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Wellington 'Food Tour Party' Awards Special

currently: listening to 'Running' by Beyonce and Naughty Boy.

My trip to Wellington had two goals in mind: going to World Of Wearable Arts, and food. Not any food in particular, but just good Wellington food we had always heard about.

But while it would take a long time to write a 'Food Tour Party' on every single location we went to, I decided to something different this time. I present to you, a 'Food Tour Party' special...

The First Ever Wellington Food Tour Party Awards

While this list doesn't completely highlight the very best of the city, it does highlight some of the best of what we did manage to eat on our four-day trip to Wellington.

Sweetest Sangria
El Horno [Te Aro]
There were quite a few places we wanted to get sangria on our first night in Wellington. But not many of those places seemed open at 8pm on a Friday... nor were we eager to wait outside till they did. We Googled for local sangria bars and El Horno was one place where it seemed cheap enough to get a jug, and also not too far away from our backpackers where we'd have to walk into the blustery night wind. Choosing to split a red wine sangria between us, the bartender mixed a generous amount of red wine, apple juice and passionfruit syrup for an intensely sweeten sangria. If you've got a sweet tooth, this stuff is for you.

Best Malaysian
Little Penang [Te Aro] *highly recommend*
Okay it's the only Malaysian place we went to but Little Penang is as authentic as you can get in New Zealand. It may look like a takeaway restaurant, but Little Penang is originally a Malaysian franchise, and they know how to serve a perfect ice lemon tea (European versions of ice lemon tea are rubbish in comparison). Maybe it's cause my friend and I are both from Malaysian backgrounds, but Little Penang's Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak dishes were comforting, delicious familiar tastes with the right amount of heat (for us). And the service was great - they never shooed us out even though we had unknowingly sat chatting there till closing, and the staff gave us a little farewell treat of a hot little banana fritter ball to take as we ventured back out into the cold Saturday night.

Best Looking Brunch (and supposedly Best Coffee)
Loretta [Te Aro] *highly recommend*
Probably the place where I spent the most, but also ordered the most - Loretta was actually chosen on a whim for Sunday brunch after the other place we looked up wasn't actually open. (The concept of popular stores not open everyday in the CBD is foreign to me as an Aucklander). But Loretta is an Instagrammers dream. If you're looking for a place to Snapchat, Facebook or hashtag on Instie with #authentic #brunch #lovemylife - it's at this cafe.
If you're going for brunch with a friend/date - split your meals and eat it in the order I ate. Start with your savoury dish 'Green Eggs with Bacon', then move to the sweeter 'Elderflower lemon syrup, toasted poppyseeds waffles with coconut yoghurt' and then finish with one of Loretta's daily pies. Lemon meringue pie? I can't refuse.
And while I don't drink coffee, my best friend reckons this was where the best one was at. And she drinks a lot so I'd take her opinion pretty seriously.

Best Shakes
Scorch o Rama [Scorching Bay] *highly recommend*
In a drive outside of Wellington city, the coastal cafe called Scorch O Rama in the little suburb of Scorching Bay had by far the best offering of shakes I had ever seen. It wasn't necessarily the range of choice, but the amazing levels of choice. The 'Super Duper Shakes' at Scotch O Rama were specialised with a three tier system. Not only was there a choice over the ice cream you used to blend it, but you had the choice to say what sauce to add and what type of chocolate bar you could use. And, for those 18 and over, you could also pay for an "adult" top up of Kahlua, Bailey's or Frangelico. These are milkshakes of a superior level, and only under $10. Plus the cafe's atmosphere was very relaxed, with simple beach like decor and a great view to the ocean side. I don't think I'll ever have as great of a Snickers Cookies and Cream with chocolate sauce milkshake like that one ever again.

Strangest Fusion Food
The Japanese/Western 'Rice Burger' [Te Aro] *cheap eats*
In a Japanese food truck at Friday Night's Wellington City Markets was something for $5 called the 'rice burger.' Made with teriyaki chicken, lettuce and Japanese mayo, this burger sat within two rice "burger buns". Essentially it was eating a couple of slabs of rice with chicken in the middle, and towards the end as it began to fall apart, it just became teriyaki rice with chicken. But it was still pretty decent, and a good sort of street food you can eat with your hands.

Best Vegetarian Sandwich
Sweet Mother's Kitchen
[Te Aro]
Have you ever had tempeh? I don't think I ever did until I tried Sweet Mother Kitchen's Dan boy sandwich - which had grilled seasoned tempeh with beetroot, lettuce, tomato & chipotle mayo. Tempeh (according to Wikipedia) is some sort of soyabean cheese patty... But you wouldn't have guessed it wasn't meat as the way it tasted with all the fresh ingredients in one delicious sandwich. That chipotle mayo too was perfect.
The only flaw was choosing a chilli hot chocolate to go with it. Fresh and spicy vegetarian sandwich with spicy hot chocolate - it's not as excellent a pairing as what I had initially hoped. (The hot chocolate is delicious on its own if you don't accidentally inhale the chilli seeds on top.)

Best Non-Vegetarian Sandwich
Burger Liquor
[Te Aro] *highly recommend*
Technically not a sandwich, the dark neon-lit New York inspired Burger Liquor has a menu that could rival some of my favourite Auckland burger joints. Burger Liquor's Three Bird burger is a hard one to compete with - with a turducken (turkey/duck/chicken) patty that is, quite frankly, like no other patty I've had (it's just so many birds...). Paired with their "Smoked Paprika Makikihi Thick Cuts blanched in beef fat, served with malt vinegar mayo" chips - it's the perfect burger meal. Oh man, just reading that again makes me hungry. As far as burger joints go, this is definitely one to visit on a cold, hungry night.

Of course there were plenty of other places we ate, and plenty of other places we could have eaten at but never got the chance to. There's only so much money, so much time, and so much room in my stomach. However, I can say with happy and satisfied tastebuds that Wellington's cafes and restaurants has some of the best food New Zealand offers. And that I feel hungry right now.

Stay tuned for Part Three: The WOW that is Wellington's World of WearableArts

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