What I Ate Out And About In Melbourne

I haven’t done a What I Ate in a while, so here’s a big selection of meals out I’ve really enjoyed. I’m going a bit overboard in my gushing praise but I love everything shown here and feeling pretty damn happy with our amazing vegan options here in Melbourne.

My new favourite is Sandwitch, found at Coburg Farmers Market and Alphington Farmers Market. If you follow Sandwitch on Instagram (@sandwitchau) or Facebook you can see which markets they’ll be at.

My favourite sandwich is the ‘colli-sour’ which has divine beer battered crispy cauliflower, pickle, green salad and preserved lemon tahini in really good pita bread:

I also loved the Meze Brekkie Bowl:

Sandwitch’s mushroom shwarma is also great:

And to finish off lovely Sandwitch lunches, here’s their sweet (but not too sweet) dessert delight made with coconut milk cream, a hint of rosewater, crushed nuts, coconut, seven spices and hibiscus syrup:

In keeping with the market theme, I was thrilled to try these bean based akara from Tribal Tastes at the Queen Victoria night market. Lovely texture and delicious:

I’m rejoicing that for the next month I’ll be walking past Wonderbao once a week, so lunch is settled. I’m loving the crispy eggplant, the tofu and the taro bao especially:

The Cornish Arms have a two week special on vegan chicken kiev served with peas, gravy and potato gems (that’s tater tots. I never knew what tater tots were until I realised they were potato gems. And I think they’re called something else in another country or two but I can’t remember now):

After the kiev I squeezed in the sticky date pudding:

Divine Realm Vegie Delight in the city (lunch hours only, Monday to Friday) is still a favourite. You get a plate of rice with three mains for $7.50 which is a bargain in the city, vegan or not. The menu rotates and this is what’s served on Thursday and Friday. My favourite menu days:

I’m still loving Good Days on Sydney Road in Brunswick, with the epic spring roll noodle salad:

Loving Hut in West Melbourne opposite Queen Victoria Market is another favourite. Here’s the Malaysian char kway teow and some roti in the back:

This is the Mongolian BBQ:

Moving along to my absolute hands-down favourite Miinot Gelato, here’s the Violetta and Darkness flavours. Miinot have the best, most inventive flavours for vegans/dairy free folks too. Their dark chocolate variations (mint slice, black sesame, chilli, and more) won me over to the dark chocolate side:

If you haven’t been to Olivia Spring Cafe in Moonee Ponds, make it a priority! I always get the vermicelli salad with the optional (but mandatory in my opinion) spring rolls:

I was surprised the night we went to Pinarbarsi Turkish restaurant on Sydney Road because there’s a vegan pide on the menu that I hadn’t noticed when I checked out the menu online. I went for the large option and it was pretty big, and really tasty. We’d gone for a last minute family dinner when a relative was visiting, and husband had one of those Entertainment Book vouchers. So all in all a really nice surprise:

Another recent favourite is the macadamia milk peanut butter chocolate shake from Ratio Cocoa Roasters on Sydney Road. This was the perfect level of sweetness for me. A bit of a splurge at $10 for the vegan option but I don’t consider it ‘just’ a milkshake. Love love love:

Moving on again to more great meals at Ray Cafe. I love Ray (I know I know, I love a lot and subsequently gush a lot) and enjoyed this latest version of the Black Maple Society French toast:

The Tofumanchu was excellent:

This vegan kraut dog with sweet potato fries was a board special and also a good meal:

I was at the Southbank side of town a couple weeks ago and got this from the Little India outlet. Nice, but a little too much heat for me in one of the dishes:  

Son and I are big Trippy Taco fans. Here are the nachos and Trippy Fries, we always get the fries then when done we go next door to Fatto a Mano:

I met up with a dear friend at Ubuntu Vegan Cafe in Hawthorn. We both enjoyed our Lizz burgers. The sweet potato fries were fantastic and I also had the blue butterfly pea flower latte:

We’re fans of Zaatar in Coburg here at casa Veganopoulous. My son is happy with the regular zaatar but lately I’m going for the pumpkin kibbeh as well as my spinach pide:

And that wraps up this batch of phone-camera photos, many of which were taken over the past months as I didn’t put them in my May What I Ate due to laziness.


