All good things come to an end and so it is with this column. For more than two years, the pies, paninis, pizzas and all manner of other food have been put to the test in cafes around the mountain.
It was done on a lunchtime budget of $10 or less (in most cases) in an attempt to find the best value- for-money spots in the region.
It is fair to say we are well served both in the wide variety of cafes available and what they offer.
All is not lost in the sampling stakes and an invitation to join a meat-eating threesome testing prime cuts from a local butchery was too good to ignore.
I figured an appropriate way to sign off Tucking In would be to rank the top five cafes visited since we started in October 2007. This is no easy task, but here goes:
Fifth: Sporty's Cafe and Bar at Fitzroy offers a $6 lunch special each Tuesday that can range from ham on the bone and vegetables to tripe and onions to lamb's fry to bola roast and vegetables. It's hard to find a better deal anywhere. The fact it only happens on a Tuesday stops the popular watering hole from ranking higher.
Fourth: Inglewood's Nelson Bakery is an institution. It has been on the corner of Rata and Cutfield streets since 1928 and has an excellent reputation for its made-on-the premises products. The favourite was the lamb shank, which was the best of its kind I found.
Third: The Baker's Dozen on New Plymouth's Egmont Street is about the best value lunch stop around. A bread roll and a scone costs just over five bucks and is quite enough to keep you going until tea time. The standard has not altered despite a recent ownership change.
Second: There is always something about throwing your own dice when it comes to making a sandwich, which is an option at Sandwich Extreme. The girls will make one to your liking from their vast selection of fillings in the cabinet or you can choose one of the combos on the wall menu. The coffee is great as well.
First: The golden gong goes to Izzy's Pie Shop at Strandon. Isobel McLellan is the name behind the sign and she works in tandem with partner Taffy Pope to produce pies of exquisite quality. As readers will have fathomed, I am quite partial to a good pie and have even taken to making some of my own. But they don't come within a bull's roar of Izzy's. May they long continue.
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