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.

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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.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 4 (Brisbane & Melbourne - Penguin edition)

On Wednesday morning, after a low key breakfast at home, we headed out for some plants at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and spent a lovely couple of hours exploring different gardens, and making friends with lizards and ducks and cockatoos. Molly was impressed that the gardens were free, I had never really considered it before. But it is nice having beautiful spaces like this available for everyone to enjoy.

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Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Followed by lunch at Loving Hut, because when in a new town, why not try the local Loving Hut? We shared two of my favourite entrees - the summer rolls and the salt and pepper mushroom. Then Molly had the Sweet and Sour Nuggets for her main, and I had the Seven Seas Delight. Sorry for the starkness of the photos - white plates + white shiny tables + bright lights!

Summer Rolls at Loving Hut

Salt and Pepper Mushroom at Loving Hut

Sweet and Sour at Loving Hut

Seven Seas Delight at Loving Hut

After lunch it was home to pack for our trip to Melbourne the next day, and a dinner at home of eating up random bits and pieces before we went away for five days. The next day we are a quick breakfast at home and some sushi at the airport, before our flight to Melbourne. We decided that we would only do one trip to a city other than Brisbane, so that we could have some decent time in both places to eat and explore rather than rushing around the country. Melbourne was the natural choice, as food aside our visit would coincide with some other fun opportunities.

We stayed at my usual choice, Carlton Terrace, which is cute and has a mini kitchen and is within walking distance to many places. Most importantly it is only 10 minutes to Smith & Deli!! Which was out first stop after dropping off our bags. And it did not disappoint. Molly got the Club Sandwiches Not Seals and an Apple Olive Oil Cake with Maple Rum Icing for her lunch.

Molly's Club and Apple and Olive Oil Cupcake with Maple Rum Icing from Smith & Deli

I tried a new to me sandwich, The Parmageddon (Chicken parma, Napoli sauce, pesto & mozzarella, all toasted on a roll), which was nice, though the pesto and napoli sauce were a bit lost in it. I forgot that their chicken schnitzels are made from tempeh, which was lovely! It also attracted the attention of a cheeky pigeon.

Parmageddon from Smith & Deli

I also had a Vegan Breakfast Scroll, which had egg, bacon, broccoli and cheddar. It was so good! And for sweets I got a piece of Mandarin Curd Slice, which was lovely. To refresh and rehydrate, I had a delicious Sugar & Spice Fermented Tea. These are locally made in Fitzroy, so I have no hope of finding them anywhere else. I tried a few other flavours during the trip, but this first one was my favourite.

Scramble, Bacon, Broccoli and Cheese Scroll from Smith & Deli

Mandarin Curd Slice from Smith & Deli

Drink from Smith & Deli

I honestly can't remember what we did after lunch... I suspect we just hung out at the room for a bit because we'd had an early start to the day. But really, whatever it was could not measure up to the excitement of what we had planned for the evening. But first, dinner. We went for an earlyish dinner at Fina's 2 on Brunswick St, a great vegan Vietnamese place. We both enjoyed some fun drinks - I had the Custard Apple Smoothie and Molly had a Honeydew Frappe.

Honeydew Juice and Custard Apple Frappe from Fina's 2

Molly went for the fried side of the menu, with some Spring Rolls (though with lettuce leaves to wrap them up in) and Salt and Pepper Tofu.

Spring Rolls from Fina's 2

Salt and Pepper Tofu from Fina's 2

I was feeling like something a bit lighter, so I had the Vermicelli Salad, with the chili in the dressing left out. This was lovely and light, and included a mix of tofu and spring rolls (next time I would ask for a higher tofu to spring roll ratio).

Vermicelli Salad from Fina's 2

We had dinner a bit early because we had an hour tram ride to get down to St Kilda, as we needed to be there at sunset (which was actually pretty late while we were there due to daylight savings, not until about 8pm).

St Kilda

But why did we need to be at St Kilda at sunset? BECAUSE OF PENGUINS! Somehow, I have never known that there are penguins you can see every single night at St Kilda. Even most of my Melbourne friends didn't know. Molly knew from her friend who is spending a year in Australia from Seattle. I have been missing out on penguins all these years! The penguins are at the breakwater at the end of the pier, so to get down there you will have to prepare yourself to walk through a gauntlet of people who are fishing (poor fish!) and often also smoking. But then, penguins! There was a reasonable crowd there, but not so crowded that you didn't see. They are in the process of building a fence to keep people away from the penguins homes, because of course people try and climb over the rocks to harass the penguins. Ugh. Thankfully there are volunteer guides on hand with stories to tell and to keep people in line. Please enjoy some PENGUINS!

Penguins at St Kilda

Penguins at St Kilda

You have to look a bit hard at this photo, right in the middle where the little hole in the rocks... BABY PENGUINS! They were waiting for their mamma to come home with their dinner.

Baby Penguins at St Kilda

I actually took a million photos and videos, so these are just a couple. It was amazing. They are SO CUTE! And some of them were sassy little performers as well. I definitely want to visit them again next time I am in Melbourne.

On the way home, we were giddy from penguins, but stopped long enough to appreciate the pretty view of the city across the water in the dark.

View from St Kilda

This was such an exciting and special evening. But in the morning we had something equally exciting planned as well, so you will have to stay tuned! I can promise more amazing animals.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim was giving some serious sass with this pose I took the day before we went to Melbourne!