Some eats of late (and not so late)

Yes, I’ve done it again. It seems my posts are running on somewhat of a bi-monthly schedule at the moment, even with the best of intentions. Shout out to those of you who are still here reading, thanks for sticking around!

Today is just a jumble of recent and not so recent eats…photos that have been sitting unlabelled (‘cos I like to test my memory) on my lappy, waiting for their time to shine.

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First up – some sweet treats from Cupcake Central. The Bear sat in on a seminar through his uni with the lady who started Cupcake Central as a guest speaker. He came home raving about what an entrepreneur she is, and so I felt particularly inclined to taste some of her goods, having been aware that they offer vegan options.

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Cupcake Central run one or two vegan flavours per day, as well as a GF option. You can check their baking schedule online and look up which flavours will feature on each day. These also change seasonally so you will never get tired of eating the cupcakes (as if you ever would, eye roll). These were chocolate peanut butter bad boys, and they were freakin’ tasty.

WARNING: The rest of the photos in this post will be from my on it’s last legs phone’s camera, as I do not frequently have my camera with me. Apologies for quality, but I want to share the eats with you anyway, ’cause that’s what it’s all about.

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This is Power Plant Cafe’s avocado on toast with lemon, coriander, chili, tomatoes and walnut and truffle spread. It is highly recommended. The presentation was on point and while at first I was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough avo to cover my two delicious pieces of toast, I needn’t have worried. I try to avoid avo on toast when I go to places where I have lots of options, but I couldn’t look past it with the twist of walnut truffle spread. Just too good. I also had a coffee, a strawberry milkshake, and a raw PB cup.  Not to mention our table got some chips to share – the chips here are on form – covered in smoked paprika and with a thick and creamy aioli, though unfortunately the milkshake was far too sweet for me.

This was my second visit to Power Plant, the first I enjoyed an equally well presented and delicious macro bowl and took some cupcakes home with me. The menu is fairly small but I’m keen to work my way through it. The cafe itself is light, spacious and calm, with two outdoor sitting areas for those sunny days.

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My housemate and I finally checked out the Glass Den after rave reviews. We were not disappointed. I got the breakfast soba noodle salad with polenta crumbed mushrooms, pine nuts, smoked coconut, kale sesame crumble and a side of almond feta. I kid you not, this was so good that a lady from another table came over and asked what I was eating. “I’ll have what she’s having”

I’m so keen to go back and try the Tiramisu Hotcakes I’ve been seeing pop up all over Instagram. I’m not usually a sweet breakfast kind of girl when I’m eating out, but I need to have them…they are a work of art.

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We were heading past the Prahran Market a while back and I was ravenous, so we stopped at Beangreen Cafe for a quick bite. I got some chickpea fritters, three salads and some hummus. Everything at Beangreen is super reasonable in price – I think I paid around $9 for this plate. Simple, wholesome and tasty.

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The Bear got this giant cookie – we can’t remember now what it was. I want to say it was ginger, the Bear thinks it may have been macadamia.

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A colleague and I recently popped up around the corner to the relatively newly opened Neko Neko near the corner of Gertrude and Smith streets. I ordered the Agedashi tofu. This delicious plate of red rice and various veggies and pickles is just what comes with most of the main dishes. AMAZING. How did they know I love lots of little individual piles of things to enjoy?!

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This is the Agedashi tofu itself. Full of little goodies like pepitas and hemp seeds (I think? I can’t remember now – am just assuming from the picture).

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My colleague and I shared the tofu as well as this raw okonomiyaki. Now this didn’t have a huge resemblance to the traditional okonomiyaki, but it was certainly delicious – dense and creamy. It came with it’s own little piles of veggies and some miso eggplant macadamia sushi. At $18, it’s more than I’d usually spend on a work day lunch, but we wanted to treat ourselves and we felt we got our money’s worth with these delightfully presented, healthy meals. They do have sushi rolls and mini bento boxes ready to go if you prefer a cheaper and faster lunch – I will be back to investigate this further.

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And last, but not least – my housemates surprised me by splitting two vegan donuts from Doughnut Time – one was chocolate with strawberries and pistachios on top, and the other was matcha. The latter was my favourite, while it didn’t taste particularly strongly of matcha, I enjoyed the tanginess of what I assume is freeze-dried raspberry on top. Delicious.

Cupcake Central
7/672 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Mon – Fri – 7.30am – 6.30pm
Sat – 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sun – CLOSED
(Check other locations for their hours)

Power Plant Cafe
2-6 Swilk St, Templestowe
Mon & Tues – CLOSED
Wed – Sun – 8am – 3.30pm

The Glass Den
15 Urquhart St, Coburg
Open 7 days, 8am – 4pm

Beangreen Vegetarian Cafe
Prahran Market
163 Commercial Rd, Sth Yarra
Mon & Wed – CLOSED
Tues & Thurs – 7am – 5pm
Fri – 7am – 6pm
Sat – 7am – 5pm
Sun – 10am – 3pm
CASH ONLY

Neko Neko83 Smith St, Fitzroy
Mon – Fri – 12pm – 3pm & 5.30pm – 10pm
Sat – 5.30 – 10pm
Sun – CLOSED

Doughnut Time
5 Degraves St, Melbourne
Mon – Fri – 7am – 11pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 11pm
And various locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast (check each for opening hours)

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True North II, A Caterpillar’s Dream and Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe

Another work drive out to Coburg a while back resulted in another need for lunch. After the last pleasant experience at True North, I swung by to pick up another sammich. This time, I opted for a faux chicken deal.

truenorth21Excuse the car lap shot, I’m eating on the run (don’t worry, am still in car park).

truenorth22The make up of this one was chicken, mayo, lettuce and sprouts on sourdough bread. It was decent, though not as satisfying as the reuben I previously got there – still a respectable lunch. The bear has been asking since my previous post when I would take him out there for a reuben, I think he has been distracted by the offering of a vegan reuben a lot closer to home through Smith & Deli for now though.

