Life lessons, Brazilian business men and all the clothes (at once).

Foods

So its been a while. Like a really long while. And I kind of feel like a kid who’s dog ate their homework (because that totes really happens), full of excuses, a little bit of regret and a tone of catching up.

I have successfully landed in the world of Percy Pigs, endless cups of tea and stupidly cold temperatures (aka London), but for the last few weeks India has been my home. Although rich with colourful saris, motorbikes and cows (oh so many cows), what it lacks is wifi. Like seriously India, how’s a girl meant to blog? More importantly, how’s a girl meant to check her Facebook?! After my www-detox I’m back, and excited to start my post-adventure adventure along side some old friends (hey guys), and to share all that deep and meaningful crap I’ve picked up along my way around the world. (Think Eat Pray Love minus the Brazilian businessman).

So, lets start with the biggest lesson I learnt while traveling. Drumroll please…

I am happiest, and my body feels, looks and acts its best when I fuel it with clean, lean and fresh things.

Foods2

Do you feel let down? Like almost a year into writing health blog I should probably have figured this out already? Yeah, me too. But then again, putting the opposite of this personal mantra into action over the last 57 days proved to underline, highlight and completely scream its importance. The ramifications of taking even the smallest of health related back tracks completely shocked me. Even more shocking however, is the thought that there are people (and heaps of them) who live everyday feeling as tired, deflated, down and uncomfortable as I did – and it’s their choice. There is nothing like a hike around the world to make you reevaluate personal priorities and remind yourself of what really matters (to you). To me, it is health and healing myself through food.

Food was a huge part of our adventure. It was often the sole reason for stopping places (armed with scrappy handwritten lists of famous dishes). I attempted to eat healthy, to stick to my paleo ways, but so often that little voice in my head would mutter “oh but you’re on holiday”, or “how often will you be in Cambodia?” etc.

Damn that voice. Because I got sick.

Like hospital-visits-in-the-middle-of-the-night-trying-to-sign-language-symptoms-to-a-Vietnamese-doctor sick.

To put it simply, I learnt that no amount of special occasions, tasty sounding food or even ‘once in a lifetime’ trips are worth risking my health. And further more, that what I put into my body is the key to feeling great, and you won’t enjoy said occasions, food or trips if you don’t feel great.

Foods3

After two months of clogging up my delicate (and kinda temperamental) body with rich creamy curries, oodles of noodles and spice filled delicacies (can we say “bloated”), I’m seeing this next phase in my life as a chance to cleanse. To fill my life (and my stomach) with the right choices and get back to the energy levels, clear skin and healthy, happy feeling that I was striving for in New Zealand.

How many times do you (even when you’re not on holiday) head for a treat? Excuse bad health with the pre tense of a one off event? Well, from now on, for me, I have decided it isn’t worth it (and hopefully I can inspire you to do the same). Friday night? Well, I will think a little harder about Saturday morning. Going out for dinner? I’m yet to find a spot that doesn’t either have some scrummy veggies on the menu, or isn’t willing to swap things around to add some. Craving a treat? Load up with some toasted cashews (straight from the oven of course). Lets take this seasonal, whole food journey together. Lets explore recipes and celebrate ingredients together. Lets whinge about how hard it all is whilst looking smugly at those chowing down on Maccas… (you guessed it)… together. You and me baby – I can’t wait.

Foods4

But first things first, I’ve just arrived at my grans semi-detached cottage (down a leafy London lane – bliss) and I’m having myself a cup of green tea and a ruddy salad.

Oh, and putting on a jumper. And a pair of socks. And coat. Scarf. Gloves. Yes, I am indoors.

Foods5

Roller skates, endless coffee and our dirty little secrets.

TheFed

You know that feeling, the one when you just HAVE to have something otherwise you will probably die? Of course you do! Who doesn’t? Usually those feelings (for me) kick in with clothes. Or shoes. Or magazines (ok, ok, everything and anything). But, recently, my inner toddler was screaming for a tasty morsel at new Auckland digs, Federal Delicatessen.

