Sunday, November 26, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 1 (Brisbane)

I hope you guys are all ready for a lot of long posts about an adventure that I had recently. At the beginning of this month my friend Molly came to visit, all the way from Seattle! She stayed for two weeks, and we had many adventures in Brisbane and Melbourne. Most of them food!

Molly arrived in the morning after an all night flight, so we had to plan some gentle activities to keep her going before an early night. After taking her home to drop off her bags and meet Dim Sim, we went out in search of food. We went to a little cafe called Frankee & Co, which is not too far away from my place. It has been on my to visit list for ages, so I was excited to try it out finally. Their juice of the day was Watermelon, Mint, & Lime, which sounded amazing so we both got it.

Watermelon, Lime, & Mint Juice at Frankee and Co


For food, I got The Vegan Bowl (Shiitake mushrooms, toasted mixed nuts, broccolini, eggplant, baby corn, roasted pumpkin, tofu, baby spinach & beetroot & ginger glaze), which was light and lovely. Though I could have done with a grain component to it. Molly got the Vegan Lasagne (layered vegetables, cashew nut cheese, salad greens & house made pesto), which she said was nice. Though the layers were all vegetables - no pasta! Carb it up Frankee!

Vegan Bowl at Frankee and Co


Vegan Lasagna at Frankee and Co


Afterwards we went out to Daisy Hill to look for some local wildlife. They do have a Koala centre there with koalas in captivity, but that is not our jam. Unfortunately we didn't see any wild koalas (one day!), but we did meet a nice wallaby. Plus we also saw another wallaby on the way there.

Wallaby at Daisy Hill


We spent the afternoon getting properly settled at home, and Molly gifted me with an incredible array of goodies. I had sent a wish list of things that I love from the US, thinking she would get a couple of things, but she got almost all of it... in multiples!! So generous of her. This isn't even all of it! Plus all of the chocolate is from the Food Empowerment Project approved list! (A note, ClifBars do not use FEP approved chocolate, so you can see I only have the PB flavour of it.)

Chocolate haul!


More stuff!


We went out for an early dinner in West End. Molly loves Japanese food as much as I do, so we went to MisoHapi (previous visits can be seen here) to eat all of the food! Sushi and ramen, hurrah! We got quite a few things, including the mandatory inari. But also we tried the Green Roll, which had avocado and cucumber inside and seaweed salad on top. I love seaweed salad! We also had some classic avocado rolls, of course, and the Tofu Nigiri that I really liked last time. To complete our snack course, we got some spring rolls and a Garden Roll, which had cucumber and carrot inside and avocado on top.

Inari and Green Roll at MisoHapi


Avocado Rolls and Tofu Nigiri at MisoHapi


Garden Roll and Spring Rolls at MisoHapi


Of course we also had to get some bowls of ramen! Molly wanted the Shoyu version, so I got the Miso one again so that she could try a bit of it. The miso one was great, as previous, but I think I might like the shoyu one even more... I am shocked! Next time I go I will get a whole bowl of the shoyu one to myself to try so I can make a final decision.

Shoyu and Miso Ramens at MisoHapi


And what better welcome to Brisbane than with an I Should Coco Ice Cream ? Being a Saturday, they were at the Boundary St markets. Molly got the Berry Merry, my favourite off the regular menu. I got the Chocolate Mango special, chunks of fresh mango with chocolate syrup, in my usual cone. I made a huge mess, a chunk of mango promptly fell off (but I caught it!), but I am committed to my cones no matter the cost. It was delicious and had great summery flavours.

Chocolate Mango Cone from I Should Coco


The next morning, after Molly got a good sleep, we went out for brunch at Grown, a relatively new vegan cafe in West End that I was yet to get to. We started with drinks. I had a very pretty beetroot latte (though, like so many beetroot lattes, it was all about the colour and only a very faint flavour), and Molly had the spicy chai.

Beetroot Latte and Spiced Chai at Grown


Molly was tempted by the sweeter side of the menu, and went with the Brioche French Toast (with seasonal berries, pepper ice cream, and caramel sauce). I tried a bite and it was good but so sweet! Molly enjoyed it, but thought it was a bit sweet to get through the whole thing that early in the morning.

