David LaChapelle was on to something. After a crazy busy and intense 18 months renovating/opening/running The Sweet Meadow I finally allowed myself (because let's be honest, no one else was stopping me) a few days off for a mini winter break. And it was glorious!
I headed north to Brisbane to catch up with family and check out the cafe scene in the Sunshine State (surely I'm not the only one that plans their holidays around food?). We definitely found a few gems.
Nodo is an eatery I had been following for a long time - it made its mark baking gluten free donuts and have now expanded to offer a full cafe menu. While their famous baked donuts aren't vegan, they have lots of options for plant-based eaters, including raw donuts.
While we didn't eat here, I also liked the vibe at Miss Jones cafe in New Farm (the pastels and timber tables had me hooked). Charlie's Raw Squeeze is also pretty awesome (two vegan brothers turned their dad's fruit shop into a vegan empire - think juices, smoothie bowls, desserts and even a moo-free burger offering with multiple locations across Brisbane).
Next, we drove down to Byron Bay for a day trip. This little beach town has to be one of my favourite places on earth. Lots of new eateries have opened since I last visited. Combi had beautiful decor and a huge smoothie menu. These guys also have a cafe in Elwood, Victoria, although the Byron store is triple the size and is a lot more comfortable to eat at. I had a beetroot latte which was more sweet than I expected. Look out for this superfood latte at The Sweet Meadow very soon!
We cruised over to nearby Newrybar for a quick stop at my hands down favourite retail space in Australia - Newrybar Merchants. I'm partial to an old cottage - of course - but I love that this store is a collective of makers and artists who all have the opportunity to showcase their wares in more of a lifestyle setting. Across the road is the award-winning Harvest restaurant (their kitchen garden is next level). We sat on the verandah and drank a housemade kombucha with some fresh sourdough - this is vegan living at it's best!
My last stop was Broadbeach, Gold Coast in Queensland. So many plant-based eateries have popped up here since I last visited (granted it was almost four years ago), and I had less than 24 hours here! We ate dinner at The Cardamom Pod which is a vegetarian restaurant with plenty of vegan options. I'm not really a fan of buffet-style eateries but I'd be keen to try this place again on a weekend when they offer breakfast/brunch items. I was starting to get homesick so I ordered the buckwheat pancakes from BSKT Cafe at Mermaid Beach for breakfast - cool vibe and good pancakes, but not as good as The Meadow!
There's always next time...