Coburg Farmers Market

Today I met up with Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe and her daughter at the Coburg Farmers Market. I haven’t been there before so Johanna kindly suggested we meet there. Melbourne has had some crazy windy weather this week but things were a bit calmer today:

Coburg Farmers Market

I enjoyed looking at a range of vegetables, so many lovely colours. I thought about getting a spaghetti squash but might keep it for next time:

pumpkins

The carrots will be coming home with me on my next visit:

Colourful carrots

Hit that perfect beet boys!

Beautiful beets

There was a stall with really juicy delicious apples.  Nothing like the tasteless blobs I’ve bought from the supermarket recently:

Coburg Farmers Market apples

The 5 & Dime bagel stall was a welcome sight.  Check out the deliciousness:

5 & Dime Bagels

5 & Dime Bagels

I came home with some golden beetroot and coriander:

Coburg Market purchases

Six bagels for $11:

5 & Dime Bagels

And these blocks of chocolate from the Cocoa Rhapsody stall.  All of their dark chocolate range is vegan:

Cocoa Rhapsody chocolate

 

Now that I know the market is a stone’s throw away, I’ll make more of an effort to visit.  I’m looking forward to seeing more lovely veggies and cooking up something adventurous!

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Al Nada All Vegan Lebanese Sweets, Coburg

Today I met up with my buddy T, also referred to as She Who Turned Veganopoulous Vegan, for a gym session.  Gym sessions are really good when your training partner says something like “did you know about the new Lebanese vegan sweets place on Sydney Road?”

Yes folks, ALL VEGAN LEBANESE SWEETS.  Oh my goodness.  Now, these Lebanese sweets are very similar to Greek sweets.  Think baklava and other nuts-and-filo delights.  As the Greek sweets all (mostly) have honey or butter between the sheets of filo pastry, it’s a no no for me.  So imagine my delight (and T’s delight) when we saw THIS:

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ALL VEGANS WELCOME!  Adorable!

Equally adorable is the delightful Mimmo.  She was telling us all about converting the sweets to vegan recipes and her interest in veganism and helping animals.  Unfortunately she has lost some of her regular customers since changing the recipes (boo to those people I say) but she has absolutely won me over.  And she has won new vegan customers too.

I really do encourage my Melbourne readers to head to Al Nada and talk to Mimmo.  Seriously peeps, THIS is the kind of business that should be supported.  Mimmo has changed family recipes and gone against some cultural expectations by taking the business in the vegan direction.  As a person who grew up with cultural expectations heaped upon me, I certainly appreciate what Mimmo has done here. So please check out the shop  🙂  Everything baked on the premises is vegan, though the sweets (more biscuity things) brought in from outside are not vegan.  There is vegan Lebanese shortbread though!

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Al Nada Sweets is located at 160 Sydney Road in Coburg.  There are some tables and chairs inside.  And huge trays of sweets  🙂  Go go go!

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Cafe Sarabella, Coburg. And why it is full of awesome

Edit: * Cafe Sarabella has closed *SOB CRY WAIL*

I am ashamed you guys.  I’ve been frequenting the area around Coburg Library for about two years.  And in that time I have never been to Cafe Sarabella.

Cafe Sarabella is tucked away in the Victoria Street Mall, between Sydney Road and the Coburg Library.  It’s a great little area out there with seating and recently lots of colourful yarn bomb installations.  There’s a Middle Eastern shop there that sell nuts and stuff and I buy my pecans from there, but have not ventured a few doors down to Cafe Sarabella.

I decided to check it out today as I was in the area.  Buying pecans.  Anyway, I’ve read some great reviews recently and heard word of mouth recommendations.

The lovely Sara was behind the counter and I asked her if she had anything vegan today.  Did she have vegan or what?  CHECK THIS OUT:

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Okay so here I have her oven baked samosa in filo pastry, beetroot in spices and curry leaves, green beans with almond, potatoes with cumin seeds and other tasty spices, rice and lentils.  On the side she put two generous dollops of really hot chutneys.  Hotttt but delicious and you know why I mean generous dollop now.  I took those home for Husband as they were too hot for me.  This all cost $11 and I was stuffed.  Next time I’ll have either the samosa or everything else as this was so much and Sara mercifully said she’d put less rice because I had the samosa.  Of course I managed to stuff it all down in to my stomach.

The food was delicious and Sara herself is an absolute delight.  I was the only customer sitting down (it wasn’t lunch hour) and I ate my meal with Sara at the little table in the window (there are other small tables outside). Sara’s customers bring her fresh organic produce from their gardens and she in turn creates lovely meals and gives back.  She gave me a little taste of her gingerbread almond cake (vegan!) and I was so tempted to buy a slice to take home but I thought I’d leave it for next time as I didn’t want it getting squished in my bag.

I”m always really happy to find not only a vegan place, but one which has exceptional customer service where the owners really care about their food and their customers.  Going to Cafe Sarabella and chatting with Sara seemed like chatting to a friend you’ve known for ages.

I forgot to take a photo of the outside, but here’s the view from my chair by the window.  Hallo Sara!

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Cafe Sarabella is not vegan or vegetarian but those options are there.  What I love about it is that the stove setup, with the Bessemer cookware, is exactly the sort of scene I grew up with.  This is honest, genuine home cooked goodness and I prefer that over a fancier restaurant meal any day  🙂

Lunch at Zaatar

I must begin by saying Zaatar is not a vegetarian/vegan establishment.  However their ‘pizza’ bases are vegan (I again received confirmation when I visited today) and I’d like to share my selections with youse all.

I love the plain zaatar, cooked fresh for you and costs $1.00:

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When I go there to eat, I get a zaatar base topped with olive, capsicum, onion and tomato.  I think this cost about $3.00:

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I often buy the spinach pide (no photo as I didn’t get this today) and it’s delicious.

Now some of you may be wagging a finger at me saying now Vegan Opoulous, aren’t you supposed to be avoiding gluten?  HMMM?  And to that I say yea verily you may scold in fairness, but I am going to get tested for glutenny problems and apparently I have to not avoid gluten.  And if I absolutely MUST eat gluten, it’s coming in the form of Zaatar’s zaatars.  Mmmkay?  Because they’re just so yum.

Zaatar gets quite busy during lunch hours but I’ve always been able to find a table.  It’s a great option for a budget friendly meal.  I went there today with non-vegan Husband so there’s something for everyone.  There are dips and salad as well as vegetarian pastries and sweets.  Zaatar is a family establishment and I always see lots of families with young children enjoying their meals.

Zaatar is located on the corner of Sydney Road and Munro St,  Coburg (so the northern part of Sydney Road as you head towards Bell Street).  They are open 7 days a week from 7am to 8pm.

“I’ll be back!”