Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine an incremental model which is able to predict the longitudinal profile variance of a stretch of road in any future year given its present condition and influencing variables.

Just kidding.. I'm not actually going to talk about this
Don't worry, I'm not going to make you read about my honours project -I'm merely trying to explain why I've been distracted lately. All the poor 4th year civil engineering students at Auckland University are currently swamped with their literature reviews and, if they're anything like me, they would be having immense trouble A) looking after their drying eyes from reading the millions of e-books and research articles they have to troll through and B) trying to figure out how to write a literature review. Do you think they'd accept a recipe or two from me?

Mango Smoothie -$4.70
So this is how the academics live.

And how do I cope? By feeding myself well. Admittedly, I have only half-heartedly kept to my resolution of making my own lunches to cut down on costs and running off to Strata -the once "post-graduate only" cafe on campus. I wish it was still exclusive.

Berry Smoothie -$4.70
Strata is located on the top floor of the info commons (Auckland Uni) and the best part of my first experiences with this cafe was the fact that it was relatively unknown to the other undergraduates which meant that finding a seat was never a chore and the only people I had to share my eating space with were well educated (I think, anyway..) post graduates, university professors and other sneaky first years who had discovered the only place on campus that served decent coffee. 
And had a really hunky Italian guy who made them. I apologise for the lack of photos of said Italian -he's gone now but trust me, he added to my dining experience.

Banana Smoothie -$4.70
Jason and I are little kids at heart and, as a result, smoothies are always our first choice of drink. We've gone through every one on the menu and, I can tell you, they are AH-MAH-ZING! They are the perfect mix of refreshing and fruitiness with just the right amount of yoghurt.

Eggs Benedict

Now, Strata has a sign on the lower floors of the info commons directing everyone up the elevators to my spacious, secret cove of wonderful food and coffee. Although I'm very happy that Strata is getting some recognition, I can't help feel as if my exclusive club has started recruiting hobos! Hobos that are are taking my lunch time seat!!

Mushrooms on Toast

Luckily for me (and Strata too, I suppose), the great increase of customers has not lowered the quality of their food and they have even brought out a new lunch menu for 2011 which gives me an excuse to um.. do very important research for my blog *ahem*

Big Breakfast

 As well as loving smoothies, we have also learned to enjoy the finer things in life. This means forgoing the freaky fried egg and toast from the downstairs cafeteria and stepping upstairs to poached eggs and grilled ciabatta which brings me to eggs benedict -my favourite breakfast! The grilled ciabatta was a very welcome variation of your average toast and the eggs were perfectly poached.

Eggs Benedict -not a very welcome variation
 Unfortunately, that was where the awesomeness ended. The bottom of my bread was completely burned and the hollandaise sauce was quite lemony. Still better than the cafeteria though -at least the addition of bacon made it better.

The mushrooms on toast and big breakfast were very well received. We are also fans of mushrooms and big portions. The mushroom sauce was creamy and well flavoured while the big breakfast was just awesome -full of everything you love and baked beans (I don't really love baked beans). This is definitely a good start to the day!

Garlic Bread $4.70
One of the things I'm thankful for is the fact that Strata have retained cheap garlic bread on their menu. One of my favourite memories as a poor student was coming up and ordering the cheapest thing, a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice textbook. Now that my job has afforded me a little spending money, I still enjoy a nice plate of perfectly toasted garlic bread while reading research articles -it helps take away the urge to pull my hair out.

Beef Nachos -$12.80
Beef nachos are also a favourite of mine -the prefect dish to share. There is also a vegetarian option but I haven't gotten around to try them yet. The fact that the salsa and mince were seperated confused me a little, however, as if felt as if they didn't belong together -one was cold and one was hot..

The upside is the quantity of cheese. I love cheese.

Chicken Quesidilla -$10.30
Filled with hummus, chicken, spinach and cheese and encased in a floury tortilla, the chicken quesidilla is a very lovely addition to their new lunch menu -you can't really go wrong with chicken and cheese. Jason was very taken with the salsa while I opted for the sour cream side.

Crispy Miso Chicken with Udon Noodles -$12.80
I have saved the best till last. This is, by far, my favourite dish on the new menu. While the chicken is more pan-fried than crispy, it is very juicy and tender on a bed of cold miso noodle salad. And the noodles. Wow! I cannot describe how much I love these noodles. They are lightly tossed in a miso sauce, marinated tofu strips and some sort of pickled vegetable. Look, I fail to find words to describe how amazing this combination is -you'll just have to try it for yourself.

Just to make it clear, we had these dishes over the course of a few weeks -it's OK, we aren't obese, we know how to pace ourselves. If you want to try these amazing dishes for yourself take the elevator up to level 4 at lunch time and follow the massive line. If you don't go to the University of Auckland, come have a visit and pretend you do!

Good luck finding a seat.

All recipes are on Petitchef


  1. As a former hospitality worker, I've got to say that toast should not have left the kitchen. Obviously someone was having a bad day. Also, Lucy, lets go to strata again. Good.

  2. Glad to hear you found a place on campus for good food and a place to unwind a little :)

  3. Sounds like the life of a student is surprisingly delicious Lucy! :D

  4. Well, I am a student too now, just passed my first assignment, but still behind with work and study, I accept your mango smoothie happily :-).