New Places and Random Stuff

I’ve taken pics over the past few months but never blogged about where I went, what I did, what products I received for Christmas and so on.  I always meant to write up stuff but time got away from me so now I must lump it all in to one blog post.

Okay, new places!  In Melbourne we have a new vegan store in town called Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery in Preston.  The Facebook page for Mad Cowgirls has more info so check there first. I visited back in December but a lot of stuff had sold out and not able to be ordered back in for a while as suppliers were closed for Christmas.  Compared to a place like Radical, Mad Cowgirls is much smaller in size and naturally, the selection of products wasn’t as extensive but the business is still in its early days.  I asked about a couple of things and the owners said they would look in to stocking it, which was much appreciated!  Service was friendly too, always a plus!

Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery

Aaaages ago, I went to Shokuiku on High Street in Northcote.  It was a quick visit more to see what they had in there, as Husband and the kids were waiting in the car.  I’m a bit on the fence about my experience.  The place was not busy at all (one table had a couple seated, after I placed my order two more customers arrived for a take away order, so not busy at all).  I asked for a piece of the raw mocha choc cake in the fridge display to take away, paid, and then proceeded to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  There was absolutely no reason for the delay apart from the staff person just taking their time… which ended up being eleven minutes.  Eleven minutes of me standing there as useful as a half sucked jellybean as my mate T would say, with the cake right between myself and the staff member, who took her sweet time serving others after me instead of just taking twenty seconds to put my cake in the box. Just as I was about to ask if she could please do it now (instead of wiping down the counter area!) she decided it was time to get my cake.  I’ve since had people tell me how painfully slow the service was for them too, so yep… not really a place I’d go to again, despite being a fan of what they had on offer.  The cake was great though:

Shokuiku cake

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Now for gift ideas!  When my sister asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said a 1kg tub of tahini.  I use it all the time and I love it, so to me it was the perfect present:

1kg tahini

I love Botanical Cuisine’s products and I bought the Lemon & Dill raw vegan Cheese from Mad Cowgirls.  Oh my goodness.  You know how there are some foods that make your eyes roll back with how good they are?  For me it was THIS:

Botanical Cuisine lemon dill cheese

When browsing those specials aisles in Aldi, for things I never really need, I saw these fruit jellies.  Husband likes them so I bought a packet.  Got home and realised they’re vegan!  No gelatin!  Well… I’m hoping they’re vegan.  The ingredients list looked completely vegan:

fruitjellies

I went to a real deal op shop recently.  Real deal as in cramped, over crowded, dirt cheap and musty smelling.  Look at this amazing score for ONE DOLLAR:

icecubetraysI looooove cutesy ice cube trays, that can double as chocolate moulds, and these are divine!

I also loooove the green tea flavour of Nushie’s ice cream.  My sister bought this for me and kept it in mum’s freezer for my next visit:

nushiegreentea
I’m really pleased at how vegan offerings in Melbourne seem to be increasing all the time, ditto for raw food.  I think I’m more pleased about those ice cube trays though!

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:

ricequeen3

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:

ricequeen2

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:

ricequeen1

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/