Little Tudor Villages, Lord of The Fries and Big Lou’s jam donuts

Last week, we were in East Melbourne and took Arthur and DeeW for their first visit to the Fitzroy Gardens.  I went there often as a child and loved the model Tudor Village and Fairy Tree. I always had the urge to jump the fence and go and touch the houses and as an adult that impulse is still there (I really need to learn parkour so I can jump that waist height fence…)

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It was the Queens Birthday public holiday and we figured Lord of the Fries would be open so we went to the Fitzroy outlet at for lunch.  Husband, Arthur and DeeW only ever order the fries plain with a bottle of tomato sauce:

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I went for the Original LotF burger and because I was sitting down and not eating on the run like I usually do when I grab a LotF burger, I didn’t make a mess:

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If you haven’t been to LotF before, they are meat-free.  If you’re vegan be sure to ask for a vegan burger so you get the vegan cheese.  They also have fries with lots of sauces, but again be sure to check which are vegan.  I’ve never had a hot dog from LotF.  Maybe next time because it was only after I ordered that I saw a big poster advertising their Coney hot dog: a sausage topped with con carne, mushrooms and onions. Yes, there will be a next time and soon I hope, before this Coney hot dog special is over:

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Big Lou’s Donuts at 318 Brunswick Street has been mentioned in vegan circles as they advertise vegan donuts:

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I thought this meant that all their donuts were vegan (custard Berliner!!!) but alas, only the made-to-order hot jam donuts are vegan.  That’s okay, because those are my favourite donuts. The donuts were really good, they don’t have that hot-jam-donut-from-a-donut-van taste and appearance but I think the donuts from the van at Preston Market still hold the number one spot for me.  Big Lou’s come second:

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Big Lou's Donuts on Urbanspoon
 

The past week has been pretty busy with one day rushing in to the next.  I’ll leave you with some photos of the Coburg Carnivale community event which was held yesterday.  I didn’t know it was on and only happened to see it because I had to stop off for some groceries!

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Lunch today at Invita Living Food at the Queen Victoria Market

Yay for haircuts!  Especially when you haven’t had one in over a year.  Today I headed down to North Melbourne to get about two hundred kilograms worth of boofy hair cut off (more like six inches but boy my head feels lighter).  After that I went for a short walk down to the Queen Vic Market to pick up a bunch of coriander.  I also thought I’d go and check out Invita Living Food, as I’ve been past it many times without realising I could actually find healthy vegan food in there.

Initially, I was just going to browse and not buy anything but one of the menu items caught my eye: the rice ball.  The description on the menu board (which is different to the description on the website) was ‘rice balls, corn carrot, zucchini, coriander, sea weed, tamari, ginger juice, lemon juice, olive oil, rice crumbs, tapioca starch’.  Gluten free, vegan, full of good healthy stuff.  I think it cost $14.60.   I asked if it was fried in oil and the staff person told me it was baked. The rice ball sure sounded better than my plain bean and veggie soup that was waiting at home!  My stomach was growling, it was another half hour before I’d be home and so I thought why not?  It’s a beautiful day!  Phone photos, sorry!

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The rice ball was pretty big though I was a bit surprised the inside was quite mooshy and for a while I wondered if it was undercooked but I guess with those ingredients, it’s a mooshy ball.  I took a pic but you can’t really make it out:

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I figured I’d eat it, blog about it and see what readers think!  I liked it regardless of the mooshy factor but my favourite part of the meal was the eggplant chickpea salad on the side.  This was really tasty. The serving of quinoa with some veg and lentils mixed through was okay.  There was a little bit of chutney too, I tried it and it was a peanut satay kind of flavour.  It was sweet though and as I’ve cut out sugars/sweet food (apart from fruit), I put this to the side.  Only after I’d emptied a sachet of sugar over it to stop me being tempted to eat a bit more…

There were vegan desserts on display, alas I took a photo that didn’t turn out.  Plus I didn’t want to linger too much around the dessert display, seeing as I’m not eating sweet stuff!  Invita also serve juices, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, a tofu burger (no bun is mentioned) and other savoury breakfast and lunch items.  I very much enjoyed sitting under the marquee listening to the hustle-bustle market sounds and the ding dings of the trams!  All while flipping my new ‘do around.

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Invita Living Food is located at 76 Therry Street, near the Vic Market jam donut van and the organic fruit and veg section.

Loving Hut Northcote: The Return. Again.

We love Loving Hut in Northcote.   Today we went with my sister and her partner for his belated birthday. This was their first time there and they really enjoyed it.  My sister no longer eats meat and although she considers herself ‘more vegetarian’, most of what she eats is vegan.  When she cooks, it’s vegan and when she chooses a meal from the cafeteria at work, she chooses something vegan.  Her partner is still omni but he’s very open minded and will try anything.

