Archives for posts with tag: brunswick vegan

Cool, quirky, and colourful, Lime Crime is  the makeup line that all fun lovin’ vegans should check out. Sassy mistress of makeup and Lime Crime founder, Doe Deere (I think she was christened by Julie Andrews) has not only put together an array of awesomeness to brighten up your kisser she’s also made a pledge that all her products are cruelty-free and never tested on animals. Now that’s what I like to hear!

The packaging alone is enough to make you smile but with lippie colours named things like Airborne Unicorn, Babette, and No She Didn’t, it’s easy to spend forever pawing over these products.

And if you don’t think you can rock lip colours in mint or gold, you’re probably wrong. Lime Crime is all about being bold and having fun with your war paint — and their blog is there to give you plenty of ideas on how to wear even the most daring of shades.

I grabbed myself their Velvetine long-lasting liquid lipstick in Suedeberry. And their Carousel Glossy Lipstick in Gold Ticket.

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The Gold Ticket is a bit of fun and definitely brings a touch of rock’n’roll to my smackers but the Velvetine is a revelation! It goes on like gloss, dries matte and then DOESN’T BUDGE! Even after a burger! Let the choirs of angels sing! Truly awesome lip wear.

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Where it at? I got mine from one of my favourite little animal friendly stores Save Yourself in Brunswick. You should go down and see the lovely Adie because she’s a peach but you can check out the other cruelty-free products she stocks here!
What’s the damage? My lippies were $26 each but you can check out the full makeup range at their website — click here!

What’s your favourite cruelty-free makeup line?

There’s a new(ish) kid on the block. The North Carlton Canteen is a welcome addition to the culinary no man’s land between Brunswick’s piece of Lygon Street and Carlton’s little Italy. It’s nice that the smell of roasted coffee beans and toasted sourdough now fills the void previously monopolised by rose buds and death. It only struck me while I was slurping on my medium roast why this particular spot is such a hub of floral activity (including a 24-hour drive-through florist). It’s the strip running opposite a cemetery. And behind sweet Valentines and mothers on Mother’s Day the next category of people most commonly in receipt of a heartfelt bouquet has got to be the dead. Hmm. Right. Mystery solved. Now, that’s enough about the dead. I’ll tell you what wasn’t lifeless: the mushrooms NCC served me for breakie! Another seamless segue, Emma.

While there was nothing vegan-ready on NCC’s menu, the very attentive and friendly waitress was happy to ask her vegan colleague for suggestions. The two of them rattled off a few ideas and I went with smashed avocado on seeded sourdough with a side of mushrooms. It was a simple meal but it was delicious. A big dollop of creamy avocado, nutty roasted pumpkin seeds and tangy lemon was the perfect topping for the crunchy Brasserie sourdough. The mushrooms were full of flavour, juicy and tender. I would be happy to go back and try another of the dishes they said could be veganised — a pumpkin and rocket toasted sammie sounded like a winning lunch option.

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Vegan options: Nothing vegan on the menu but they are happy to put a few options together for you.
Coffee: The coffee is a single origin Italian blend, specially roasted for NCC. It was nice, but I’ve had better coffee in the area.
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: I paid over $20 for what was essentially avocado and mushroom on toast (and a coffee) so I definitely grade this vegan breakie as a little pricey.
Ear candy: Not sure actually. There’s a great busy atmosphere inside the cafe and the air is filled with chatter.

Have you got a favourite vegan-friendly spot in Carlton?

You thought you knew peanut butter. Standing alone in the kitchen with no-one to judge you. Just you and a spoon and a jar of good quality peanut butter — heaven, right? Wrong. You don’t know how good peanut butter can be until you’ve had homemade peanut butter. And one step better than that is the taste and texture of homemade peanut butter without having to lift a finger — or a peanut. Enter Wide Open Road.

