Monday, December 11, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 5 (Melbourne - Edgar's edition)

On Friday we had a pretty special day planned in Melbourne. But first, breakfast. We met up with Molly's friend Fran at Smith & Deli, where I had my favourite Egg McMartinez (tofu egg, bacon, cheese and I chose BBQ sauce). I also got some cookies for snacks - cinnamon chocolate chip and chewy coconut cherry.

Egg McMartinez from Smith & Deli


Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookie and Coconut Cherry Cookie from Smith & Deli


We then met up with my friend Leigh in the city, where we picked up a hire car and I drove us (a little nervously at first, as I have never driving a car while sharing the road with a tram, but it was all OK in the end) to Edgar's Mission. That's right, Friday was a EDGAR'S MISSION FARM SANCTUARY DAY!!! That is exciting enough to make even a sun-phobe like me be willing to brave the rays. Wearing shoes, socks, long pants, a high neck t-shirt, a UV-repellant high-collared and long-sleeved shirt, a floppy hat, and seven layers of sunscreen. Of course. The tour lasts about 90 minutes, and takes you to visit many wonderful animal friends, with many heart breaking yet heart warming stories.

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Edgar's Mission


Edgar's Mission


Edgar's Mission


This guy is called Morgan, and he is the friendliest sheep. He is full of loving headbutts, and just wants to to hug him.

Morgan at Edgar's Mission


Hip Hop is a talented little piggy, and we even share the same birthday! Though I am quite a bit older than this clever young miss.

Hip Hop at Edgar's Mission


They also look after many special needs babies, like Saturday.

Saturday at Edgar's Mission


This was the second time that I had been out to Edgar's and it was just as magical. If you are in the area, I highly recommend seeing if you can get along to one of their open days. It is just over an hour out of Melbourne. You will need a car, but if you split the costs of hiring a car for the day between a few passengers, it is pretty affordable. And worth it for the experience!

Afterwards we headed back to Melbourne, but we took advantage of having a car and stopped by Mister Nice Guy's BakeShop on the way back to the city. I had always wanted to go here, but if is a little bit out of the way, so having a car made it ideal. This place is gorgeous, with a huge range of delicious sweet and savoury treats - all vegan! Because it was the afternoon when we were there, they were sold out of quite a bit, but we still managed to have a delicious selection.

Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


I set my sights on the BLT Bagel, which was really yummy, followed up be some delicious (and coconut oil/cream free) Black Forest Cheese Cake. It was the best cheesecake I have had in Australia, almost Capital City Bakery level good.

BLT Bagel from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Cherry Cheesecake from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Leigh and Molly both got a Salted Caramel Pretzelstein Monster Shake, which were huge. The outside of the glass is covered in frosting, but apparently the actual shake itself was not too sweet, so it all balanced out.

Salted Caramel Shake from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Molly and Fran each tried one of the generously sized savoury danishes. Molly got the potato bechamel, and Fran's was onion and something else that I have forgotten.

Potato and Bechamel Danish from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Savoury Danish from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


And then there were subs. Molly, Leigh and Fran each also got a sub. I was feeling pretty good about my BLT and cheesecake situation, plus some treats for later, so I did not join in the sub party. Molly got the Chilli Dog, Fran got the Meatball Sub, and Leigh got the Spicy BBQ Chicken Roll. Leigh and Fran both really liked theirs, but Molly was not such a fan of hers.

Chilli Dog from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Meatball Sub from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


Spicy BBQ Chicken Sub from Mr Nice Guy's Bakery


So much glorious food! I was very happy to finally get to visit, and I hope to get to go there again on future trips.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Tabitha at Edgar's Mission


Of course, farms have cats! Edgar's is home to several fabulous felines. This Tabitha, who enjoyed pats and joined us on the tour of the chicken yard, and then again when we got back to the main office barn for more pats.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 4 (Brisbane & Melbourne - Penguin edition)

On Wednesday morning, after a low key breakfast at home, we headed out for some plants at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and spent a lovely couple of hours exploring different gardens, and making friends with lizards and ducks and cockatoos. Molly was impressed that the gardens were free, I had never really considered it before. But it is nice having beautiful spaces like this available for everyone to enjoy.

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Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens


Followed by lunch at Loving Hut, because when in a new town, why not try the local Loving Hut? We shared two of my favourite entrees - the summer rolls and the salt and pepper mushroom. Then Molly had the Sweet and Sour Nuggets for her main, and I had the Seven Seas Delight. Sorry for the starkness of the photos - white plates + white shiny tables + bright lights!

