Great vegan lunch at a non-vegan cafe

Well, we’re still hanging around the hospital for most of the day, so this will be another quick post. Even shorter than yesterday, because I haven’t cooked and only ate one meal – and not in the hospital this time.

Vegan MOFO 2014

Searching for vegan

The family reunion was getting rowdy, and Mum needed some sleep, so we took off to the local shopping strip to find something to eat.

There wasn’t much in the way of vegan food that I could see. One of my sisters wanted to show us her favourite cafe The Black Pig (a very unfortunate name considering my love of pigs!). The menu had NOTHING that was vegan, but since she was so enthusiastic about the place, I went in to ask whether they could recommend something.

This was one of those good Italian cafes where they make EVERYTHING themselves (pasta, baked goods, etc.), so they know exactly what’s in each dish. They also love their vegetables!

Surprise panini

They couldn’t have been more helpful. The chef said that if I was happy, he’d put together a panino especially for me – and for my (other) sister.

I was expecting thick, dry panini with the usual roasted eggplant, pumpkin and capsicum. The kind you find in just about every Italian cafe. This was very different!

Panino from the Black Pig

The surprisingly good panino.

The bread was really fresh and not too big. Inside was a combination of avocado, peas, radicchio and olive oil…LOTS of olive oil. It was messy, but it was just so delicious I didn’t mind having to wipe my fingers and face after every second bite.

Let’s get vegan options on every menu!

When  a cafe can come up with something this good, I wish they’d let us know about it by adding it to their menu!

I know some people are of the opinion that we shouldn’t support businesses that sell animal products. I know it’s unpleasant to sit in a place with pieces of animals on everyone’s plates (and sometimes I just can’t do it), but if I can manage it, I think it’s a positive thing to do, for 2 reasons:

  • First, if we visit non-vegan businesses, and are friendly and polite, they will understand that vegans AREN’T pale, thin, crazed purists who don’t like good food, as they might imagine. They will see that we’re just ordinary people who don’t want to kill animals for our food.
  • Second, if non-vegan businesses see that there is a demand for vegan food, they’ll start adding vegan options to their menus, and that’s good for everybody. Non-vegans might even try them too!

Long before I was vegetarian or vegan, I preferred the vegetarian/vegan option anyway. There have to be lots of other people around like that.

Of course, we also need to support all-vegan businesses, because they’re fantastic and I LOVE having a choice of anything on the menu.

Looks like I just need to start eating out even more!

And then there’s hospital food…

There’s also the other matter of hospital food…I don’t mean the cafeteria, I mean what they give patients to eat.

Oh dear, it seems to have gone even further downhill since I was last in hospital! It beats me how they expect people with no appetite to be tempted by a pile of mush with unidentifiable sauce over it? Blahhh! Hopefully Mum will be home soon and won’t have to worry about it anyway.




15 thoughts on “Great vegan lunch at a non-vegan cafe

  1. I completely agree with your reasons there and feel the same. An acquaintance of ours has opened a cafe and although it’s omni, serving good vegan options was part of their plan because that’s the way things are rolling now. And urgh about the hospital food! I visited my grandpa in the nursing home when it was his dinner time and they were having their weekly party pies *gag* Note they also had weekly footy franks (and this was an okay place)!

    • Long ago, when I worked as a nurse, I was always horrified by the garbage they’d serve the kids. (I feel like I’ve written this already, so sorry if you’ve read this before!) Every day the main meal would be frankfurts or sausage rolls or party pies or some kind of rubbish like that. There were nearly always chips or potato cakes and over cooked vegies. Most of the kids seemed to survive on custard, tinned fruit and jelly, because they were the only tempting foods on the ward. And these were sick kids who needed good nutrition! It drove me (and most of the parents) crazy!

  2. my experiences of hospital food are dire – must be awful to see your mum fed like that – can you take her in some decent food or is she on a restricted diet.

    And I agree about vegan meals at every cafe – when I first went veg 20 years ago not every place made it easy to have vegetarian meals (I was once told I was the bane of a chef’s life) but this has really changed and now that there are places leading the way on interesting vegan food I hope this change will creep in too. As a vegetarian I love finding places with good vegan food. And I know lots of people who love a meat free options even if they eat meat occasionally. Your panini looks amazing.

    • You’re absolutely right. I think I need to take Mum some decent food. I was thinking she was likely to be home by now, and I’ve spent so much time in the hospital that I’ve hardly had time to cook or shop.

      It would have been a better use of my time to go and do that, rather than sitting in the hospital making noise with the rest of the family!

      One of my sisters and my brother will be in there today, so on my way home from work I’m going to see if I can get her some Botanical Cuisine cheese and some Provamel custards. She loves those! Then after I’ve got H off to her school formal I’ll think about cooking.

      • Good luck with getting your mum some nice food – when I was in hospital after giving birth and starving and being given horrid unhealthy food I was delighted just to get some of those little tins of baked beans – I love eating them cold but I know that is not everyone’s thing. Dips and chips were also really good. I hope she is doing ok and that you aren’t too exhausted with looking out for her.

      • Oh yes, I have horrible memories of hospital food after giving birth too. Mum brought little stashes of nuts and mandarines. There didn’t seem to be anything healthy on the menu – but I think it’s got worse! She’s home now, and we’re juggling work, home, and looking after her, which is why I’ve dropped the ball on MOFO a bit. I do have pictures, just no time to catch up on blogs or write a post yet!

  3. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve met vegans who will only eat at vegan restaurants but I prefer restaurants that have lots of different options. Not everyone is vegan (or vegetarian or dairy free or gluten free) but the more vegan eaters frequent mainstream places and ask for vegan meals, the more things will change.

  4. I am sorry to hear that your mum is in hospital, I hope she does not need to be there too long.

    I completely support restaurants or companies offering vegan options. Of course I will always support vegan restaurants and companies! But I think it is great to see more people taking vegans into consideration, and helps makes vegan food a lot more accessible to non-vegans who are not going to go out of their way to go to ‘the vegan place’ but may be willing to try some things that they happen to come across. Some people feel that these places (or companies that have vegan foods in the supermarket) are just ‘cashing’ in, maybe so in a few cases, but still happy to have the vegan options available/

    • Thanks Susan. Mum’s out of hospital now, which is why I’ve hardly had a chance to do any blogging! I agree with you. I don’t mind if businesses cash in on the demand for vegan food – it all gets the food out there so people might stop thinking it’s strange/different food. Every bit helps!

  5. Hope all is well with your family and everyone’s health 🙂

    Someone in the vegan community posted about a great meal they had at Sgt Peppers in Wales St, Thornbury. Potato croquettes with a vegan aioli. So another option for you if you haven’t tried that yet!

    • Hi Veganopoulous! Thanks for your message. We’re fine-ish now, but have had a really hectic month. I have a phone full of photos ready to blog about (I hope I haven’t forgotten what they were!) Hoping to get back on the blogs again soon and catch up with what’s been happening with everyone.

      Thanks for the tip about Sgt Peppers. I saw that the cafe in Wales Street had changed hands, but I hadn’t had a chance to get there yet. Potato croquettes with vegan aioli sound like just the motivation I need to talk a walk up there!

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