Sunday 18 November 2007

Jafa Cafe

We were very happy to hear that Tim and Jon (who previously owned Benediction) had opened up a cafe at the far end of Richmond Road called Jafa. We headed along last weekend to check it out.

The staff set the expectation with us up front that they were ridiculously busy and that food was taking about an hour to come out. This was fine with us, and I really appreciate being told this as we were going into the cafe and not finding out until after we had ordered. Setting expectations is so important, it's easy to do, but so many places fail in this regard.

True to the form of what we came to expect from Benediction, the food, coffee, service and overall vibe were great. There were a number of the old favourites on the menu, but there were also a few new entries or a slight twist onthe old ones. I went for eggs benedict on a kumara mash and this was beautifully done. I can't recall what Jane ordered, but that's not as huge surprise as I tend to focus on my meal... but I recall that she did enjoy it.

I would definitely go back, and in fact Jane has gone back there for brunch today with Trudy. Somehow I think their brunch might be a bit better than what I cobbled together.

Altar Cafe

Altar Cafe in Mt Eden has been one of our more recent finds. We have been here twice within the last month for brunch and had a great experience both times. The menu sports more than the same-old same-old brunch items. On the first occasion I had corned beef hashcakes with the equivalent of eggs benedict on top, and on the second occasion I went for a Nicoise sytle salad. Service was neither slow nor sloppy (and we're very picky when it comes to good service). The quality of the food has also been consistently good as has the coffee (Allpress).

Thursday 15 November 2007

Summer, Salsa, Sausages

I am so delighted that we've finally been blessed with a stretch of BBQ weather. What a joy! I don't think I've lit any of the gas hobs for weeks! The BBQ is seeing so much action, even the weta's haven't found time to rest on it for once!

I've been enjoying making delicious fresh salsas of late. Mostly tomato, coriander (which I used to hate and now adore), wine vinegar, olive oil, chillis and seasoning. Last night I removed the chillis from the mix as Simon had doused the potatoes in chilli before introducing them to the bbq, and then added avocado and switched Lemon juice for my usual wine vinegar. Oh my word, how delicious, and beautiful to boot! (No photos sorry).

Asparagus grilled directly on the bbq is another of my favourites at the moment. So easy and so tasty. Of course, in my opinion its not often that asparagus isn't tasty.

Back to coriander for a moment - I am indebted to the Hay Hay it's Donna Day bloggers for introducing me to the Donna Hay magazine. I have recently started purchasing this and was excited to find her simple (embarrasingly simple - one of those 'now why didn't I know that' moments) instructions for storing fresh herbs. I love having herbs growing in the kitchen, but invariably coriander, whether growing or picked, wilts and yellows on me within a couple of days of buying it. So this time I followed the Donna Hay instructions - wrapped it in a damp paper towel, sealed it back on its tray in glad wrap, and proceeded to use one bunch of coriander for over a week and a half - when it was still succulently green and crisp and delicious. And now I've run out. Argh!