Nifty Nooks: Wellington…

So sorry for my little absence. Life has lacked inspiration lately so I escaped to the city to seek out the energy I was craving. Mix the gritty, character filled, streets of Wellington with old friends whom have so many new tales to tell and adventure driven spirits to help raise you from the ashes and you definitely gain a fresh perspective.

It was strange to be back in the city after seven months to find that not all that much had changed. People had of course moved on and the nostalgia was haunting in every familiar place with no recognisable face but it was wonderful none the less.

On Sunday I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday (which was bloody terrifying let me tell ya) and we all used that as an excuse to drink, dance and eat all we could. I spent a bunch of money but I laughed so much and just felt the light lift me again.

Obviously, seeing as coffee is the key to my existence, I spent a load of time sipping some of my favourite city brews. I forgot how good Wellington does it. I know I spent a bunch of time reviewing places when I lived there last year but I definitely missed out on some hot spots and I even tried some new places this time around. So here we have a wee nifty nooks round up. Do enjoy sweet little coffee beans.

Beach Babylon

Where? 232 Oriental Parade, Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011

Beans? Peoples Coffee

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These guys do everything from a classic cup of joe to vegan milkshakes to cocktails. They have main meals and cabinet food galore and the vibe is very retro and carefully cluttered like a lot of digs in it’s loudly alternative mother city. They’re on the beach front and despite the winter tempts we made the most of the delightfully rare no wind of the morning by brunching outside. A classic avocado smash on toast with some yummo vegan pesto was my hangover choice and just writing about it has me craving it again. The soy flat white was top notch too, good smooth coffee and skilled milk work. They use peoples coffee which is quite a standard choice up north but rather less so in Wellington, home of the havana roasters. Still doesn’t beat Flight or Kakako for me but still a yummy one.

Enigma

Where? 6011, 128 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

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This cafe is the heart of my memories in Wellington. From plant pots of chai on a winter morning with my favourite people to late night munchies, mid night out. It’s one of those hubs for the people. I used to escape there back when I lived in the hostel at night to do some writing and grab some alone time. It’s dingy in an underground, hipster, way. Very Wellington. The coffee is pretty standard really but they do a nice coconut milk and they have vegan food both on the menu and in the cabinet. The sweet muffins are real nice and the courtyard out back is a niche little retreat. I really missed that electric no sleep mantra of the city. Everywhere in the Mount closes super early.

Beat Ugly Bagel

Where? 5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Havana

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This was a new discovery, despite having been opposite my place of work back when I inhabited Cuba Street. I get the hype now, though I didn’t actually try a bagel (my mates were real satisfied). They use Havana which I’ve never been a cheerleader for but it was a good flat white none the less and I dug the energy of the place. The staff seem to genuinely have fun, shouting the orders to each other and repeating them back, dancing around behind the counter and having a top laugh with one another.

Milk Crate

Where? 35 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Rich Coffee

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This spot is where you’ll find my ultimate favourite brew in the whole city. I found it about two weeks before I left back in November and made a huge effort to visit everyday because it was just that good. They’re just off Cuba Street, fronting a clean store that sells pottery and luxury clothing items. It’s one of them clean spaces, industrial looking and home to the less roguish and more pretentious city hipsters. But the coffee is fucking yum. It’s one of those rare spaces where I’ll more than happily nab a long black and enjoy every sip of it. They use Rich coffee, which is a roasters in Newtown, Wellington I do believe. And  it’s a beauty for sure. I hear wondrous things about their food too and I did spot some vegan bits flouncing around in the counter but I’ve not ventured into that territory so I can’t say. Just make sure this tops your list for city centre coffee fixes.

N x

Nifty Nooks: Cafe 88…

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Down in the Mount you’ll come to realise the heart of the coffee culture, in this tiny town, is held on the premises of two neighbouring cafes: Luca and Cafe 88. The former I’ve yet to snap any pictures of, though it was my first and possibly my best coffee in the Mount, so more on that soon, promise!

Cafe 88 is always busy. I used to find refuge here during my time living in the hostel across the road. It’s open a little later than a lot of the other cafe’s, closing at 5pm, so it’s always been a good spot for me to kill a few hours with a book and something sweet. The vegan caramel slice is my jam (it features in both pictures) and though Gravity coffee brings back haunting memories of the awful cafe I worked at in Wellington, as well as just being generally terrible, the Barista’s here are skilled enough to pull it off. Also, the girls behind the counter are just wonderful. Always smiling and passing banter between them despite how stressful I bet it gets working there. One of the barista’s, Katie, even hooked me up with a trial shift back when I was hating life working at my previous cafe. The trial was awesome and only proved that the staff are little rays of sunshine. I would of jumped on that job had I not heard back from my lovely little vegan nook first.

