Monday, November 24, 2014

Veganventure 2014: Part 6 (Smith & Daughter's Edition)

We had booked a birthday dinner at Smith & Daughters that I had been looking forward to for weeks and weeks! Unfortunately our Trippy Taco tummies were still feeling very unhappy, but of course we went hoping for the best. We started off with some drinks. Leigh had the Virgin Frieda (a virgin bloody mary) and I had a Watermelon Splash of Lash (coconut water, lime, mint and watermelon).

Virgin Frida and Watermelon Splash of Lash at Smith & Daughters

They have a fabulous collection of salt and pepper shakers, and we were sharing our table with these awesome ninja friends.

Ninjas at Smith & Daughters

Smith & Daughters has a seasonal menu that takes the form of share plates, tapas and salads. We ordered the Layered Queso Dip (black bean dip, cashew cream, salsa and corn chips), Pastels de Cangrejo (herb and lemon crab cakes with mango salsa and avocado cream), Paella Fritters (with garlic aoli) and Seasonal Arco Iris Salad (heirloom tomatos, asparagus, baby cos, avocado, quinoa in basil dressing).

Queso at Smith & Daughters

Pastels de Cangrejo at Smith & Daughters

Paella Fritters at Smith & Daughters

Seasonal Arco Iris Salad at Smith & Daughters

The queso is glorious and rich, the salad was refreshing and light, and the paella fritters were crunchy and tasty. The crab cakes were great, though once I saw the strands of actual faux crab in them then that was all I could taste and I am not a fan of that flavour. Unfortunately our tummies were extremely sad, so we could not finish our delicious dinner. I felt so bad, because the food was great, but our stomachs just couldn't handle it. We slowly walked back to the hotel for much peppermint tea, tummy rubbing and Trippy Taco cursing.

But all was not lost, because we had booked in for brunch at Smith & Daughters the following day! Thankfully after a night of sleep and a green juice to test the waters, our tummies were back in action!

We arrived at 10am for brunch (opening time), and we were the first people there. It was a much quieter, more relaxed atmosphere compared to dinner the night before. I was able to have a wander around and look at their salt and pepper shaker collection. Sadly they have to keep a lot of their favourites up behind the bar because people steal them! Jerks. They were nice enough to take this adorable kitten and wool ball one down for me to take a photo of.

Cute S&P shaker at Smith & Daughters

Speaking of salt and pepper shakers, check out who our brunch companions were! NIIIIIIINNNNNNJJJJJJAAAAAAA!

Ninjas at Smith & Daughters

Leigh ordered another Virgin Frieda (sadly I tried a bit and because it has freshly juiced jalapeno and also hot sauce already added to the tomato and cucumber juice, it was way too spicy for me) and a Mexican Hot Chocolate, and I ordered a soy chai latte. Oh. My. God. Their chai is the best I have ever had. Better than the Spicy Chai at Sweetpea in PDX. It is amazing! They brought the actual bag of chai down for me to smell - heaven! I ended up having three chai lattes while we were their - soy, almond and oat.

Chai and Mexican Hot Chocolate at Smith & Daughters

One of the things I was sad I didn't get the night before was the Tortilla, a big wedge of cold potato and onion spanish omlette with garlic aioli. It was simple, but delicious.

Tortilla at Smith & Daughters

Leigh got the Mexican Potato Hash, which had potatoes, peppers, corn, jalapenos and guacamole, topped with queso, salsa and cashew cheese and served with corn tortillas. She reports that this would be too spicy for me!

Mexican Potato Hash at Smith & Daughters

I got the Breakfast Tortilla, which had scrambled tofu chorizo, black beans, garlic kale, guacamole and chipotle cashew cheese. This was so amazing!

Breakfast Burrito at Smith & Daughters

They also have chia pudding, omelette and french toast on the brunch menu, as well as a selection of dishes from their dinner menu. They also have their desserts available! This was good, as we were unable to manage dessert the night before. Leigh had the Pina Colada Cream Pie.

Pina Colada Cream Pie at Smith & Daughters

I had the Warm Spanish Doughnuts, stuffed with quince and dusted in spiced sugar. These were amazing! Hot and fresh and perfect. Not as good as sourdough cinnamon sugar doughnuts, but they come second only by a whisper. Even the ninjas wanted to get in on the doughnut action!

