Sunday, December 17, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 7 (Melbourne)

After breakfast with Leigh, I met up with Molly at the World Vegan Day festival in Melbourne. It was huge! They even had special trains running from the city, as well as people waiting at tram stops to make sure everyone knew that this was the stop. There was lots of food, of course, and a lot of stalls selling cool things and offering samples. I sampled some cheeses and drinks and krauts, which was fun. I also picked up some Loving Earth chocolate covered Incan berries, and some plant-based wax re-usable wraps. As for food... it was just too busy at that time (which was peak lunch time), and neither of us felt like waiting in massive lines. I did get a lovely mango iced green tea from Those Girls, which was refreshing on a hot day in a crowded venue.

Mango Lemon Verbena Green TeaThose Girls at World Vegan Day

We reached our quota for being around large groups of people, and hopped on a train to the city to get something to eat. We both love sushi, and Sushi Sushi is my favourite Australian chain. So we stopped by and loaded up some plates.

Sushi Sushi

The afternoon was spent lounging around the hotel. And I had a cherry danish that I had bought from Smith & Deli for afternoon tea.

Cherry Danish from Smith & Deli

For dinner, we had very special plans at the late dinner seating for Transformer in Fitzroy. This is a fancy vegetarian place, with lots of vegan options. I had been there once before and loved it, and was excited to go back. This place is pricey, but worth it. Last time I had the 'Feed Me' menu, a set price for five courses the kitchen chooses. This time we went on our own adventure. We both refreshed ourselves with the Watermelon, Mint, Chia and Lavender Salt Elixir, and amused ourselves with a shot of the Ayurvedic Elixer (ginger, turmeric, tamarind, coconut water). The latter looks like mud water, but was quite tasty!

Watermelon, mint, chia, lime and lavender salt elixir at Transformer

Ayurvedic elixir at Transformer

The menu is divided into starters and larger plates, and is designed for sharing. We kicked off with a couple of small plates. First up, the spelt & seed steamed buns with crispy smoked tofu, pickled cucumber & gochujang mayo. We got the mayo on the side so I could control the heat level, I tried a little but it was pretty spicy, so just ate my bun without it.

Spelt and seed steamed buns with crispy fried tofu, pickled cucumber, and gojuchang mayo at Transformer

Probably our favourite of the night was the roast carrot, white bean & saffron dip with toasted cumin and flatbread. I could happily eat a tub of the dip with a spoon, and the flat bread was delicious and hot.

Roast carrot, white bean and saffron dip with cumin seeds and flat bread at Transformer

We had a refreshing start to the larger plates, with the chilled freekeh sealad with almond, mint, fresh apple, snow pea & fennel. I loved this one, probably my second favourite of the night.

Freeken, almond, mint, apple, snow pea, fennel at Transformer

Unfortunately the steamed broccolini with chickpea & miso butter, daikon & chive powder was a miss for me. This is one of the ones that is vegetarian with a vegan option, and it turned out that their vegan modification was to use coconut oil instead of butter. Even a tiny taste was enough to make me feel a little queasy. Thankfully Molly was happy to finish this off for us.

Steamed broccolini, chickpea and miso butter, daikon and chive powder at Transformer

The King oyster mushrooms with confit garlic & pine nut purée, smoked shallot & porcini salt was another favourite. You can't really go wrong with big slabs of well cooked, salty mushrooms!

King oyster mushrooms, confit garlic and pinenut puree, smoked shallots, porcini salt at Transformer

I enjoyed the native spiced beetroots with ginger pearls, macadamia cream, finger limes, salt bush & samphire. They were cooked to be very soft, and the ginger pearls were a fun texture.

Native spiced beetroot, macadamia cream, ginger pearls, sea vegetables at Transformer

Finally, we had the festive cider glazed roast red cabbage with celeriac & horseradish purée & toasted rye. This was a lovely end to the meal, and I could have easily had more of the puree!

Cider glazed roast red cabbage, celeriac and horseradish puree, toasted rye at Transformer

We finished by sharing a dessert of their small dessert menu, the warm chocolate brownie with salted coconut ice cream, hazelnut ganache, and cherry gel. With the ice cream of the side, as far too coconutty for me. The brownie is so rich, that it is not a bad idea to share! I wish I could get a lot more of the cherry gel, which is my favourite part. I also had a turmeric latter on soy, no sweetener.

