I’m back! V Series Kew, Fritz Gelato and Gelato Messina

Oh hello (queue tumbleweed)

That seems as good a way as any to start the post after the impromptu hiatus I have been on. It was never intended, but after having a post-MoFo breather, a couple of short holidays and just general life happenings, suddenly it is three months later. And helllloooo 2016.

To be honest, I also lost a bit of my blogging enthusiasm. It’s not that I’ve got nothing to post, on the contrary there’s still recipes that I didn’t get around to posting during MoFo as well as a million other eateries. Yes, a million. But the longer I went without posting, the harder it seemed to make the time to sit down and come back to it. I’ve also been battling with technology a bit – I’m no photo editing pro – I just make it up as I go. However I’ve had some photos that I wanted to share that got drowned in a coloured light and I’ve been trying, failing, cussing at my computer and trying again to fix them but I’m just not getting anywhere. Unfortunately these photos, chronologically speaking, should be posted first as they were from my trip to Perth back in October, but as I haven’t been able to get them right I’ve just been really stuck instead of moving on and coming back to it later. Anyway, I’ve finally moved on and I’ll come back and tinker with them and hopefully share them with you all later. At least I’m back tap tap tapping away at these here keys again – it’s a start.

So today I’m going to share a bit of a riff-raff account of a few things that I have eaten around the place. Starting with an impromptu brekkie at V Series in Kew the other day.

V Series is the evolution of A Caterpillar’s Dream (which I visited once previously) – the place has had a makeover with some noticeable improvements on decor and dining ware. I particularly liked the little pots of fresh herbs decorating the tables. The menu we were given on the day had a breakfast page, drinks page as well as a 3-course lunch deal with a selection of dishes to choose from, however this differs to that available on their website where it appears you can order an individual item from the lunch menu and there are more items on offer.

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The bear and I both ordered the same dish – the crispy tofu benedict, although he added an optional egg to his. I had not been feeling particularly hungry before spontaneously deciding to stop by for breakfast, so I probably could have done with just one of these stacks. That’s not to say I didn’t finish them both of course…

I was pleased with the generous amounts of mushroom, spinach and avocado layered atop the english muffins, the crispiness of the tofu was also satisfying although most likely deep fried. I appreciated the effort of the hollandaise but this was not quite on point – it tasted too sweet and heavily reliant on mustard for flavour, I had to add plenty of salt and pepper to combat the sweetness. If V Series could perfect the sauce it would take this to the next level.

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I also ordered an iced coffee to share because you know, iced coffee is delicious, albeit filling alongside the massive brekkie.

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As if we could walk out without taking some cupcakes from the cabinet – all of which are vegan. After far too much deliberation, we selected the classic cheesecake and the salted caramel cupcakes. Both were delicious – I’m a sucker for cheesecake so this went down well, but the salted caramel sauce and toffee flake were also impressive. I’m pleased with the evolution of V Series, and will definitely be back again, particularly after realising that our energy company had sent out a card giving discounts at certain eateries with V Series included. Excellent.

I was on Bridge Road recently on a hot summer’s day and stopped in to Fritz Gelato. Fritz have a sign on the wall indicating that all their sorbets are vegan.

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The entire bottom row here, aside from the yoghurt flavour on the far left, are sorbets. Unfortunately I forgot to actually get a photo of the gelato I ordered, but I got strawberry and bounty – delicious!

Speaking of gelato, I stopped by Gelato Messina on Smith Street a while back and was pleased to find this vegan coffee sorbet with hazelnut praline, which I paired with the classic chocolate sorbet. I need to go back and see if they are still serving it, as this was divine – the crunchy praline just made it next level goodness.

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When I started this post, I thought I would share some Smith & Deli treats I have enjoyed, but after sifting through my photos I think there is enough for a post of it’s own so I will just end this now before I have any more reasons to put this post off. Yeeehah!

V Series
Shop 4/26 Princess St, Kew
Mon – Fri – 8am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun – 9am – 4.30pm

Fritz Gelato
334 Bridge Rd, Richmond
Open 7 days – noon until late

Gelato Messina
237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Sun – Thurs – 12pm – 11pm
Fri – Sat – 12pm – 11.30pm

New bloginnings and Pana Cafe

You may have noticed something different around the little vegan bear neck of the woods (ha, bear…woods….yep), we’ve had a bit of a makeover! I am now a dot com! After much time feeling overwhelmed and technologically incapable, and then a little time with my brother and his girlfriend doing the majority of the legwork (thanks guys) I am here. Thank goodness for the technical knowledge of others.

These parts will remain pretty basic for the time being while I work out how to do a little more, which will most likely be a bit further down the track as I am aware that MoFo is fast approaching – if I’m going to participate this year I need to spend a bit of time planning. While I recall the stress of last MoFo like it were yesterday (has it really been a year?!) it was also a whole heap of fun and with the new structure I am hoping it will take some of the pressure off (no matter how self-imposed said pressure may have been). Nevertheless, a bit of forethought can’t hurt.

