Dinner at Rice Queen and dessert at Berrissimo

Tonight is a child-free night and  that’s when Husband and I try to go out to eat somewhere.  We had a function to attend in the city today and I’ve been hanging out to try the vegan soft serve at Berrisimo, so we decided to look around Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for a restaurant to suit us both.  We were right near Rice Queen, I spotted the vegan items on the menu and Husband said this is a winner.

Now for me, Rice Queen is one of those places where I could swear I’ve been to before but you know when you go in you realise actually no, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten here before HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?  Perhaps I went to the old venue but I don’t know.  Anyway, I really liked the interior:

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I liked the sound of the ‘flat fried sesame gyoza strips with white miso smoky eggplant sauce and pickled cucumbers’ for an entree.  The waitress pointed out that these were not gyoza dumplings, instead they were the wrappers pressed in to black and white sesame and fried.  Still sounded good to me.  The miso in the eggplant sauce was easily detectable but not overpowering– I find the taste of miso quite strong even in small amounts but this was good.  I’ve had dishes (usually made by me, ha ha…) where the miso is just too in ya face.  Anyway, the gyoza wrapper strips were interesting and went well with the dippy sauce (as did the sweet pickled salad)  but I wouldn’t order it again because I do like to avoid fried stuff.  Oh who am I kidding, I will never give up hot jam donuts:

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For my main I got the Thai green curry with tofu and veg.  This was good, on the spicy side and not sweet.  I find some Thai green curry to be a bit too sweet but this wasn’t:

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Service was efficient and friendly and our meals arrived quickly.  The only downside was the seating, we had one of the small round tables for two (the other option was high tables with stools, which I don’t like when I want to let my gut all hang out, which looks worse on a bar stool, I always say).  The table was so small it couldn’t fit our dishes plus rice and glasses and bottle of water so the waitress bought over a little side table for our cutlery tray  and the emptied rice bowls.  Which created some space but we still felt the table was just way too cramped and we had to be careful not to knock stuff down.

Rice Queen is located at 389 Brunswick Street, Fiztroy.  http://ricequeen.com.au/

I was so full I couldn’t finish all the rice but did that stop me from living out my vegan Berrissimo dream?  That’s right VegMel bloggers, thanks to you lovely peeps who have posted reviews, I indulged in a serve of half Nutella and half chocolate mousse topped with truffles and the peanut caramel sauce ZOMGGGGGGGGG$#^*@%%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am absolutely and totally stuffed from all that.  Now, I’m not really a big ice cream fan though my preferred flavour has always been peppermint choc chip.  But Berrissimo was really good.  The third vegan option is lemonade, I might try that next time because there will be a next time:

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We sat in the window seat:

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And of course, being Melbourne, it started bucketing down on the drive home.  We’ll sit down to watch the new James Spader tv drama ‘The Blacklist’ and watch a movie in peace!

Berrissimo is located at 360 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  http://berrissimo.com.au/

Walking around the city and luncheon at Little India, Southbank

Husband and I had some appointments in the city yesterday and part of that is going out to lunch together.  Sounds good but it’s quite challenging to find a place we both like.  Although Husband is happy to go to a place that does veg*n, a lot of the vegetarian dishes contain vegies he doesn’t like at all, or tofu which he isn’t keen on.  He really doesn’t like mock meat so that’s out too.  So yesterday we went to the food court on the lower level at Southbank.  Naturally, there’s something for the omnivores and vegetarians but as I was walking around I was noticing an alarming lack of vegan options.  I used to get Grill’d before I realised they grill the vegan patty on the same grill plate as the meat patties.

Then I spotted Little India.  Indian food outlets in food courts often have vegetarian dishes and some vegan and boy was I pleased when Little India told me their eggplant curry and chickpea curry were vegan.  So I got those with some rice for $8.80:

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The eggplant was cut in to big chunks which meant it either hung from my mouth as I tried to eat half or I had to stuff it all in my maw (I did that).  I was pleasantly surprised to find the eggplant actually had some flavour, almost a kind of smokiness.  You know how eggplant thrown straight in to a dish like this just tastes boring?  I didn’t find this eggplant boring at all.

The chickpeas had a nice touch of spice but weren’t anything that special.  I do wish the vegan Indian options in food courts would include more veg!  Still, I would go back and get this meal again as it was tasty and filling.

After lunch, Husband and I walked around the city.  At one point I waited for him along St Kilda Road and this was my view when I lay down in the shade for a bit:

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We later parked the car right in front of one of my favourite old houses in Melbourne, at 82 Nicholson Street Fitzroy.  Such a shame about the graffiti, grrr:

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We walked around the Royal Exhibition Building.  Melbourne always amazes me with its architecture and when I go past the Exhibition Building I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to visit back in the 1880s:

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It was quite a hot day (those blue skies are untouched in the photos!) and I’m not really a summer person so I was happiest inside the food court with air conditioning  😉

Lunch at Chin Chin and too many photos

Melbourne had a travel expo on this past weekend so Husband and I dropped the kids off for a sleepover with grandparents then had a quiet sneaky visit to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop to check out the cupcake flavours they made for Chinese New Year.  I couldn’t resist the cute little pumpkin donut and a cinnamon bun ALL TO MYSELF:

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After the Bake Shop we caught a tram in to the city and walked through the crowds enjoying Chinese New Year festivities:

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After loading up with brochures and more free cloth bags (those things seem to breed in my house) we went off in search of food.  I’d read some reviews on Chin Chin and suggested we go there and go there we did:

