Tag Archives: vegetarian

Treat 56: The North Star

My friend Louise is moving South of the River and though I am sad to see her leave us Northies behind, on the bright side it means branching out and trying new places that aren’t in my local radius. I do apologise to my followers that are south of the river because I knowingly neglect you. I also apologise for making jokes about needing road trip CDs to get to Fremantle. I’ll be honest I won’t stop making them (sorry Louise and Neha). So in the next couple weeks you will notice new brunch locations and I’ll mention suburbs where I probably have never eaten before. However, I couldn’t let Louise cross to the dark side without one last supper or brunch in this case at one of her former haunts, Hobart Deli in North Perth. This was actually my first time at Hobart Deli. I find myself continually surprised by these random corner cafes in the suburbs. Recent discoveries include Lincoln’s Cafe in Highgate, Piccolos Cafe in West Leederville and West End Deli in West Perth (see Quick Treat: The Slap). Hobart Deli was packed to the rafters on this Monday public holiday. I was lucky to nab a table so quickly. I’d like to think that was because for the first time in my life I was actually on time for brunch. Hopefully this experience will motivate me to become more punctual but I am naturally a late person and I can’t fight genetics. What I like about the Hobart Deli menu is that it has brunch options that you usually wouldn’t eat let alone make at home. The small space inside and out means you are almost practically sitting on the person next to you. It’s not arms distance apart more like a pinky finger space next to you. The advantage in this is that it is great for food watching (and eavesdropping but that’s neither here nor there). Unless you have already ordered then the advantage becomes a disadvantage because then you have food envy staring a pinky distance away from you. I ordered the full vegetarian, which didn’t sound as fun as the full playground (the title for the meat-eaters option). I’m not vegetarian but I like vegetarian options at brunch. You will notice me choosing the mushrooms and feta or anything with poached eggs really. This was a vegetarian’s dream – zucchini and haloumi fritter, roasted tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and poached egg on rye bread. They should rename it the Full House because it really has all the vegetarian favourites. The standout item for me was the zucchini and haloumi fritter. I loved the texture of the shredded zucchini and the punchy herbs made it memorable. The letdown was the overcooked poached eggs and hard rye bread. The bread choice was my fault. Rye is notoriously hard to cut but for some bizarre reason I like the sour taste that comes with it. The hard poached egg makes me sad because it’s gooeyness would have helped soften the rye bread. I won’t remind you about the last time my heart broke when I got hard poached eggs (see Treat 49: Foam Home ). I won’t give up on this place though. If I take your mind back to food envy, I had that from the lady next to me who in her own words was staring at the ensemble on my plate. In turn, I was staring longingly at her brioche with berries. I can’t wait to go back there just for that. The coffee was decent. When I looked at my coffee connoisseur friend Louise, she did not seem that impressed. She’s only moved in across the river five minutes and she’s criticising the coffee on the northie side. We will see about that. I really mean that….I have a long list of places to try including Ootong & Lincoln, Harvest, Barque, Aubergines….the list goes on. To sort of quote a wise man, Ali G….North side is the best! The crowds at Hobart Deli, Tuck Shop Cafe and Sayers are testament to that. But as a ‘foodie’ who actually eats food (not just take photos of it) I am excited by the prospect of finding the south of the river version of these brunching options. Watch out southies I am coming and I have an awesome road trip CD all ready to go.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Breakfast is the only time I'm vegetarian (except when I eat bacon)

Breakfast is the only time I’m vegetarian (except when I eat bacon)

