Viva La Vegan!

Once again I'm off to Sydney and this time for the Sydney Vegan Expo:


I leave home on Friday 29 April with a wonderful full rainbow early in the morning accompaning my Dad and I to the airport. Don't you think it's beautiful?


I was excited about my usual Qantas meal of Sanitarium Rice Bubbles or Cornflakes, but got Weet-bix intead this time with soy milk. Also the usual nanaberry made with quinoa flour, that doesn't seem as exciting as it first was, but it's still worthy of mention. See my previous Sydney blog for more on this.

I arrived at the Sydney airport to catch the train into Town Hall and then the bus over the bridge to Birchgrove where I would once again be staying with the lovely Jess from the Cruelty Free Shop. After we had chatted for awhile and both did some work, we headed for late lunch at Iku Wholefood, Rozelle. Jess had the aduki, pumpkin, ginger pie AU$10:


I had the lasagne AU$11:


We had decided to stay in for dinner tonight and make a vegetable stir fry as it was cold and we were going out tomorrow. So we headed to buy some food for our meal: zucchini, carrot, broccoli, mushrooms, bok choy, red capsicum plus some marinated tofu squares and some gluten-free crispy noodles. I forgot to take a photo of the great meal I cooked up for Jess, Nina (Jess's friend) and myself, sorry. But you can be assured that it was colourful and delicious! We also had sago desserts afterwards when we were watching the Runaways movie that is about Joan Jett and the other gals from the Runaways before Joan became a solo artist. A few people told me this was a good movie. It wasn't. But, I guess it was much better than watching the wedding of two people in another country who I don't even know. But we did see a bit of the church part when inserting the DVD and the waving at the crowd part when ejecting said DVD.     


I had a sleep in today which is great as I'd been working quite a bit lately for various clients, as well as a time-specific project over Easter that took a lot longer than I thought. I've been trying to go to sleep before 11pm or 12 and not being able to, so then I get up and do some work until 2 or 3am, sleep until 8am and start all over again, phew. So, anyway, I slept in until 10am today, which is pretty good as I don't seem to be able to do this much anymore. I remember when I was younger and would go out partying with my friends and/or seeing bands all through the weekend, I'd easily be able to sleep in until midday...

Anyway, so Jess, Gary and I started our day with brunch at Naked Espresso. Last time we were here I ordered the pancakes but it was way too much so I ordered a half/three-quarter serve. The waitress didn't really get what I was speaking about, but it was sorted in the end. Naked Espresso is owned and run by different people now and it's really not up to the standard the previous crew set. Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm biased, as some friends ran the previous incarnation plus other friends also worked there. The new owners are really lovely and accommodating but the staff don't seem to know the menu at all and no one is vegan there anymore, which always makes me feel a bit wary.  So, here's the photos. My small pancakes were still yum and beautifully presented (normally AU$12.99 - not sure what they were for the half serve as Jess paid for brunch):


Jess and Gary both had the Mix & Match AU$12.90:


We were meant to head to Mandee's Sydney Vegan Bake Sale as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale before brunch, but ended up missing it as I'd slept in. We found out later that Mandee and crew ended up raising over $800 for their charity of the month, Brightside Farm Sanctuary, an animal sanctuary in Tasmania! Back in Brisbane, the Green Earth Group volunteers - including my supportive parents - had been busy baking and were holding our own bake sale at the West End markets for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale to raise money for Green Earth Group and to raise awareness of the environmental consequences of the mainstream diet.

Jess and I wandered around Newtown for awhile, I bought a new dress that's sort of like a double-breasted jacket without the sleeves - it's white with a lot of orange and other colours splattered around on it, sounds great, hey!? We also stopped at Vegans Choice to get some of my favourite Addiction brownies and I bought some takeaway from Green Palace Thai for late lunch. We had a few chores to do and ended up at Rozelle to check out the second-hand shops I love and only bought one dress at U-Turn! Jess and I headed home to catch up on some work before dinner.

For dinner tonight we met a lovely mutal friend of ours, Kellie, who Jess and I have known for years and the travelling and eating vegan, Sundara who due to his job is able to travel around our beautiful country to most of the vegan events that take place in Australia, especially on the East coast. Sundara drove from his hometown Canberra for the expo and the four of us had a lovely meal at a new place, Vina, a Vietnamse restaurant in Newtown. Let it be known that my favourite restaurant in Sydney, Nourishing Quarter was fully booked as we left it too late, however I knew I'd see Lam and his crew at the vegan expo in the morning so I wasn't too worried. Another option we were throwing around, Otto Ristorante, looked good but we thought this would also be fully booked. Otto Ristorante is a fine dining restaurant with a vegan menu that is meant to be quite swish. [Universe, I would like a lovely vegan guy to take me here one night please.]

