Tag Archives: Lunch

Gastropubbing in Temecula

PUBlic House TemeculaPUBlic House
41971 Main Street, Temecula, California 92590

“A table for four, please?” I hungrily inquired. We were lead to a high bench table on the patio, complete with tall stools and right next to an indoor water feature. Dining with three year old twins in such an environment, what could possibly go wrong?

We were in Old Town Temecula, California and on a Scavenger Hunt (you can read about our Urban Adventure Quest here). Our tummies started to grumble half way through our Quest, so it was time to find somewhere scrumptious to fill our bellies.

There were plenty of dining options in the township to choose from. The PUBlic House, on Main Street, looked enticing (plus had kid’s food and vegetarian options). So, in we ventured.

PUBlic House is a gastropub, located within a 1950’s restored home in the middle of Old Town. It’s pretty funky, with wooden pallets adorning the walls sprouting greenery, and pages of a novel providing wallpaper on the bathroom walls.Public House Wallpaper Temecula

Public House TemeculaWith the kids perched precariously on high stools, fortunately with backs on the seats, and one tornado insisting he had to climb up and down and up and down and up and down (you get the picture) by himself, I was braced for the worst. But no one fell too hard. To be fair, putting us as close to the exit as possible, was probably a smart move on their part.

The water feature provided ample temptation, but after the same tornado put his hand under the deluge once, it was forgotten.

After three and a half years of twins, hubby and I are now experts at ordering the kid’s food ASAP, before we even attempt to contemplate what we’d like to eat ourselves, the twin tornados were happily munching on their grilled cheese (a cheese toasty for my Kiwi readers) in no time.

Grilled Cheese Public House TemeculaUnfortunately they tried to serve a green salad with the grilled cheese, ARE THEY CRAZY? They had mistakenly pushed a ‘greens’ button, instead of a fries button (if only I could get my three year olds munching spinach and lettuce leaves), but the fries were on the table in no time. We save the use of tablets for such as occasion as this, which then provides 15 mins of peace and quiet for the adults to consume their meals. Yep, that’s great parenting 101 right there!

The beer was large, and cold, which was perfect after running around the town solving clues on a hot day. My beer was even a little fruity, since I ordered the Refuge Grapefruit IPA (I like to mix it up a bit). A nice tall refreshing ale! Beer Public House Temecula

The food tasted as fantastic as it looked. I devoured my crispy roasted squash and potato gnocchi with gusto, savouring the sage brown butter sauce. I’m sure there was a hint of citrus in there too, but it could have been the beer.Public House Temecula Gnocchi

Hubby embarked on a journey of pork loin stuffed with roast duck, or Duck Stuffed Pork. He was a happy Hubby at the end of it. Yes, I am the only vegetarian in this family.Public House Temecula Duck stuffed Pork

Both the beer and the food impressed, as did the behaviour of our children. A winning trifecta, and very rare occurrence.

As we say in our household when something goes well – High Five!


We’ll Be Back, Jack

Pepperjacks Restaurant Bar/Cafe

190 Jack Lachlan Drive, Pine Harbour Marina, Beachlands

“Oh no! The menu looks dubious” thinks the vegetarian. After a hot 20 min drive with a hungry husband and in-laws  plus the twins in tow, I nervously ask “what can you do that’s vegetarian?” Complete with a lovely smile, the waitress provides the answer which all vegetarians love to hear, “we can make almost anything on the menu into a vegetarian meal for you”. Music to my ears! Pass me a menu please.

Being a beautiful summers day, we parked ourselves on a shaded wooden table outside, while we perused the menu. Pepperjacks is in a great location, with stunning views out to the Hauraki Gulf. As we soaked in the calmness of the day, you couldn’t help thinking that “this is the life” – Sipping a Monteiths ale (or in MIL’s case a local Pinot Gris) and watching the boats depart and arrive. It almost reminded me of a Queensland Resort.

View from Pepperjacks CelesteReviews

The View

There were plenty of choices on the menu, ranging from seafood to traditional pub fare (burgers, sandwiches, etc) along with cabinet food for lighter options, and brunch was served until 3pm.

The husband ordered an open crumbed chicken sandwich with fries ($16.50) which was ample to satisfy his hunger.

Pepperjacks Chicken Sandwich CelesteReviews

Open Chicken Sandwich

The FIL was impressed with his squid, and the MIL’s pan fried fish and chips option was a very generous size.

Pepperjacks Squid CelesteReviews


Pepperjacks Fish and Chips CelesteReviews

Fish & Chips

I requested a vegetarian version of the pasta of the day, and was even given an option of a cream or tomato base (very exciting to actually be given a choice). The pasta was delicious, filled with mushrooms, pepper and courgettes.

