Cazador, meaty things and tummy tickles

Charcuterie

It’s true what they say – your body has to work harder to digest meat. As I write this my tummy is gurgling and giving me little squeezes to let me know it’s pretty much completing a cross fit workout just to digest all the meaty things I ate this weekend.

Eight different types of meat, prepared eleven different ways seem extreme, I know! Lucky for me eating out in Auckland is pretty amazing so I only had to go to two local restaurants (Cazador and The Culpeper) to get this selection.  Winner, winner, quail dinner.

After digesting that information (I’m so punny) you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m the president of some local carnivore’s group, but it may surprise you to learn that while I do like meat I consider myself pretty traditional in my tastes, others might say I’m fussy.

As a child I would not eat meat on a bone so mum (bless her patience) had to de-bone it for me, luckily we didn’t have it that much. As an adult I still avoid meat on a bone if I can, I’ll eat it if I’m served it at someone’s house, because manners! I also avoid mashed potatoes and peas, but that’s another story.

I do have other rules when it comes to meat, I don’t like it to taste meaty, I don’t like to think about it as animals or flesh because it gives me tickles in my tummy and not the good kind and I tend to avoid game and stick to the basics.

Anyway, let me fill you in on one of the places I went, how I found it and some other hopefully useful information if you’re planning on getting the meat sweats. If you’re short on time skip ahead to the highlights and low lights.

Cazador    |    Saturday night dinner for four    |    $75 a head plus drinks

The occasion: A family dinner celebrating my favourite’s birthday courtesy of my lovely parents.

The food: We opted for the five-course feast which included popping a lot of food cherries for me, as most of the meat I hadn’t tried before. If that sounds like a bit too much for you, don’t worry they also have an a la carte menu  and can accommodate allergies etc.

To start we had Persian breads, pita with an eggplant dip and a flatbread stuffed with a delicious herb pesto and cheese.

This was followed by a charcuterie platter with pickles, olives, crostini, breads, lavosh, onion jam and of course meaty things – boar lomo, pheasant parfait, hare rillettes and venison terrine.

I enjoyed the lomo most as it was thinly sliced like a prosciutto. The parfait was like a pâté but fluffier in texture and was far too meaty for my tastes, I had the tiniest bit on the end of a crostini and that was enough. I attempted to dissect some of what looked like meat from the venison terrine before Mum told me off for playing with my food and tried to tell me the fat I was avoiding was nuts (nice try). Last, but not least, the hare was surprisingly yum and cooked in a delicious porter sauce.

Next was a dish with both smoked and roasted quail with zucchini and almond. The flavours in this were too intense for me and I passed most my meat to my partner but everyone else at the table loved it.

The last meat course for the night was a very generous serving of venison fillet which was medium rare and very well rested served with turnips

We finished the meal of with a decadent dark chocolate mousse which for me was the perfect way to end the night.

The drinks: Everything you’d expect – a good selection of wine, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic bevvys. My drink for the night was Sangria at $10 a glass.

My highlights: It was good value for money. I loved the décor; it was reminiscent of an old hunting lodge with dark wood floors and stuffed animals everywhere. When our young waiter told me I was brave for just coming in the doors. Food wise the hare and the venison were scrumptious.

My lowlights: The bread to eggplant dip ratio (needed more bread). When our young waiter spilt my drink on the table but never reappeared to clean it up :-(.

Insider tip: If you’re into hunting-gathering (duck shooting season is fast approaching) they provide a service where they’ll cook what you’ve caught, just call ahead. Yum!

Go here if: You really like meat and want to try some new things or just have an adventurous palette.

If you’ve got any weird meat rules too or have been to Cazador let me know in the comments below.

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