But none of that was why I booked the trip to Melbourne. The real reason was that, last year, a certain Canadian blogger announced that she’d be visiting Australia during her world trip. I suggested meeting up, but didn’t really think it would happen. After all, this blogger was – and is – amazing, inspiring, vibrant, and beloved-by-so-many that I honestly didn’t think she’d even know who I was, let alone want to go gallivanting with me.
Except she did, and she did, and that’s how I ended up spending two perfect, perfect days with Lisa. Lisa, my (to borrow words from her post about our adventures, because I can’t think of better) long-lost soulmate.
Lisa and I were to to start our double-day-date at Vegie Bar, which Dan assured me was an easy walk away: “Leave the house, cross the road, turn left, find [a particular] road, then walk straight until you hit Brunswick Street”. However, because I am very clever, I left the house, crossed the road, turned right, got lost, and was late to Vegie Bar.
Luckily, though, Lisa was also running late (see? long-lost soulmates). After an excited hug, we settled down in Vegie Bar’s sun-lit courtyard. We knew we’d be ordering from the daily Raw Food Specials menu, for while I’m an excited novice in the world of raw vegan delights, Lisa is one of its queens. (She’s taught raw vegan classes across Asia, New Zealand, and Australia, not to mention in her native Toronto, and I’m certain that no one could leave a class of hers without feeling enthusiastic about raw food. She’s that effervescent and inspiring.)
You’ll have to forgive the lack of detailed food notes; I was too caught up in the incredible, exhilarating, wonderful feeling that is connecting with someone at a level that lifts your heart and soul, yet also feels like comfort, to focus on tasting notes.
We shared two dishes, the first of which was the Raw Pizza. The flax and seed base was more delicate in texture and flavour than I expected, but worked really nicely with the rich sweet raw tomato sauce, creamy avocado, brine-y olives, and fresh basil.
Vegie Bar’s Raw Falafel Salad, however, was the clear winner. Of the day, of the week, of my life. (Hyperbole? Me?) The crunchy-but-not-dry crumbled falafel made of nuts, seeds and spices, combined with the coconut sour cream, nut-based “parmesan cheese”, fresh salad mix, and surely not a little bit of pixie dust, tasted exactly like I remember falafel feasts at Middle Eastern restaurants tasting, except better: more zingy, more vibrant, richer, more energising.
After lunch, Lisa and I decided to do exactly what we both love to do whilst travelling, which is walk for hours, exploring. (And, in this case, talkingtalkingtalking.) We poked around Books for Cooks, Trippy Taco, shoe stores (in the hopes of finding vegan shoes), and every health or grocery store we wandered past.
It’s a secret.
After a good hour or so of wandering in the summer heat, I started dreaming of something refreshing. Lisa and I ducked into a little organic store, and oh! Oh! Oh!
Kombucha! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw bottles of this adored-by-American-and-Canadian-health-bloggers’ drink in the store’s fridge, because I was under the impression it wasn’t available in Australia. I bought it for a bit of a laugh, as I’ve read of people “forcing” themselves to drink Kombucha. I didn’t really expect to like it.
With my first sip, I fell utterly, utterly in love. Hand over heart, Kombucha is one of the best drinks I’ve ever tasted (along with coffee and water; I’m a simple girl). It’s fizzy, tangy, sweet-yet-sour, amazing. I understand why people mightn’t like its vinegar-y flavour, but I used to drink white vinegar straight as a kid so this is pretty much the drink of my heart.
I even drank the scoby. Lisa, weren’t you proud of me?
Suitably refreshed by our magical Ginger Kombucha elixir, Lisa and I continued traversing the Collingwood area. At a certain point, though, I listened to my soulmate intuition and quietly asked Lisa, who was staying somewhere without Internet, whether she might like to relax at my brother’s place and check her emails.
It’s always good to trust your intuition. It was Lisa’s idea to buy a plethora of Aussie-grown fruit on the way to my brother’s place and make ourselves fruit platters fit for royalty, which just goes to show that it’s good to trust another’s intuition, too.
The Fruit Gods were clearly on our side that day, because everything here – mango, pineapple, cherries, white nectarines, red plums, passionfruit – was the epitome of sweet, tangy, crisp, fruit deliciousness.
It was a fittingly sweet end to a wonderful day, and the only reason I let Lisa get on the tram afterwards was knowing we were meeting again the next day. But that’s a story for another post.