Pepperjacks Pasta CelesteReviews

Vegetarian Pasta of the Day

The staff were lively and friendly. Apparently the restaurant is under new management, so I’m not sure if this enthusiasm has always been a part of the Pepperjacks’ dining experience. They also helpfully set up a change table in another room for us to use after we had fed the twins.

Offering to look after the babies while we ate our meals, was maybe a small step too far in service for my comfort levels, but a generous thought all the same. However, I’m probably a tad overprotective with our babies. For some reason, having twins constantly invites random strangers to poke their noses into our pram and touch our children, without our permission (don’t even get me started), so I hope the staff didn’t take offence when I rejected their kind offer. One day I’ll dedicate an entire ranting blog to the bizarre behaviour we’ve experienced while being out and about with twins…

We will definitely be back to visit again.

To Tip: We missed the Saturday Fresh Markets by 45 mins! They finish at midday, so get there early for a spot of shopping before lunch.

In a Nutshell: Stellar service, lovely food and a perfect way to spend a summer’s afternoon. Definitely worth the drive.

Mussel Your Way Inn

Onekaka, Golden Bay

I hadn’t been to the Nelson region since I was a child. So, before heading that way for a long weekend, I asked around for recommendations of ‘must do’ dining experiences. This was one of the suggestions that we explored.

The Mussel Inn

With a warm cosy wooden interior, and loads of memorabilia, the Mussel Inn has plenty of character. With outside tables, a huge deck and even a tree swing, it’s a laid back setting. The locals obviously have a sense of humour, and aren’t too keen on cellphones, given the tree covered in various models of mobile phones literally nailed to the trunk.

The food is honest, wholesome and filling. I was impressed that such a remote, rustic restaurant/bar could easily feed a hungry and pregnant vegetarian. I ordered a ‘small’ portion of their hearty nachos dish. It was huge, and very tasty. When in Rome … the husband ordered the Mussel Chowder. It was accompanied by the most scrumptious garlic bread, littered in mustard seeds.

Mussel Inn Nachos CelesteReviews

Mussel Inn Nachos

Mussel Inn Chowder CelesteReviews

Mussel Chowder and Garlic Bread

The Mussel Inn is also famous for their boutique brewed beer and cider. We ordered the tasting tray (5 x 200ml glasses for $15) to sample. The line up included; the Golden Goose (4% lager), the light and honey flavours of their hallmark ‘Captain Cooker’ Manuka Beer (4%), a Dark Horse Black Beer (4%), the smoky Red Herring Autumn Ale (5.8%), and finished on their Apple Roughy (4% apple cider). Given my limited tasting ability (the downfall of pregnancy), while the husband savoured the tasting tray, I took pleasure in a glass of Mussel Inn Ginger Beer ($3.50), which having a hint of mint was delightfully refreshing.

Tasting Tray Mussel Inn

The Tasty Tasting Tray

You have to visit the loo while visiting. The composting toilets can be a bit scary for first time users, but the unique decoration of the toilet complex is a must see experience.

Onekaka is a two hour leisurely drive from Nelson, over the stomach churning Takaka Hill towards Golden Bay. If you have the time, stop off at the Ngarua Caves at the top of the hill for a coffee and breathtaking views.

In a nutshell: A rewarding day trip destination for anyone visiting the Nelson region.

Beastie Burgers

Shop 6d, Little Stanley Street
South Bank, BrisbaneBeastie Burgers Menu by CelesteReviews

The average Vegetarian Burger is tasteless and unimaginative, so a burger joint is not usually high on my list when looking for a lunch stop.

So, when wandering Little Stanley Street on Brisbane’s South Bank recently, flitting from café to restaurant, reading menus and trying to decide what to have for lunch, I surprised myself when the ‘Beast Free Burger’ caught my eye at Beastie Burgers.

Now, it might have been all the exercise we’d had that morning, walking from Fortitude Valley, through the shopping malls, Art Gallery and along South Bank, or the fact that on holiday calories don’t count, but a burger and fries sounded delightful … and it was.

The Beast Free Burger (AUD$10.50) was layered with a thick, tasty, homemade chickpea pattie, roasted eggplant, red capsicum and sweet potato. The huge bun was smothered in Persian feta and topped off with greenery. Very satisfying!

Beast Free Burger by CelesteReviews

Beast Free Burger

The husband decided to test his tastebuds with an ‘American in Noosa’ burger (AUD$12.50), which included a tower of bacon, avocado, cheddar and lettuce, with a flame grilled beef pattie.

American in Noosa by CelesteReviews

American in Noosa Burger

No burger meal is complete without fries, and Beastie Burgers’ version is chunky chips, lightly coated in aged balsamic. Yum, yum, yum!

