Eeek! Vegan MoFo is upon us already. I’m exhausted after a whirlwind trip to Canberra for the Australian National University (ANU) open day, and I’m so full of tasty vegan food I can hardly move. I have a lot to report!
We may just have been swayed by the brilliant blue skies and spring blossom, but we thought ANU was fantastic, and my daughter is now motivated to do some serious study so she can go there.
We may also have been influenced by Canberra’s great range of vegan food. When we visited a couple of months ago for a winter break, we were really surprised by the vegan offerings. This time we were prepared…and ate far too much.
We arrived very late on Friday night and drove straight to our hotel, Rydges Lakeside. It’s a nice comfortable place to stay, and very close to the university. We’d already eaten earlier, but felt like a snack. We didn’t hold out much hope when we saw the hotel restaurant sign, but they put together a nice bruschetta (minus the anchovies and cheese described on the menu).
Even my 17 year old who hates early mornings was able to bounce out of bed at 7 am on Saturday morning, knowing that if we left early we’d have time to visit Sweet Bones for breakfast before the first presentation at Open Day.
As I mentioned last time, Sweet Bones is one of my favourite places, and they didn’t disappoint. We both had their very special granola, which included goji berries, pepitas and hazelnuts, and a whole lot more treasures, topped with coconut yoghurt and very artistic apple slices—but the most exciting part was the tiny bottles of SOY MILK! I love that place! And I loved my green smoothie too…and the gluten-free chocolate brownies we packed for morning tea. ☺
Zambrero on campus
We rushed off to the uni for lots of inspiring information sessions and tours—that ALMOST made me wish I was a teenager again.
We met the representatives of MAWA (Medical Advances Without Animals), one of the self-catered colleges has a herb garden, and the another has a vegie patch—and we saw lots of soy milk in the fridges (I guess many vegos would choose the self catering colleges). But you don’t want to hear about any of that. More about the food.
For lunch we stayed on campus and headed to Zambrero, the Mexican fast food restaurant that seems to be everywhere in Canberra. When we first heard of them a couple of years ago, we wished they were in Melbourne. Apparently they have arrived recently, though not near our house. I hope they come to the northern suburbs soon, because their bean burrito is pretty damn good vegan fast food.
Delicious Ethiopian…but with cutlery
I had planned ahead and booked a table at Fekerte’s for Saturday night dinner. We’d wanted to go there last time we were in Canberra, but ran out of time (and room in our bellies). I’d never eaten Ethiopian food before, but had seen it recommended because their ye-tsum migib (fasting food) is actually vegan—and that was about half the menu.
It was REALLY good, although I was disappointed when I saw cutlery on the table. I’d hoped to do the whole Ethiopian eating with your hands thing. The food didn’t disappoint though! It was probably my favourite kind of food…well, one of them, anyway.
I was really cross to find I’d left my phone in the car (I’d been using the GPS function and left it in the cradle attached to the windscreen), so I couldn’t take any pictures. I’m just telling you, it looked fantastic.
We shared scaldingly hot vegetarian samosas full of brown lentils and spices, for entree, followed by dishes of:
- Miser Wat (red lentils cooked with onion, ginger, garlic and berbere
- Atkilt Alicha (carrots, potatoes, cabbage and green beans cooked with turmeric and spices)
- Adenguare Wat (red kidney beans and onion cooked with ginger and spices.)
- Spinach, enjera and rice.
Enjera, if (like me) you’ve never had it, is a kind of spongy, flatbread, which traditionally is used to pick up the food to eat. It had a lovely yeasty, slightly sour taste with a light spongy texture and reminded me a little bit of Sri Lankan hoppers —in fact, for some reason, the whole style of food reminded me a lot of Sri Lankan food.
I really loved this meal, and still want to try eating it Ethiopian style, so I’m planning to track down some Ethiopian restaurants in Melbourne. I’ve heard of one in Collingwood and the staff at Fekerte’s said there are a lot in Footscray too. Once I’ve recovered from this trip, you can expect a post on one of those.
A final Sweet Bones fix before flying home
This morning, before our flight, we made one final trip to Sweet Bones for brunch. (Oh WHY does it have to be so far away?) H couldn’t resist the granola again, but this time I tried the Tempeh Supreme Burger.
I’ve rarely had tempeh that I haven’t cooked myself, so when I see it on a menu I always jump at the chance to try it. This was a really tasty burger with chipotle pesto (just mixing up our ethnicities as we love to do in Australia), and a whole lot of salad including beetroot on a wholegrain bun. A tasty little pot of quinoa with sundried tomato (and some other things I couldn’t identify) was a nice little accompaniment.
Again, I’m ashamed to say, we took away one (each) of their big, gluten-free chocolate brownies…to eat on the plane, because the snacks on offer usually include cheese…or that was our justification, anyway.
So now we’re home, tired, over full, and I’m feeling a little guilty for not having any enthusiasm for making a nice Father’s Day dinner for my husband. Usually H would do that, but she is busily and enthusiastically at her desk doing her maths homework—which is probably the best Father’s Day present he’s had in years anyway.
They haven’t posted any videos of this year’s open day, so here’s a nice promotional video of one of the halls of residence at ANU. (I have to admit that I have been pretty enthusiastic about ALL the universities we’ve checked out—and my son is loving Melbourne Uni, so we’re not totally one-eyed ANU supporters—but this is so different, it’s hard not to be enthusiastic.)