Warm Spanish Doughnuts at Smith & Daughters

All up this was an exceptional dining experience! I think Smith & Daughters brunch is an essential part of any Melbourne trip. I was sad to say goodbye to our ninjas.

Ninjas at Smith & Daughters

Holding some very happy tummies, and a fourth chai (this one made on hazelnut milk, I got it to take away), we headed up Brunswick Street to visit the Melbourne branch of The Cruelty-Free Shop, where Leigh was signing some of her cookbooks and we had a good browse at their great range.

Afterwards we found ourselves a bit peckish, and conveniently just down the road from Yong Green Food (on Brunswick Street you are always just up the road or down the road from somewhere delicious!). To Yongs we went!

It was another hot day, and I was in the mood for refreshing and light. I ordered the Seaweed Salad, which was just perfect. I think this might be my favourite thing I had at Yongs during the trip. I also got the Buckwheat Crepe (organic buckwheat crepe with braised shitake mushrooms and wasabi soy mayo), which was lovely.

Seaweed Salad at Yong Green Food

Buckwheat Crepe at Yong Green Food

Leigh also started light with the Vietnamese Coleslaw (cabbage, cucumber, carrot and green beans mixed with lime and chili dressing, topped with cashews), but then went rather weather inappropriate with a steaming hot bowl of Miso Udon (udon cooked in miso soup topped with organic tofu served with kimchi). Worth it.

Vietnamese Coleslaw at Yong Green Food

Miso Udon at Yong Green Food

After our late lunch, we went back to the hotel for another rest from the heat before dinner. On the way we stopped off at Smith & Daughters so I could pick up my fifth chai of the day (large, soy milk). Seriously, best chai ever.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Squeak in a box

Before we left Sydney Leigh's cat Squeak took a sudden and unexpected interest in this box. She was very pleased with herself!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Veganventure 2014: Part 5 (More Melbourne)

We were catching a tram to meet up with Kristy (from the blog In The Mood For Noodles) and her baby for lunch.I first met Kristy (and her husband Toby) when we were in Portland at the same time in 2011, then again when they came to Brisbane in 2012, so I was looking forward to this lunch a lot. It was lovely to see her again!

We went to Yong Green Food again for lunch. This time I had the summer rolls (veggies, tofu and pear wrapped in daikon slices, served with sweet mustard dressing) and the Japanese Curry (potato, carrot, mushroom, green beans and sliced soy beef cooked in mild curry paste, served with biodynamic brown rice). Both were good, but I particularly loved the summer rolls, they were so light and fresh. I pulled the capsicum out of them before eating, of course.

Summer Rolls at Yong Green Food

Japanese Curry at Yong Green Food

Kristy had the Mock Salmon Roe (carrots wrapped in raw nori with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, capsicum, cucumber, avocado and cashew cream, served with wasabi tamari sauce) and the Tofu Katsu (picture on yesterday's post).

Raw Salmon Roe at Yong Green Food

Leigh had the Kimchi Dumplings and Dailon Salad (both pictured in yesterday's post) and the Cold Rice Noodle Salad (rice noodles mixed with carrot, cabbage, cucumber, tofu and red chili paste). When she ordered she was warned that this was very spicy, so I was not game to even sample a little bit! But she enjoyed it.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad at Yong Green Food

I also had a Detox Shot (turmeric, spirulina, acai), because it sounded intriguing and possibly really gross. But it was actually lovely! Plus turmeric is meant to be anti-inflammatory and I am a pro-inflammatory type, so I am meant to have more turmeric apparently.

Turmeric Shot at Yong Green Food

After saying goodbye to Kristy and son, we were going to stop by Big Lou's for some vegan jam doughnuts, but they were inexplicably closed (the woe!). So we ended up stopping in at Radhey Chai Bar for some chai. We both got an almond milk iced chai, which was just okay and had a very grainy texture and the ice made it go grainy very quickly. They also have vegan food and desserts, but all the desserts were raw.

Almond milk iced chai from Radhey Chai Bar

For dinner we went to Cornish Arms to meet up with some people for vegan pub food and trivia. Cornish Arms isn't a vegan bar, but does have a vegan menu and vegan alcohol is also clearly marked. We jumped in with the vegan version of Full Wu Tang Fries - chips, gravy, bacon and cheese. So delicious.

