Deep in the heart of Texas!

As we departed Austin for San Antonio, it rained cats and dogs. WTF Global Warming? So we (or rather hubby) did some mega outlet shopping, to chase away the rain blues. We love the bargains you get at outlets in America.

We then arrived at our palatial Hilton Embassy Suites. OMG this was my fave stay ever. We had a huge suite and the food was amazing. The service from the cleaner to the chefs to the management, was consistently exceptional on a daily basis.  We loved the happy hour also and we joined the Hilton Honours Loyalty programme. As soon as we stepped outside a lovely Southern local offered to give us suggestions. Southern hospitality.

The riverwalk was picturesque and had a lovely vibe and the Spanish inspired tiled steps and greenery was stunning. We stopped for a drink/snack at this place called Dick’s. They abuse you ( in jest) from hoah to go, which is part of their brand but of course it’s a shock when you don’t realise. They throw the cutlery down and make you wear paper hats with ironic sayings. You then buy into the fun and humour and give it back to them! Our food was good but we passed on the deep fried ‘gator!

We explored the Alamo and enjoyed a bit of history and culture. Later we walked to the market area and dined at Mi Tierra; a humungous Mexican place with nuns selling crafts, an Elvis impersonator, huge bar with Mariachi band, huge separate bakery and restaurant. It was pretty out there! My tortilla salad was amazing. No need to go to Mexico, San Antonio was formerly part of Mexico and you can understand why people would gravitate to live here.

The next day we hit the San Antonio Mission trail by car. We just loved it and found it so interesting and beautiful; definitely another highlight. We later explored a beautiful suburb and admired the stunning historic mansions. We stopped in for a beer and the famous mango ice cream at the gorgeous Menger hotel which was fun.

That night we had a big list of foodie must try’s and Ronda scored highly. We settled on Cured. This restaurant was in a fabulous new funky, industrial area out of town and was drop dead gorgeous from top to toe. I’ll take you there next week. Toodles.

 

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Take 2: Texas Beer and BBQs

After arriving in Houston and meeting fellow foodies, our first stop was to get us some Texan BBQ. Burns Original BBQ was on our long list. It was in the burbs and in a dinkie dive with only outdoor seating, but boy were the ribs, brisket, beans and potato finger lick in’ good. We stayed at the lovely Hilton Sam Curio hotel. That night we took in The Houston Astros vs Miami Marlins baseball which was great. Poor Houston now though, do they have a problem thanks not to Hurricane Harry. Continue reading

El sizzling chorizo

Wow Ponsonby Central is foodie heaven and foodie dilemma at the same time. I visited here when in Auckland on a prior trip, not around meal time and put this on my foodie list for this visit. This is a MUST stop. Continue reading

Petone is the new Ponsonby!

I’ve always been a big fan of Petone. It holds fond memories for me.  40+ years ago, I used to hang out here with my Italian grandparents, Aunties and Uncles on their Friday briscola card night. Back then I didn’t speak Italian, but I just loved the social gatherings.. Look how Petone has blossomed since then. Continue reading

David Jones cafe

We all loved Kirks, but I also really love its replacement; David Jones. More-so because we beat the Aucklanders to something for a change!. It’s a huge magnet for the city as well. There’s just something international and classy about it, and it exudes great energy. David Jones stores in Aussie are complimented with lovely cafes to match. Ours isn’t quite there yet, but has oodles of potential.

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Bambuchi; a new player on the field!

Bambuchi has snuck quietly into the Hataitai ‘burbs, next to the White Rabbit Café. Local BFF foodie friend Annette recommended this place. She knows me so well. Being foodie competitive, I couldn’t believe she beat me here first.

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Fantastic Greek Cuisine in Wellington!

