I will talk briefly about the days' talks here. I went to a talk about the work that the Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses is doing, a talk on intersectionality and diversity (which was a highlight), a talk called 'One Bad Day', which I will talk more about in a moment, a talk on how the meat industry is manipulating people about the environment, a fascinating talk about using psycholinguistics to get our message across, and a talk about share holder activism. All good talks.
I did just want to touch on the 'One Bad Day' talk. Many people who buy into humane meat do so on the belief that the animals have super lives and then 'one bad day'. The first half of this talk was about the totally pathetic regulations governing the transport of live animals, which can include extended periods with out water. The second part of the talk was from an ex-abattoir worker who is now a vegan, about his experiences in the abattoir. This was a hard talk to sit through, and it was very clear that he is still quite traumatised from his time there. It also shed important light on something we don't often talk about in the animal community, about the exploitation of many workers within the abattoir system. He lived in a town where the abattoir was the main employer, and education was minimal, so if you couldn't somehow get out of the town you just went to work at the abattoir. His compassion for his former co-workers, as well as for the animals, was touching.
Okay, that got a bit heavy, so back to food! I had two lunches. The first was an Everything Bagel with Dill Cream Cheese that I had bought the previous day from Smith & Deli. It was so good! Though the seeds went everywhere!
Second lunch was something light, a mix of kale and quinoa salad and spring green salad from Sumo Salad. As well as a green juice, which sounded really savoury but ended up having pear and lemon juice in it so was sweeter than I was expecting.
The reason for the light lunch was because I had big dinner plans at Smith & Daughters. When I was in Melbourne last year on my birthday Leigh and I went here for dinner, but we had just been poisoned by the evil Trippy Taco, and so our dinner was pretty uncomfortable even though the food was great. Thankfully we were feeling better the next morning and had a great brunch there! But this was my redo at dinner. I was hungry and not feeling sick, so things were getting off to a good start! And then they got better. NOM. I started with a delicious grilled apple, lime and mint juice.
There were three of us at dinner, and we shared a bunch of food. This is the Champinones al Ajillo - button mushrooms simmered in a creamy Spanish sauce of Pedre Ximenex, garlic & smoked paprika, served with toasted bread. This was so good, the sauce was drinkable! It just could have done with some more bread for soaking up that sauce.
The Layered Queso Dip was also fantastic. I had this last year, but my tummy was so sad that it was just a bit too much back then. Now, it was super yum! House-made cashew cheese layered over spiced black bean dip, topped with salsa and served with corn chips. There was no wrong here.
The Kale and Leek Bake was a combination of braised leek cooked with kale in a bubbling cream sauce and topped with crispy garlic bread crumbs. Yum.
This huge potato platter was the Patatas Con Romesco Ahumado, crushed and fried chat potatoes with smokey romesco sauce and chimichurri. I suspect there may have been a bit of coconut oil in play here because I did have a faint coconut oil hangover. It was a super generous serving! I love chimichurri and this was great.
And finally the tuna and pea croquettes, described as Spanish bechamel folded with tuna and green pea and served with caper aioli. I was a bit wary of mock fishy-ness, but this was lovely. Not as good as the paella fritters.
We finished our meal with some of their delicious quince-stuffed doughnuts. I seem to have forgotten to take a photo, so here is a photo of them that I took when I was there at brunch last year.
And of course no trip to Smith & Daughters is complete without these little guys as dining companions. The return of Salt and Pepper Ninja!
This dinner was delicious, though very rich! I was a little overcome by food as I waddled back to my AirBnB to get some sleep. I am so happy I finally got to have my proper Smith & Daughters dinner!
I was heading home the next morning, but I left enough time to visit Crumbs Organic Bakery in North Melbourne (not the one in Ascot Vale) for breakfast. I was still a bit full from the night before, but a breakfast of doughnuts helped me through. I had my favourite cinnamon sugar sourdough doughnut, and also branched out and tried the lemon curd filled doughnut, which was delicious! Very good curd. I also had a chai, which sadly was not a patch on the chai from Smith & Deli, but nothing ever is.
I also bought some goodies to take home with me, and for my lunch on the plane. But I was so full that I didn't actually eat until I was home and suddenly in the mood for pastries for afternoon tea. I had bought another cinnamon sugar sourdough doughnut, a Nutella doughnut, and a raspberry and rhubarb pastry from Crumbs. They were all so good.
I shared these with my parents, along with that challah sticky bun I had bought two days before from Smith & Deli. Stored in a snap lock bag in the fridge and then given a quick zap in the microwave, this was incredible! The sticky sweet glaze was rich, like brown sugar, rather than being overly sweet. I could eat an entire one of these and then some!
Crumbs also sells savoury options, and I had bought a spinach, tomato, mushroom and red onion calzone for lunch on the plane. As mentioned I didn't eat it on the plane, but it kept well overnight and I had it for lunch the following day.
Photo of other goodies that I brought back from some vegan shopping in Melbourne.
Overall it was a really good weekend in Melbourne. The food was great, the people were lovely, the food was amazing... even though I was seriously craving some greens and smoothies by the time I got home. The forum was also a good learning experience, there are so many people out there doing amazing things, I feel kind of inadequate. Hopefully it will fire me up to become more involved! Oh, and did I mention that the food was out of this world?
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
A final photo of Max the AirBnB kitty in all his fluffy glory.