Power Plant Cafe, Templestowe

Today I’m talking about eating out – something that I am no stranger to, and certainly enjoy. I have every second Friday off, and while I usually spend these days doing personal admin kind of stuff (seriously, how do people survive on full time employment?), I also like to enjoy the occasional brunch on these days as it’s so nice to be able to avoid the craziness of the weekend cafe rushes. I’d heard rumours of a recent menu change at Power Plant Cafe, so the Bear, one of our housemates and I decided to head out there and check it out. It was a cold, wet and miserable “spring” day, which once again meant that we didn’t get to sit in the outdoor area. Regardless, the indoor area was as bright, open and fresh as ever.

This particular day, our breakfast got pushed back to brunch, and brunch to lunch so by the time we got there I was starving. So while I knew from past experiences that options such as their macro bowls are delicious and nutritious, they were not appealing to me in that moment. I needed solid, carby goodness.

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With that in mind, the Bear and I agreed to split two dishes – choosing the Brekkie Burger from the specials board and the Reuben. My housemate went for the Brekkie Burger too. The Reuben consisted of corned tempeh, sweet onions, house made pink kraut, horseradish dressing and a side of crisps. The horseradish was a little overwhelming in the first bite, however I adjusted to it quite quickly and enjoyed the different spin on the sandwich. It was perhaps a bit sweeter than the other reubens I’ve tried, though I appreciated the tempeh as something different from usual mock meats. In saying that, the Smith and Deli Reubenstein is still number one in my heart, sorry Power Plant.

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I asked for carby and carby was what I got with the Brekkie Burger. Inside was a hash brown, a slice of a kind of eggy quichey thing, tomato, rocket and a cheesy sauce. I had thought that the tempeh bacon was going to be in there too, but it was probably a good thing it came as a side as I’m not sure I would have been able to get my mouth around it otherwise. The bun was perfectly soft and flour dusted, and on the whole this was just what I needed.

Not pictured are the bowl of fries and aioli we got for the table. I was a little disappointed to find they weren’t the smoked paprika coated fries of previous visits, but they were still delicious and the aioli so damn creamy. We also had coffees and remembered to request Bonsoy rather than the standard soy (Vitasoy?) they have on offer. We were far too full to have any cake afterwards, and racked with too much indecision to choose something to take home, though the Bear got a free mini cupcake with pink icing and hundreds and thousands to celebrate Plant Power’s 1st birthday which he was pleased with. It was very cute, though disappeared before I even got the chance to ask for a picture of it. With the first year under their belt, Power Plant have also decided to extend their opening hours to 7 days giving us plenty of time to treat ourselves with their goodies. Hoorah!

Power Plant Cafe
2-6 Swilk St, Templestowe
Open 7 days – 8am – 3.30pm

 

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Farm Cafe and Convent Bakery II

There’s no better way to start the weekend with a morning trip to the local farmer’s market. Seriously, it gives me that sun is shining, birds are chirping kind of feeling (even when it is grey and the birds are jerks). The closest markets to me happen once a month at the Abbotsford Convent, and once at the Collingwood Childrens’ Farm – both beautiful settings for some early morning wandering and vegetable hunting. Of course, it’s not just vegetables – it’s also where I stock up on choccies! Mmmm.

cocoarhapsodySalted lime and dark nut cove are my absolute favourites, but all are top notch. Cocoa Rhapsody are not completely vegan friendly, however I would estimate about 60-70% of their range is.

Obviously all this food gathering is enough to make anybody hungry. Luckily, there’s a few good options within arms reach. Firstly, the Farm Cafe inside the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

farmcafe2I love how the tables sprawl out of the enclosed cafe space and into the ‘farm’. If you sit down amongst it, you don’t get table service – however you do get sweet little dudes like this stopping by.

farmcafe3It always makes me laugh seeing the “please do not chase the animals” signs, and then watching all the little toddlers trailing behind the chooks. It shouldn’t, but it does.

The farm cafe is quite vegetarian friendly, and had two notable vegan options – the white baked beans and the super salad. Never one to turn down a super salad (super salad sunday used to be an institution in our house in Tassie), I went for it. The Bear had a dish with creamy polenta, mushrooms, eggs and snow pea tendrils.

farmcafe1It certainly lived up to it’s name. A combination of quinoa, carrot, beetroot, leafies, and herbs topped with a lovely lemony cashew hummus, a good old chunk of avo, pepitas and pomegranate molasses dressing. The beetroot was shredded so thin I couldn’t even taste it (crazy for me), and it was so full of goodies that even the Bear enjoyed it (despite his grudge against quinoa). I loved the sticky, crunchy pepitas and the contrast between the sweet dressing and tangy hummus. A super seriously satisfying start to the day (ha!)

