Saturday, September 29, 2012

Renaissance: MPA

'You liked the Hop Zombie? This is like that but perhaps bigger.'  This got my hopes up, but I don't think the MPA quite lives up to that billing.  It was missing something by comparison to (at least this year's version of) the Hop Zombie.  Not to say it was bad.  It was quite the hoppy treat.  They use Rakau hops, which is NZ local, and it produces a distinct flavour.  Maybe I am just used to US style IIPAs, and that was what felt a little off?  The solution, clearly, is to have another try.  I'm happy to do so.

An explosion of hops... sounds about right.

Nice redness coming through.

Renaissance notes on the MPA here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dogfish Head: 'Aprihop'

The guy at the Hamilton Wine Company tells me that, while Dogfish Head's Festina Peche has been selling well, people seem wary of the Aprihop.  That is enough to get me to try it, and I don't regret it.  Sure, it is kind of fruity.  There is no chance of not noticing that apricots were involved in this beer.  But it isn't sweet or sickly.  The flavours complement the hops (of which there are a lot. 50 IBUs, according to the Dogfish Head site).  It finishes cleanly, and has a nice after-taste.  I hope we can still get this as our summer arrives, but it is a seasonal release, so I wouldn't be surprised if it disappears from shelves as the US moves into fall/winter.

Oh yes it is.

Nice colour!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The River Kitchen

My brother was passing through town, so we hit up The River Kitchen for brunch.  Bright and early, so it was easy to waltz in off the street for a seat inside. (It filled up completely while we waited for coffee, however.  And the coffee was promptly delivered)

Coffee is good; well made and nicely decorated.

O gets baked eggs.  Served with nicely crisped bread, it is a generous serving, and he reports that is is good.

I go for eggs benedict with bacon.  The eggs are well cooked, the hollandaise is just about perfect. The bacon is perhaps not the best, but it isn't bad.

Service was efficient and the place is nice.  Its a bit cold for the outside seating, and you will be outside if you get there late (we arrived at about half past 8, Saturday morning). There were a good range of things on the menu, and not just your normal breakfast fare (although, we did go for pretty standard options).  I would happily come back.  It might be a while, just because I still have so many places I haven't been to once, but hey.

Also, their website is woeful:
07 839 2906

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Home Cooking!

This is broccoli slaw.  Apparently it is a thing.  It tastes pretty nice.  Recipe is a very basic (read: minor - basically fiddling with ratios in the dressing, and pureeing the onion there) adaptation of an old (2009!) one from Smitten Kitchen.

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 a red onion, finely sliced

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 red onion, puréed

Slice the broccoli finely.  It can be done by hand, but you could also machine it if lazy.  Toss it with onion/cranberries/ (1/2 of the) almonds.

Combine dressing ingredients (whisk, shake, whatever).  Grind salt/pepper into the dressing to taste.  Pour over broccoli. Top with remaindered almonds.  Enjoy.

We had it with a mushroom and venison stew, and crispy roasted agria potatoes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mavis & Co (Redux)

A quick lunch at Mavis & Co with M.  Counter food only, which was a little bit disappointing, but tasty savoury pastry will soon cheer one up.  I had a steak and cheese pie (such a kiwi, right?), while M had a sausage roll.  Both were served with a nice beetroot relish.

Unsurprisingly, Mavis & Co delivered.  Nice meat, great pastry, well cooked, well presented.  One day I will get here with camera for a more detailed review. I'm thinking breakfast might be a plan. Well, brunch.

Website is here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Momento Espresso

There are a few of these places around.  I like coffee shops which stay open late at night.  There is nothing worse than searching for a cafe that is open after 4pm.  Happily, the University and Victoria St versions of Momento are pleased to give me coffee later than that.  The Victoria St one will even feed you dinner and give you (local, tap or bottled) beer.  Good stuff.

Their coffee is good, but not great.  Their locations are super convenient.  Their service is nice.  Case in point. M and I had coffees and a slice of the carrot cake (pictured below) to share.  They cut the piece in half and brought it out on separate plates for us.  Very kind, easy for them to do (not much more work than the standard tactic of grabbing a second fork), and produces a good impression. This was at the University of Waikato version of the cafe.

The cake was clearly worth it.  Nice and moist, well spiced, good flavour on the icing.

 Caramel slice, from the Victoria St version. Nice biscuit crumb topping.  Good and rich.

Website is here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


One of the things I missed while in Australia was the craft beer scene in New Zealand.  Australia is catching up a bit now, but they are years behind NZ in the quality and variety of craft beers and small brewers.  In NZ, Emerson's is a leading name in delicious, delicious beer.  Some of them I have had since getting back are...

This is a special one, small batches, adventurous style.  The 2012 JP is everything the label above says it is, with the bonus of being tremendous.

 A simpler beer, this.  Basic porter, nice flavours, refreshing and dark. (Yes, I am calling a porter refreshing)

It hasn't really been the weather for the Weissbier, but I like the style too much to pass it up when I see one. Too often the southern hemisphere variations on weissbier miss the esters, or do not emphasise them enough.  Emerson's do not make that mistake.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Hamilton Farmers Market

Sundays 8am-Midday, at 204 River Rd.  Definitely worth a look.  Volare bakers set up shop there (get in early, their bread disappears fast).  Mavis & Co provide delicious snacks (the image below is one of theirs... a pecan scroll? Good stuff).  There are a couple of coffee carts, and cheap fresh coriander (amongst other things). Oh, and cheeses. Lots of cheeses.  Basically, there are plenty of reasons to get down here.
Mavis & Co scroll.

Eye fillet, courtesy of one of the farmers. Very tasty.

Washed rind cheese.  Buy some.

Website is here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rogue XSperience Imperial IPA

Do you like IPAs?  Do you like IIPAs?  If your idea of a great beer is a hop loaded, rich, strong (9.5%) treat, immaculately presented in a stoneware bottle, with all the depth of flavour that makes good ales good, then find yourself a bottle of this.  Oh man, its good.  For those of you local to Hamilton, the Hamilton Wine Company (on Victoria St) has it (or had it).