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Tapateria

It’s now officially ages ago that we dined (or rather lunched) at Tapateria in Colorado Springs with a very-much-missed friend (JC).

I found the resto by Googling vegan “colorado springs”. The location is excellent, in Old Colorado City, and even better, there was tons of stuff for me. The menu is advertised as 100% gluten-free, 50% vegetarian, 25% vegan. Yay.

Below are our tapas selections:

  • Spanish Chorizo Chips (Y only)
  • Grilled Padron Peppers
  • Garlic Mushrooms
  • Dolmades
  • Verduras Tower (had cheese; oops)
  • Tuna Carpaccio Salad
  • Baby Calamari

Lovely ambience, lovely food.

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CNR Kitchen

eggplant

CNR Kitchen in Perth. HIGHLY recommended. Ok, it’s over-priced, but there are very few things here that aren’t. The location, ambiance, and most especially the food were all most delightful.

The resto-cafe is perched on the edge of Northbridge Piazza, home to outdoor movies, New Year’s Eve festivities, free morning zumba, Chinese New Year performances, jazz concerts, etc. etc. etc. I especially eyed the cafe during the aforementioned zumba, but I always had to dash off to work rather than stopping in.

CNR is mostly a daytime venue, but since they offer dinner on Fridays, we took advantage recently.

Many restaurants, I find to my chagrin, offer one or two token “vegetarian” options that nearly always include cheese. Vegan options other than salad (with an order to omit the cheese) are few and far between.

CNR, though, offers a lovely array of REAL vegan options, including raw offerings, alongside dishes that include meat/dairy/eggs.

On the other hand, a drawback to eating somewhere like CNR is that I actually have to put forth effort to decide what to order! It’s much simpler when I only have one option…

So, at CNR, I selected the raw vegan tasting plate. I assume that the average diner would order it as a plate of appetizers to share, but I wanted it all! (Although I did split much of it with Yusuke in the end.)

The plate included a ‘slider’: carrot, cashew, and sunflower pattie with tomato ‘bun’; spicey ‘pad thai’ salad made of zucchini, carrot, and coconut noodles; tomato soup ‘shooters’; nifty sun-dried tomato crackers with guacamole; and dolmades: grape leaves stuffed with a cashew mixture. The later was particular sweet and delicious.

tasting

Yusuke opted for the vegan eggplant parmigiana, pictured above, which was also most delicious.

If you have a look at the cafe’s website and Facebook page, you’ll see that they also offer lovely coffees, teas, and sweets. I imagine that weekend brunch is also pretty awesome. I’ll definitely be back!

P.S. I honestly don’t miss certain things about Montreal, but I DO definitely miss Crudessence (raw vegan) and especially Green Panther (vegan comfort food, VERY reasonably priced). CNR is the closest substitute I’ve found, but still not as happy-making for me…

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Sandrino in Fremantle

mussels

We finally got around to trying a WA specialty, chili mussels. We made the 40 minute trip to Fremantle one Saturday, arriving precisely in time for lunch. We opted for Sandrino, an Italian restaurant on Market Street. We had most of the sunny patio to ourselves and got to people watch while waiting for our food.

The main attraction was 1/2 kilo of chili mussels. We definitely couldn’t have managed the full kilo! The tomato sauce was fantastically garlicky, with a generous amount of green and red chilis. We ordered extra bread to get all of the sauce. The mussels themselves were very tasty, nearly up to the standard that we sampled in Galway, Ireland.

salad

Our second dish was a smoked salmon salad with spinach, pine nuts, avocado, and most deliciously, roasted pumpkin. Yummmm.

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Birthday dinner at Sakura

Oops, posting this belatedly.

I debated long and hard to decide where to have dinner on my birthday. I wanted to try something new, but when I considered what I actually wanted to eat, all that came to mind was the marvelous creation that is スタミナやっこ (“stamina” tofu).

I first had this a while back at a Japanese restaurant near us called, perhaps uncreatively, Izakaya Sakura. It’s definitely not on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it’s not bad in the larger universe of Perth restos. We would highly recommended it, in fact, for an authenticate and tasty Japanese fix. It also seems popular among Japanese businessmen in the area. The restaurant faces a quieter side street and park, so it’s quite nice to sit on the patio. Although my old hometown can get warm in March (if it’s not snowing), I think that’s the first time I ever had my birthday dinner outside on a terrace.