The atmosphere, though busy, is always electric. There are a whole host of locals chilling out in the back courtyard and tourists streaming in, enticed by their packed cabinet food. So if you want to feel at home in a place, this one is your best bet. You’ll be looked after and welcomed, no doubt about it, and you can grab something yummy in the process.

Love and Light, N x

Nifty Nooks: Fidel’s, Wellington

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Cuba street is the heart of Wellington. One of the purest examples of why it’s constantly referred to as the ‘coolest small capital’. With heaps of thrift stores, independent boutiques and shabby chic cafe’s you could easily spend an afternoon strolling around and stumbling on new finds. Of all the cafe’s and restaurants though, Fidel’s might just be my favourite. Whether it’s ducking inside out of the rain for an almond milk flat white and a vegan cupcake or chilling out in one of their two courtyards for vegan nacho’s on a sunny Saturday. Their menu is impressive, their staff easy going and smiling and the vibe of the place is just so Cuba street.

On this particular day we crashed in solitude out in their side courtyard and hunched over Nacho’s in a too hungover state. By the end of our meal we were full on delicious coffee and yummy plant based mexican goodness. They have vegan cheese so you can get all up on that pizza hype too. Their brunch menu is the only thing I’ve yet to sample, it ends at 4:30pm, which is just way too early for me to be ready and alive on a Sunday (which is usually our Fidel’s day). The drinks menu is also pretty vegan friendly, with juices and a choice of soy and almond milk. There is even a healthy almond cocoa drink for the health conscious plant based eater. Try their BBQ tofu salad or vegan bowl for something a little less indulgent too!

 

Any recommendations for vegan foodies in Welly? Pop em in the comments!

 

Peace and blissed vibes, N x

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23.01.2017

Last hugs, last Jetty trip, last supply coffee, last poolside chats, confusion at the airport, deep travel chats, a vague plane journey, the frightening reunion with the city, loud traffic, busy streets, skyscrapers, pollution, clouded skies, cement instead of sand, tarmac instead of ocean, reunions and surprise meetings with old new friends, drinks in secret bars, maze like laneways, rum, rain, exhaustion

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24.01.2017

Alone in the city, anxiety, yummy coffee from the quirkiest cafe’s, sitting by the river looking out to the skyline for the third time, feeling like a new person for the third time, uninspired by familiar store names, cute chats and photoshoots in the Botanical Gardens, skyline views from the top of the memorial building, the first lord of the fries in four months, drinks in overpriced hipster bars, honest chats in tipsy whispers, heavy emotions, stranger sadness.

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25.01.2017

More Coffee missions, acai bowls, bonding more with friends when you didn’t think it possible, art galleries, laughs, Hosier lane, buying new clothes and feeling like an alien, printing boarding passes for flights you don’t want to board, persistent anxiousness, getting ready in the air bnb with the girls, packing up the remainder of my belongings for the last time in Australia, ABC bar, $8 jugs of beer, more reunions, pure uncontainable happiness, selfies, lots of selfies, singing, dancing, a cheeky air grab or two, memorising my favourite smiles, walking the streets, bottle shop blues, too many bodies in our too small flat, crying…a lot, saying goodbye’s…

N x

A Magical place called Coffs…

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Sunset at Sawtell Headlands
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View of Coffs Harbour from Muttonbird Island
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Jetty Beach
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More of Jetty Beach
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and again…
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and again…
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and again
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Frothing…

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Supply Coffee feat. vegan carrot cake
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Park beach
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more park beach
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Hike to sea dolphins…Boambee Beach
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Emerald Beach

Coffs Harbour is a little beach town somewhere between Sydney and Byron Bay. Maybe I’m bias because I called this magical little piece of the East Coast home for four months, when even four days would be more than enough to see everything, but I really think you should stop to check it out if you’re given the chance. Many of the popular East Coast tour companies skip it out, take you from Port Macquarie to Yamba without so much as a nod at Coffs. But you gotta stop bro!

Dem Beaches:

The beaches were my sanctuary after brutally hot days blueberry picking. Jetty beach is a haven, rarely busy unless it’s a school holiday, mostly sheltered from the wind and the waters are clear and still. You get the chance to jump off the jetty or even swim with the wild jetty dolphin if you’re lucky. For waves the surfer types prefer Boambee beach (Gallows) or Park beach, they stretch out longer and the ocean is wilder. Still picturesque and brilliant for tanning and swimming but definitely wavier. A little further on you’ll find Emerald beach with it’s wild kangaroo’s too!

