Friday, 28 October 2011

going wandering

Later today I get on a plane and by almost this time tomorrow I will have moved to China, where I will be living for about the next twelve months. I will still be posting lots of food to this blog, but my posts to Planet VegMel will be filtered so only thinky posts and Melbourne posts appear. If you'd like to follow my continuing food adventures, until I come home you'll have to do it separate from the Planet.

Also I have a blog specifically for my China adventure, Song of the Travelling Penguin. It's a tumblr, which you can just add to your RSS reader if you don't like tumblrs. I've enabled disqus so you can even leave me comments if you want! There are no posts there yet because I haven't left, but stand by!

Anyway. I love you Melbourne, I'll see you all again soon.

with haibao

Thursday, 27 October 2011

lentil as anything, abbotsford convent

Went to brunch with Lisa and Danni at Abbotsford Convent, because Lisa was in town for the Animals Australia Forum (to which I didn't get to go, crryyy).

potato cakes (doo doo dododo)

Danni and Lisa both ordered the potato cakes. I sampled this, they were slightly spiced, with a side of vegetables and a little chutney. They weren't crispy like hash browns, more loosely bound like a patty, but they were an excellent meal.

spicy beans

I ordered the spicy beans, which also came with some vegetables. These were pretty delicious too, but I coveted the potato cakes (this might have to do with my potato obsession).

previously: breakfast at the convent

Lentil As Anything
1 St Heliers Street

It's totally not accessible. It's poorly lit, you have to walk through a mini kitchen to get inside, it's cramped and crowded and the tables are close together. If you want to sit outside it's a little better. Lentil as Anything is a pay what you feel venue.

Monday, 24 October 2011

yumcha lunch at veggie kitchen: intention of love

I met up with my friend Fei for lunch on Friday at Veggie Kitchen: Intention of Love. I love Veggie Kitchen. The food is always amazing, I always come out of it having tried something deliciously new, and the service is lovely and friendly and accommodating and it is pretty close to home. I've been there several times (and I do think I should visit more often), but before last week I had never been there for lunch.

Veggie Kitchen has a great lunchtime menu with lots of dim sum favourites, so Fei and I decided to try it out. I didn't take photos of everything but between the two of us we ordered the perfect amount of food.

We started with the beancurd skin rolls. These were layered inside with nori and then fried. These were crispy and fresh, and would have been my favourites had it not been for the RADISH CAKE:

crispy tasty radish cakes

Crispy on the outside and soft inside and perfect flavour and great sauce coating.

We also ordered the handmade noodles and a serve of the siu mai, and we finished up with the peanut bao. Delicious vegan dim sum, and without the need to go to Box Hill!

Veggie Kitchen was empty the entire time we were eating, which was about an hour. I know it was a friday lunchtime but seriously! I hope more people are able to drop by at a lunch time, it was deliciously worth it.

previous visit: cny banquet.

Veggie Kitchen: Intention of Love
159 St George Rd

GF available. Easy to get to on the 112 (an accessible stop is right across the road) or the 508 bus. A step up into restaurant, widely spaced tables, and ordering and paying can happen at the table or at the counter. Toilet is down a long corridor and difficult to maneuver to. Takes CC.

Friday, 21 October 2011

After my eventual first visit to New Day Rising, I was very quick to return yesterday with Danni and Fi in tow!

Danni and Fi both went the CLT, with Danni also trying out one of the vegan muffins (orange and date - so soft and delicious!). I decided to try the beans, which were great. I'd been worried they'd be too fennel-y, but they were just perfect, with a flavour I enjoyed and just enough avocado and bread (three pieces, one is hiding) to soak things up. The vegan beans come with tahini, which allegedly make a nice addition but which I forgot to add! I do wish people would stop giving me rocket though. It is the worst. :o(

New Day Rising
221d Blyth Street
Brunswick East

super easy to get to at the end of the 96 tram (not an accessible stop); the venue is tiiiiny and crowded with little maneuverability; the toilet is around the corner and outside. all ordering is at the table (mostly because it's too tiny to go anywhere). cash only!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

new day rising

I promise I already had my outing to New Day Rising with SJ planned before Michael posted about it last week. This is just a coincidence!

sorry if this is blurry! i don't currently have my glasses because i am a poor planner

The CLT (coconut, lettuce and tomato) is so delicious I don't know what to do with myself. I can't believe I waited this long to try it, after first hearing Lisa talk about the CLT, and I'm trying to make it there again before I leave Brunswick for the Great China Adventure.

The smoked coconut in this is so intense but nicely set off by the tomato, lettuce and avocado and I want it. All of it. In my mouth.

others eating the CLT: dannipants; k; Lisa; Cindy + Michael.