THE DESTINATION
Hobart Deli on Urbanspoon

Treat 46: The day a carnivore became a herbivore

I am a meat eater. Give me a hunk of steak, a slab of ribs, a pot roast, a chicken schnitzel…I could go on but I won’t. However, growing up my mum always made sure there was two days per week when we ate seafood or a vegetarian meal. The older I get the more I embrace vegetables. For two days a week I’m like the shark in Finding Nemo – animals are friends not foes and I attempt to be vegetarian except technically not because I’ll still eat seafood. So really I’m nothing like the shark but more like forgetful Dory. Though my cousins have nicknamed me Nemo. Did you know there’s a Finding Nemo 2 coming out in 2014? Sorry for the major sidetrack -I’ll get back on topic now. On this beautiful hot Saturday my sister and I braved the crowds at the Beaufort Street Festival. Though there was countless food stalls, there were no comfortable places to eat. Instead I saw Veggie Mama open doing a roaring trade and luckily a table of two was free. I have wanted to try this place for awhile because my friend Fran raves about it. She works across the road and this is a handy and healthy lunch option. Not only is it vegetarian and vegan friendly, Veggie Mama also embraces the gluten free and has well displayed signs indicating what you are getting. My sister got the mushroom and walnut pattie with salad. For $13 it’s great value and as you can see from the photo – it’s a vegetable rainbow. The patty had an earthy taste with the walnut providing a nice crunch. The array of salad transformed a boring patty into an exciting and filling lunch. Now someone needs to get taste testers from Sumo Salad to try the Veggie Mama salads. You won’t find the preservativey taste of Sumo Salad in the Veggie Mama salads. Instead you will taste fresh vegetables lightly dressed. I chose the burger option with a chickpea and quinoa patty. The only disappointing element of this dish was the bread. Next time I will get the patty by itself. I was surprised that white bread was used when the place prides itself on healthy options. It wasn’t even tasty white bread. The relish was also a miss – it tasted more like ketchup than a relish. Instead of the token chips that it’s rival across the road, Hungry Jacks would supply with the burger you receive a rainbow salad. I was a happy camper diving into the array of broccoli, carrot and beetroot coleslaw and rice pilaf. The banana yoghurt smoothie was also a hit and helped cool us down on this hot day. Sorry I couldn’t give you a review of the Beaufort Street Festival food but the cool air and bright vegetarian options at Veggie Mamas won my stomach on the day. I will definitely go back there for the tasty vegetarian and gluten free friendly options.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Note to self - get the burger without the bread.

Note to self – get the burger without the bread.

It's like a rainbow!

It’s like a rainbow!

THE DESTINATION
Veggie Mama on Urbanspoon

Treat 40: Taken 3

I recently watched Taken 2 and I barely made a dent in my Cadbury popping candy chocolate before the credits were rolling. That must be the shortest movie in cinema history. Liam Neeson gets taken, then he gets found, then he gets taken and then he gets found and celebrates by eating ice cream. Good on Liam Neeson for celebrating with ice cream, I would be doing the same thing after a near death experience probably with a Maxibon. So what does Taken have to do with anything besides me venting about the duration of the movie and the tired formula. This is not a personal attack on Liam Neeson who I actually find charming especially in Love Actually. This treat is about disappointment. My cousins and I try to catch up once a week for breakfast before work. Each week we take turns choosing the breakfast location (for an example see Treat 31). Today was my turn. I love trying new places and I was so excited to try the new Small Print Baker & Roastery in the popular Print Hall. So after driving around trying to find parking we finally arrived at Brookfield Place and I couldn’t wait to see what house baked goods were on offer. Here comes the sad part…we couldn’t find it. I don’t know why I was too stubborn to ask someone. So while we were standing outside Print Hall I had no idea that we were actually standing on top of it. It was right under our noses this whole time. Why did we not think of going down the stairs? Well it was early in the morning, we were hungry and a stair climb wasn’t on the cards. So unfortunately we did not get to try Small Print today. We settled for Basilica, which was the more prominent café in Brookfield Place. I’ll be honest I was in a deflated mood. You know when you want to wear an outfit and you can’t find it but you had your heart set on it and you look all around your room and you can’t find it. That’s how I felt so poor Basilica had no chance to wow me. I ordered the vegetarian breakfast, which included grilled haloumi, sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, vine ripened tomato, avocado, served on sourdough but I added protein with a poached egg. For $17 I was wishing we were at Sayers instead. One of my pet peeves in life is bad poached eggs. I have attempted many times at poaching eggs at home to no avail and it’s one of my major reasons why I love brunch so much so I get a trained chef to poach an egg for me. This poached egg was not runny and my bad start to the day got worse. The rest of the components of the breakfast did the job with Basilica providing a generous amount of avocado and tomato. The sourdough wasn’t amazing and the halumi was rubbery, not enjoyable to eat. I had a similar dish at Voyager (see Treat 29) which knocked my socks off. The Basilica version did nothing to improve my morning. They also got my coffee order wrong, I asked for a large flat white and I got a regular latte. I was too much in a mood to argue. So unfortunately Basilica won’t be seeing me again anytime soon mainly because I don’t work in the city and finding parking is a nightmare. My friend Neha did recommend the panini she had there. My cousins and I did enjoy the cherry danish and wished we kept our breakfast short and sweet with the pastry options. My good mood might have been taken but my spirit is not broken. Now that I know where Small Print is I will be back. Sorry for all the negitude in this treat, I promise to be more upbeat next time.

