Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza

Some nights you just want to eat pizza without having to make it or even leave your house to get it. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Hooray for home delivery!

Mr Natural has two locations – St Kilda and Fitzroy. The menu consists of a range of entirely vegetarian pizzas, all of which can be adapted to become vegan with the optional addition of vegan cheese, pepperoni and various other tasties like beans, tofu, sprouts and sauces. The online ordering system is simple to use and you can easily customise your pizza with the removal and addition of whatever ingredients your heart does or does not desire.

This was my first experience with Mr Natural – in the past, every time I decide that I want to order pizza, it’s been too late to get in before close. This time I planned ahead and reaped the rewards. I think the delivery guy was a bit startled when the Bear and I answered the door short of breath after sprinting to the door yelling “pizzaaaaaa!” So much excitement.

mrnatural First up we went with the Broccolini pizza. I’ve heard people rave about broccoli on pizza, and I thought it was about time I gave it a go. It had broccoli, onions, olives, capsicum, cheese, herbs and sesame seeds. I thought that it had potential, but was missing something – it was just a little bit bland. The unveganised version of the pizza included feta cheese, so maybe that offered the bite needed. If I ordered it again, I would add pineapple or more chili or more olives or something, but otherwise I loved how many veggies were packed on there (and how greeeeeen it was).

mrnatural2Second, we got the Cool Peppers, which is apparently the result of a pizza creation competition. This one had tomato, olives, capsicum, vegan pepperoni, vegan cheese, chili flakes, parsley and sesame seeds. It rocked. It was spicy and awesome and I hope it gets added to the regular menu, because I loved it. It was kind of hard to go back to the broccoli pizza afterwards as this one packed so much more punch. In saying that, the broccoli pizza tasted awesome cold the next day.

It’s so great to have easy takeaway/delivery options for vegans, particularly old favourites like pizza. Sometimes you just want to lie in bed watching movies and eating pizza, and thanks to places like Mr Natural, your dreams can come true.

Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza
469 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North
Mon – Thurs & Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm (delivery 6pm-9pm)
Fri – Sat – 5.30pm – 11pm (delivery 6pm – 9pm)

Pizza and Gelato

This is the week. After experiencing some technical issues that led me to believe I’d lost a whole bunch of photos, and the subsequent joy of finding said photos, I’m doing it! I’m getting rid of the backlog!

And first on the list, a trip to Eat Pizza in the city.

I’m not sure just how long Eat Pizza have had inner city locations – there is one in North Melbourne and one in the CBD – but I do recall believing that they were only in Footscray and Maribyrnong. Now looking at their website, I’m not even sure the Maribyrnong one still exists.

Regardless of when they arrived, they are definitely there.

While Eat Pizza are not an exclusively vegan or even vegetarian pizza shop, they do offer vegan cheese, ham and salami at an extra cost. We headed in to the Flinders St location to check it out one evening on our way to a gig in the city.

eatpizzaWe went with a classic vegetarian with pineapple, vegan cheese and vegan salami (and a sprinkle of chili flakes). The first thing I noticed was how generous Eat Pizza are with their toppings! Every single slice had a large circle of vegan salami and there was plenty of cheese. The base was beautifully soft and doughy, and overall, the pizza was excellent.

A slight structural issue – as the salami took up almost the whole slice, and everything else was stacked on top of that, we had a few problems with topping sliding every which way. And personal choice – I would have chucked a bit more tomato on the base, and a bit more chili on top – but that’s just me.

I’m pretty psyched to have another vegan pizza option so close by, though it doesn’t seem like they do delivery which means you have to put in a bit of effort to get your pizza.

On another occasion, the bear and I went for a bit walk around the city, out to Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond. It’s only natural that we would need an ice cream pitstop during this adventure.

Luckily, Casa Del Gelato was there to service our needs. Casa Del Gelato has been selling gelato from their Lygon st location since 1980 – holy moly! They have a huge range of vegan sorbets, but also a selection of six or so soya gelatos, which include creamy flavours like chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio and coffee.

casadelgelatoThe bear ended up going for some dairy flavours, while I matched the bacio and coffee flavours. What can I say? I love ice cream, and I especially love being able to choose flavours that aren’t usually on offer (read: something other than sorbet). Creamy and delicious. I don’t care if it’s winter, ice cream rules! Thank you Casa Del Gelato, I love you!

Eat Pizza
1c/557 Flinders St, Melbourne
(See website for Nth Melbourne, Footscray and Glenroy locations)
Mon – Thurs – 10.30am – 10.30pm
Fri – 10.30am – 11.30pm
Sat – 12pm – 11.30pm
Sun – 12pm – 10.30pm

Casa Del Gelato
163 Lygon St, Carlton
Open 7 days, 12pm – 12am

Easter weekend

The last week or so has been HECTIC. I went from being sick off work for a few days, to coming back (which can be hectic enough just playing catch-ups), having a birthday, spending Good Friday packing up my room, saturday moving house and all the fun that comes with that, then the unpacking, Easter, and blah blah blah. Back at work yesterday and I’m totally spent.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about – I want do tell you about the wonderful things I did, not the draining ones.

Friday night I lured the bear over to my place to help me sort out a few things with the promise of pizza. And pizza we had! I made up the standard VWaV dough which we spread into four thin crust pizzas.

ImageFirst up, a lovely chilli, sun-dried tomato and olive pizza, with vegusto melty cheese and fresh basil and oregano.

ImageNext, supreme mushroom, capsicum, onion, garlic, pineapple and sun-dried tomato with a pesto swirl!

ImageAnd in case that swirl of pesto wasn’t enough, here’s a totally rad cheesy pesto-chilli-mushroom pizza, made with my delicious toasted sunflower seed pesto (recipe to come!)

ImageAnd lastly a classic supreme.

A pretty successful pizza party that managed to sustain us through Saturday’s move – we were up early to pick up a van, which due to all the holidays we could only have for a couple of hours, so it was a race against time carting everything from one place to the other. But we made it!

I didn’t get back to the new place til the evening, which meant we only had an hour or so to quickly build my bed before we rushed off to a comedy show we had bought tickets to a while back. We dashed out to see Steve Hughes, then stopped by Victoria St to grab some dinner before retiring to the newly made bed. My new place is in Abbotsford, just around the corner from Victoria St, so I anticipate there being many delicious adventures in the near future.

Sunday and Easter was upon us! Sadly, I didn’t have time to get very festive this year…I had the best intentions of making some hot cross buns and chocolates but never found the time. I hardly even ate much chocolate! Woe is me! I did find a few minutes to whip up a coconut salted caramel mix which i filled some chockies with, but only managed to do about eight before I ran out of time. Oh well. Who said making chocolates had to be just an easter thing?

While my Dad had prior engagements with his hockey team, my Mum came into Abbotsford and we went over to the Convent for lunch.

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I ordered the arancini balls and we also ordered a side salad to share. Arancini can go either way, and as the Bear pointed out, they often conjure images of crusty, dried out, been-sitting-in-the-window-forever food. This was not the case here though – the Arancini had a nice firm crust (I imagine it had been baked), yet was lovely and moist inside and mixed with lots of mushroom bits. It was topped with a rich napoli sauce and sitting on top of some lovely strips of zucchini and eggplant. All round delicious.

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After lunch we took a stroll around the grounds, enjoying the pleasant weather and the relaxed atmosphere. There were also some craft markets on, so we were able to browse the handmade wares.

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This patch of grass had been coloured in an incredible pattern. The kids around were LOVING it, running around on it screaming their little hearts out. It’s not every day you get to play on purple grass, I reckon it’s grounds for going troppo.

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The easter bunny even made an appearance! (?)

On monday, a lovely friend and I decided to take a little day trip out of the city to enjoy a lunch in Belgrave. We headed out there in the early afternoon, and it was lovely to breathe in the fresh autumn air, free of the big city smoke.

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We stopped in at the Grunge Cafe for a spot of lunch, and after deciding on a delicious item from the brekkie menu (scrambled tofu and mushrooms), I discovered even more vegan options in the display cabinet, including this vegan burger – served here with garlic bread and salad. Would you look at that thing?! – How could I resist?

This was hands down one of the best vegan burgers/patties that I have tried. It was jam packed with whole chickpeas and pumpkin seeds amongst other things, and served with a lovely chutney. My only complaint (and it would be a stretch!) would be that there wasn’t quite enough chutney to service the whole burger, but with a burger that delicious it really didn’t matter.

Extra points to the lovely staff member who must have seen the look on my face when she mentioned garlic bread, and asked me if I too would like some added to my meal…uh YES!!!!

Seriously, check this place out – it was worth the trip just for this lovely meal alone (don’t get me started on the rest of this pretty little town).

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After lunch we wandered around the main strip and then set off to go on a little forest walk. After a small amount of getting lost, we remembered that it would be getting dark soon, and that perhaps we should set off an adventure in the morning in one of the weeks to come, in order to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Happy with this new plan and the small (but delicious!) taste of Belgrave we had, we endeavoured to come back in a fortnight or so.

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And thus ends the Easter weekend!

