Saturday, February 04, 2012

Work Trip

I spent last week in Cairns for work, and aside from working for 10-12 hour days on a really interesting project, I was really looking forward to hitting up a grocery store to buy a week's worth of easy-to-prep, good ingredient foods. I was thinking things like almond butter on toast for brekky, veggie burgers of some variety, lots of good veggies and fruits, and snack foods.

My hotel was great. $115 a night for this one bedroom apartment.

And the kitchen was pretty well stocked with utensils, pans, plates, and so on.

So I walked the two minutes to the nearest grocery store, an IGA. And my dreams of a gourmet week were quickly dashed. They had only a few choices for bread, the only nut butter was peanut, and aside from soy milk there was nothing else vegan-on-purpose in the whole shop. No veggie burgers. No soy yogurt. No vegan biscuits. Even though I bought only basic things, it still ended up costing $40! I got: pasta, a jar of homebrand sauce, a sweet potato, a container of mixed salad leaves, soy milk, green beans, bananas, nuttelex, two half-tins of beans, a pack of udon noodles, and a loaf of bread. For $40. So what kind of meals did I put together with this paltry selection?

Well, pasta, obvi. And my breakfast of champions was toast with peanut butter, a banana, a cup of tea, and work.

I "baked" the sweet potato in the microwave, and mixed it with the salad leaves and a tin of chickpeas. Only - no salad dressing! So I melted some peanut butter and soy milk together in the microwave and had peanut dressing. It was actually pretty good.

And I continued the peanutty theme (since peanut butter was the only flavouring agent I had) with a green bean and udon noodle peanut stir fry.

This was filling, but not that satisfying.

Anyways, at least Cairns was nice.


Emma said...

Phwoar I can buy a whole weeks worth of groceries for 40 bucks here! (almost). I have heard theres not much in Cairns...still want to go though. You did pretty well with what you had!

Hannah said...

The $40 thing doesn't surprise me, but how terrible that there was nothing delightfully vegan there! Normally IGAs here can be relied on for interesting (and expensive) goodies.

Still, you know I want everything because of the peanut butter aspect.

Kari said...

Oh how sad! I find IGAs vary so greatly in what they offer. Traditionally I thought of them in terms of what yours was like - not the best, frankly - but I've been delighted by what some of the bigger stores have turned up when I've ventured in.

I'm glad Cairns was enjoyable though...I've actually been there (once) so enjoyed being able to picture it :)

Theresa said...

@Emma - in Cairn's defense, I could have left the IGA and walked 2 or so kms to woolie's or cole's, where there definitely would be better choices - but I already had a few things in my basket and I felt committed, somehow. And unfortunately, I arrived an hour after the totally excellent weekend market closed up for the week! But it's worth a visit, especially if you get a place with cooking facilities and put in more effort than I was willing to go to :)

Hannah & Kari - I know! There is one in Townsville that has bulk bins. This one was just so disappointing. A little surprising, since it was straight over the road from a big hostel.

Lauren said...

must be difficult trying to come up with little things, but it's great to have a kitchen and utensils in the apartment!
the peanut dressing actually sounds pretty good when you dont have much on hand! :)

Nadine said...

disappointing!! I think you did very well considering - i would have given up and just existed on porridge probably :) I'm off to wellington for a work conference this week and its all catered - have put in my vegan requirements and am excited/apprehensive about what I get served up!!

Millie said...

what a nice it.