Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cajun Kitchen, CBD

My SO and I have recently developed a fondness for Young and Jacksons' bar - especially the rooftop cider bar, where they're currently serving the Hills Cider Co's limited pomegranate cider (has anyone tried this? it's vegan friendly and incredible). So we've been looking more and more at v-friendly CBD eats. After our first plan of action fell through, we saw the word 'tofu' and decided to wander into Cajun Kitchen on Elizabeth Street.

The menu isn't extensive for veg*ns - you basically have three choices: chips, a salad (which, to be fair, looks pretty good) or the Cajun Tofu Wrap, $9.90, which I went for:
It was.. okay. The tofu was tasty but there wasn't nearly enough of it - just two small strips. You have a choice of heaps of sauces, and silly me grabbed the hot sauce despite being a chilli wuss which may have affected my judgement a bit. The SO, a raging meat-eater, ordered the pulled beef wrap and said it tasted like nothing else, just beef, which is a bit disappointing. I like the concept of what they're trying to do, but for around $10 in the city you have so many more options within the CBD itself: Shandong Mama's zucchini dumplings, Panzerotti, LOTF,  at least two v-friendly ramen shops, etc. I probably won't be back, but I'm glad I checked it out all the same!

One great thing they are stocking is Fentiman's rose lemonade:
This stuff is excellent: a fresh lemony kick with rose and a few other things mixed in. It doesn't taste too floral and was incredibly refreshing - one of my favourite carbonated drinks I've tried. If you happen to walk past, grabbing a bottle is a good idea - it's different enough that it's worth a try. If anyone tries the chips, let me know if the seasoning is worth a revisit!

Monday, 14 July 2014

BBQ Night at the Cornish Arms

So. This is a horrible photo because The Cornish's lighting is horrible at night but who even cares. BBQ NIGHT.
This is the vegan big plate, $20: you're looking at a veggie frank with a gorgeous semi-spicy black beany chili and cheeze, chick'n strips, pork skewers, deep fried pickles (AW YES), slaw and a gorgeous BBQ sauce to slather it all in. Plus, not pictured, cuminy seasoned shoestring fries and a roll to assemble your own carbwich. I have no words, you need to get on this.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Vegetarian Delight, Adelaide

I had one place on my absolutely must have gotta visit list for Adelaide: Vegetarian Delight. They're scheduled to close at the end of July so I figured it was a now-or-never chance to see how Adelaide does mock-meaty Chinese.

The restaurant is nostalgically similar to the neighbourhood Chinese joints of my childhood. Inside was cosy and warm (the centre table has a giant Lazy Susan set up - so awesome) and we were assured that anything without "creamy" or "honey" in the name was vegan. Awesome! I had to try the prawn toast, $8 for 3 pieces:

This was tasty, although a little soft-textured for my liking. The filling was prawny (as pronounced so by my meat-eater father) and had a purple tinge that makes me think it was taro based.

My dad decided to grab the deep-fried sesame shiitake mushrooms, $16?

I have to confess on a whole I'm not a mushroom fan. I want to be. My father is a country boy and knows his 'shrooms, so I've eaten them straight out of the ground, as tasty as you can get.. but they're not my thing. Apparently that has changed.
This dish was incredible. Meaty long strips of fresh shiitake in a crunchy crunchy batter with a sweet-and-sour-esque sauce and sesame seeds. It blew my mind and I want to try and make it at home because the texture was utterly fantastic. If you're going to eat one thing at this place, make it these mushrooms.

Also make time for some fried rice (small serve below, $7):

Upon getting this, we were reassured that the yellow stuff was tofu, not egg - I love when places make an effort to do that. The tofu 'egg' was salty and filled the profile of egg in a good fried rice perfectly, so it was up there with the best vegan fried rices I've had. Yum.

And the not so good: this sizzling Mongolian Beef, $16ish:

I wanted to like this, but the beef was just.. nope. Father delightfully described it as a flavourless mix between rubber and cardboard, and he was right (and not just being a picky omni either). I have no idea how that happened, but we barely touched this and just stuffed our faces with the mushrooms. Not appealing in the slightest.

That said, I'm sad this place is closing and I won't get to go back - they have great customer service and the mushrooms are worth a second (or third, or fourth) visit alone. They have a great social media presence and seem to have enough fans to keep them going, so maybe they'll pull through? Here's hoping! 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Adelaide Eats 2

Found myself back in Adelaide this week and seized the opportunity to grab as many vegan eats as I could - Adelaide is a surprisingly veg-friendly town! There's so much more I would have liked to eat but that'll have to wait for next time.

We went to a Korean food festival where I seized these sweet potato noodles. They were delicious: mildly flavoured with strips of veggies, kombu and shiitake mushrooms. If I could get this near me I'd eat it all the time - it was brilliant:
There was also gimbap or "Korean sushi" as it was sold to me:
Simple but tasty: pickled daikon, carrot, cucumber and avo. I love pickled daikon so I was stoked to find these.