Affectionately named The Fed, this New York style Jewish deli (in both appearance, menu and nifty waitresses) has been full to the brim since it opened a couple of months ago. It’s the latest in (somewhat celebrity chef) Al Brown’s food adventures.

It seems good old Al really has his finger on the pulse of the Auckland food scene, because everything he creates turns to gold. In just over two years he has created Depot (neighbour of The Fed), which has consistently featured in Metro’s Top 50 since (it also continues to be one of the hardest damn restaurants to actually get into). He followed this up with The Best Ugly Bagels, opened earlier this year, which fills a beautiful niche of fast, fun and fantastic food with a big name behind. It has also single-handedly gotten more of Auckland’s pretentious carb restricting dieters (yup, just like me) shoving more bagels in their gobs than ever before. Now comes this little, American influenced, beauty.

Despite its popularity, I have yet to hear of someone unable to be seated (except for myself and my fellow work mates, who decided we needed a breakfast meeting on the one day it was shut for renovations), most people seem to snag the elusive “last table”. Odd right? But good! Because you are always surrounded by a hum of excited diners, without the dreaded wait.

On the sun filled spring Sunday that we popped in, The boy and I got a little star struck, because Al Brown himself was actually serving! Yup, not in the kitchen, but bringing all the pastrami sandwiches and coffee refills (endless coffee – no jokes) to you. Seeing the chef behind Logan Brown (ones of New Zealand’s most fancy restaurants) in his jeans and converse, plonking plates on top of Formica table tops really set the tone. This place isn’t fine ding, it doesn’t pretend to be and it sure as hell doesn’t want to be. It wants to transport you from central Auckland to the heart of East Side New York, and serve you a piece o’ pie like mama used to make (not my mama though… she never really makes pie). And, oh boy, they deliver. I felt instantly like a pickle-eating regular when I walked in (and oddly half expected the uniform clad waitresses to be on roller skates).

TheFed4

I loved it (but not quite as much as the boy, he really, really, really loved it). It was (and is) the perfect brunch spot. I grabbed myself a “breakfast salad” (with haloumi, portobello mushrooms, poached eggs and dukkah), and the boy ordered a pastrami hash with poached eggs and a side of fries with cheese curd and gravy (such Paleo choices). My salad was simply fantastic. It helped that I had been on a 20k run that morning, so was literally starving, but I could probably eat six breakfasts and still polish off that dish. It was simple, but great. Dukkah has been sprinkled on every salad I’ve had since – who knew it could be the perfect lift, giving even the most lifeless leaves a spicy buzz. The boys hash was “hearty” and “morish” (yup, those words are right from his hash stuffed mouth). The fries? Well, they sure aren’t pretty, and are probably horrid for your waistline, but they are damn good (as he put these down in front of us, Al said “here’s your dirty little secret”).

TheFed2

So, I cannot say it enough, you should go. And don’t wait for the hype to die down, because the hype, the people and the vibe is all part of the fun.

Snap to it. It is the cheapest trip to New York around.

TheFed3

Images from my Instagram & The Fed Facebook page.

Best Ugly Bagel.

Despite being so full after our lunch at The Food Truck Garage, the boy and I couldn’t resist stopping in at Best Ugly Bagel. The smell quite literally drew us in as we walked back to the car. Once inside, we were enchanted with the open plan kitchen that meant you could actually watch everything happening. There is nothing I love more than seeing my food created in front of me and the production line of bagel creating process was so interesting to watch – who knew bagels could be wood fired?

We got a simple sesame bagel between us and picked the homemade hazelnut spread on top. They were a thinner bagel to any I have ever had and oddly lighter – and that worked for me as it didn’t have the stodgy feel that bagels I’ve had in the past do. And that spread, gorgeous! I need to go back to give some of the more meaty options a go (I’m thinking tomato, avocado and basil has my name on it), or perhaps a different bagel base, the boy liked the look of cinnamon and raisin (baked into the bagel).

They also sell packs of bagels at a damn good price. Props Al Brown. You are seriously picking up the food game ball in Auckland right now.

 Image

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.