Luna1878 Winter Night Market: the vegan perspective and some Melbourne love

Luna1878 night market

Tonight I headed down to the Queen Vic Market for the Luna1878 Night Market. I’ve been pretty slack with the night markets in general, always meaning to go but when I remember, it’s already Thursday.

My mission was to spend my birthday cash on vegan goodies and locally produced items that really grabbed me. Over the years I’ve changed my shopping style from a wishy washy yeah that’ll do (which I applied to my wedding dress, I couldn’t be bothered trying on anything else after the second meringue), to only buying things I really, really need or love.

I was messing around with camera settings and towards the end, juggling things in both hands trying not to take blurry shots, so apologies for any crappiness that jumps out and smacks you in the nose.

The first stall I hung out at was MAD Products, chatting with Maxine Wren.  Maxine photographs Melbourne streetscapes and graffiti then, using locally sourced wood, turns them in to items like coasters, place mats, small furniture and pictures. For every Graffitiscape coaster and place mat sold, $1 and $3 respectively are donated to Youth Projects Hosier Lane.

Melbourne Streetscapes MAD Products

I loved looking at the MAD coasters. Having lived away from my home town for a few years, I only really appreciated Melbourne once I was homesick. Now I love picking up little bits and pieces reflecting how much I love my city and if we ever live overseas again, I want to be able to take those bits and pieces with me.  So today I couldn’t go past this coaster for $10:

Melbourne Streetscapes MAD Products

I love love love it. When I go in to the city, I try to make the time to walk down Hosier Lane. So my coaster will be used every time I make my tea, which is numerous times a day.

When I was going through my photos (and so many didn’t turn out, including the others I took of Maxine’s stall, arghgh) I realised that because I had been yapping away so much, I completely missed the box of place mats right in front of me! The first one was a picture of the exterior of the Royal Arcade, one of my favourite Melbourne buildings. I know some of my friends and relatives love images of Melbourne like I do, so these would make great gifts.

MAD Products has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MaxineArtisticDesigns/info  

 

Next up was The Decadent Desserts Company with their big table full of fudge.  I asked if the fudge was vegan, which meant I completely missed this sign:

The Decadent Desserts Co

EEEEEEeeeeee! It made me wonder how many people, like me, ask “is it vegan”.  Which of course is a fab thing! Check out the table of tasty delights:

The Decadent Desserts Co

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I bought the larger packet of that Coffee & Walnut fudge you see, plus the smaller $4 snack pack of Chai Fudge, Coconut Fudge and of course the Peppermint. I’ve already eaten the coconut which was delicious. I sampled some of the ginger and that was great too. Another great gift idea!

The Decadent Desserts Company can be found at http://decadentdesserts.com.au/ 

 

Husband is a big bretzel man. We visited Germany a few times (cos we were living next door) and if we got separated I knew I just had to go and find the closest bretzel shop. I bought two tonight from Bretzel Biz. I gave the bag to Husband, then when I went to have some a few minutes later he’d already scoffed the first one and was going all lockjaw on the second.  I’d say he liked them very much, you should have seen him being all foamy mouth impatient when I was trying to take this photo.  This is a photo taken under extreme bretzel pressure:

Bretzel Biz

I had some too (much to Husband’s horror) because YAY the bretzels are vegan. Only the plain ones though, the flavoured ones like salted caramel are not (I don’t think). The plain ones are $4 each.

Check out Bretzel Biz at http://www.facebook.com/Bretzel.biz

 

Signs like this are like the black holes of goodness.  They suck me right in. I love that vegan labeling is becoming so common. I’ve only been vegan for a couple of years but when I started out, I always had to ask if stuff was vegan, what are the ingredients etc etc. Chooh La La!

Chooh La La Praline

Chooh La La Praline

I really liked the almonds so I bought a bag for $5. I have to try really hard not to eat them all in one go. Mehhh, who am I kidding.  I’m going to eat them all now.

