Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Yong Green Food: a raw adventure and more street art

Welcome to the brave new world where we eat raw food and draw on walls.  Oh wait!  That sounds like the life of a caveman.  I guess that Peter Allen was right when he sang "everything old is new again".  Well I am all for these new trends if the raw pizza at Yong Green Food and the street art of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Brunswick is anything to go by. 

Actually I am by no means a huge fan of raw food.  I read a lot about it on blogs but haven't dabbled in it much myself.  Having a partner who even thinks salads should be eaten warm, does not encourage much experimenting with raw.  I have read enough to have been curious about Yong Green Food for a while now.  So when my friend Will asked me to recommend a vegetarian restaurant for lunch, I had no hesitation in suggesting it.

It was not quite what he had in mind but he was up for a challenge.  So was Heather.  The menu has both raw and cooked foods and presents a tyranny of choice for vegetarians used to a token menu item.

Will chose the Kelp Pad Thai (above) - kelp noodles with vegies and a creamy chilli cashew sauce.  The kelp noodles were chewy and toothsome and the rest was very spicy. I asked him for his verdict and he answered in a typical convoluted way.  According to Will, salads only ever get a 3 or 4 out of 10.  The pad thai was a glorified salad.  He gave it 8 out of 10 - as a salad.  Make of that what you will!

I was excited to have the (raw) Hawaiian live pizza.  It had a macadamia-nut bread base, topped with tomato sauce, avocado, pineapple, olives, sprouts, cherry tomatoes and cashew cheese sauce.  It was wonderful.  Not at all comparable to regular cheesy pizza.  So much lighter and healthier.  Full of wonderful flavours and textures.  The salad that came with it was just green leaves with a dressing.  Nice dressing but not really my sort of salad.  I'd go back for the pizza though.

Heather chose the quinoa fritters with a spicy coconut sauce from the cooked menu.  They were crispy and tasty.  As with all the meals, the dish looked very attractive.  She was very pleased with her choice.

We decided to share a raw chocolate cheesecake for dessert.  At first I wasn't too impressed.  I love cheesecake to have a bit of cheesiness.  Otherwise it is just a cream filling.  Once I accepted it was more like a chocolate mousse tart than a cheesecake I loved the creamy chocolate filling.

Finally I tried the kombucha.  This is a drink I have read about on enough blogs to be curious.  The menu described it as fermented tea with lime and mint.  It was a cold drink with quite a sharp edge to it, possibly due to the mint.  I worried it was a little whiffy but wasn't sure if it was my drink or someone else's meal.

We were all very pleased with my choice of Yong's Green Food for lunch.  Will and Heather both enjoyed their meal and enjoyed something different.  I felt like I had satisfied a curiosity born of blogging.  Wonder if I am passing on the curiosity to you?

If you enjoy inner city life, you might also be interested to see more street art.  I posted quite a few pictures of choice street art recently.  There are some art pieces that I pass occasionally and decided to include on the blog as well.  Of course, as soon as I decided this, I found other pieces I wanted to share.  Like this Witch and her Cat on King Willian Street, Fitzroy.  We stumbled across it walking back to the car after lunch at Yong Green Food.

Another piece of art we saw that same day was this painting of an Aboriginal boy on Gertrude Street (between Brunswick Street and Nicholson Street).  I liked it, not just for the pensive beauty of the young face, but also because it reflects how Gertrude Street has been a meeting place for Aboriginal people

I have noticed pockets of street art as I go about.  One is near Jewell train station in Brunswick.  I have passed the art on the train and my bike, so I recently took some photos on a sunny day.  The above decorative letters are reminiscent of the Medieval Books of Hours I've seen in museums in Europe.  Any idea what they spell?  Cake-????

This above picture is a favourite piece of art.  The image could be a man catching a woman who was falling or it might be a woman flying with a man following at her heels.  I love the dream-like quality that is even more so when you speed past on a train and wonder if it was just a vision.  It is a paper picture pasted on the wall and is starting to peel off.  I will be sad when it is gone, though I love the ephemeral nature of street art.

Street art also has a great sense of humour.  Don't you love the picture of the hulk about to crush the car at the car park!  Be afraid.

A train speeding towards the train line.  Self referential, anyone?

I am quite fond of this cute little fish who needs a bigger fish bowl.  It has made me smile often while cycling past on the bike path.

From Brunswick to Budd Street in Collingwood.  Budd Street, north of Johnston Street is a hotbed of street art.  Take this Brick Wall Ink.  There is so much artwork and poetry here than it feels more like a student magazine than a wall.

It is a wall of much beauty and fun.  I wish it had been here when I lived in Collingwood.  I would have gone out of my way to walk past it every time I walked home.

Houses on a wall.  I love pictures of houses.  Perhaps that is why Sylvia spends so much time drawing houses lately.

In fact there are so many interesting images in Budd Street - or just off it - that I had to make a collage.  Most of these are from Brick Wall Ink.

Another lovely image.  I hope there truly is an angel watching over our city.

