Summer salad and Beans at Wide Open Road

Husband said magic words the other day: “let me take you to lunch”.  Arthur and DeeW were with their grandparents and Husband and I had errands and stuff.  We were around Sydney Road in Brunswick so I suggested Wide Open Road because I was in the mood for those slow cooked beans.

We were there a bit after the lunch hour so we were one of only a few tables occupied.  Then I got a bit of a shock to see the menu had changed.  No slow cooked beans.  No smashed peas with maple walnuts on sourdough.  No apple-slaw sandwich.  I wasn’t feeling very well that day and was a bit down in the dumps-sooky when going through the menu and finding that nothing really jumped out at me.  I wanted beans so I ordered the side of ‘smoky braised beans’ and the summer salad.

The beans were delicious and the smokyness was just right.  Not like when you make a smoky-something at home and put too much liquid smoke in.  These were perfect and I really wish they’d make a big serve instead of having it as a side dish:

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The ‘Summer Salad of strawberries, orange, pomegranate, watermelon jelly, coconut tapioca and puffed grains’ was pretty nice too, although I did feel the light sprinkling of puffed grains was a bit unnecessary, though that could be because I really don’t like the chewiness of puffed grains.  I was a bit disappointed that the watermelon jelly was just a few tiny thin slivers.  The coconut tapioca part was really nice though and the best thing about it was that it wasn’t overly sweetened.  The sweetness was just right, so that part gets a thumbs up from me:

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Wide Open Road is located at 274 Barkly Street, Brunswick.  See their website for more details:   http://wideopenroad.com.au/

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After lunch we had some stuff to do around Melbourne University.  I love walking around the uni grounds, some of the buildings are beautiful.  See? Enjoy!

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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/