Chooh La La can be found at http://www.facebook.com/choohlala

Regretfully, I didn’t get the name of the stall I bought these Melbourne badges from ($2 each or $10 for six badges).  The badges are made from street directory maps. The Melbourne one is mine, the Sunshine one is for a friend who grew up there:

Melways badges

 

The Birdhouse Collection stall had some gorgeous wooden animal shaped magnets. I couldn’t decide which one to get.  So I thought what would Harry Potter do?

thebirdhouse

There were other lovely animal designs, including Australian animals, as well as hot air balloons and merry go rounds.

The Birdhouse Collection can be found here: http://www.thebirdhousecollection.com.au/

 

I’m a sucker for buying popcorn that is different than the plain old salted (and heavily burnt) break-your-teeth popcorn I make at home. I also wanted to buy something for the family and I knew they’d love this popcorn from The Steel Drum Popcorn Company. Seriously, you could take a lovely fire heated bath in this massive steel kettle and swish your salts around with the paddle:

Steel Drum Popcorn Co

The popcorn is cooked in oil and dusted with salt and sugar and is addictive. Naturally I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more.  I’ve forgotten how much it cost too:

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I made sure I went to the night market hungry and I was really curious to see what vegan options there were. After passing row after row of heavily meaty places, I crossed my fingers and hoped that the ‘vegetarian’ on the Rice and Dice sign actually meant vegan.  AND IT DIIID:

Rice And Dice

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Sooo I’m one of those eyes greedier than the stomach people. When I asked the friendly guy up there for something vegan, “I don’t mind what it is, as long as it’s vegan” (that’s me), I didn’t actually ask what the dishes were.  I just asked if I could get a combo of whatever was vegan. Maybe someone did mention what the dishes were, but my brain was all veganveganveganit’svegan:

Rice And Dice

Whatever it was, it was really good.  Next time I’ll pay more attention. I can’t find an online info source for Rice and Dice.  You just have to go and check them out yourself 🙂

 

Another sign that had me excited was this:

soupin bread bowl stall

Now, as I’m not really a soup person, THIS is why I was excited:

Soup in bread bowl stall

SOUP IN A BREAD ROLL BOWL. I’m so getting that if I see this stall somewhere again.  I think they may have been called the Soup Factory.  I could see people standing around eating soup out of bread bowls and I wanted one too, despite being pretty full because SOUP IN BREAD ROLL BOWL. Except this was the queue:

Soup in bread bowl stall

No soup for you, Veganopoulous.

I spotted this sugarcane juice cart, which I am assuming is vegan, but ran out of time to check out:

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There was a stage area with live music and a few of these tables (this photo was taken when I arrived at 5pm, there weren’t that many people but it really filled up soon after):

Luna1878 night market

 

When I first arrived at 5pm, I was a bit surprised that the stalls seemed spread so far out but after speaking to some stall owners, I realised it was to accommodate crowds as the summer night market gets really crowded. As more people arrived I saw this was quite a good idea and I liked having the room to move between stalls. There were other stalls I would have liked more time to look at, like candles, handmade jewelry and essential oils.

My biggest gripe would have to be how smoky it was from the barbeque/grill stalls.  I found it really, really unfortunate that a vegetarian food stall was placed right next to a spit roast stall (I spoke to the person serving at the veg stall and they weren’t happy about the situation). I hope that the foods serving veg*n options can be moved to a different area. It was so smoky that I stank out the tram with my bbq smell– even at home now my clothes, bag and beanie still stink. As soon as I walked in the door the family commented I smelled like a bbq 😦

To veg*ns considering going, please be warned that there are spit roast/grill type food stalls.