French Toast at Grown


We both ordered a side of hashbrowns, so Molly had some savoury as well to balance it out! The hashbrowns are large, hot and delicious! I ended up also choosing the Scrambled Tofu (with sautéed asian mushrooms and sesame cheese on multigrain sourdough) and a side of avocado. The scramble was made with silken tofu, which is not my texture preference, but it had lovely flavours and was great with the sesame cheese toast and avocado, so all around I would recommend this.

Tofu Scramble with Avocado and Hashbrowns at Grown


Afterwards we went to South Bank, which is a pretty iconic Brisbane experience. We went to GOMA, the QLD Museum, and the State Library, all of which always have free exhibits available to see. At GOMA, we were pleasantly surprised to find a Yayoi Kusama exhibit was open, and had a lovely time exploring some of her art.

Yayoi Kusama at GOMA


Yayoi Kusama at GOMA


Yayoi Kusama at GOMA


Stay tuned for many more posts to come!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


It is lovely to see how brave and confident Dim Sim is around visitors these days! Doesn't even need any adjustment time, she is ready to accept your love!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Eating Out: Ciao Gelato

This is the last of my catch up posts before I can start blogging about my Molly holiday adventures! Though I am by no means up to date with posting all of the food I have been eating out over the past year, I have just at least posted the ones that I visited during Molly's stay. This post concerns one of my greatest joys in life - ice cream!

I had long heard about the amazing vegan options at Ciao Gelato in Nundah. Trouble is, Nundah is not exactly near me! But finally I was able to get out there one day. I visited another vegan friendly cafe for lunch (I'll talk about that in a future future future post), but for dessert it was always about ice cream!

Not everything is vegan, but they always have several vegan flavours (fruity sorbets but also some other options, flavours vary), a variety of vegan chocolate covered pops, vegan brownies, vegan sundaes, and... well, you'll see at the end. The best bit is that for the most part they are not coconut cream based! The sorbets are water based (and yet... so creamy... so magic)... or rice based, and sometimes nut based. Hurrah! On, and those cones at the bottom of the case are all dipped in vegan dark chocolate!

Vegan Flavours at Ciao Gelato


To start with I had a vegan Chocolate Cherry Pop. Think chocolate sorbet with cherry fluff in a dark chocolate shell. Yes please!

Chocolate Cherry Pop at Ciao Gelato


They also have a selection of vegan brownies, which you can have as is or turn into a brownie sundae (yes, they have vegan hot fudge sauce). Extravagant! I didn't try any of these, I just contented myself with admiring the brownie case.

Vegan Brownies at Ciao Gelato


I needed to sample as much as I could manage, so for my second course I decided to go a more refreshing route with their amazing passionfruit sorbet served in a dark chocolate dipped cone. This was so creamy and fruity, with the perfect sweet yet tangy blend of passionfruit flavour. Oh my heart, I want it again!

Passionfruit Sorbet in a Chocolate Cone at Ciao Gelato


I live a good half an hour away even when using a toll road, and it was a pretty hot day, so while I was enjoying my first and second treats they had put something very special in the blast chiller for me. I needed it to be rock hard to survive the trip home, which it did! You may have noticed something in the lower corner of the cabinet and wondered what it is. I teased a bit earlier that they had something very special, and here it is.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cupcake at Ciao Gelato


A vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cupcake. Peanut Butter. Cookie Dough. Ice Cream. Cupcake. Let that just sink in. What magic is this? Why, it is a dark chocolate cup filled with ice cream, topped with salty peanut butter, and finally crowned with some chocolate chip cookie dough. What sweet heaven has descended upon us? They have some other flavours as well, but I don't know why anyone would choose something that doesn't involve this combination. Peanut butter for life! Here is an inside shot!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cupcake at Ciao Gelato


Nundah is also home to several vegan friendly cafes, so even though I won't be stopping by too frequently (just not a place I ever actually go near in my regular life), I can definitely make a case for stopping by every now and then for lunch and ice cream! If you are visiting Brisbane and are into ice cream, I would certainly suggest making the trip out to try this place. I'll drive! After all, taking a visiting friend for ice cream is an excellent reason to get myself over that way.

