Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Melbourne 2015 Part 3

Sunday dawned and I was sad. No Smith & Deli today because they were not open. Thankfully I had planned ahead! I had chilled my chai overnight in the fridge and enjoyed it with some leftover chester scroll before heading into the Forum. And I ate the doughnut for second breakfast during the opening session of the forum.

Chilled chai and leftover chester scroll from Smith & Deli

I will talk briefly about the days' talks here. I went to a talk about the work that the Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses is doing, a talk on intersectionality and diversity (which was a highlight), a talk called 'One Bad Day', which I will talk more about in a moment, a talk on how the meat industry is manipulating people about the environment, a fascinating talk about using psycholinguistics to get our message across, and a talk about share holder activism. All good talks.

I did just want to touch on the 'One Bad Day' talk. Many people who buy into humane meat do so on the belief that the animals have super lives and then 'one bad day'. The first half of this talk was about the totally pathetic regulations governing the transport of live animals, which can include extended periods with out water. The second part of the talk was from an ex-abattoir worker who is now a vegan, about his experiences in the abattoir. This was a hard talk to sit through, and it was very clear that he is still quite traumatised from his time there. It also shed important light on something we don't often talk about in the animal community, about the exploitation of many workers within the abattoir system. He lived in a town where the abattoir was the main employer, and education was minimal, so if you couldn't somehow get out of the town you just went to work at the abattoir. His compassion for his former co-workers, as well as for the animals, was touching.

Okay, that got a bit heavy, so back to food! I had two lunches. The first was an Everything Bagel with Dill Cream Cheese that I had bought the previous day from Smith & Deli. It was so good! Though the seeds went everywhere!

Everything Bagel with Dill Cream Cheese from Smith & Deli

Second lunch was something light, a mix of kale and quinoa salad and spring green salad from Sumo Salad. As well as a green juice, which sounded really savoury but ended up having pear and lemon juice in it so was sweeter than I was expecting.

Kale and Quinoa Salad and Spring Green Salad from Sumo Salad

The reason for the light lunch was because I had big dinner plans at Smith & Daughters. When I was in Melbourne last year on my birthday Leigh and I went here for dinner, but we had just been poisoned by the evil Trippy Taco, and so our dinner was pretty uncomfortable even though the food was great. Thankfully we were feeling better the next morning and had a great brunch there! But this was my redo at dinner. I was hungry and not feeling sick, so things were getting off to a good start! And then they got better. NOM. I started with a delicious grilled apple, lime and mint juice.

Grilled apple mint and lime juice at Smith & Daughters

There were three of us at dinner, and we shared a bunch of food. This is the Champinones al Ajillo - button mushrooms simmered in a creamy Spanish sauce of Pedre Ximenex, garlic & smoked paprika, served with toasted bread. This was so good, the sauce was drinkable! It just could have done with some more bread for soaking up that sauce.

Champinones al Ajillo at Smith & Daughters

The Layered Queso Dip was also fantastic. I had this last year, but my tummy was so sad that it was just a bit too much back then. Now, it was super yum! House-made cashew cheese layered over spiced black bean dip, topped with salsa and served with corn chips. There was no wrong here.

Layered Queso Dip at Smith & Daughters

The Kale and Leek Bake was a combination of braised leek cooked with kale in a bubbling cream sauce and topped with crispy garlic bread crumbs. Yum.

Creaky Kale and Leek Bake at Smith & Daughters

This huge potato platter was the Patatas Con Romesco Ahumado, crushed and fried chat potatoes with smokey romesco sauce and chimichurri. I suspect there may have been a bit of coconut oil in play here because I did have a faint coconut oil hangover. It was a super generous serving! I love chimichurri and this was great.

Patatas Con Romesco Ahumado at Smith & Daughters

And finally the tuna and pea croquettes, described as Spanish bechamel folded with tuna and green pea and served with caper aioli. I was a bit wary of mock fishy-ness, but this was lovely. Not as good as the paella fritters.
Tuna and Pea Croquettes at Smith & Daughters

We finished our meal with some of their delicious quince-stuffed doughnuts. I seem to have forgotten to take a photo, so here is a photo of them that I took when I was there at brunch last year.

Warm Spanish Doughnuts at Smith & Daughters

And of course no trip to Smith & Daughters is complete without these little guys as dining companions. The return of Salt and Pepper Ninja!

