Aidan 'Taco' Jones is a comedian and writer based in Melbourne Australia, he likes most types of cheese and often throws tantrums. To read his blog and find him doing comedy hit up ajtaco.blogspot.com
Look guys, I know what's up with meat. I love it. Meat. I've been eating for a while now, and in my more vain moments I like to quietly consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic. Meat's good, great, fantastic even, and I am as close as I feel it is possible to be to absolutely certain, that without it I would die, slowly, under a pile of half-eaten salads and dry, chewy, salted rice snacks.
I love meat, okay? OKAY?... and I'm getting a little defensive here. Because I'm about to say something out of character: Meat is NOT everything.
One glimpse into the place was all it took, it really is an absurdly wonderful little spot
The first time I went to Fina's Vegetarian Cafe was about six months ago, and what drew me in initially was the cake – sitting behind glass at the front of the store enticing me, leading me in with a creamy, chocolatey hand and begging me to sit down. I didn't know it was a vegetarian cafe. A clever ploy, and surely one not accidental.
'That's it, just allow your troubles to drift away, theeeere...' Eugh, god I sound like a yoga instructor.
But I told myself that I couldn't have cake unless I ordered lunch off the menu first, and when I opened it I found something that impressed me. Every item on the menu is accompanied by a short description of the dish that really gets straight to the MEAT (should I leave that in? I think I'm going to leave it in) of what you want to know about the food on offer. Rainy day? Sure, have something warm steamy. Sunny outside? Have this, or this, or this – LOOK! Soups! Refreshing ones. There even seems to be a few items catered to the type of carnivore that loves to sit back at the end of a meal and conspicuously unfasten their belt buckle as if to say to the world, "See that? I just ate some EVERYTHING!"
All of the menu items have these great recommendations to accompany the description of the food.
Today, on my most recent visit I went in with the same plan and ended up going for the Special Vegan Bamboo Noodle Soup which clocked in at a very affordable $10.50, and came out around 7-8 minutes after I ordered. I've been eating a lot of Pho lately, so this dish did well to stand out from the multitudes of other Vietnamese Noodle Soups I've poured down my mouth-hole in recent months. There really is something about vegetarian/vegan cuisine that you don't get when eating meat. Somehow, the absence of those overpowering flavours allows everything else to come into its own. I didn't finish the whole thing... it was big guys, and I was full. Please! I promise!... don't strip me of my manhood.
The battleground where I suffered my first major defeat...
I sat for a while admiring the calming interior of the place, the cluttered counter full of colourful cups and adornments and wall hangings that made me feel like I had just wandered into someone's kitchen and been offered a seat at their table. The whole place has a muted blue feeling to it, like staring into a rock-pool. I could feel my stresses and pressures giving way, but still one thing remained.
After giving in to the remaining puddle of soup and a few noodles sitting in my bowl, I still had to brace myself for what I knew was the main attraction all along, the reason I had come to this damned vegetarian hippy-hole in the first place. Blood rising again. Somehow I had grown to love it, it seemed. But the cake, there it was, there it is, and when I ordered it half an hour after pushing my soup to the side, it came, and it was just as glorious and perfect as I could have ever hoped for in any fever dream. Bliss from the very first bite.