Convent Bakery
Abbotsford Convent
1 Saint Helliers St, Abbotsford
Open 7 days, 7am – 5pm
Grunge Cafe
1696 Burwood Highway, Belgrave
Mon-Fri – 8am – 4.30pm
Sat-Sun – 9am – 4pm

Spud Bar and Nostralis Pizza

It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gone from being up to date with all my posts to having a backlog. Gah!

I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, completing my first fortnight of my new job. The stress and excitement of starting a new job couple with the travel time to and from work have left me feeling pretty tired by the time I get myself home. Hopefully as I start to get into a better rhythm things will start to balance out a little.

The other week Billy and I went to a show at the Corner, and I needed something to fill my tummy before hand. We went for a walk down Swan St and bumped into Spud Bar, which I have never been to before. I’ve heard lots of rave reviews about the place, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

I asked if they were able to do me a vegan potato, which was no problem at all. Spud Bar is sort of like Subway, but with potatoes – in that they have a range of ‘fillings’ and toppings on display, so you can pick and choose what you want. You can also choose between a potato or a sweet potato for your base.

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I just went with a the standard veggie spud topped with hummus and some tomato salsa. This was pretty good at satisfying my need for a simple, fresh meal. I wouldn’t say the flavour was AMAZING, but it was decent. I did slather it with tabasco sauce though to give it a bit of a kick. Mmm spicy.

Later on in the week, we decided to have a pizza and movie night and I was determined to finally try Nostralis Pizza. I have been wanting to try it for everrrr, particularly since Plush Pizza closed (boooo!). Nostralis do wholemeal, exclusively vegetarian pizzas, with stacks of vegan and gluten-free options. They’ve been in the business since 1981 which I thought was pretty darn impressive.

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My apologies for the shocking photos here. After the time it took us to get these pizzas home, there was no time for excellent lighting or production skills.

We ordered the first two pizzas on the list, just because they sounded interesting and different from the typical pizzas that vegans can access. This was the Nostralis Special, with tomato, bean shoots, capsicum, onion, olives, soy beans, pineapple, chili, garlic and herbs. Chaos!

I quite liked this one, though the structural integrity of each slice was seriously compromised by the thick layer of bean sprouts. This was definitely a two hands job. The others were not such big fans, saying it lacked flavour. I suppose with so many bean sprouts they kind of outshone the rest of the ingredients.

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We also got the Vindaloo pizza, which was described as having tomato, cheese, banglore beans, peppers, sultanas, hot spices, bananas, onions and vindaloo curry paste. I didn’t mind this, but I couldn’t find any banana or sultanas which was a little disappointing. Maybe they were blended into the paste? I’m not sure, I couldn’t taste them either. It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked either.

Both these pizzas were good, but I had hoped for better. HOWEVER, I would love to go back and try some of the more traditional flavours, as I think they might be more suited to my pizza taste buds.  Also, living a fifteen-twenty minute trip from Nostralis meant our pizzas were no longer steaming fresh by the time we got them home, so next time I’d definitely like to dine in, or at least grab them and take them to a nearby park or something. I think they’d be rocking straight out of the oven.
Spud Bar
226 Swan St, Richmond (and various other locations)
Mon – Fri – 11.30am – 9.30pm
Sat – Sun – 11.30am – 9pm

Nostralis Pizza
55 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North
Mon – CLOSED
Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm(ish)

Newman, Karijini and beyond

Following our short stint in Broome, we ventured inland to visit my Aunty in Newman. Newman is a pretty small town about five hours south of Port Hedland, which revolves almost entirely around mining. I was looking forward to seeing a familiar face and, well, having a little holiday from our holiday.

It was our first time being in a house in about three months, and it was so nice to be able to lounge around and escape the heat, as well as having excellent company to do it with! We stayed a couple of nights and basically just chilled right out. The most strenuous activity we did was walk up to the Radio Hill Lookout for a view of the town.

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Other than that, we slept in, lounged on squishy comfy couches, played games, watched movies and ate delicious food like these pizzas (hummus and grilled vegetables and ‘supreme’)

ImageImageand this kind of antipasto spread…

ImageAfter leaving Newman, we backtracked north a short way to visit Karijini National Park, which I had heard many great things about. The weather put on a bit of a show for us, and we camped out there in the pouring rain. It was pretty cold and overcast the next morning (I actually wore leggings for the first time in who knows how long!) so we didn’t much feel like taking a swim which was a shame, because there were some gorgeous spots.

ImageImageImageWhat I found to be the most incredible aspects of Karijini were the rock walls and formations, which display stunning layers and patterns throughout them. They are very special and unique – I’ve really never seen anything quite like them before. 

ImageImageThe colour of the place was so rich, you can only imagine how bright it must be when the clouds clear and the sun in beaming down.