Back to the meals. The four of us ordered quite a few dishes that we shared. For entrees we ordered savoury Vina pancake AU$14:


Fried Spring Rolls AU$6 for three:


Crispy vegetables and fresh mushrooms AU$6 for six:


We also ordered crispy xuicao AU$6 for six even though we had no idea what it was, Sundara even looked up the word on his phone. We saw some photos but couldn't quite work it out, so decided to order it anyway. So this is what crispy xuicao looks like:


For our main meals we ordered Combination Vegetable options, including Tofu, black and white mushroom AU$15


Fried tofu with sweet and sour sauce AU$15:


Mock pork with ginger, shallot, soy sauce AU$15:


Plus fried rice with seaweed, sesame and mushrooms AU$12:


and a Stir-fried vegetable salad with ginger and mushroom sauce AU$7:


Jess and I didn't have any room for dessert so we headed home to have an early night before the big day. We found out later that Sundara and Kellie had gone to Green Gourmet for dessert.


Today Jess and I got up early to get to the Sydney Vegan Expo held at the Ultimo Community Centre. The expo is organised by the Vegan Society NSW and has been going since 2006 when Loren from Bounty Burgers originally had the idea and organised the first one then. I was at the original event and it's definitely come a long way! I was working at the Cruelty Free Super stall next to Jess' stall and there was a lot of great feedback from people about superannuation that actually is cruelty-free. These events are always great to meet other like-minded people, catch up with old friends, make new friends and meet people from my mailing list.

One of the friends I saw at her own stall was Kathy Divine, who has just released her debut book, Forever 21. This book has such a wonderful vibe and such good energy about it, it's a positive read with great people involved - I'm one of the people interviewed. What more do you need, I ask?! Here's a photo of the two of us:


Quite a few of my friends had stalls here and as well as catching up with them, I ate some of my favourite things: gozleme, rice paper rolls from Nourishing Quarter, more brownies from Addiction Food, yes love them, plus some divine cheesecakes and cupcakes from the wonderful gals at RubyFruit bakery, yum!

Always great to be in Sydney, now for dinner. Jess was exhausted but I was still keen on going out for dinner. So Kellie, Sundara, his friend Theresa and I decided we would go to Green Palace Thai for dinner. This was a little easier said than done, as we had Sundara's small sportscar, 4 passengers and 4 big polystyrene boxes that Jeremy at Vegan Perfection had given me for Jess to reuse. It became quite a mission. After we illegally parked (to which Sundara may have learned his lesson from) we walked the back streets through an aptly re-named Vegan Street just off of King Street in Newtown:


Here's a photo below that Sundara took of me just after me falling down from the door behind when I was trying to get  closer to the street sign to get a better photo. Didn't work. Hurt my hands.


So after all the commotion, the four of us finally get to dinner. Kellie ordered from the menu, the remaining three of us ordered from the bain maries at the front. Kellie ordered the Pad See Eiw - broad rice noodle, soy meat, broccoli, carrot and sweet soy AU$10.90:


Theresa, Sundara and I ordered two of the dishes where you pay AU$12 and get 3 dishes (no rice) we also ordered steamed rice and Sundara had too many young coconut drinks. So I forgot to take a photo of the dishes we actually had, but here's the list:

  • Massaman curry (mild)
  • tempeh, mushroom, chili and basil
  • Eggplant, tomato, mushroom
  • Pumpkin, tofu and basil - one of my favourites
  • Eggplant, chili and basil - one of my favourites
  • crispy soy with black pepper - one of Green Palace Thai's most popular dishes

Hope you can work them out from the photos below:



We then decided we had better go to Green Gourmet for dessert. Teresa ordered a scoop of roseberry ice cream and a scoop of coconut AU$6.40:


Sundara and Kell both ordered the Sago mango pudding with ice cream AU$6.40 each:


I ordered the Deep fried ice-cream AU$6.40 that you can check out the photo in my previous blog about Green Gourmet and my last deep fried ice-cream in Sydney. After dinner and finally getting back to Jess', Jess and I stayed up later than we thought we would catching up on all the day's adventures.


Jess dropped me off at the airport just before lunch and my parents picked me up from the Brisbane airport. We headed to My Heart Garden in St Lucia to meet my sister and her partner for mum's birthday lunch. Sorry, forgot to take photos of lunch. The weather was SO hot in Brisbane, had to take most of my layers off. This is why I LOVE Brisbane ;)

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