We picked a high table in the sun and refueled for our long walk back to the city via the Goodwill Bridge and botanical gardens.

In a nutshell: Innovative burgers to tame any beast.

A Brew in the Sun

New Brew

Corner Rosedale Road & William Pickering Drive, Albany

Enjoying a beer on a lazy Saturday afternoon is what a long weekend is all about, so during Easter we met up with friends at New Brew for lunch.

New Brew is an upmarket pub, with not only a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails (out of a teapot if you’d prefer), but as we were to discover, they also do really good food. I couldn’t decide between the tapas and lunch menu, so I ordered something off both.

Risotto Balls

Butternut & Haloumi Risotto Balls

The first dish was roasted butternut, haloumi and sundried tomato pesto risotto balls, served with a delicious tangy plum sauce and a small salad ($11.50). There were four decent sized balls, which were absolutely scrumptious, and my mouth is watering, just thinking about them.

Vegetarian Pizza

I also ordered the vegetarian pita pizza, topped full of roasted courgettes, butternut, capsicum, feta, mushrooms, and caramelised onion. The pizza base was very soft and it was a difficult balancing act to move each slice from pizza board to mouth without any mishaps.

Cajun Chicken Burger

Cajun Chicken Burger and Beer

The husband inhaled his Cajun Chicken Burger ($18.50), filled with streaky bacon, avocado, cheese and salad. The fat chips on the side were more like chunky seasoned roast potatoes – yum!

Our friends enjoyed the chorizo sausage and mozzarella risotto balls ($10.50), which are enough for a light meal in themselves, and a beef burger.

Wine Bottle Light Fitting

Wine Bottle Light Fitting

New Brew’s decor is modern, with high ceilings and interesting light fittings made from green bottles. They also have a private function area and a glorious outdoor dining area, where we spent our afternoon lazing in the sun.

We were all impressed with the food. It is not what you’d expect from traditional pub faire, and we will definitely be back to try out the rest of the menu.

In a nutshell: A very pleasant and extremely tasty way to spend an afternoon, with an interesting selection of vegetarian dishes.

In a Pickle

Pickles on Apollo

1 Antares Place, Apollo Drive

Dry beans, does not a tasty nacho dish make! My lunch choice at Pickles sounded like it had  good vegetarian Nacho potential, with all the key ingredients; beans, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. The execution, however, definitely needed work.

Pickles - Nachos

Not the nicest Nachos

Gluggy, dry Mexican beans (and not that many included), slightly burnt chips (in the oven too long?) let the team down, especially when I had to pay an extra $3 for  the beans to be included. To my expert Nacho making eyes, it seemed the beans had probably been opened for a while and heating in the microwave had really dried them out.

The husband, who really isn’t that fussy when it comes to food, enjoyed his BLT with fries, although he did remove the red onions from the dish, “They didn’t say there’d be onions in it”. As much as I don’t like to admit this often, he was right. The menu did not specify this.

Pickles - BLT

We shared as chocolate milkshake, which was very disappointing in size for $7. Bring back the ‘longest drink in town’ when it comes to milkshakes, I say.

The menu isn’t huge, and I’m not sure that the large, crass sign (in red capital letters) directing you to “PLEASE PLACE YOUR ORDER AT THE COUNTER”, screams friendly. The staff were extremely attentive, though I’m not a fan of a waiter whisking the husband’s plate away, while  I am still eating. Is it just me, or is this a little rude?Pickles on Apollo

Furnished with a mix of couches, leather chairs, normal cafe chairs and tables with a slightly industrial feel, Pickles is a aesthetically pleasing space with a nice atmosphere. It’s much larger than it looks from the exterior, and has a nice outdoor dining area. It’s just a pity about the food.

In a nutshell: We won’t be racing back in a hurry.

Japanese for ‘Cute’

Niwa Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar

2 Lorne Street, Auckland City

One word for this recent lunch stop – cute! A cute courtyard and garden out the back of the restaurant, the cute blue Asian shirts worn by the waitresses, and the cute ceramic glass provided for my drink.

Although they offer a wide variety of dishes, I was in a hurry (on my lunch break) so I ordered a simple, yet tasty, avocado and tofu salad ($7). This was a perfect choice for the light meal I was looking for. The silky tofu was served on a bed of sliced cabbage and salad greens, chopped avocado and ‘special sauce’.

Avocado & Tofu Salad

There are many different Asian places to eat on Lorne Street. Niwa is reasonably priced, and I’m sure it has a much better vibe in the evening when the ‘sake’ bar is more apparent.

In a nutshell: A cheap and cheerful lunch option.