Look at these Fucking Tourists: Cairns Edition

Bae has been in Cairns for work-training for two weeks, and I went with him, as our furniture/worldly possessions didn’t arrive at our house until last Wednesday.

Yes, we didn’t have any furniture for a whole freakin’ month.

What did we do instead?

We slept on an inflatable camper-mattress, had an esky for a fridge, and spent a million dollars on the local laundromat.

GLAMOUROUS.

Additionally, Bae needed the car for Cairns (an hour or more drive away from home), and since we live 8kms outta town in a place that literally has two buses a day, had I stayed at home I would have been stranded without food (for me or the cats!), without ice for the esky, and without anyway of cleaning my clothes.

Thanks government-contracted removalist company!

Useless fucking pricks.

So we stayed on-and-off in a hotel for two weeks (the ‘off’ was because we had to drive back home every 2 and half days to check on the cats, because Boo-Boo is too young and Grace too neurotic for a cattery).

This is a statue of sting-ray on the main esplanade… But really I just wanted an excuse to post a cute photo of moi.

That aside, Cairns was cool. We didn’t do too much since Bae was at work 8 hours a day, but OMG THE FOOD.

Don’t get me wrong, Coconuts and Co. has some tasty food. With all of the Italian and Europeans who immigrated to the area through the 19th and 20th centuries, there’s paninis, focaccias, pasta, pizza, and it’s all really good stuff. You won’t hear me shit-talking it.

BUT, being vegan there is only about five different places I can eat at, and having already relaxed into a lazy-vegan at times (particularly with the no-fridge-no-microwave-no-kitchen-utensils situation that has only recently been remedied), I’ve already eaten my way through most of the town.

For a city gal like me, this has probs been the hardest part of living in a regional area. I don’t give a fuck about shopping (I’m always trying to have less shit in my house), and despite my relative close proximity to the Brisbane CBD I never used to actually go out that much (because I was so exhausted from having to wear my human-face all day).  

No, food is where it is at for me.   

As such, I used Cairns as an opportunity to STUFF. MY. GODDAMN. FACE.

A kind of feast in preparation for the proverbial famine ahead.

So what did I eat?

In no particular order:  

Vegan waffles via Waffle On

Don’t ask me what kind of alchemy these people used to make such incredible vegan waffles, because I asked, and the guy said “Ratios”. I see you man, I know what you’re doing. You’re protecting that sweet sweet waffle secret-recipe. And I don’t blame you. We went on a Monday or Tuesday morning, which is typically the least busy café day, and the place was still half full. Apparently if you go on the weekend there is a line out the door. OUT THE FREAKING DOOR. You don’t want other bitches replicating that success and stepping on ya waffle business.  

Now I only got the most basic waffles, with (soy) ice-cream, bananas and strawberries (for your health), and maple syrup, but still so, so good. Don’t worry, you can get non-vegan waffles – Bae got chocolate ones, with Nutella, cream, ice-cream, and FRESH raspberries and blueberries. How are they getting fresh berries in this climate? I DON’T KNOW.

For the novelty, deliciousness, and attention to veganness-detail, I give this place 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses out of a potential 5.

My Very-Own Breakfast Abomination via Caffiend

Now these peeps are rad, because they didn’t blink an eye at me making my own monstrosity from scratch with the breakfast-sides. I’ve been to places that either charge you a ‘plating-fee’ (fuck off), or won’t let you do it at all (get fucked).

My abomination included: roast pumpkin, baked and-then fried potatoes, fresh avo, pan-fried mushrooms, house-made chilli-jam, and sourdough toast.

The portions sizes are very generous, and it took me a good 30-45 minutes to eat this, just mixing and matching and slowly giving each combination of food a go. I can’t even remember what Bae got ‘cause I was in my own little culinary world.  

It was a little pricey, and not super innovative, but still a solid 4 Italian Chef Kisses out of 5.

