such statistics. Watching Lion helps put a small part of this catastrophe in perspective. At the end of the film, I was overtaken with a lot of thoughts and emotions but mainly that, children truly are the light of the world and that, we all have a role and an obligation in the bigger picture.My handsome and cool boyfriend suggested I take it easy for week 3 (mainly because I was running behind) and read a children’s book. Margaret Mahy (NZ represent) is a genius. Here’s a little treasure for you, too:
My sister’s remarkably light,
She can float to a fabulous height.
It’s a troublesome thing,
But we tie her with a string,
And we use her instead of a kite.
My daddy has an Afghani friend with a traditional bread oven. He usually makes white bread but my dad requests unsalted wholemeal. Since he’s the only customer of this sort of bread, daddy has to buy the entire batch in bulk. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you daddy’s friend’s details because I don’t even know but I thought you’d appreciate the photos and that smile anyhow.
…continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. -Maya Angelou
Real-life fruit ninja.
It’s getting hot in here!
This is my gorgeous sis. She’s always “liking” and sharing my stuff (hint hint).
So what do y’all think of NZ, then?
Back to my favorite ice-cream joint of all time (now serving various dairy-free options)! All hand-made and all with ample love. Now, I know this because I know the family behind the ice-cream. And believe me when I say they’re just as delicate and just as sweet.
There are so many new Christchurch cafes! I just can’t keep up but I am trying. This is Park Ranger on Riccarton road. When I drive past, it always seems busy. I wonder if it’s just a phase? Like as was Yoghurt Story? Anyways, mama and I truly did LOVE their coffee (and almond milk availability) but the biscotti..oh the biscotti it almost broke my teeth. Yeah, yeah, biscotti is always hard, you tell me. But this guys was extreme.
Last but not least, vegan Thai green curry. Nothing like cooking for a loved one. Love you mommy xx
Friends! I have officially seen my most favorite ever movie. It’s called Tampopo, it’s Japanese and it’s extremely funny. And charming. And saliva-inducing. Oh man. This film is the shizzlemanizzle of all movies. It is a black and white 1985 film which has been given a new 4k restoration in the past few weeks. I liked it because it had something for everybody. From steamy sex scenes, to ramen close-ups to Tekken fighting. Though I must say, being an old film (and Japanese) the film did contain several unPC (nonPC?) scenes. I’m talking animal cruelty and borderline child pornography. That sounds bad… it wasn’t that bad. Well, I don’t think… Either that or I am a horrible person for laughing.
My love and I watched Tampopo at The Belcourt here in Nashville. So, I’m guessing if you want to see it, you’ll have to look up your local artsy theatre or something. I also enjoyed it because I could understand 50% of the Japanese. Go me!
What else? Tomorrow I’m leaving. I’ll be soaring Nashville to LA to Auckland to Christchurch with very short stops in between (yay!). Please wish me a safe flight and be sure to keep reading for before long, I’ll be posting A LOT of NZ scenery.
I couldn’t yell it at my Japanese co-workers so I’m gonna write it here: people don’t learn a language through tests! I say this from experience. English is my second language. Until the age of 8.5 I could not speak a word of it. In fact, I loathed the damn gibberish I couldn’t decrypt. So much so, that I remember crying to my mother, to take me out of NZ and back to our home in Iran where were my close friends. And, look at me now! I run this silly blog where I write in English! I hold a University degree in English literature, and I spent a year and a half teaching the very language in Japan to hundreds of students. The secret? Learning through action. Through doing. Through activities and through games. Through entertainment! Through watching the TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. No one wants to practice grammar! Ain’t nobody got time for that (or the patience)! People want to converse, to do, and to connect. Which is why I LOVE this book right here. I’m writing a post because I want to personally recommend it to all of my friends. And no, I am not on commission.
So. Whether you’re a legit ESL teacher, a part-time tutor or a helpful friend wanting to teach your helpful friend some England, this light and thus easily carried book is full of fun games and activities to spice up your lessons. For more info click HERE or HERE.
Believe it or not, Osaka’s humble tacoyaki (octopus balls) isn’t that popular anymore. As Osaka’s hipster scene continues to grow, so do the number of foodie pictures from these super popular, you-won’t-be-able-to-get-a-seat joints.
