The first of many, here’s this month’s round up of My Favourite Things; where and what I’m currently loving to Eat, Drink, Read, Watch, Relax, Visit, Listen to and Make.
I’m pretty much obsessed with the falafel wrap at Wise Cicada in Newmarket right now, so much so it’s becoming a twice weekly eating occurrence. That hummus is hands down the best I’ve had in the city and it tastes just as delicious as an accompaniment to any of their superfood loaded salads.
Vegan or not, this café and grocery store is the perfect lunchtime spot if you’re pressed for time and in need of some seriously good (and by good I mean deliciously and nutritionally good) cabinet food. Plus it’s refreshingly unpretentious and the staff are almost as sweet as their raw desserts. But beware: if you’re in a hurry just stick to the café part – start browsing the aisles and it’s goodbye lunch break and hello everything you never knew you needed. I mean who can say no to some $8 Pana Chocolate? Not me. It’s a simple bare necessity.
It’s cocktail hour, where am I going and what am I drinking? I’m all about the blues… The Blue Breeze Inn that is. What’s my poison? A spicy margarita, of course. It’s not on the menu but ask for a margarita with chili; it’s sassy in glass, just the way I like it. What can I say? I’m a tequila girl at heart. Give it a try, and don’t hold back on the kick.
I already told you about Dumbo Feather on Sunday (read my write-up here), but now let me remind you of another publishing bible I can’t put down, The Gentlewoman. Skip the ads and head straight for the interviews. Girl power. Enough said.
Two words: Ray Donovan. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you cancel your plans tonight and begin a marathon. Set in LA, the series (there’s two so far) follows professional “fixer” Ray Donovan (played by Liev Schreiber – drool) as he cleverly makes his high profile clients’ ‘problems’ (think everything from dangerous Hollywood affairs to brutal murders) disappear. Essentially he’s a criminal in a good suit, but he’s the man and this is all kinds of lifestyles of the rich and famous fabulous. Too bad cleaning up other people’s messes leaves him with some seriously dirty hands, and a whole lot of family drama. His father Mickey is a whole other story. Jon Voight. Legend.
The gym is all well and good but sometimes you need a mental escape with the added bonus of a strength session. That’s where Hot Yoga Auckland comes in, my go-to for a Power Vinyasa (a.k.a. flow) class. A must try, especially for those who don’t like Bikram. The room isn’t quite as hot but it’s enough to loosen your muscles and make you sweat, and oh boy do you sweat. It’s my soul saviour when I need some time out.
Giapo, Giapo, Giapo. I know this should technically fall under the Eat category, but this humble little gelato store is a destination in it’s own right. Whether you’re a seasoned Aucklander or wide-eyed tourist, a trip to Giapo on Queen Street is both a rite of passage and a necessary ritual. For the Sydneysiders amongst you, allow me to translate: Giapo is the Messina of Auckland, but better. They even claim to be New Zealand’s best, but the proof is in the pudding. They actually are.
Curiously, the gelato is hidden, but this is only because Giapo is all about the taste –instead of your eyes deciding for you (like they so often do) this is an opportunity to let your taste buds do the talking. Try before you buy and then stand back and let the magic happen (the magic being not only the flavours themselves but those extravagant customised toppings to match). I’ve honestly never seen, or tasted, anything quite like Giapo ice-cream. Cue a serious foodgasm and a whole lot of oh my god’s.
Whether I’m going for a walk or driving in my car, more often than not you’ll find me listening to the Ted Radio Hour. It’s basically a one-hour show on a topic inspired by various Ted Talks and featuring excerpts and interviews with the various speakers. More inspiring than the radio and more enlightening than a song, this is music to my ears and food for my brain. I suggest you tune in.
Rich, chocolatey and almost too good to be true, this recipe for raw cacao balls trumps any of the bought ones I’ve had from Little Bird, Wise Cicada or Harvest Wholefoods, but maybe that’s my sweet tooth talking. I got this recipe from a friend and it was love at first bite.
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 cup activated nuts (whatever takes your fancy*)
1/3 cup raw organic cacao powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon chia seeds
*(I use a mixture of nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts… you name it, they’re in there)
Soak dates in warm water for 15 minutes to soften.
Whilst dates are soaking add nuts, cacao, shredded coconut, coconut oil and chia seeds to a food processor and mix.
Add dates and blend.
If mixture is too try either add a tablespoon of filtered water or a little bit more coconut oil.
Let mixture sit for 10 minutes.
Roll mixture into bite size balls.
Roll balls in shredded coconut.
Store balls in the freezer, and let them set before eating.