 

The Luna1878 Winter Night Market will be held every Wednesday 5pm – 10pm until August 27th. More info can be found at http://www.qvm.com.au/night-market/luna1878-winter-night-market-2/

Lunch at Wagamama, Rocky Horror in Melbourne

On Saturday, I met my mum and sister in the city for lunch and a casual stroll around before heading to the Comedy Theatre to watch the 2pm session of The Rocky Horror Show. We started off with lunch at Wagamama on Flinders Lane.  We ordered a bowl of salted edamame and I went for my Wagamama usual, which was the ‘spicy yasai itame’: tofu, mushroom and veg with chili, ginger, garlic and lemongrass on rice:

Wagamama spicy yasai itame

My sister ordered a vegan udon noodle dish, though I can’t see it on the menu.  I tried some and really liked it:

Wagamama udon noodles

My mum ordered a non-vegan meal so I won’t mention it here, but she kindly treated my sister and I to lunch so I don’t know how much the dishes cost.  As always, the service was fast, friendly and knowledgeable with our waiter being very clued up about which bits of a meal were vegan. I note that there are a large number of negative reviews on Urbanspoon.  All I can say is that my mum, sister and I expect good meals when we go out to eat and we got them at Wagamama.  Spicy, tasty, filling portion sizes and definitely not bland. My mum especially is always happy to chat about what was missing, this could have done with more garlic, that could have done with less cooking and so on but she was very pleased with her meal and would order it again.

Wagamama in the city is located at 83 Flinders Lane (the Southbank restaurant has closed). Toilets are near the cash register. Mum paid with plastic so that, along with cash, is accepted. The restaurant itself has long table seating indoors and seating outdoors.  The long tables are well suited to groups. http://www.wagamama.com.au/restaurants/flinders-lane-melbourne

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

 

After lunch (and before, actually) we had some time to kill so we walked around the city for a bit.  My sister and I both love older buildings with the gorgeous wood work and tiling, so when we noticed the stairwell at the Presbyterian Church of Victoria Offices, we had to go inside and snoop:

Presbyterian Church of Vic Offices

I WANT:

Presbyterian Church of Vic Offices

Presbyterian Church of Vic Offices

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The Manchester Unity Building.  I wish they’d get rid of those barnacles:

Manchester Unity Building

We looked around the Royal Arcade and went in to the Babushka store:

Babushka Shop Melbourne

Babushka Shop Melbourne

Babushka Shop Melbourne

Finally, on to the Comedy Theatre for the Rocky Horror Show.  The cast were great, my favourite parts were when the actors had to pause before delivering lines because they were trying not to laugh. Of course, I was taking photos (before the show!) of the wood panelling.  Nitpick time: perhaps someone would consider fixing the curtains, they were awfully torn in some areas:

Comedy Theatre Melbourne
A fun day out in my fab city 🙂

Panzerotti Shop, Melbourne

Today I discovered what I think could easily be my favourite quick vegan meal in the city.  From  here:

panzerottishop3

Behold, the Panzerotti Shop! I only very recently heard about this shop and as I was in the city today I knew I had to try it and report back here.  The panzerotti are savoury filled pastries (there are a couple of sweet ones available too) catering to omnis, vegetarians and vegans.  Vegans are extremely well looked after!  There was a list of ingredients on the counter for the vegan panzerotti and I had one custom made.  I went for (let’s see if I remember) olives, spinach, vegan sausage, vegan cheese, onions… and I can’t remember what else, for $6.50.  Other fillings included tofu, corn, lentils and even more I can’t remember. Anyway, this was one of the most delicious (even the most delicious) savoury pastries I have ever had. I even held it up to get a bit of Melbourne in the background. Passers by were treated to a crazy woman holding a pastry up in the air with one hand and trying to take photos with her phone on the other:

panzerottishop2

This was so good I didn’t bother walking around finding somewhere to sit and eat.  I stood there near some milk crates and went for it. I might have airbrushed this photo to remove the hideous half-disappeared manicure:

panzerottishop1

My panzerotti was so good that I was very tempted to go back and try another, even though one is enough.  You know that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie finds a coin in the snow and goes to buy some chocolate and the shop keeper says “careful sonny, you’ll give yourself a stomach ache”?  I think that’s what it would have been like if I went back in.

Service was great and very helpful.  I love that vegans have a specific listing of ingredients and that we’re not made to feel like we’re a nuisance.  Quite the opposite really, you’ll see what I mean when you read the menu page on Panzerotti Shop’s website!

