Primal Pantry & the Regional Food Festival

Hi all, I’ve been a bit quieter the last couple of weeks. I have been away from my place and eating out a fair bit the last week. Yesterday I discovered a new food find that caters to vegans and vegetarians. Primal Pantry is Brisbane’s first paleo grocery store and cafe in Teneriffe. I was not very familiar with the paleo diet till recently through other blogs. Although I don’t agree with this lifestyle diet, I was interest to visiting them for their vegan options. They are also 100% gluten free and mostly dairy free (except for whey). Marco was also very excited when he saw all the meat options. He has come alone way to eat a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet, but he still gets his meat fix when he can.

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We arrived around 1.30 to meet some friends. I was surprised how busy it was and we had to wait about 20 mins for a table. In the meantime I read some of their little pamphlets on what is paleo and why no legumes, dairy or gluten. I also had a look at their groceries, which included fresh fruit and vege, coconut flour, coconut sugar and almond nut butter. Once we got seated, I asked about the vegan options. The waitress told me that the chefs can make up special dish for me or I could modify one of their menu options. She said usually they have pre-made vegan salads, however today they had sold out. She also mentioned that most of the smoothies were vegan and a few of the desserts.

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I decided to order one of the dishes on their menu, that could be modified, which was the Shaved Brussel Sprout and Endive Salad with walnuts and pear (and no bacon). I also ordered the Hulk Smoothie, which had the pear, spinach, mango, lime, coconut, water, ice. Marco ordered the BBQ ribs special. It also came with a small fennel salad, which was good to know that he can tolerate it. Last time I made something with fennel he wouldn’t touch it.

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My juice and salad were nice. I never tried raw brussel sprouts or endives before and I felt lighter after eating it. Not sure I will be running back there for this salad. However, the breakfast options for vegans look a lot more tempting. Such as Potted Muesli with Orange Blossom Pears and Coconut Labna, Cacao Granola with Berry Compote and Coconut Cream or Cinnamon Pancakes with Grilled Figs, Pistachio Crumb and Maple. Marco was very happy with his meal. Not sure about my friends, they didn’t really comment. Perhaps I forgot to ask them.

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No one wanted to stick around for dessert. They all preferred to go to The Shady Palm Cafe and Bar. So we went there. Unfortunately they don’t have vegan desserts. So before I left the Primal Pantry bought a Coconut Berry Slice takeaway, which I ended having at home later. I haven’t ever tried anything with Coconut flour before. It was quite nice, but not a full on dessert like Marco and my friends had.

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The weekend before this I went to the Brisbane Regional Food Festival at Southbank. There were so many people and lots of samples or small dishes to purchase. Most of the samples were chutneys and dips and the small dishes were quite expensive so we didn’t eat to much. There were not many vegan options either. Many tents were dedicated different fine dining restaurants showing off their canapes (for a fee) and smaller gourmet brands getting exposure. Not sure where Marco got this Campari for me. Marco also had to buy a piece of that Rockie Road. He didn’t buy one as big as the one in the photo below. They were $100 each. Unfortunately it didn’t come in vegan variety. But I got some Noosa Chocolate  Factory Dark Chocolate with Valencia Orange to make up for it.

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The most exciting thing for me was getting to watch Poh Ling Yeow make her signature dish, which got her through the first Master Chef auditions. She made Abacus Beads, which are a regional specialty from Malaysia. They are similar to a gnocchi, but made of taro root. I have been a big fan of her since I first saw her on Master Chef. In fact I boycotted the show after she didn’t win. I also bought her recipe book. Although there is a lot of meat dishes I still get inspiration from her book even though I am trying to follow a vegan diet. The only dishes that I have veganise so far are from her book are Borscht & Pirozhki. But I definitely would like to veganise her Abacus Beads dish. The actually beads are vegan, but she added minced pork and dried prawn, as well as coriander and fresh shiitake mushrooms. I got to try the Abacus beads and they were so delicious! They were bouncy and really to anything I’ve tried before.

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At the food festival I bought this Shiitake Mushroom Log from My City Garden. I have been wanting to grow my own mushrooms for a while, so I jumped at the chance to buy this for $15. To grow the mushroom I had to soak the log for 18 hrs and then leave it to grow. Its only been a couple of days but they are gradually growing. I should be able to grow two more batches after this. I’ll keep you updated on how they look once grown. Can’t wait!

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Marco also finally bought my 5 year anniversary present. Nearly 10 months late, but better late then never. He got me a lemon, lime and avocado trees. He also potted them for me. I’m hoping this inspires him to have some more interest in my veggie patch. Apparently that’s still my ‘problem’ lol.

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Tonight I was inspired to make something with Shiitake mushrooms. These aren’t my fresh ones, just dried ones. I also used my garden pak choy and eggplant over brown rice. Marco didn’t really like this meal, but at least he ate it. For me it was nice to have a nice healthy wholesome meal.

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