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I asked for vegan options and a friendly waitress was able to highlight them for me.  I went for the ‘dry curry Pad Ped with stir fried vegetables, spice crusted organic tofu, kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil’ for $19.  A bowl of rice was served on the side.  This meal was delicious although I’m a bit of a dork when it comes to eating big chunks of tofu with chopsticks because I drop it everywhere and generally look uncouth.  The rice was barely warm which was a bit disappointing but the meal more than made up for it as the flavours were great:

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Hot sauce on the tables:

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Husband enjoyed his meal, which I won’t talk about because it wasn’t vegan and this is a vegan blog, after all! My one negative comment about Chin Chin is the noise level– the music was just way too loud.  If I can barely hear my dining companion sitting opposite me and if I have to ask a waiter to repeat themselves, then it’s too loud.  It was loud when we walked in and I asked Husband if he wanted to go somewhere else (he doesn’t like loud music in restaurants either) but we’d walked a fair bit and wanted to try Chin Chin.  The loud music combined with the noise of people talking loudly to be heard (the couple next to us also commented on the music volume) plus clattering cutlery from the staff station next to us was a bit much.  However I will admit I have extra sensitive hearing so this probably bothers me more than it does others.  Still, our meals were great and we left there feeling absolutely stuffed.

To work off our meal, we walked (fast pace!) around the city.  Also included are some pictures around Fitzroy and Melbourne University.

Melbourne CBD (aka “the city”):

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Around Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  We stopped at Lord of the Fries for lunch:

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Around Melbourne University: melbuni1

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Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au/

Dinner at Yong Green Food (again)

When I visited Yong Green Food last week, I took a menu home so I could work out what I’d have next time.  Next time was tonight and I stuck with my plan of the Korean BBQ served with biodynamic brown rice and kimchi.  Dessert was the raw lemon cheesecake.

I was so hungry and in a rush to eat that I didn’t bother fixing wayward grains of rice:

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My friend ordered the raw Pad Thai kelp noodles and raw fudge for dessert:

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I liked my Korean BBQ meal but would have preferred a little more zing to it.  I was expecting flavours to come out and punch me more, you know?  The kimchi was good.  Don’t get me wrong, the Korean BBQ was nice, just not something I’d order again but that’s okay because I was watching and smelling lovely looking dishes going past.  My veggies were just the way I like them which is with a good amount of crunch without being completely raw. The raw lemon cheesecake was pretty good although if it was served with a lemon wedge I would have used it all up  😛

My friend’s raw fudge was a surprise for both of us as we didn’t expect something so chocolatey.  She isn’t in to chocolate and would not have ordered this if she’d known it was… chocolatey.  We both assumed a different kind of fudge but I guess we shouldn’t have assumed  🙂  I had a bit and it was nice but not something I would personally refer to as a Fudge.  But hey, different strokes for different folks, right?  It was still pretty good.

After dinner we caught the tram in to the city to catch a free comedy debate at Fed(eration) Square.  The topic was “Australian TV is much better than we think”.  Pretty funny stuff and we had lots of laughs.  Who remembers channel 0/28?!

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Yong Green Food is located at 421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

 

Dinner sort of at Yong Green Food

Tonight my buddy and I attended a little vegan ‘do which involved buying dinner at Yong Green Food and taking it to a nearby park.  This was my first visit to Yong Green and I was looking forward to it because the menu I saw online was full of awesome.

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I ended up settling for the $15.50 Japanese curry.  I really enjoyed this as Japanese curry has always been a favourite dish and this is my first vegan version.  I don’t like returning to a restaurant to order the same thing as I like to try different things, but I can see myself ordering this again (sorry about the grotty looking lid):

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For dessert I chose the raw tiramisu.  I gasped a bit when I saw the size (after we arrived at the park and sat down to eat) because it cost $10.50 and well, it was smaller than I’d hoped.  But it’s raw, and fancyish, and probably one of the nicest desserts I’ve ever tasted in my whole life.  I don’t want to even try to replicate this at home because I know I’d eat an entire slab in one sitting:

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My friend got the raw kelp Pad Thai, made with organic veggies and a creamy chilli cashew sauce for $18.50.  It looked fabulous and the fellow vegans who ordered it said it was great:

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For dessert my buddy got the $8.50 raw lemon cheesecake.  Yummm:

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I loved my meal and I hope I can go back soon.  Service was friendly but they were very busy with orders and slightly frazzled.  After ordering  my friend and I went for a ten minute walk and when we returned our food was ready.  Yay!

Check out these photos from other diners, and be sure to view the pics of the Menu of Awesome.  Now you see why I want to go back!

After we were done eating, my buddy and I caught the tram in to the city and wandered around a bit.  I loved this window display of a store on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy:

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Walking around the city.   This is Melbourne Town Hall:

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Chinatown:

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A Victoria Police (Melbourne is the capital city of the state of Victoria) van over there in the distance, hopefully placing KFC under arrest.  In the foreground here we have a ‘divvy van’, aka divisional van.  There’s a cute little door in the back and a cute little window for not-so-cute citizens to peep through.  In Australia our emergency services number is 000.  Not 911. This photo is purely for those of you who like pictures of foreign police cars:

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We made our way to Federation Square to be greeted by shaded areas complete with deck chairs and bean bags for viewing the Australian Open on a really big tv.  My feet and my vegan sneakers:

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And we were treated to this deck chair view before calling it a night and catching the train back home:

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Yong Green Food is located at 421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and right along a tram line.  I loved my meal which was also really quite filling.  Double thumbs up!