Oasis in a political wasteland.

We moved to Canberra from Adelaide in January this year, and for the first couple of hours living here we were delighted by the (approximately four) sights to take in. The novelty wore off pretty quickly, but in my time here I’ve been able to compile a comprehensive list of things that Canberra has over Adelaide. These include:

  • Actual career opportunities
  • Better bike paths
  • Question time as a spectator sport
  • 4dead
  • And Au Lac, the vegan Vietnamese restaurant.

Because celebration, as far as I’m concerned, is synonymous with ‘gorging until my sinuses are packed with food’, the latter was where we chose to have our anniversary dinner.  A slightly dodgy establishment (albeit with classy water feature, likely procured from Bunnings) housed in a building owned by Jackie Chan, Au Lac is home to vegan mock meat dishes that have consistently blown the minds of our omnivorous family and friends.

When I gave up meat, the only difficult goodbye was my parting with squid. So imagine my delight when we first walked into Au Lac in our first week here, after a long day of lake-admiring (or other such tedious tourist activity), and saw mock salt and pepper squid on the menu. And even better, it was delicious. ‘Canberra,’ I said to myself, ‘you’re okay’.

Chicken drumsticks

Roast duck

Lemongrass chicken

Salt and pepper squid

Thanks Au Lac, for a delightful anniversary feast and for generally keeping Canberra bearable.

Three years of abject stupidity.

Three years ago today I went on a date with some guy with ridiculous sideburns and an old man hat. In those three years I’ve been to ten countries, worked six jobs, lived in two cities, and that one guy has stuck around for all of it. He’s put up with a lot, and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps some kind of stunted mental growth. That would explain a lot. His contempt for pants and inexplicable love of action figures, for example. But whatever it is, I’m thankful for it.

Contrary to what the television continually tries to tell me, I don’t celebrate this Thanksgiving business. But occasions like the anniversary of something pretty special do make me reflect on how good I have it. I’m in the top 1% wealthiest people in the world. That’s something to be thankful for. Today I showed my appreciation for that by donating to Bahay Tuluyan, the street children’s rights organisation that I volunteered with in the Philippines shortly after Chadwiko and I met. I would be genuinely thankful to see others doing the same at this time of year, rather than complaining about the little things, like a family that doesn’t want to eat Tofurkey. If you have the choice to be vegan, rather than being forced to eat what you can to survive, that should be enough to be thankful for, too.

(Chadwiko was right to add the ‘rants’ subtitle to this blog. He knows me too well.)

And what does he have to be thankful for today, other than a belly full of vegan salt and pepper ‘squid’ and a little lady who loves him? A shiny new lightsaber.

It might not be as thoughtful as his gift to me, but I know what makes him happy. Thanks for everything, guy.

Food Photos (and a general example of the blog functionality)

These are just some of the Food Porn photos of various dishes that Erinwiko has made! I’m sure at a later date she will come in, give appropriate credits to various cookbooks and blog authors, as well as include recipes and reviews of the dishes!

Creamy Capsicum and Brocolli fettucini, with home-made vegan dinner rolls

Seitan Ribs with Potato Grits and Corn on the Cobb

Gnocchi with basil and spinach

Happy Smoochgivings, Merins!


This new and fancy looking blog is fully functional and ready to go! Now you can share all of your recipes, test creations, restaurant reviews, random rants and various raunch with the world easily and professionally!

Over the past month or two, i’ve been working with a professional web designer mate to try and create the best possible blog site for you. This has involved me staying up late at night to teach myself Flash design and coding (as evidenced in the animated site header), secretly organising things whilst you weren’t watching, and also subtly trying to learn as much about your preferred blog style and preferences!

In the end, I hope we’ve managed to create a blog that you will love, and come to use frequently to interact with all your future vegan minions, who shall worship you as their dimunitive buxom goddess!

The backend of this blog is really really powerful, so you can do pretty much anything with it! You can create and share image galleries, post captioned photos, embedded YouTube videos, share recipes in fantastic looking formats, and so forth! I would love nothing more for you to start blogging nearly every new recipe you cook, reviews of restaurants, stories about your life (and Chads!), etc etc. Furthermore, it comes with a fancy new Erinwiko@meet-the-wikos.com email address, so you can enjoy the benefits of total brand identity wherever you share the blog online!

I really hope you love this present, because I really truly love you a crazy-stupid amount. You’re my favourites evers.

Happy Smoochgiving, Merins!

Erinwiko and Chadwiko at Santa Monica, CA