foodie

Restaurant Review: Francesca’s Italian Kitchen

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Last night S and I dined at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen as per a good friend of ours’ recommendation. She said it was excellent so we had to try it for ourselves. And overall, it was pretty spectacular!

Several things stood out: the slow-cooked beef (housemade) gnocchi (probably best in town), the tolerable noise level (I am so used to dining at Italian restaurants where I can’t even hear myself), the artsy pasta guide on the inner bathroom doors (who doesn’t like a good read whilst on the toilet), and the physical location of the place (I love anything close to New Regent!).

And of course it wouldn’t be a review if I’m not a slight bitch about it so… We ordered polenta fries as a starter, they were forgotten, and brought to us midway through our mains (yeah, yeah, first world problems). Speaking of polenta fries, they were good but not as amazing as The Bicycle Thief’s. In my opinion, those are much better. As for the pappardelle ragu, I think Cafe Valentino does theirs better, and the pumpkin brûlée, well, it was pretty unique in flavour but also highly diabetic. In other words, too much sugar (you know, even for a brûlée).

Despite the grumble, I’d rate our experience an 8/10!

Love, Like Everything Else In Life, Should Be A Discovery…

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”
~E.A. BucchianeriProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
My picture perfect man <3
Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Fish’n’chips, Kiwi as!
Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Balancing out the grease and chocolate…
Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk1 preset
S gifted me this beautiful ring for my 25th birthday, it spells love in braille and was handmade in Ohara, the rural Japanese village I lived in for one and a half years *love heart eyes*Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetMy latest Spring project with my little munchkins. Are you blossoming?

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Dr. Feelgood Frozen Pops.

A mouthwatering popsicle guaranteed to impress your nutritionist AND your snobby food critic mate. After seeing Dr. Feelgood’s Facebook post last week about their products now available at New World Fendalton, I forced S to drop everything and to ASAP take me there. I had fallen in love with Dr. Feelgood some three years ago in Auckland and had missed their presence in Christchurch ever since. Simply unable to wait, we sampled two of their new popsicle range in the supermarket parking lot right there and then (wink wink). And the verdict? Oh mama mia. They were delicious. As far as I know, there is nothing quite like Dr. Feelgood on the NZ food market. Yes, there’s nice-creams for better-for-you ice-cream alternatives but seriously, there’s only so much coconut a gal can take. I love Dr. Feelgoods new premium range because their creamy pops are made with renowned Lewis Rd pure organic milk and all of their pops are of completely natural ingredients. So if you’re looking for a guilt-free treat (like I am always) look no further! More info HERE.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

Only Kindness Makes Sense. Everything Else Is Excruciating.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Breakfast goals: freshly baked croissants and walnut sourdough from BELLBIRD Baked Goods.  Disclaimer: although the watermelon was delicious, it was TEN bucks! Holy moly, eating food-bloggy ain’t pocket-friendly! Who else is counting down to Summer?
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Godley Head desu. Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
We were freezing, our smiles are fake.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Last week I opened the pantry in the morning to grab muesli and happened to spot this cutie pootie thing! A boiled egg holder (yes, such a thing exists) that I spontaneously bought (precisely for it’s cutie pootie aspect) during my Japan days. Take.Me.Back.Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Pimping out my work locker *love heart eyes*Processed with VSCO with c3 presetVegan and gluten-free dessert from The Lotus Heart *more love heart eyes*

We Will Love

How is it July already?!
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
The best way to spend a Saturday morning in Christchurch? Utopia Ice with your lover.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Followed by a romantic stroll through Mona Vale , of course. Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Is it just me or is this the weirdest thing ever? A duck in a tree?! Now you don’t see that everyday (or do you?)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Another angle…Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Even in winter there are roses!Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
His and hers, Nandos.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Soroosh’s super cool photography.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
My favourite dinner is breakfast. And my favourite person doesn’t mind (yay).
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Packed his bento like a good Japanese wifey <3

What Do You Treasure?

unnamedunnamed (1)
I was SO nervous!
unnamed (2)
Finally in Christchurch *love heart eyes*
unnamed (3)
First stop, Black & White Coffee Cartel where a little printed sign advised us there’d be no avocado (two words which should never be together) this season. Alas, our bagels were delicious and S particularly liked the NZ bacon nomnom.
unnamed (4)unnamed (8)
Next, one for the bucket-list. Though rather simple, I had always dreamt of visiting the Riccarton Farmers’ Market with bae. It is truly one of my most favourite places in Christchurch.
unnamed (5)
If tea is a hug in a cup, porridge is a cuddle in a bowl, I say. Alll better. Full tummies and grateful hearts. I got the rsf, V, and df option and S ordered the spiced apple, toffee sauce, and walnut crumble porridge.
unnamed (6)
When S sent the above photo to his family group chat, his brother asked if that was an egg atop my porridge…Hehe nope! Just honey and yoghurt.
unnamed (7)
unnamed (9)
Things have been pretty surreal, neither of us can actually believe S is finally here. Last night we dined at Tutto Bene. The food was good and the company even greater. We had a lovely French waitress and S mentioned the wonderful paradox of having a French waitress, working at an Italian restaurant in New Zealand serving a table of Persian, Kiwi, and American diners. How beautiful is that? Unity in diversity.
unnamed (10)