I believe this Brunswick café and roastery may just be home to the best peanut butter in Melbourne. So now that I have made a grandiose claim and featured the words ‘peanut butter’ more in one paragraph than ever before — onto the dish! You can get your fingers sticky with two giant hunks of Rustica sourdough slathered (thick! the chef may have dabbled in brick-laying in a past life) in house-made peanut butter and topped with fresh banana and agave nectar. A lot of thought has gone into building this simple little slice of heaven. The peanut butter is just the right side of salty to pair perfectly with the sweetness of the banana and agave. And none of that super-pasty-stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-forever business either! Wash it down with one of Wide Open Road’s near perfect Bathysphere blend coffees and you have a very filling, delicious Sunday starter for just over twelve bucks!

IMG_0559And the good news doesn’t stop there. There’s a second scrumptious vegan option on the menu. Portobello mushrooms, skordalia, smoked almonds, currants and pickled cauliflower with a slab of Rustica sourdough. Big, fat, juicy mushrooms, crusty bread, creamy potato and garlic puree (the skordalia), smokey almonds, sweet currants, slightly sour and slightly crunchy cauliflower. You guessed it, this dish is a flavour bomb. The textures are great and the flavour combination is adventurous which really reflects the kind of menu Wide Open Road delivers. Add to that great service, a bright and breezy atmosphere and killer coffee and you can see why it’s one of my new favourite haunts.

IMG_0525Vegan options: There’s the two you see here and there are also changing specials which may sometimes be vegan-friendly. They also do a vegan slice.
Coffee: The coffee is outstanding. The Bathysphere blend is roasted onsite (they supply the same blend to A Minor Place). They also do drip and filter.
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: $12.50 for the first dish and coffee. Or $20.50 for the fancy mushies on toast and a coffee.
Ear candy: Always a good mix tinkling in the background.

Where’s your favourite vegan brunch?

Apologies for my absence bloglemen and blogettes, I have been a little unwell of late. That hasn’t stopped me from keeping my promise to you, however. I have still managed to drag myself out to a few vegan-friendly establishments to have my thirst quenched and belly filled — such is my undying commitment to finding the best places for you to eat and drink around this fair city. Can’t you feel my love? I mean, really, what I put myself through for you.

Ray on Victoria Street, off Sydney Road, recently served me up a vegan brunch that is now ranked as one of my favourites. This café is small in stature but big on flavour with delicious coffee and lip-smacking Middle Eastern inspired dishes served up for the Brunswick crowd.

A quick peek at the menu showed no obvious vegan-friendly meal so to save time I asked the friendly waitress for a suggestion. She proposed the Baharat baked beans without the labne and with some of their roasted garlic mushrooms on top. Now I know I eat a lot of beans. They seem to be the breakie prescription doled out to us vegans by the omnivorous chefs of this city. But I don’t care. I love ’em (luckily). These beans, however, were something else! They came to me in a rich, spicy, smokey tomato sauce sprinkled with dukkah — and they stood apart from the millions (only a slight exaggeration) of other before-noon bean dishes I have been served. And the mushrooms! Oh dear breakfasting Gods, those juicy, garlicky ‘shrooms. Not to mention the crusty Turkish bread. There was drool folks, I don’t mind telling ya, drool. Get down to Ray’s and wrap your laughing gear around these beans — and make sure you ask for the mouth-watering mushies on top or you’re a fool. Ya hear me?


Vegan options: I think there may have been a couple of easily veganised sweet options on the menu. But don’t waste your time with those. Grab yourselves some beans and ‘shrooms kids!
Coffee: The coffee at Ray is outstanding. Not surprising given it was the first café opened by Mark Dundon (Brother Baba Budan and Seven Seeds). The new owners maintain the café’s reputation for brewing sensational beans with their special roast, Tiger Ray by Atomica.
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: Excellent value at $15 for breakfast and a coffee
Ear candy: I heard The Strokes and The Ramones and was a happy little brunch muncher

Where’s your favourite vegan brunch?

This morning I just sat my bum down in some stranger’s kitchen, cheekily demanded he whip me up something vegan and gluten-free and, “throw in a coffee while you’re at it pal.” And he did, without calling the police or anything. Instead, he played The Human League on vinyl.

