Friday, July 31, 2009

conclusion of my euro-trip ;)

So since I've been back to the states, I really haven't had much time to keep my blog up to date with the last of my food-finds in europe as well as stuff i've made since i've been back! no worries though :)

Rewind to being in Dublin, Ireland..
where the mentioning of being vegan was looked at like it was a disease..
even trying out a chinese buffet, i had thought before going in that there had to be at least an all vegetable dish or tofu or something!
not hardly..i ended up with a plate full of cut up tomatoes and cucumbers with some soy sauce.
while trying to find something else in the city, we stumbled upon a Govinda's!
And I had just recently learned that the Govinda's in Philadelphia actually IS an international chain and the one in Dublin and London are all connected! how coooool ;)

The food was set up in a way that you picked your size plate, and then chose from the "buffet/bar" what you wanted on it.. unfortunately not everything was vegan..a majority of it was just vegetarian, but the things that were vegan were really good!

This was my plate, which consisted of basmati rice, vegetable samosa, whole grain bread, lentil curry, and a mix vegetable dish. it was quite delicious :) finally..some vegan food in ireland !!

Despite the food, Dublin was still absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!

The Dublin Castle!

Howth area of Dublin, right on the water. Quite a lovely view :)

Fast forward back to London...
After we got back from Dublin, we only had 9 days left in London to explore and do everything else we wanted to do before we had to come that meant a really strict schedule that we TRIED to go by..haha some things got a little rearranged though ;)

We found a really awesome health food store really close to our apartment though, so that was exciting! We had bought sandwiches to take on the plane with us incase the food wasn't good...but realized they might not let them take us through security, so we ate them while in london and they were delicious! Mine was a vegan stromboli sandwich! :)

Also in the health food store I really wanted to try the soy chocolate milk, but none of them were I picked strawberry instead..

This was AMAZING! I'm glad I got to try this flavor instead.. it reminded me exactly of those nesquick strawberry syrups with milk..except a million times better and better for you :)

Another RANDOM find that we stumbled upon while going down a wrong street, was a vegan cafe literally down the street from our apartment! I hadn't even seen it on Happy Cow or anything like that.. but I'm really glad we found it because it was suuuper awesome.

The seemed as though they changed up the menu & soup everyday..which is definitely a good idea. I cannot remember the name of this place actually..and it was so tiny that i couldn't even look it up online!

A lot of the vegan places we had gone to throughout London did the same sort of choose the side of the bowl and then fill it with whatever you want. Emily & I really LOVED this idea..because we definitely dont mind our food touching, and we think it tastes better all mixed together anyway. ;)
My bowl was a bed of greens and a potato salad, a lentil and chickpea dish, and a vegetable dish. it was all really good mixed in. :)

While we were in London for the 5 weeks, we kept passing a TON of McDonald's..and they all advertised for this "spicy veggie burger"...i was we looked it up online and checked if it was vegan or not.. it IS if you get it without the ranch sauce...
Although I am not one to support McDonald's...I think it was pretty cool that they were willing to have a vegetarian and vegan option for customers if they choose so instead of choosing their gross burgers. SO it was one of our last days in London, and i tried it..

See the bite taken out of it? That was the only one that was...
Unfortunately, I WANTED to like I could think wow way to go mcdonalds!
but it was soggy..and the first time I got it they messed it up and put the sauce on it, so I had to go back and get a new one.. but it was just mushy and not very good..nor was it spicy at all!
Sorry least you tried.

Now that I've been back in Maryland and Philadelphia..I've done a little bit of cooking, definitely not as much as I'd like hopefully the baking will shine through me again and I'll be back in the kitchen with some new things soon! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vegan in London pt. 2!

As we're exploring more and more of London, i've found soo many awesome restaurants and cafes that cater directly to vegans, as well as others that have so many vegan options! I'm becoming more convinced that it really is more veg friendly than the states! It's gonna be a bummer to go back.. ;)

One place that we actually have been to a couple of times since being in London is located in the Camdentown Market area.. It's an all vegetarian cafe, with the majority of the options being vegan, and also has a smoothie/juice bar as well as music and social events in the evenings!

Inspiral Cafe & Lounge on Camden High Street.
So far from there I've gotten a lunch bowl, which shares the same concept as a lot of the cafes around here... you choose a size bowl and then pick from the hot and cold food bars as to what you want. I really like this concept a lot, since it lets you try different things, but I guess you have to choose carefully if you don't like your different foods being mixed!

The first time that we had went, we had actually already eaten lunch at a mediocre cafe where I had a sandwich..but we should have waited a little longer and we would've found Inspiral instead! We were so excited for it though that we ended up getting one of the smoothies anyway..all made with soya milk!!