Thanks as always for reading my blog. I’ve had a few annoying technical issues lately resulting in some images not displaying and intermittent problems with answering comments. Even as I went to publish this there was a problem, gahhh…


Intermittent Fasting Update and What I Ate Recently

Wow, I’ve neglected the blog. Busy busy busy and a combination of not making photo-worthy foods.

Intermittent fasting continues, where I fast for 16 hours then eat within an eight hour window. The results continue to be good though slow now, as I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon due to a combination of bad feet, colds and laziness. You can read about my first 40 days or so on intermittent fasting here. I’ve also stopped eating so much veg, after a while I really got sick of factoring in healthy 7-10 cups of veg a day but I’m getting back in to it again. I was feeling like I wanted to scream every time I saw veggies. Oh, and sliiightly fallen off the lower-carb wagon.

What I continue to love about intermittent fasting is how easy it is for me. I’ve stuck with it since December 23rd 2017, a major achievement for me to stick to anything ‘diet’. However that’s the important bit right there– IF is not a diet, it’s simple a schedule of when to eat.

Overall I eat ‘healthy’ but won’t say no to treats and going out, but if I know I’m having some kind of high fat/sugar/oil/whatever meal, I do factor it in to fasting and will extend the fasting period to compensate. Because my goal is to lose body fat I still have to consider the basic calories in versus calories out and be mindful of overall caloric intake.

Okay enough talk, here are some food pics. See?! I’m still eating some stuff considered no-nos on ‘diets’! Like the Belgian mayo fries from Lord of the Fries, and sharing the peanut butter milkshake with my son (always bugs me when the LotF milkshakes aren’t cold):

This is one of the more recent additions to the LotF menu: the fried ‘chicken’ maple bacon waffle. Very junky, quite tasty:

I haven’t really been taking the camera out much, so most of my photos here were taken with my phone camera. First up, the eggplant miso roll from I Dream of Sushi in Moonee Ponds:

Followed by the tofu don:

The Ishtar stall at Preston Market has quite a few vegan options, one being this delicious pumpkin pide:

More deliciousness from Loving Hut West Melbourne, right near the Queen Victoria Market. This was their nasi lemak special (yes that’s a vegan egg):

This is the Golden Gaytime (an Australian ice cream on a stick) vegan version from The Merri Clan in Preston. So good:

An excellent meal from Olivia Spring Cafe in Moonee Ponds. This is the vermicelli noodles with roast vegan pork with the optional-extra spring rolls. Make sure you get the spring rolls:

Queen Vic Market just had its 140 year birthday celebration. I went and got the cinnamon sugar loukoumathes from the Taki’s Balls stall, which is currently their vegan option:

Look, something healthy! I made this quinoa veg bean something-or-other dish with avocado lime cream:

And leaving one of the best for last: the Honeydee Loukoumathes vetella (vegan nutella) Greek donuts. I don’t often go for chocolate but these were great. Honeydee offer the best, most well thought-out vegan options out of all the loukoumathes stalls and trucks. Grab them if they’re at a market near you!


Recipes From Doing It Vegan With Ris and Jules

Doing it Vegan with Ris and Jules is a series of YouTube videos with simple no fuss recipes. I’ve bought food from Rissy before, which I blogged about in my review Mrs Monagle’s Ethical Fine Foods.

There are a few things I love about the Ris and Jules videos. They’re from near-Melbourne, the recipes are really easy, and both Ris and Jules are laid back casual and funny. You can find their channel by searching YouTube for ‘doing it vegan with ris and jules’.