Well, that’s what it felt like. New Day Rising is a tiny, laid-back café on Blythe Street in East Brunswick. The joint is sans counter so it really feels like you’re just chilling in co-owner Tom’s kitchen. He put together a delicious breakfast for me. It helped that I didn’t actually call him pal.

My belly welcomed New Day Rising’s CLT. Yep, you guessed it, Coconut, Lettuce and Tomato. You didn’t guess it, did you? Fibber. This café’s vegan take on the classic BLT is very tasty indeed. The coconut shavings are sweet and smokey and saucy enough to dribble on your plate. The CLT normally comes on a bagel which would taste even better. Since my Joshi detox my stomach and I have fallen out with each other. Since my belly refuses to tell me exactly what I’ve done to upset it I’m experimenting by taking a few weeks off gluten to see if there’s any improvement. Tom was thoughtful enough to tell me that sometimes the café can’t get vegan gluten-free bread and so advised I check with him if I order gluten-free in the future.

Vegan options: Their vegetarian menu is very vegan friendly. In addition to the CLT, they have other bagels and toasts that can be veganised. They have vegan cream cheese and all of their sweet treats (breakfast muffins e.t.c.) are vegan.
Coffee: Five Senses
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: Pretty good deal at $14.80 for breaky and a coffee
Ear candy: There’s a rockin’ little bundle of vinyl snuggled up to the record player and while I was there I heard The Kinks and The Human League

I dig this little place. It seems good things really do come in small packages.

Do you know any great places to grab a vegan breakfast/brunch in Brunswick?

I started Dr Joshi’s 21 Day Holistic Detox on Monday. I did this detox last year, with great results. It is pretty difficult. You must cut out alcohol, caffeine, gluten, yeast, sugar, salt, deadly nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini etc), and all fruit, except bananas. It alkalises your body and changes your palate so that you crave the good stuff and not the nasties. I decided it was time to do it again, especially after several months of surviving on a shoe-string and then thoroughly enjoying the novelty of being able to eat out again. It’s not a stretch to say I’m capable of craving hot chips for breakfast. Definitely time to re-balance the ol’ body. And give my ever-tortured liver a break.

So far it has been a spectacular failure. It has gone a little something like this:

Sunday (detox eve): Had a marvellous time eating remainder of non-detox foods left in fridge and pantry (best to get them completely out of the house) including enough bread and vegan cheese to feed a music festival. Began polishing off my two-thirds-full bottle of Oxford Landing Shiraz while doing the housework… at 1pm.
Monday: Smashing first day. Lots of yummy detox-friendly goodies including roasted brussels and broccoli over saffron quinoa for dinner. An hour after dinner, convinced I am starving, I eat the portion of dinner I was reserving for lunch on Tuesday. Hmmm.
Tuesday: After some bad news and a rather shitty day I have a blow out: a block of Conscious Chocolate and a soy chai. I restrain myself enough not to have coffee. That’s ok, I tell myself. One little slip up. Just get back on the wagon. I stop in with Captain Someone and it’s not long before we are planning a decidedly non-detox dinner. Bugger. I’ll start the 21 days over again tomorrow.
Wednesday: Stayed at Captain Someone’s so haven’t organised detox food for the day. Give in at lunch time. Never mind. I’ll stick to doing the right thing with my liquids, whatever happens NO coffee or alcohol will pass these lips. I’ll start the 21 days over again tomorrow. Feeling much more motivated now anyway. Yep, tomorrow.
Thursday: After a woeful night’s sleep and a very difficult morning I console myself in the best way I know how: a good book and brunch. And coffee. Glorious coffee. My entire body is enveloped in the warm hug of caffeine. Bollocks. My detox attempt is an abomination.

Buuut, it means I have one more brunch review to share with you before I embark on 21 days of slightly duller (cough, cough) cuisine. Because — and I really mean it this time — tomorrow is D Day.

