Another craft beer bar for Wellington

dive bar photo

Picture pinched from their Facebook site

Opening this Friday is another craft beer bar called Golding’s Free Dive, at 14 Leeds Street. That’s right by Pizza Pomodoro, for those of you playing along at home, and they’ll be making full use of their location.

Golding’s Free Dive conveniently shares the courtyard with Pomodoro Pizza, which is just as well as Pomodoro will deliver a pizza to your table to accompany your tasty craft beer or you can choose an item from the in-house menu.

We’re excited about this, and it sounds like it’s going to be a good casual bar with a great range of drinks, but this quote from the press release had the Wellingtonista email list abuzz (or as abuzz as it gets these days now we do most of our exclaiming on Twitter).

“What we really wanted to do is get away from the cookie-cutter bars which seem to be infesting the city these days where big breweries throw money at bar owners, in return for stocking their product and following their rules. There’s a certain type of crowd these bars attract, but they can drive away everyone else who just wants to sit and enjoy a drink.”

Now, perhaps we are trapped in our own wanky bubble, but are there actually many cookie cutter bars opening up these days? Everything seems to be trying to be independent and quirky. Even Bin44 which has the most bland interior ever this side of the Tap Haus (and could desperately use some magazines or newspapers for its lunchtime diners) has a big range of craft beers on tap and has played host to Garage Project tap takeovers and the like.

One ‘ista said “When does Peak Craft Beer happen?” and another replied “I have this theory that craft beer now is about where coffee was 3-5 years ago. We’ve even got the *hausen playing Mojo. So in a couple of years it should fragment into uber-hipster and generic-and-very-slightly-better-than-the-Establishment.”

Like I said, we are looking forward to going to Golding’s Free Dive (though shouldn’t “dive” be a term someone else calls you, not something you can call yourself?), but I wanna know what the next big trend will be. Your thoughts in the comments, thanks!

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Drunken conversations: Beth from Eat and Greet

Everyone who’s a drinker knows that the best conversations happen when you are plied with good food and good drinks, so I’ve decided I’m going to interview some choice Wellingtonians after we have been imbibing together.

First on the plate is Beth from Eat and Greet which launched last year and is doing a really great job of talking to the people behind the food of Wellington. We met at Hummingbird  (which I rave about, and she recently interviewed the chef Glen) and had some cocktails and some wine and an enormous piece of  meat, and then out came the voice recorder. After the jump and these Instagram pictures, you’ll find passion, drinking the blood of our enemies, mocking of Instagram, and the anti David Burton…

drink and food at hummingbird

Jo: Okay Beth, eat drink and eat and greet – I’ll write your name down properly later. Tell us what we just had for dinner.

Beth: So we just basically had an umami bomb in our mouths, starting off with a show with a mushroom syphon that syphoned off an insanely good mushroom tea, which we sipped while having beetroot tortellini, and then we shared a big giant bone of meat together, and basically made dirty jokes the entire time. There was a lot of meat innuendo, and bone innuendo, but it was hard not to.

Mushroom tea syphon. Crazy shit.

Joanna: My god, there were raisins in our entree according to the menu (Raisins are the WORST)! So our entree was meadow mushroom and goat cheese tortellini with golden raisins and pine nuts, and syphon mushroom tea, but that doesn’t say beetroot, and there was most definitely beetroot in our pasta. The mushroom tea tasted like you were drinking your opponent’s blood after a mighty battle, and it was amazing.

The main was HB Signature prime rib for two (800gm), corn on the cob, greek salad (comparatively not that great)
truffle parmesan potatoes, spiced onion rings, red wine jus

Beth: Spiced onion rings, I’m not a big onion ring fan, like take them or leave them, but those were ridiculous.

Joanna: They were great onion rings, I still think Monterey‘s are my favourite of all time. Right, Beth, Eat and Greet Blog: why did you start a food blog? Is it because of the dramatic shortage of them in the world?

Beth: Ha! There’s a lot of food blogs in the world, and I read maybe 60% of them, so the world does not need another food blog. But I was looking at the Concrete Playground blog awards last year, and I was looking at the food section, and I basically saw that the food blogs up in Auckland were like “hey, this is where it’s good to eat” like Eat Here Now – like hey, I’ve gone and checked out this place….