I’m doing my best to update all links, and I’m hoping that the transfer of subscribers went down successfully. Please let me know if you have any issues viewing, commenting, or anything else while on the blog and I’ll try to amend it.

Oh, and while I remember – I am officially getting ‘social’. I’m now on instagram as littleveganbear_ and you can link up with me through the button on the right side bar. Oooh look at me go!

Just for kicks, here are some snaps from a recent trip to Pana Cafe in Richmond with some girlfriends. For those who aren’t aware, Pana are a Melbourne business who deal in the trade of delicious raw chocolate. You may have seen their bars stocked in shops around the place – they are recognisable by the cute little alien looking dudes on the front of the box. Pana use all vegan, organic ingredients and are refined sugar free.

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Apart from their classic bars sold through various stockists, Pana also have a cafe on Church street in Richmond where they serve up an array of slices, cakes and other raw treats which look almost too good to eat. Seriously, I reckon we spent more time ooh-ing and aah-ing over everything than we did actually eating, they are so gosh darn beautiful.

We couldn’t help but be pulled by the allure of the larger ‘surprise cake’, which we were pretty sure we had pegged as choc-mint. We also got a slice of what I think was spicy apple slice, if my memory serves me correct.

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Well we sure were surprised, because there was not a hint of mint in this baby. Instead we found berries and a delicious lime tasting cream on top. Rich, silky smooth and delicious the whole way through. I was keen for something less chocolate-y with the slice, and it didn’t disappoint. I felt our eyes were a little too big for our tummies though, as I was feeling pretty stuffed by the end.

Shout out to my pal Steph for the photos which I have borrowed. Also shout out to the lovely lady who did an excellent job at slicing the goodies into thirds for us. It is worth noting that while it is called the Pana Cafe, there really are only a couple of stools (3 or 4) and a bench at the front of the shop, so if you aren’t lucky enough to nab them you might have to take away.

Speaking of take aways, I took a few choccies home to share with the bear. I can’t remember what they all were – oh deary me, how many times do I swear I’ll start taking notes for occasions like this? One was sesame, I feel like one might have been lemonade, maybe lavender and rose? Whatever the case – they were all incredible. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoyed them more than the cakes – perhaps being bite sized there was less chance of being overcome by the richness.


Apologies for the shitty late night camera phone job, but these darlings couldn’t wait any longer!

Pana Cafe
491 Church St, Richmond
Mon – Fri – 10am – 5pm
Sat – 10am – 4pm
Sun – 11am – 3pm

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

Vegie Bar and Three One 2 One

Walking up and down Brunswick street always gets my tummy rumbling. I recently popped into Vegie Bar with my mum for a quick snack in between some seriously successful browsing.

vegbar2“This is not the time for dumplings” said nobody ever. Quite thick skins on these ones, I can’t remember what the filling was made of, it wasn’t remarkably tasty but nothing a good dunking of sauce cant fix.

vegbar3Along the same vein, I will never pass on wontons. I really liked the broth these were in – gingery, garlicky with some fresh coriander…heavenly match.

vegbar1To top it off, I had a matcha milkshake. I have not forayed very far into the world of matcha, so the taste is quite unusual to me still. I did enjoy this, but perhaps not quite what I was craving at the time (read: ice coffee).

This next visit goes back some time. As in possibly last year. Three One 2 One is a little cafe on Bridge road in Richmond, with a funky rhino on the side of the wall.

threeone2one2Upon first glance at the menu, it is not super vegan friendly. There are plenty of cheesy and eggy vegetarian options, though nothing strikes my eye. The lunch menu is mostly paninis and sandwiches, and after asking the waitress, she pointed a few things that they could alter for me. I went with the pumpkin and gruere sandwich with candied walnuts, caramelised onion and rocket (minus the gruere), which came with a side of “chubby chips”.

threeone2oneThe chips were yum! The sandwich was a little strange – the candied walnuts making for a very sweet addition. I found them quite hard little nuggets in the sandwich, providing an almost tooth breaking crunch. With pumpkin not being my top choice of vegetables to put in a sandwich, this didn’t really impress. I did however enjoy the experience and the service, which led me to go back two more times since then, however unfortunately it just hasn’t quite cut it on the follow up visits. Once for brekkie I had quite a plain avo on toast, and the next time I tried to customise my own vegan sandwich, and despite the girl acknowledging and trying to advise what I could eat (though appearing confused at what vegan actually means), my sandwich came out with mayonnaise and most likely butter-cooked mushrooms. Despite my average experiences, my non-vegan dining companions really enjoyed their meals.

Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 11am – 10pm
Fri – 11am – 10.30pm
Sat – 9am – 10.30pm
Sun – 9am – 10pm

Three One 2 One
424 Bridge Road, Richmond
Open every day 8am – 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)