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There goes the cliche – can you believe it’s the end of the year already. Once it hits December, Merry Christmas greetings are entirely acceptable. Really, it would be rude not to. Franklin this year, albeit some grinch houses, was great. There were snow machines, diving penguins, cute snowmen with earmuffs, naughty Santas, and a giant snowman snowing inside his belly – snowception.

Franklin Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

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This year I celebrated my 22nd birthday with a week-long food journey. It’s been a bit too long since our last post, so I thought I’ll take this opportunity to bombard you with a bundle of photos and restaurants in one go (funny logic I know).

Two-Honest-Truths_Ebisu1 Two-Honest-Truths_Ebisu21. Ebisu – My last time at this hip Japanese restaurant was earlier on in the year for dinner. I recall the dinner menu was delicious and fresh. It had excellent atmosphere and was buzzing with people. Lunch however I thought wasn’t worth its price. For $29 I had the ‘Special Bento Box’ which aside from the soft shell crab and tiger prawns wasn’t particularly astounding. The sushi was made with very wet rice making the seaweed soggy. It was unappetising and very unexpected for the supposed quality of the restaurant. The soft shell crabs were great, I would definitely order it as a solo dish.

Two-Honest-Truths_Dante's-Pizzeria Two-Honest-Truths_Dante's-Pizzeria22. Dante’s Pizzeria – I’d been eyeing out this pizza stall since we sat across it when dining at The Dairy (read here) a few weeks ago. The pizzas were large and came at a special lunch price of $18. We were told that these were the best pizzas in town and if I hadn’t eaten here before, I hadn’t tasted real pizza. Bold statement right there. Service was great. As far as it goes to fulfilling that claim, I’m not too sold. I think Archie’s has better pizza (read here). The flavour was definitely good with the ingredients but by the time you ate your way to the edge you were left with quite a big chunk of base that was too thick and bland to have on its own. Pizza is very personalised though, some prefer the deep dish, others the thin crust. You may just have to try it to see if it really is the ‘best pizza’ for you.

Two-Honest-Truths_Miss-Clawdy1 Two-Honest-Truths_Miss-Clawdy23. Miss Clawdy – This quite frankly is one of my favourite restaurants in Auckland right now. In terms of price, atmosphere, food and service, Miss Clawdy ticks all the boxes. This time I tried some other dishes whilst also satisfying my cravings for jerk chicken and a good cherry lemonade. The snapper ceviche ($14) was refreshing and well seasoned. The corn ($5 each) was great, as was the hushpuppies ($7). I also managed to try the ribs ($14.50) which were sold out last time. I enjoyed them, though they did come out warm/cold. Wait time is very high now, even during the week! (For the full blog post read here)

Two-Honest-Truths_L'assiette1 Two-Honest-Truths_L'assiette24. La’ssiette – Hands down creme brulee is my all-time favourite dessert. A few years ago I had what I could say at the time, one of the best creme brulees. From there on it became a beautiful memory. I finally came back to La’ssiette, and I was disappointed. The dessert now comes as a mini trio ($12.50) with three flavours Vanilla, Cognac and Orange (as opposed to the full size ramekin in Vanilla before). Now I know I may have over-exaggerated the experience in my mind as time had passed, so may have been expecting too much. But if I’m honest, I thought there wasn’t enough vanilla bean, it wasn’t as smooth and the sugar was a bit too burnt. Out of the three I think orange was my least favourite. Now I focus my memory on the Kermadec creme brulee.

Two-Honest-Truths_Lone-Star1 Two-Honest-Truths_Lone-Star25. Lone Star – Ah this birthday has been all about revisiting old favourites. Lone Star is a well established restaurant in New Zealand. This is my first time at the Newmarket store. If you’re at Lone Star you HAVE to order the ribs ($18 Entree). They’re so delicious your table etiquette flies out the window. We also had the Honky Tonk Chicken ($35 Large) which I believe was chicken breast but it was so incredibly well-made you kind of second guess yourself and think you’re having meat from something like chicken thighs. It was not dry at all and most definitely rivaled with the ribs. It was too dark for food photos, so you’ll just have to make do with photos of the entrance decor. Oh, and I’ve already made plans to go back this month which tells you how amazing it was. (Careful though, I’ve heard the Manukau store isn’t that great.)

Two-Honest-Truths_Movenpick1 Two-Honest-Truths_Movenpick26. Movenpick – We came here after Lone Star, because Lone Star only had dessert options that included chocolate (they had a white chocolate and vanilla creme brulee! ahhhh). My long-time favourite ice-cream flavour is Stracciatella and my new non-choc pick is Vanilla Bean. The cheesecakes aren’t too bad, a little too sweet but great for sharing after a meal.

Two-Honest-Truths_St-Heliers1 Two-Honest-Truths_St-Heliers27. St Heliers Bay Cafe & Bistro – Another Hip Group restaurant ticked off the list! I won’t say too much because we’ll follow up with a full blog post later but I loved the cafe’s decor, very fitting for its location. Some of the food was good, some of it not so much. (For blog posts on other Hip Group restaurants click here, herehere and here)

Two-Honest-Truths_Pong-Pong8. Pong Pong Cafe & Restaurant – This is a local Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood and I had my birthday dinner with my family here. We had lobster and a fried taro ‘bird’s nest’ dish with prawn stir-fry inside. Funnily enough I’ve had this two years in a row – same day, same time.

Two Honest Truths_Little and Friday9. Little & Friday – Last but not least, my cake is from Little & Friday in Newmarket. Decent non-chocolate cakes are so scarce, too scarce in Auckland for a reasonable price! This one was lemon and coconut 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading my long spiel, feel free to ask anything in the comments section. All the locations are in Central or East Auckland, for details click the links under each of their names above. This weekend we are heading to the Hobsonville Farmers Markets for some delicious cupcakes provided we wake up in time and will be blogging about it very soon after! Remember to follow us on WordPress and Instagram @twohonesttruths to stay updated. – Kely

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I did it! After switching degrees, an OE trip to Korea and some ups and downs, I’ve finally graduated. However, I do miss prioritising sleep over classes and coffee catch-ups over the hike up Albert Park to university.

There’s just too much to be thankful for in the past few years.
My family, for encouraging me throughout these years and supporting my decision in taking time off and going to Korea. They were always there for me to fall back on. My friends, those that I’ve met along the way and have now become one of the most important bunch of people in my life. The laughter, all-nighters, chair races along the corridors at night and stress we’ve shared are now valuable memories.

Another milestone achieved, met with another challenge to face. I’m sure this next chapter will prove to be an exciting part of my life.

Boni.

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