Joanna: cough Wellingtonista cough.

Beth: But then all the food blogs down in Wellington were like “Hey, I made a thing”….

Joanna: “And isn’t it twee and delightful?”

Beth: “And isn’t it twee and delightful and look at this…”

Joanna:  Instagram…

Beth: Instagram and flowers in the background. And I was just like, I want there to be a trusted source of where to eat in Wellington, but then I was like, well who am I to say what is good and what isn’t, and I wanted to give the power back to the people who are behind that plate of food. There’s thought and there’s reasoning behind it. And basically I just wanted it to be an anti David Burton. I didn’t want it to be me saying what is good and what is bad, and what is authentic, and “that’s not how I tasted it when I went to this obscure little restaurant in South East Asia”. I wanted to go to those people who have immigrated from somewhere, and they have these amazing stories, and actually – there’s so much more to food than just taste and what is on your plate, and that’s what I wanted to do.

Joanna: That is excellent. Now tell me a secret Wellington place, and I don’t want you to be all like “OMG, there’s this restaurant that’s down a little alley in Cuba Street and it’s called the Matterhorn and it’s really great”. Tell me an actual secret place in Wellington that’s great

Beth: A place that gets mentioned a lot is KC Cafe. And I don’t know if it’s actually secret, like you walk past it and it just looks like, you know, open until 4am on Courtenay Place and you probably go there when you’re drunk, but actually it’s really fucking good Chinese food that there’s not much of in Wellington. It’s cheap, and if you order from the bottom half of the menu, it’s fucking authentic. I mean, you’ve got your sweet and sour pork at the top, but like, go down the bottom and there’s tripe and weird shit, and it’s tasty.

Joanna: Awesome, how many questions is that? Four? Two? Okay, ,what is the question that you wish people asked you more about.

Beth: I love asking a few questions on my blog because I get such great answers, like “What’s something about yourself that other people may not know?” and another is “What’s a really vivid childhood memory you have around food?” and both of those questions invoke really good answers.

Joanna: Excellent! I’m not going to ask you either of those questions! Right, what’s the one thing you wish Wellington had?

Beth: A fucking rooftop bar! And a fucking ramen place! All of the things! You can put that in Capslocks!

Who should I talk to next for Drunken Conversations? Let me know! Is it you? We’ll put it on the company credit card (by which I mean we’ll go Dutch), and have a lovely time. 

The post Drunken conversations: Beth from Eat and Greet appeared first on The Wellingtonista.

Webstock and why words matter

I’m fresh out of Webstock, and as usual, I have many thoughts. Sadly though, it’s not the usual “OMG I am so inspired and happy and my work will be amazing now and I will kick ass and take names” kind of thoughts. I mean, there are those too, but mostly, I am really disappointed in some of the choices made by some of the speakers.

Disclaimer first: I love Webstock, I mean I really love it. Mike and Tash and Deb and Ben put together the most amazing couple of days every year and I am super grateful that I get to go along. But here are the things that I had problems with, so I can express myself a little better than on Twitter.

The very first speaker was Clay Johnson, whose talk was Industrialised Ignorance. He used the line “Cheese tastes better than broccoli  and talked about the “obesity epidemic” (my quotes, not his) and how we know the names of the Kardashians but not what the child poverty rates are (22% in New Zealand, according to Twitter).  This is what my problem is: he talked about how left wing and right wing media would use bullshit phrases as boogeymen (like “Obamacare” or “socialised medicine”), but that is exactly what he was doing with his use of “obesity epidemic”, because omg being fat is the worst thing ever. Except it’s not.  And he used graphs about how obesity was growing, and while there wasn’t a reference for his figures that I caught (I could be wrong), I would be willing to bet they were based on BMI measurements, which are extremely problematic. When I tweeted at him about it, he said “I’d say childhood life expectancy going down for the first time in recorded history due to obesity is, yes, “omg worst thing ever”.  So we have differing opinions about obesity, and have read different things. Okay. But this is where I come back to the “cheese tastes better than broccoli  line. Sometimes, cheese is much easier to buy than broccoli  Sometimes cheese (or whatever junk food boogeyman we’re using)  is cheaper. If you’re living in poverty, you need to go for whatever food options you can. Not everyone has the luxury of time, or the knowledge of how to cook, or even just access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and I think Clay was going for an easy laugh, because hey, showing a picture of a pizza in Japan that comes with hamburgers and nachos on top is much more funny than discussing the actual real issues around nutrition and poverty and health. And I think if you are of the calibre of speaker who is invited to Webstock, you should do better than that.

