Monday, 27 September 2010

Cologne & Berlin

Sadly the Cologne part of this blog post is going to be incredibly short as we only got to spend a couple of hours in the city before the sky turned black & we were caught up in an enormous sand storm - it was some of the most ridiculous weather I've ever seen. I wish I had pictures of the apocalyptic looking sky but I was blinded by sand & a little too afraid of damaging my camera to brave getting it out of my bag. Thankfully before we had to flee to the van we managed to grab a drink at Signor Verde, an awesome vegan coffee & snack bar...

They have a selection of baguettes and desserts that changes daily but it was already getting late & I was too excited about visiting Vegane Zeiten, an all vegan store close to the coffee shop, to stop long enough for food! I did take a picture of the desserts though and I can confirm that the dude that runs this place is a lovely as everyone on Happy Cow says!

Vegane Zeiten is an awesome all vegan store that sells tonnes of fake meat products, vital wheat gluten, Go Max Go bars, Beauty Without Cruelty make up, cookbooks, t-shirts, Vegetarian Shoes shoes and much more. It was awesome, we spent far too much money but the girls working there were so lovely we couldn't help ourselves!

After Cologne we had a decent amount of driving to do before hitting our next major city...


...we stopped off along the way to stay at a beautiful campsite in Central Germany...


...but we finally made it to Berlin! Yay! I love Berlin, I've only been once before but this trip just reminded me that it's one of my favourite places in the world - I'd move there tomorrow!

After dumping our bags at the hotel we headed straight for Cupcake, an awesome little cake store full of Americana and vegan cupcakes. The vegan flavour of the day was Raspberry...


...and it was delicious, I love raspberry frosting and I'd forgotten about the super cute plates they serve all their cakes on! We couldn't resist more of their baked goods so I got a brownie to go...


...I ate it for breakfast the next morning and it was SO good, nutty but not too nutty and perfectly cakey. It was definitely on par with the brownie I had from Strong Hearts in Syracuse, I think brownies are definitely my favourite baked good! Anyway, after the brownie I spotted an ice cream store and had to pop in to see if they had any vegan flavours given how damn hot it was, I was in luck...


...they had a vegan berry sorbet which was perfectly refreshing, just a little sour & from what I can remember, less than €1. Now much googling has not given me the name or address of this place but if you come out of Cupcake & take a right towards Simon-Dach-Strasse it's right there!

After starting off our lunch in Berlin with dessert we headed here for our main course...

...Voner!! I was super excited about this, as was Nick, last time I came here they were out of Voner - the vegan doner kebab so we had burgers instead. Thankfully this time there was plenty to go around and we both went for the Voner in pitta with tahini sauce.


It was awesome, but like an idiot I'd eaten too much dessert first and couldn't finish it! After an afternoon snooze at the hotel room (we were SO glad to have air conditioning, it was far too hot for both of us!) we headed out into the night to look for food and ended up at Yellow Sunshine, a veggie fast food place with tonnes of vegan options and just enough grease to keep Nick & I happy!

We both went for the vegan chicken cheese burger with fries.


It was just as good as I remembered! After dinner we headed around the corner for an ice cream at Eis Sallon Tanne B as we'd heard on the grapevine that they do vegan waffles. Sadly they were out of waffles as it was pretty late but they still had ice cream & waffle cones so we were pretty happy.


It was damn good ice cream and we decided we'd definitely be going back the next evening to hunt for the waffles.

The next day we had lunch at Hans Wurst, Nick went for the burger and I choose the braised seitan steaks served over sweet potato mash with a red wine and mushroom jus.


It was all a little too winey for me to be honest but it was beautifully presented and the seitan was really tender and delicious. Sadly Hans Wurst is now closed making me more upset that we missed out on their Sunday brunch during our trip!

For dinner that day Nick insisted on having another chicken cheese burger from Yellow Sunshine & I certainly wasn't going to argue, I love burgers, especially of the mock chicken variety AND it put us right back around the corner from Eis Sallon Tanne B where we headed for dessert...


It was one of the best desserts in the entire world! Perfect waffley awesomeness with their creamy chocolate ice cream, amazing. I am in fact only ever going to visit Berlin between Spring & Autumn now so that this place will definitely be open! As it wasn't that late I picked up another ice cream for our stroll back across town, this time I went for a lime sorbet in a waffle cone.


That was certainly a good end to our last night in Berlin. The next day we had to quickly grab some brunch before heading towards Prague and after a disappointing experience at Cafe Vux we headed back across town to new veggie place Rootz.

Rootz has an English menu which is really helpful and the vegan options are really clearly marked on the huge board behind the counter and on the menu. Rootz is all pink, black & leopard print and was, as far as we could see, appealing to the teenage veggie market both with the decor and the simple menu.

I ordered a TLT - Tofu, Lettuce & Tomato and a side of fries.


I wasn't super impressed with this sandwich but the fries were good enough that we ordered a second basket to share!

Sadly we had to leave Berlin but we were heading towards the Czech Republic to visit Prague so I couldn't be sad for too long.

Writing this blog post has made me really miss Berlin but I'm determined to get back there again next year. There are still many vegan places I haven't been (Maja's deli's been closed the three times I've tried to visit!) & I need to go back to Nil as we didn't have time to eat their amazing Sudanese food this time around.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Gent

So after getting married in February Nick & I finally went off on our honeymoon at the end of July!

We hired a VW van...


...and we drove it around Europe for three weeks. We visited Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg and my next few blog posts are going to be all about our trip.

After a quiet first night at a campsite just west of Ghent we woke up bright & early and headed into the city for food and sightseeing.


Ghent's certainly a beautiful, that's me outside the cathedral but we were hungry and this is a food blog so I'll move onto the important part. As it was a Monday a couple of the places I'd like to have visited were closed but Avalon looked great so we headed there.


We were excited to see that they had a large garden and chose to take advantage of the lovely weather and sit outside...


...as it's not something you get to do too often in the UK!

After a quick look at the menu I knew I'd be having the lasagna, as I mentioned in one of my last blogposts I LOVE lasagna!


Nick was a little more unsure of what to go for but in the end decided on the broccoli pie...


Both meals were huge & came with side of bread and salad. The lasagna was our definite favourite, really tomatoey, loads of pasta and we liked the pesto dressing. Nick's pie was good albeit more quiche than pie, and whilst I loved the sides of broccoli in a creamy sauce, roasted butternut squash, carrots and onion and a bulgar wheat salad he wasn't the biggest fan and ended up polishing off a large chunk of my lasagna!

Even though we were stuffed dessert was a must especially after I'd noticed there was pie on the menu so we got a piece to share.


Apple pie, topped with strawberries & a vanilla sauce. Nick ate all the vanilla-ey bits, I ate all the fruit bits - perfect!

I definitely left wishing we were going to have time to go back there, maybe one day!

On our way out of the city we stumbled upon a little health food store called Ayuno. The store was really well stocked with tofu's, vegan milks and chocolate but we just stocked up on veggies for our dinner at the campsite and picked up these delicious treats.


So Yeah! chocolate ice cream, gummy fruits & gummy cola bottles. We enjoyed these whilst lying in a tiny patch of shade behind the van!

Next time I'll be writing about a flying visit to Cologne & our amazing weekend in Berlin.