Oddly, this is a post I’ve been meaning to make for a while, but now it fits with Matthew in New Zealand. A few months ago I went allllll the way across the Bay to Alameda — not to see the “nuclear wessels,” as some out there might think — but to go to a pub called The New Zealander.
A Kiwi friend of mine has been missing the food of her country of late, so another friend dug up this pub as a place to sup on authentic New Zealand meat pies. It’s also a place to get something called an “Aucklander 3 AM White Lady Special,” which is drunk food at its best. It’s a huge burger topped with — let’s see if I can remember — fried egg, pineapple, garlic, cheese, tomato, onion, and possibly ham. Since I wasn’t stumbling up to a food van after a night of drinking, I didn’t order that. However, when one of my companions did, I suddenly realized that maybe my one sip of stout was more powerful than I thought. That burger looked damn good. Then again, even without alcoholic aids, I happen to like peanut butter and jelly on toast topped with bacon, so, you know, maybe I’m not the best judge of normal food.
I settled for a steak and cheese pie. Well, at least for starters.
It was everything a meaty pie should be: a crispy pie crust bottom with pouffy, flaky puff pastry top and sides, stuffed with meltingly tender steak. Even though the gravy inside was rich and delicious, I still went wild for Watties, the Kiwi answer to ketchup. Its clove-y sweet goodness made a perfect pair with everything I ate, including their special rosemary roasted potatoes that I simply couldn’t resist.
After the meat pie and the potatoes and the two pints of stout you’d think I’d be pretty well full, huh? But see, then you’d be wrong.
My Kiwi friend loved the pies so much, she dared me to order a second one with her. Now, what I mean here is not that we ordered a pie to split between us. No, no, dear eater, we EACH ordered a second pie. She opted for chicken and I went for the lamb curry. I’ve never made a better decision in my life.
It was so good, I had to bring a THIRD pie home for my hardworking husband, who was stuck grading midterms all afternoon. I selected the lamb curry for him, and our waitress brought me the frozen parcel with written instructions on how to cook it. A few hours later, my husband agreed with me: Damn. That’s good pie.
Check them out:
The New Zealander
1200 Webster St. (at Central Ave.)
And if you’re a displaced Kiwi or just like the accents, the American New Zealand club meets there weekly.