Thursday, April 30, 2015

Technique Training Restaurant at Otago Polytechnic

Local secrets are still revealing themselves to me after almost 12 years of residing in Dunedin!  A born and bred Kiwi, who shall remain nameless, brought me here last year while we were both on parental leave after a few laps around the lovely, tree-lined Logan Park.  With 2 under ones and less than $20 budget, we managed to have the classiest, gourmet lunch out since my pre-child days of ordering cheese platters at a winery and a not-so-classy number of wines!

Mmmm... Adam Scott for $6.50/glass

The Technique Training Restaurant is a tasty bargain, wrapped up by nervous students who are very polite but don't smile much.  Luckily, their instructor has the charisma and genuine friendliness to carry all of them (she even brought a perfectly-timed, complimentary bowl of chippies for the wee tot). The service overall is, in fact, very good.

Today's Feast:

So obviously 3 courses for $15 is the way to go and while I am ridiculously full, the servings are almost perfect for continued functioning after lunch.  To be honest, I'd like to have a nap but I'm not in danger of slipping into a full on food coma (and that's saying something at 39 weeks pregnant).

Starters: I'm generally a big Samosa fan but I have to give the Starters victory to my table-mate who ordered the Onion Bhajis.  Hell-a-good-oily but not greasy! Trust me because I was too busy eating to remember to take a photo. Oops. 

A medley of colour.

Main: Butter Chicken. Not the most convincing Indian meal I've ever had, but to be fair, I did order the most generic, western-palate friendly curry on option.  Walking the fine line between wanting to induce labour for the unborn child and not wanting anything so spicy that have I to live with the heart burn if I don't immediately starting contractions... 

Oooo- big-sister likes Butter Chicken!

Dessert: YUM.  The lime and coconut gateau was probably the most generous serving, doubling what was actually needed. However, I'm hardly going to start complaining about extra cake! 


All up, a very enjoyable experience! Twice.

And apparently there's still room to book for tomorrow!  Get yourself out of your sad little office for an hour and TREAT YO' SELF. And support learning in a town that takes education (and food) very seriously!

Behold, my gift to you- menus and booking details:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Morning Magpie, Lower Stuart Street

The charms of Morning Magpie are plentiful; youthful vibes, relaxed bohemian atmosphere, exposed brick, high ceilings, big windows and not one but 2 Scattegories boxes on the bookshelf which is thoughtful placed to create a sense of privacy and distance for the loos.

Dreams of hipsters are alive at Morning Magpie. And for me, a welcome throw back to happy, patchouli smelling days at uni in the late 90s and early noughties.

However, 15 years have passed and a few details, which do not matter to young people, irked me. Nothing wrong per say but I noticed that the baked good were artfully displayed on a wooden incline with no glass.  The paper towels in the loo were on a table and the dispenser was empty. Details like like this make me feel old and dull and awkwardly middle class and like a germ-a-phob. (I'm a mother now and I know exactly how disgusting human beings can be.  And on that note, there's no high chair. I am clearly not MM's target audience.)

Second-hand, mix matched crockery and grandma's collection of souvenir teaspoons make hot drinks an absolutely joy to order and hold. And to photograph for Instagram, if you're that way inclined. Oh, and the food.

The food! 

I ordered the chalkboard special "Smashed Avocado with Feta" and while this isn't much of a descriptor, this $10 deal over delivered in every way that matters to a woman who is 37.5 weeks pregnant and mildly fragile.  Spinach, fresh grainy bread, perfectly seasoned avo and the salty goodness of feta. And butter on the side. Delicious! 

Tangent: Dunedinites are the best butter advocates in New Zealand, I suspect. Giving up sugar might be trending in my circles down here but butter is still king.  I wonder if that's the case in more aesthetically focused cities. I suspect butter isn't so big in NYC, LA, Wellington or Auckland. Who wants to live like that?! You know, other than ethical vegans...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dunedin is for Bagel Lovers (FINALLY)

Dunedin is a hidden gem in the world.  As a self-appointed advocate for this city, I have spent tireless hours cafe hopping and glossing over the seasonless, senseless weather (which does have a worse reputation than it deserves) but it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge that Dunedin could be improved by a few things; a garden pub, a petting zoo at the botanic gardens, about 20-30 thousand more people...

Being born north of the equator has also made me slightly disappointed with the quality of donuts, cupcakes (Dunedin Cupcake Company exempt), bagels and milkshakes. Milkshakes... Every so often in my first half dozen years in this country, I'd order a milkshake and be genuinely disappointed that it was milk, shaken.  I've had to make piece with the fact that some things are a reason to fly north for... until yesterday.

Oh Joyous Day! Calloo! Callay!  I was given a reason to to resurrect the DIFL Blog!  Zombie blog!  (Which begs the question- where do all the dead blogs go?)

What has inspired this leap out of DIFL blog retirement?


Bagel, bagels, bagels!!!  Light, slightly chewy, melt-in-your-mouth bagels rather than the usual well-meaning hockey pucks produced this side of the equator.


Unbelievably (and conveniently) at the Otago Museum

When I asked the barista who supplied their bagels, she replied by pointing to the kitchen, "We make them here. That guy...Andrew."

Andrew: I don't know who you are or where you come from but I salute you.  You have provided a service to this city- nay, this hemisphere- that many have tired but few have succeeded! Share your gift, man. Share your gift.

Mmmm. Bagel with jalapeno cream cheese.

Poppy Seed or Sesame
3 choices of cream cheese (paprika and garlic is my fave)
$3.50 (BARGAIN)

Otago Museum: An educational journey, great for letting kids run free-range in the Animal Attic but, more importantly, a place I can go for coffee, a decent bagel and a fluffy for less than a tenner.  Perfect for a date with a kiwi-mini-me and a bit of North American nostalgia.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Botanic Gardens

Autumn in Dunedin is so lovely!  As you can see!

 If you are a parent or an excellent honorary auntie or uncle, then you know about the Botanic Gardens.  The playground is pretty good (but certainly lacks the glory of Mosgiel's destination playground), the duck food is FREE from the visitors' centre and the green house is the warmest place to hang out in Dunedin in the middle of winter!

It astounds me that some rich dude gifted the Pavilion to the City.  What an awesome legacy and Dunedin is so much richer for it. It I end up with a big whack of money (ha, ha, ha), I would totally just build a palace for people to chill and drink coffee on the week ends!

There's not much else to say really...except Crusty Corner is across the road!  BONUS!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bad News at Balmac

A mournful day on the hill when I ordered the field mushrooms with rocket, truffle oil, tapenade and bacon. I was told it is no longer on the menu at Balmac #7. I was 3 days too late.

Though the staff was adequately sympathetic about my loss, I felt as though it wasn't enough. I wish someone had told me; I wish I had had the chance to say good-bye.

I had to console myself with the Twice Baked Cheese Soufflé: