This is the first time I have met a blogger friend in person, and there is something quite bizarre about meeting someone face-to-face after communicating online over months and years. There is also something a little intimidating about going to meet a new person you have only communicated with indirectly! As it turned out, Mel is as lovely in person as she is on her blog, and I really enjoyed the few hours we spent together.
When deciding where to go, I suggested Fremantle on the basis of its vegan-friendly cafes and merging of heritage buildings with a slight hippy vibe. It is a worthwhile place to wander if you aren't from Western Australia. We ended up choosing Fremantle's Raw Kitchen Cafe as our lunch destination, which I have mentioned a few times before but never actually eaten lunch at (my previous visits have been for snacks and/or drinks).
We arrived shortly before 12.30pm, to a queue of customers out the door of the cafe. It is a deservedly popular spot and I spent most of our time in the queue trying to decide what I would order. Every time a waitress carried a plate past, I would change my mind to the dish in question. Several bowls of zucchini noodles caught my eye, piled high with noodles under marinara sauce, as did raw nachos, pizza, and falafel balls.
|Tarragon Salad on the left, and Thai Papaya Salad on the right.|
In the end, I ordered straight from the glass-fronted cabinet within the store, asking for a mix of the Thai Papaya Salad and Tarragon Salad. Mel ordered the raw pizza, with sides of the same salads, and we both ordered coffees with nut milk that had been made in store.
My conversation with Mel would have been enjoyable in its own right, but set against this salad...it was a really great lunch. I wanted to dive into this salad bowl. I spent the first few minutes trying to work out what the flavours were, and the rest of the meal trying to work out how they made it taste so good.
|Best salad of 2013.|
As I couldn't fully decipher the ingredients, and the staff were quite busy on the day we were there, I actually sent an email to ask if they would mind letting me know what was in the salads. I received a helpful reply the next day, and so am able to tell you exactly what made these dishes so good.
The Thai Papaya Salad consisted of green papaya noodles, grated carrots, snow peas, cashews, and fresh coriander, mint and basil, with a dressing of olive oil, Braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative), and various herbs and spices.
Even with the name, which really should have allowed me to work it out, I hadn't realised that it was green papaya that formed the 'noodles' of this salad. I was guessing zucchini, but am now keen to try papaya noodles at home - they were incredible!
The Tarragon Salad had grated beetroot, apple and carrot, walnuts, string beans and sultanas, with a dressing of tarragon, olive oil, cashews, garlic and other herbs and spices. I am guessing that the cashews gave this its slight creaminess, which worked well with the earthy beetroot base.
Despite being busy, our meals were served promptly and the coffees were hot and well made. Mel also reported enjoying her raw vegan pizza, but I will leave discussion of that to her should she wish to review it.
Thank you, Mel, for the opportunity to meet up, and thank you to The Raw Kitchen Cafe for a great lunch and for being so helpful in answering my email enquiry!
Other reviews of The Raw Kitchen can be found at Urban Spoon (our service experience was fine, unlike some of the reviews there).
Have you met any bloggers in person?
Or eaten green papaya in salad form?