Oh hi there
Oh hi there
A couple of years ago I set off an adventure across the internet in search of a place that would show me things to like about Auckland. The only one I found was Eat Here Now; a critical guide to Auckland restaurants, complete with gorgeous photography. EHN is just one of the creations of a gentleman named Simon Farrell-Green. He does plenty of things in addition, in fact he seems to pop up everywhere; in magazines, on the radio, and sometimes even in real life. Now he's written a book about artisan food producers from all over the country. It's called Food Heroes, and you can find it in stores from today. Before you head off on your own adventure to find it though, read this.
1. My day job, if you can call it that, is as a freelance writer for magazines, but I also run a food-reviewing website called Eat Here Now. I do struggle with the idea that I have a day job, though – I’m always slightly disbelieving of the fact that I get paid to do this.
2. I work at home, so my day typically starts with the paper and coffee (single-origin, plunger, from Coffee Supreme) – and ends with single malt (the peaty kind).
3. If you had an unexpected day off, what would you do?
Go to the family bach on the Coromandel, eat tua tua and go diving for scallops. It’s where I go to read and think.
4. Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know.
My after-school job was working at the local butcher’s shop, where I made mince, sausages and did the cleaning and the deliveries. Then I turned vegetarian for a while. Now I like meat again.
5. What's the one thing in Auckland you always have to show visitors from out-of-town?
I nearly always take them for a walk to Thorne Bay, via Little & Friday for a sausage roll or a tart, and the Takapuna Beach Store for ice cream – I’m obsessed with the salted caramel. Piha is great and I do try to get out there too, but I love the surprise of Thorne as you clamber around the rocks, the gentle wash of the waves and the view of Rangitoto just over there. It never fails to blow people away who aren’t from here.
6. What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in Auckland for less than $10?
Can I have two? My regular Saturday breakfast is a Croque Monsieur from La Cigale: heart attack on a plate, all white sauce and white bread and cheese and ham. It is fantastic. I’m also slightly too fond of the Shanghainese breakfast dumplings from Little Fatty in Mt Albert. $4 for four. Heaven.
7. If you were an artisan food producer, what would you produce?
Butter. I’m obsessed with it, and I can’t believe a country with this much dairy has such average butter. (Lewis Road Creamery is the rare exception.)
8. I have $20 and I’m hungry and it’s a beautiful day in Auckland. Guide me, in three sentences.
Get in your car and drive to Glen Innes. Go to Marsic Brothers, and buy yourself the best fish and chips in Auckland. This is where it gets critical: drive as expediently as you possibly can to Mission Bay beach and sit on the seawall – you could get your greasies from The Fish Pot, but it’s not as good. Eat your fish and chips, and marvel at this town.
If you're hungry now, like I am, then it might be worth noting that Simon is popping up at a Farro Fresh near you in the next couple of days, and he's bringing his talented artisan food-producing friends. There will be food and books - what more could you possibly want? Find out more here.
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