Ciao Gelato - 1/1207 Sandgate Rd, Nundah, Brisbane - 0479 036 947

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Big Dim Sim update ahead! But nothing terrible. Wednesday was a big day for my baby girl. She had her senior check and vaccination. For the first time in forever, she was quite wiggly when they were taking her bloods! Silly baby. Then there was a problem with one of the blood tubes when it got to the lab, so we had to go back to get more! I have been worried that her kidneys were going to be quite a bit worse, but they are actually fairly stable, maybe slight progression if anything at all. She is also medicated for an overactive thyroid, and her results (we even did an extra special test to confirm) show that her current medication dose is likely a bit too high. So we are reducing her dose and rechecking in a month. She is now on the tiniest dose of thyroid meds ever! She is maintaining weight though, which is good. She is a tiny eater, and is on appetite stimulants to keep her weight up. She is happy to eat her dry food, but fussy about her wet food. So we have started blending her k/d stew tins up into a slop, and she loves it! Slurping it down!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Eating Out: The Green Edge

The Green Edge is a Brisbane institution. It was our first vegan grocery store, and it also has a restaurant space offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I stayed away from eating there for a while, because the food was often underwhelming. However there are new owners, and they are doing wonders with it. So many new products, and the food has improved as well! So I have been there quite a bit. Prepare for food photos!

The first time I went back to eat was to have dinner with a friend. I was there early, so I had a Gingerbread Latte while I read my book. It was mild and sweet.

Gingerbread Latte at The Green Edge


When my friend arrived, we ended up twinning for dinner, ordering the same things off the specials board. We started with some pumpkin soup, which was simply amazing. I haven't seen it there since, but I wish it would come back! And we also both tried the mac and cheese. Could be a bit cheesier, but was very yummy and comforting. This pops up on the specials board fairly regularly, so keep an eye out for it!

Pumpkin Soup Special at The Green Edge


Mac and Cheese Special at The Green Edge


For dessert we both had a piece of Black Forest Cake, and I had a turmeric latte. They have several goodies in their bakery case, which are provided by a number of local providers. I am pretty sure the cakes come from Flour or Life. Black Forest is one of my favourite flavours. I wasn't a huge fan of the icing on the top and side of the cake, but that is easily scraped off and the rest was great.

Black Forest Cake and Turmeric Latte at The Green Edge


Another time I had breakfast before the start of a bake sale I was organising there. I was super excited to try the Facon and Edge Muffin, which has a hashbrown, bacon, and a vegan egg on it. The egg is a vegan fried egg that you can find in the freezer section, it is an Asian brand. Not sure what it would be like on its own, but it was good on this!

Facon and Edge Muffin at The Green Edge


I stayed for lunch afterwards, and enjoyed some pan-fried dumplings from the specials board and a Sin Brightening juice (apple, carrot, spinach, beetroot, parsley).

Dumplings and Skin Cleanser Juice at The Green Edge


Another time I stopped by for lunch to try the famous Bacon Double Cheeseburger, which was really good! With a side of their delicious chips. I also got a Liver Cleanser juice (apple, beetroot, celery, cucumber, spinach, spirulina)... for balance!

Liver Cleansing Juice at The Green Edge


Bacon Double Cheeseburger at The Green Edge


I also got a slice of carrot cake to take away, but unfortunately I didn't think it was that great. A bit dry, and again not a huge fan of the icing.

Flour of Life Carrot Cake


On my most recent solo lunch visit there, I went green. I got the Mega Matcha Burger (which is on the specials board, but has been there for months) and a Green Juice (celery, kale, spinach, apple, ginger). The burger had yummy local tempeh, a veggie patty, beetroot, sauerkraut, and salad.

Green Juice at The Green Edge


Mega Matcha Burger at The Green Edge


The Green Edge is somewhere I certainly now recommend for people to go and eat at, the food is really good! Plus you then have the option of picking up some essentials or some treats from their HUGE range!

The Green Edge - Shop 2b 229 Lutwyche Road, Windsor, QLD - (07) 3861 1132

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Wednesday


This cutie is Wednesday, and she is the sister of Sinders. You can't see because she is hiding in a box, but she is a lovely black charcoal tabby.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Eating Out: MisoHapi

Sticking with some more Jojo and Nick eating adventures. For our final time together, we met up for lunch in West End. After some discussion about where to eat, we settled on MisoHapi, a Japanese place with vegan options. I had never been here before, though Jojo and Nick had during their time here. I love Japanese food, so I was excited!

