About

Self at The Lab

My name is Athol McCredie and in my working life I am a photography curator at Te Papa. I started this site because I love muesli and I wanted to discover the best muesli in Wellington, New Zealand. I began with packaged types in stores, but I was disappointed by the amount of sugar in them all. So I resorted to making my own.

Why This Site?

I also figured that sampling muesli in cafés might be an idea, because someone there has (hopefully) spent some effort making it so good that you will want to return.

After visiting about ten or so cafés on weekends I was starting to forget exactly how each stacked up against the other. I decided to take photographs and write notes for future reference. I then thought that if these were useful for me then they might also be for other people. So why not put them online?

Method in the Madness

I began with muesli in mind, but realised that most places actually serve granola – that is, a crunchy form of toasted muesli. And that others were doing bircher muesli, which is a far cry from granola and closer to porridge. So I’ve accommodated the spectrum of muesli-related dishes by considering each separately.

I’ve also incorporated coffee into the mix. I do like a decent amount of it with muesli, granola, or other cereal. So I usually ask for an Americano (a long black espresso with extra hot water) though if they have filter coffee I order that as my preferred drink. On future visits I might order English Breakfast tea. I’ve found that tea is rarely served properly so I want to discover and promote the places that do it well.

My initial aim was to only cover cafés within walking distance of my home, which means the Te Aro part of Wellington. This has the greatest concentration of eateries in the city. But I’m gradually expanding out as I exhaust all those options.

My Hobby Horses

Just so you know, I have a few ‘issues’. One, as mentioned above, is sugary cereals for reasons of keeping healthy. So cereal dishes made with lots of honey or syrup get the thumbs down from me. I’m against dried fruit for the same reason, and anyway, I fail to see why fresh fruit can’t be used, especially in a country like New Zealand where it is abundant. Ditto for poached fruit. I think it’s just lazy not to use fresh fruit.

I want my coffee black, because I want to contrast it with the milkiness of a yoghurt and milk covered cereal. Filter is best because you can appreciate the flavour of the coffee better. Tea should be leaf tea of course, not a tea bag. It should be served in a proper tea cup, not the ubiquitous cappuccino coffee cup; in a pot that has been pre-warmed and which does not dribble; and with an extra pot of hot water so you can adjust the strength to your liking.

Links

Tea on the Road: Hunting for New Zealand’s Best Cup of Tea is a great site that, like mine, focuses on just one thing in New Zealand eateries. In this case, tea. It ranges over the whole country, with a weighting to the Auckland region.

Radio New Zealand interview (28 December, 2019; 16 minutes) with yours truly about this site.

My other website is a detailed guide to walking the 3,000 km Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand from south to north (northbound, or nobo in trail lingo). Besides the day-by-day trail guides, there is lots of information about gear, food and other stuff related to long distance hiking in New Zealand there too. I ate muesli every day for breakfast on the trail. And dreamed of luxuriating in a nice, warm café. So the two topics are not unrelated. You too may feel like recovering in a café after a very long walk.

Follow Me

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Send Me Feedback

If you find this site useful or interesting let me know. Or if you have some hot tip on a café I haven’t visited, a photo to share, or any sort of comment really, just pop me a line in the form below. If it is something you think others will be interested in use the comments section at the bottom of the Home page.

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