Shopping:
The jetty was my stomping grounds so I’m familiar with that area most but there are fair shopping opportunities up in Coffs town centre, the palms shopping centre has bigger stores like kathmandu and franchises like Boost juice, whilst the surrounding streets are home to more local treasures like the wholesome Happy Frog cafe where you can grab THE BEST vegan friendly smoothies and organic local produce. You’ll also find Wrecked vintage here, a young independent vintage store, with some unique finds as well as home grown designs. Further afield you’ll find the plaza, a bigger mall where you can find chain stores like Cotton on and JB HiFi. And if you have a little more time to spare try out the surrounding area’s for more trendy, aussie style digs. Sawtell and Belligen are home to some nifty spots to grab coffee and mooch in local boutiques and if you plan your visit you can even catch the Bellingen markets which happen on the third Saturday of each month.

Eats and Drinks:

Around the Jetty area you won’t find shops but you will find hipster worthy cafe’s and bars aplenty. By the Jetty, on the Harbour there is a small row of restaurants including an ace burger joint called ‘Attitude Burgers’ amongst other little eateries. Further up by the train tracks you’ll find Fiasco, a little Italian restaurant and bar with the BESTEST staff. I worked here a few evenings a week, enough to notice the familiar faces of happy regulars and to sample one of each cocktail from their extensive, slightly unique, list. It’s great for wines and the manager Al will help you out if you’re a little overwhelmed by their catalogue. Oh and their pizza’s are pretty good too! If you carry on again you’ll come to a strip of nooks, among them you’ll find the cool Coffs locals chilling at element bar, a city type, industrial styled space with hard working kitchen staff (my friend Riva smashes it as a chef there) and super friendly waitresses full of helpfulness. Again you can find yourself an awesome cocktail here and live music on a Sunday night. There are other little gems dotted around element, try Sakura for tasty Japanese food or Old John’s cafe on a Wednesday night for slider’s. Best of all, all of the places mentioned recognise what vegan means and are more than happy to help you out with their menu’s.

Coffeeeeeeeee:

If you’re in need of coffee then Supply on Orlando street is where it’s at. A very new, trendy coffee shop, with fresh white brick walls and lots of open space, you can catch a whiff of ocean breeze from the seating outside or keep cool inside with wifi access. They do the most delicious vegan cakes…like the best I’ve tried. The raw snickers bar is bomb and the tiramisu so indulgent and they’re also made with whole food ingredients so technically they’re healthy…right? I always opt for an iced latte made with their in house mooless milk, a combo of almond and coconut milks, lighter than soy and not as invasive a taste.

A place to call home:

So again this little tidbit is slightly bias but I would full heartedly recommend the YHA as the place to stay. With options of private, family, four bed and six bed rooms it’s a great place for families and backpackers alike. Despite the branding it’s family run so you’ll often catch Bret or his wonderful daughter Rory at reception. The night manager Kate is the loveliest girl alive and if you have a spare minute you should definitely stop at the reception desk for a chat because they’re all more than capable of making your day with a good convo and a giggle or two! The longterm backpackers who work for their stay do a spiffing job of keeping the place all clean and tidy and it’s one of the nicest hostel environments I encountered. It’s also a two minute walk from both Jetty and park beach as well as being in amongst all those cafe’s and restaurants I mentioned. So get excited and book your stay there!

N x

Soma

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I threat majorly about eating vegan when I head out of my home security and into a whole new place. When I mentioned to people that I’d be taking a trip to Bali those who new me well feared for my ‘selective’ diet. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ubud is by far home to some of my most favourite vegan spots ever! Yep, ever! So I’m gonna pop up a few reviews to help y’all out whether you’re vegan yourself, have vegan friends or just want some yummy wholesome food.

First stop, Soma. Not 100% vegan, but making a good go at it, soma is located on ‘Jalan Guatama’ my favourite little side street in Ubud. The place itself is beautiful, a peaceful vibe with water features, lanterns and peaks of nature everywhere. When I thought of Bali I had this specific Buddhist, hippy, type image and this restaurant for sure lives up to that. We sit in the centre of the place and take it all in, gushing at some of the items on the menu. There’s a good choice for vegans, vegetarians and health food fanatics. My friend is not vegan but something in me sees it as a challenge, luckily she’s won over by pretty much every place we try. She opts for a raw pad thai and I go for the Gado gado rolls.

One thing about being vegan and into travel is that you can’t always experience the culinary aspects of a place. Luckily Indonesian and Balinese food tend to be quite vegetable based, so even if they aren’t originally vegan friendly it’s pretty easy to substitute and remove items to make it so. The gado gado rolls are traditionally vegetarian, and often times advertised as vegan so its a win win! I get to care about the animals and experience some local flavours. This dish was so fresh and yummy and the peanut sauce is something I crave still now. I could have eaten this every day.

Happy Eating!

N x