One of the next speakers was Aza Raskin, and while I absolutely loved his talk about how constraints can actually be a really good thing and I was hella inspired, he started his speech with a summing up of how the world is in trouble or some such “and obesity is spreading like a virus”. SERIOUSLY? I made sure to touch as many people as possible after that, so that my fatness would spread to them. Using fat as shorthand for “bad things and health problems that might not actually be related to actual size at all” is just incredibly lazy. This is not what I expect from some of the brightest, most articulate voices from around the globe.

Then Garr Reynolds spoke, and his topic was on how to give a good presentation. There was a lot of talk of death by PowerPoint (oh I feel that, hooooooooooooo boy do I feel that), and then he showed us bad examples of graphs ,and good examples of graphs. What were the graphs of? Obesity rates in Canada. You know, without any context. Because FAT IS BAD.  The graphs could have been about anything at all. Later he used one about deforestation rates in Germany. But why not go ahead and push the OBESITY IS GOING TO EAT US ALL message a little further?

If you think I am being oversensitive at this point, you’re damn right. Lots of surface area here for all these messages to be absorbed through. My tweet at this time was “Once more, obesity, obesity, obesity. Is this a web conference? Or are all the presenters actually medical experts?”. My friend Emma and I started texting each other playing Fat Bingo every time it was mentioned. Jason Scott in his really great presentation about saving data was telling a story about an evil tow truck driver, and used fat as shorthand for “this was a bad person”. Unnecessary. Michael Lopp referred to designers as “guys” and then quickly added “and gals” which I really appreciated, because the huge gender discrepancies in tech are not going to get any better unless we actively work on them, but then he too used the whole “FAT IS THE WORST THING EVER” laziness. And then there was Mike Monterio. Oh boy. We’re going to need a new paragraph.

Mike’s talk was How designers destroyed the world. Read the first line of that description – “You are directly responsible for what you put into the world.” His talk started out great, mentioning how bad design decisions had made Facebook privacy settings terrible, how people got outed by them, and how Facebook Graph could have devastating effects for homosexuals in Iran, for example. I had a slight sense of unease at his “no one is forcing you to do anything, you can just quit!” mentality, because actually there aren’t a whole lot of jobs around and bills still gotta be paid, etc, but I understand he was there to inspire. And then he started talking about killing your ego, and also misogyny and how it needs to go, and I was like yes, thank you. But meanwhile, every time he talked about designers, he referred to them as “he”. I tweeted at him that maybe not doing that would be a really good starting point, because when you’re standing on stage talking to 900 people, you are a role model, and you should model good behaviour. When he retweeted me, I thought he was like “cool, point noted”. But instead, he came back “what’s the female term for ‘troll’?”. Oh, awesome. You know, I get drunk and say stupid stuff on Twitter too. All the time. But not on my work Twitter account. I wouldn’t bother trying to engage with YouTube comments because I know that people there are idiots, but when it’s speakers at a conference I love, who are very smart articulate people, yeah I think it’s worth trying to talk to them about something that’s problematic. I don’t think asking someone to be more careful in their language deserves this kind of abuse.

A couple of years ago, I went to one of the speaker’s website, and saw that their basic speaking charge was around $10,000 for a keynote. I don’t remember who that speaker was, and I don’t actually know how much Webstock pays their speakers (Mike hasn’t sent those financials out to the entire mailing list. Yet). But they are experts in their fields, and all of them are professional speakers, who make a living from it. Assuming that they get paid $10,000, and speak at around 120 words per minute for 40 minutes. That’s around $2 a word. Is it really that hard to make sure that those words are picked very carefully?