I met Jodie Stewart, the owner of About Life with her publicist Becc Gray at the launch of the Foodies' Guide to Sydney 2008. After congratulating them on their award (Best Food Store), we got down to chatting about the expense of organic food. I mentioned that I used to shop at About Life, but was prevented, mainly by their prices, from making it a more regular stop on my shopping rounds. Basically I go in there for Goldenbelle (a washed rind cheese from the Hunter Valley), as it's the only thing in there I find well-priced. Lescure for example is $7.45 as opposed to $6.95 where I buy it (ten steps down the road).
Anyway, they had an answer for me - a $20 meal for 4 people of 'clean' if not organic food. In other words, chemical free food. The store is on the way to organic certification, a process which takes $30,000 and 2 years apparently, so in the mean time their focus is on fresh, convenient, clean, chemical free food. So I did a fair amount of touring the store, checking out the About Life ranges in various categories (vegetables, meat, coffee, dips and cheese). These products worked out a lot cheaper than the branded ranges. Their best selection for me was this free-range Tamari marinated pork roast ($16.13), which fed two people a dinner, and a lunch each.
They also employ some techniques like my own to reduce 'food miles' so I was pleased to be offered a packet of Honeycomb ($6.95) from Mudgee; some Glenlee Olive Oil ($12.95) from Picton and a packet of Crab, Marscapone and Smoked Garlic Ravioli ($19.50) from Haberfield - all NSW products at least!
Ahh must be time for a juice from their juice bar. I tried the Goddess ($5.50/sm $7.50/lg) a refreshing combination of watermelon, orange and mint. My dining companion, nurse_nihilist made a perhaps better selection with her Zesty Zone ($5.50/sm $7.50/lg) , a lovely mix of apple, pineapple, lime and mint.
We started with a shared bowl of Asian 'Slaw ($9sm/$12lg eat in) which was a chewy mix of parsley, pumpkin seeds, carrots, cabbage, currants and sesame oil (amongst other things).
I went brunch for my meal selection - a lovely Quesadilla filled with Eumundi Chorizo, served with Poached Eggs and Roast Capsicum Chutney ($17.50). After tasting this chorizo, I am determined to go and check out Eumundi Smokehouse in the flesh after this... also to see where their prices sit in relation to About Life's re-selling of their produce.
My dining companion sampled one of their vegetarian selections - a giant Vegetarian Burger ($15 eat in / $10 take away). The Zucchini fritter in particular was light and tasty. By the way, all sorts of dietary needs like gluten-free and sugar-free are happily catered for here.
As for the coffee, they serve Toby's Estate (only a bit strange since they have their own branded coffee) which was also good in my Latte ($3.30).
605 Darling Street, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 8755 1345