I made kimchi pancakes but forgot to get a pic of the finished product so here's the batter. It's super simple: kimchi, spring onion, salt, flour, water (or kimchi juice if you like spice). Chop the first two up fine and mix until you get this consistency, then fry. Tasty stuff.
Ended up horribly, horribly sick with a stomach bug on the second day so my dad made Dad Soup: a hearty veggie-packed thing that's so thick you can almost stand a spoon up in it. Crusty bread with garlic, chives and parsley from the garden and some good olive oil - if you don't have vegan butter to make garlic bread this is a pretty good substitute:
My favourite news headline from the trip: if this doesn't personify the Aussie spirit I don't know what does!
We went for a wander up the Barossa Valley - it's beautiful, but mostly a place to go if you like a) Maggie Beer or b) wine.
But I stumbled into a cafe somewhere along the way and ended up with the best vegan brownie of my life, you guys. Dense, biscuity brownie with generous chunks of hazelnut and dark chocolate throughout it. IT WAS AMAZING:
Went to Pure Vegetarian for the sweet and sour gluten. It's so weirdly addictive. The noodles are just okay but I wish I knew what the gluten was / how they prep it - it's delicious:
Stopped by Bliss Organic and came out with raw Ferrero Rocher and Bounty balls. They were fairly nice - the Bounty had a bit too much cashew in it, which was a bit like eating a cheesecake ball (which is not a bad thing, but a bit suss when you're expecting coconut).

And last... THIS PLACE. Holy shit, you guys. These below treats came from Al Mina Mediterranean Patisserie and they were incredible. Middle Eastern sweets (including the best baklava I've ever tasted) and raw lemon pistachio and peanut crunch cake (I'm assuming raw anyway - lemon definitely was). 
These were seriously some of the best cheesecakes I've had in five years of veganism. The lemon and pistachio worked perfectly and the peanut crunch blew my mind; peanutty without being pasty, and the crust was almost a toffee crunch. I have no idea what it was but it was incredible. Apparently they normally have an entire cooler of vegan things, but they were down one so my only options were pastries or cheesecake (as if that's a bad thing). 
These were so good I went back the next day and grabbed the two same, plus a berry-choc cake and a salted caramel one to take home with me. (They were equally amazing.) The man behind the counter was incredibly nice about explaining the vegan options and seemed pretty tickled that I came back twice; I wish they were in Melbourne - the prices are great and the food was amazing! Raw cakes are $4.50 for the below size and $2.50 for the smalls. So jealous of Adelaide folks for having this place. So very jealous.

Shameless plug:

Al Mina Mediterranean Patisserie
Shop 2, 362 Main North Road
Adelaide, SA 5084 (really, it's in Enfield I think)

If you can: go there. If you can't, sorry for the food porn! 

Friday, 6 June 2014

How To Eat Vegan In Dandenong In One Handy Picture

Masala dosa (sambhar not pictured) and onion bhaji from Lakshmi Vilas, fried rice and hakka noodles from Dosa Plaza. Yum. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cornish Arms (finally)

The Cornish is, hands down, my favourite junkfood spot in Melbourne - how have I not blogged about it?! We finally went back yesterday after a quick dash to ALV's vegan bake sale at the St. Kilda gardens, where we snagged a couple of pieces of raw cheesecake, a hotdog and some pizza pastry swirl things (whoever made those- they were scrummy and I want the recipe!).

Getting there at 2.30 on a Saturday is a pretty dumb decision but it worked out just fine - we were seated at the bar and it was a great way to watch the rain and thank our lucky stars we weren't out in it.
I got the vegan parma (as always), $13:

Nothing much to say except delicious. I love these so hard and I could basically yammer on about deep fried faux chicken all day. My mother tried the chicken burger, also $13:

This was damn good. The chicken is the same as the parma but with a thick flavoursome herby crumb instead, and the bacon is delicious - I asked about it and the guy said it was "facon" and commercially bought so basically I have no idea. If anyone does know which brand they use please tell me - I'd love to have this on hand for pizzas and the occasional BLT.

I love The Cornish. Cheap, easy, tasty food, the service is great (the guy was more than happy to alter the heck out of my mother's burger because she's mad picky) and there's something on there basically every night. I'm going to have to make time for BBQ night very very soon.

P.S. Who's been yarn-bombing Brunswick? Adorable! 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Waffle Taco?

I'm still getting used to using my waffle maker - I forget I own it so it hasn't gotten much use lately. But I came across this recipe from The Sugar Hit and was intrigued - buttery corn, spring onions and salsa together? Instead of the fried egg, I figured a nice greasy rosti would be an excellent choice. It photographs terribly, but damn it was good.
I really liked this recipe, although I think there was far too much butter (cough, Nuttelex) in there - it kind of overwhelmed the sweetness of the corn and the spring onions. Perhaps the omni version fares better? But the waffles came out lovely and crispy with great inner texture and were the perfect vehicle for my lazy pico de gallo (a handful of grape tomatoes, quarter of a red onion, 6-8 pickled jalapeno slices, pepper and lime juice). The whole thing took very little prep - the batter rests a while but it was a nice easy, lazy, tasty way to end an Easter Sunday - waffle maker, a frypan and a chopping board on the go while having a drink in the kitchen. Super relaxing. I rolled mine up into a giant waffle taco and stuffed my face. I am not even ashamed. Happy Easter!