Vegan-Crepes and a Veggie Breakfast Burrito via Lillypad

This place has heaps of veggie and vegan options (as well as serving meat), and is pretty willing to try to veganise anything it can, without altering the price. We went here 2-3 times, and tried so many things, including ‘Parisian Eggs'(??), a mezze plate, a vegan breakfast burrito, and more.

My favourite was the vegan crepes – a good mix between healthy and indulgent to start the day, though I do wish that after Waffle On, the berries inside had been fresh instead of frozen.

I think some of their vegetarian stuff is a bit better than their vegan, as in they haven’t ~quite~ perfected the alternatives, but still good, hearty food, generous serving-sizes, lots of options, and a chill vibe. For this it gets 3.5 Italian Chef Kisses.

Trio of Dips, Chai Kombucha, Dragonfruit Kombucha, Pad-Thai Salad, and a Veggie Burger via Lafew Café & Kombucha House

It’s taken me many years, but I’ve finally done it: I’ve found a kombucha that Bae will drink without wincing involuntarily. In his now immortal words, “That’s the best kombucha I’ve ever had, probably because it doesn’t taste anything like kombucha”. LOL.

We were both super sceptical, but I desperately wanted to give this everything-is-plant-based-but-we’re-also-full-of-weird-new-age-hippy-shit-cafe ago. Glad we did, ‘cause it was goooood.

To start we got the trio of dips, which were basil pesto, hummus, and sundried-tomato with cashew cheese – all raw somehow. This was served with some kind of fresh-made dinkelbrot. So salty, so soft, so delicious, and it perfectly offset the subtle, clean taste of the dips.   

My main was a zoodle (zucchini noodle) pad-thai with a raw sauce of lemongrass, peanuts, and soy, topped with fried tofu, micro-greens and other fresh veggies. Sounds like it would be nasty at worst, or plain at best, but it was just really well balanced – fresh and delicate, but oddly satisfying.

You can tell a lot of work has gone into perfecting the recipe, and making sure each meal is made only with the freshest of vegetable, ‘cause even the slightest kind of soft or less-than-stellar ingredient would have made it a very bland or underwhelming dish, and instead we were both pleasantly surprised.

Bae got a veggie burger made with a patty of chickpeas, pumpkin, and a pretty tasty spice-blend. The whole thing held together really well, and was better than most veggie-patties in that it wasn’t trying to imitate meat at all, but it wasn’t an after-thought either.

The best part (for me) though? The kombucha. Honestly, so, so good. It was like the perfect alternative to soda for an adult. They make it by-hand, on-site, and experiment with their own flavour combinations, such as vanilla, lime and ginger, lavender and mint, and more! The colour was incredible, with amazing flavour-profile – just a teeny-tiny bit of sourness, and not too sweet. I would gladly guzzle a bottle a day of the stuff if I could afford it, and as above, even Bae said he would be happy to drink that kind of kombucha every day.  

It was a little pricey (but I totes understand why). Still, on my budget I gotta bring it down to 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses outta 5.

Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng via Bagus Cafe

Bagus is Indonesian for ‘good’ and let me tell you, Bagus Cafe is bagus. There’s a reason this place has won awards for being Australia’s best but cheap eat.

Additionally, since our trip to Singapore (which occurred BB – Before Blog), I have had like, a near-constant craving for any and all Asian food. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesia, Korean… And as I said earlier, Coconuts is mainly just European food. Good, but European.

So Bagus was like all my dreams come true, particularly since Indonesian restaurants are an extra level of rare in Queensland.

The food was simple, hearty, tasty, flavourful, greasy, spicy, savoury, generous, and CHEAP. Like, $10.90-for-a-plate-cheap, which is fucking impossible to get anywhere else.

Extra bonus? The vegetarian options were cheaper than the meat options, which I always appreciate.

For this, Bagus attained the ever elusive 5 out of 5 Italian Chef Kisses

Bone Apple Tea.

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