Trang Bakery, Collingwood

Ever since I was alerted to the fact that there was a new Vietnamese place on Smith St serving vegan bahn mi’s by Cindy and Michael of Where’s the Beef, I have been an eager regular of Trang Bakery. Being quite north of Johnston st, Trang is a little out of the way of the regular hubbub of Smith St, however it doesn’t stop them attracting a line out the door each lunch time, and going the extra distance is definitely worth it.

With a huge range of vegan options including mock duck, chicken, fish, pork, lemongrass tofu, tempura eggplant, chicken burger, prawn (and possibly more), they really are my new best friend. At $5 (or $5.50 for eggplant) they are a great cheap and filling eat.

trangeggplantEggplant is my most commonly ordered – especially since they have changed the way they’ve cut the eggplant to better fit the roll. I guess it’s probably my favourite as I always feel a pang of disappointment if I get there later in the day and there’s no eggplant in the tray.

trangtofuThis is the lemongrass tofu – it’s between this and duck for my second place. You have the option of peanuts and chili (yes and hell yes), wholemeal of white bread, and an array of fresh veggies. They also put some kind of paste on the bottom – Michael and Cindy describe it as a roasted eggplant relish, and some special sauce and shallots on top. Heaven!

trangchicken This is the last one I have a decent photo of – I think it is the roast chicken, but could be duck – I can’t remember. I haven’t forayed into the seafood options as have never been a fan of real or mock seafood – too fishy (unless you batter some tofu, deep fry it and call it fish a la Cornish Arms) so can’t vouch for them, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had here.

There are also some donuts and sweets that I’ve just discovered are vegan (though haven’t tried) and they have other options like noodles and rice paper rolls, however I can never resist the bahn mi. Trang have expanded and opened up a second shop in Hardware lane in the CBD. Let’s hear it for our vegan-friendly friends!

Trang Bakery and Cafe
382 Smith Street, Collingwood
Open 7 days, 8.30am – 4pm

Work lunches: Fatto a Mano and Storm in a Teacup

Working just off of Smith st, I tend to be spoiled for choice when it comes to buying lunch. While most days I take my own lunch, it’s easy to forget it when there’s so many good options about. Fatto a Mano is a favourite among many at my work (and everywhere else if you judge by the line going out the door most days at lunch time) for their delicious organic baked goods. For some reason I always crave something from Fatto on Mondays, the only day in the working week that they AREN’T open. What is up with that?!

The following pictures are from a range of different visits to Fatto over the past 6 or so months (although most definitely not all of the visits that have taken place, wink wink).

fatto1The spelt pizzas are a favourite as they are a quick and easy option, and very reasonably priced at around $4. There is always a variety of vegan pizzas to choose from, looking beautiful with their symmetrical toppings.

fatto3From the pizza slices I’ve tried, I prefer the ones with tomato or capsicum, or as many veggies as possible. The potato and olive one shown here was okay, but a little bland.

fatto2This one wins the award for best variety, with a combo of pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum and potato. These are a great quick lunch to eat on the go, but I find it best if they are slightly warmed as the base can be quite chewy.

SAMSUNGThis is one of the vegan, gluten-free pies. When I tried this one, I found it hard to believe it was vegan as the top had this real cheesiness to it. Upon further inspection, I discovered what I think might be grated potato? Delicious!

fatto5Fatto a Mano have other savoury vegan options, as well as a range of vegan sweets. It tends to be different from day to day (and depending on how early you make it in). Above is some kind of peanut butter caramel ball, it’s kind of like a rice krispie treat with a light rice bubble filling. At various times they have also had variations of crostata (fruit pie) – I can confirm the deliciousness of a few versions of these, giant choc chip cookies, and cherry coconut balls in a similar style to the one above.

On a more recent note, I popped into Storm in a Teacup, a cute little tea shop and cafe on Smith st for the first time the other week after remembering hearing that they had vegan toasties on offer. I walk past the shopfront every single day, but had not yet been in. The day I ventured in, there were no toasties in clear sight, however I was met with this wonderful veganised green machine salad.

stormPacked with rocket, spinach, sprouted chickpeas and green lentils, zucchini, fennel seeds, tuscan kale, sunflower seeds and pomegranate, with a big dollop of Botanical Cuisine nut cheese (lemon and dill from memory). Seriously delicious, satisfying and kept me going all arvo. Unfortunately I did not have time to sit and enjoy their main pull – teas, but now I’ve tested the waters I will have to arrange a tea date to follow up.

Fatto a Mano Organic Bakery
228 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Tues – Sat – 6am – 6pm

Storm in a Teacup
48A Smith St, Collingwood
Mon – CLOSED
Tues – Sun – 10am – 6pm

Las Vegan Cafe

One more pre-MoFo post, before the madness begins..

Las Vegan Cafe is around the corner from my work in Collingwood, and I’ve enjoyed a meal there many a time. I’ve only ever photographed it once about four months ago, when my friend Liz from I Spy Plum Pie and I met up for a bite of lunch.

Las Vegan serve a range of standards, from parmas to pizzas to burritos to salads. The servings are generous, the prices are reasonable, the staff are friendly and they have cake. What more could you ask for?

lasvegWe were having trouble choosing, so decided to share two plates. First up the rice balls, which came with a side of salad and some thick satay sauce. The balls were really crunchy, and the satay was tasty – even Liz, who is an ex-peanut-butter-hater, enjoyed it.

lasveg2And nachos! Full of black beans (my favourite bean for Mexican), jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, and a huge dollop of guacamole. Nice thick corn chips that aren’t compromised by the weight of the topping when scooping.

Get amongst it!

Las Vegan Cafe
22 Smith St, Collingwood
Tues – Wed – 11am – 3pm
Thurs – 11am – 3pm and 5pm – 9pm
Fri – 11am – 9pm
Sat – 10am – 9pm
Sun – 10am – 3pm