Summer Rolls at Loving Hut


Salt and Pepper Mushroom at Loving Hut


Sweet and Sour at Loving Hut


Seven Seas Delight at Loving Hut


After lunch it was home to pack for our trip to Melbourne the next day, and a dinner at home of eating up random bits and pieces before we went away for five days. The next day we are a quick breakfast at home and some sushi at the airport, before our flight to Melbourne. We decided that we would only do one trip to a city other than Brisbane, so that we could have some decent time in both places to eat and explore rather than rushing around the country. Melbourne was the natural choice, as food aside our visit would coincide with some other fun opportunities.

We stayed at my usual choice, Carlton Terrace, which is cute and has a mini kitchen and is within walking distance to many places. Most importantly it is only 10 minutes to Smith & Deli!! Which was out first stop after dropping off our bags. And it did not disappoint. Molly got the Club Sandwiches Not Seals and an Apple Olive Oil Cake with Maple Rum Icing for her lunch.

Molly's Club and Apple and Olive Oil Cupcake with Maple Rum Icing from Smith & Deli


I tried a new to me sandwich, The Parmageddon (Chicken parma, Napoli sauce, pesto & mozzarella, all toasted on a roll), which was nice, though the pesto and napoli sauce were a bit lost in it. I forgot that their chicken schnitzels are made from tempeh, which was lovely! It also attracted the attention of a cheeky pigeon.

Parmageddon from Smith & Deli


I also had a Vegan Breakfast Scroll, which had egg, bacon, broccoli and cheddar. It was so good! And for sweets I got a piece of Mandarin Curd Slice, which was lovely. To refresh and rehydrate, I had a delicious Sugar & Spice Fermented Tea. These are locally made in Fitzroy, so I have no hope of finding them anywhere else. I tried a few other flavours during the trip, but this first one was my favourite.

Scramble, Bacon, Broccoli and Cheese Scroll from Smith & Deli


Mandarin Curd Slice from Smith & Deli


Drink from Smith & Deli


I honestly can't remember what we did after lunch... I suspect we just hung out at the room for a bit because we'd had an early start to the day. But really, whatever it was could not measure up to the excitement of what we had planned for the evening. But first, dinner. We went for an earlyish dinner at Fina's 2 on Brunswick St, a great vegan Vietnamese place. We both enjoyed some fun drinks - I had the Custard Apple Smoothie and Molly had a Honeydew Frappe.

Honeydew Juice and Custard Apple Frappe from Fina's 2


Molly went for the fried side of the menu, with some Spring Rolls (though with lettuce leaves to wrap them up in) and Salt and Pepper Tofu.

Spring Rolls from Fina's 2


Salt and Pepper Tofu from Fina's 2


I was feeling like something a bit lighter, so I had the Vermicelli Salad, with the chili in the dressing left out. This was lovely and light, and included a mix of tofu and spring rolls (next time I would ask for a higher tofu to spring roll ratio).

Vermicelli Salad from Fina's 2


We had dinner a bit early because we had an hour tram ride to get down to St Kilda, as we needed to be there at sunset (which was actually pretty late while we were there due to daylight savings, not until about 8pm).

St Kilda


But why did we need to be at St Kilda at sunset? BECAUSE OF PENGUINS! Somehow, I have never known that there are penguins you can see every single night at St Kilda. Even most of my Melbourne friends didn't know. Molly knew from her friend who is spending a year in Australia from Seattle. I have been missing out on penguins all these years! The penguins are at the breakwater at the end of the pier, so to get down there you will have to prepare yourself to walk through a gauntlet of people who are fishing (poor fish!) and often also smoking. But then, penguins! There was a reasonable crowd there, but not so crowded that you didn't see. They are in the process of building a fence to keep people away from the penguins homes, because of course people try and climb over the rocks to harass the penguins. Ugh. Thankfully there are volunteer guides on hand with stories to tell and to keep people in line. Please enjoy some PENGUINS!

Penguins at St Kilda


Penguins at St Kilda


You have to look a bit hard at this photo, right in the middle where the little hole in the rocks... BABY PENGUINS! They were waiting for their mamma to come home with their dinner.

Baby Penguins at St Kilda


I actually took a million photos and videos, so these are just a couple. It was amazing. They are SO CUTE! And some of them were sassy little performers as well. I definitely want to visit them again next time I am in Melbourne.

On the way home, we were giddy from penguins, but stopped long enough to appreciate the pretty view of the city across the water in the dark.

