Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bristol, Bath and an exciting announcement!

So it was mine and Nicks anniversary on the 21st so we went away for the weekend, we'd heard Bristol was nice & had good veggie options so away we went!

We were pretty damn hungry after our long drive so we headed out to the cafe / bar at The Watershed for some food. They only had one vegan option on their menu which was a salad but I was way too hungry for that! I enquired as to whether any of the vegetarian options were or could be made vegan & was told by the super helpful staff that the risotto often is but unfortunately after a quick chat with the chef it turned out that that day they'd already cooked the rice with butter. I fancied some carbs so Nick and I shared the chips with ketchup...


...and the hummus, olives & bread.


The hand cut chips were awesome and came with a really great and obviously non big brand ketchup but the star of the meal for me was the hummus. It was chunky and delicious and clearly homemade, the best hummus I'd had in ages. The olive oil for dipping was obviously really high quality too, I'd totally order this again!

After checking out the local area and walking off our food we headed back to The Watershed to catch newly released indie movie Away We Go - it was a great movie with a really cute message, if you haven't seen it yet get yourself to your local independent cinema asap!

That night we went to old favourite Pizza Express where I tried one of their new Leggera Pizzas, a pizza with no centre and a yummy salad in its place. I totally forgot to take a photo but here's a photo of me & Nick instead!


The next morning we woke up starving and our hotel The Bristol Royal Marriott had no vegan options on their super expensive breakfast menu so we headed out in search of food. We stumbled upon Start The Bus on Baldwin Street, a pub that happened to be open for breakfast. They had no vegan option on the menu but minus the butter and eggs their vegetarian breakfast was easily veganised.

This was a pretty greasy breakfast but if you can't have a massive fry up on holiday then when can you?

We went for lunch at Cafe Kino, an all vegan workers cooperative in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol. I'd been really excited about this place and I wasn't disappointed.

We decided to share again and went for more chips, again hand cut and perfectly fried, and with a side of vegan mayo - yum.


We also went for the large falafel plate which consisted of perfectly fried crispy coated falafel, delicious homemade hummus, wholewheat pitta and a really nicely dressed seed covered salad.


I think hand cut chips & hummus are Bristol's specialities! The hummus here was even better than the aforementioned best hummus I'd had in ages at The Watershed!

I picked up some rad desserts to take away too, the strawberry caramel shortbread.


This was super delicious. I haven't had shortbread in ages and the caramel topping wasn't at all sickly. I also couldn't resist the bakewell tart slice.


This tasted exactly like the bakewell tarts I remembered from before I was vegan. The texture was perfect but the strange thing about this dessert was the puff pastry crust, it didn't really add anything and just made it a little difficult to eat!

After lunch we went to this cool place called Ashton Court Estate just outside of Bristol. It's a stately home and the majority of the land is a deer sanctuary - rad!


Here's the exciting bit...on our lovely day out in the countryside my lovely man proposed!! We're SO excited!! Here's the picture I took of the ring...


...I love how it looks a bit like a traditional diamond from a distance! It's actually a solid metal rock carved from silver from thebeside at Etsy.com , much more me than some dubiously sourced diamond!

If you're interested in reading more about how diamonds can be sourced check out stopblooddiamonds.org or this United Nations Site.

We spent the evening celebrating in typical Jojo & Nick style by having a floor picnic in our hotel!

The next morning we went back to Cafe Kino.


I didn't have any of the yummy looking flapjacks or cake for breakfast, instead I went for the Full English Breakfast.


The breakfast came with sausages, beans, garlic mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns and either fried bread or toast. I opted for the fried bread instead of toast which was horribly unhealthy I'm sure but I don't think I've had fried bread for about 15 years! This was an awesome start to the day.

If you hadn't guessed it yet Cafe Kino was my favourite place to eat in Bristol, if I'm ever back there again I'll certainly be stopping by to eat my way through the rest of their menu!

On our way back to Brighton we decided to stop off in Bath for some lunch at vegetarian pub The Porter Bar. I went for the creamy mushroom pie with potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


I have to say I had expected a little more from the seasonal vegetables than just cabbage but the pie was super creamy and delicious so I'll let it go.

They had a few vegan options but their menu could've been made better with the addition of some vegan cheese so we'd have the options of toasted sandwiches, pizzas and nachos too. I think The George in Brighton is still my favourite veggie pub.

I'd never visited Bath before but I'd really love to go back to explore the city and it's vegan dining options properly!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

London Vegan Festival

Today I met up with awesome PPK friends Holley & Amelia and bloggers The Messy Vegetarian Cook , Intellectual Blackout & Off To Guildford. We went to The London Vegan Festival at Kensington Town Hall.


As soon as I walked in the door we spotted this stand run by Vegan Volumes selling delicious looking and cute vegan cookies and cakes.


I immediately bought a chocolate and walnut brownie for £1.


It was awesome, just the right balance of cakey and fudgey and full of loads of delicious walnuts. Everyone else was still eating so not wanting to be left out of the fun I spent another 40p on a chocolate krispie cake...


...which was also pretty awesome! We spent the day shopping and I picked up some of Redwood Foods new Brussels Pate, 2 bags of Vegan Kosher Haribo, Lazy Day Foods Millionaire's Shortbread, 2 Go Max Go candy bars - a Twilight (vegan Mars bar replica) and a Jokerz (which is like a Snickers) , two cute cow pictures from local-ish charity Huggetts Wood Farm, a Plamil dairy free milk chocolate bar and a Rapunzel Nirwana Noir bar - I loved these when I was in Berlin!


I'm excited to try all of this especially the Go Max Go bars, I think I'll save the Haribo for next time I go to the cinema.

After we were all shopped out we went upstairs to the Veggies stall...


...where we all ordered the Veggies burger with Cheezly and a veggie bacon rasher...


They were totally delicious and in the biggest bun I'd ever seen. You got a decent amount of salad and fried onion and there were loads of condiments to choose from, I went with the Plamil vegan mayo. Holley, Zaineb, Kip and I sat on the steps to eat...

...there's another PPker with a cute bow in her hair right there in the background but unfortunately I didn't get her real name...or I forgot it already...I apologise!

We also bumped into another PPKer, Shannon, all the way from the US, she's right here in the middle at the back.


Front (L-R) Amelia, Holley, Me, Zaineb. Back (L-R) Pieta, Shannon, Kip. Thanks to Shannon's man friend for taking the picture!

Once I got home I ate more food! A piece of ginger cake with toffee icing from the Vegan Volumes stall at the beginning of this post...


This was super moist, sticky and perfectly gingery, not too overpowering at all. I was worried the toffee icing was going to be sickly but it complimented the ginger cake really well.

I had an amazing day, these wonderful vegan ladies all rock and I can't wait to see them again in October for another meet up.