Because I loved the ravioli Rissy made when I ordered from her, that was the first Doing It Vegan recipe I tried (the roast pumpkin ravioli). I did my usual thing of starting a recipe then realising halfway through I don’t have enough of a key ingredient. This time, flour. But I had some spelt and the dough still turned okay. My lazy arse loves that the dough is all made in the food processor. For putting together the ravioli I did it by hand, after using a pasta dough roller machine thingy, because I don’t have a ravioli plate or special ravioli rolling pin. I do however have a ravioli cutter-sealer wheel which I used. I also made up my own cashew cheese and used the same dough to make tortellini. You can find this recipe in the roasted pumpkin ravioli video. To serve them, I coated some chopped fresh sage leaves in a little cornflour then fried in Nutellex to crisp them up.

The second recipe I made was from episode 1, the leek and mushroom pies in puff pastry. These were super simple and seasoned with salt, pepper and nooch. That’s all that’s needed. Loved these:

The eggplant parma was great, though I used my own cashew cheese (and too much of it). I love the walnut parmesan topping which is made with a little sesame oil. I ate most of it with a spoon:

These are easy, no fuss recipes that are great for beginners (even the ravioli).

I’ve made an extra batch of the pies and have them in the freezer, they cook beautifully from frozen.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Ris and Jules come up with next.


Vegan Cruising To Kangaroo Island on the Pacific Jewel

So, this is going to contain a fair bit of first world problem whining.

We’ve just returned from a four night P&O cruise to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. I wasn’t that keen on another cruise, my first being a Dawn Princess four nighter to Tasmania in 2014, but we had an offer for something like a 75% discount. And I’d always wanted to see Kangaroo Island, plus I like a little research for the blog, so off we went.

Armed with information based on that previous experience, I knew how I had to order in the main dining room to get a vegan meal. I checked with P&O beforehand about vegan meals. Yes, we cater for that, they said.

I’ll let you be the judge of that. Oh, and they clearly catered for bed bugs in my bed because I’m currently covered in massive bites from head to toe and my doctor said I’m the most interesting patient he’s seen in weeks (after his very sympathetic “ewwww owwwww yes that’s bed bugs”). Yay for antibiotics.

So, cruise ships have a main dining room (the fancier restaurant looking places) and the more casual eating areas like the traditional buffet. The Pacific Jewel, like some other ships, has done away with the buffet concept and now has different outlets you can get food from. The main dining room is called the Waterfront and you can get breakfast, lunch or dinner from a set menu.

The deal is you go to the head waiter or maitre d’ the day before you want your meal and arrange to have something veganised from the menu, or something else. On the day we boarded I went straight to the Waterfront to organise a vegan meal for that night, which was still okay. Vegetarian meals are marked, but nothing else is. The best they could do was a rice paper roll starter, which was already on the menu so I’m wondering if it was vegan by default, then a penne in a tomato sauce with mushrooms for my main:

The penne was nice enough but just not mind blowing and it’s what I make at home, whereas all the other meals served were the fancy things. Still, we were there to celebrate my mum’s birthday, so this was satisfactory:

They gave me plain boiled veggies on the side. I mixed them in to the pasta:

I had ordered sorbet but all they had in the end was… the chilled fruit plate. The ‘dessert’ equivalent of the dreaded vegie stack:

I decided to give the Waterfront another shot for the last dinner on the ship. They were able to make me spaghetti in tomato sauce for my main and mini spring rolls (which tasted exactly like the ones from the freezer section). A little basil garnish would have been nice at least. What do you think? Again, tasted fine and was a decent portion size but yeah:

I never got to have sorbet after all, boo.

The Pantry is made of a number of different food outlets that replaced the buffet. There’s the Curry House (Indian), Mexicana (Mexican), Kettle and Bun (for salad stuffs), Stix (Asian), and a handful of others.

I know what you’re thinking. Veganopoulous ate heaps from the Curry House, that lucky girl! I’m here to tell you again, like I did in 2014, that THEY FREAKING PUT BUTTER IN  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. In the dal, butter. In the chickpea masala, butter. Butter in the saffron rice, butter in the teriyaki rice, butter on the roast potatoes, butter in the veg curry, butter everywheeere. WHY WHY WHYYYYY do they persist in doing this?! They have dairy intolerant people on the ship who register their dietary restrictions beforehand (you can tell who they are because they’re asking for soy milk). Why add dairy to dishes that don’t need it? Teriyaki rice doesn’t need butter! Gahhh.