We had many plates of Avocado Rolls and (teeny tiny) Inari, which are staples!

Avocado Roll and Inari from MisoHapi


Sadly they were out of the Tofu Croquette Agadashi, but we did enjoy some Tofu Nigiri and a really yummy Eggplant Dengaku.

Tofu Nigiri and Eggplant Dengaku from MisoHapi


I was keen to try the vegan Miso Ramen, a yummy bowl of miso broth, noodles, vegetables and tofu.

Miso Vegan Ramen from MisoHapi


Jojo and Nick each had some Miso Soup, and shared a Tofu Don Salad.

Miso Soup from MisoHapi


Tofu Rice and Salad from MisoHapi


And they taught this Brisbane girl something that she didn't know! Half way between West End and South Bank there is a Gelato Messina, and they have vegan flavours! I got a scoop of the chocolate sorbet, which was rich and lovely. In a cup as the cones are not vegan, sadness.

Chocolate Sorbet from Gelato Messina


And then it was time to say goodbye. It was so much fun having them nearby and getting to hang out and eat food with them! I still have one more food adventure we had to share, though that will have to wait for a bit later. Here we are!

Jojo


MisoHapi - 124 Boundary St, West End QLD - (07) 3846 5472

Gelato Messina - Shop 1, The Melbourne Residences, 109 Melbourne St, South Brisbane, QLD - (07) 3844 0416

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sinders


This little cutie is Sinders! She was an adoption kitty at work. I have been away for two and a half weeks, so I will find out when I get back if she has a home or not yet. She is so sweet and cheeky! Next post I will share a photo of her sister.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Eating Out: Easy House and Flour of Life

I know what you are thinking. How many times am I going to blog about getting yum cha at Easy House? The answer is, a lot. And these days, you can't make a trip down there without stopping at the all-vegan Flour of Life Bakery on the way home. It just wouldn't be right!

This trip to easy house was a special trip, because I went with Jojo and Nick back when they were here in Brisbane. I was so excited to take them to one of my favourite places! Here is what we ate.

Fried Taro Dumplings and Savoury Pork Buns. The taro dumplings were a bit too deep fried for me, but one was OK. The pork buns are encased in a lovely, flaky pastry and are definite winners.

Fried Taro Dumplings and Savoury Pork Buns at Easy House


My beloved Radish Cakes!

Radish Cake at Easy House


All the steamed dumplings! We had Coriander (my regular favourite), Chicken & Bok Choy, and Snow Pea Sprout (a seasonal special).

Coriander Dumplings, Chicken and Bok Choy Dumplings, Snow Pea Sprout Dumplings at Easy House


Steamed Bean Curd Rolls (you guys know how much I love these), Steamed Pork Buns (an essential) and Eggplant in Black Bean Sauce. The eggplant can be a bit hit and miss. When it is a hit, it is amazing, unfortunately this day it was a bit of a miss.

Steamed Pork Buns, Eggplant in Black Beans, Steamed Bean Curd Rolls at Easy House


Sesame Prawn Rolls - I am not a fan of faux prawns at all, but you really can't taste it in these. Especially with the yummy sweet and sour sauce!

Sesame Prawn Rolls at Easy House


After lunch, we did a quick stop at the beach for Jojo and Nick to see what the Gold Coast is all about for people who aren't sun-adverse like myself. It is beautiful, though. They went for a bit of a frolic in the sand, I hid underneath the trees further back.

Mermaid Beach


Mermaid Beach


Then it was on to Flour of Life for treats! Jojo and Nick got a bunch of stuff for themselves and to take back to Farm Animal Rescue (where they were volunteering). I got a box for myself as well! I got my favourite Strawberry Flan, and also beloved Apple Rhubarb Crumble. I also tried a cinnamon and raisin scroll, which was OK but a bit dense. I got an apple turnover for my dad, which he said was just OK.

Flan, Apple Turnover, Cinnamon Raisin Scroll, Apple Rhubarb Crumble


But seriously, their strawberry flan is life.

Flan


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the sun


I had to bring Jojo and Nick home quickly to meet Dim Sim! She is so relaxed about new people now, and I love to show off her perfection! I didn't snap a photo of them together, but here is another photo of her enjoying some winter sun.