I love Wellington – despite having not lived there for 10 years I did grow up there and so it is home (although the comparatively tropical northern climes of both Sydney and Auckland have ruined me for its climate). A weekend in the city is never enough to do everything and see everyone so this time, we packed up for a week and headed south.
When going somewhere where you know lots of people there is inevidably a lot of eating at homes. My ex-boss once asked me where is good to eat out in Rotorua – no idea, we’re always at the in-laws. Back to Wellington, my Dad is also gluten free and even if he wasn’t Mum would never let anyone in her house starve 🙂 We had some great meals at home including a very moist sponge cake with fresh fruit. We did, however, have a few meals out – one of which is not even note worthy it was so average, but a couple of others worth mentioning.
We met some friends and had dinner and desert out on the town. The dinner was OK, but it was desert that was truly awesome. Uninspired by the single desert option at the dinner resturant we moved down to the Library on Courtenay Place. I gather it is pretty new, and to be honest it looks a bit dodgy from the road end – you enter a mostly unmarked doorway next to the Burger King and go up 2 flights of dodgy looking stairs… but since you can’t judge a book by its cover, you definitely shouldn’t judge a cafe by its doorway- it was great! True to the name it is FULL of books and cute eating nooks. There are even boardgames on the bar for you to borrow. Depsite being a Tuesday it was humming – that would be the 2 for 1 Tuesday night desert special in action. In a sign of sheer class the desert page is the first of the menu and best of all, of the 12 things on the desert menu 5 (yes, five) were gluten free. I had the Earl Grey Creme Brulee as I am a bit of a fan of the stuff and it was really good. It was small and came with a teeny serve of vanilla ice cream but they nicely complemented each other and was a perfect amount. The savory menu was similarly resplendent with gluten free options (7 out of the 12), and the cheeseboard can be gluten free on request. Having only tried one desert I will need to go back next time I am in town to try the others.
The other eating out highlight was a place I never would have gone to otherwise – suburban dining at its finest in Miramar of all places! Growing up Miramar never seemed to be on the road to where I needed to be, but we have friends with small child who live there so it was very convenient. They were also incredibly kid friendly 🙂 La Boca Loca is a tequeria, and are committed to local, sustainable and happily for us, gluten free. There was a section on their menu featuring the flour tortilla, but a bigger one featuring corn tortillas. In hind sight, I should probably have gone for the goat or the pulled pork (both looked great when everyone else’s arrived), but instead I went for the roasted squash and goats cheese enchillada. I had food envy – Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my meal but I ordered it thinking I had been missing uncooked soft cheeses owing to my temporary dietary retrictions in the soft cheese department so jumped when I was offered cooked goats cheese, but I wasn’t really. I was glad too that I ordered the optional side dish of fried potatoes (others at the table went for the more healthy rice and beans). The potatoes made the meal $20ish, but the 2 enchilladas would not have been enough for me. I can’t remember which of the desert options were gluten free as I was too transfixed by the Mexican Hot chocolate (fantastic!).
But the real food highlight looked like this:
Carrie’s gluten free carrot cake muffins and ginger slice
Carrie can be found selling all sorts of gluten free goodies at the Thorndon Market on Hill Street (in the carpark of the Anglican cathedral). I wandered over because it was the only stall which had cakey looking things and I thought I’d risk that she might have something gluten free- she had everything gluten free. I was genuinely stumped for choice as to what to buy. In the end I went for ginger slice and a carrot muffin (to share with my beloved of course!). Both were excellent although I would have happily scoffed the whole ginger slice had I not already eaten half the carrot cake muffin. The base was so delicious – it wasn’t your average base. It had fine orange peel in it, it was moist, and very moreish. We chatted for a while and while she herself is not gluten free, she started baking bread and sweets as a wholesaler to sell to cafes. She recognised that there isn’t a lot of choice when you go out and most of the stuff you buy in from major wholesalers is not that nice. In my humble opinion not enough cafes are buying her slices (there was a noticable lack of choice where I seemed to go), so if you are a cafe owner or even if you are just going farmers marketing on a Wellington Saturday go and check her out. I wonder if she does mail order….?