The Occidental Belgian Beer Café

25 January 2015

Don't let the name fool you - this is where we had the best breakfast while in New Zealand. Okay, so the others were either at the hotel, McDonald's, or cold sandwiches we ordered the day prior, but really their waffles were good.

This was our last meal before our afternoon flight back to Singapore, so it made for a very sweet ending to a really wonderful trip.

Hot Chocolate (NZD 5 each)

A very comforting drink to have on a cold and wet morning (which is the weather we had that day).

French Toast (NZD 17)
Traditional ciabatta coated with egg and cinnamon, served with bacon, bananas, and topped with maple syrup

This dish wasn't bad, but I would preferred it to be a bit sweeter (adding more maple syrup did not help). It seemed to lack something, but I could not pinpoint what exactly.

Fresh Belgian Waffles (NZD 14.50)
Grilled bananas, bacon, maple syrup

The star of the show - it was worth the chilly and drizzly trek to the restaurant.

Kushi Japanese Kitchen & Bar

20 January 2015

One useful resource for finding affordable places to eat was the Metro Eat's article "The 100 Best Cheap Eats in Auckland 2013." This was how we found out about Kushi which, luckily for us, was just across the street from the main entrance of our hotel, CityLife Auckland.

Prawn Tempura (NZD 5.95)

Teriyaki Chicken (NZD 11.95)

Yakiniku (NZD 11.95)

Both the Teriyaki Chicken and the Yakiniku are Kushi Plates that come with rice, salad, two pieces sushi, croquette, and miso soup.

We loved our lunch - especially the Yakiniku Kushi Plate. And for the price, it was definitely a pretty good deal.

CityLife Auckland

15 January 2015

On TripAdvisor, CityLife is ranked higher than the Crowne Plaza, but both Earl and I prefer the latter to the former.

The main draw is that this hotel has a really great location - it's right on Queen Street so there are a lot of shops, restaurants, and even two supermarkets that are all an extremely short walk from the hotel.

There's also a bus stop right outside where you can catch the Link Bus (to get around the city) and the Airbus Express (for those taking the airport shuttle).

And while both the room and the bathroom were clean, they felt a bit cramped. The bathroom, for example, had a heated towel rail, but no other towel bars in the room. I prefer having more space to hang the towels (and not have to fold them just so they fit).

One huge negative for Earl was the fact that they did not provide free wi-fi. It's NZD 15 for 24 hours which irritated him to no end as he had to work while on vacation.

There's no direct flight from Queenstown to Singapore so we had to spend an extra night in Auckland before catching our return flight. This was the reason we needed another hotel and though CityLife's room rate was slightly higher, I wanted to try it out thinking its location would be more convenient. In hindsight, if we had to do it all over again, I'd stick to the Crowne Plaza.

Fergburger & Fergbaker

10 January 2015

According to CNN, "New Zealand's Fergburger may be the best burger joint on the planet." Hmmm... I wouldn't go that far - it's a good burger, but it's not über spectacular.

When we arrived, the line stretched all the way to Fergbaker next door. Good thing service that day was fast and we didn't have to wait too long for our food. We ordered the Ferburger with Swiss Cheese (NZD 12.50) along with their Onion Rings (NZD 5.50), both of which were large enough to share.

Unfortunately, I was rather hungry and forgot to take pictures. Tip on the onion rings: the dish by itself was quite ordinary, but dipped in the aioli mixed with ketchup and it tastes so much better.

I wish I had a larger stomach and more time in the day to eat as there were so many things I wanted to try in this bakery. Unluckily for me, pregnancy makes you bloated faster and there's indigestion to contend with (small meals are the way to go), so I ended up with just one pie. So sad.

Pork Belly & Apple Pie (NZD 6.90)

My sister told me to order this as she liked it better than the burger served next door, but I was not too fond of it. I should have ordered something else like the Prawn and Chorizo Pie which is what I really wanted.

I would still recommend that visitors to Queenstown make a pit stop at both Fergburger & Fergbaker, as you can get a good meal at a reasonable price.

Vudu Cafe

05 January 2015

Research definitely pays off - Earl and I loved everything we ate!

(Blog writing is so much easier when you can sum things up in one sentence.)

We needed to have an early lunch, but didn't want to be too full as we were about to go on a four hour tour where toilets aren't easily accessible. So we decided to just share everything and it turned out to be a great idea as the soup alone was good for two.

They also serve breakfast so if we're ever in the area again, I plan to skip the hotel buffet and just head here.

Roasted Parsnip & Parmesan Soup (NZD 12)

Bacon & Mushroom Carbonara with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan (NZD 18)

Bakewell Tart (NZD 4.50)

Happy New Year everyone!