Sydney: the cake edition

The couple of visits to Sydney gave me ample opportunity to eat cake. And who am I to let something like that slip through my hands? On one of our trips to Newtown, Billy and I came across Vegan’s Choice, a little supermarket that stocked various pantry, refrigerated and frozen goods, as well as a large range of cakes, cupcakes, brownies and tofu ice cream.

 I think I actually cried a little the first time we walked in and looked at the cake display. Seriously. They had a great selection which included a couple of raw cheesecakes, plus about half of their cakes were gluten-free. I’m not sure what happened next – maybe I went into shock – but next thing I knew, we were walking down the street with a cupcake each. I can’t remember what the exact flavours were, but I think Billy got cookies and cream with vegan mint slice on top, and mine was along the lines of choc peanut butter with vegan tim tams. They were pretty yummy, though super sweet and almost a bit sickly by the time I’d finished it.
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The cakes and I had unfinished business, so we visited them again the next time we were in the area. This time I was able to quickly eliminate all but two cakes in my decision making process…it was either mocha or caramel cheesecake. I went with mocha, and the cheerful lady behind the counter asked if I wanted a scoop of ice cream with it. Why yes nice lady, I do. I got chocolate on the side, and Billy went with a choc walnut brownie with black sesame ice cream.
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I wish I could eat this cake forever, for it was a slice of smooth, creamy, silky choc coffee goodness. YUM. Now I had one more opportunity to visit Vegan’s Choice when I met up with a lovely friend of mine for a long awaited catch up. We ducked in for something sweet, and I was able to test the caramel cheesecake, while she went with the raw jaffa cheesecake. Both delicious, though I preferred the mocha. The raw cake was super rich and decadent, and while tasty, was difficult to finish in one sitting.
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My last Sydney cake escapade caught me by surprise. I went with Billy’s mum for a wander around the Glebe markets, when I noticed a cute little cupcake stand – Madhatter Cupcakery. I was admiring all the prettily decorated cakes when I noticed a sign saying VEGAN. Upon discovering that yes, the sign was telling the truth, we picked four little cupcakes to take home and share among us. I think these were macchiato, salted caramel popcorn, red velvet, and strawberry musk. The flavours of these were beautiful, the strawberry one being reminiscent of fairy floss, and the salted caramel had that real salty hit.
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Mmmm cake.
Vegan’s Choice
113 King st, Newtown
Open 7 days, 11.30am-late
Madhatter Cupcakery
Glebe Markets
40 Glebe Point rd, Glebe
Every Saturday 10am-4pm

Funky Pies

While in Sydney, we had the pleasure of eating at Funky Pies in Bondi. I had seen their pies stocked in the freezers of a few different health food shops, but was yet to try them. We actually ended up enjoying them so much when we popped through Sydney the first time that when we were back and vising the markets down at Bondi beach, it was the perfect excuse to eat there again!

Funky pies is a cosy little cafe, tucked off of the main street in Bondi, with awesome music and just a nice vibe in general. It only has about four tables – two inside and two out, but they also do take away. Not only do they offer pies, but also a variety of drinks, a small selection of sweets, and a few grocery items.

The first visit, in the absence of the famous ‘Funky Chunky’ pie, I went for the ‘Eezy Chick ‘n’ Cheezy’ pie – a combination of mock chicken chunks, broccoli, and mushroom in a cheezy sauce. Billy opted for the ‘Thai Spicy’ pie, which was also full of chickeny chunks, but with spinach and mushroom, in a mild Thai flavoured sauce. It wasn’t very spicy, as suggested, but still delicious. I wasn’t feeling super hungry, so I got the pie on its own for around $6, but for $10 you can add either salad and potato salad, or mashed potato, peas and gravy (which Billy couldn’t go past). I forgot to take snaps on our first visit, which was more incentive to go back the second time.

We managed to arrive earlier next time, which allowed us to secure the classic Funky Chunky pie. We got one of these each, as neither of us felt willing to share. This is your classic meat and potato pie substitute, so if you’re into that kind of thing this is great. It took me a while to get into ‘meaty’ veg stuff, as I never really liked meat to begin with. However, now that I can separate it from the actual idea of being meat (since it’s not!)  I can enjoy the textural experience for what it is – delicious vegan food! So in saying that, these pies were amazing! Chunky shitake mushroom pieces with thick gravy and a bit of mashed potato thrown in, inside the crispiest, flakiest pastry…just delicious! A nice fresh salad with balsamic dressing and a couple of mouthfuls of potato salad were just perfect to go alongside. Billy managed to make his disappear like magic and I caught him eyeing off mine, but there was no way he was getting any of this bad boy.