Warm chocolate brownie, salted caramel ice cream, hazelnut ganache, cherry gel at Transformer

Turmeric latte at Transformer

The next morning, we met up with Molly's friend Fran and her friend Marta to go out to Matcha Mylkbar for breakfast. For a Monday morning, this place got packed! I'd been there once before, and was excited to try out some more of their ridiculous lattes. Thankfully the Purple Peanut Butter Latte (astronuts natural peanut butter, purple okinawan sweet potato, soy mylk, coconut aminos) did not disappoint.

Purple Peanut Butter Latte at Matcha Mylkbar

Unfortunately, the menu did kind of disappoint. It was different from what was online, and it was very very very small. Looking at their website, it looks like they have yet another new menu with loads more options, so perhaps we were there during a change over menu? Anyway, we had all hoped to get something that was not available. Please keep your menus up to date online!

Marta got the Hollondaise eggs with kale and avocado on sourdough, which she enjoyed. I have had their eggs before, and while they look like eggs they taste nothing like them, they are kind of sweet. Marta was glad that I had warned her about the taste, because it meant she could enjoy them for what they were, not for what she thought they were meant to be like.

Hollondaise eggs at Matcha Mylkbar

Fran got the Match Pancakes with dark chocolate sauce, fruit, and macadamia ice cream. I tried a little bit and these were very rich and dense, a small stack is all you need.

Matcha pancakes at Matcha Mylkbar

Molly and I both got the Avocado Toast with Zaatar and a side of Nut Feta, which was excellent. I know, I know. Avocado toast is the standard 'vegan' option as many places, but I love it.

Avocado toast with Zaatar and Nut Feta at Matcha Mylkbar

They also have some bakery stuff there you can get. Molly and I were going to try some doughnuts, but they forgot that we ordered them and they never came, so we decided to skip them as we were all pretty satisfied already.

Bakery stuff at Matcha Mylkbar

Molly, Fran, and Marta wanted to head off for some beach adventures after breakfast, as we were at St Kilda. This is all too sunny for me, so we parted ways for the day and I went on my own way. More on that next post!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Carlton Cat

We passed this handsome friend as we were walking to Transformer, and they were very happy to act cute and pose for the camera.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 6 (Melbourne)

Even after our fabulous late lunch, we were still looking forward to dinner. Mostly, I needed some vegetables after a day of eating extremely delicous carbs. Yong Green Food is an old Melbourne favourite of mine, so we headed there for dinner. I got a Green Energy juice (kale, spinach, carrot, apple, orange) to start getting those vegetables in early.

Green Energy Juice from Yong Green

I went for a simple Teriyaki Tofu & Vegetables, which also came with some pickles on the side.

Teriyaki Tofu from Yong Green

Molly got some Mock Tuna Nori Rolls and the Macro Dragon Bowl (rice, veggies, seaweed, tofu, tahini sauce and some miso soup).

Tuna Rolls from Yong Green

Macro Dragon Bowl from Yong Green

When we got back to our room, it was time for dessert! Mister Nice Guy's Bakeshop is across the road from Crumb's Organic Bakehouse, a largely vegan bakery. Two vegan bakeries in the same street? I know! Anyway, Crumb's used to have a much more convenient North Melbourne location, that had tragically closed. But they make the best doughnuts ever. Cinnamon sugar sourdough donuts, in fact. So I had to stop by and pick one up, and it was just as delicious as I remembered.

Soudough Cinnamon Sugar Doughnt from Crumbs

I had also bought a Chocolate Polish Babka from Mister Nice Guys, which was phenomenal.

Chocolate Babka from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

The next day was Smith & Deli day!! Well, another one. But this time we had plans to go twice - breakfast and lunch. Saturday is croissant day at Smith & Deli, so we headed out to start our day with those. I had the Croissantwiches of Eastwick, which have ham, tomato, cheese and mustard baked into the middle. I also got a bacon and egg frittata, and one of their best ever in the world chai lattes. Totally worth the heart palpitations that the caffeine in black tea gives me. Molly also started her day with some sugar, getting in a Salted Caramel Slice.