Anyway, back to the birthday meal. This wonder of wonders is cool silken tofu topped with slippery chopped okra, gooey natto, spicy kimchi, and bonito flakes. The latter (latt-est?) was a bit much for me, so most of the rest went on to Yusuke’s plate.

But all in all, it was fantastic.

Happy Birthday to me.

Stamina tofu...

Stamina tofu…

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Moroccan street food

One of the many delights of summer in Perth is street food. It seems that it’s possible to stumble across a little grouping of stalls in any open space in the city, offering a goodly array of international deliciousness.

Last week, after taking a St. Patrick’s Day hike, we passed by a market near Perth station. I had food ready for my brekkie at home, so I just stuck with samples of gluten-free vegan energy bars, while Yusuke was drawn to the Moroccan food stand.

He selected shakshuka (also transliterated as shavfka), which was prepared in one of the those gigantic outdoor cooking pans. It was a mass of simmering tomatoes, eggs, onions, and lots of spices. I had a bite, and there was definitely a good kick. I don’t know if this is typical, but there was also a little tub of a hummus-like substance to pour over the mixture. A giant piece of baguette balanced on the edge of the plate.

Super hot, and evidently, super good.

moroccan

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Govinda’s

Takeout satisfaction

I’ve mentioned in a few different venues that food (among other things) is shockingly expensive in WA compared with North America. I often just want to give up grocery shopping, since it feels like it’s cheaper to eat out with the array of cheap-in-a-good-way Asian restaurants near us.

Govinda’s confirms that notion. Located near the main city busport and train station, Govinda’s has a prominent storefront on a busy strip. But it’s definitely out of the ordinary. It’s run by a Hare Krishna group (Iskcon Perth) and offers a low cost vegetarian Indian meals.

They offer an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for I think maybe $10? When I visited, there were a couple of curries on offer, plus rice, salad, pakoras, lassi, and maybe a couple of other things (a dessert?).

I opted for takeaway, though, to nourish Yusuke after his Friday afternoon class.

I got us each a tub filled with rice, the curries, and some sort of a cauliflower pakora with spicy sauce. One curry had chickpeas and tended toward salty, while the other had carrots, broccoli, and potatoes and was sweeter.

The price? $10. For BOTH. That’s $5 each. It was plenty of food, though I added some fresh spinach at home and we cleaned up some leftover miso soup as well to make it a big feast.

Like Annalakshmi, this meal was vegetarian, with a good spirit, for a good cause (feeding everyone who comes in). Govinda’s will be added to my frequent visit list.

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Pay what you can? Annalakshmi

annalakshmi

We’ve now had the chance to eat out a bit in Perth: Japanese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, and various cafe-type lunches. I wanted to post a quick note about an amazing place that we visited a while back (and will definitely again).

Annalakshmi on the Swan offers vegan Indian food, cafeteria style, to anyone who turns up at the door. The price? It’s up to your ability to pay and your conscience.

To quote from their website:

Annalakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of Food and the adage “athithi devo bhava” meaning “the Guest is God” is the motivating factor. This factor is a tribute to the Goddess of Plenty, Annalakshmi. These ideals, the warmth and the service very soon capture the imagination of diners. Annalakshmi provides food for the soul by providing a good meal to those who walk in.

Annalakshmi on the Swan has been a household name for more than a decade in India, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. It is largely run through the work of voluntary staff that includes mothers and grandmothers all of whom know what it takes to prepare a wholesome meal with homely love.

I’m not sure how they manage with their real estate. The location is fantastic, on the Barrack Street Jetty overlooking the Swan River right in the centre of Perth. When we went, a strong wind was coming off the river so we opted for indoors, but they have outdoor seating on a deck above the water as well.

The other diners who joined us in the queue outside for the 6:30 opening were quite varied: lots of families (especially from South Asia), other people looking like they just got off work like us, and people who probably couldn’t frequent the many other (pricey) restaurants nearby.

The food was a nice mix. A very spicy clear soup with veggies, a couple of kinds of rice, pancake-like things that were similar to injera or sourdough bread in taste, a mild crunchy cabbage slaw, a dish with lightly fried potatoes (not greasy), a sweet curry with chickpeas, and a spicier one with sweet potatoes. Good stuff for body and soul.

We’ll be back.

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