When A Woman Becomes Her Own Best Friend Life Is Easier

Image (3)
Except my momma is my best-friend. Here’s a lovely green-smoothie bowl recipe I made for her and I earlier this week: simply blend 1 banana, 1 kiwifruit, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt and 1 tsp cinnamon until smooth then top with favourite toppings. When I sent this photo to Soroosh, as I often do of my random daily snaps, he said: “tell your momma the days of smoothie-bowls are over, I’m coming for it!” Yep, don’t blame him. Twas delish.
Image (2)
In addition to purelyinstagramworthyflowers, I topped them with my homemade gluten-free muesli which is basically a concoction of mixed nuts and seeds, buckwheat puffs, brown rice puffs and quinoa flakes – all individually bought and mixed together.
Image-2
Posted this fatty on Instagram. My friend Chris commented: “Garfield, is that you?”
Image (5)
If you haven’t read Flow magazine, you’re missing something big. So lovely, so delicate, and so inspiring. Image-1 (2)
BearLion Foods have the best salads in Christchurch. This is a fact. Pictured is a mix of two wholesome vegetarian salads bought on my to work from the Riccarton Bush Saturday Market and enjoyed on my lunch-break in sunny Sumner. Image-1
When it comes to organic food stores, I lack serious self-control. I want to buy everything. The trouble is, I can hardly afford one thing! I think this was $6 something. ARGH why so expensive? Alas, it was heavenly. So good that I recreated it myself the next day ;) Simply warm 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tsp raw cacao powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, and some orange zest in a small pot on medium heat. Once hot, stir in 1-2 tsp of honey or coconut sugar.
Image (1)Image-2 (1)
Image (7)Image-1 (4)
Heaven is a place on earth. UTOPIA ICE is simply the best. I mean come on, where else can you get 5+ vegan options including: passionfruit coconut ice-cream and raspberry and saffron sorbet?!
Image (4)
Sorry for the copyright Flow Magazine but I just couldn’t agree more! “Coming out of  a period of scarcity, we have now reached a point where we have too many things, and it’s damaging our health.” True dat. Image-1 (1)Pad Thai selfie from my family’s all-time favourite: Zab Thai.
Image (6).png
In case you missed my infamous bathroom selfies with the glorious towel backgrounds.

Spoiler Alert: Love is worth everything, everything.

To help me cope with missing Soroosh, I started a NZ Bucket List for us to work through come June. Some of the options are luckily local and frequent. Like, the Saturday Farmers’ Market which I have always been in love with.
Image (1)Image (2)
Nothing but organic.
Image-2
My dad ordered something from the Bacon Brothers which came with a hug as well! LOL you should’ve seen his face! Such a character, this guy!
Image (3)
Mmmm! Remember Mandy, my ice-cream queen? Well, her and her partner don’t just make ice-cream – they make heaven: gluten-free waffles with coconut whipped cream, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate drizzle.
Image-1 (1)Image (4)
You know you’re cheap/on-a-diet when you share one waffle between 3 hehe >.<
Image (5)
Sunday morning Baha’i children’s classes.
Image-1 (2)
Today’s virtue was “justice”. Above, equality is demonstrated with a popcorn filled “scale”. And below, one “life-raft” for all. Image (6)
Last but not least, the rest of my brother-in-law’s grandmother’s Black Boy peaches stewed for alongside my ritual morning muesli.
Image-1Happy week y’all! <3

If You Take A Flower In Your Hand And Really Look At It, It’s Your World For A Moment

The night before I was to be leaving Soroosh in Nashville, he read me a children’s book to calm my nerves. You may know it, apparently it’s quite popular but at the time, I didn’t. The Kissing Hand as the title suggests is a kiss in a hand gently pressed on its recipient’s face.
Image-1
I recently received this kiss in the mail. Image-1 (4)
The first time I experienced origami (the art of paper folding) was in Japan where a coworker asked an entire class to make a paper crane, write their name on it and later stand and declare: “this crane was made by (insert name here)” as a way of introducing themselves. I remember silently panicking for the students who wouldn’t know how to do it. Turns out I had no idea. Every student made a crane. And they made them fast!
image
Image (4)
You know how they say only in hindsight can you realise the true value of a moment? Well, I remember feeling extremely homesick and out of my comfort zone that very make-a-crane day. However, if it wasn’t for that unique experience, I wouldn’t have been able to pass on the art to my new students today.
Image-1 (6)Image (6)
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis (Coffee. He means a cup of coffee!)
Image (1)
You know round Saturn peaches? Well, turns out they have pretty inappropriate looking nectarine cousins and here’s one of them.
Image-1 (7)
More work antics….I love my job!
Image (5)