THE FOOD JOURNEY
Basilica on Urbanspoon

The hard yolk ruined it for me.

Next time I’ll keep to a pastry option.

THE DESTINATION
Basilica on Urbanspoon

Treat 37: A Hong Kong catch up at a Japanese restaurant

It’s been awhile since I caught up with the lovely Lisa from my study abroad experience in Hong Kong. My roomie Davina also joined us for this catch up at Hanami in Mount Lawley. I have been to Hanami a couple times feasting on standard Japanese fare. It has a mixture of traditional floor seating as well as the usual chair and table combination. I’m not old or arthritic but I prefer sitting on a chair and so we did. It also features my favourite invention at restaurants, the humble doorbell. I am terrible at getting the attention of wait staff. No fear there is a doorbell here. So once you know what to order, press away and within a minute a kimono wearing waitress will take your order. The menu here is of novel length so there are plenty of sashimi, sushi and teppinyaki options. After some oohing and ahhing I went for the Chirashi set. This included an assortment of sashimi including tuna, salmon and crab. It also featured rice, edamame beans, miso soup and a lacklustre fruit salad. The most disappointing part of the dish was the crab. It was the kind you purchase from the deli section at Woolworths and was not what I considered sashimi especially for the price I paid. The tuna and salmon seemed fresh and didn’t have the fishy smell that usually comes with old sashimi. I actually like the texture of eating raw fish and meat in general and I feel very healthy whenever I order sashimi. I haven’t gotten sick from it….yet. The miso soup hit the spot and I have attempted making it at home. It’s actually quite simple, miso paste in hot water and bob’s your uncle there’s miso soup. If you want to be fancy you can add tofu and wakame seaweed all found at your local Asian convenience store. I accidentally tried to be too fancy and put too many vegetables in my take on a miso soup. I am my mother’s daughter after all. The fruit salad was a waste of space as it was browning. Besides not looking appealing it didn’t taste any better. I have enjoyed better meals at Hanami. They do the traditional dishes well like your teriyaki chicken. The Chirashi set was slightly disappointing. It was very filling though and I probably could have shared it. My friend Davina ordered vegetarian and teriyaki chicken sushi. I have to mention it because she didn’t even eat half of her chicken sushi in fear of salmonella. She didn’t think it tasted very fresh. However, it’s not all negative because the vegetarian sushi remains a favourite of hers and it did not disappoint her on this night. I have always enjoyed my dinners at Hanami. The food usually hits the mark despite tonight’s mixed efforts. It’s a great place for a catch up with long lost travel buddies when you don’t want to wait impatiently to order because you are too busy talking about each others lives. Let’s end this treat with a fun fact…what does hanami actually mean? It refers to the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers. This was sourced from my traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of Google.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Isn’t it obvious…it’s sushi.

It was good without being great. I’ve had better sashimi.

THE DESTINATION
Hanami Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Quick Treat: Mama I love you

Thanks to my friend Neha for the introduction to Mama Tran. She works nearby in the Woodside building so this is a two minute walk for lunch and thankfully has great vegetarian options for her. This was a perfect option for my fragile post-wisdom teeth surgery state. Okay I know I have dragged this out, I promise this is the last time I mention it. Neha recommended I get a soup to avoid the crunchy vegetables so I ordered the Pho Ga – rice noodle soup with chicken. It was quite a simple dish with generous amounts of chicken and rice noodles. Besides the Spanish onion and mint leaves there was not much else to this soup besides broth. I’m so used to my mum’s chicken soup, which is colourful in the array of vegetables she puts in there. I was missing those in this soup. Mind you my mum doesn’t cook Vietnamese so it’s comparing apples to oranges. That Pho Ga did fill me up but I did have a big case of food envy as I saw the colourful bowl of Neha’s. She ordered the Bun cha Gio, which included shreds of carrot, cucumber, lettuce and bean sprouts with rice vermicelli. I can’t wait to take my sister here because this place is gluten free friendly. For a cheap and healthy meal that will cater for vegetarians and gluten free then say hello to Mama Tran.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

I have a confession…I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo so this was taken about one third into the meal.

THE DESTINATION
Mama Tran on Urbanspoon