Tuesday, August 23, 2016

where's the beef? turns 10

August 23, 2016

Today we celebrate the 10th birthday of this here blog. We started where's the beef? in our first month of living in Melbourne and it's grown into an incredible document of our time in this city - it's threaded with the broadening acceptance and availability of vegetarian foods, the ebbs and flows of food trends, and our own evolving kitchen habits. We've collated some year-by-year highlights below.

Year 1 Being our first year living in Melbourne, we spent our weekends exploring various restaurants, markets and festivals all over the city. Michael started working in Fitzroy and launched the Gertrude St Grub series; Cindy's workplace showed off their home cooking skills.
   Best recipe: spiced chickpeas
   Best restaurants: Three, One, Two, Moroccan Soup Bar

Year 2 Cindy had a slow culinary start because she had her wisdom teeth removed. After that week we got much more sociable, participating in our first food blogger meet-ups. We travelled around Victoria and the world, ticking off Halls Gap, Wilsons Prom & the Mornington Peninsula, then touring the UK. Michael visited Japan for the first time, before Cindy climbed aboard the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
   Best recipe: we discovered Isa that year, making many soy bombs and chickpea cutlets
   Best restaurants: A Minor Place, Attica

Year 3 Veg*n blogging hit critical mass in Melbourne and we all made friends IRL - there were dinner parties, birthdays, potlucks, festivals, yum cha, pizza nights and even a big group weekend away. I developed my almost-famous vegan sausage roll recipe.
   Best recipe: vegan sausage rolls
   Best restaurants: Hellenic Republic, Monsieur Truffe

Year 4 We explored fancy regional restaurants in Beechworth and Port Fairy before venturing further to Asia, where we ate the freshest tofu of our lives in Kyoto and learned to fry eggs into noodles in Kuala Lumpur. At home we published our 1000th post, joined twitter and tried our hand at a Christmas tofurkey.
   Best recipe: vegan omelettes and hash browns
   Best restaurants: Court Jester (sadly departed), Yong Green Food, Sonido

Year 5  Our travel-eating highlight was an all-blogging all-vegan long weekend in Sydney. In Melbourne, The Fox (one, two, three, four) and The Gasometer (one, two, three, four, five) vied for our veg*n pub-meal affections. Cindy turned 30 and held an ice-cream potluck that is still talked about to this day; less than a month later we discovered Ottolenghi.
   Best recipe: char koay teow
   Best restaurants: Mankoushe

Year 6  We partied through our first MONA FOMA in Hobart, Michael ate vegan poutine in Toronto and together we took in a northern summer in Berlin, Iceland & Norway. Back home we focused on fungi, foraging for our own around Victoria and experimenting with corn smut in the kitchen.
   Best recipe: black pepper tofu
   Best restaurant: New Day Rising

Year 7  In the summer we talked books and foods on the radio, which was a lot of fun. For Melbourne veg*ns more broadly, it was the Summer of South.
   Best recipe: BBQ bao
   Best restaurants: Wide Open Road, Dainty Sichuan

Year 8  Cindy snuck vegan eats around an Auckland conference, Michael found more than pizza and pasta in Turin, and Cindy ate Florida icecream, Denver diner waffles, Baltimore's high-end wholefoods and Native American cuisines in a DC museum. We reunited to tour veg hotspots New York and Portland, then headed home via Tokyo for a special family meal at a forty-plus-year-old Buddhist restaurant. We expanded our online presence by starting a facebook page.
   Best recipe: can't-stop choc-chip cookies (with added rosemary)
   Best restaurants: Smith & Daughters, Shandong Mama

Photo graciously provided by Green Gourmet Giraffe

Year 9  We published our 2000th post and celebrated with a picnic that we remember fondly. Cindy joined a fine dining panel at the Melbourne Writers Festival and attended a range of other food-centred events. We circled around to Tokyo for a third time, Kuala Lumpur for a second, and learned the wonder of cơm chay in Vietnam as a first.
   Best recipe: curried peanut sauce bowl with tofu & kale
   Best restaurant: Trang

Year 10  We both spent decent chunks of this year out of Australia - Michael embraced the working lunch in Stockholm for two months while Cindy learned the secrets of stinky bread-baking in smalltown Pennsylvania. Around our travel we've embarked on a 2006 Cheap Eats Guide project, enjoying a vegan resurgence at Ray. Cindy's rediscovered the joy of jaffles.
   Best recipe: peanut butter & blueberry pie
   Best restaurants: Moroccan Deli-Cacy, Brae


These highlights have reminded us how lucky we are to travel regularly for work and for pleasure, to eat delicious and nutritious foods out and about with friends and every night at home, for the time and money to treat food as a hobby as well as a necessity. We hope never to take that for granted.


  1. Congrats cindy and michael - a great achievement - I still love to check out your restaurant listings when I eat out and to try your recipes (actually tried the veganyumyum mac and cheese last night which was great). I love this overview of 10 food packed years - you must have had to make some hard choices to narrow it down to these links from so many posts. Long may the blog entertain and inform us and make our tastebuds quiver in anticipation!

    1. Thank you, Johanna! (And thanks, again, for allowing us to share that picnic photo.) It was a long afternoon of browsing old posts, but we really got into the swing of it.

  2. Congratulations and happy birthday! Here's to another 10! :D

    1. Thanks pfctdayelise! It's difficult to imagine running another full decade... I wonder what the instagram of 2026 will be?

  3. Congratulations! Happy blog birthday, your blog is such a great resource for food recommendations in melbourne and beyond!

    1. Thank you for your support, marlene. :-)

  4. Congratulations! 10 years of producing such a great blog is a huge achievement. I only managed about 2 1/2 blogging years until life got in the way and I surrendered. I'd have to say that your vegan sausage roll recipe is your greatest contribution to the vegans of Melbourne (and everywhere else). Love your restaurant reviews. And I remember that picnic - I can see quite a few familiar faces, including my daughter, Hannah, behind someone else. That was a fantastic afternoon.

    1. Linda, it was lovely to have you and Hannah there. We have met *so many* great people through this hobby!

  5. happy birthday and what a great looking-back post. Your sausage rolls are very famous :D

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous! Those sausage rolls just about outrank my professional achievements, I reckon. :-D

  6. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. An amazing effort to keep it up, it's not easy!
    Thanks so much for the eatery reviews and recommendations - still so helpful when catching up with my veg daughter :-)
    Wishing you many, many more years of happy cooking and dining - and blogging!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Margaret. :-)

  7. Happy Birthday!! Love your work and look forward to many more incredible recommendations!

    1. Welcome, Amy, and thanks for the well wishes. :-)

  8. Belated congrats! Thanks for running this blog, I may not be a full-fledged vegetarian, but I'm always choosing to have vegetarian meals much more often than not.

    Would love to join any future foodies meetup..

    Thanks again!