Another big frustration is that serving staff, and often the more uniformed kitchen staff can not tell you if something has dairy in it. Okay I can sort of ‘get’ how they may not understand vegan, but the same applied to people asking about gluten free meals. Serving staff just didn’t know so every time someone asks about the food, the serving staff have to stop and go back in to the kitchen, which holds up the big queues and people get shitty and serving staff don’t always want to hold up the line that way. Hardly anyone knew what vegan meant and some didn’t know what gluten free meant. I don’t fault the staff, but clearly something needs to be done to educate staff and bring them up to speed on what this all means.

Also, the menus are planned in advanced and all the signs and labels are printed out. Why not include whether something is gluten free, or vegan, or whatever? If they can do this for breakfast and write the amount of fibre or such, they should do it for their other foods.

Okay, big whinge over. Here are some of the foods I was told were vegan, or rather, didn’t have egg/dairy/meat. I’m still not convinced everything shown below is in fact vegan.

From Curry House, I was told this was a vegan meal: plain rice, the vegetable sambal and salad. This was okay and hit the spot given how hungry I was:

Another Curry House meal was the is-it-really-vegan cumin potatoes with the I-really-hope-it’s-vegan biryani:

I figured Mexicana was a safer bet. No, not always. Butter in the rice too, now and then. I was told these Mexican potatoes were cooked in oil, no butter.  Ditto for the Mexican bean rice. The taco is just lettuce and salsa:

Another day I had the jalapeno rice with potatoes, guacamole and a taco. Another passable meal:

At the start of the trip, a serving staff told me to talk to the manager of The Pantry to find out what I could eat. I found the manager (I think he was the manager) and he pointed me to Kettle and Bun, which is raw salad and beans from a can. Yeah nah.

Another day I noticed an important looking chef walking around the area so I asked him if he could tell me what was vegan. He said “what would you like to have?” Ehh?! So I showed him the Mexicana bain-marie which had capsicums stuffed with beans but topped with cheese and said that looks good minus the cheese. So he arranged for the kitchen to make me a vegan version. Much appreciated! It took about fifteen minutes though, but that was fine. I commented positively on this and the chef said “if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”. I wish I’d thought to ask the chef the previous days but from the start I felt like the annoying pain in the arse vegan.

Another Mexicana meal was paprika rice and a bean casserole:

Things must be dire if you consider fries to be one of the highlight meals of the trip:

I was holed up in the cabin for the first full day because of sea sickness. I couldn’t stomach food but husband brought me a plate of boiled veg, the star highlight being zucchini that was overboiled by about ten minutes:

I didn’t get to have breakfast in the Waterfront, despite being told they could put together items from the big breakfast (tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, avocado) and that the vanilla bean porridge with stewed rhubarb was vegan (made with water, not milk). But porridge with water has always grossed me out so I went to the Pantry again for cereal and peaches. When I saw the carton of soy milk that said suitable for vegans, I nearly cried:

I got a vegetarian-minus-cheese pizza from a cafe on Kangaroo Island. It was okay, the kind of thing that seems fabulous when you’re really hungry:

On to some of the worst meals. This was the vegetable sushi. I had some nice looking pieces but then ended up being served what you see below. This is before I started eating. No points for presentation… the rice was also dry and bland but at least they offered soy sauce and wasabi. By this time though, I considered the sushi rolls a lifesaver:

These noodles were just labeled vegetable noodles at the Stix outlet. I stopped eating after one forkful and noticed quite a few plates lying around where others must clearly have shared my thoughts:

Hmmm, looking at all those photos it kinda doesn’t seem so bad. I guess when you’re so hungry and surrounded by chillis and curries that are probably vegan except for the BUTTER EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME, it seems like there’s nothing. I did find it all very same-same, I mean you go on a cruise to enjoy food too, you know?

