Tuesday, February 18, 2014

See you in March!

You will be glad to know that our wedding went off without a hitch.

That evening at the Langham
And that we're off to Thailand now.

Note to self: wedding dress = complimentary upgrades
See you in March!

I promise to post photos of the wedding itself when we get the nice ones from our photographer =)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Zomato and the First Giveaway!

Having to decide on a place to eat is a real tough choice for my co-workers and me. As a group, we would take up to 20 minutes of precious eating time deciding on which has the best food, the most reasonable prices and, most importantly, doesn't require a lot of walking. It's often quite hard to come to a consensus and the last requirement means that we often just end up going to the same few restaurants.

Jason and I often face a similar dilemma when we are in an unfamiliar suburb and are bombarded with enticing menus on numerous shop fronts. This usually involves us walking up and down the street trying to judge the restaurant quality from the footpath because once we set foot inside, it would be impolite to leave. Our decisions have mostly proved successful but, from time to time, we find ourselves regretful that we were over charged for a less than average meal.

I imagine that a similar thing happens to many other people, which is why I'm so happy to share with you a new online restaurant guide called Zomato

I first discovered Zomato through Easy Food Hacks and was delighted by the comprehensive list of Auckland restaurants on their database. There is also dedicated team who roam Auckland looking for new restaurants and menu changes to ensure only the most up to date information is on the website. This also ensures that the little family owned restaurants and eateries also make it onto the foodie radar!

Their simple user interface makes navigating the website a breeze and there is even a Zomato app so you can look up restaurants whenever the mood strikes -which is quite often for me. Important information such as the food hygiene rating, cost for two people and opening hours accompany the very well thought out reviews.

Since joining Zomato, I have mostly used the smartphone app as I'm usually out wandering when hunger strikes. As such, the most useful tool for me is being able to search for eateries within my direct vicinity (re: minimal walking). 

I, along with many other foodies, contribute regularly to Zomato by adding reviews and photos (see the Lucyeats profile here). They are constantly being checked for authenticity so any false reviews written by competitors can be weeded out.

And Now for the Giveaway...

I'm hoping that, by now, you are rushing off to Zomato to make an account so you too, can discover new eateries and connect with other food enthusiasts. To make this a little more enticing for you, the great team at Zomato are giving away a $25 voucher to Urban Turban, an Indian restaurant offering up Bombay style dishes on Auckland's North Wharf.

To be in the draw to win, you must do the following:

1. Create a Zomato profile and follow my profile, Lucyeats (you can do this using your email address or your existing Facebook account)

2. Email lucyeats@gmail.com with the answer to this question: "of the restaurants I have reviewed, which one has the highest rating?"

The winner will be announced here on March 10th 2014 and be contacted by a member of the Zomato team.

I hope to see you on Zomato soon!

EDIT: the method of answering (note 2) has been changed from private message to email. Don't worry if you have already tried messaging me - I have got your details already :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles

As I've been very bad at keeping everyone updated on wedding preparations, you may be surprised to know that Jason and I are getting married next weekend! The countdown to the big day has been relatively calm as we have had a long time to plan. There's really not much left to do except make up the wedding favours, finish our vows and get through the rehearsal next week!

As preparation for the wedding, Jason and I have been taking dance lessons from a lady at work. Let's call her Ms Spectacular. Ms Spectacular and her partner have been teaching us the waltz for about 5 weeks now and, in my humble opinion, we are getting pretty good.

Usually meetings and other post work events make it hard for us to head home, so we have been stopping off at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles for dinner before heading off to the dance hall. 

Chilled Sweet Green Bean Soup and Coconut Sago Soup - $4.00 each
Some co-workers and I first discovered this place during a site visit and wandered in mostly because it was the closest eatery to where we had parked. We headed in about 11am to discover that it was already humming with customers and it only seemed to get busier as the day went on. I was thrilled that the drinks fridge had what my coworkers called "weird" drinks like green bean soup and coconut sago soup. Both were refreshing, sweet and a lot nicer than your average fizzy drinks!

Sauteéd Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce - $14.00
I ordered the sauteéd eggplant which came in a delicious garlic sauce that was also spicy and sour. The pieces of eggplant, lightly coated in cornflour, were very tender and creamy which went perfectly with the rice.

Sweet and Sour Chicken - $16.00
I took a sneaky pic of my colleague's sweet and sour chicken, which I'm told was quite nice. The fluoro orange colour put me off trying it though..

Kung Fu Beef Noodles - $9.80 (small)
I returned with Jason, a few days after, where we tried the Kung fu Beef Noodles and a plate of Beef and Celery Dumplings. The hand pulled noodles were wonderfully springy and the hot and sour soup packed a real punch. The portion size was very generous and, for a mere $1.00 more, you could order the large size!

Beef and Celery Dumplings - $12.00
We were pretty much full after the noodles but we forced a few of these dumplings down and had the rest for lunch the next day. The dumplings were adequate -pretty much like any other dumpling shop.

Kung Fu Goji Berry Lamb Noodles - $10.80 (small)
When we came the following week, the restaurant had a massive dinner crowed and we were seated upstairs where we could look out onto Dominion Road. Our server recommended the Kung Fu Goji Berry Lamb Noodles which we found to be a bit bland -apart from the salt, coriander was pretty much the only other flavour we could taste. The noodles, as usual, were very nice and chewy while the meat was tender but I think the spicy noodles are a lot nicer!

Deep Fried Chinese Pan Breads - $6.00
The fact that the server looked at me funny when I ordered this should have been my first clue but its Chinese name was just too appealing for me not to. Who can resist 黄金三角? In English, this translates to "golden triangles" which, trust me, sounds a lot sexier in mandarin. I quite liked the spices that were used (I could taste cumin, fennel, chili, salt and sugar) but we only got through half of it before deciding that we were sick of eating bread.

Don't think I would order this again..

Sauteéd Potato, Capsicum and Eggplant - $14.00
We thought that the Sauteéd Potato, Capsicum and Eggplant dish was quite a nice item for vegetarians and had a great sauce. However, we couldn't get past the oiliness of the dish and the amount of cornflour that was stuck around the vegetables -especially the eggplant. 

The service was a lot more rushed this on upon our last visit and we felt pressured to make our order and trying to pay at the end of the meal was a bit of a mission. Even though the restaurant was super busy, we received our meals within 20 minutes of ordering. 

After weighing up its pros and cons, Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles is somewhere I would definitely return to. I don't mind the fast paced feel of the restaurant as it reminds me of restaurants back in China and their hand pulled noodles are to die for! 

Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles can be found at 636 Dominion Rd, Balmoral, Auckland

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