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Funky Pies
144-148 Glenayr Ave
Bondi NSW
Weekdays – 7am – 8.30pm
Weekends – 11am – 8.30pm

Iku Wholefoods and Gelato Blue

Billy and I zipped back to Sydney on the train on Wednesday, as he had to pick up a guitar and his mum was flying up from Melbourne so we thought it would be fun to spend some time with her too. A perfect excuse to sample some more of the vegan food that Sydney has to offer.

We went for a wander around the city yesterday until our tummies started to grumble. I had heard of Iku Wholefoods before, but hadn’t come across one by chance (surprisingly – as there are about six locations in the city area alone!) so this visit I decided to seek one out. The closest one to us at our time of hunger was on Oxford st in Darlinghurst.

Iku have been around longer than I have, and are a completely vegan chain that focus on promoting good food for positive health. They not only keep their food animal-free, but also preservative, additive and GM free.

As per usual, when I come across a completely vegan eatery I become overwhelmed by all the choice and want to eat everything on the menu, so while I ummed and ahhed, Billy ordered the spicy vegetable, tofu and lime leaf laksa.

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Bit of a blurry photo, I was too busy reaching for a spoon to hold still. This was a super delicious, filling dish, with a really tangy lime kick. I loved the way the tofu was crumbled on top as opposed to the usual cubes, although Billy wasn’t really a fan of it himself.

I opted for a couple of snacking bits so that I could try different things, ordering a rice paper roll, a nori roll with brown rice and pickled vegetables, and a polenta cake with vegetables and a kind of chili glaze.

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These were all cold dishes which was awesome as I was warm from walking about. There were various dipping sauces that you could get to add to these, but I wasn’t feeling them at the time. The rice paper roll was yummy and fresh, and had a kind of satay sauce mixed through it which was unexpected but welcome. The flavour of the polenta cake was quite nice, though somehow I feel that it would have worked better as a warm dish, as serving it cold meant it had that kind of rubbery texture that polenta gets after being in the fridge – it definitely had that ‘leftovers’ kind of feeling. That being said, it was still yummy. The nori roll I bagged for later, and it was deliciously filling. The pickled vegetables gave it a nice tangy flavour, Billy and I really enjoyed it.

The dishes cost us $25 all up, and I was really satisfied, though Billy didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did. I’d love to try some of their other stuff, as they had some other yummy looking stuff – lasagne, burgers, salads, tarts, soups and a few sweeties too.

We wandered on and about the place, perusing some galleries and stuff before walking over to Newtown in search of Gelato Blue, having heard it had a case of vegan flavours. The rumours did not lie!

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YUM. Instead of just the standard sorbet flavours vegans are used to, they had things like banana split, cherry ripe and caramelised fig and cinnamon. Arghh! We both got cones with two flavours, at $7 a pop. Billy chose banana split (which freed up one of my choices, as I wanted to taste that one!) and passionfruit.

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I wanted to try the fig and cinnamon, but I couldn’t go past cherry ripe and thought chocolate would make a better flavour combination (plus – I had never tried chocolate sorbet?).

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I don’t think I need to give a detailed explanation of how delicious they were. I don’t think I could ever be unhappy with gelato. Amazing! Tummies well and truly full, we wandered back to our place of rest to recharge for our next adventures.

– x –

Iku Wholefoods
62 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
(and various other locations around Sydney)
Mon-Fri 9.30am-8.30pm
Sat 10am-5.30pm
Sunday 10.30am-5.30pm

Gelato Blue
318 King st, Newtown
Mon-Thurs 8am-11pm
Sat-Sun 11am-midnight

Time just gets away & Rubyfruit Bakery, Leura

Oh my goodness, where to start?! It’s been almost a month since my last update…so much has happened. We’ve been having heaps of fun, and without access to my own computer it makes it a little bit harder to update. I’m thinking about getting one of those little notebooks to take around with me. We’ll see..
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Anyway, I’ll give a quick rundown of the last few weeks so I can get back up to speed with everything. Basically, after Bathurst we moved on to Katoomba, which was amazing. I guess you could say that Katoomba is the ‘main’ town in the Blue Mountains and it is just stunningly gorgeous. It’s got a really nice vibe, and in many ways reminds me of Hobart (but perhaps even better?). It’s crazy to think that it’s only an hour and a half or so out of the horror that is Sydney. We stayed in a mansion with a bunch of weird and wonderful people, and generally just loved being there. We did some day trips and some walks and all that jazz, there are so many stunning places to see around the area. I really fell head over heels in love with Katoomba, it’s now at the top of my list of next town to settle in. I can really see myself living there, it’s just so beautiful.