Organic vodka in your smoothie, anyone? ick..can't say that sounds very good at all!
However, I got the Berry Bliss smoothie and it was really really good! Very fresh tasting and perfectly creamy with the soy milk! :)
This place also has an "ice cream" section... and we were planning on trying it out one day when it was actually really hot in london! I sampled the Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, hoping for something delicious...unfortunately it was made with wheatgrass and spurlina.. which I don't mind those at all in a smoothie or something like that..however, I was expecting sweet, delicious ice cream...not quite what I had in we ended up passing on that.

Skip to another all vegetarian cafe located in the Soho Area of central london..called Beat Root

This was located just a street away from the VitaOrganic vegetarian cafe we went to a few weeks earlier, but we wanted to try something new.
The people working there were really friendly and they had a ton of options.. only two of the options were not vegan that was exciting that I could try a lot :)
Same as Inspiral...the concept is you choose the size box and then pick whatever you want to fill it... I love getting a whole mix of different things..usually I just say "whatevers vegan"... ;)

Everything that I got was SO good!
Theres a mixture of a potato curry dish, brocolli and sprouts with peanuts in this really good "creamy" sauce, a quinoa dish, and a few others I can't really remember..but I really thought everything I got was so delicious. :)
They also had a few things for dessert as well, and we chose a chocolate crispy ball to split..

it tasted like a chocolate covered rice krispy treat..except even better ;)
SO good! This might've been my favorite vegan cafe place so far in london...

So as if London wasn't amazing enough by having the Veg all vegan chinese buffets on nearly every street... we were lucky enough to stumble upon by accident an all vegan Indian buffet as well!!
It's called Indian Veg Buffet and it's located around the Islington area of London.
First of all, it's only 3.95 pounds for all you can eat... so that was pretty sweet to begin with..
We can in to see what it looked like before we decided on it, and once we saw the curries we knew we had to eat there.
London is actually pretty well known for their impressive indian food..i'm not so sure if this vegan version of it is as good as the omnivore version..but I was a huge fan ;)

My plate.. they had four different curry options available, along with many different sides to choose from, naan bread, and a few different rice dishes. I chose the chickpea curry and the spicy cinnamon potato curry. The rice I got had a really good seasoning to it as well and went perfectly with the curries. Everything I got was soo good, of course :)

ALL around the restaurant they had these different posters regarding how healthy a vegetarian and vegan diet is as opposed to a meat-filled diet. It was really cool to see so much information on it everywhere!

Yay for the benefits of a cruelty free diet!! :)
Not gonna lie..this guy totally thought I was taking his picture though and I think I made him blush ;) haha oh the things I do for taking blog pictures!

This place was definitely amazing and I'm so excited there are soo many vegan "buffet" options as well as different places to go for just a quick lunch..
Another thing that i've noticed in a lot of places is they have a TON of different vegan mediteranean foods as well..such as tabouli salads, hummus and falafel, chickpea salads, etc. It's so easy and convenient to just pick these up from grocery stores and such for a quick meal!
In a nutshell, I've basically fallen in love with how vegan friendly london is.. :)
We only have 4 days left of our european vacation though, so i'm a bit bummed about that..but at least it's been an AMAZING experience..

Next up I'll post about the not so vegan Dublin, Ireland! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vegan in Valencia, Spain!

I've been traveling all over London as well as Spain and Ireland, but have had no time to post!
I've been trying to find vegan food that is actually opposed to a side salad of lettuce and tomatoes...and some places have definitely been harder.
Take Valencia, Spain for instance...
I definitely had a much harder time finding vegan food here...even trying to tell people that I was vegan was quite difficult! the language barrier could have been something to do with this as well though...
Valencia has a lot of italian food places though, which was quite we were expecting to eat a lot of spanish food..not as much though.
anyway, the first place we went luckily the waitress spoke english, so I explained to her I wanted something all vegetables and no cheese or meat...
She brought me out this..

It was a toasted piece of bread covered in a tangy marinara sauce and topped with tons of grilled vegetables, including tomatoes, artichokes, brocolli, and a few others as well!
For such a simple meal, it was really really delicious, so I was glad she was able to help me out there! especially for our first meal..since we were both just so hungry from the flight..
Other meals were mostly salads...that I had to customize to tell the server not to put any eggs or meat on it..
but regardless, I was only there for 3 days so luckily the monatony of the plain boring salad wasn't tooo awful.
There were though really nice looking Falafel eateries everywhere though..

Can't really go wrong with falafel wraps..
that surprises me a lot about not just valencia, but also in london... there are SOO many places with falafel.. which i absolutely love and usually have to search for a falafel place in philly!
So even though the food in Valencia isn't quite vegan or vegetarian friendly..
The beach was beautiful..

Warm sunny beaches was exactly what we needed as opposed to London's rainy and chilly weather...
The architecture in Valencia was absolutely gorgeous as well..

It was definitely a fabulous 3 day trip to the beach...I'd definitely recommend anyone going, it was a really beautiful city. Just make sure to try and find some vegan or vegetarian places before hand and it should be good ;)