NINJA! At Smith & Daughters

This dinner was delicious, though very rich! I was a little overcome by food as I waddled back to my AirBnB to get some sleep. I am so happy I finally got to have my proper Smith & Daughters dinner!

I was heading home the next morning, but I left enough time to visit Crumbs Organic Bakery in North Melbourne (not the one in Ascot Vale) for breakfast. I was still a bit full from the night before, but a breakfast of doughnuts helped me through. I had my favourite cinnamon sugar sourdough doughnut, and also branched out and tried the lemon curd filled doughnut, which was delicious! Very good curd. I also had a chai, which sadly was not a patch on the chai from Smith & Deli, but nothing ever is.

Lemon curd doughnut and chai from Crumbs

I also bought some goodies to take home with me, and for my lunch on the plane. But I was so full that I didn't actually eat until I was home and suddenly in the mood for pastries for afternoon tea. I had bought another cinnamon sugar sourdough doughnut, a Nutella doughnut, and a raspberry and rhubarb pastry from Crumbs. They were all so good.

Cinnamon sugar doughnut, nutella doughnut, rhubarb and raspberry danish from Crumbs

I shared these with my parents, along with that challah sticky bun I had bought two days before from Smith & Deli. Stored in a snap lock bag in the fridge and then given a quick zap in the microwave, this was incredible! The sticky sweet glaze was rich, like brown sugar, rather than being overly sweet. I could eat an entire one of these and then some!

Crumbs also sells savoury options, and I had bought a spinach, tomato, mushroom and red onion calzone for lunch on the plane. As mentioned I didn't eat it on the plane, but it kept well overnight and I had it for lunch the following day.

Calzone from Crumbs

Photo of other goodies that I brought back from some vegan shopping in Melbourne.

Cruelty Free Shop haul

Overall it was a really good weekend in Melbourne. The food was great, the people were lovely, the food was amazing... even though I was seriously craving some greens and smoothies by the time I got home. The forum was also a good learning experience, there are so many people out there doing amazing things, I feel kind of inadequate. Hopefully it will fire me up to become more involved! Oh, and did I mention that the food was out of this world?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Max the AirBnB Kitty

A final photo of Max the AirBnB kitty in all his fluffy glory.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Melbourne 2015 Part 2

Between breakfast and lunch I took a trip to the Cruelty Free Shop to pick up some goodies. The Cruelty Free Shop has an online store, but also shops in Sydney and Melbourne. It is the only place I seem to be able to get my favourite Tropical Source chocolate chips, and they have a lot of other goodies as well, so it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

After shopping, it was back to Smith & Deli to meet up with a friend for lunch. This is their awesome sign out the front of the shop.

Smith & Deli

It was a lot busier at lunch time, particularly because this is when they serve their famous sandwiches! Once we were in possession of our goodies, we headed back to the park for a lovely lunch. I got another chai as well, this time iced because it was hot.

Goodies from Smith & Deli

Smith & Deli has an extensive list of sandwiches, which can be a bit overwhelming when you have the chance to just order one. For the month of MoFo, Quinces and Kale reviewed most of these sandwiches, which helped me to narrow it down. I chose the Home Alone - seitan turkey, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy on a roll. It was glorious. Messy, but glorious!

Home Alone from Smith & Deli

My friend had the Club Sandwiches Not Seals, which he said he loves! I also love a good club sandwich, though the amazingness of the club at Wayward in Seattle is still fresh in my mind. One day I would like to try this club. it looks pretty great!

Club Sandwiches Not Seals from Smith & Deli

I also had one of their apple pie spiced doughnuts, which was lovely. Kind of like a cinnamon doughnut but with a hint of apple.

Apple Pie Spiced Doughnut from Smith & Deli

Full from lunch, I headed into the city to see the David Bowie Is exhibit at ACMI. I love Bowie. I have loved Bowie ever since I was younger, when I saw him in Labyrinth. I think there were a lot of us who thought Sarah was an idiot for wanting to take her brother home and not stay there and be with Bowie and be his queen. Incidentally, I have seen those breeches at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, where the original Jareth costume is displayed. I also enjoy his music a lot. What I didn't realise is that he is a creative genius! I learnt so much about him, his history, his music and art... it was amazing! It is only in Melbourne until the 1st of November, if you have a chance to see it. Get ready to swoon a bit.