Chai from Smith & Deli

Croissantwiches of Eastwick and Egg and Bacon Frittata from Smith & Deli

Salted Caramel Slice from Smith & Deli

After breakfast, we had a stroll around Fitzroy so that Molly could look at the shops, and picked up a few pretties and goodies here and there. Then I headed back to Smith & Deli for lunch (Molly had several leftovers from our trips to the bakeries the day before). All thoughts of what sandwich I should get were banished from my head when I saw that they had pizza! I have long wanted to get pizza from there, but they have never had it when I visited. This was a Hawaiian Chicken BBQ Pizza as well... like they knew I was coming! The pieces were HUGE, and it was so tasty! I also got a small serve of a delicious Creamy Pesto Potato Salad, and the Guava & Desert Lime flavour of the Sugar & Spice Fermented Tea. This was an amazing lunch, which I enjoyed back in the cool of the hotel room.

Pesto Potato Salad, BBQ Chicken Hawaiian Pizza, Sugar & Spice from Smith & Deli

After the last couple of days of travel, walking, sun and heat, my body needed a cool rest. So I spent the afternoon in the hotel watching Netflix (who else love/hates Riverdale?), reading my Kindle, and listening to podcasts, while Molly took herself adventuring with plans to meet up for dinner later. I was glad for the downtime, I definitely needed it.

Dinner was... more pizza! We headed to Red Sparrow Pizza, Melbourne's vegan pizza place. Last time I went, we didn't have a reservation and ended up just squeezing into some seats at the bar. This time we were better prepared - definitely make a reservation here if you want to eat it, it is very popular! I got a Greener Bruce juice to squeeze in some more vegetables, albeit in liquid form.

Green Juice at Red Sparrow

We ordered a basket of Rosemary Fries, with both aioli and ranch to dip. These were really nice, and the sauces were good too.

Rosemary Fries with Ranch and Aioli at Red Sparrow

We shared the Supergreen Pizza and the Mushroom Pizza. The Supergreen had a spinach and kale pesto base, zucchini, broccolini and pepitas. It was good, loads of green bits, but could have done with a bit more seasoning and a little something to help lift the flavours. Maybe some balsamic drizzle? Or some aioli? The mushroom pizza was our favourite, with a white base, porcini, swiss brown, caramelized onion and thyme, with parmesan, fresh oregano and rocket. It also comes drizzled with truffle oil, but I have complicated feelings about truffle, so we got that on the side.

Supergreen Pizza and Mushroom Pizza at Red Sparrow

While they have dessert pizzas and pies, we were already taking home a couple of leftover slices of our pizzas, and were in the mood for something a bit lighter for dessert. Girls & Boys is a vegan ice cream parlour in Fitzroy. I had been caution about going there, they use coconut in the base of their ice cream, but I tried some samples and it was fine. Better than fine. It was lovely. Molly had her heart set on their soft serve, but the machine wasn't working. But I love scoops, so I got a scoop of Balsamic Strawberry and a scoop of Salted Peanut Butter. It was so great! I loved the obvious saltiness in the peanut butter.

Strawberry and Salted Peanut Butter from Boys & Girls

On Sunday morning we had planned to had out to World Vegan Day early. But it was Molly's turn to need a rest. So I went out for brunch with my friend Leigh at Ray's Cafe in Brunswick. I've been to Ray's once before, and I was a big fan, so I was excited to get back. I started with a green smoothie, A Tribe Called Cress, which had kale, cress, celery, ginger, apple, mint and flaxseed. I enjoyed the peppery kick that the cress gave it. Leigh got a vegan Bloody Shazzer, which is a bloody mary complete with celery, a huge pickle, and some tofu bacon. Be sure to specify that you want everything vegan if you go here, because they also have things with the same name on the omni menu.

Bloody Shazzer at Rays

A Tribe Called Cress Smoothie at Rays

I was excited to try the Cauli & Cheesy-E Beans, which is a bowl of savoury comfort food. Spiced cauliflower, miso white beans, nooch, endive, sumac and lemon with sourdough bread.

Cauli and Cheasy-E Beans at Rays

I also tried some of Leigh's Hash Savage, which was smoked eggplant, scrambled tofu, smashed peas, pickled daikon, pomegranate and almonds on a hashbrown. The hash brown was a large rectangular slab of potato, which was tasty. The eggplant was OK, but we were both pretty underwhelmed by the tofu scramble. It was kind of bitter.