Full Wu Tang Fries (gravy, bacon, cheese) at Cornish Arms

The menu is heavy on the pub food - carbs and fried (though there is a Thai salad bowl if you are that way inclined. Michelle ordered the chicken burger, Jess had the Chili Dog and Leigh ordered the Souvlaki Wrap.

Chicken Burger at Cornish Arms

Chili Dog at Cornish Arms

Souvlaki at Cornish Arms

I ordered the vegan cheeseburger. This had a TVP patty, pickles, lettuce, cheese (I think a Tofutti slice), cured onions, ketcum, mustard and mayo), and I added bacon. I really enjoyed the patty! The bacon they use is super streaky and fatty, I am not sure what brand it is.

Cheeze Burger at Cornish Arms

Inside Vegie Burger patty at Cornish Arms

The next morning was my birthday, yay me! I turned 33. We headed straight back to Crumbs for breakfast. We started with a savoury option - the Tocotta, spinach, sundried tomato, olive tapenade and red onion Calzone, which was pretty damn awesome.

Tocotta, spinach, sundried tomato, red onion and olive tapenade calzone at Crumbs

And then of course I had a sourdough cinnamon doughnut. Because they are life! Leigh had another lemon curd one, and then we also shared another cinnamon sugar crescent doughnut. I got a couple of doughnuts to take away for snacking.

Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough Doughnut at Crumbs

We walked into the city and visited Green Press to pick up some green juices to take back to the hotel for later. I had the kale and silverbeet one the following morning, which was nice, but sadly when I went to drink the kale and silverbeet one I found a big chunk of mold in the bottom and had to tip it all away. It is sad to tip $9 worth of yummy smelling green juice down the drain.

Green Juice from Green Press

Our trip to the city included successfully locating a Groot bobblehead for Leigh and also doing some shopping in Chinatown for Leigh's World Vegan Day demonstration on Sunday.

For lunch we went to Las Vegan, where I got to have birthday Mac and Cheese! With a side of tempeh bacon! Best!! It was soooooo good. Leigh had the Tempacon Nugget Wrap, and she also got the T+T Salad, which was meant to have the world's best satay sauce. I ate all of the tempeh in the salad, and while the peanut sauce is food the best still belongs to Araya's in Seattle. Las Vegan also has a small shoe shop, Vegan Style, in the back.

Mac and Cheese with tempeh bacon at Las Vegan

Tempacon Nugget Wrap at Las Vegan

T&T Salad at Las Vegan

Afterwards we took a wander down Smith Street, popped into Vegan Wares and also had a look at some of the organic shops and cafes in the area. Note for everyone: Friends of the Earth stocks Crumbs goodies, including Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts! It was really hot while we were walking, so we stopped into another organic shop and picked up a refreshing watermelon ice block.

Fruit Bat Watermelon Pop

We ended up at Trippy Taco for an afternoon snack of their spiced fries, corn chips, guac and salsa. Unfortunately about half an hour after this both of us began feeling extremely uncomfortable in our tummies, and we went back to the hotel to have a rest out of the heat and hopefully calm our tummies before birthday dinner that night.

Fries, chips, guac and salsa at Trippy Taco

How did it end up? More next time!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim before I leave

This is the photo of Dim Sim I took right before I left. So pretty.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Veganventure 2014: Part 4 (Melbourne)

After saying goodbye to Bed & Broccoli, we made out way back to Melbourne. We had some secret squirrel business on the way (no actual squirrels involved, we don't have squirrels here), where we met up with Elizabeth and some of her friends who were also down from Sydney. They had recently been to La Panella, a vegetarian/vegan bakery, and had stocked up on lots of treats which they were kind enough to share. I had some pizza bread and a custard tart. This is not a fancy bakery, this is the sort of food that you get from every single bakery you ever walk past but can never get anything vegan at. It was nostaligically good in a kind of trashy way.

Custard Tart and Pizza Scroll from La Panella

Then it was back to Melbourne airport to drop off Ruby, our trusty little Corolla (below with Leigh). Thanks for being awesome, Ruby. You were a super great car!