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In the couple of weeks we were in Katoomba, my birthday occurred – I reached the quarter century! It was pretty low key, which was good as I’m not really into a big fuss being made, but Billy spoiled me which was nice. He booked us into a week-long mini yoga class which we attended every morning of the week, which was an incredible way to start the days. We LOVED it, it was such a sweet and thoughtful present as he knew I had wanted to take some classes and I really got a lot our of them. As it happens, I discovered that it’s actually a really great way to get rid of a hangover too! B also got some funky old beaded seat covers for the van (I’m not sure who these presents were for more – me or him!) As if that wasn’t already enough, he got me an awesome book on copper and wire jewellery making and some really good quality tools. Mum and Dad sent me some money too and I was able to get some stuff we’d been wanting for ages, like a compact camping table, some head torches, biodegradable crockery and other stuff for the van, which was awesome.

Billy took me out to breakfast after yoga for some fresh juice and amazing mushrooms on toast, and THEN took me out to lunch, back to Rubyfruit bakery in Leura as I had been hanging to go back. We got two wraps and had half each – the BLAT – bacon lettuce avocado and tomato, and the satay tofu. Both were delicious.

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We were so full that we got some cakes to go so that we didn’t spoil them and eat ourselves into a food coma. I forget what they were – I think a raspberry cheesecake and a boozy banana cupcake. Rubyfruit is SUCH an awesome café – definitely worth the trip. The staff there are amazingly friendly, the food is great, and there’s a great range of grocery and freezer items on offer too. Did I mention cake? They have soooo many cakes.

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That night Billy and some folks at the mansion made the most epic nacho dinner I have ever seen, they were so yummy. I have seriously never seen so many nachos in my life. Then B made me a banana pecan pancake cake with soy ice cream, which was out of control. I think I ate more food that day than the whole time I was in the Blue Mountains! The rest of the night we drank wine and I got to have chats with some lovely family and friends who called. It was allllll gooooooood.

I won’t go into detail about everything we did or I will never get out of here, so I’ll skip ahead. We left Katoomba maybe a week and a half ago and headed towards Sydney. We took two days to do that tiny trip, stopping at various towns along the way. When we finally got into The dreaded Sydney, ZZ cracked the shits and broke down, deciding he did not want to go any further. With some help from a couple of nice strangers, we pushed him from the middle of the road where he lay dormant into a small petrol station on the corner. In the true spirit of Sydney (sorry about the Sydney hate…I just do not enjoy the place) the worker came out and told us we would have to move as we were blocking business. Never mind that the van won’t start, just move it! Thanks for the sympathy. So we had to roll ZZ into an intersection and down a hill with traffic coming from every direction. IT WAS A BALL!! I managed to hit the petrol bowser with my bull bar on the way out which was a nice touch.

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We ended up getting a tow truck, which didn’t get to us until midnight and towed us to an unrestricted parking area where we did some sneaky sleeping. As luck would have it, it was ANZAC day the following day, meaning no mechanics open. We ended up staying with Billy’s brother’s near Kings Cross for a few nights. We mostly just wandered around and ate lots of food. I do have to give Sydney that – it has lots of yummy vegan food. We finally managed to get ZZ into an autoelectrician and get some wiring fixed and some new batteries and we were good to go. We bid Sydney farewell and headed north up the coast.

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Took a couple of days going up the central coast, stopping at beaches along the way and now here we are, having finally made it to Nelson Bay to stay with B’s grandparents…a visit we were going to do before postponing because of getting jobs in Cessnock, Orange and Bathurst all those weeks ago. We’re taking the time to regroup, organise ZZ a bit better and plan our next movements.

And that’s that! Finally up to date! Until next time…we’ll be on the beach soaking up some sunshine!

– x –

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Rubyfruit Bakery
Shop 10/166-168 Leura Mall, Leura
Blue Mountains, NSW
Thurs-Sun – 10am-4pm
Wednesday – CLOSED