I ordered our usual entrees, which consists of fried stuff (spring rolls, moneybags and crumbed prawns) and we got the 7-piece serve of the southern fried chicken to share.  My sister and her partner loved it.  Their entree were the rice paper rolls with the crumbed prawn fillings served with two dipping sauces.  I forgot to take a photo when it came out:

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I went for the vegan sushi entree in the hopes DeeW would eat it.  She eats avocado maki rolls but unfortunately she removed all of the filling here and nibbled at the rice and nori:

loving hut vegan sushi

For our mains, I decided to break from the usual homemade curry and try something different.  I enjoy the homemade curry so much that I always say “I’ll get something different next time”.  So I went for the katsu style breaded duck in plum sauce with some plain rice on the side:

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This was a massive serve.  As you can see, it’s all the mock duck with a little onion.  I find dishes like this really difficult to finish on my own so I was glad that we all picked at eachother’s plates.  Even so I took the leftovers home.  The plum sauce was more a coating on the dish, which I prefer instead of the duck pieces drowning in sauce.  I’d recommend this more for a party that are sharing the food around, as a meal for myself it’s just too much, with no veggies to lighten it.

My sister ordered the pad thai which was listed on the daily specials board.  Again this was a big serve and after the entrees, my sister barely put a dent in it.  She left enough to fill a takeaway container.  I tasted some and it was pretty good, there was tofu and bean shoots throughout:

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Sister’s partner got the ‘shrooms dish with rice on the side.  He loves mushrooms and said his meal was great.  I tried a bit and it was quite nice, though I am a total wimpazoid when it comes to anything other than button mushrooms.  Even cutting shiitake slightly freaks me out:

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We were absolutely stuffed and waddled back to our cars.  As usual, the men serving us were lovely and our meals arrived quickly.  We got there at 5:30 and there was only one other couple but by the time we left more people arrived.  It seems everyone orders the southern fried chicken!

Loving Hut Northcote is located at 377 High Street in Northcote.  I blogged about a previous visit here

Linda from the Lentil Institution has posted about her trip to Loving Hut Northcote here.  Cindy and Michael from Where’s the Beef have also visited.

Random eat-y bits and pieces

Back on the air after some internet silliness!  Like… going over your monthly usage quota and being punished by the speed of your connection slowing to snail’s pace.  Whoops.

I haven’t been keeping much of a record of what I’ve been eating.  Lots of smoothies and juices which kinda seem too boring to put on the blog. Here are some of the more less-boring ones.  A beet-berry-banana smoothie.  I don’t like the taste of beetroot in smoothies but this was okay.  The perfect thing to drink on… Prince’s birthday perhaps:

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This one had fig, banana, greens, flax and other stuff I don’t remember now:

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One of the nicer green juices:

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a maple walnut banana smoothie.  I used maple extract:

maple walnut smoothie

I made the Lentil Taco Meat recipe from Isa Does It (using chipotle powder instead) though I added a can of black beans to the mix.  Then I decided to use up the cooked red quinoa I’d discovered in the freezer so I threw that in too, along with some mushrooms.  I served it up in a bowl with baby spinach, lettuce, tomato, avocado all squirted with a little lime juice.  This is one of my favourite bowls:

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Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted a great nut roast recipe that uses buckwheat, one of my favourite ingredients to use.  Johanna’s recipe is also up on Ricki Heller’s awesome site. My attempt could have been a disaster because when I was simmering the buckwheat groats, I forgot about them.  The simmer time was 10-12 minutes.  I remembered them an hour later.  They were pretty mooshy by that time but not very burnt on the bottom of the pot which was a surprise and a relief!  Blurry photos, argh:

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I made this fab chocolate chip cookie wedges recipe by Joann from Woman in Real Life.  In true Veganopoulos style, after I started the recipe I realised I didn’t have the full amount of sugar so I had to use less but it turned out great regardless.  This was a belated Valentine’s Day treat for the family:

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Chocolate chip biscuits:

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We had dinner at Loving Hut in Northcote again.  Southern fried ‘chicken’ and the homemade curry equals yumz:

Loving Hut Northcote

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aaaaaand Husband and I went to Loving Hut in Richmond.  I got my usual, which is the veg curry with tofu puffs.  Husband got the spring rolls:

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Loving Hut curry

I over roasted some canned chickpeas with nooch for Arthur:

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Possibly my favourite kale dish is this cheezy chickpeas and kale dish from Fannetastic Food.  I added in some leftover roasted sweet potato:

cheezy chickpeas and kale

Husband and I received these lovely cherry truffles with the added bonus of it appearing quite vegan:

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Now, how many of you know how to fold a fitted sheet nicely?  I’ve been watching YouTube clips on how to do it but nope, mine turn out all horrible and I end up totally frustrated.  None of those pretty smooth corners for me.

Last weekend we went to the Moonee Valley Festival.  I did a quick run past the food stalls and there didn’t appear to be anything vegan.  If there were, I wouldn’t have waited as the queues were too long:

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DeeW made a seed ball and planted it at home:

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I lost $10 on this…

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There were lots of lost balloons in the air:


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I was glad to be home again.  I like visiting these community festivals but after a while I need to get out of there:
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I found this sight quite amusing:

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Excellent news is that tomorrow is the last day of summer!  Summer is my least favourite season so I’m not exactly sorry to see it go.  I have some plans for autumn and this year I hope I’ll stick to them!

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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Don’t blink!