I spent quite a bit of time in the Bowie exhibit, because it was fascinating and it was also a nice break from the hot sun outside. Eventually I went to meet my friend Jess for dinner at Warung Agus, a new-to-me place but one of his favourites. It is not a vegan restaurant, but has a good vegan menu. Sorry for the crappy photos, the lighting wasn't great and my phone camera has decided to have difficult focusing sometimes.

We started with Krupuk Singkong, which is spicy cassava crackers with peanut sauce. This was a fun starter, and the crackers were not too spicy for me. The peanut sauce was good, however no peanut sauce can measure up to the brilliant peanut sauce from Araya's in Seattle.

Krupuk Singkong from Warung Agus

For our mains, we shared the Tempe Jagung (tempeh in sweet soy sauce with corn, spring onion and spices) and the Tuung Mebasa Santen Lalah Manis (sliced eggplant and tofu braised in coconut milk, sweet soy and spicy gravy), and some rice of course. We also had some Sesaur (shredded coconut with palm sugar and spices) on the side. It was very nice! I enjoyed the nutty friend tempeh, but the stand out for me was the beautiful eggplant. So silky and delicious!

Tempe Jagung from Warung Agus

Tuung Mebasa Santen Lalah Manis from Warung Agus

Sesaur from Warung Agus

Wow, some of those photos were worse than I realised. Afterwards we took a longer stroll back towards Carlton, and stopped at Casa Del Gelato for some vegan options. The small option here has three scoops in... I am not sure in what universe that is small. Anyway, we had chocolate, strawberry and jasmine. The jasmine was lovely, and combined it was like a super fun neopolitan blend.

The next morning was the first day of the conference, and I headed straight back to Smith & Deli to pick up some breakfast! As well as a yummy chai, I had the Friend Zone, which is a toasted cheese, tomato and ham sandwich. Delicious!

Friend Zone from Smith & Deli

I also got a Chester Scroll to take to the conference for a snack - this had mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and cheese in it. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Chester Scroll from Smith & Deli

Then it was a tram down to Melbourne Town Hall for the first day of the Animal Activist Forum. I attended some great talks, including a talk on the role sanctuaries play in animal advocacy by Kyle Behrend from Edgar's Mission (complete with super cute photos!), a talk called 'What to say when you don't know everything' by psychologist Clare Mann, an update on Ag-Gag laws in Australia from Voiceless and a talk by Ron Prasad on the five keys to effective outreach.

Lunch wasn't provided at the forum, so I headed to Supercharger at the Emporium for some much needed wholefoods. In the big bowl, the base is butternut mash with sesame seeds and also some fresh baby spinach. This was then topped with avocado tofu smash with tofu and spices, shredded beetroot, carrot, radish and ginger with braggs, fermented daikon and garlic and tahini sauce. In the small bowls, there is braised assorted mushrooms in ginger broth and chickpeas in cinnamon curry. I also had a blueberry, strawberry and sage infused water. It was all great, except for the avocado silken tofu smash. It was advertised as being 'like guacamole', but the tofu taste was too strong and I couldn't really taste the avocado.

Six dishes from Supercharger

After the conference, I headed back to Smith & Deli to pick up some snacks and breakfast for the next day as they are closed on Sunday and Monday so this was my last chance. I bought this box of sweeties. Gluten free raspberry chocolate brownie, sugar doughnut and sticky challah bun.

Doughnut, Brownie and Challah Sticky Bun from Smith & Deli

For dinner, I went on a solo dinner date to Yong Green Food, which is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. I started with a detox turmeric shot, because they are tasty.

Turmeric Detox Shot from Yong Green

I was in need of some greens, so I ordered my favourite Seaweed Salad. This is so light and fresh, I could eat it all day!

Seaweed Salad from Yong Green

I also tried the Tofu Katsu, which is something new. A tofu katsu patty served on a generous bed of coleslaw with brown rice, pickle and katsu sauce. The katsu itself is unique, it is not simply a slab of tofu but is a mix of tofu, shiitake, arame and veggies coated in crunchy quinoa.

Tofu Katsu from Yong Green

Inside of Tofu Katsu from Yong Green

When I got home I had the raspberry chocolate brownie I had bought from Smith & Deli. Holy smokes, that was amazing! So perfect, rich, moist, dense, fudgy... such a great deep flavour, not too sweet. Perfect. I could have had a million.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Max the AirBnB Kitty

More Max! The AirBnB kitty. His mum was out all Saturday night, so he slept on my bed. Yay!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Melbourne 2015 Part 1

I went to Melbourne over the last weekend to attend the Animal Activist Forum but also to eat a lot of food. I achieved both missions.

