Wagamama, the Nicholas Building and a big old rainy day

After a freakish 23C warm winters day two days ago, Melbourne sure turned on the charm today with the cold and rain.  Naturally, it had to be a day when I had to go to the city and do a fair bit of walking.

I knew in advance I’d go to Wagamama for lunch because they make a really good vegan spicy tofu stir fry.  For me, Wagamama is a great option if you have people in your group with a mix of dietary requirements:

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As Husband had taken the kids off to a playdate all day and I had my own stuff to do, my mission was to head back to the Nicholas Building, where I visited l’uccello the other day.  I love old buildings.  I know I know, ‘old’ covers a lot of stuff.  But it all takes me back to when I was little.  My uncle was a jeweller with a little workshop in a big dark spooky old city building, with tiled walls and heavy old doors, a creaky old elevator and all those glorious original features.  My uncle occupied the only office on one floor and the lights at the end of the hallways were turned off and we kids were always too scared to go to the toilets.  My cousin even wet her pants on the lino.  I loved the dark wood handrails and mosaic tiles in the stairwells.  If you’re my age and grew up in Melbourne, you may remember the Coles cafeteria.  My mum would take my sister and I to the cafeteria as a special treat (or the Pancake Parlour, depending on where we went on our last visit).  Then we’d catch one of the old red or blue trains home, where you had to climb up steps to get in the carriage.  It was all so important.

Visiting the Nicholas Building brought back so many memories.  Although my uncle didn’t work there, it was all quite similar.  I was pretty much alone there today, snooping around corridors and trying to open the little doors (ssshhh).

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Zombie hotel?

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Go this way to escape zombies:

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Or you can call the Doctor:

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Did Veganopoulous attempt to open the doors on the top?  Why yes, yes she did.  Unfortunately they seemed to be stuck fast:

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*cough*

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I want to get a private detective license, just so I can get an office in the Nicholas Building with this kind of door:

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Here are some more of the shops in the Nicholas Building:

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Harold and Maude has lots of groovy vintage and recycled-renewed goodies:

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Kimono House is gorgeous:

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I forgot to take a photo of Buttonmania, another awesome little shop.

On the way home, I passed through Flinders Street Station.  In Melbourne, when you tell someone you will meet them under the clocks, you mean under here:

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Personally, I think they should replace ‘spit’ with ‘PISS EVERYWHERE’:

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This is handy to know (ha ha, see what I did there?):

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These metal contraptions are for validating your travel ticket.  I’ve often wondered what happens if you get stuck halfway.  Do the barriers clamp down on your crotch?  Anyone?
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This is the Immigration Museum.  Full of awesome and I hope to go back there soon:
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Another building I love to look at is the Majorca House Building:

majorcabuildingRandom shots of Melbourne streets:

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The Eureka Tower.  When it was completed in 2006, it held the record for the highest residential building (measured to the highest floor) in the world.  If you pay for an overpriced ticket, you can get a view from the top:

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I passed by Habib Wholefoods, got greedy and bought myself a piece of carrot cake. Usually I’d be too impatient to wait until home so I’d start eating it on the tram (with a fork!) but this time I decided to savour the peace and quiet at home and kick back with a cup of tea in my tennis set.  Well, the universe often has other plans for a weary, greedy Veganopoulous.  Today the universe decided that the zipper on Veganopoulous’s kneehigh waterlogged boot would get stuck.  Folks, have you ever had a boot stuck to your leg when you’re hanging out to eat a piece of cake???  And go to the toilet?  And take off your cold, drenched sock?

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But when Veganopoulous is feeling particularly greedy, Veganopoulous always wins.

I hope you enjoyed fab weather today and may your boots go unwaterlogged and unstuck.

Chips, cupcakes and Melbourne

Husband and I have stuff to do in the city every fortnight while the kids enjoy a sleepover with my parents.  My parents have a shelf in their laundry stocked with food supplies.  The rest of us call their laundry Mini Costco.

After our errands were done today, Husband and I went to the MCG.  That’s the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia’s largest open air sporting stadium and the tenth largest in the world.  It is the largest cricket stadium on earth and also has the honour of being home to the highest towers at a sporting venue.  Go Melbourne!

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There are statues of sporting greats dotted around the stadium:

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… and here you can see the reflection of two non-sporting lazy greats:

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We’d parked the car nearby and I took photos of some homes which no doubt come with million dollar pricetags:

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I never knew I wanted elephant topiary before today. I bet you didn’t either:

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We drove off towards the city:

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…then parked the car on St. Kilda Road and headed to the food court at Southbank Promenade.  The Promenade runs along the Yarra River.  There are restaurants, retail stores, a big food court, some offices and appartments along there.  The Promenade is a hustle-bustle area on weekends and you’ll often see street performers.  Like this woman.  I took this photo for my Canadian readers.  She posed specifically for you guys:

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I have been avoiding eating at Grill’d since I was told their vegan burger patties are cooked on the same grill as the meat patties.  Today I decided to ask and was told that the vegan patties are put on a little tray.  I ended up ordering the chips:

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Then I got a red velvet cupcake from Joy Cupcakes.  They have a few vegan options but they’re not available every day.  Hmm.  The cupcake was quite nice and I liked the icing, but I’ll be sticking with Mister Nice Guy’s cupcakes:
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I needed to walk off my lunch and we had lots of time to spare before the parking metre ran out. We walked around looking at stuff.  Here’s the Victorian Arts Centre:

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Walking down the steps below the bridge that takes you to the Southbank Promenade:

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…and back up on the bridge!