New Day Rising
221d Blyth Street
Brunswick East

super easy to get to at the end of the 96 tram (not an accessible stop); the venue is tiiiiny and crowded with little maneuverability; the toilet is around the corner and outside. all ordering is at the table (mostly because it's too tiny to go anywhere). cash only!

Friday, 14 October 2011

[wa] swan valley cafe ii, millendon

Flying visit to Perth this week for the Farewell to Perth Tour before jetting off on the Great China Adventure (more on that closer to). After arriving quite late (and too tired to make it to my friend Tina's birthday party!) I got up early the next morning to join my parents and my sister for breakfast at the Swan Valley Cafe.

the waiting area

The Swan Valley Cafe is this cute little vegetarian restaurant and nursery in the Swan Valley. They also sell their own brand of teas (and different types of salt, such as the chilli salt my sister likes to put on her hot chips). It's a really lovely location, just away from the river so you can't see it but you get the cool morning air and that feeling on your skin. You can wander through the plants for sale, and I always wish I could buy some (usually I buy some for other people).

This Sunday, I decided we were going to sit outside.

(not at this table, at the one next to it just out of frame. it is just to give you an idea of the outdoor ambience)

Look at that lovely morning sunlight!

The breakfast menu is not extensive but it's got a nice little bit of variety. There are vegan pancakes, and a scrambled tofu, some granola and some home made baked beans, as well as a big veg breakfast. I was torn between the Mexican scrambled tofu and the pancakes, both of which sounded delicious. Stricken with indecision, although my sister wanted eggs, I managed to convince her to order vegan pancakes, so I could try them.

breakfast #2 mexican tofu

I watched the tofu go past to other tables, and I started considering how small it looked, a concern which only strengthened when my tofu was presented to me. At the same time my sister received a plate of berry pancakes, and she too was concerned: she had ordered banana pancakes, not berry! Generously, then, and with no small sacrifice on my part, I volunteered to eat both her berry pancakes and my scrambled tofu, whilst she reordered her banana pancakes.

Her banana pancakes appeared about ten minutes later, with extra pancakes to make up for the mistake, so no complaints there despite the mix up.

breakfast #1: pancakes

The buckwheat pancakes were amazing. They were served with a coconut cream and some maple syrup, covered in fresh berries, and they were delicious. They were cheap too, for Perth prices ($11), and totally worth it!

The spicy Mexican scrambled tofu is on the menu as eggs but with the vegan tofu option. They come with several pieces of sour dough toast and this delicious avocado, tomato and onion salsa, which was a perfect counterpoint to the spice of the tofu. Regretfully the tofu was a little too much spice and not enough flavour: they were a good consistency and a great spice level, but could have done with some nutritional yeast flakes or some cumin.

Add a soy flat white, and this was an excellent breakfast; and, little piggy that I am with the two breakfasts, I couldn't finish the toast that came with the tofu, and I didn't need to eat lunch despite eating this at 10am.

Swan Valley Cafe also does take away, a service of which I availed myself on Wednesday on my way to the airport. I picked up a hummous, grilled vegetables and salad wrap to take with me on the plane, and it was still super tasty two hours later when I wanted it (though the oil had soaked through the bag). I also grabbed a bag of hand-made, vegan, raw chocolate truffles, for sustenance on the long trip home.

previous visit

Swan Valley Cafe
990 Great Northern Highway
Millendon, 6056

Some GF available
Open every day but at different times

there's a shallow ramp into the building (to skip over the steps), lovely wide doors, lots of excellent lighting and it's quiet. there is an outdoor area around the back but you have to go through the flower shed to access it if steps are an obstacle. ordering is done at the table.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Abbout Falafel House, Coburg

kebab and dolmades from the falafal house

Last week Danni, Emilly and I went for an adventure into the near-reaches of Coburg! I visited the Coburg library for the first time, and tried to find things in Coburg Coles, and for noms we visited Abbout Falafel House, a vegetarian restaurant on Sydney Road. Nothing fancy, but cheap, fast and delicious wraps and dolmades and other delicious things. The dolmades were a little too rich for me, but I loved the wrap. Say yes to the chilli sauce, it's all good.

Abbout Falafel House
465 Sydney Road

Thursday, 6 October 2011

adventures in canberra

parliament house at night

I adventured in to Our Nation's Fair Capital last week for five days of very intensive training. I stayed at the Rydges Capital Hill, which after a couple of days of bread and potatoes managed to end the week by furnishing me with some delicious stuff, most notably a chickpea curry with rice one night, and a sundried tomato and pea risotto one lunch. I really appreciated, once the chef got into the swing of cooking for a vegan, the thought that went into some of the meals I got.