Once at the airport we caught the SkyBus into the city and got a transfer to near the place we were staying, Carlton Terrace. Carlton Terrace isn't a hotel as such, but a collection of private rooms in a terrace house. There is no reception, you get a code to the door and key. It is very close to Carlton Gardens and a pretty close walk to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, aka the street with most of the vegan places (though Smith St a bit over also has several!).

For dinner we met our amazing vegan activist friend Taylor at Yong Green Food, Leigh's favourite place to eat in Melbourne. For starters we shared some Oyster Mushroom Calamari (so delicious, I had to stop myself overdoing it with the deep fried), Tofu Pockets (stuffed with the most delicious 'tuna' salad I have ever had as a vegan) and Leigh's favourite Kimchi Dumplings (I liked these, they were on the spicy side but not too spicy for me).

Oyster Mushroom Calamari at Yong Green Food

Tofu Pockets at Yong Green Food

Kimchi Dumplings at Yong Green Food

For the main I chose the Macro Dragon Bowl (Biodynamic brown rice topped with seasonal veggies, organic tempeh, seaweed and lemon tahini cream. Served with miso soup). I was craving some wholefoods! This was great, but my only gripe was that I could have done with about four times the amount of the sauce!

Macro Dragon Bowl at Yong Green Food

Leigh had the intriguing Tofu Katsu.

Tofu Katsu at Yong Green Food

And Taylor had the Daikon Salad and the Chicken Burger.

Daikon Salad at Yong Green Food

Chicken Burger at Yong Green Food

I also had the Maca Chai (maca chai, cashew milk, chia) to drink, which was quite thick and rich.

Maca Chai at Yong Green Food

Yong Green only has raw desserts (this coconut oil hater stays well away from those), but just down the street was Frolic Frozen Yoghurt, which had vegan options including waffles! I had to have a waffle, which I topped with caramelised banana and walnut froyo, stewed pears, strawberries, caramelised bananas, coconut, vegan nutella sauce and raspberry sauce. Sadly, the vegan nutella sauce tastes mostly like chocolate sauce, not the chocolate hazelnut I was hoping for! Leigh had a froyo cup and including the strange bursting boba balls as one of her toppings. I have had these once before and they are strange! It is a pay by weight place, so be careful of going overboard!

Waffle with caramelised banana and walnut froyo, poached pears, strawberries, caramelised bananas, coconut, nutella sauce and raspberry sauce at Frolic Frozen Yoghurt

Strawberry and Banana frozen yoghurt with toppings including bursting boba balls at Frolic Frozen Yoghurt

The next morning we went to the North Melbourne branch of Crumbs Organic Bakehouse for breakfast. Oh. My God. Sourdough cinnamon sugar doughnuts. SOURDOUGH CINNAMON SUGAR DOUGHNUTS!! Sorry Mighty-O, I have a new favourite doughnut, and it is a little closer to home. These were SO GOOD! I can't even describe. I can't even explain. Just get down there and have one or a dozen! Leigh got the lemon-curd filled sourdough doughnut, which she really enjoyed.

Cinnamon Sugar and Lemon Curd Stuffed Sourdough Doughnuts at Crumbs

For seconds I had a raspberry and rhubarb sourdough danish, which was awesome but was no sourdough cinnamon sugar doughnut. Leigh got the crescent version of the sourdough cinnamon sugar doughnut.

Raspberry and Rhubarb Danish and Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough Doughnut at Crumbs

I also had a chai latte, which was adequate. You need to make sure to ask for soy milk and no honey when you order.

Chai Latte at Crumbs

As you can see, they have a lot of pretty yummy things in their bakery case. But definitely get the doughnut.

Bakery Case at Crumbs

Afterwards we walked down into the city itself, looked in some shops and Leigh found some vegan Docs to buy. Obligatory tourist shot of the Yarra!

Yarra river

We stopped by the National Gallery of Victoria and had some lovely tea in their tea room. I had one called Pai Mu Tan.

Pai Mu Tan tea at the Tea Room at National Gallery of Victoria

We were going to have a wander around some of the art gallery, but we were going to be late for our lunch date so we had to get a move on. More on that in the next post!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara before I leave

My goodbye photo of Sahara, taken right before I left for the airport. While I was away poor Sahara became unwell, and my parents had to take her into the clinic. Thankfully all was OK, but it was so stressful to be away from her while she was not well! My poor bear. But she has been fine since.