A really lazy ‘what I ate’ plus a return to Gong de Lin

Again I’ve fallen behind with making notes of what I’ve been eating.  I’ve been kinda sorta ‘good’, and having some raw stuff but mostly in the form of smoothies and juices.  I’ve found that when I make things that are a little more time consuming, I’m the only one that ends up eating them which is not exactly ideal if there are a lot of nuts involved.  Plus once the cooler weather hits I turn in to one of those people who don’t like eating raw in cold weather!

One of my favourite smoothies is the Cake Batter Smoothie from Eat Raw Eat Well.  It’s made with cashew milk, avocado, date, orange, lemon.  I love this smoothie so much:

cakebattersmoothieHusband and I were near Richmond again so we dropped in to Loving Hut for our usual.  Husband gets the spring rolls.  You can see in the photo they look like regular spring rolls, whereas our previous visits gave us the more puffed up lumpy bumpy pastry:

springrolls

I was determined to try another dish but in the end I just felt like the tofu puff-veg curry again.  I’ll get something different next time…

tofu puff veg curry Loving Hut

I made the cheesy-onion raw cauliflower popcorn in the dehydrator using this recipe at Little Vegan Bear.  Caeli is right when she says these feel junky but without the junk!  I just wish my family ate it but I’m not complaining that I get it all to myself:

cauli popcorn

My mum made a nice roasted eggplant dip and green beans with potato and carrot.  Yes, that’s a chores list that says scrub toilets:

beans dinner

Mum also gave me some of the burghul she made and this made another hearty meal served up with grilled mushrooms:

mush beans burghul

I made up some lentil and bean ‘meat’ based on a recipe from Isa Does It though I added in some mushrooms.  I had this during the week rolled up and pressed in my sandwich grill press thingy, or in a tortilla.  I made Johanna’s Cauliflower Cheese Sauce with some minor modifications (like veg broth instead of soy milk, and I used nooch instead of tahini).  I ended up putting more sauce on my plate so I could use the tortilla as a mop because this cauliflower sauce is yumz:

taco meat cauliflower cheeze sauce

I made Moroccan Chickpea Burgers from Holy Cow! I liked them but the family are really, really fussy when it comes to burgers.  As in, they don’t really eat them:

moroccan veg burgers

March 14th was Pi Day.  I didn’t make anything on the day, but the day before I made a sortof pie in the form of an apple rhubarb crumble.  I believe North American peeps call this a crisp:

rhubarbpie


I was mostly happy with the two person banquet at Gong de Lin recently (we were not served the baby corn soup) so when I got home I’d purchased another two person Scoopon.  I took my sister to Gong de Lin last week and the soup came out straight away.  We had the same entree of steamed dumplings and spring rolls, but these dumplings had a different filling than last time and were bigger too.

For our two main meals the sweet and sour mock pork came out but instead of the spicy mock chicken, we had a mushroom dish.  I thought it was good taste wise but anything other than button shaped mushies make me nervous.  My sister is braver than me in this respect and polished it off. The downside here is that we waited for rice to come out but none appeared.  Flagging down the waitress was pointless because other tables were getting really impatient and beginning to call out.  Besides, my sis and I were really full by this point that we said mehhh don’t worry about the rice:

gongdelin2a

I had talked up the dessert course T and I had last time.  This time however, we were given the same ‘dumplings in clear broth’ though the broth again seemed to be water with sugar.  As for the marble sized dumplings, I must report these were a massive let down.  They were plain balls of unsweetened dough with no flavour.  We ate one each then pushed it aside.  Mega disappointing:

gongdelin2b

My sister and I walked around a bit to ease our full stomachs.  We stopped in at the Organic Food and Wine Deli in Degraves Street for some cake.  The vegan options were lemon poppyseed (my sister got  that).  I went for the chocolate cherry cake.  Both tasted nice but were a little on the dry side.  I took a photo of my sister’s slice of cake but it was too blurry (this photo isn’t much better):

ofwd cake

I should point out The System my sister and I use.  When we go out to eat, we never order the same thing.  We pick two menu items we both like and we share.  Husband doesn’t get this.  He belongs to the school of “if you want something, just order it”.  Alas, he hates it when I pick from his plate.  In my defence though I must state that this ‘picking’ is always me taking a sample from his plate before I’ve used my cutlery and he’s welcome to try some of my meal.  Ditto for my sister or others who follow The System.  You don’t double dip of course.  But Husband does not understand this amazing System.

My sister and I had gone in to the Manchester Unity building:

manchesterunity1

manchesterunity2

We got in the lift and were snapping photos of ceilings and so on then got told off by the people from some of the businesses there.  Had we seen a ‘no photography’ sign we would have respected it.  It’s silly they don’t have signs up, I know people who go around to old buildings like this snapping pics of the interiors.

