Chop Chop Noodle House and Ben & Jerry’s (Ponsonby) Review

Featured Image: Photo credits to the Chop Chop Noodle House Website

Because it’s SaturDATE, it only means one thing,… eating out !!! On this day, we’ve decided to skip the usual Sushi Train lunch date and since winter is starting to creep in, we thought that it would be the perfect time to get some ramen. One of our favorite noodle places is Chop Chop Noodle House. It is among the many food places located in Ponsonby Central – a hub composed of cafès, bars, restaurants, and a fresh produce market.

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Chop Chop Noodle House has an Asian “kung-fu/beach bar” vibe. Patrons can select a seat around the bar, or on one of the independent tables out front. We always prefer the former option because we enjoy watching the chef prepare our meals.

 

The main reason why we keep coming back to this place is the unique and rich flavor of their ramen. There are five different options, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables (tofu, mushrooms, kimchi), or a combination of almost everything; we haven’t tried the chicken and the vegetables on their own, but all the other three are just superb. A single order guarantees you a very generous amount of noodles, flavorful broth, and your chosen protein.

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Cobra Kai Super Mega Ramen – Crispy Fried Chicken, Pork Belly, BBQ Pork, Kimchi, Mushrooms, and Rye Noodles | $25-

Another good thing about this restaurant is the fact that since there are limited items on the menu, it’s not overwhelming or confusing when it comes to selecting a dish. And you know that the dishes are always flawlessly executed because the chefs can focus on just a few recipes that they’ve perfected over time.

The bar also offers a range of  alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages which compliment their dishes quite well.

And because we were already in Ponsonby, we didn’t want to miss the chance to grab some dessert at Ben & Jerry’s. It ended up being a good and bad experience for us. It was GOOD because the combination of the ice cream, hot fudge/ caramel, brownies/ fresh-baked cookies, topped with whipped cream was absolutely perfect! And BAD ( well, not really…) because we didn’t know how big the servings were and we ended up getting two HUGE sundaes that neither of  us can even eat halfway through. Thankfully, it was quite a chilly night so we managed to take the rest of the ice cream home without it melting, popped them in the freezer, and ate them all the next night.

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Brownie Special and Cookie Cookie Sundae.

Chop Chop Noodle House
140 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

Ben & Jerry’s Ponsonby
160 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

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Mentatz Japanese Noodle Restaurant and Bar Review

Mentatz is one of our go-to restaurants whenever we are in the city. It is strategically located in one of the busiest streets in the CBD, Lorne Street. It offers a wide array of Japanese food and drinks at very affordable prices (from $8.00 and up). The food portions won’t let you down either, thus, customers really get the value for their money.

As for the food rating, it differs based on a variety of factors like the type of food, the customer’s preference for flavors, and the number of customers in the restaurant at the time of dining.

First of all, we can both attest to the robust flavors of the restaurant’s ramen. Our go-to selections are the Wafu Tonkotsu Ramen and the Seafood Tomato Ramen. The balance between the quantity of noodles, soup, and meat/ seafood is just right especially when you visit the restaurant on a quiet day; which is rarely the case.

Wafu tonkotsu ramen @ mentatz
Wafu Tonkotsu Ramen

Secondly, the side dishes/ appetizers are just as good as the mains. The serving size for some of them are big enough to pass for a meal. We’ve tried the Salmon Pot, Spicy Shrimp Salad, Gyoza, and Takoyaki; and the ingredients in each dish just complement each other really well.

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Salmon Pot – Salmon chunks with tofu and some vegetables in miso (?) soup.

Third, the rice meal that we usually order, which is the Teriyaki Chicken, in our opinion, is average. The taste and the serving size is really good and satisfying, however, the chicken isn’t always tender. We always get this issue during the busy hours — dinner time.

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Apart from the aforementioned information (as based on our dining experiences), the pros still triumph over the minor cons. This is a restaurant that travelers must dine in when visiting Auckland especially this winter season.

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Arkham City Comics Haul

The terrible weather didn’t stop us from driving to the mall to get our hands on some comic books which were being sold by the kilogram at Arkham City Comics.

The set-up was quite different to the book sale events that we’ve been to. Due to the size of the shop, the tables were set-up in a straight line just outside the shop entrance. The patrons had to fall in line and wait for their turn while the people before them start browsing through the collection of comic books.

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We had to wait for a few minutes before we got our chance to go through the selection of comics. Although there wasn’t much left to choose from because we arrived late, we still ended up with 2.27kgs!

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And now time for a cup of tea…

Loving Saturdates!

Kay & Gelo

“Surfing Weekend” at Sandy Bay, Tutukaka Coast

During the  Auckland Anniversary weekend we traveled up north to visit Tutukaka Coast . One of the many activities that we were fortunate enough to try (because the weather was just perfect) was surfing. A few weeks before traveling, we were able to find a company offering surfing lessons in Sandy Bay, named Tutukaka Surf. We opted to sign up with them because of the good reviews and its close proximity to Sandy Bay Retreat.

We have been communicating with Simon for the booking for our surfing lessons and the instructor who greeted us on the day was Shane. The wet suits, sunblock, and soft boards were all provided, and it was about a two-hour session. We had so much fun, despite the nosedives and the flipping boards, that we decided to go back once we get another chance.

As the Easter weekend started to roll in, we discussed about the possibility of going back to the Tutukaka Coast, particularly at Sandy Bay to try and catch more waves.

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Planning the trip became quite tricky when Sandy Bay Retreat and most of the other holiday homes close to the beach (that suited our needs) were already booked for the long Easter weekend. We blame it to the fact that it was quite late when we started looking for an accommodation. However, we continued to scour the internet and we found a holiday park offering ensuite cabins. Grant, who was the contact person, replied efficiently to our query and we ended up booking an ensuite cabin at the Tutukaka Holiday Park. It also turned out that it was actually the perfect option because of its location which was close to the shops and was just a 6-minute drive to Sandy Bay.

As for the activities, because we were so focused on surfing, we emailed Simon again from Tutukaka Surf to enquire about the rental options for the Platino soft boards, which were perfect for beginners like us. After receiving his usual accommodating emails, we were able to reach an agreement as to where and what time we can pick the boards up.

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After two full days of lounging under the sun, of fighting our fear of drowning, and of riding and falling off our boards, we still couldn’t get enough of the excitement that one experiences on top of a wave and the slow surf towards the shore. The hours we spent on the beach haven’t really improved our surfing skills, but it has indeed taught us a few lessons which are good enough for our next surfing adventure.

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If you are visiting Sandy Bay and would like to try your knack at surfing, you can reach Simon of Tutukaka Surf at simon@tutukakasurf.co.nz. And if you are looking for a good accommodation, you can contact Grant or Colleen of Tutukaka Holiday Park at tutukakaholidaypark@gmail.com.

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