The Panzerotti Shop is located at 289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. It’s a small shop with no seating– just order at the counter and wait for your pastry delight!

My day also involved a short stroll through the Fitzroy Gardens:

fitzroygardens

Then a walk down Collins Street on the way home:

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melbourneflowers

 

I’m now trying to find an excuse to go back in to the city and try another panzerotti.  Fellow vegans, have you tried it?  I love hearing about city food places that aren’t your more well known vegan haunts!

Panzerotti on Urbanspoon

Bust the Budget March and dinner at Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square

Husband and I, along with thousands of others, attended the Bust the Budget march to show our opposition to the federal government’s proposed budget. These marches are being held around the country.  I can’t begin to describe how awful this proposed budget is and how seriously it will hurt people who are already struggling. In a nutshell, it is cruel+unfair+discriminatory+harmful. We met up with some friends and marched together.  Our friends today, and others, will be so negatively affected by this budget.  They will struggle to pay rent and put food on the table because they’re doing it tough now as it is and this budget will make things worse.  It’s that simple.

The weather was perfect:

bananaalleyvaults

The march started at the State Library and ended up at Federation Square:

bustthebudgetmarch3

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After saying goodbye to our friends, we decided to try out Chocolate Buddha at Fed Square.  I’ve heard some vegans recommend it as a place to take both omnis and veg*ns.  The menu had the vegetarian options marked but I asked quite a few questions.  Service was great and very helpful, though I was disappointed to learn that the curry had a little cream in it.  In the end I went for the ‘Tofu Ankake Don: silken tofu simmered with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, carrot & ginger with shredded nori over Japanese rice’.  I enjoyed my meal and wish I could make this at home, though I probably wouldn’t return for it unless I was the only vegan in a group of people wanting to eat dinner there. Don’t get me wrong, it was good.  But not great enough to get me back there on my own.  Please forgive the awful lighting, I was using my phone to take photos:

chocolatebuddhatofubowl

Chocolate Buddha is located in Federation Square.  Head in the opposite direction from the outdoor stage area, going slightly uphill. http://chocolatebuddha.com.au/

We sat outside and it was such a beautiful night for this time of the year.  Alas, my photos of Fed Square turned out awful so I’ve cheated here and applied some ‘artistic’ filters to the images!

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Dinner at Trippy Taco, Fitzroy

I finally, FINALLY got to go to Trippy Taco.  I still can’t believe I’ve never been there.  Now that I have been, I’m really going to make up for lost time!

I had been doing stuff in Fitzroy and planned to go straight home when I realised I was right across the road from Trippy Taco. Awesome or what?! I was there well before dinner time and there were only two other customers.  Perfect!

walkingaround4

I took my time reading the menu but eventually settled for the tacquitos. The description was ‘three crispy, rolled up corn tortillas with black bean filling topped with guacamole, (vegan) cheese, salad and lime’.  The salad was kind of basic to be honest but remember, Veganopoulous will probably never be convinced that iceberg lettuce belongs in a restaurant.  After I polished off the tacquitos, which were very tasty (I wish I had more), I mixed the salad up with the the remaining saucy bits and guacamole:

trippytaco1

Dessert! Remember, making up for lost time here folks. I got the ‘sweet corn tamale with icecream, bananas and maple syrup’. This was like a soft, moist, sweet cornbread.  The ice cream was basic– using something like Zebra Dream would really make a difference (to the price as well probably!)– but the tamale itself was really good.  Bananas and maple syrup are just that, but I thought they were perfect with this.  Whenever I’ve made cornbread it has been dry and blergh.  I really liked this dessert and would definitely get it again.  In fact, I’m going on a mission to try and replicate it at home.  Too bad I don’t have a Star Trek replicator:

trippytaco2

The toilet is located outside Trippy Taco, up the little lane and at the back of the restaurant.

Trippy Taco is located at 234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. http://www.trippytaco.com.au/

I’ve been forgetting (or not bothering) to take my camera out and about lately so here are some snaps from my phone.  The colours in Melbourne at this time of year are beautiful.  Enjoy!

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