Sunday, 7 November 2010

hanging out on the goldcoast

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Animal Activists Forum, which this year was held on the Gold Coast! I plan to talk more about that when I can get the words right, but for now I want to talk about the food that we ate.

We stayed at the Tallebudgera Active Recreation Centre. Part of the centre is a generic sports and rec centre, with public swimming pool and sporting facilities. The rest of it is a gated centre run by the Queensland government for camps and retreats. It's got climbing facilities, and a couple of conference rooms, and a whole lot of basic shared accommodation. What this meant was that, aside from the conference dinner, all of our meals were cooked by the chefs at the Centre.

I didn't take photos of everything, but amongst the breakfasts, lunches and morning and afternoon teas, food included: pancakes, toast, a big cooked breakfast, noodles, rice and vegetables, dumplings, and burgers. Afternoon teas included muffins and biscuits and a whole lot of fruit. And all of it was vegan!

a perfectly serviceable lunch deconstructed burger

I know the organisers were concerned about mixups, given they'd never catered for a fully vegan group before, but aside from honey on the first day (honey was put on the condiments table, and honey-os were included with the cereal options), and one instance of a carton of cow milk being hidden amongst the several cartons of soy milk, everything was good! Nothing was mind blowingly tasty, but some things were good, and everything was vegan, and we were separated from the other groups staying at the Centre so we didn't even have to see their animal products! So it was quite satisfactory.

banana boat

There were two evenings unaccounted for, though: the conference dinner, and the night before it all started, when there were only a few of us loitering around. I wanted to use this opportunity to try at least one of the vego-only restaurants along the Gold Coast, so on the way from Brisvegas R dropped in to Threeworlds Organic Pizza Cafe. All the pizza at threeworlds is vegan and organic and made on bases of spelt. At threeworlds they also make their own cheese, and although I'm not sure what this cheese is made from, consensus on the evening was that it's probably nutritional yeast.

pizza from 3world pizza

I know they look the same, but there are three different pizzas under there! J ended up ordering the Mediterranean pizza, the pesto perfection, and (I think) the satay sensation. My favourite was the pesto perfection, I really liked the pesto and pumpkin combination, and the broccolli on the pizza was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean. The spelt bases were okay, but nothing special.

Also a pleasant surprise was the roar (sic) desserts that R bought to accompany the pizza. These were so delicious that R, a stringent dissident when it comes to raw desserts, was completely won over by the berry cheezecake! I also found the berry very delicious, and the orange was also very tasty. I can't remember what the third one was (the white one in the photo below), but it wasn't very nice and in fact remained unfinished.

some raw desserts

Overall: threeworlds was nice, and handy to have nearby, but I would choose Plush over it any day.

The conference dinner was held at Zullaz Restaurant in Burleigh Heads. Zullaz is not a vegetarian restaurant - my understanding is that, although there were a small handful of vegetarian restaurants within walking distance of the accommodation, none were able to accommodate the number of people required. So we went to Zullaz and, as far as I could tell, everything worked out okay! We had a buffet specially for us (everyone else in the restaurant was ala carte), and it was just generic, mostly South Asian food in the usual way, with a dessert of bread and 'butter' pudding (which was actually really tasty.

dinner at zullaz dessert at zullaz

Zullaz is mostly GF and dairy-free, which is a good start for getting some vegan food if you're in the area. It was perfectly fine, but nothing special, and there is a Govinda's and a vegan raw restaurant just around the corner, so maybe just if you really need to (as we did for the size), or want somewhere that serves cocktails.

Threeworlds Organic Cafe
2558 Gold Coast Hwy
Mermaid Beach

Zullaz Exotic Cuisine*
21a /50 James Street
Big B Arcade
Burleigh Heads

*I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that exotic is a word that is usually totally inappropriate, because it works to effectively and efficiently other anyone who doesn't fit in to an anglo-discourse. And that is exactly what it is doing to this restaurant!


K said...

The food from Zullaz looks awesome

Precious Pig said...

I know some people felt funny about eating at an omni restaurant, using omni caterers (and I also know some people have no fucking clue about the logistics of event management), but I think effort should be rewarded. Zullaz and the rec centre really tried very hard to please us food-wise! Vegans very rarely get that kind of special treatment along with a smile. And I was impressed with the pancakes and fried breakfasts we got. And all the fruit and cookies! I still have a mandarin that I snuck back into Victoria.

Precious Pig said...

... which probably originally came from Victoria anyway :\

steph said...

@Precious Pig some googling lead me to forums where people (in advance of the weekend) were complaining about the choice to go with omni caterers. But I agree! I think that effort should be rewarded, and I also acknowledge that it can be hard to get vegan caterers when there are other requirements that also need to be taken in to account!

PS stop smuggling fruit.