Brunching Adventures: Sweet Vanilla KItchen

When looking for a place to live, distance to the nearest coffee/ brunch place is a key factor for me.

Imagine my delight then, while exploring the streets of Lower Hutt, I stumbled upon Sweet Vanilla Kitchen. So one Saturday morning we decided to venture there to try it out.

sweet vanilla kitchen lower hutt

After ordering food and coffee, we decided to take one of the tables in the back room. Little did we know this was where the kids toys were located and although good for keeping children occupied bad for those wanting a calm and quiet meal.

sweet vanilla kitchen

The drinks came quick and we were left to talk about the art on the walls and what room in the converted house we thought this use to be (I still think the lounge). The food finally arrived and boy did it look good. Ad had ordered the daily special of pancakes with banana and a salted caramel sauce. The pancakes were amazingly fluffy and the sauce very rich (maybe too rich for that time of the morning).

salted caramel pancakes

I had ordered off the menu board and went for sweet as well. Banana bread with fruit compote and greek yogurt. It was something a little different from what I normally get but I was not disappointed at all. The only slight change I would have made is serving the fruit warm rather then cold.

Banana bread

The food selection was large and varied (mince on toast everyone) and in my perspective seemed to have something for everyone.

Sadly we didn’t end up finding a place in Lower Hutt, but we did finally manage to find one in Petone, which offers even more choice for brunch!

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Brunching Adventures: The Most Amazing Waffles

This July, #Brunchclub headed to the heart of Wellington city, to the understated Ti Kouka Cafe.

flat white ti kouka

Having walked down Willis Street countless times, I must have passed by Ti Kouka more times then I can imagine. However, I never thought of heading up those stairs at all. But that’s the good thing about #brunchclub, you dine places you otherwise wouldn’t, (or at least I find).

Ti Kouka Cafe Ti Kouka

Having checked out the menu before going, I found that a lot of the dishes seemed..well… on the healthy side, or at least as close to as you could get. Ti Kouka cater for a variety dietary needs and foods like polenta feature. One dish in particular caught my attention.. Waffles!

Avocado on toast

Avocado on toast

This #brunchclub I was craving something sweet, so imagine my dismay when I arrive and read the menu, to find NO WAFFLES!  As we waited for others to arrive, our drinks order were taken and quickly brought to the table. There was no rush to order food which turned out to be a good thing since after 45 minutes only 6 of us had shown up! That’s not a bad thing as it meant everyone was able to join in conversations and the staff were more then helpful when we asked to move away chairs.

Potato Rosti with eggs

Potato Rosti with eggs

When it came time to order, our waitress informed us there were two specials,a potato Rosti (which I had last #Brunchclub) and… WAFFLES. Not just any waffles but the most delicious waffles ever. With Vanilla Mascarpone, Hazelnut Meringue and Maple syrup, It was gone much to quick for my liking.

waffles ti kouka

But hopefully the next #Brunchclub will bring waffles just as delicious

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It’s not the size that counts but the way you use it

While I have my own list of things I want to do, so does the fiancé.

And while in Tallinn, Estonia he got to tick something off his own list. Fire a gun (or 4)

gun show

So on a cold morning, we caught a tram across the city to The Tactical Shooting Centre. It was a good thing we left early since yep, we got lost and after wandering onto a base of some sort (with men who had big guns of their own) they were thankfully able to point us in the right direction.

Arriving, we were led into a room where we were given a safety brief. Number one rule of gun handling… Don’t point it at yourself or others..

shooting tallinn target practise

We got the basic package which consisted of 4 different guns, a pistol (which Ad was better at using), a revolver (that was my favourite), a pump action shot gun and a desert eagle (supposedly the most powerful pistol in the world).

revolver tallinn Shotgun tallinn

Was it fun? Yes Would I do it again? for 50euros probably not, but like I said it was fun andit was an experience and that’s the main point. And I figure with all the chocolate factories and other random excursions I dragged Ad to during our trip, I should at least do something he wanted.

Ad (left) Mine (right) His was done with the assistance of a laser pointer

Ad (left) Mine (right)
His was done with the assistance of a laser pointer

We organised this excusion by emailing in advance and booking a time but you can find them at

Shooting range in Tallinn
Taktikalise laskmise keskus OÜ
Kopli 103, 11711 Tallinn

 

zaida brunch wellington

Brunching Adventures: Flat Whites at Zaida’s

Another month means another #Bruchclub Wellington and this time it was held at Zaida’s in College Street.

zaida brunch wellington

The last time I was here was 5 years ago and I knew it under a different name. Walking in on Sunday Morning, it all felt very similar despite the name change. Yes, the inside seemed to be done up but food wise, it seemed much the same.