Though I’ve been living a short walk away from A Caterpillar’s Dream for six months now, I’ve only made the effort to eat there once. It’s a kind of strange spot for a vegetarian cafe, nestled on the edge of a carpark shared with Leo’s Supermarket and Laurent’s Bakery, amongst other things. It’s a pretty standard cafe set up, nothing to write home about. I apologise in advance for the dodgy photos to follow.

caterpillarsdream1My mum went with a lighter option – the rice paper rolls with lemon and chili sauce. While in appearance, they did not impress, mum declared them tasty.

caterpillarsdream3Dad went with the zucchini corn fritters, with avocado, chutney and sour cream. This was a ‘vegan available’ item, though I can’t remember if dad took them up on that. Either way, he enjoyed it.

caterpillarsdream2We got some ‘sweet potato wedges’ with plum and black pepper spice to share. These were not at all what we were expecting – they were quite sweet and were reminiscent of the pumpkin cakes from chinese restaurants. A bit to dessert-y for me.

caterpillarsdream4Luckily, I had just a few salty regular fries with my meal – pie, chips and salad. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what was inside the pie – was it mushroom? That’ll teach me for leaving it for so long before sharing. A satisfying lunch, but lucky I had some others to share the chip load with.

caterpillarsdream5Mum had her eye on the cake display from the moment we walked in, and though I was getting full, who am I to deny somebody of their cake dreams? We shared this tiramisu cupcake, it was lovely and moist.

caterpillarsdream6Lastly, I had to have an iced coffee, because duh. It was good, however it was definitely enough to tip me into over-fullness. A Caterpillar’s Dream offers decent vegetarian food at a fairly reasonable price – there is nothing outstanding, but it does the trick just fine.

Another really old post is from Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe. I think this might date back to living at the old place, when we frequented Fina’s on a fairly regular basis. Though we’ve eaten there many times, I don’t think I’ve ever shared the experience.

finas1Some spring rolls to share. After living just off VIctoria St, I could never eat spring rolls without lettuce and mint again! How did I not know about this sooner?

finas2We had a habit of getting the same few dishes each visit (pancake, spicy noodle soup) so this time we were determined to try something different. The bear went with the special vegan quang noodle – a combination of noodles, veggies, paper tofu and mock bacon in a creamy broth, with fresh herbs and bean sprouts on the side. While bear enjoyed his dish, he tasted mine and immediately got food envy. Lucky we like to share.

finas3I actually can’t remember what this was – I think perhaps the bamboo soup? All I recall is the deliciously chewy bits of mock meat – either bacon or duck, and a clean and tasty broth.

We love Fina’s – the service is friendly, the meals are tasty, well portioned and reasonably priced. Since this visit, Fina’s have opened up their second restaurant – this one on Brunswick St in Fitzroy and 100% vegan. We popped by on opening night to enjoy a meal, will share our findings later.

True North Cafe
2A Munro St, Coburg
Mon – Fri – 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 4pm

A Caterpillar’s Dream
Shop 4/26 Princess St, Kew
Mon – Thurs – 8.30am – 4pm
Fri – Sat – 8.30am – 4pm & 5.30pm – 9pm
Sun – 9am – 4pm

Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe
268 Victoria St, Richmond
Mon – 10.30am – 3pm
Tues – Sun – 9.30am – 9.30pm

True North Cafe, Coburg

It is not unusual to find myself out of the office around lunch time, despite efforts to avoid letting anything get in between me and my lunch. At the worst of times, it can mean struggling to think of a suitable place to grab something to eat. At the best, it can mean this – a quick drop in to True North in Coburg.

Prior to starting my current job, I did not often head out to Coburg and could only dream about these illusive places people talked about. But now that I’m out and about, that’s all changed. I finally got to visit Half Moon Cafe. And then I visited again and again and again. For a while, we were actually coordinating client visits out that way pre or post lunch so that we could schedule some falafel time. If colleagues were lucky, we would return triumphantly to the office with armfuls of caulibaba wraps. Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about Half Moon…

True North have been open about a year, and they caught my attention last year after seeing visits from Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe,  Faye at Veganopoulous and Cindy and Michael at Where’s the Beef? The menu is short and sweet, consisting of a handful of brekkie options and a bunch of sandwiches for lunch, most of which can be made vegan. Never having had a Reuben sandwich before, I grabbed one to go.

20150115_112926Excuse the lap shot.

Firstly, I love the pickle and corn chips. I love any extras! The sandwich, a combination of vegan pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard, mayo and cheese on toasted sourdough, was deliciously tangy.

20150115_112939Not the most appealing looking sandwich, but tasty nonetheless.

True North Cafe
2A Munro St, Coburg
Mon – Fri – 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 4pm