Friday, August 4, 2017

Melbourne OCC 2017: Part 1

At the end of June, I went back to Melbourne for the second time this year... only four weeks after my first trip! This time it was for OzComicCon, where I work as a guest handler. I was looking after Tom Lenk, and this was very exciting for me because he is from Buffy and Buffy is my most beloved TV show ever. Even more exciting, Alyson Hannigan was also going to be there, so I was going to be able to quietly bask in her glow.

But I know you are here for food. So let's talk food. My food game started at the airport, before I even got on the plane. I had some time, and I was hungry, so I stopped into Roll'd and got some of their vegan pho with mushroom and tofu, no chili. It was really yummy!

Veggie Pho from Roll'd


I also got a couple of salads from SumoSalad to take for lunch on the plane. I got a hokkien noodle salad, and a Moroccan lentil salad. They were both tasty, and nice and filling.

Salads from SumoSalad


After landing and getting to my hotel in South Bank (not an area I would ever choose to stay in if I was visiting Melbourne otherwise, as it is a bit far from the good food), I stopped by Broad Bean Organic Grocer to see about picking up some extra supplies. I had already come well equipped with 90 second oat sachets, soy milk poppers, dried fruit, noodle cups, plus all the snack bars in the world. The do have smoothies and hot drinks, and some vegan salads and sandwiches, as well as a range of vegan supplies. I grabbed a few bottles of juice and a kombucha (I drink one bottle over a couple of days and let it go a bit flat first, but my tummy does love the probiotics. I also grabbed a maple peanut butter soy hot chocolate, because how could I not!

I had some unexpected free time in the afternoon, and I decided to use it in the best way possible - a trip to Smith & Deli! This is my happy place. It was 4pm when I got there, so a lot of things were already sold, but I was able to pick up a few treats as well as one of their delicious chai lattes. I got a chocolate chip rosemary cookie, a cinnamon roll cookie, and an apple and rhubarb shortbread.

Smith & Deli


Chocolate Chip Rosemary Cookie, Apple and Rhubarb Shortbread, Cinnamon Roll Cookie from Smith & Deli


Friday night is the cocktail party night, which is long, so I needed to get a decent dinner. Vegie Kitchen (previously Enlightened Cuisine), just a block away from my hotel, was unexpectedly closed during last year's OCC, however this year they were open. I got a sweet corn soup to start, because I love sweet corn soup! Although they have a large menu of exciting mock meat options, I went for a tofu combination pot (it had a bit of mock something in it too), because I can't say no to giant plates of tofu and veggies.

Sweet Corn Soup from Vegie Kitchen


Tofu Combination Pot from Vegie Kitchen


Saturday brought the start of OzComicCon proper. This was a 12 hour day, and it is busy, so there is no chance of getting out for food. Breakfast and lunch is supplied for guest handlers, but the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre's idea of what is decent catering for vegans is pretty laughable. I will post more on that in my next post. Suffice to say, I was very glad that I had pre-fuelled with oats and a my rhubarb apple shortbread (what, it is fruit, breakfast food!), and had packed a noodle pot, a banana, a cookie and many snack bars.

After I got out, I power-walked (I spent a lot of the day sitting and being around a lot of people, walking in some 'fresh' air seemed perfect) to meet my friend Jess at The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar for dinner. We met at 8, and even though it was a Saturday night there was almost no one there at that time. The crowd started coming later. Fine by me! They have a vegan section on the menu, which seemed to be different again from the two versions currently floating around online. Sadly no sign of the vegan smoked croquettes. We ordered a few things to share, as is our usual style. The vegan BBQ braised lamb burger was quite nice. I have no idea what they used for the lamb, it was like a mound of minced or pulled something, but not jackfruit, but it was nice on the burger with some slaw and a pickle. The Vegan Halal Snack Pack was OK. We asked them to put the chili sauce on the side, but turns out they don't use chili sauce in their one. It was chips topped with cheese, mock chicken, BBQ sauce, and hummus, which is a combination I can get behind. The downside was the chips, which weren't great. I would have liked some better chips. We were still a bit peckish, so got some Popcorn Chicken to share. This was great. It was crispy and not at all oily, and it was hard to stop snacking on it.

Lamb Burger from Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar


Vegan HSP from Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar


Popcorn Chicken from Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar


On the way back to the hotel, I wanted a little sweet and warm ending. So I stopped by Starbucks (of which there are very few in Australia) and got a small soy matcha latte after hearing Jojo's enthusiasm for them. And it was yummy.

I'll be back in my next post with the rest of my trip!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Belle


Remember Aurora from my last post? This is her sweet sister Belle. Belle has already got a home!

11 comments:

  1. The sweet corn soup and popcorn chicken both sound great! Belle is posed so perfectly for her picture! :)

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    1. Belle was such a little poser. They are a very attractive litter of kittens!

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  2. I can't believe I'm actively encouraging people to go to Starbucks! Who even am I?! I'm excited that an HSP without the chilli sauce is an option somewhere, that gives me hope that I can try one one day.

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    1. At least Starbucks are not very common here, so I am limited in my new-found love. ;)
      One day I would like to try the LoTF HSP but get them to leave off the chili sauce.

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  3. Oh, my gosh. Belle is so cute. I'm glad she already got a home! I've heard so much about Smith & Deli. I really hope I'm able to go there someday and try it for myself! That's fun that you were Tom Lenk's handler. In addition to loving him on Buffy, David and I saw his stage show in Los Angeles 11 or 12 years ago. I think it was called, "Will You Be My Special Friend?"

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    1. I haven't seen him in anything other than Buffy and his 'Lewks for Less', I must admit, but he was a lot of fun. I want to see his new Nerdgasm movie.

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  4. Glad you had Veggie Kitchen around the corner (and a whole lot of your own food supplies!). And you've beat us to The Last Chance! I tried to go there with a friend a few weeks ago and they were inexplicably closed.

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    1. Oh man, inexplicable closures are so annoying! I know that pain. I hope you get there soon!

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  5. Lucky you! The matcha lattes are not vegan in the states- they use honey. T__T I always love seeing the food you get. They look super yummy- especially the fries.

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    1. Food is definitely the best part of traveling! I will have to double check about the honey in the matchas, though Jojo is normally pretty thorough.

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    2. It seems like most chains customize their foods to meet local tastes (or for finacial reasons, like certain ingredients are more expensive in certain areas.) In the US tea is almost ALWAYS sweetened with honey. It is super annoying.

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