As luck is on my side – I was recently invited to attend the first series of ‘Artisan’ talks hosted by Yelp Auckland at Lot 23. First up (of these talks) was Otis & Sarah Frizzell who founded, own & presently operate “The Lucky Taco”, since May 2013. I was intrigued to hear all about their entrepreneurial journey and their ‘go to’ product; so far they have collaborated with the likes of Nice Blocks, The Collective NZ (no bull yoghurt), BMW and endless others. Like all start-ups – Otis & Sarah – have had an action-packed ride on the path to success. I was delighted to try some of the ‘hot’ sauces on offer including Halanero, Jalapeño & Chipotle. Now stocked in 60 ‘New World’ supermarkets across New Zealand, so you can now have this on tap in your pantry! I purchased some (not on the market yet) ‘Chilli Salt’ which I can’t wait to try on poached eggs! ‘Auckland in a box’ were showcasing too – with a giveaway of local artisan products. Lot 23 is an exceptional space for events, executed to a high standard. The crowd finished off all the sample tacos in record time. Impressed. Nice one Yelp: Gold. That’s all.
Yelp Auckland – you did good. Thievery studio is an understated, urban, artist’s ‘dream space’ for photographers (namely Garth Badger), filmmakers, event producers, fashion designers and anyone wanting a creative hideaway on the infamous Karangahape Road. Attending ‘So Fresh & So Clean’ last night was an outstanding event showcasing ‘Honey Trap’ (Hummingbird Cake & Mini chicken club sandwiches), ‘Cocoloco’ (Pure coconut water & Spiced Stolen Rum with coconut water) – truely orgasmic. ‘Room by Room’ (affordable & accessible) interior design consultation, who gave away gorgeous cacti wrapped in recycled brown paper. ‘Invivo’ sampling delicious red wine, ‘Garage Project’ with their array of craft beer from Te Aro, ‘Antipodes’ sparkling & flat water that I can never drink enough of. ‘Bird on a Wire’ with paleo-style fare. The dip was heaven. ‘Little Eats’ was sampling a deconstructed creme brûlée-like sweet & a bite size spicy pastrami treats, ‘Bluebells Cakery’ offered ginger crunch, chocolate brownie, mini jammy donuts & more gastronomy! I drunk the Clasico & Rose Cava and nibbled on most of the above. The highlight was the Spiced Stolen Rum Cocoloco, the carefully positioned life-size zebra mounted on the wall, ‘Honey Trap’ clubs and Yelp for always exceeding my expectations – Yelp me!
What a great venue for a ‘Yelp Elite’ event! I always wondered what would become of the rundown commercial laundry in Mackelvie Street – newly transformed ‘The Shelter’ is resident to Blend cafe & fashion brands: Children of Vision, Taylor, Mobi, Otsu & Tokyo Bikes to name a few temptations. Drew & Sarah Duff-Dobson told us their story behind Blend Cafe: lovers of great coffee selling Smith blend which is Fair-Trade or Rainforest Alliance sold in compostable cups! On our arrival, all Yelpers were offered cocktails either Smith coffee, bourbon & orange and/or Smith coffee, Cointreau, orange & egg white. Whoa! The gorgeous fare was supplied by ‘Bird on a Wire’: selection of Asian salad with a peanut sauce, raw vegetables with Dahl and I missed out on the chicken, unfortunately! Incredible ambiance in the courtyard which was chic, urban & wholesome. Inspirational event – which is the first Yelp event showcasing local startup (entrepreneurial) business’s in the Auckland Central community. Yelp!
What a find! Bunker cafe is hidden away – just off Great North Road – not the easiest place to find, however when you do: bliss. I personally love ‘hard to find’ quirky, urban cafes that don’t do conventional. ‘Bunker Cafe’ is just that; a converted container surrounded by designer bean bags, wooden benches, pews and a concrete garden. Atomic coffee is on offer, along with oversized sweet & savoury brioche, gourmet pies, sweet fare and gastronomic European sandwiches filled with a multitude of choices. I decided on the bacon & egg ciabatta that was winking at me. Everything is takeaway: served on disposable plates. Service is fabulous and personable. Parking is scarce. Ambience is a writer’s dream. You better go now before everyone knows about it!
BIG fan – not sure why I have not been here before as its in my neighbourhood! Located on the corner of Great North Rd & Williamson Ave, it’s central Grey Lynn. The space is modern, bright and inviting. As I approached the counter, the barista was beaming as she asked “how are you?” Fantastic: personable, engaging and gives’ a sh*t. Some cafes are just too busy to care – “Kokako” does care. The cabinet food looked fresh, appetising and healthy with all the usual options available: berry muffins, scummy sandwiches & other mouth-watering treats. Reasonably priced from $4.50. I was looking forward to the coffee, of course. It didn’t disappoint – my triple shot flat white. The cafe was extremely busy for a morning weekday; that explains a lot. Very impressed with this flagship cafe: “Kokako”!
Lot 23 is a place that you may read about in ‘Viva’; then make the (conscious) decision to visit, before it’s everyone’s hang-out.
Located in Minnie Street, Eden Terrace which happens to be where TVNZ ‘Step Dave’s’ (blue) house is situated!
As you enter the space: walls are filled with the latest art curated by Natalie Tozer, concrete floor, wooden old-school chairs, complimented with a super-slick white interior that acts as a great canvas for everything art!
The menu is delectable: ‘Ugly bagels’ topped with lashings of cream cheese, capers and fresh salmon, daily soup choice/s, croissant filled with Camembert, tomato and ham off the bone, ‘Baghdad eggs’ and coconut ice!
Every mouthful is ‘gastronomy’ and flavoursome. I particularly love the ‘Brazilian coffee’ that stimulates the senses – like coffee should. I can’t get enough of Lot 23.
‘Junk & Disorderly’ is a second-hand shoppers’ haven: inundated with everything vintage including timeless books, kitsch ornaments, old-school pails, rocking horses, dainty tables, mannequins, crockery, 1970’s sofas and the kitchen sink. Serious. I absolutely adore this oversized jumble-sale – that favours the consumer. I have purchased, borrowed and browsed this awe-inspiring warehouse for days without boredom. Parking is a dream; located in the heart of Northcote – go and find some treasure now or miss out.
Odettes is red-hot: appearing in Denzien, Metro and recently Vogue Living Australia. The aesthetics are pure eye-candy to patrons: carefully selected mosaic tiles, European-style seating, exquisite art hanging on the wall, with intimate lights to drool over. I have been here for coffee and lunch/brunch a few times. Service is excellent and the wait staff are very attentive. Food is orgasmic: salmon salad for a healthy option, or decadent crepes (with blueberries) for a sweet choice. Full bar. Good wine list, I had Miners Daughter by the glass- great. Loos are shared by both men and women which proved an interesting experience. Nothing feels rushed or onerous. Beautiful place for a meeting, celebration or utter indulgence. Try the crab sliders, if you dare.
I recently attended ‘subject to change’ art extravaganza showcasing at Lot 23. What a feast of work by Philippa Blair & Natalie Tozer: both New Zealand-born abstract painters who collaborated with their bold, experimental & ambiguous paintings – that provoke and excite. All the guests celebrated the 1st birthday of Lot 23 surrounded by frisky, vibrant & intoxicating art: (also) for sale. The exhibition continues until mid-December. Definitely worth a visit; the Brazilian coffee is magical too.