Hash Savage at Rays

We also shared a serve of the Grizzly Beer Fries, which were topped with BBQ jackfruit, miso cheese, pickles and kim chi. They don't make any changes at Ray's, so I couldn't get it without the kim chi. Leigh swore it was very mild, and it really was almost more like a sweet chili sauce, but I was easily able to avoid it as I was eating.

Grizzly Beer Fries at Rays

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This cutie is Momo, and she is Leigh's new cat. I was super excited that I got a chance to meet Momo on this trip, even though it was just a five minute flying visit. She is so cute!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 5 (Melbourne - Edgar's edition)

On Friday we had a pretty special day planned in Melbourne. But first, breakfast. We met up with Molly's friend Fran at Smith & Deli, where I had my favourite Egg McMartinez (tofu egg, bacon, cheese and I chose BBQ sauce). I also got some cookies for snacks - cinnamon chocolate chip and chewy coconut cherry.

Egg McMartinez from Smith & Deli

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookie and Coconut Cherry Cookie from Smith & Deli

We then met up with my friend Leigh in the city, where we picked up a hire car and I drove us (a little nervously at first, as I have never driving a car while sharing the road with a tram, but it was all OK in the end) to Edgar's Mission. That's right, Friday was a EDGAR'S MISSION FARM SANCTUARY DAY!!! That is exciting enough to make even a sun-phobe like me be willing to brave the rays. Wearing shoes, socks, long pants, a high neck t-shirt, a UV-repellant high-collared and long-sleeved shirt, a floppy hat, and seven layers of sunscreen. Of course. The tour lasts about 90 minutes, and takes you to visit many wonderful animal friends, with many heart breaking yet heart warming stories.

2017-11-10 11.15.31

Edgar's Mission

Edgar's Mission

Edgar's Mission

This guy is called Morgan, and he is the friendliest sheep. He is full of loving headbutts, and just wants to to hug him.

Morgan at Edgar's Mission

Hip Hop is a talented little piggy, and we even share the same birthday! Though I am quite a bit older than this clever young miss.

Hip Hop at Edgar's Mission

They also look after many special needs babies, like Saturday.

Saturday at Edgar's Mission

This was the second time that I had been out to Edgar's and it was just as magical. If you are in the area, I highly recommend seeing if you can get along to one of their open days. It is just over an hour out of Melbourne. You will need a car, but if you split the costs of hiring a car for the day between a few passengers, it is pretty affordable. And worth it for the experience!

Afterwards we headed back to Melbourne, but we took advantage of having a car and stopped by Mister Nice Guy's BakeShop on the way back to the city. I had always wanted to go here, but if is a little bit out of the way, so having a car made it ideal. This place is gorgeous, with a huge range of delicious sweet and savoury treats - all vegan! Because it was the afternoon when we were there, they were sold out of quite a bit, but we still managed to have a delicious selection.

Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

I set my sights on the BLT Bagel, which was really yummy, followed up be some delicious (and coconut oil/cream free) Black Forest Cheese Cake. It was the best cheesecake I have had in Australia, almost Capital City Bakery level good.

BLT Bagel from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Cherry Cheesecake from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Leigh and Molly both got a Salted Caramel Pretzelstein Monster Shake, which were huge. The outside of the glass is covered in frosting, but apparently the actual shake itself was not too sweet, so it all balanced out.

Salted Caramel Shake from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Molly and Fran each tried one of the generously sized savoury danishes. Molly got the potato bechamel, and Fran's was onion and something else that I have forgotten.

Potato and Bechamel Danish from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Savoury Danish from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

And then there were subs. Molly, Leigh and Fran each also got a sub. I was feeling pretty good about my BLT and cheesecake situation, plus some treats for later, so I did not join in the sub party. Molly got the Chilli Dog, Fran got the Meatball Sub, and Leigh got the Spicy BBQ Chicken Roll. Leigh and Fran both really liked theirs, but Molly was not such a fan of hers.

Chilli Dog from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Meatball Sub from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

Spicy BBQ Chicken Sub from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery

So much glorious food! I was very happy to finally get to visit, and I hope to get to go there again on future trips.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Tabitha at Edgar's Mission

Of course, farms have cats! Edgar's is home to several fabulous felines. This Tabitha, who enjoyed pats and joined us on the tour of the chicken yard, and then again when we got back to the main office barn for more pats.