An intriguing image.  Don't Stop.  Don't stop what?  When I photographed this wall, I had a conversation with a passerby about whether the pattern on the wall was part of the larger image or encroaching on it.

Around the corner on Wellington Street is a sister picture to Don't Stop.  If I had been able to get the full wall into my picture you would see that this one says Won't Stop.  Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

These odd characters in Wellington Street, Clifton Hill are opposite a school wall.  Someone told me that that girls schools had high walls to stop the boys getting in.  Perhaps St John's School has a high wall to stop kids hanging over the wall getting ideas about painting on walls.  Can you spot the woman walking by in front of the picture?

On the other side of this building is the below picture.  As well as showing strong women, it has some verse by Shelton Lea.  I don't know what it all means.  Yet I still like to drive past when we are in the area.

So there you have a feast for the stomach (if you like to feast vicariously) and a feast for the eyes.  Goodness Melbourne has changed since I visited as a child and then lived here as a student before travelling.  I love the place.

Yong Green Food
421 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy
03 9417 3338

18 comments:

  1. Way to go on trying something new. Not everyone likes raw meals but I find them really creative and fascinating... and most of the time, raw desserts are delicious. I never try to compare them to cooked foods since it isn't the same... the nut-based pad thais always through me for a loop. This is not pad thai! But then again, neither is the pizza, or cheese, or cheesecake. ;)

    The question now is whether you will try raw foods at home? :)

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    1. Thanks Janet - I love the creativity of raw food but get a bit wary of it because of my lack of equipment - high power blender, spiraliser, dehydrator etc. I love making salads and occasional raw desserts but E much prefers cooked food which just means I am less likely to experiment. I think there is quite a bit of raw in some recipes but I am often not confident enough to say a recipe is all raw.

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  2. Love your captures of such wonderful art! When I walk around taking photos and looking at stuff I feel such a love for Melbourne, I lived overseas for a few years and shortly after arriving home I was out at night walking through the city. That's when I realised how truly awesome my home town is :)

    I want to go back to Yongs as well too, your meal looks delicious!

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - being overseas helped me to appreciate Melbourne but also studying local history helped too. Such an amazing city with lots of history and lots of zeitgeist.

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  3. I love all the great street art. It pops up where you least expect it. I think I would adore the chocolate cheesecake-mousse dessert - it looks devine.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - indeed, the unexpectedness of street art is one of its endearing features - it is not like going to a gallery to see a picture - it just appears in odd places. (now if only you could say that about chocolate cheesecake!)

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  4. great pictures!
    I love salads I could eat it all day and your friend Wills looked amazing. Ill have to try this place before I leave. Im moving back to Hobart in a couple of months to the a tiny house on a bay in the middle of nowhere. IT will be a culture shock me thinks after the bustle and hum of Melbourne. I will miss it.

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    1. Thanks Helenbees - middle of nowhere will be a culture shock after living in Melbourne - hope you get to yongs before you go - and I hope you enjoy the move - sounds like a challenge but a great experience too.

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  5. I want to go here. Very much. I am excited just reading about it in fact - and love the art inside and the street art around too. I smiled at your experience with the raw cheesecake as it confirms my own experiences of not liking regular cheesecake but (usually) liking the raw variety - especially when they're chocolate because then I do think it is just like chocolate mousse!

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    1. Thanks Kari - I would recommend this for a Melbourne visit - esp as it is on Brunswick street which is always fun for a wander. I am not a huge fan of chocolate mousse but I always love it so much more when it is not full of dairy and egg.

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  6. I'm always up for trying something raw... I'm kind of an adventurous vegan. Haha. I've read so much about Yong and I'm DYING to go there; your post is no exception! Did the Hawaiian pizza have any pineapple on it..? There is SO MUCH alfalfa there - this would totally disgruntle my other half, as he believes it's nothing more than grass. That I pay for. ;) Love all the street are pics, too :)

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    1. Thanks Nat - you really should go to yongs - it might even make it onto your top 5 vegan venues in Melbourne list. The hawaiian pizza had pineapple on it - I thought it might be odd with the other ingredients but it worked well and even all the alfalfa was good but E would probably not have appreciate it.

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  7. Aw, thank you for the links! This post makes me so excited to return to Yong Green Food again one day (though, in all honestly, even since my first visit I've wanted to go back! :P )

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I can see why you want to go back there - there was so much on the menu I wanted to try and it had a nice vibe

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  8. I haven't embraced the raw food trend either mostly because I like my food hot, especially at this time of year. But, I'm intrigued with the sound of the raw pizza and would like to try it xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - definitely not the time of year to get into raw food but I can see its attraction in the heat of summer - and I liked the raw pizza much more than I expected

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  9. Love the street art, but I am trying not to look at the food as I am on fast today.

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  10. I'm a cooked eater as well basically, but I'm intrigued in raw foods and want to incorporate more raw or only slightly blanched foods into my diet. Kelp noodles are something I've always wanted to try! The food looks very good, I'd have loved to try something from the menu there as well! And the street arts are amazing! :)

    PS. Please forgive my lack of commenting, I was without internet mostly in my new apartment until the other day.

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