Australia: More Magic Moments in Melbourne

January 24th, 2012 · Lisa · restaurant review, Travel · Comments
When you’re doing a speaking tour as a raw chef there is one question you get asked a lot:”Are you single?”No, that’s not it. I haven’t heard that since India 🙂

“How old are you?”

I do get that a LOT, but that’s wasn’t the one I was thinking of.

“How do you stay raw on the road?”

That’s the one.

As many of you know, especially after my last post, I haven’t been eating exclusively raw throughout my travels. There are restaurants I want to try and gelato that needs sampling when I’m in a city for such a brief time.

But, I know I feel best when most of my meals consist of fresh fruit and veggies. If I’m going to keep up the energy I need to finish this airport-hopping adventure, I need to stay focused on eating well.

After eleven weeks away from home, I have three tried-and-true tips for eating well on the road.

1. Research restaurants.

Whenever I’m planning a trip I visit HappyCow or use my VegOut app to scan the vegan options that are available. The descriptions on HappyCow include “raw” as a category and often describe raw menu items in great detail. If I’m staying for awhile and want to invest in a bit of an eating tour I often search blogs for raw reviews and ask for suggestions on twitter.

Melbourne’s restaurant listing didn’t include any entirely raw options, but many of the fantastic vegan spots offer amazing raw dishes to compliment their cooked cuisine.

When I visited the Vegie Bar with the lovely, Hannah we opted to share two of the raw specials, scrolled on massive white boards in the main dining room, which change daily based on available ingredients and the chef’s creativity.

The raw falafel saladwas impressive. The “parmesan” shreds provided a rich, salty accent to the pile of greens. The falafel balls had a great texture and a loud spicyness that I just adored. I’ve had my share of hard, dry, chalky raw falafel…this version was brilliant.

The raw pizza was another success. The crust was very thin – almost crepe like. The pungent olives provided a great balance to the rich, sweet tomato sauce. Avocado, tomatoes and sprouts added a freshness to each bite.

Yong’s Green Food, another vegan staple, has a unique array of raw offerings with a great Asian twist. I wish I had been able to visit a few times but they reopened just a few days before I left after a good long holiday break. On the night of my visit I was craving vegetables so I opted for the raw house salad which they served with cashew crackers, an elegant addition to a simple salad. Yong’s was one of the few places in town (Monk’s Bodi Dharma is another) that had a selection of raw desserts. I didn’t try the raw cheesecake but I would suggest you do if you’re searching for something sweet during your stay in Melbourne.
2. Search in stores

I wish they gave tours of supermarkets in other countries. As much as I love seeing the historical sites and artifacts, I enjoy exploring the aisles of food stores. You can learn a lot about a culture by seeing what stocks their shelves. Whenever I can, I visit grocery stores, farmers markets and food stalls to pick up fresh locals foods. Not only will you save money but you’ll also have the opportunity to actually taste the flavours of these foods in their most simple form. What does an Australian mango taste like? Without buying it myself I may never have truly experienced the sweet perfume of the local variety. It made me consider a visa extension.
Instead of eating out one night Hannah and I picked up all the fruit we could find that was grown in Australia at the local supermarket. We prepared beautiful sample plates and savoured the selection. I really, really wish passionfruit would thrive on Canadian soil.
Spending time in grocery stores or farmers markets is also a great way to make sure you get your greens. I find most restaurants are reluctant to build a meal around a bunch of kale – but I’m not. At the Radical Grocery (Melbourne’s totally vegan shop), I picked up a bunch of dinosaur kale and a ripe avocado. I tossed those together with fresh mango and sugar snap peas. This plate made me feel at home even though I was on the other side of the world.
3. Investigate ingredients

Finally, if you’re really into eating raw and have favourite ingredients beyond fresh produce that you really miss when away from home then I encourage you to investigate the raw food scene in your destination to see if there are new ingredients to discover or products to experiment with. As a raw chef I am always looking for new inspiration. When I was in Bali I made a side trip to visit Big Tree Farms and in Melbourne I knew my trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Loving Earth.

I had been admiring their products online for a long time. Omid, a wonderful chef and talented photographer, regularly posts new recipes using Loving Earth’s high quality, raw ingredients. The images could encourage anyone to eat more raw.

Although you can easily find shelves of Loving Earth’s products at health food stores throughout Melbourne, I wanted to go to the source. I spent a morning with the team at their local factory, discussing sourcing, ingredient quality and recipe inspiration.

I left in awe of the amazing people who have come together to create a company with solid ethics and amazing products. Loving Earth truly lives the ethics they espouse. The quality of their products are just one example of their investment in positive outcomes. They believe in supporting the wellbeing of their customer, their supplier and their staff.

If you ever see that Loving Earth label on a package I encourage you to give it a try. The quality is top of the line and the people behind the product are worth the investment. If I lived in Melbourne, I would be begging them for a job. I left with a box of new items to play with. I plan to post some fun recipes as soon as I’m back in a kitchen again. I can’t imagine a better souvenir than a suitcase full of health-promoting superfoods.

So, that’s me in Melbourne. I hope you all enjoyed the fun. I’m in New Zealand now and heading out this morning to do the Tongarriro crossing. Please send me 19.4 km’s worth of blue skies.


1 Comment

  1. Posted July 23, 2015 at 3:49 am

    Great post. Thanks for sharing great information on food. I really enjoyed this article.

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