Choosing accommodation is important for any trip, and I hit AirBnB with a goal in mind. I wanted to find somewhere close to the Fitzroy end of Brunswick St, and specifically Smith & Deli (more on that later). I found this absolute gem. Perfect location, easy walk to all the food (7 minutes to Smith & Deli), a tram stop right outside to get you to the city (where the conference was), but also very walkable if you are keen for a stroll (took me under 20 minutes to walk home from Melbourne Town Hall). If you are looking for a place to stay in Melbourne I recommend this one, plus there is a cat called Max!

Anyway, back to Smith & Deli. Smith & Deli was opened this year by the people who run the amazing Smith & Daughters, and I have dreamed of going there forever! I got in on Thursday afternoon, made my way from the airport to my AirBnB and then went straight to the Deli. I arrived too late to have one of their famous sandwiches, but it was more afternoon tea time anyway and boy did they do afternoon tea well!

I had a vanilla slice and a jam doughnut. I am not sure if there was some coconut fat in the vanilla slice, because I did feel slightly ooky afterwards, but it was so good while I was eating it. The passionfruit icing was perfectly tangy! And the doughnut was good as well, with a hefty dose of jam in the center.

Jam Doughnut and Vanilla Slice from Smith & Deli

Jam Doughnut from Smith & Deli

Thursday night is trivia night at Cornish Arms, a pub that has a separate vegan menu. I was super excited to meet up with my friend Michelle for trivia. A Sydney friend Elizabeth (aka MC Pony) also came along, plus some Brisbane vegan friends who were also in town. We came third (with a bunch of other teams), but really it was about the food. I had been looking forward to their weekly vegan special of Peking Duck Pancakes, but they were all out! Devastated! Elizabeth and I ended up sharing a pizza and a pot pie. The Hawaiian pizza was, I'm sad to say, really not that great. The toppings were uneven, and their inclusion of large chunks of strange and fatty mock chicken were out of place. The crust was pretty average as well. Michelle had the Souvlaki pizza (also pictured here), which she said was good, it certainly looks more appealing.

Hawaiian Pizza from Cornish Arms

Souvlaki Pizza from Cornish Arms

The pot pie we shared was much better, though was really more a shepherds pie with a cheesy mash topping rather than pastry. I think the filling was based on the Lamyong meaty mushroom chunks. The gravy was outstanding! Chips are always welcome, and I was glad of the peas as a spot of green in an afternoon and evening of very beige eating.

Pot Pie from Cornish Arms

Pot Pie - inside shot - from Cornish Arms

Brisbane friends Bec and Carol both had the parma, which I didn't get a photo of but it is hilariously giant. Bec chowed it down with impressive gusto!

But my eating didn't end there. I had also bought a cute mini lemon and raspberry cheesecake from Smith & Deli and it was waiting in the fridge for me when I got home. Amazing. Beautiful buttery biscuit base with a tangy light creamy center. So good.

Lemon and Raspberry Cheesecake from Smith & Deli

The next morning I was straight back to the Deli for breakfast. It was not very busy there, and the lovely staff answered all my questions about coconut oil content of different things (sadly the croissants were out for me, they are only available on Saturdays if you are interested in them). I ordered my first of several delicious chai lattes. They make the best chai! And I also ordered and Egg McMartinez, which has a tofu egg, bacon and cheese (BioCheese, which is coconut oil based but a single slice does not hurt me), I also got some aioli with it. This was super yum!

Best chai ever from Smith & Deli

EggMcMartinez from Smith & Deli

Egg McMartinez from Smith & Deli

And then I went back to the Deli immediately for second breakfast. Another chai and a delicious Vegemite and Cheese scroll.

Goodies from Smith & Deli

Vegemite and Cheese Scroll  from Smith & Deli

Here are a few more photos from Smith & Deli, with their yummy bakery cases.

Bakery Case from Smith & Deli

Bakery Case from Smith & Deli

Doughnuts from Smith & Deli

Bakery Case from Smith & Deli

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Max the AirBnB Kitty

Max the AirBnB kitty!