Husband and I have been enjoying watching Veronica Mars.  We had the final tv season put aside years ago and have just watched them all.  We’re definitely going to watch the movie.  I never thought I would enjoy a program set in high school (then college) but it’s a great show.  I especially love the interaction between Veronica and her Dad, always fantastically played:

veronicaketihmars

Another show we’re loving right now is Outrageous Fortune.  OF is a show produced in New Zealand about ten years ago.  I would love to work as a set or wardrobe stylist on a show like this.  I burst out laughing when Pascalle wore the trashy white boots with her bridesmaid dress:

outrageousfortune

I swore I wouldn’t buy any more cookbooks… a blog I follow is Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows.  Angela has just released her Oh She Glows cookbook and my copy arrived today.  Wheeee!  I really liked her introduction and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes as they all look brilliant. Each recipe has a photo and it’s a pleasure to read through. Another book that arrived is Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.  I’ve had my eye on this one for ages but always said no because I wanted to avoid eating bread.  But the truth is I do love a good sandwich and I’m not very creative when it comes to my own sandwiches.  Plus some of the recipes in this book look fab.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs from when I was young.  One year in the early 80s, probably 1982, I received my first record: one of those compilation albums with a bunch of hits from that year.  May I present Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five for your viewing pleasure!

Advertisements

Banquet lunch at Gong de Lin

I’m a bit behind the times with this whole Scoopon thing.  I signed up recently because I think it gave me some extra bonus entries in to a competition.  Anyway, one of the Scoopon deals arriving in my inbox was a 100% vegan banquet at Gong de Lin.  $39 for two people so I signed up quick smart because it was a $54 saving.  My buddy T and I rocked up today all hungry like and got a booth by the window (we had to make a booking).

We started by ordering a ‘freshly squeezed juice’ first, though we were a little suss about the ‘freshly squeezed’ origins:

gongdelinbanquet

First up, according to the Scoopon coupon description were the vegetarian spring rolls.  These were fairly standard spring roll fare but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because spring rolls are usually always yum:

gongdelinbanquet

The steamed vegetable dumplings came out at the same time.  I thought these were quite nice and would happily order them again:

gongdelinbanquet

Course 3 on the Scoopon menu description was baby corn soup… but ours never materialised.  I didn’t realise this when we were there, it’s only now reading the menu for this blog post that I realise we didn’t get it!

Next up: bean sprouts in Sichuan style sauce.  These were okay, with some thin noodles in there.  It was more of a refreshing accompaniment and I’d be happy if I could make this at home.  Nice and simple but tasty:

gongdelinbanquet

At the same time we also received a bowl of rice each and the sweet and sour ‘pork’.  Ahhh!  This tasted exactly like the non-vegan version you find in standard suburban Chinese restaurants.  You know, where lemon chicken is on the same menu.  I haven’t had sweet and sour pork (vegan or otherwise) in many, many years and this was a nice bit of nostalgia.  I believe this could fool a meat eater:

gongdelinbanquet

Because I was a bit of a doofus I tipped all my rice in to my bowl and plopped the sweet and sour pork on top, right before the waitress brought out the chicken with hot and spicy sauce.  The mock meat here wouldn’t fool a chicken-eater, but the dish was really tasty.  Suits me fine as I’m not in to mock meat as a meat substitute, I eat it because it’s food I like. Nothing to do with meat. I had to salvage half of my rice for the hot spicy chicken dish:

gongdelinbanquet

Finally we got glutinous rice balls in a sweet sauce.  The ‘sauce’ was more like warm water that was sweetened.  I really liked the black filling which tasted like bean paste and sesame.  A word of warning: take a pocket mirror.  Maybe even a toothbrush, because the filling got all over our teeth, in our teeth and we had to sit there cleaning out black bits.  Seriously, take a mirror and you’ll see what I mean:

gongdelinbanquet

I asked T what she would like to say for the blog and she said BRING A MIRROR.

Gong de Lin is located at  level 3, 264 Swanston Street, right near Lonsdale Street.  Walk in to Noodle Kingdom then take the elevator immediately to your left.  I previously visited Gong de Lin and I was happy with my meal there, though the second time I walked out as I waited for nearly twenty minutes to order and I was the only customer.  Trust me folks, I was making the ready-to-order face. You know, the slightly insincere half smile with raised eyebrows?  Anyway. When I’m hungry, you can’t mess with me.