I liked the portion sizes they served you, but you can always ask for more. On the whole my non-vegan family weren’t that impressed with the foods. They said stuff was either too salty, too sweet, or too dry (mum said some of the cakes were terrible). There were ‘donuts’ for breakfast one morning which were clearly just bread rolls in a donut shape and iced, or the croissants which weren’t very croissant like, according to my family. They did enjoy their meals at the Waterfront though.

Enough whinge! On to Kangaroo Island (KI)! 

We had two full days at sea, then on the third day we docked at Kangaroo Island at 7am. We booked a too-expensive four hour coach tour which was pretty disappointing. The bus driver guide was great, but the tour was pretty bland and others I spoke to felt the tour could be so much better and more detailed. We saw a seal though, which made up for a bit of the disappointment.

Here are some interesting facts we learned on the tour:

  • KI has a serious problem with feral cats and pigs. Ditto for turkeys and koalas. The cats are destroying the wildlife and the pigs are damaging the land, but the pigs have mostly been driven to the west of the island.
  • KI is Australia’s third largest island (first is Tasmania, second is Melville Island).
  • Koalas were being culled and there was was a massive outcry when the story made it to the media. People were boycotting KI and as KI heavily relies on tourism, the culling stopped. Instead, the koalas were captured and sterilised and the trees were GPS tagged. While this had some success, it is still a problem because the koalas the parks authority did not capture continued to breed. The introduction of koalas has resulted in the koalas’ preferred food source (manna gum) being close to local extinction.
  • In 1802 British explorer Matthew Flinders named the island Kanguroo Island due to the western grey kangaroo being everywhere.
  • French explorer Nicolas Baudin came soon after, and he was the first to circumnavigate the island. This is why some places on KI have French names.
  • Although France and England were at war, Flinders and Baudin met peacefully and exchanged information.
  • KI’s population is just over 4000. There are about 180,000+ tourists annually.
  • KI has the only pure bred disease-free Ligurian honey bee. Because of this, there are very strict quarantine regulations in place about bringing in any bee keeping equipment and bee products.
  • KI has South Australia’s only eucalyptus oil distillery, using the KI narrow leaf mallee.
  • There are no traffic lights on KI.
  • There are no foxes or rabbits. Foxes weren’t introduced though rabbits were, but it’s thought that goannas would eat the rabbits as they burrow.
  • The western grey kangaroos are shorter and stockier to help them push through dense brush.

Our coach tour took us to the town of Kingscote (everything was closed) and the lighthouse at Cape Willoughby. The tour had some rough, rocky roads that made our teeth and spines rattle– really not okay for the senior citizens so at the very least, there should have been a warning on the tour brochures!

I would have enjoyed the cruise more if I hadn’t been so sea sick and covered in bed bug bites. That, and the butter in everything. But there’s a good schedule of activities and we enjoyed the trivia, a talk by a Titanic enthusiast, live shows and the family party-discos. So glad to be home though!



A Bunch Of Eating Out What I Ate

I haven’t taken pics of my own home made food in ages because it’s the same old that I’ve photographed for the blog many times before. Instead, I’ll share some photos of meals out. I finally made it to Handsome Her but will keep that for a separate post because I need to go back for more meals and pics.

Back to The Merri Clan for lunch yesterday, with my sister. She got the breakfast tacos which were pretty damn good:

I got the small version of the Big Mock burger. I made a mess but damn, this is a good burger:

Another visit to Divine Realm Veggie Delight in the city for the $7.50 three-meal-plus-fried-rice deal. This place is fantastic:

My son and I went to The Glass Den. He got the vegan roti stack:

and I got the Donnka Burger (vegan version has a veg patty) which I ate too quickly, even while picking at my son’s meal:

I was the northern end of Lygon Street and stopped in for some roast veg lasagna at Vege2Go, where you can buy ready made meals to take away:

Zaatar has become one of my son’s favourites (he loves the plain zaatar breads, like me). The spinach pide triangles are great:

Good Days in Brunswick is one of my favourites, I get the spring roll noodle salad every time:

I call this the Melbourne Harry Potter building:

And finally, an image of the community gardens at the Brunswick Food Forest.