Zaida’s offers both menu and counter choices, and lining up to order, the food on offer was very tempting. I can remember the filo being a firm favourite of mine when I worked up the road all that time ago. After making my decision from the blackboard behind the counter, I discovered a menu sitting by the register… seemed an odd place when I normally want to make my decision before I get up to pay.

Sandwich and Salad

I settled on the rosti, an easy decision when I found out that I could substitute the bacon for mushrooms. And it was good… As was the coffee.

Rosti vegetarian brunch wellington

There were lots of new faces at this #BrunchClub and I finally got to meet Kat from Lady Loves Cake as well as getting to see lots of old faces. I also need to thank Tilly from The Poppy Creative for the amazing print.
the poppy creative flat white

Can’t wait for the next one

Jenna

How to spend a rainy day in Tallinn, Estonia

On a cold and miserable day of traveling there’s nothing I like more then hiding in doors as much as I can.

This would be fine except for the fact that being in a new city I want to see as much as possible. Cue museums and the more obscure the better. 

apothecary museum

apothecary museum Tallinn

Right in the middle of Tallinn, in the Main Square lies the Apothecary museum. It’s free entry and only two rooms, but worth a peek inside if you’re wanting to escape from the cold for a while.

Meremuuseum (Estonia Maritime museum)

Best thing about this museum (or so I’m told by Ad who I left to go and see my  own museum) Was the views.

Tallinn Maritime museum Tallinn Maritime Maritime Museum view

 Estonian Health Care Museum

This was my choice for museums and it was perfect for me. Interactive and warm inside, I was able to be entertained for well over two hours, while becoming well informed (and realising how much I needed new glasses)

Tallinn health museum Tallinn Health care

Kalev Marzipan Factory Museum

Do I need to say anything else?

Or if you really want to brave the cold you could check out some sights around Tallinn...

 

Let’s just pretend its Christmas time all year round in Tallinn, Estonia 

If there was a prize for most quintessential Christmas town, I think Tallinn, Estonia’s old town would win.

Tallinn, Estonia night

The narrow cobble stone streets, lined either side by brick buildings, set the scene for a magical 4 day trip. All that was missing was the snow. Though we stayed outside of the old town, that first entrance, through the imposing city gates left their mark.

Tallinn City Gates

Tallinn did feel rather touristy in the old town at times, with a few streets lined with souvenir stand and shops, but once you got passed them you could see why Tallinn is such a magical place to visit. 

Tallinn Alleyways Tallinn Roads

From the Main Square and it’s town hall,  surrounded by even more amazing looking buildings, to Tallinn’s Parliamentary building watching from above. You can walk through the town and see Fat Margaret (once part of the city walls, now the maritime museum) The old city walls remain giving you an even bigger sense that you could be in a different time or place while here.

Tallinn Harbour Tallinn Paul bird

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn At Night in Tallinn munga Kelder

Tallinn was the one country I wanted to go to to visit Christmas Markets. We missed out by a matter of days but were lucky enough to see them erect the Christmas tree in the Main Square.

Tallinn streets Tallinn St Catherines Passage Tallinn Christmas

Jenna and the Chocolate Factory 

You may not have a golden tickets but here’s an easy way to get into the chocolate factory.

Laima chocolate factory

Up the velvet red stairs. Under the giant bar of dripping melted chocolate (sadly plastic)

Pay for the tickets (€7 but trust me it’s worth it)

Eat all the dark and milk chocolates and biscuits sitting on the counter, and why not put some of the wrapped candy in your bag for later (there’s chocolate wafer bars in there!)

As the woman dressed in a tutu shows you into the first room, pause for a moment to enjoy that smell. What is that delicious aroma you ask? Melted chocolate and you’re about to get a cup full, dark or milk? This is when it’s good to be a couple. Why? Get one of each and share. We were offered another cup but (I’d never thought I’d say this) but it was so rich, one was enough!

Chocolate fountain Laima Chocolate

Chocolate factory riga

Explore the rest of the room finding out how chocolate is produced at Laima factory while deciding how to personalise your free bar of chocolate. Will it be in English or Latvian?

Onto the next room where you get to learn about the history of chocolate and how it’s involved. Where you can get your photo taken and projected onto a clock, a miniature of the Laima clock near Freedom Square. Or where you can record your own video clip.

Laima Clock History of chocolate

Laima Latvia

It may not be the biggest of chocolate factories but walking out those doors to collect our personalised chocolate bars, I felt it was worth the money and the trip. It’s about a 20minute (slow) walk from the old town but if you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to burn off that chocolate you could catch a tram even closer.