Anyway whilst I was in town, I also managed to escape into Dickson and try out two vego restaurants with some local friends.

assam fish at kingsland hor fun at kingsland

I started at Kingsland, a 100% vegan restaurant, where I ordered the assam fish, the hor fun, and some chicken drumsticks. The chicken and the hor fun were fine, but nothing exciting. The assam fish was perfect. That perfect assamy, fishy flavour. A solid fleshy bite to it. Some delicious sauce. It was perfect! And on a Tuesday night, paying bye cash meant 20% off the total bill, which I appreciated.

laksa at au lac

Thursday night I made it to the famed Au Lac, well spoken of by many a Canberra-based vegan. I was humming and hawing, unsure what I wanted, until I saw the laksa and knew, of course, what my choice had to be. The laksa was good, but not amazing. It had a nice flavour, and I loved the mock meat in the dish, but as always something was missing and so my search continues. Friend J had some soy beef dish, and I wish I'd taken note of it because it was amazingly delicious.

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant
5/28 Challis Street
Dickson, ACT

Step up into the restaurant, tables are super close together. Ordering happens at the table; quite a close atmosphere (and gets quite noisy). Didn't check out the toilets.

Au Lac
4/35-39 Woolley Street
Dickson, ACT

20% off the bill if you pay cash Tuesdays and Wednesday. Tables are spaced far apart and there are no steps, ordering (and cash payments) can happen at the table. Bright lights, constant supreme master television. Didn't check out the toilets.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

breakfast at the vegie bar

I have been feeling really good about the Vegie Bar lately, so when my friend Claire was in town recently I thought I'd take her there for breakfast.


vegan french toast at the vegie bar

I went to the Vegie Bar for breakfast about a year and a half ago, and at the time the vegan options were pretty dire. But Vegie Bar has been doing such great things with its daytime and dinner menu lately, I thought it was worth a go. If anything, it is worse than it was before, with this vegan french toast the only vegan item on the menu. ONE VEGAN BREAKFAST. At a vego restaurant! When I asked if I could turn an egg dish into a tofu dish, I was told "no, only on special days." Even Tom Phat does better than that.

The french toast was fine, but there were three of us and we all had to order the same thing. After we'd ordered, I remembered we could have gone to Las Vegan Nirvana instead, and I was filled with regrets.

previous visits: i and ii and iii and iv

The Vegie Bar
378 Brunswick Street

Sunday, 2 October 2011

planet vegmel birthday potluck + blog event part ii


It was Planet VegMel's birthday! So there was a birthday picnic at Edinburgh Gardens, and the weather was beautiful. I took a whole bunch of photos at the picnic, if you'd like to see them you can check them out at my flickr. Cindy has also done a bit of a round up post!

There were zines (which you can download here)

a posse of zines

and badges

declare your VGML predilection

and there was lots of food!

a part of the spread potato bake

For drinks, we started with chamomile lemon iced tea, with maple ice cubes, made by K; and a mango lasso made by the Veganator.

Michael made potato chickpea enchiladas, originally seen on veganise this; Emilly made an eggplant salad; and I made the quinoa avocado salad that has been remixed by many VegMelers.

Toby experimented with tempeh bacon, remixed from Where's the Beef. This was probably my highlight of the picnic, I totally recommend it! Also involving tempeh was Em's gado gado.

In news of other remixes, Carla brought along mock crab cakes, remixed from Cindy and Michael; and Mel made tofu quiches, originally seen at Vicki Vegan and Green Gourmet Giraffe.

Danni made sundried tomato bread and pumpkin + miso muffins (remixes from non-VegMel blogs).

a cake pop kind of like kingstons

For sweets, Cindy and Michael made PB & choc sandwiches, based on peanut butter alligators and chocolate ganache from Sugarspoons.

K made ginger ripple cake, based on a recipe by the Veganator; Mel made apricot delight, remixed from Green Gourmet Giraffe; and Em made Turkish Truffles, a remix of Mel's rum balls. I remixed chocolate caramel slice, from Johanna's original recipe.

In original recipes, Vicki posted about her peanut butter balls; Johanna brought blueberry cake pops (and they were so amazing); and Carla delighted us with lamingtons.

And that was the potluck, but not the end of the birthday:

two more submissions for that recipe sounds very familiar… previous entries can be found here.

Cindy and Michael remixed a beetroot chocolate cake, originally from the Fairest Feed.

Like Cindy and Michael and myself, Mel remixed Toby's Singapore noodles, a delicious noodle treat.