ImageImageImageImageNature, huh?

After Karijini, we headed west towards the coast, with our next main town to hit being Exmouth. Along the way, we stopped at a lookout which we discovered had been turned into an open memorial site for loved ones, with passers-by leaving a rock to commemorate them.

ImageI found this little one that might as well have been put here by me for my first dog – Tilly – who was a Blue Heeler (though passed away a few years earlier than this puppy.

ImageI also spied this little guy trying to blend in amongst the rocks. They are sooo quick, the way they dart over rocks and into tiny gaps is really quite amazing.

ImageHe was just the beginning of our creature spotting adventures for the day, we passed many more (particularly reptiles) along our travels.

ImageImageAnd the strangest creatures of all….

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Cape Tribulation

Well! I’ve been kind of absent for the past little while, I even missed the end of MoFo, though I predicted that might happen. I loved participating in MoFo but it got a bit difficult while travelling. It was my first time though, and no doubt I’ll be back.

Since my last post we have come a loooong long way. After Kuranda, we travelled up the coast towards Port Douglas, where we stopped to pick up some groceries. It wasn’t really our kind of town – very ritzy and touristy. I had also heard that on the whole the town has a very ‘anti-backpackers’ attitude. My dislike for the town was sealed when we came back to the van to find half a meat pie smashed across our windscreen.  Another campervan parked nearby also looked like it had been sprayed with soft drink or something. Charming.

We stayed the night in Mt Molloy, before visiting Daintree and then crossing the river by ferry (and spotting a crocodile on the way) to reach beautiful Cape Tribulation.

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Cape Trib is really a magical place. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to spot fairies nestled under the fronds in the rainforest. The place is filled with lush green rainforests that make up the Daintree National Park, as well as tropical white sanded beaches, lined with coconut trees. It is really out of this world.

We only had two and a half days there, so we packed in as many things as we could. The first thing we did upon arrival was take a dip at Thornton Beach. The water was CRYSTAL clear and so warm, it was unbelievable. Although I was still on edge about being eaten by crocodiles, I felt a bit more at ease being able to see to the bottom. Also, I made sure we positioned ourselves between other groups of swimmers, so that we would at least get some warning should one swim in from the side. Ha.

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We took a minute to enjoy one of our black sapotes, which had finally ripened. Bear’s new favourite fruit…chocolate pudding fruit. You can eat it straight out of the skin with a spoon!

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While in Cape Trib, we stayed with a lovely friend from Melbourne and her partner, who have been living there for a year. They have been working and living at the campground there, and invited us to stay with them. The campground is amazing – definitely on the luxury side of camping. Not only are the grounds RIGHT on the beach, they also have a woodfire pizza place on site called Sand Bar, meaning you can enjoy a delicious fresh pizza and a glass of wine while looking out from your campsite. They even do an awesome vegan pizza with basil oil, artichoke, red onion, olives, mushroom, etc. SO GOOD. As it was school holidays, they also had fire twirling shows for the kids (and the bigger kids). It was just perfect!

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On our second day, we headed out to Cow Bay early and walked along the beach there, collecting rocks. We then visited the nearby Floravilla Ice Cream, which offered two or three different vegan water based ice creams. We shared the coconut lime one, which was sooo yummy. Sometimes I am a bit iffy with coconut flavoured things, but this was so zesty with the lime juice, and was creamy (despite being a ‘water ice’) due to the coconut. A-mazing.

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Next we missioned into a lovely spot called the Blue Hole. We didn’t swim here, rather, we just sat in awe of the beauty of this place. Apparently it is a sacred place for Aboriginal women, as the water holes were birthing and menstrual pools. The colour of the water was incredible, and there were fish swimming left right and centre. We even saw a little turtle jump off a log into the water.

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In the afternoon we went on a guided boat trip, in search of the elusive crocodiles. We saw one little guy sunning himself on the banks, but no big whoppers (though I am sort of glad about that).

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We topped off our day with a walk through the forest, before returning to the campgrounds to hang with Jess and Chris after their shifts finished.

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The next day we sadly had to leave, but not before popping up to Emmagen Creek for a morning swim. This place was sooo pretty! We went for a short trek through the forest to find it, and what a reward it was when we got there.

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I wish we could have stayed forever…we had the most wonderful time here. But the trip must go on! I’ll get to our next adventures soon, so stay tuned…

Sand Bar
Cape Trib Camping
Lot 11 Cape Tribulation Rd
Cape Tribulation
Mon-Sun 6-9pm

Floravilla Ice Cream Factory and Art Gallery
Corner of Cape Tribulation and Cow Bay Rd
Mon-Sun 8.30am-5.30pm