Oikos (pronounced EE-kos), meaning family, is located in the burbs of Miramar, aka Wellywood. It’s enhanced Wellingtonian’s availability to access authentic Greek food. Following nicely in The Greek Foodtruck’s greek footsteps of course. Theo Papouis is living his dream, by kindly sharing with us a taste of his Greek heritage, and welcoming us into his Greek family, via his beautiful food and wine, based on Ancient Hellenic cuisine.

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Baby Baby!

I was in my element in this funky Auckland Thai/Vietnamese Asian-fusion eatery/cocktail bar in Ponsonby- Mekong Baby. The décor is amazing and is different depending on what nook and cranny you sit in. If you’re looking for something a little more intimate, they have the Opium Den (ok!), the S &M room (ok- no wait I think that says Ms. M’s room!) and the Mekong Room. The food and service here above all that is outstanding. Continue reading

Spice up your life!

A lovely ex Welly friend living in Auckland advised me to try this place. However of course you know me, my foodie hit list is as long as my arm so it wasn’t at the top of it. Yet we did end up here due to being rejected by five other restaurants on a Saturday night- ugh.  Not for bad behaviour but they were all full or couldn’t accommodate us until 830pm. Ahem. We are Nanas and healthy so we eat early. Initially we were also turned away here so Burger Burger was looking promising. But girlfriend suggested to the snooty maitre’d that how about us sitting at the bar. I’m not sure why he didn’t offer this to start with but geez it was just perfect. Continue reading

Superbe! 

My dear Auckland friend Juliet, recommended Paris Butter as a great place to visit with my Welly girlfriends. I was so excited to read a great review in the Saturday Auckland Herald. So I knew we were hipsters and on to it!

Located in Herne Bay, this was the former Vinnie’s ; an Auckland institution that I unfortunately never got to visit. Au revoir Vinnie’s, Bonjour Paris Kitchen. I text hubby’s boss who’s a Herne Bay local to say Hi and he was overseas and thought I was in Paris. Well I kinda was, but Auckland Paris.

The decor is DDG ( drop-dead gorgeous) with the most beautiful Laurent Perrier champagne bucket sitting on the counter with stunning glasses, to the mirrors, flowers, stunning lamps and chandeliers, mirrors, greenery, cushions, and duck-egg booth seating There are various different areas to sit in which I love as it breaks up the restaurant. I love the area near the cellar down the back but was glad we sat in the main dining room. It was sunny but a little fresh so we chose to eat indoors, yet some punters braved it outside, with a nana blanket provided if need-be.

As it was Mother’s Day, they treated us to a glass of bubbles which was a lovely start to our experience. We loved the sound of the lovely juices on offer but instead opted for coffees. Yah they could satisfy my dairy-free request of an almond milk mocha. The other gals had a lovely flat white and long black. The coffees are small though, unlike Wellington and they asked us did we want single or double strength? Um all Wellingtonians are accustomed to double shots without question!

As for the brunch menu, I was so tempted to do the steak and pommies-frites but thought 9am was a little early so I settled on some boudin-noir ( black pudding) with fried eggs and onion salad. The onion salad didn’t spin my wheels so I asked to substitute it for some frisée green salad. Our lovely waitress explained it was actually an onion jam but was more than happy to add some greens. Each mouthful was so delicious as was the presentation. The other two ladies were happy with their salmon and scrambled eggs and the French Farmer’s assiette was chokka with tomato, boiled egg, salad, pork mousse and terrine. Other items that featured were the basic baguette with pastries and jam/Nutella or a granola chia pudding, or a more the more substantial goat’s cheese tartine, truffled fromage omelette, Croque Monsieur or duck cassoulet. Of course they place a wee basket of crunchy, fresh baguette on your table that is irrestible and needed to mop your sauce up on your plate.

Service was excellent until we put through a second order of coffees.  The wait started to impinge on our shopping time. They finally arrived just before we were about to ask if the order had got misplaced. Phew.

Apart from the brunch menu, they do offer lunch and dinner menus and they take reservations. Loved it here and would return in a heart beat. Merci Paris Buerre! A bientot avec mon Mari!