Good Eats Down Under
September 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
My time living in the Southern hemisphere is quickly coming to an end. In a few weeks I’ll be heading back to the US, and moving to the beautiful and very foodie friendly city of San Francisco. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Before I go, I thought I’d recap some of the good eats and great restaurants I encountered in my travels.
First stop: Wellington!
There are many hidden culinary delites to be found in Wellington. The coffee culture alone is worth a trip. I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker in the states because it tends to have a strong effect on me, but coffee down under is OUT OF CONTROL. One flat white, and I’m wide awake for days. But again, I’m very sensitive to it’s powers. Anyhoo, let’s get down to business…
It’s about a 20 minute drive out of Wellington proper, into the Lower Hutt, but it is well worth it. As one of the many Americans dying for a taste of home, this authentic, family run Mexican restaurant was such a treat! Andreas, the owner, is as friendly and colorful as they come, and he will make sure your drink is never empty. They have a simple menu of burritos, taco, tamales, and quesadillas. Everything on the menu is worth a shot. My favorite are the steak tacos and homemade chips and guacamole!
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen
Boy was this a fantastic find. It’s in the heart of Wellington surrounded by movie theaters, bars, and shops. It’s the only place in town that I found with some real down-home Southern cooking. They specialize in New Orleans and Mexican dishes. It’s probably the best burrito you can get in town, and the fried chicken, served with gravy and dirty rice was an indulgence I may have partaken in one too many times. It’s also just a great vibe inside. The walls are covered in colorful pictures, paper decorations, and various quirky items. This is a must see (and eat) if you ever make it out that way.
For finer, upscale dining, I recommend Matterhorn which is located on artsy Cuba Street. Soft dim lighting, dark wood, and modern ski lodge accents make this place a cool, calm, and sexy environment to have a nice dinner, or even just a few after work drinks. The unique cocktails are worth a trip alone. On my last visit, I had a fillet with oxtail and bone marrow butter. Sounds interesting I know, but it was a taste sensation. Wow, I really just said taste sensation.
Next stop, Queenstown, NZ…
Burgers have been a huge thing I have missed from the states. Southern California especially makes an amazing cheeseburger, so I was really hankering for one. I was pretty unimpressed with most burgers in Wellington, but when I popped down to the South Island for a long weekend in Queenstown, I was told to go check out Ferg Burger. It’s a quirky little joint in the middle of town with colorfully named menu items like The Cod Father, Sweet Bambi, and the Bun Laden. As you can see in the picture, the burgers are HUGE! So if you aren’t ready to eat half your weight in burger, try splitting one. The fries and homemade onions rings are very tasty as well.
The Cow may be tucked into an alleyway in Queenstown, but luckily any cab driver will know where to take you. It is an institution in this small ski town and a unique dining experience. The decor is almost like a medieval pub with its stone walls and wooden beams. They serve delicious pizza, pasta, and homemade garlic bread. Now we may have been a little bit under the influence when we ate there, but we all swear that we ate the greatest garlic bread we had ever had in our lives that night. So, yeah… 5 intoxicated people agree: Good eats.
And now we move on to Sydney….
When I got to Sydney, I knew I would have a bit more options in terms of dining. I immediately started doing some research, and looked up Sydney’s Top Pizza. On multiple sites I came across Lucio Pizzeria. This place is hidden in a small neighborhood off of Oxford street, but was worth the search. It’s a compact little restaurant with a wood-burning oven and a patio that seats about 40 people, even though it should only really fit about 25. We ordered the signature item, The Lucio. It’s half margarita pizza, and they fold the other side in half into a calzone filled with ricotta and ham. It’s pretty much a party in your mouth. I can honestly say it’s one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. This is an imperative meal to have on a trip to Sydney.
This is an upscale restaurant located in Circular Quay overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. If the view wasn’t enough, the decor is so beautiful and modern and classy. Dark wood on the walls, everything candlelit, and big glass windows overlooking the bay. We were seated out on the patio, where they conveniently have blankets at every seat so you won’t get too cold. I think only the girls were bold (and cold) enough to actually wear the blankets at the table. The menu is the usual upscale fare of delicious seafood entrees, and mains that include gnocci, duck, pork belly, beef tenderloin, prawns, etc. They also had a great cocktail menu. We all had the Circular Quay Iced Tea, a signature take on the Long Island Iced Tea. Needless to say, it totes got me tipsy. The view was great, the food was was great, and boy is that place romantic. Fellas, take your ladies their, pronto.
I just recently ate at this charming Italian restaurant. They have a large long table going through the whole restaurant that extends all the way to the open kitchen in the back. The menu can only be found on a chalkboard on the wall, and written entirely in Italian. After trying to listen to the waiter explain the entire menu to me in broken English, I picked out the keyword “pork” and went with that. It was beautiful pork chop served over apples and celeriac and some sort of leafy green. Ohhhh it was so awesome. We were all very happy with our meals, and the service was really friendly.
Does anyone have any awesome restaurant recommendations before I leave Sydney??