Al and I spent the Labour Day long weekend in Canberra. Some people (who obviously don’t know me that well) asked if I was going to see the flower festival. Nope, 99% of the time I go to Canberra is because there’s a Buddhist course o retreat on. Our Buddhist organisation owns a centre in Canberra, while the buildings in all the other cities are rented, so it makes more sense to run big events in the capital city.
I’ve been to Canberra before and haven’t had great eating out experiences. To be brutally honest, I found the food and coffee uninspiring and expensive, and the service ranging from indifferent to rude. Perhaps I need to look further but that’s been my impression so far.
Luckily, this time our Canberrian friends decided to make this course as involved as possible, including all meals in the package. Also fortunate was the fact that there are now a bunch of Paleo-oriented individuals in our group, so we didn’t have major issues with the chow.
Breakfasts were, hands down, the best meal of the day. That wonderful invention of humanity called bacon made an appearance every morning, with its trusty companion, eggs: scrambled on Saturday, fried (my favourite) on Sunday, and poached on Monday. There were also bread & spreads, muesli, yoghurt, and fruit for the conventional eaters. We were happy adding a thick slab of butter to our protein-rich plates.
Lunches were great, too. The cooks made good use of the barbecue and provided us with tasty burgers and sausages, which our visiting Polish teacher declared “the best sausages in Australia” (and he’s been in this country quite a few times). There were also salads, ham, cheese, smoked salmon, dips, bread, and more fruit.
Baristas provided us with great coffee, and there were a number of cakes for sale, including flourless chocolate cake, which Alvaro and I devoured.
Dinners were big pot kinda meals. Saturday was curry night (your choice of chicken or tofu), plus rice and/or quinoa for the grain eaters, and raita to dial down the heat. Dessert that night was a slice of dairy-free lemon tart or a piece of gluten-free cake (I think it was orange).
Sunday was roast night (“tofurkey” for the vegos). Dessert didn’t look that appealing to me, so I just had some strawberries, some dark chocolate and a handful of dark chocolate-covered macadamias that I had brought “just in case”.
Having all meals there not only helped us keep the cost down, but also share the joy of preparing, cooking, cleaning, eating, and drinking together. Priceless.