While I think I slightly prefer the Collingwood Farmer’s Market due to the greater number and variety of stalls, it is always lovely to stroll around the grounds of the convent on a sunny morning. Unfortunately on this occasion, it was cold, grey and wet, so we escaped to a dark little corner in the Convent Bakery to grab some brunch. With memories of a delicious vegan arancini, we were disappointed to find it had disappeared from the menu and there were no longer any marked vegan options. Already committed to the idea of brekkie, I went for the standard – smashed avo on toast, while the Bear had fruit salad and yoghurt.

conventbakery1 But it hurts my soul to pay $16 for it (especially after removing the goats cheese). This was tasty, on lovely convent bakery-baked sourdough and dotted with cherry tomatoes and basil. But $16….you can get much more elaborate and thoughtful dishes down the road at Admiral Cheng Ho for that much. It kind of bothers me as a vegan at cafes, you can expect to pay $4 for a side of mushrooms, yet no discount for removing eggs or cheese. Le sigh…

conventbakery2Luckily with a full tummy, a hot coffee and a basket full of veggies (and chocolate) I couldn’t stay mad. I will always love you avo on toast xoxox

Farm Cafe
Collingwood Children’s Farm
18 Saint Heliers St, Abbotsford
Open 7 days, 9am – 4pm
Open from 8am on market days (2nd Sat of the month)

Convent Bakery
Abbotsford Convent
1 Saint Heliers St, Abbotsford
Open 7 days, 7am – 5pm

Red Door Corner Store, Northcote

Well helloooo! You guys, I have been so busy preparing for MoFo next month that I have barely had the energy to write any blog posts. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into this year, I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew so to speak. Oh well, I’ll give it a red hot go and see what happens. I’m really looking forward to reading all the wonderful posts from everyone!

Today is just a pit stop I suppose, to remind you I’m still here and to share a quick meal that I ate last week. The Bear and I both had a Friday off, so we decided to go out for brunch. The sun even came out for us, and it was G-L-O-R-gloooooorious! We popped over to Northcote and sat out the front to bask in the warm rays. Happy times.

I had never been to Red Door Corner Store before, but I had heard of it and liked the rhythm of the name so really wanted to check it out. The cafe is located a couple of blocks back from High street, in amongst the houses – so it really does have that ‘corner store’ feel. Quite charming really! The staff were just as charming as they buzzed around taking orders and delivering coffees.

There were not many (if any) outright vegan items on the menu, however a few items had little marks noting how the dish could be made gluten free or vegan.

reddoorThe Bear and I both ordered the same dish – corn, zucchini and quinoa fritters, avocado, romesco and grilled corn salsa, though Bear had his as the original item on the menu suggests – with a poached egg on top.

These were not what I expected at all – fritters always brings to mind flat round disc shaped creations. However, wikipedia tells me that fritters can refer to a wide variety of foods – basically batter or breading with stuff inside. This fits the bill. Plus when I opened my mind a little and saw photos of banana fritters, I realised that many fritters I have eaten are not disc shaped. MOVING ON.

The insides were all blended up and creamy, the romesco was surprisingly sweet but nevertheless enjoyable and I loved the colourful salad. Rainbow foodies!

We also ordered some coffees and a small side of chips to share because chips are delicious, even if they aren’t reeeeaaaalllly breakfast food. The coffee was nice, albeit a little cooler than I would have preferred. The chips were delicious, and came with a non-vegan aioli which the Bear devoured.

reddoor2In conclusion, the Red Door Corner Store turned this grumpy armless bear….

reddoor3…into a happy, satiated and fully-limbed one. The end.

p.s. Yes I jumped on the Daiya bandwagon…by the time I got to it, there was only pepperjack flavour remaining. I ate it on a variety of things, but mostly just melted it on crumpets.

crumpiesIt was gooey, and somewhat stringy, and coated my mouth. I enjoyed it. Just don’t eat it straight out of the bag because it is disappointingly bland at that point – somehow melting makes it magical. Cheeeeeese!

 

Red Door Corner Store
70 Mitchell St, Northcote
Mon – Fri – 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 4pm

Three Bags Full, Abbotsford

A couple of weeks back my Aunty and I were out and about in Abbotsford, and decided to stop in at Three Bags Full for a spot of brunch. I left my Aunty to her own devices and went ahead to check the vegan-friendliness of the menu, and grab a coffee while I waited for her to do what she needed to do.

My first impression of the place was how friendly the staff were. The guy who I first spoke to was super helpful, going through the menu and showing me what I could alter to make it appropriate. This all sounded good, so I ordered a coffee and sat outside to wait for the Aunty. A couple of minutes after sitting down, the guy I initially spoke to came out with menus, and did a ‘re-cap’ of what I could order, which was really lovely and attentive. I felt very welcome.

ImageI went with the smashed avocado on toast with cherry tomatoes, shaved radish and black sesames, minus the Persian feta, because sometimes you just have a hankering for some avo on toast. I liked the addition of radish and black sesame, as the old smashed avo with feta and mint is becoming pretty commonplace among cafes at the moment (don’t get me wrong, I love avocado on toast, but y’know, nice to see a little twist). The second piece of toast was also very welcome. My pet hate is not having enough toast for the meal and having to ration it.

It was fresh, tangy and delicious. My only fault would be that the toast, albeit yum, was so crispy crunchy that I really had difficulties cutting it with knife and fork. Many times I just resorted to the old finger forks, as I couldn’t get through it any other way. No big deal though, I eat with my fingers all the time.

ImageWe also ordered a homemade soda each – mine was passionfruit, vanilla bean and mint and the other was something and rosewater. Both were deliciously light and refreshing.

Apparently there were vegan muffins on offer too, but the smashed avo was perfect for me. I really enjoyed my brunch there, particularly out in the sunshine. As I said, I was very impressed with the staff, who were lovely and attentive even when it got busy through the lunch rush. I’d definitely go back, although I did see on the menu that there are “strictly no changes to the menu on weekends”, which may make it a little more difficult for vegans to find something suitable. But for a mid-week stop-in, this was perfect!

Three Bags Full
Cnr Nicholson and Mollison Sts, Abbotsford
Mon-Fri – 7am – 4.30pm
Weekends & Public Holidays – 8am – 4.30pm