So here it is. I popped into Milkwood on Nicholson Street in Brunswick, up on the corner of Blythe. The service was friendly with the waitress giving me a few vegan options and explaining that two of the chefs are vegetarian so they are very accommodating to vegans. I am discovering that Melbourne café’s vegan option of choice is almost always the humble bean. I might have to do a ‘best of Melbourne’s beans’ post some time. Lucky I love ’em. There were two bean options this time. Smashed cannelinis with avo on toast or tomato butter beans. I went with the latter and they were once again delicious. Butter and barlotti beans in a rich tomato sauce with lots of chopped basil throughout. Yum.

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Vegan options: A few. A couple of bean dishes to choose from and a yummy looking porridge/fruit combo too.
Coffee: Supreme
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: Not cheap, but fair at $18.30 for breakfast and coffee
Ear candy: Paul Simon and Pulp, back-to-back. Perfect! Thursday I’m ready for you!

With my last non-detox meal (I REALLY mean it this time) in my belly, I practically skipped out of Milkwood. But as I returned to my scooter to find the keys dangling, very visibly, in the ignition I wondered if a life without coffee was really the best option for me.

With the kind of renewed sense of hope and determination that a cup of caffeine injects, I rode off into the mid-morning sun feeling positive. “Vitality begins tomorrow!” I bellowed to the applauding Nicholson Street pedestrians.*

*whether this scenario occurred on Nicholson Street itself or inside my head is uncertain.

I have injured my right hand. This renders me useless as I am about as ambidextrous as a one-armed bandit.  So I have been staying with my partner, we’ll call him Captain Someone*, who is acting as my right-hand man in a very literal sense indeed.

I ventured into the streets of Brunswick yesterday to find some vegan-friendly breaky delights to soothe the morning rumble.

My first stop was Jellystone, at the Sydney Road end of Albion Street. I was surprised to find there are no vegan options at this cozy little café. The waiter inquired with the kitchen and then reported there was nothing they could do for me, not even toast, as their bread has dairy in it. Obviously, I don’t recommend this café for a meal, but if it is just a bean fix you are after, the coffee was delicious.

Vegan options: Zero
Coffee:
Atomica
Soy: Bonsoy
Ear candy: I didn’t recognise their tunage and wasn’t Shazaming distance from their speakers but I liked what I heard.

With an empty belly, I hit the pavement again. Just down the road, also on Albion, sits another charming café, A Minor Place. I was relieved to find they are much more accommodating. Vegan’s can fill their tums with the café’s famous Henry’s Beans or, if you’re not a legume lover, you have a few build-your-own-breaky options too.

I went for the beans: cannelinis in a creamy white garlic and rosemary sauce, topped with rocket, dukkah and a lemon wedge. They were delicious, especially with a liberal squeeze of lemon. Vegans just need to let the kitchen know to dress the bread with oil instead of butter.

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The service was quick and friendly and I was amused to find that none of the team seemed to know the story behind Henry’s Beans. While I liked the idea of a mysterious Henry of the Bean, the word from the kitchen was just as charming. The recipe was concocted for Henry, a little boy, friend of the owner and bean fiend and he liked it so much, they put it on the menu. I have to agree with Henry.

Vegan options: Henry’s beans, build-your-own-breaky
Coffee:
 Great coffee! Their own Bathysphere blend. They roast their beans at their lil’ sister venue, Wide Open Road on Barkley Street.
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: A good price at $16 for breakfast and coffee
Ear candy: Jose Gonzalez and similar tinkled through the café. Perfect start-your-day sounds.

Do you know any great places to grab a vegan breakfast/brunch in Brunswick?

*typing ‘we’ll call him Captain Someone’ implies that I just came up with that now but that’s not what happened. He asked me what I would call him in my blog posts. I asked him what he would like to be called. He replied Captain… and as he trailed off into thought I suggested I just use his initial. His face didn’t exactly light up at this suggestion.
“Well you can be Captain someone if you want,” I said.
“Yes,” he replied.
“OK, so Captain who then?”
“Captain Someone.”
“You want to be called Captain Someone? “
“Yes.”
“Um, OK, you can be Captain Someone,” I said
…to a 36 year-old man.