View from St Kilda


This was such an exciting and special evening. But in the morning we had something equally exciting planned as well, so you will have to stay tuned! I can promise more amazing animals.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim was giving some serious sass with this pose I took the day before we went to Melbourne!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Molly Adventures Part 3 (Gold Coast - Birthday edition)

Tuesday was my actual birthday, and we spent the day down at the Gold Coast. I was excited to try The Cardamom Pod Brickworks for breakfast. I started with the best Beetroot Latte I have ever had! And Molly had a matcha latte. Unfortunately some of this beautiful pink latte ended up on my pale blue pants! I am so clumsy sometimes. Thanks to the waiter who let me use their staff bathroom to wash my pants in the sink, and then I had to wear wet pants for a little bit before I could find another bathroom that had a hand dryer to dry them properly. But they survived!!

Beetroot Latte at The Cardamom Pod Brickworks


Foodwise, I had the avocado benedict, which was so great. It had that super streaky faux bacon that everyone loves as well as a lovely vegetable side salad. So good! Molly had the Avocado Bagel, but on sourdough. It came with some sriracha cream cheese and radishes on the side. And she also got a side of sausages. Excellent breakfast food!

Avo Benny at The Cardamom Pod Brickworks


Avocado Toast with a side of sausages at The Cardamom Pod Brickworks


I am keen to get back here soon, and they also do lunch and dinner. Plus they have a case of sweets!

Cake case at The Cardamom Pod Brickworks


After breakfast, we went to the Gold Coast Arts Centre Gallery and saw an exhibit called Energies, which was final works submitted by high school art students. The talent was incredible, and there were also a lot of sobering themes.

Energies at Gold Coast Art Centre


After this we headed down to the beautiful Point Danger, which is on the QLD/NSW border. I love the view from here, and we also saw lots and lots of lizard friends!

Point Danger


Point Danger


For lunch we went to Loki, a vegan spot in Tweed Heads. This meant we were officially in New South Wales, so I was able to get Molly to another state! Loki is a small spot that is located in a shopping centre. In the past they had had mac and cheese burgers, but unfortunately they were just an occasional special. Still, I had the Mac Daddy (like a big big mac) and Molly had the Nacho Friend burgers. We also got smoothies - I got the super green Garden of Vegan and Molly got the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. It was a lovely lunch. The burgers are definitely bean-based, rather than meaty, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Peanut Butter Cup and Garden of Vegan Smoothies at Loki


Mac Daddy at Loki


Nacho Friend at Loki


A new little vegan store had recently opened in Tweed Heads called Vegan Aisle, so that was definitely our next stop. Vegan Aisle is also located near two other vegan cafes! Tweed Heads has it all going on! Vegan Aisle had a lovely vibe, and some fun products that I hadn't seen before. I couldn't buy anything from the cold section, as we still had a while before going home, but I picked up a few goodies.

Vegan Aisle


Vegan Aisle purchases


Right next door to Vegan Aisle was The Raw Boys, where I stopped to get a Blue Majik latte on soy. Unfortunately apparently soy means that it doesn't look very blue. Disappointing! Oh well. The other vegan cafe Sozo is also just across the road.

Blue Majik Velvet Latte at The Raw Boys


After this we had a bit of time to kill before dinner. Originally Molly was going to go swimming, but it was a pretty overcast and relatively cool day. So we visited some op shops and organic shops, before going to see the beach. Because it was the afternoon and was overcast, I was able to safely set foot onto the beach without combusting. Still had sunscreen on, though.

Mermaid Beach


Finally it was time for dinner. We were originally planning on going to a vegan ramen pop-up that runs down the coast on Tuesday nights, but just for that very week they were closed. So we went to Greenhouse, which I have been to before. Molly got the Jackfruit Enchilada, which was giant! And I got the Mushroom and Eggplant Penne Carbonara, which was really more cheesy and was amazing and I want to have it again!

Jackfruit Enchilada at The Green House


Penne Carbonara at The Green House


Our final stop was The Cardamom Pod in Broadbeach, not to be confused with our first stop of the day. The one in Brickworks is a 100% vegan cafe, then one in Broadbeach is vegetarian with vegan options, and both cafe and buffet style offerings. However they also have a small vegan ice cream bar, and that was what we were heading for. Unfortunately, a lot of the flavours were not set properly, they were a weird gloopy consistency that they just couldn't sell. That was awkward. So we both ended up getting a scoop of the vanilla rose flavour, which had set properly. It was sweet and creamy and nice.

Vanilla Rose Ice Cream at The Cardamom Pod Broadbeach


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara portrait


Molly had a final birthday surprise for me when we got home that night, this beautiful portrait of my sweet Sahara. It was done by Melanie Sears, and is just so wonderful and captures so much of her. I cried. So perfect. Thank you Molly and Melanie.