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Then I waved goodbye to the city and we headed off to Mini Costco to find our missing children amongst the packets of juice and Oreos.

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bye bye!

Walking around the city and luncheon at Little India, Southbank

Husband and I had some appointments in the city yesterday and part of that is going out to lunch together.  Sounds good but it’s quite challenging to find a place we both like.  Although Husband is happy to go to a place that does veg*n, a lot of the vegetarian dishes contain vegies he doesn’t like at all, or tofu which he isn’t keen on.  He really doesn’t like mock meat so that’s out too.  So yesterday we went to the food court on the lower level at Southbank.  Naturally, there’s something for the omnivores and vegetarians but as I was walking around I was noticing an alarming lack of vegan options.  I used to get Grill’d before I realised they grill the vegan patty on the same grill plate as the meat patties.

Then I spotted Little India.  Indian food outlets in food courts often have vegetarian dishes and some vegan and boy was I pleased when Little India told me their eggplant curry and chickpea curry were vegan.  So I got those with some rice for $8.80:

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The eggplant was cut in to big chunks which meant it either hung from my mouth as I tried to eat half or I had to stuff it all in my maw (I did that).  I was pleasantly surprised to find the eggplant actually had some flavour, almost a kind of smokiness.  You know how eggplant thrown straight in to a dish like this just tastes boring?  I didn’t find this eggplant boring at all.

The chickpeas had a nice touch of spice but weren’t anything that special.  I do wish the vegan Indian options in food courts would include more veg!  Still, I would go back and get this meal again as it was tasty and filling.

After lunch, Husband and I walked around the city.  At one point I waited for him along St Kilda Road and this was my view when I lay down in the shade for a bit:

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We later parked the car right in front of one of my favourite old houses in Melbourne, at 82 Nicholson Street Fitzroy.  Such a shame about the graffiti, grrr:

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We walked around the Royal Exhibition Building.  Melbourne always amazes me with its architecture and when I go past the Exhibition Building I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to visit back in the 1880s:

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It was quite a hot day (those blue skies are untouched in the photos!) and I’m not really a summer person so I was happiest inside the food court with air conditioning  😉

Lunch at Enlightened Cuisine

Husband and I had some stuff to do in East Melbourne and the city yesterday, so I talked him in to going to lunch at Enlightened Cuisine. Beforehand though, I ducked in to this building in East Melbourne to see what it looked like inside (it was a medical suite, so I wasn’t trespassing.  I don’t think):

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We wandered along Southbank and I had to take photos of the whacky young people up a tree:

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We arrived at Enlightened Cuisine about 1:30pm after walking around in the heat for a while.  The restaurant was completely empty– I hope it fills up during the earlier lunch hour!

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I’ve only ever had Enlightened Cuisine at World Vegan Day 2012.  I had ordered the lemon chicken on one side of my rice and curried lamb (both mock meat, obviously!) on the other.  That was the first time I’d had anything remotely Chinese restauranty since going vegan.

Yesterday I chose the curry puffs for my entree.  These were nice and puffy and I was secretly pleased that Husband didn’t like them much (he’s not in to curried pastry kind of dishes):

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For my main I ordered the curry vegetables with rice:

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This meal tasted fine but I was a little disappointed with the mushrooms as I believe they were mushrooms from a can.  And if they weren’t, they sure tasted that way.  If you grew up in the days when there was no such things as fresh mushrooms on pizza, you know that tinned mushroom/champignon taste I’m talking about.  Actually when I was young, a relative opened a pizza shop and cooked us a pizza with real mushrooms.  We all stood there trying not to show our horror.  It was the first time we had ever seen fresh sliced mushroom on pizza.  He said he was one of the first people to use fresh mushroom and not the tinned variety.  Who knows?  What I do know is that after that, we were converted.

Back to Enlightened Cuisine.  Husband ordered two soups. These were out of his comfort zone and he liked the sweet corn soup but wasn’t keen on the three mushroom soup.  One of these soups was vegan, I don’t remember which one so I’ve put in a photo of both  🙂

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The service was great and our meals arrived quick smart.  I guess it helped that we were the only people there!  Our lunch cost about $27 for the two of us.

Enlightened Cuisine is a place I’d return to again, preferably with veg*n friends so I can try some of their meals.  You know how it is  😉

We’d parked the car on St Kilda Road, right near the Victoria Police Memorial:

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And that was our day. I was glad to be home out of the heat and today we’ve had plenty of rain and a lovely cool breeze.  Definitely a welcome change after a fortnight of hot weather, I might even put the oven on…

Enlightened Cuisine is located at 113 Queensbridge Road, Southbank,Melbourne. http://ecuisine.com.au/