I’m a bit bummed now that we missed the baby corn soup, there was no mention of it whatsoever so I’m slightly miffed. Regardless, I liked it all enough to order another two person coupon and I’ll take my sister.  This time I’ll take the coupon menu with me and make sure I get everything! T and I were so full we walked it off, down to the recently opened Broad Bean Organic Grocers in Southbank to take a look.  They have a good variety of products and vegan treats:

broad bean organic grocer

broad bean organic grocer

broad bean organic grocer

We took a peek at Testing Grounds, a public open art space opened in October 2013 that was formerly a vacant lot.  That’s the Victorian Arts Centre in the background:

testing grounds

It was quite warm out in the sun so we finished our city outing with a nice big cold juice at a juice bar in Melbourne Central.  I forgot to take a photo of the juices, but here are some scenes of a typical Melbourne day in the city.

cityscene1

cityscene2

cityscene3

I thought about asking this person if they could do a Weeping Angel pose.  Then I thought they probably get asked this all the time and find it REALLY annoying:

cityscene4

Don’t blink!

A late lunch at Gong de Lin (finally)

It seems like everyone in the Melbourne veg*n blogging world has been to Gong de Lin.  Okay well maybe not really, but I feel like I’m about fifty thousand years behind the times because I’d never been.  I was in the city today and was starving around 3:30pm so I said listen up Veganopoulous, you will go to Gong de Lin OR ELSE (or else you… will be hungry I guess).

Yet again, I forgot to take a photo from the street.  Anyway, there’s a little elevator that goes up to the third floor where Gong de Lin is located.  It’s a small, cramped, smelly elevator:

gongdelin2

Gong de Lin was completely empty at this hour:

gongdelin1

I had a bit of a tough time working out what to order.  I thought about tofu but I have enough tofu at home I have to eat soon.  I wasn’t in the mood for noodles.  I don’t like soup much.  So I decided to get the sizzling black pepper steak, to see if it was something that Husband, Mr “Sizzling Pepper Non-Vegan Steak” would think was okay.

After ordering, I began to think that “what the heck have I done?” thought.  I’m not a fan of seitan and I want to avoid pure wheat gluten.  So yeah… a total “WHAT HAVE I DONE” moment of stupidity.  I was in the mood for jasmine tea and a pot cost $2.  I sipped it and looked out the window at the slightly blah scenery, thank you construction work:

gongdelin4

I ordered some plain steamed rice and when the meal came out, it was sizzlin’ a-mightily:

gongdelin3

Okay so first off, the actual taste was good.  The sauce was nice and not overly sweet and the vegies had a good crunch.  Because the sauce was sticky, some of the ‘steak’ was stuck to the foil covered serving plate, so little bits of foil remained stuck on the food.  No, I didn’t eat those bits.

Now I have to say, this did not resemble a steak in any way.  As veg*ns we’re pretty much aware that seitan won’t always fool a meat lover and this dish is certainly not one I’d recommend you use to convince your steak loving friends to eat because “it’s just like meat steak, honest!”  Because it’s not.  The texture of the seitan was just too soft for that.  This is a meal I’d refer to as “sizzling seitan”.

But if seitan is your thing then I do highly recommend the sizzling black pepper steak!

I paid $20.80 which kind of made my eyes bug out a little.  This is pricey for what I got and I was thinking why didn’t I just go to Om’s Vegetarian?  But Gong de Lin is a place I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while now and it was nice to have the time to myself to do something ‘special’.  Next time though, I’ll get a tofu dish or something without seitan!  Service was helpful and quick but of course, I was the only customer!

Here are a few photos out and about in Melbourne.  This is the old Melbourne General Post Office, which now houses a bunch of boutiques and other stores:

melbournegpo

I absolutely love this building.  I want to get really rich, buy it and live there.  I love it so much, I have no idea about its history:

oldbuilding2

oldbuilding1

A typical Melbourne city street scene:

streetscene

Gong De Lin is located at level 3, 264 Swanston Street.  They are open 7 days from 10am to 10pm.  When you walk in at ground level there’s the lift in front of you to your left.  The lift opens on level 3 directly in to the restaurant.

And I have to mention Chrissy Amphlett, who passed away two days ago. It’s only now as an adult that I’ve really enjoyed watching music videos and live performances of The Divinyls and I never really appreciated them as much when I was growing up.  Chrissy, in my opinion, was one awesome, rebellious rock chick but when I heard she had been cast in The Boy From Oz, as Judy Garland no less, I thought it was a bad choice.  That was until I heard her sing and she was magnificent in the role.  She wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I think under all the hunched over scowling (more so in her earlier days) and attitude, she was a deeply sensitive person and extremely intelligent.

Thanks Chrissy!