Behold, Osaka’s hottest and most Instagrammed foods:
Mostly for their gloriously overfilled sandwiches but also for their super fluffy pancakes. Always busy but I guarantee it’s worth the wait. Takeaways also available.
2. w a d
Who knew ICE could look and taste so nice? If you’re unfamiliar with kakigori, it’s a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavoured with syrup. Though at wad, it isn’t a cheap food vendor buy. Instead, it is both prepared and presented with absolute class. No wonder locals just can’t get enough.
3. SATURDAYS SURF NYC
Except in Osaka (and one in Kobe). This place screams “salty” for not only is it very minimalistic but also super hip.
4. Fielder’s Choice Salad Bar
Like subway except for salads and not like subway at all cos so much better.
5. Streamer Coffee Company
I swear on my Mother’s life (sorry mom!), here is where I drank the best freakin’ coffee of my life.
6. All Day Coffee
Always Instagrammed alongside one of their infamous slogans: life begins after coffee, but first coffee and coffee and love taste best when hot.
7. Brooklyn Roasting Company
Good coffee and everyone seems to speak English here. Also, the nicest outdoor patio with a gorgeous river view.8. Smorrebrod Kitchen
Probably the most Instagram worthy of all. Located in the Osaka library building which (the library) is also worth checking out. These guys also do incredible cabinet food which are served on the most beautiful wooden boards.9. City Bakery
For next-level baked goods.10. Camp Curry
For their vegetable packed curries, frying pan plates and shovel spoons.
There should be a fine for promising trailers that end up not delivering at all. Not even a little bit. If there is one message Me Before You gives across, it’s that the value of our time should always come before that. What a load of bollocks (did I get that right?). Ridiculous.
You have amazing inspirational movies like The Theory of Everything where the dude can’t even utter a word but stays positive and ends up becoming a genius academic author guy inspiring trillions then you have this spoilt brat who can speak better than the most of us who ends up SPOILER ALERT simply giving up.
Now, before you attack me for having no right to speak on the matter and not understanding the pain of such individuals, know that I am not commenting on this community as a whole. I’m just saying, that this character was dumb. You have all these scenes where he is making intelligent remarks on race horsing, appreciating classical music, admiring the view, rejoicing in his friend getting it on with some blonde, joking at a birthday party, buying a thoughtful gift and making this one girl’s entire life and shutting down her boyfriend with epic sarcastic remarks – all of which prove his life, just as any other individual’s, is worth life then BAM, bye bye! I can’t be happy because I’m not who I used to be, blah blah. Gosh, it makes me so mad. No one is who they used to me. I sure as hell aren’t. Life happens. We change. Physically and emotionally and we don’t stop. It’s not easy for anyone. It’s not supposed to be. Again, relax, I know this attitude doesn’t apply to everyone.
Last, Emilia’s wardrobe is over-done. I mean, there’s hipster, then there’s too much.
Who actually likes Mondays? I’m definitely not a fan and I’m sure many of you are the same. The all-new, revamped Monday Room on the other hand… no doubt is one Monday that I love and one Monday I know you’re all gonna enjoy too.
Serving “Brunch, Dessert and everything in-between”, The Monday Room on the corner of Moorhouse Ave and Madras St has reopened under new management. Their new menu is pimped out now showcasing Canterbury’s finest meats and produce, organic and locally grown where possible to deliver dishes that are fresh and super yum (not to mention totally Instagram worthy as well).
The team at The Monday Room are brunch pros, with their menu including options such as the Breakfast Bruschetta with fresh tomato and avocado, poached eggs, goats cheese and pickled red onion on toasted sourdough or GF bread with a cheeky side of bacon (optional), and the Ricotta Hotcakes topped with caramelized apple, cinnamon, almond praline, Kohu Road vanilla bean ice cream and maple syrup, just to name a few. Don’t drool into your keyboard!
The dishes on their dinner and dessert menus are just as scrumptious, too! Dinner plates are designed to be shared in order to create a social dining experience bringing friends and family together. Though to be honest, you might need double-ups of the same dish to avoid food envy. The entree sized goats cheese churros are an example of this, one bite and you’ll be left with the “I wish I ordered more” feeling. The Monday Room’s savory version of the traditional sweet treat is genius and deliciously mind blowing. It’s one of my favorites there and an absolute must try for you!