Having friends in faraway places is always a good thing. Auckland is a spread out place, and with traffic being an issue, anything across town can seem like a faraway place to eat out for a meal. So it’s great when someone has scoped out a local for them that gets you out of your stomping ground and trying something new.
That’s how we ended up at The Luscious Food Store in Te Atatu Peninsula on a Sunday. Our friends live within walking distance of the place and decided to celebrate a birthday there. We were there for an event called Peninsula Beats, which happens regularly over summer between 3 and 6pm. This means loud music, mainly of the reggae or reggae covers of Nirvana and Motown hits persuasion. Makes it a little hard to talk, but also means the kids can run around and make noise without breaking the relaxed mood the music gives you. The indoor portion of the venue is cleared in favour of putting everyone into the spacious outdoor area and BBQ is the order of the day food wise:
$8 for pulled pork and a chipotle aioli easily looked the best and most interesting deal of the lot. Mrs P and I normally hedge our bets, order two different items, and share, but that wasn’t happening this time.
Now admittedly this isn’t much of a looker, but you have to appreciate this is off a guy manning a BBQ with dozens of sausages on the go at any given time. Close up the bun, take a bite, and you begin to appreciate the personality beneath the surface. The pulled pork was tender, and the chipotle aioli has a surprising, but not overpowering kick, like when your partner kicks your chair under the table because you’ve said something you shouldn’t have. I don’t know how you like your buns, but I have a lot of time for a soft chewy bun, with just a little char from the BBQ to give it a little firmness towards the middle.
We got some fries too. These came out of the kitchen. Decent shoe string fries. Nothing revolutionary there or in the sauces, but executed well.
Next was dessert. I’d spied some of the ice cream inventory in the fridge; with names like Kohu Road, Kapiti, and Rush Munros, I was eager to see what would come out with the brownie.
Now, if you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll probably guess how I feel about the size of that ice cream scoop. Really not enough on an ordinary day. But consider for a moment that the ice cream and generous wedge of brownie cost $3.50. Not bad. Again, the brownie won’t light a fire beneath you, especially if you’re used to making your own the way you like, but the texture was cakey and moist.
So, as I was saying, this wasn’t an ordinary day. Because any time someone else at your table comes out with this on their plate:
You’re going to forget the usual one dessert convention. This geological delight is an incredibly firm, sweet ginger crunch base, a gooey, bitter cocoa brownie centre and a thin, crackled, just set topping. Extinct dinosaurs could only dream of being caught in a delicious tar pit like this. Be careful when you cut through the base, it feels like the kind that will shoot clean off the plate if you apply pressure indelicately. It’s a deliciously fine line to walk though. Again, $3.50 including ice cream scoop? Plus I get two desserts for (less than) the price of one at so many other Auckland establishments? I’d come back just for that.
Nifty little beer selection too. Asahi on tap, a couple of American Imports (Samuel Adams Noble Pils went down a treat for a first drink), pretty much the full Boundary Road 330ml selection, and Hallertau’s 1-4.
Great, friendly service as well. Sometimes you’d be waiting in line for people who got to the front of the queue without any forethought to what they wanted. There was usually someone else on hand prepared to help out and get your drink order under way so you could pay and start drinking as soon as the other customers had finished faffing.